Re: Pasteur and nature of science

Date: Sun Jan 06 2002 - 11:28:03 EST

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    Hello Bill,
    You wrote to Gordon Simmons:
    > This is a tautology: scientists who believe in evolution have
    > increased confidence in evolution.

    That seems more like a confusion between cause and effect than
    what Gordon apparently meant. He wrote:
         ..."the confidence of scientists in the validity of the
         theory of evolution has increased enormously, over many
         decades now, as a consequence of observations and

    The evolution of life is an idea that existed long before it was
    widely accepted by the scientific community. The root _cause_ of
    what allowed evolution to gain acceptance was not an increase in
    the number of "believers in evolution" (an effect, not a cause)
    but an increase in knowledge which eventually _convinced_ most

    > By "evolution" we mean life changing
    > from simple to complex via natural process, and I am aware of
    > no observation or experiment that has scientifically demonstrated
    > that ascension.

    Gordon wrote:
         "Likewise, observations and experiments would provide
         the basis for the rejection of the theory if they did
         provide contrary evidence. But, in the judgment of most
         scientists, they have not. As with all areas of science,
         there remain perplexing situations that have not been
         resolved one way or the other yet."

    Comparison of drosophila biochemistry & genetics with other species'
    generally conforms to the pattern of common descent. It has also
    revealed relationships we previously couldn't confirm. Fossil and
    geological evidence has accumulated to determine the temporal
    and morphological relationships between groups of organisms.
    Study of molecular, cell and developmental biology have identified
    molecular mechanisms by which common descent with modification may

    > Induced mutations in fruit flies produce only malformed fruit flies
    > - no improvements. Could you be a little more specific about the
    > exact observations and experiments which daily prove evolution?

    Mutations in fruit flies have doubled or tripled their lifespans.
    Other mutations have increased their resistance to pesticides. Some
    have increased cold or heat tolerance. Numerous mutations have been
    found to affect their adult sizes, behaviors and timing of
    developmental steps. Gene fusions, duplication and horizontal
    transfer, all of which may increase the genetic information and
    complexity in the genome, have been identified in flies. Further,
    many drosophila species exhibit greater genetic variation than
    observed between human and great ape species.

    For specific references, I strongly urge posting a question to the newsgroup (yes, it's a high signal-to-noise group, but
    it is also a relatively deep info source by internet standards),
    or investigating the offerings at any university library.

    Tim Ikeda

    mail2web - Check your email from the web at .

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