Evolution is FACT!

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posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 09:24 AM
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reply to post by Edrick
 
Hiya, I agree with many of your sentiments here. Evolution is a fact after all. I'll take issue with this one point...



Atheists want to "Disprove God" mainly because they want to stop people from following "God's Commandments"


Not necessarily so. In my experience, the 'European atheist' is generally unconcerned about God or people that believe in one. It isn't a badge of identity in the same way it appears to be in the US. You can know a person for years and the subject might never come up. Perhaps, the 'American atheist' is more vociferous because an aggressive section of US believers make it so?

Out of interest, I just googled the 'Commandments. There's 3 or 4 that make sense. I had to LOL at the order of priority!




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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reply to post by Kandinsky
 




Atheists want to "Disprove God" mainly because they want to stop people from following "God's Commandments"


Not necessarily so. In my experience, the 'European atheist' is generally unconcerned about God or people that believe in one. It isn't a badge of identity in the same way it appears to be in the US. You can know a person for years and the subject might never come up. Perhaps, the 'American atheist' is more vociferous because an aggressive section of US believers make it so?


Point taken, and I agree.... However, within the context of the question, My answer made sense.

The original question that was posited was WHY atheists are concerned with disproving god.

Clearly not all atheists even care... the only atheists in question are the ones that *DO* attempt to disprove god, thus that is what my answer focused on.

You are correct in your observation, and I'm sure that your observation holds true for the majority of American atheists also (I am not an Atheist, but a Pantheist)

I felt that it was better to answer the question that he MEANT to ask, instead of the one that he DID ask... you know what I mean?



-Edrick



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by Kandinsky
reply to post by Edrick
 
Hiya, I agree with many of your sentiments here. Evolution is a fact after all. I'll take issue with this one point...



Atheists want to "Disprove God" mainly because they want to stop people from following "God's Commandments"


Not necessarily so. In my experience, the 'European atheist' is generally unconcerned about God or people that believe in one. It isn't a badge of identity in the same way it appears to be in the US. You can know a person for years and the subject might never come up. Perhaps, the 'American atheist' is more vociferous because an aggressive section of US believers make it so?

Out of interest, I just googled the 'Commandments. There's 3 or 4 that make sense. I had to LOL at the order of priority!


Evolution is a THEORY, not a fact. There are still unproven explanations and unanswered questions, some of which I have brought up a few posts above. It is dishonest to call it a fact and not a theory. Even relativity is called the Theory of Relativity. Calling evolution a fact is propaganda (see the thread on recognizing propaganda). As long as a theory has unanswered questions or unsolved mysteries, it is still a theory. If the answers are given with qualifying statements like "it appears that" or "in most cases" then the answer is incomplete and non-definitive, thereby keeping the theory a theory.

My question is this: is the theory of evolution falsifiable? Can you disprove that evolution actually happened? If not, then it is not a valid scientific theory, since all true science is theoretically falsifiable. So, if something is proven or disproved by actual observation or by valid and COMPLETE deduction by what is observed, how can evolution be hypothetically disproved since we can't observe any type of macro-evolution actually occurring in nature?

Perhaps the very lack of a vast number of intermediate and incomplete mechanisms is sufficient to disprove the theory.... hmmmm, I'll have to think on that a little more. Anyhow, you can refer to my posts above for more on my questions regarding this problem.


[edit on 10-1-2010 by downisreallyup]



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:23 PM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 


I'll not answer the 'only a theory' issue. This has been gone over so many times in other places that you know you are just grasping at straws.

However, I will address this:



My question is this: is the theory of evolution falsifiable? Can you disprove that evolution actually happened? If not, then it is not a valid scientific theory, since all true science is theoretically falsifiable. So, if something is proven or disproved by actual observation or by valid and COMPLETE deduction by what is observed, how can evolution be hypothetically disproved since we can't observe any type of macro-evolution actually occurring in nature?


The answer is, of course, evolution theory is falsifiable. You will find a discussion of some of the many ways it can be falsified at 29+ Evidences for Macroevolution.

So then ask the obvious question: has evolution ever been falsified? The answer is emphatically, NO. But go ahead and earn your Noble prize, pick what you see as a vulnerable spot at go for your life.

So now ask yourself the same questions. Can "Intelligent Design" be falsified? Again the answer is, of course, certainly. Behe, et al, aren't stupid, they are just wrong.

So again, has it been falsified? The answer here is again emphatically, YES, time and time again: Answering the Biochemical Argument from Design.

Finally, we must ask the final question, then. Is Biblical Creationism falsifiable? The answer here is again, emphatic, but this time it is NO.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 03:36 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


I'm replying to myself here, dig?

I just noticed I stuffed the video link in this (the one I'm replying to) post too.

Sorry about that.




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 04:59 PM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 




I really do thank you for having an intelligent discussion about these difficult questions that so far nobody has been able to solidly answer. They use terms like "likely" or "appear" and expect me to have full faith in their logic.

You are welcome. Nobody is asking you to have "full faith" in logic. They are asking you to "understand" their logic.

There are no absolutes in science, and the criticism of evolution that we "can't see exactly what went on because we weren't there" has some merit. But just leaving it at that is unsatisfactory, to be human is to be curius. So scientists use other means to arrive at their conclusions. They build up a knowledge base one bit at a time and come to conclusions that are not based on faith but on data and logic. And you are not asked to take their conclusions on faith either, but are asked to understand the logic behind their conclusions. If conclusion is unsatisfacory to you, then you are encouraged to challenge their data and their logic and their conclusions.

But you have to remember that a rigid structure has been built up to reduce the chance of error; the challenge process is BUILT-IN to the Scientific Method. And you also need to remember that a chain of logic with, say, a thousand steps doesn't come crashing down because step 993 is demonstrated to be wrong; that only shows that steps 994 through 1000 do not follow.



You ARE giving me good things to look into and to consider, which is more than anyone else has been able to do, even college professors.

The one question that I never get an answer to, even from anyone here at ATS is "where are all the failed attempts, both in the fossil record and in current living creatures?" What I mean is, where is the evidence of "mechanisms in progress." While I can see how a mechanism may be useful at various stages of its development, I can't really see how it could be useful during EVERY phase of its progress towards usefulness. Please tell me what your answer would be to this problem.

Remember, since you admit that useful improvements come infrequently and over a long period of time, and that they come from mutations, which are really unfixable damage, then I would expect to see:

1) vast numbers of fossils showing all manner of random mechanisms in various stages of development, most of which are useless or detrimental, and a smaller number that are actually useful. This is based on the premise that even if natural selection preserves a useful trait, it still took a vast number of neutral or negative traits to get to that point.


I can't pretend to have thought about every example of this. But think about the wing as discussed by Edrick in a post above:


from Edrick's post above
...
The first "Wing" was probably no more than a small flap of skin under the upper arms, that provided some "Directional Control" during its ambush descent.

This allowed those creatures with the "Proto-Wing" to be more successful in hunting, and thus in survival and reproduction.

Over time, and successive mutations, this became a larger "Flap" of skin...

Then it was covered with hair.

Then the hair thickened, and hollowed.

The the hollow hair "Tube" sprouted "Hairs" of its own.

Eventually the "Falling Ambush Dinosaur" was so adapted to moving air to effect its velocity, that it could fly, instead of just a short glide, or controlled fall.


There are lots of animals with all of these characteristics existing today. Squirrel gliders, flying fish, flying snakes, bats. So while we weren't there, there are very good reasons to deduce how the wing could develop over time. Then when we see that process actually occuring in the fossil record, backing up the prediction, then we can be pretty darn sure that we understand the process.

As for where are the failed attempts, I don't understand where would you expect to see evidence for them. Individual cells don't fossilize of course. Larger organisms that do fossilize do so very seldom and under very special circumstances. The odds that a failed mutation that existed as one individual that died at birth (or hatching) or before reproducing are vanishingly small.



2) large number of mechanisms in living organisms/creatures that are partially developed, either as a neutral but useless mechanism, or a negative mechanism that was previously neutral, but has now become negative, and which hasn't yet been eliminated from the creatures genes.


Have you had any particular use for your appendix lately?



So, the following scenarios can indeed happen logically:

1) Helpful mechanism becomes a neutral or harmful mechanism through mutation.
2) Neutral mechanism becomes a harmful or helpful mechanism through mutation. Helpful would then be preserved and harmful would be eliminated, but the elimination would take a lot of time also.
3) Harmful mechanism becomes neutral through mutation before it has a chance to completely disappear.


More importantly, I think, any mechanism, neutral, harmful, or helpful, can switch 'roles' due to changes in the environment, which includes all kinds of changes like the a volcano going off, continents colliding, the arrival of a new predator, etc.



Now, remember, these should not be unusual scenarios, but should be pervasive, given the wide swath of mechanisms present in the animal kingdom.


I disagree. Harmfull mutations disappear very quickly indeed, usually within the lifetime of the individual. Useful ones propagate quite quickly, in just a few generations. Remember, individuals mutate, populations evolve.



Also, along with this, is the notion that there is no reason why legs and arms should ONLY form on both sides of a creature, each being controlled by the opposite side of the brain, or that they should ONLY form at the front and back of the torso.


Ever hear about a creature called an octopus? Squid? Cod? Crab? Ant? Spider?



Statistically, if the process is random, there should be arms and legs in many others places of various creature's bodies also.


Except of course, that evolution is NOT random. Natural selection is NOT random. Mutations on a strand of DNA are random, but the survival of that mutation is not.



While ultimately natural selection will cause the most beneficial traits to endure, there should be many traits that are in various stages of evolution, whether harmful, neutral, or beneficial.

This should not be for just some weird creatures, but for all creatures, since with a random mutation scheme, evolution is never completed... thermodynamics is still present, able to cause DNA damage, and eventual mutation.


Sort of. ALL traits in ALL living things are evolved to exactly the point where they are evolved to. There is no ultimate goal that we can recognize something as being halfway to arrival. Every living thing is evolving with every generation. Well, with the possible exception of the cheetah which seems to have stopped (its gene pool is extremely limited) for some reason.

I found this video to be both fun and interesting. The guy sets up a computer model with some simple rules to evolve a clock and uses it to address some of these questions.

I hope I get it embedded correctly this time...




posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 07:50 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


I do appreciate your thoughtful responses, very much! Please allow me to continue challenging your statements, since my motivations for doing so are to see if I can honestly become convinced of your position. If I can truly see that the premise of a "blind watchmaker" holds water, then I will adopt a new acceptance of it.

With regards to the appendix, I believe it falls into the common category of "we don't know what it does, so it must do nothing." The fact is, new information on the appendix shows it does have a function:

What does the appendix do?

You still did not in any way address my logical problem with the missing mistakes. Here are your conflicting statements:

1) Most mutations are neutral.
2) Beneficial mutations remain.
3) Detrimental mutations disappear quickly.

First of all, as I said earlier, if MOST mutations are neutral, then what we are saying is most mutations can exist on the creature and not provide any helpful advantage nor any harmful hindrance. If that is the case, then ALL creatures should have many things like an appendix (though appendixes do not appear to be useless after all). The only thing you can point to on the human being is the appendix, and yet that now appears to be gone as some kind of useless appendage. Even the "useless" DNA is only classified as that because the researchers have not found a reason YET, and the key word is YET. Instead of them being honest and saying "we don't know what those do yet", they blow smoke up everyone's bum and say they are useless... much like the appendix is "useless."

Also, the statement "wings are MOST LIKELY flaps of skin that turned into wings" is just propaganda-like, because it attempts to say something is "most likely" when there is no basis at all for saying that. Those words "most likely" are designed to imply that the theorist has done some kind of statistical analysis and has determined odds that favor the supposition. To say that something is "most likely" when the idea is only something that is pulled out of the air is deceiving. It also presupposes that macro-evolution occurs, so you can't use it as a proof statement that it does occur. What would be more honest and less biased would be to say "one possibility is that wings perhaps came from a fold of skin."

Let's focus on the wing for a moment. Let's imagine an initial mutation where a small flap formed. Now, if it is possible for ANY flaps of this to form, it is also likely that NEUTRAL flaps would form on other parts of the body, not just where wings could one day form. Plus, why would there be two flaps that form and not just one? And, those two would form in parallel, with identical mechanisms on both sides? I wish you would answer my questions honestly and address the question of neutral mutations, which you claimed MOST were.

Let's reason it out: mutation produces flap of skin, but there is no bony framework, no joint mechanism, no muscles to move it, and no nerve connections... just a flap of skin. So, that creature has offspring that also has the flap. Many generations go by and no further change happens to the flap... so there would be creatures that have a useless flap. Now, based on some freak mutation (not just damage), the flap gains a bump of bone beneath it, and this trait is then passed along for many generations. Let's say that none of those creatures were caught in any sap or in any mud-slide, so no fossils. Now, many years pass, and another mutation occurs with this bump-flap appendage... the bony-bump grows longer making it stick up fairly high and stretching the skin. At this point, there is no joint, since a joint is a fairly complex thing, requiring proper fit of the various bones and a lubricating layer of cartilage. No, all we have is a fairly long, bony protrusion. It is not useful to the creature per se, other than it may serve as a weapon or something to scare other creatures, but that is only if this bony structure is located such that is doesn't inhibit the creature from moving or walking.

So, what you are saying is this... all beneficial traits developed such that they were never negative traits at some point. In other words, if wings came from skin flaps with bony structures inside of them, this random trait had to be located at precisely where it would be neutral at worst and beneficial at best. Also, the alignment of the "winning" wing blades had to be such that the wings would produce lift and not just cut through the air. Also, the nerve mechanism had to be wired into the brain such that the creature could instinctively desire to fly and the wings would do the precise movement required to provide not only lift, but also to give the creature complete control of the flight movements. Then, of course, there is the issue of energy consumption, so that the powering of the wings would allow for the speed needed (which is amazingly fast) and for the duration we observe. Until all of this was in place, we would have certain specimens that would have immovable wings, wings that were misaligned, wings that twitched, wings that fluttered briefly, wings that moved too slowly, wings that moved up and down without allowing flight, wings that allowed erratic and uncontrollable flight, and wings that allowed only brief spurts of flight. Any improvement to the wing would happen over a long time, and this would leave a vast number of creatures that had partially developed wings... wings that were either neutral or detrimental.

Let's call this the "mountain range" problem. As is the case with any system like this, it may very well be necessary to traverse a mountain range by going down before you can go up. Often times a local optimum must be violated in order to reach a global one. In the wings case, the appendage may have to be neutral, inconvenient, useless, or even harmful before it can eventually be useful. To believe that a slowly progressing mechanism can always be beneficial is a bit naive, at least in my current view.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 08:09 PM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 



First of all, as I said earlier, if MOST mutations are neutral, then what we are saying is most mutations can exist on the creature and not provide any helpful advantage nor any harmful hindrance. If that is the case, then ALL creatures should have many things like an appendix.


No... When we say that "Most mutations are neutral" we mean that most mutations code no proteins, organize no enzymes, and organize no cellular activity during development, or maturation.

A neutral mutation *DOES NOTHING*


Also, the statement "wings are MOST LIKELY flaps of skin that turned into wings" is just propaganda-like, because it attempts to say something is "most likely" when there is no basis at all for saying that.


No, it is not propaganda... it is a hypothesis that *I* posited into the conversation.

I was attempting to explain the mechanism by which mutations occur.

IT is true, that I have no basis to back my claim of "Flaps of skin turning to wings" but it is a solid hypothesis... And I believe that It could account for observed data.

In science, we usually attempt to PROVE hypothesis wrong, before labeling them as "Wrong"

www.dinosaur-world.com...

Besides... we have some pretty compelling evidence that this is the case.


What would be more honest and less biased would be to say "one possibility is that wings perhaps came from a fold of skin."


That, I will grant you.


Let's focus on the wing for a moment. Let's imagine an initial mutation where a small flap formed. Now, if it is possible for ANY flaps of this to form, it is also likely that NEUTRAL flaps would form on other parts of the body, not just where wings could one day form.


That's the thing... Those possible mutations COULD have happened.

Flaps of skin in all kinds of crazy places... ya know?


They would not be beneficial, and a flap of skin in those circumstances would not provide a benefit, and could prove a detriment to survival, and thus, the mutation would not be spread to the rest of the population.


Now, based on some freak mutation (not just damage), the flap gains a bump of bone beneath it, and this trait is then passed along for many generations.


The flap of skin is between the upper limb (Arm) and the torso.

The ARM will eventually turn into the skeletal structure of the wing.

I don't think you understand the point of this mental exercise.










-Edrick



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 08:12 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


As I think about all land creatures, it seems that there are two basic designs... exoskeleton insects/arachnids, and internal-skeleton creatures. Amphibians, reptiles, mammals and birds all have essentially the same traits, and differences are examples of micro-evolution. Snakes seem to be missing some things. Legs are essentially the same. Land creatures have arms and flying creatures have wings. The skeletons of each look surprisingly the same... same basic design (whether designed by blind-watchmaker or other intelligence). Arachnids seem to be a little different, but all insects seem to be variations on a theme.

Sea creatures are also divided into water-breathing fish, air breathing varieties (whales, dolphins, etc.), snake-like eels and such, and the jellyfish/octopus/squid creatures that don't have any skeleton at all.

What I'm saying is this: when you look at all the creatures on the planet, there is much more commonality than one would expect if changes are only by random mutation, given the complexities involved.

What I'm considering now is that perhaps nature started off with a few basic models that were designed to adapt to the environment in profound ways, not just subtle ways. I'm not saying that these models were designed by a super-natural being, but only that the basic concepts like "walking legs", "grasping limbs", "food digestion", "ATP energy storage", "neural networks", "sensory mechanism", etc. were incorporated into some basic designs and those were embedded into the DNA structure such that they could not be violated, though they could be greatly modified within their established boundaries. So, natural selection, just like the annealing process, would produce various useful mechanisms from the same common idea. Kind of like a conceptual "stem cell" from which all other incarnations emerge.

What I may try to do is theorize how I think this may work and then post my thoughts once I've noodled them a bit more.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 10:16 PM
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reply to post by rnaa
 


I really enjoyed the video on the blind watchmaker... it made a lot of sense, and actually reminded me of the annealing process... the way crystals form in slowly cooling liquids... order out of chaos.

There are a couple apparent contradictions I wanted to clear up. First, in the video on the blind watchmaker, there were many NEUTRAL mutations that added unneeded gears, etc. Even the guy who made the video said that a single beneficial mutation, followed by neutral ones, can lead to a evolutionary step. So, I just wanted to clear that up, that something like a flap of skin may very well be neutral in that it doesn't give the creature any advantage or disadvantage... it's not just something that deals with the cellular or enzymatic level.

Also, in your following quote:



I disagree. Harmful mutations disappear very quickly indeed, usually within the lifetime of the individual. Useful ones propagate quite quickly, in just a few generations. Remember, individuals mutate, populations evolve.


you say that harmful mutations disappear quickly, usually within the lifetime of the individual, and yet earlier you made the clear distinction between DNA damage (which CAN be corrected by RNA error-correction) and DNA mutations (which CAN NOT be detected by error-correction, and are therefore not corrected for), and you said that mutations are therefore passed to subsequent generations, unless they are weeded out by natural selection.

If mutations are passed along, how can they disappear in a single generation, except by another backtracking mutation?

Besides, since mutations are rare anyhow, a negative trait may disappear in a RELATIVELY short time (thousands of years), but certainly not within a generation or two, since it can only disappear by other more dominant versions of the creature out-numbering it, which is clearly not a normal thing, since "life always finds a way", so that even lesser-equipped versions of a creature will find a way to survive and to reproduce. Things just aren't so cut-and-dry and I don't believe that ANYTHING involving evolution happens quickly, especially over a single generation.



posted on Jan, 10 2010 @ 10:55 PM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 





If mutations are passed along, how can they disappear in a single generation, except by another backtracking mutation?


Because if the mutation is detrimental to the individual, the individual will not live to reproduce to pass it on to following generations.

The mutation occurs at the time of replication of the DNA - when offspring are being produced. The parent organism does not possess the mutation, the offspring does. If the offspring perishes without reproduction, the mutation perishes with it.



Besides, since mutations are rare anyhow, a negative trait may disappear in a RELATIVELY short time (thousands of years), but certainly not within a generation or two, since it can only disappear by other more dominant versions of the creature out-numbering it, which is clearly not a normal thing, since "life always finds a way", so that even lesser-equipped versions of a creature will find a way to survive and to reproduce. Things just aren't so cut-and-dry and I don't believe that ANYTHING involving evolution happens quickly, especially over a single generation.


The nature of the detrimental mutation may well not be one that kills the organism before it reproduces, of course. It may be that it just gives them a disadvantage. Perhaps is produces fewer offspring. Perhaps it makes it harder, but not impossible to feed. Perhaps it just makes it unattractive to prospective mates. In which case it may take several generations for the mutation to be lost, but it doesn't hang around for a long time.

Individuals that have a reproductive disadvantage compared to other members of its population will not be able to pass on its genes as readily as those other members. Changes can and do sweep through populations quite quickly.

Consider a group of 20 kids in some equatorial region. 10 have the sickle cell mutation, 10 do not. 8 from each group catch malaria. 6 of the non-sickle cell kids die leaving 4 left in the group. The sickle cell mutation kids gain a measure of protection from the Malaria (that is what the mutation does) and only 2 of them die. So there are twice as many individuals with the mutation that survive to reproduce (8 to 4). In just one generation. It just doesn't take many generations for mutations to be swept into or out of a population when necessary. (There is a downside to the sickle cell mutation: if both parents have the mutation a child is likely to get Sickle Cell Anemia which is a killer without modern medical treatment. So in this case, the population can never be completely 'saturated' with the mutation).




[edit on 10/1/2010 by rnaa]

[edit on 10/1/2010 by rnaa]

[edit on 11/1/2010 by rnaa]

[edit on 11/1/2010 by rnaa]



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 08:43 AM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 


I can't wait to read what you come up with



posted on Jan, 11 2010 @ 12:18 PM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 



Evolution is a THEORY, not a fact. There are still unproven explanations and unanswered questions, some of which I have brought up a few posts above. It is dishonest to call it a fact and not a theory.


I must be careful not to be taken too literally and risk being described as dishonest. I'm neither dishonest or pedantic. Evolution can be interpreted as a FACT and a THEORY.


Well, evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from apelike ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other, yet to be discovered.

Moreover, "fact" does not mean "absolute certainty." The final proofs of logic and mathematics flow deductively from stated premises and achieve certainty only because they are not about the empirical world. Evolutionists make no claim for perpetual truth, though creationists often do (and then attack us for a style of argument that they themselves favor). In science, "fact" can only mean "confirmed to such a degree that it would be perverse to withhold provisional assent." I suppose that apples might start to rise tomorrow, but the possibility does not merit equal time in physics classrooms.
Evolution as Fact and Theory by StephenJay Gould



[edit on 11-1-2010 by Kandinsky]



posted on Jan, 12 2010 @ 06:01 AM
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reply to post by downisreallyup
 





Let's focus on the wing for a moment. Let's imagine an initial mutation where a small flap formed. Now, if it is possible for ANY flaps of this to form, it is also likely that NEUTRAL flaps would form on other parts of the body, not just where wings could one day form.


Yup. See: Frill-Neck Lizard. See a ducks webbed toes. For that matter, see my niece's webbed toes.





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