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Should Math Be Taught in Schools?



((Sad to say, this parody is hardly exaggerated at all. A few of the answers are almost verbatim to the actual answers of the Miss USA contestants to "Should Evolution Be Taught in Schools." Go watch that video on YouTube and see for yourself)).

(((There are days I think I am living in the world of Kornbluth's "Marching Morons." Just look at reality TV, and remember the hit show in his story)))

(((I am vastly pleased that the eventual Miss USA winner, and GAME OF THRONES fan, does "believe in evolution." And presuambly in math as well))).

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saxster
Jul. 5th, 2011 02:53 am (UTC)
Proven? Proven how? Do we still understand where life itself comes from? Does anyone have a red phone to God?

Sorry. Human beings make no sense at all in accordance with evolution if you look at every other species on the planet Earth. Care to explain why we all aren't still just rock throwers?
monksp
Jul. 5th, 2011 06:09 am (UTC)
The Theory of Evolution has precisely zero to do with the origin of life. It concerns itself entirely with the development of life once said life has arrived. We could in fact have been sneezed out of the Great Green Arkleseizure and it would make no bones to evolutionary science.

Human evolution is an extremely large, complex subject and more than a little counter-intuitive. A very simple way of putting it is that intelligence isn't something that is typically selected for by evolutionary pressures. Not the way that claws and the like are. Evolution is about immediacy rather than long term planning. Extremely simple intelligence like tool use helped early Ape species survive against stronger predators and also helped them band together into groups. Once their survival depended on those social groups, intelligence started to be something that evolution would select for, since intelligence helps people create social structures. We were, essentially, lucky. We evolved in a situation where intelligence managed to become a good thing to select for while in bodies that were suited to make use of that intelligence, in that we were bipedal and capable of actually using the tools that we were able to make.

You also have to realize that there is no conclusive answer to how some of the various strains of prehumans related to each other. Neanderthals share common ancestors with humans, but it is entirely possible that they were a separate species. Really, it's possible that at one time there were multiple closely related but distinct species of tool using beings all living. Homo sapien sapien just happened to win out as the populations spread.

The jump from rock thrower to nuclear weapon thrower isn't an evolutionary change, it's pretty much just an extremely long term accumulation of knowledge.
vikjha
Jul. 13th, 2011 08:11 pm (UTC)
Neandrathals
i'm pretty sure they've totally proven that neandrathals (10% larger brained savages lol) were, in fact, a different species (species= ability to reproduce and create fertile offspring, lions and tigers can have offspring but they cannot have offspring of their own so they are different species). not cuz they were so damn oogly (ew, but there prolly woulda been someone out there who woulda hit that), but 'cuz the length of pregnancy for a neandrathal was 12 months where we are 10. i'm sure i don't have to say anymore... offspring would never make it alive specially not then.

fantastic book (and source of information) the 3rd Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond (more famously known for Guns, Germs and Steel as well as Collapse(most recent)).
the_arbor
Jul. 5th, 2011 06:10 am (UTC)
Yes, proven. I think there are a lot of evidences that prove the evolution, such as genetics and kin selection.

Human beings have all sense in evolution terms. I recommend you to search for evolution data, there are good sources on the net and books and museums all over the world.
johnjosmiller
Jul. 5th, 2011 06:14 am (UTC)
Massive fail.

Evolution, theory or fact, has nothing to do with the origin of life.

Human and chimp DNA are about 99% identical, so that shoots a big hole in your second statement.

Third, obviously, some of us at least are obviously still rock throwers.

Care to try again?
spitphyre
Jul. 5th, 2011 06:20 am (UTC)
Exactly. The arguments against evolution show a massive amount of ignorance. When I was a kid my church sponsored a guy to come talk at some churches in the area (twice) who gave a drawn out, two hour presentation on why evolution is TOTALLY OMG WRONG! The problem was (I found out later) his excuses weren't even rooted in how evolution functions.
xmalanthax
Jul. 5th, 2011 12:21 pm (UTC)
While I admit that evolution does occur, even in humans (ie. humans in areas where knives aren't commonly used as eating utensils develop longer, sharper "canine" teeth), I agree that "Evolution, theory or fact, has nothing to do with the origin of life".

Darwin himself admitted that if the fossil record (comparatively nonexistent at the time On the Origin of Species was written) didn't verify his hypothesis, it would be proven false. So far, science has produced only sizable gaps in the evolutionary chain that supposedly leads from ape to man.
spitphyre
Jul. 5th, 2011 07:16 pm (UTC)
Darwin was a long time ago... As was stated elsewhere (either here or somewhere else, I don't remember) just because Darwin was the person who realized what evolution was doesn't mean he was the end all, be all when it comes to explaining how it works. So saying anything along the lines of "Even Darwin said!" is a little silly. There's been a TON of work done by competent and talented scientists in the last 150 years.
malimar
Jul. 6th, 2011 12:35 am (UTC)
Yeah! Every time they find a new fossil, there you go: two new gaps!
(no subject) - xmalanthax - Jul. 6th, 2011 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
the missing link? - grrm - Jul. 6th, 2011 10:41 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: the missing link? - xmalanthax - Jul. 6th, 2011 11:51 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: the missing link? - douglaswweb - Jul. 7th, 2011 04:33 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - malimar - Jul. 7th, 2011 04:55 pm (UTC) - Expand
(Suspicious comment)
(no subject) - malimar - Jul. 8th, 2011 04:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
(no subject) - xmalanthax - Jul. 9th, 2011 11:59 am (UTC) - Expand
Anthony Rosa
Jul. 5th, 2011 07:09 am (UTC)
Okay then.

First off, evolution is NOT "the answer to how life began." It is the change of allele frequencies over time in a population, and explains the vast diversity of life on the Earth.

You're looking for abiogenesis, and there is a lot of work being done in that field.

Anyway, as you asked, how do we know that evolution is true? We know this through multiple branches of evidence, actually.

First, we can tell by looking at genetics. Not only do we find that particular traits become more or less common in populations of living organisms due to the effects of the environment, but we actually can find what these traits are, and where they are in DNA.

We also know something called mutation occurs during the replication of code. These are mistakes that occur from time to time, such as substituting code from one part of the DNA strand to another, simple "spelling errors" where the wrong molecule is inserted, copying part of the code, deleting part of the code, etc, etc.

Not only does it happen all the time, we can see the physical effects of these mutations. There are flies who, due to a mutation, have legs where their antenna should be. We can find which part of their DNA was altered to make that effect, too.

However. Not all mutations are deleterious. Many are completely neutral. Some are, at least some of the time, beneficial. Take the mutation that allows most humans to have trichromatic vision. Not everyone has this allele, but most do.

Simply put, mutation is how alternate alleles of the gene come about. So, not only have we observed how certain alleles can become more common in a population over generations, we've also observed how these alleles come about.

Now, I'm skipping over huge amounts of terrain here, but we can use genes to tell who the parent of a child is. We can use those same techniques to tell how closely related species are. Look into things like phylogenetic trees. Seriously, google them.

Another thing to note is the breeding of plants and animals. You've noticed, surely, that dog breeds aren't naturally occuring, right? That through selective breeding, you can make things as varied as chihuahuas and great danes, from the same basic species. Well, Darwin's big idea was that the environment does the same thing in nature.

And as I pointed out above, we know how those traits the environment selects for come about in the first place.

Then we have a massive elephant in the room called fossils. We have vast numbers of fossils, literal mountains of them. They show a huge number of species that do not currently exist. And, funny thing, they show a huge number of changes over time.

You'll never find a rabbit fossil in a rock from the Cambrian period. But you'll find lots and lots of trilobytes! You'll find the fossils of ancient whales with vestigial legs. You'll find hominid fossils like Australopithecus, which have similarities to humans, but are quite different. Oddly enough, you'll never find homo sapiens bones in the same strata as Australopithecus. In a more recent strata, you'll find a fossil skeleton that's more similar to humans, but still recognizably different. Something like Homo Habilis.

Anyway, there's a lot of other details and important things to note, such as ring species (look them up, seriously), the observed evolution of entirely new traits in microorganisms, convergent evolution, comparative taxonomy, etc. Seriously, take a look.

How did humans come about? The same way every other species did. Keep in mind our particular traits aren't all that unique. In any case, look into sexual selection for some of the big theories on why our species' brains in particular became as big as they are. The people who support that may be barking up the wrong tree, but I don't know one way or the other.

In any case, if you want to know how we evolved, why don't you read a few books by the scientists looking into it? The same is true of abiogenesis. Take a look, you might be surprised by how much work has been done.

Naturally, I don't expect you to take my words on faith. If you want, I can back up my every word on this subject with citations as needed.

Or, you can do the cool thing and look up the science yourself, the way I did.
blessedrelease
Jul. 6th, 2011 11:48 pm (UTC)
What is the difference between "evolve" and "adapt"? At what point is something a new species? How has it been proven that any one species evolved from...what? What did anything start as? Take the classic example, the eye. How did something that complicated occur? One mutation at a time?

Maybe I'm not smart enough, but i don't think evolution is the best answer to me.
pimpstergust
Jul. 5th, 2011 12:26 pm (UTC)
"If I don't understand something, then it is not proven."

I'msorrywhut?

Yeah uhh while every minute detail we could know about evolution might not be known yet the basics of actualy evolution.

Also yeah anyone who thinks "Evolution" and "Creationism" are two sides of the same story will gain my respect once they include any religion other than the one they belong to into that statement. When a christian says "Well we should teach both evolution and hindu creationism so we can know both sides of the story." That'd be neat even though I'd still disagree that science and religion are the exact same thing.

Does anyone have a red phone to Brahma?

And lastly to answer your question, we aren't still rock throwers because from an evolutionary standpoint that would've been negative for us. Our species evolved into a clever, tool-using species. Eventually, that came to mean that humanity today doesn't really evolve, at least not in the sense that other animals do. All animals evolve in accordance with their surroundings. We've kind of transcended that since we change our surroundings according to our needs.

So yeah, that's a big difference we have from most other species, but it took evolution to get us there. Without a big brain, opposable thumbs and upright walk we'd not get to our massive society-building, and those are all clear physical traits that were needed before we could create advanced culture, art and youtube parodies.
tstanton
Jul. 6th, 2011 06:06 am (UTC)
Evolution and what is really is....
Ok,

I'm seeing a lot of posts here, did on the last mention of this but was unable to respond because it got locked before I looked at it, but as an anthropologist, I think it's time for some lessons.

Saxter, your post is a prime-cut example of the root of the problem with deniers of evolution; they talk and criticize something they don't know and understand...probably without having done any real research on the subject.

So allow me to provide you, and anyone else reading, a quick lesson on what exactly evolution is, something that can be covered in an introductory biological anthropology course, too.

First is that evolution can be summed up in three little words, "change over time". That's it. That's evolution. Period.

The theory of evolution, as it pertains to biological organisms, has four primary mechanisms. Darwin developed (well, was the first to publish, anyway) the most well known one, that being natural selection. What this states is that traits which promote survival long enough to reproduce gets passed on. There are many examples of this, good ones being the English moths and Darwin's finches (type those phrases in along with the word evolution for details on those examples).

The second mechanism is the thing which generates these traits which pass or fail the natural selection test; the mechanism of mutation. Mutations in the DNA (which happens constantly in all forms of eukaryotic life, such as humans...there are mutations occurring in your cells even now). However, the only time such mutations stick is when they occur in gametes, or reproductive cells. (Sperm and eggs.)

These two are what I tend to term as the direct mechanisms; these are the ones that have the biggest direct impact on speciation.

The third mechanism is what's known as gene flow. In this, the idea is that as genes "flow" throughout a population, they spread out and become a prominent part of the population's traits. Red hair is an example of this. Sorry if this explanation isn't very good, I've never been able to explain it very well.

The fourth is called genetic drift, also difficult to explain (sorry), but basically refers to differences that can crop up in different genetic populations once the other mechanisms have been taken into consideration.

Evolution is accorded a theory because of the random factor involved. Whereas with many experiments in physics, for example, an experiment's results must be duplicatable given all of the same factors, the same cannot be done with with an evolutionary experiment because of the random chance factors involved.

One of the biggest issues surrounding the doubt of evolution is the misinformation about it that continually promotes misunderstanding, such as the idea that man evolved from monkeys. Any self-respecting anthropologist or biologist will laugh at hearing that. Evolution merely states that man and monkeys came from a common ancestor. Evolution is a fact and it isn't limited to biological organisms, either. Things we have today, like toasters, automobiles, computers and even Mr. Martin's books are all effected by evolution. After all, what we see in print isn't always what he first writes down.

Saxter, Human beings make perfect sense in accordance with evolution when you look at other species by having a basic understanding of the mechanisms described above. And when you place Homo Sapiens (humans) within the context of Linnean taxonomy, it will make even MORE sense.

My apologies for my explanations....I am no teacher and have a hard time explaining things I understand clearly in ways that others could understand, too, but a lookup of those mechanisms should provide anyone interested with more detailed and better phrased explanations.

I hope, at least, that this has provided people with a bit more understanding of what evolution really is.
vikjha
Jul. 13th, 2011 08:23 pm (UTC)
awesome
awesome, i love your love for humanity (and how special we are). i would like to explain while we're not rock throwers but it would take a very long time... i'm seriously not trying to insult i use to wonder the same thing... 'til i took a class on anthropology a long time ago and read a fantastic book called the 3rd chimpanzee by jared diamond. in it, why we are not rock throwers is logically explained and easy to understand.

oh, btw, (from the book) in new guinea (sp?) the island is surrounded by a huge huge rain forest and on the inside there are flat and fertile lands. in 1940's they found 50,000 ppl living there, still in the stone age who had no idea an ocean existed (also they thought the white men who found them were gods and wore clothes to cover there massive penis' which they wrapped around their bodies)... so...

or there's always the ancient alien theory (not hating), or the bible i guess.... (not hating... fine maybe just a little...)

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