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Your Questions For Evolutionary Scientists

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posted on Feb, 14 2006 @ 10:29 AM
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I have been given a great opportunity! The Field Museum is having its 55th annual Members' Nights on March 30th and 31st where I can


"Go behind the scenes and explore our vast collections, meet our staff and talk one on one with our scientists. The opening of Evolving Planet takes visitors on an awe inspiring journey through 4 billion years of life on earth; from single-celled organisms to towering dinosaurs and our extended human family... ...Unique fossils, animated videos, hands-on interactive displays, recreated sea and landscapes help tell the compelling story of evolution.

(From the letter they sent out to members)

I plan to write a review of the new display, Evolving Planet, for ATS after going there, hopefully with pictures if I am allowed to take them. What's even cooler, though, is the one on one with the scientists of the Field Museum.

If anyone has any questions they'd like me to ask, please post them on this thread. This is the first Members' Night I've ever gone to, so I'm not sure how much time is involved or how much opportunity I would have to talk one on one with anyone, but if I do have the opportunity, I'll pose any non-loaded questions I can that y'all present. After the "interview", I'll post the responses on here.

There's another opportunity with these questions as well. The pastor of a church I occasionally go to was a microbiologist before becoming a pastor, and disagrees with evolutionary theory as it is understood today. I could pose the same questions to him to give balance to the response.

Please, throw your questions onto this thread, but keep them civil and not loaded, or I won't use them.

Also, Im not looking for debate here, Im looking for questions. If anyone wants to address a question posed here, I ask you to post it on another thread or start a thread of your own. This is for questions to be posed to the experts I mentioned in this post


[edit on 16-2-2006 by asala]




posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 08:53 PM
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Ask him what he thinks on the relative speed with which the cane toad is evolving in Australia.

www.physorg.com...



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 09:10 PM
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Oops, overlooked the religous agenda apparent here, my bad!

[edit on 2/15/06 by Shadowbear]



posted on Feb, 15 2006 @ 09:35 PM
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Wow, that's a very cool find! As it's a fairly current find (or at least reported on by even Nature), and because a "It's remarkable/amazing" answers aren't really what I'm looking for, with your permission, I would like to change how the question is phrased. This is only if it's ok with you, though. I'd also like to switch it up a little to make it more challenging for each person to support their views. My proposal:

Field Museum: Why do you think the cane toad is evolving so rapidly in its new environment compared to other amphibians, other cane toads in different, though similar, ecological regions, or our current evolutionary expectations?

Pastor: How do you account for the rapid mutation of the cane toad in Australia we're seeing take place right before our eyes, where physical characteristics of the same species are so dramatically different from one another after just a few years of separation? Could this not demonstrate a sudden rapid evolution of a species when the environment allows or forces it?

Let me know if this would be acceptable, or if you'd like to see any changes in either question. Again, this is a great find because it poses interesting and possibly difficult questions. I'd actually like to piggyback this with another pair of questions I was going to post on here, too:

Field Museum: Why do you think it is that most of our fossil record contains species that we can now identify by just finding a single bone and, in the case of dinosaurs, know that species existed for millions of years, when, through an evolutionary process, we would expect to find far more transitory species instead of distinct species?

Pastor: Why do you expect we would find a majority of transitory species through the fossil record when we're currently seeing the majority of species today stagnating in their evolutionary process with the possible exception of the cane toad, and would you rethink your position if the rapid mutation of the cane toad caused a large number of species in Australia to begin rapidly mutating to adapt to this new ecological threat?

Lemme know what you think, and throw out more questions! Best case scenario, I sell ATS really well, build a rapport with the Field Museum scientist and ask educated, challenging questions so (s)he invites me to sit down and go over the questions.
That would be so cool!

EDIT: added the word "Possible" to the last pastor question. While I want to ask challenging questions, I want to ask the question in such a way as to treat their belief as legitimate. After all, I'm on the fence with this issue, and have many questions for both sides before making up my mind. More of those later when I have to bump this thread back up


[edit on 2/15/06/15 by junglejake]



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 12:16 AM
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I have a request for this thread, too. I just posed the questions I had posted here to a friend to see if he thought they were respectful but challenging, and it erupted into a debate where I was defending evolution (he is a creationist) to explain that there is an argument here.

I'm not looking for debate here, I'm looking for questions. If anyone wants to address a question posed here, I ask you to post it on another thread or start a thread of your own. This is for questions to be posed to the experts I mentioned in the first post. If a mod would edit my initial post with this paragraph at the end sans this sentence, that would be fantastic



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 06:12 AM
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Cool JJ. Phrase it any way you like. I look forward to the answer
When is this happening btw? I can probably get some more questions from some of my friends and family as well.



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 01:08 PM
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I just wanted to be sure that I captured the spirit of your questions. I'm going to let the person know that I've gotten some questions from folks and will reproducing their answers on an internet discussion board that talks a lot about the evolution v. creation debate. If, however, I change the questions and lose the spirit of what you were asking, they're not really your questions anymore, and I'd be lying telling the scientists that they were.

You actually have about a month and a half before this happens. It will take place on March 30th and 31st. I'm probably going to consolidate the questions on the 29th since I'll be working on the 30th. Please get more questions! Just keep them challenging for both sides of the debate, yet respectful of their views.

Thanks for the help, sardion2000!



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 01:21 PM
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At least "junglejake" here is honest about his reasons for attacking evolution. So many of the "Intelligent Design" crowd pretend to be searching for scientific truth, when in reality, they're just trying to push their belief in the story of Genesis. It's so sad that these people believe that somehow learning about our world will challenge their faith. It's something of an indication in the reason they have faith in the first place.

Also, just a correction, jake. There's no such thing as an "evolutionary scientist". There are only scientists. Scientists who believe in the experimental data they observe. Then, there are creationists, who are saying "who you gonna believe, me or your own eyes?" If you are a scientist and you don't accept the data, you are no longer a scientist. And please, don't try to tell us that there is data that shows the existence of an intelligent designer. That's why it's called "faith" - because it the belief in something for which there is no proof. Despite what you have heard from Pat Robertson, scientists as a group are extremely willing to adjust their point of view based upon new data. If there was a single iota of data supporting the existence of a designer, you'd have scientists lined up testing the data. But... There. Is. None. Not one bit. Zip. Nada.

If your faith was just a little stronger, you wouldn't have to attack science. Maybe a little more "faith" and a little less "freak" as in "Jesus freak" would help.



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 04:56 PM
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Originally posted by junglejakeField Museum: Why do you think it is that most of our fossil record contains species that we can now identify by just finding a single bone and, in the case of dinosaurs, know that species existed for millions of years, when, through an evolutionary process, we would expect to find far more transitory species instead of distinct species?


A suggestion, here: "I haven't seen any examples" is not the same as "there aren't any examples."

I work in a paleo lab and I clean up fossils (extract them from rock.) In fact, you can't identify a species just from finding a single bone. We think that we have a new species of Ceritopsian that is possibly one of the Pachyrhynosaurs, but we're not sure yet. We do know that there are 8 individuals (because we found 8 nasal segments) and at least one is a juvenile. But the features we're finding aren't matching up with the known species.

The public is never shown these, but they're written up all the time in the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology and other journals. So, just because you haven't seen them doesn't mean that there's an overwhelming body of evidence.

As to the "lack of transitory species", I would suggest that you, too, see if you can volunteer in the paleo lab there. It will be an eye-opening experience, and the help you give scientists and researchers by simply digging a fossil bone out of rock will be valuable. Or take a tour of it and ask questions. Ask how many species they have in their trays (I work in a little lab and we have a huge amount of material.)

I can guarantee it will be an eye-opening experience.



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 05:07 PM
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Ask him to also comment on this:

Toxic Waters Provide 'a Snapshot of Evolution'



posted on Feb, 16 2006 @ 06:03 PM
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Byrd, thanks for the suggestion, but I'm not sure how the question could be changed short of adding a "many" before "species can be identified by".

As to the transitory species thing, I intend to talk with the scientist gone pastor after talking with the scientist from the Field Museum, because I may want to adjust those questions based on what I learn at the Field Museum.

vuoto, I meant evolutionary scientist as a scientist such as an archaeologist or paleontologist whose field of study is very closely tied with evolution.

Finally, loam, would you like me to come up with the questions based on that link and get your approval as I did with sardion2000, or did you want to throw out some challenging (yet respectful) questions for both the creationist and evolutionist? I haven't read the link yet, but will and don't mind coming up with the questions.

EDIT: Byrd, sorry, I reread your post and got your point this time around. JJ was being a bit dense...That's a good point.

[edit on 2/16/06/16 by junglejake]



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 07:06 PM
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Field Museum: How do you account for the Platypus?

Pastor:(Byrd, if you could help me out with this one with a link to a good article or something, that would be great)You have stated that there are not many, if any, transitory species discovered in the fossil record, yet there are many variances in species through the extensive fossil record that are detailed in scientific journals but not in the mainstream; how do you account for these? (Also, Byrd, if you do have any links to what you were talking about, try to find one that can't be dismissed by explaining the difference between Michael Jordan and that little dude on Seinfeld)

[edit on 2/17/06/17 by junglejake]



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:14 PM
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JJ you could easily use bird evolution as a good example of 'transitional' species, as there are many and we have a good idea of how birds/feathers evolved

i.e. therapod > archeopteryx > modern birds.

Here's some detail on archie if you're interested...

www.talkorigins.org...

here's a couple of good articles on feather evolution...

PRUM, Richard O. and BRUSH, Alan H.: Which came first, the feather or the Bird?. Scientific American, March 2003.

PRUM, Richard O. and BRUSH, Alan H.: The Evolutionary origin and diversification of feathers. Quarterly review of biology, 77(3), pp.261-295; Sept. 2002.

edit: or maybe Sinornis as another early feathered dino (more bird than dino compared to archie)...

www.bowdoin.edu...





[edit on 17-2-2006 by melatonin]

[edit on 17-2-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:16 PM
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nvrmnd didn't understand what you posted. Gotta get some sleep


[edit on 17-2-2006 by sardion2000]

[edit on 17-2-2006 by sardion2000]



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:27 PM
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I know the feeling.

I'm going to avoid the archeopteryx because I'm already well aware of the arguments on both sides. That little buddy there is a major evolutionary hot topic and has been extensivly addressed by both sides.



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:32 PM
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maybe whale evolution, there are some transitionals for their evolution now. Could be a good one considering Behe use it as an argument.



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:33 PM
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Originally posted by melatonin
maybe whale evolution, there are some transitionals for their evolution now. Could be a good one considering Behe use it as an argument.


Like I asked loam, do you have any specific questions you'd like answered, or just a general area of interest?



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:40 PM
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I could, I'm just thinking of how to frame it. Here's some lines of thought...

Many creationists (and some IDers) use the macroevolution argument as a restriction of ToE. So, many agree with change within 'kinds' but not between 'kinds'. What is a kind? How do we define it? Is it purely a biblical defintion? If you agree with this restriction, what hinders evolution between 'kinds', as speciation is readily observed in the lab? (he may answer along the lines of genetic homeostasis - but this only applies in alrge populations and disappears in small, isolated groups)

You could ask the scientist whether all evolution is microevolution, i.e. macro is just long-term micro. Maybe taking from the other question - is genetic homeostasis a barrier to macroevolution.

Another good question for the scientist would be to ask is 'are all species transitional'.

[edit on 17-2-2006 by melatonin]

[edit on 17-2-2006 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:49 PM
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How about:
Many, if not all, scientific theories that have been abondoned in the past were abondoned because of an experiment or observation that conclusively and unambiguously demonstrated the theory's failure. Can you describe or imagine an experiment or observation that would disprove the theory of evolution?



posted on Feb, 18 2006 @ 09:43 AM
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Originally posted by ChemicalLaser
How about:
Many, if not all, scientific theories that have been abondoned in the past were abondoned because of an experiment or observation that conclusively and unambiguously demonstrated the theory's failure. Can you describe or imagine an experiment or observation that would disprove the theory of evolution?


I think you should narrow it down a bit as Evolution has many distinct Theories within it.

[edit on 18-2-2006 by sardion2000]




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