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Genius?

Gaanv2
Posts: 20
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5/7/2016 10:05:55 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
Yeah, I was wondering.. was Darwin SOO brilliant that we are still discovering more and more evidence that indicates (dictates) that -

EVOLUTION ACTUALLY HAPPENED.

My question basically, is that - Was Mr Charles a genius or a psychopath?

Let the Discussion begin.
G o l dF
user13579
Posts: 822
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5/7/2016 10:24:10 AM
Posted: 7 months ago
I have a simpler explanation. My theory of the theory of evolution is that the theory of evolution is immediately obvious when presented with the evidence. One would have to be an idiot not to see it.
Science in a nutshell:
"Facts are neither true nor false. They simply are."
"All scientific knowledge is provisional. Even facts are provisional."
"We can be absolutely certain that we have a moon, we can be absolutely certain that water is made out of H2O, and we can be absolutely certain that the Earth is a sphere!"
"Scientific knowledge is a body of statements of varying degrees of certainty -- some most unsure, some nearly sure, none absolutely certain."
SkyLeach
Posts: 206
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5/7/2016 1:17:48 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
Neither Darwin, nor you, show signs of genius.
Math is just another language, however one without analogy.

- http://arxiv.org...
Fkkize
Posts: 2,147
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5/7/2016 2:56:37 PM
Posted: 7 months ago
genius or a psychopath?

What kind of dichotomy is this?
: At 7/2/2016 3:05:07 PM, Rational_Thinker9119 wrote:
:
: space contradicts logic
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/7/2016 6:20:30 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 10:05:55 AM, Gaanv2 wrote:
was Darwin SOO brilliant that we are still discovering more and more evidence that indicates (dictates) that EVOLUTION ACTUALLY HAPPENED.
Darwin was insightful, and his theory (really an evidenced conjecture) was one of the most remarkable in the history of science, but as a scientist he was not unique, and had he not lived, we'd still have a theory of evolution today much the same as the one he proposed.

Here's why...

Context: Catastrophism vs Uniformism
The big challenge in the 19th century naturalism wasn't to answer where life came from (they already had a religious story about that, which was broadly believed, and which even Darwin believed), but why so many species found in fossils were clearly extinct, while many modern species were not found deep into the fossil record.

Two popular classes of theory were catastrophism -- a theory of catastrophe that wiped life out to be later recreated, and some sort of continuous uniform adaption, often called uniformism. [https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Catastrophism seemed very credible and had widespread support: in human experience, big changes tend to have big causes, so in the disappearance of species at different times in the fossil record suggested several, perhaps global causes for their deaths, and then perhaps something was recreating life again. It wasn't a traditional Biblical story, but was close to some of the stories told in the Bible, so it had a lot of appeal to the scientists of the day, many of whom were also clergy. [https://en.wikipedia.org...] One of the foremost proponents of catastrophism was Georges Cuvier, who is now considered the Father of Paleontology. [https://en.wikipedia.org...]

But what was causing so many catastrophes? Why so often? And why so many re-creations? Those questions were hard to answer.

By comparison, uniformism had little evidentiary support: creatures grow and sometimes transform (e.g. caterpillars to butterflies), but there was hardly any sign of species changing, and it wasn't clear what mechanism would make them do so. An early proponent of uniformism was Charles Darwin's father, physician and natural philosopher Erasmus Darwin [https://en.wikipedia.org...], and another was Jean-Baptiste Lamarck [https://en.wikipedia.org...], who conjectured that the struggle for life itself might induce change: practice makes perfect. Giraffes' necks might get longer in consequence of reaching higher into the trees for leaves, for example.

But with insufficient evidence to falsify one kind of conjecture or the other, debates were largely philosophical: the assumptions of one theory in rhetorical contest with the assumptions of another. In fact, at the time, clerics and philosophers dominated naturalism to the point where naturalism was often considered a part of 'Natural Theology'. [http://www.iep.utm.edu...]

Darwin's Finches
Darwin's voyage to the Galapagos islands helped find a key missing element of uniformism -- the insight that geography specialises species. As Darwin found, finches on neighbouring islands all had slightly different shapes and appearances, and he could see that their shapes and appearance were suited to subtle changes in living conditions on each island, and that finches on one island often were not found on another. So perhaps something was making them change? This made him think about how geographical boundaries might shape other species too, and what mechanisms might be driving change.

His first insight was to realise that environmental pressures applied to natural, constant, reproductive variation (also seen in farm animals) might be changing species generationally. His second (a much greater insight) was to realise that this might also transform organs to other purposes, resulting in whole new genera of species, and his third was that this mechanism might be sufficient to explain extinctions, and predict a common descent.

Natural Science vs Natural Philosophy
Darwin's conjecture wasn't a result, and it wasn't a detailed model -- it was a guess that helped answer many outstanding questions about uniformism. But as a scientist, he needed to reconcile his conjecture with everything else known about species, and had to stipulate the minimum conditions under which his conjecture might be falsified. He did this in On the Origin of Species, where he wrote:

Firstly, why, if species have descended from other species by insensibly fine gradations, do we not everywhere see innumerable transitional forms? Why is not all nature in confusion instead of the species being, as we see them, well defined?

Secondly, is it possible that an animal having, for instance, the structure and habits of a bat, could have been formed by the modification of some animal with wholly different habits? Can we believe that natural selection could produce, on the one hand, organs of trifling importance, such as the tail of a giraffe, which serves as a fly-flapper, and, on the other hand, organs of such wonderful structure, as the eye, of which we hardly as yet fully understand the inimitable perfection?

Thirdly, can instincts be acquired and modified through natural selection? What shall we say to so marvellous an instinct as that which leads the bee to make cells, which have practically anticipated the discoveries of profound mathematicians?

Fourthly, how can we account for species, when crossed, being sterile and producing sterile offspring, whereas, when varieties are crossed, their fertility is unimpaired?

[http://www.gutenberg.org...]

He saw each question as a theoretical weakness, but rather than dismissing them rhetorically as a philosopher or theologian might, set out predictions that might be explored, and his theory verified or falsified. This methodical approach to self-falsification made his conjecture science, rather than pseudoscience, and set the shape of future evolutionary research.

Wallace's Monkeys
But even as he was reflecting, naturalist and geographer Alfred Russel Wallace [https://en.wikipedia.org...] was conjecturing a similar result. In his 1852 paper On the Monkeys of the Amazon, Wallace noticed that similar species tend to appear within similar geographical bounds, and that big geographical barriers may correlate with different species -- the same insight that in the Galapagos islands led Darwin to his theory of natural selection. Are very closely allied species ever separated by a wide interval of country?, writes Wallace. What physical features determine the boundaries of species and of genera? What are the circumstances which render certain rivers and certain mountain ranges the limits of numerous species, while others are not?

Darwin and Wallace were both eminent naturalists, but had very different dispositions. Darwin's world-view was very mechanical; Wallace's was more mystical. But both were arriving at the same result at about the same time, which suggests to me that sufficient key information had accumulated (notably: biogeographical distribution of species) that a theory of natural selection would have occurred with or without Darwin.

Conclusions
Darwin was bright, dedicated, well-traveled and well-informed about a very great many species, but wasn't the only bright, dedicated knowledgeable, well-traveled naturalist of the day. His conjecture was hardly mad, because other scientists were independently arriving at the same conclusions, and this result would have appeared in 19th century naturalism with or without him.

I hope that may help.
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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5/7/2016 6:40:44 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 2:56:37 PM, Fkkize wrote:
genius or a psychopath?

What kind of dichotomy is this?

lol +1
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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5/7/2016 6:43:07 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
This might turn into a fruitful discussion on the heroic and objectivist views on history :)
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/7/2016 6:55:26 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 6:43:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This might turn into a fruitful discussion on the heroic and objectivist views on history :)

That would be an impressive feat from what may have been a troll post to start with. :)
Diqiucun_Cunmin
Posts: 2,710
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5/7/2016 7:16:47 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 6:55:26 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/7/2016 6:43:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This might turn into a fruitful discussion on the heroic and objectivist views on history :)

That would be an impressive feat from what may have been a troll post to start with. :)

And it's thanks to your post :)
The thing is, I hate relativism. I hate relativism more than I hate everything else, excepting, maybe, fibreglass powerboats... What it overlooks, to put it briefly and crudely, is the fixed structure of human nature. - Jerry Fodor

Don't be a stat cynic:
http://www.debate.org...

Response to conservative views on deforestation:
http://www.debate.org...

Topics I'd like to debate (not debating ATM): http://tinyurl.com...
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/7/2016 7:22:57 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 7:16:47 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
At 5/7/2016 6:55:26 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
At 5/7/2016 6:43:07 PM, Diqiucun_Cunmin wrote:
This might turn into a fruitful discussion on the heroic and objectivist views on history :)

That would be an impressive feat from what may have been a troll post to start with. :)

And it's thanks to your post :)

In fairness, I didn't think of it that way when I posted it, DC. :D I was just trying to split a silly, false dichotomy by pointing out that some thought proceeds inevitably from a critical sufficiency of information, and isn't stolen from the gods like Promethean fire; or parachuted in from a clear blue sky, like calico frocks for Papua New Guinean hill-tribes.

But even as you say: there's a Big Philosophical Hive there, which I accidentally kicked over. Full marks for noticing in a thread I expected nobody to take seriously. :)
RuvDraba
Posts: 6,033
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5/7/2016 10:46:04 PM
Posted: 6 months ago
At 5/7/2016 6:20:30 PM, RuvDraba wrote:
An early proponent of uniformism was Charles Darwin's grandfather, natural philosopher Erasmus Darwin [https://en.wikipedia.org...]

Fixed. Grandad was the philosopher; Papa Darwin was a physician. Apologies. :)