NSF’s “The Evolution of Evolution”

| 37 Comments

The National Science Foundation has announced the opening ot their Evolution of Evolution site. According to the press release,

Going wide and deep, Evolution of Evolution: 150 Years of Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” provides a uniquely sweeping, at-a-glance explanation of how “Origin” cut an intellectual swath through anthropology, biology, the geosciences, polar sciences and even astronomy, and why it likely will continue to serve as the organizing framework for the sciences into perpetuity.

I’ve not yet gone through the site exhaustively, but I see a number of interesting parts. For example, there’s an interview with Ron Numbers on the impact and interaction of the theory of evolution with astronomy, a nice touch that reminds us that Numbers is an historian of science, not merely of creationism. And it was nice to see David DeVorkin give a shout out in his interview to George Darwin, Charles’ son, who wielded a significant influence on the conception of stellar dynamics in the late 19th and early 20th century. There were more Darwins than just Charles.

I have two minor objections. First, I’m afraid that the ‘silent movie’ conceit in the video interviews might get a little old after the fourth or fifth iteration. And second, the titles/links to video and audio interviews are in ant print, and the whole site seems to be in Flash format, making the text non-magnifiable. Ctrl+ fails. Us old folks will have some trouble with that.

Nevertheless, I recommend it heartily.

37 Comments

RBH Wrote:

…the titles/links to video and audio interviews are in ant print, and the whole site seems to be in Flash format, making the text non-magnifiable.

There’s a link in the lower left corner (in ant print, of course) to the text-only version of the site.

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution. Before Darwin science was rapidly going forth without Darwin. likewise afterwards. I would also add what if the highly populated lands of earth like china and India had never heard of Darwin. Would they have been stopped in science progress? Would they have been unable to advance science say centuries ago without European assistance? I say they would of had no problem in progressing science at any century without darwinism.

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution. Before Darwin science was rapidly going forth without Darwin. likewise afterwards. I would also add what if the highly populated lands of earth like china and India had never heard of Darwin. Would they have been stopped in science progress? Would they have been unable to advance science say centuries ago without European assistance? I say they would of had no problem in progressing science at any century without darwinism.

One could say the same thing about Issac Newton. If he had never existed, someone or other someones would have discovered the laws of motion and the inverse square law of gravity.

One could say the same thing about Albert Einstein. If he had never existed, someone or other someones would have explained the photoelectric effect and discovered the theories of relativity.

Robert Byers:

“Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution…”

It is because you don’t know or understand much about the sciences that you can not appreciate the impact of Evolutionary Theory.

If you had only used your time and energy productively, by attending science classes in a secular institution, instead of squandering them here promoting your YEC, you would not be making such arguments.

You are not just wasting our time - you are wasting yours. Learn the science - if you are able, and your view of the universe will be much more fascinating than what your religion can offer.

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science.

Yeah, I mean, aside from pretty much all of biology.

But hey - where do we use that in everyday life?

Byers the illiterate:

I say they would of had no problem in progressing science at any century without darwinism.

It’s “would have had”, imbecile. Your command of English is as weak as your grip on reality.

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science.

Well besides biology, which doesn’t make sense except in the light of evolution (Theodosius Dobzhansky, Christian and biologist). Oh, and epidemiology. And even beyond the hard sciences into technology, there’s decontamination, agriculture (it’s especially important that we don’t get it wrong otherwise millions of people will lose their food supply), and let’s not forget the importance of evolutionary concepts applied to new forms of computation.

If you think modern science would be no worse off without the contributions of Darwin and others to the study of evolution, you’re kidding yourself.

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science.

Hm. I just finished Carl Zimmer’s new text book on evolution (of which I’ll write a review one of these days) and there’s a whole chapter on evolutionary medicine. Hope Byers doesn’t get sick, or if he does, he gives his physician one of these stickers.

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution. Before Darwin science was rapidly going forth without Darwin. likewise afterwards.

Nonsense from an ignoramus.

1. Medicine. 2. Psychology. 3. Sociology. 4. Agriculture. And so on, while you haven’t got a clue!

SLC said:

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution. Before Darwin science was rapidly going forth without Darwin. likewise afterwards. I would also add what if the highly populated lands of earth like china and India had never heard of Darwin. Would they have been stopped in science progress? Would they have been unable to advance science say centuries ago without European assistance? I say they would of had no problem in progressing science at any century without darwinism.

One could say the same thing about Issac Newton. If he had never existed, someone or other someones would have discovered the laws of motion and the inverse square law of gravity.

One could say the same thing about Albert Einstein. If he had never existed, someone or other someones would have explained the photoelectric effect and discovered the theories of relativity.

Yes especially since i see these things as minor discoveries of human thinking. i don’t agree physic stuff is as intellectually difficult as its presented. I see the living life as more complicated and why blindness is not solved etc.

Yet my point was that s”science” would of progressed in as good and probably better if Darwin had been rejected by publishers.

Wheels said:

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science.

Well besides biology, which doesn’t make sense except in the light of evolution (Theodosius Dobzhansky, Christian and biologist). Oh, and epidemiology. And even beyond the hard sciences into technology, there’s decontamination, agriculture (it’s especially important that we don’t get it wrong otherwise millions of people will lose their food supply), and let’s not forget the importance of evolutionary concepts applied to new forms of computation.

If you think modern science would be no worse off without the contributions of Darwin and others to the study of evolution, you’re kidding yourself.

I insist. Biology is about living life and not fossil life or ideas of previous life now evolved to different stages. Biology is unaffected by Darwin in any practical way. Evolution may include biological concepts but biological progress in science don’t need Darwin. A few subjects might flirt with minor points about selection issues. Yet these are minor details in the claims of evolution about life. These ideas on selection can and would exist without darwin or any TOE.

Rolf Aalberg said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science. It only deals with origin issues and science/knowledge in everything would of continued on without regard to evolution. Before Darwin science was rapidly going forth without Darwin. likewise afterwards.

Nonsense from an ignoramus.

1. Medicine. 2. Psychology. 3. Sociology. 4. Agriculture. And so on, while you haven’t got a clue!

2 and 3 are poor examples of evolutions values. I say medicene has little to do with selection issues. Save a few ting bugs but that is a tiny point that dArwin bumped into. Likewise Agriculture. I’ll bet most in agriculture are persuaded creationists.

We have now definite proof on this board that one babbling moron can produce more wordage than a dozen who are constrained by their need to make actual sense.

But then, we always knew that.

Robert Byers said:

Its not true that evolution is relevant to much actual science.

I say they would of had no problem in progressing science at any century without darwinism.

Notice the density of pure assertion and speculation. Mr. Byers simply asserts: “It is not true …”, “I say …”. He never supports these assertions with evidence, or with argument, or with facts.

Robert Byers said:

I say medicene has little to do with selection issues.

I’ll bet most in agriculture are persuaded creationists.

Again: “I say …”, “I’ll bet …”. No evidence, no reasoning, just pure assertion.

Robert Byers babbled:

I’ll bet most in agriculture are persuaded creationists.

Got proof, you babbling liar? I would ask you how does a literal reading of the Book of Genesis explain how to breed more productive crops, or how pesticide-resistant insects arise, but, you’d simply quote me, then post a long, rambling, incoherent screed filled with blatantly false assertions that you have no physical ability or desire to prove.

Dan said:

Robert Byers said:

I say medicene has little to do with selection issues.

I’ll bet most in agriculture are persuaded creationists.

Again: “I say …”, “I’ll bet …”. No evidence, no reasoning, just pure assertion.

I bet Robert Byers would swear on his Bible with his mother’s severed right hand, up, down, and sideways that the capital of Canada was actually Jesusville, USA, if someone told him that saying that would make him more pious.

I insist. Biology is about living life and not fossil life or ideas of previous life now evolved to different stages. Biology is unaffected by Darwin in any practical way. Evolution may include biological concepts but biological progress in science don’t need Darwin.

It’s statements like this one from Robert that worry me.

Robert, that statement is mind-numbingly stupid. It shows you know nothing about either biology or evolution. Nothing.

Why do you talk when you can only say stupid things?

Rilke’s Granddaughter said:

Why do you talk when you can only say stupid things?

Because Robert is a Lying Idiot for Jesus.

Robert Byers said:

I insist. Biology is about living life and not fossil life or ideas of previous life now evolved to different stages. Biology is unaffected by Darwin in any practical way. Evolution may include biological concepts but biological progress in science don’t need Darwin. A few subjects might flirt with minor points about selection issues. Yet these are minor details in the claims of evolution about life. These ideas on selection can and would exist without darwin or any TOE.

Dude, you are living in your own world, constructing your own reality. You are either a POE, or so far out of touch that replying can only serve the purpose of using you as an illustration to lurkers.

So I am puzzled, Robert. What on earth are you doing here? Do you have a goal? Is there a purpose? Do you often wander into places and begin lecturing people on topics you know nothing about, condemning people for their ignorance?

mplavcan said: So I am puzzled, Robert. What on earth are you doing here? Do you have a goal? Is there a purpose? Do you often wander into places and begin lecturing people on topics you know nothing about, condemning people for their ignorance?

Yeah, that’s his practice. He did the same thing on IIDB, got his ass handed to him multiple times but never learned, and finally got banned from FRDB, IIDB’s successor board.

I recently read Denyse O’Leary’s “By Design or by Chance” as I have been studying ID, creationism, and evolution, and I am very new to it all. I read a passage from the book asking if ID was a stealth creationism, and was wanting some feedback the matter. O’Leary writes: Opponents of ID often claim that ID is “stealth creationism”. In other words, ID is a front put up by the religiously based young earth creationists to advance their clams, particularly in the school system. However, key ID proponents such as Michael Behe and William Dembski are not young earth creationists and do not reject evolution. For example Michael Behe says: For the record, I have no reason to doubt that the universe is the billions of years old that physicists say it is. I find the idea of common descent fairly convincing, and have no particular reason to doubt it. Although Darwin’s mechanism-natural selection working on variation- might explain many things, however, I don not believe it explains molecular life. And WIlliam Dembski says: Intelligent design is not a form of anti-evolutionism. Intelligent design does not claim that livings things came together suddenly in their present form through the efforts of a supernatural creator. Intelligent design is not a never will be a doctrine of creation. She goes on then to write: In Dembski’s view, young earth creaionism is essentially a religious position, whereas intelligent design disputes darwinism on the scientific evidence alone. Behe and Dembski argue that design, as well as chance and law, are part of nature, and that Darwinism has not explained all design away.

I was just curious to some view on this opposing and agreeing with what was said on this stealth creationism. Cause i just found it interesting that neither Dembski or Behe seemed to be opposing evolution but rather they seemed to be opposing creationism. Thoughts?

Robert wrote:

“I say medicene has little to do with selection issues.”

Really? I say you are full of crap. Perphaps you could explain to us, without using any terms from evolutionary biology or population genetics, exactly what your explanation is for the frequency of the sickle cell anemia allele in Africa? Or any other disease allele in any other population for that matter.

You are right about agriculture though, the Bible does have all the instructions anyone needs to be a successful farmer. Here they are:

Whatsoever a man soweth, that also shall he reap.

John,

Google the term “cdesignproponentists” and then tell me if you don’t think that ID is a scam for creationism.

By the way, O’Leary is so out of it, she is like Palin on stupid pills. I would not beleive a word she says, ever.

John said:

I was just curious to some view on this opposing and agreeing with what was said on this stealth creationism. Cause i just found it interesting that neither Dembski or Behe seemed to be opposing evolution but rather they seemed to be opposing creationism. Thoughts?

Behe and Dembski want to sell books. The only people who actually want to buy books about ID are creationists. Nobody who is seriously into science gives a crap about ID because it is totally vacuous, it never actually says anything.

The ID buying crowd wants Sciency-Sounding Arguments™ from Real Scientists On Their Side™, because that levels the playing field, ya know.

Behe and Dembski purport to be real scientists, and to do that, they have to make Sciency-Sounding Arguments™, at least sciency enough that their readers will thump their books and yell “Science!”.

But… they can’t get too detailed because then they can easily be refuted by real scientists who take things like data and facts seriously.

This has already happened to Dembski, and after some toe-dipping into the world of real academic discussion, where he was mercilessly bitch-slapped by people who actually checked his math, he retreated back to the Christian publishing world, where people don’t ask pesky questions.

This has already happened to Behe, whose flagship examples of Irreducible Complexity were methodically dismembered in front of him at the Dover trial and shown to have all the mystery of a Nancy Drew paperback. He retreated back to the mass-market op-ed publishing world, where people don’t ask pesky questions.

Both these men have learned their lesson. They need to do pretend science and sound official to move the hardcovers, but they cannot create an alternate model with too much detail or someone will fact-check them. They cannot get too far away from conventional evolution because as soon as they do, they can get called on it.

Why can they not create a model too far too far away from conventional evolution? I dunno, why can’t you claim a color for the sky too far away from “blue”?

I read most comments and it was the same old rhetoric. What is needed is facts. Life Science must meet the Scientific Method rules and evolution does not. Vision & comparative anatomy implies connections between species. DNA is the Scientific Method of life changes and design guides all which denies evolutionists implications. Einstein lived through much of the arguments about evolution. He believed in Intelligent Design. His comment was stupidity & genius are alike except genius has its limit.

Al Evans said:

I read most comments and it was the same old rhetoric. What is needed is facts. Life Science must meet the Scientific Method rules and evolution does not. Vision & comparative anatomy implies connections between species. DNA is the Scientific Method of life changes and design guides all which denies evolutionists implications. Einstein lived through much of the arguments about evolution. He believed in Intelligent Design. His comment was stupidity & genius are alike except genius has its limit.

Please explain where ID meets the “scientific method rules”, since ID neither proposes nor tests scientifically explorable hypotheses (but rather consists of a garbled mess of ignorant complaints about Evolution).

Al Evans said:

I read most comments and it was the same old rhetoric. What is needed is facts. Life Science must meet the Scientific Method rules and evolution does not. Vision & comparative anatomy implies connections between species. DNA is the Scientific Method of life changes and design guides all which denies evolutionists implications. Einstein lived through much of the arguments about evolution. He believed in Intelligent Design. His comment was stupidity & genius are alike except genius has its limit.

Al,

Please give an example of some DNA evidence that is incompatible with evolution? You do know that most modern evolutionary biology includes DNA analysis right? You do know that whole genome sequences are now available right? You do know that there are whole journals devoted to molecular evolution right? You do know that the molecular mechanisms of mutation and evolutionary development are active fields of research right? You do know that there are over one million papers in scientific journals with evidence compatible for the theory of evolution right? You do know that the tree of life has been reconstructed using molecular data and the results are absolutely consistent with the results from fossils, morphology and development right? You do know that Einstein was not a biologist right?

Al Evans said:

DNA is the Scientific Method of life changes and design guides all which denies evolutionists implications.

I don’t suppose there’s any point in saying that this sentence makes no sense at all, is there?

Al Evans said:

I read most comments and it was the same old rhetoric. What is needed is facts. Life Science must meet the Scientific Method rules and evolution does not…

Word Salad.

Evolution has 150 years of hard data behind it. It’s been a philosophically unpopular explanation since day 1, attacked viciously and constantly, but, philosophical rants notwithstanding, nobody has ever put a single piece of hard evidence on the table that something else is going on.

Ever.

And frankly, if there was something else going on, evidence should be all over the place.

So here’s the deal, IA. Ya got any real evidence? Put up or shut up.

Maybe that word salad could use some dressing?

Al Evans said:

I read most comments and it was the same old rhetoric. … Einstein lived through much of the arguments about evolution. He believed in Intelligent Design.

Interesting. We are not to accept authority … “the same old rhetoric” … but we are to accept the authority of Einstein. My diagnosis is schizophrenia.

Incidentally, Einstein did not believe in “Intelligent Design” nor support the ID movement, which began some 35 years after his death. A quick Internet search does come up with a few crazy folks mashing Einstein’s ideas to force them into the ID mold.

We are not to accept authority … “the same old rhetoric” … but we are to accept the authority of Einstein.

Obviously, whether or not an authority is to be accepted is relative*.

(Relative to whether or not they like the answer they claim the person has.)

Al wrote:

“His comment was stupidity & genius are alike except genius has its limit.”

Thus implying that stupidity has no such constraint, as your comment above so aptly illustrates.

Well, as Einstein (the authority!) once put it: “Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the universe”.

Notice the age-old formula.

Cryptocreationist pretends to be genuine Seeker of Knowledge but quickly ends up spouting nonsense.

Yawn.

He ain’t so crypto.

It’s getting so I’m grateful when they’re drive-bys. They’re never going to learn anything or change their minds, anyway. At least a drive-by doesn’t clutter up the blog for days or weeks.

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This page contains a single entry by Richard B. Hoppe published on November 23, 2009 4:06 PM.

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