Monday, June 21, 2010

Burden Of Proof

I couldn't agree more. From the science blog called Pharyngula.


  1. Then poor darwin.....atheists must also disbelieve in darwin's evolution theory because it cannot be proved with scientific methods.

  2. To believe in a religion doesn't require proof. It requires faith.

  3. Evolution is not a theory but a scientific fact. It happens every day in our world.

    It may not require proof for you to believe, but it does require proof to convince others to believe.

  4. "Evolution is not a theory but a scientific fact. It happens every day in our world."

    If you're talking about micro-evolution, sometimes known as horizontal evolution (i.e. adaptations and variations within a species), you're correct that it happens every day in our world. It's observable and can be replicated.

    But what about macro-evolution, or vertical evolution (i.e. transformations from one species into another species)?

  5. Curious Texan, the concept of species is not inherent in nature but is, rather, an artificial classification system developed by humans. I would suggest that vertical evolution occurs all the time but our artificial classification systems are static. Nature knows nothing of any "species" designations.

  6. Anonymous:

    Fair enough. I have a few more questions regarding evolution, though. How would you explain:

    (1) The suddenness with which major changes in pattern occurred and the virtual absence of any fossil remains from the period in which they were alleged to be evolving;

    2) The suddenness with which new forms "radiated" into numerous variants;

    (3) The suddenness of many extinctions and the lack of obvious reasons for such extinction;

    (4) The repeated occurrence of changes calling for numerous coordinated innovations, both at the level of organs and of complete organisms;

    (5) The variations in the speed at which evolution occurred;

    (6) The fact that subsequently no new phyla have appeared, and no new classes and orders;

    (7) The occurrence of parallel and convergent evolution, in which similar structures evolve in quite different circumstances;

    (8) The existence of long-term trends (orthogenesis);

    (9) The appearance of organs before they are needed (pre-adaptation);

    (10) The occurrence of "overshoot" or evolutionary "momentum";

    (11) The puzzle of how organs, once evolved, come to be lost (degeneration); and

    (12) The failure of some organisms to evolve at all?

    You may recognize these 12 questions from the book "The Great Evolution Mystery" (pp. 137-138), written by Gordon Rattray Taylor, not a creatiionist, but a skeptic who never postulated that the process was anything more than a naturalistic one.

    This book was published nearly 30 years ago, so perhaps some of these questions have already been answered; perhaps all of them have. But the fact that these questions were still being posed more than 120 years after Darwin's "On The Origin of Species" first appeared would lead me to believe that, unlike gravity, evolution is far from a "scientific fact," easily observable and replicated.

    To believe anything else requires more blind faith than even the creationists exercise.

  7. Curious Texan, "questions still being posed" does not begin to discredit evolution, which has mountains of evidence supporting it. To answer your list of questions and more, look no further than here:

  8. Actually I can believe anything I want to regardless of whether or not you agree or share my belief. Just as you have no need to justify being an atheist, I have no need to prove anything to you or anyone else regarding what I choose to believe. Of course with that comes the admission and acknowledgment that many religious people and institutions have behaved as if others should share their beliefs. To behave that way is just as wrong as an atheist insisting that I prove my own spiritual beliefs to their satisfaction.
    In your comments you acknowledge this by saying "it may not require proof for you to believe, but it does require proof to convince others to believe"
    but the original image that you re-posted doesn't say that - it says "I am an atheist because the burden of proof lies on religion"
    Not all religions or religious people are trying to convince you or anyone else of what they believe. Most are simply declaring what they believe...huge difference.


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