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Tags evolution , charles darwin

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Old 15th April 2005, 01:09 AM   #1
Jyera
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Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
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Old 15th April 2005, 01:27 AM   #2
Asolepius
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
I can't answer question 1, but I have some thoughts on question 2. It has got me thinking about the nature of belief. This is different for science and religion. Christians for example believe the church's doctrine without requiring proof, and indeed this is cited as its strength. That's why it's called a faith. For me as a scientist belief is largely provisional. In Darwin's time there was no actual proof that evolution was working, although he had already collected a vast amount of supportive evidence. Today, we have lots of evidence of evolution taking place during our lifetimes, mainly because we have been looking for it. Therefore Darwin's belief was pragmatic, and I am sure provisional, as he would have been open to new evidence opposing his belief. After 150 years the case for evolution is so solid that scientists mostly accept it as fact, and are rightly very sceptical of seemingly opposing evidence.
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Old 15th April 2005, 01:40 AM   #3
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?
No idea - where did you find the quote, did it not give more details of where it originated (or rather where the website had sourced it from)?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
I don’t see anything unusual with the (alleged) statement from Darwin, it seems a fair comment by an originator or believer in a theory. All he is saying is that he doesn’t have proof (which he didn't and we still don't) however the theory is consistent with the evidence we do have.

Your phrase “pragmatic benefit” pretty much fits all theories e.g. they are only as good as the evidence that supports them and their ability to help us predict the real world.

I’m trying to think of any theory that we have proof for, that we don’t judge on its “pragmatic benefit”. (Outside maths – but mathematicians are just nutcases that refuse to believe the arrow ever hits the tortoise and travelling salesmen need help).
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Old 15th April 2005, 01:43 AM   #4
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
What does it matter what he thinks?

What matters is what he can prove.

Shucks, I sound like Tom Cruise in "A few good men"....
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Old 15th April 2005, 01:59 AM   #5
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This is very similar to the creation of the Period Table of the Elements. Mendeleev didn't know about the electronic structure of different elements; but he arranged them into a pragmatic classification scheme. He could also make predictions about the properties of elements which had not been isolated yet.

However, the fact that Mendeleev could not explicitly justify his arrangement in terms of fundamental physics does not invalidate the periodic table.
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Old 15th April 2005, 03:05 AM   #6
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Re: Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by CFLarsen
What does it matter what he thinks?

What matters is what he can prove.
I beg to differ! It is probably impossible to prove a theory, but you can collect evidence that suits the theory and disproves alternative theories. This is what Darwin did in his time, and today the evidence is so overwhelming that we consider it proven, although strictly speaking, another theory might turn up that could also fit all the evidence.

Creationism is definitely not a theory that can do this - unless you count fantasies like "God created the entire universe a few minutes ago, and he equipped us all with memories and a history that is entirely consistent so that it looks as if the world is billions of years old".
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Old 15th April 2005, 03:16 AM   #7
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Re: Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by CFLarsen
What does it matter what he thinks?

What matters is what he can prove.

Shucks, I sound like Tom Cruise in "A few good men"....
I really don't like the term `proof'. I think it only applies to mathematical theorems in its purest sense. The term is widely abused by the general public and the media, who interpret it as meaning something that is absolute fact. Don't forget the legal meaning though - `on the balance of probabilities'. I much prefer to rely on the body of evidence. My creationist friend asks me whether certain parts of evolution theory have been `proven'. This is not the point. There is a huge weight of evidence for evolution, and none at all for creation. A court would find the balance of evidence in its favour.
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Old 15th April 2005, 03:18 AM   #8
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Re: Re: Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by steenkh
I beg to differ!
OK, OK..."what evidence he has".

Sheeeshh....."bevis"....
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Old 15th April 2005, 04:27 AM   #9
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Re: Re: Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Asolepius
I really don't like the term `proof'. I think it only applies to mathematical theorems in its purest sense. The term is widely abused by the general public and the media, who interpret it as meaning something that is absolute fact. Don't forget the legal meaning though - `on the balance of probabilities'. I much prefer to rely on the body of evidence. My creationist friend asks me whether certain parts of evolution theory have been `proven'. This is not the point. There is a huge weight of evidence for evolution, and none at all for creation. A court would find the balance of evidence in its favour.
Math, law, and you forgot alcohol.
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Old 15th April 2005, 04:38 AM   #10
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Take into consideration that Darwin was himself a religious man who was actually going to take a career in the church, before he was offered the opportunity to sail. When he did, he might still have believed in a god, but the idea that the bible was completely correct in terms of understanding the natural world didn't withstand honest scrutiny.

http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/library/cd_relig.htm
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Old 15th April 2005, 04:48 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by Suezoled
Take into consideration that Darwin was himself a religious man who was actually going to take a career in the church, before he was offered the opportunity to sail. When he did, he might still have believed in a god, but the idea that the bible was completely correct in terms of understanding the natural world didn't withstand honest scrutiny.

http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/library/cd_relig.htm
Thanks for reminding me about this - it is beautifully argued material. I must read the book in full.
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Old 15th April 2005, 07:59 AM   #12
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
Hey, I have an idea. How about some context? Or at least a source that we can look at? Where was this website? Also, what exactly is the point you are trying to make?

In any event, it seems to me that what Darwin was saying was that even if he didn't have proof, the way that evolution fits into other fields of study is supporting evidence in and of itself. I don't read this as saying good ol' Chuck was believing the theory without proof. Does that make sense? IOW, the "proof" comment was merely colorful language, and was not meant to be taken as him saying there is no proof for evolution.

All that still doesn't change the question of what it is you think this proves.
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Old 15th April 2005, 11:00 AM   #13
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I did a google search on "Thomas Thompton, darwin and letter. It turned up five sites all of which have Islamic slant. I thought perhaps it was "Thompton" was mispelled but changing the spelling did not find any pertinent links.

This appears to be a myth started by some Islamic creationist and copied by others.

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Old 15th April 2005, 11:05 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by CBL4
I did a google search on "Thomas Thompton, darwin and letter. It turned up five sites all of which have Islamic slant. I thought perhaps it was "Thompton" was mispelled but changing the spelling did not find any pertinent links.

This appears to be a myth started by some Islamic creationist and copied by others.

Similarly, searching for the text of the letter only yields Islamic creationist sites.
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Old 15th April 2005, 11:13 AM   #15
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I looked a little more and the phrase "Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs" is part of the title of Chapter XIV (MUTUAL AFFINITIES OF ORGANIC BEINGS: MORPHOLOGY — EMBRYOLOGY — RUDIMENTARY ORGANS) of Origin of the Species. The phrase is also used in a letter from Huxley to Darwin and another letter from Darwin to Charles Lyell.

That makes it very difficult to find more about the alleged letter.

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Old 16th April 2005, 06:13 AM   #16
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Maybe Darwin said this on his deathbed, right after he recanted.

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Old 16th April 2005, 07:19 AM   #17
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He would hardly have said it in a letter of 1861 then.

There are extensive collections of Darwin's (very large ) correspondence. Somebody look 'em up
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Old 16th April 2005, 07:42 AM   #18
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
Actually I don't think the scientific community accepted evolution universaly until about 1930. Well they accepted that species had changed over a long time period but there was massive disagreement over the mechanism. Thats how science works. You have different ideas that duel to the death with evidence.
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Old 16th April 2005, 09:06 AM   #19
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Quote:
Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."
Well, I believe in the theory of gravity, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in understanding why I don't fly away from the earth, the motions of the planets, why objects fall at the same rate, the tides, etc....
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Old 16th April 2005, 11:15 AM   #20
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If anyone is actually that bothered, I could go and look up The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, volume 9 (1861), tomorrow.
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Old 16th April 2005, 12:49 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by JamesM
If anyone is actually that bothered, I could go and look up The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, volume 9 (1861), tomorrow.
Let us know what you find... seriously. I don't recognise this quote and can't find a "respectable" source for it via the web.
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Old 16th April 2005, 01:04 PM   #22
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Quote:
From JamesM:
If anyone is actually that bothered, I could go and look up The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, volume 9 (1861), tomorrow.
Please do, but first let me stick my neck out and say I’d be surprised if it’s right. Leaving aside the detail that Morphology, Embryology, and Rudimentary Organs is part of a chapter title in The Origin of the Species (as CBL4 points out), it doesn’t fit Darwin’s views about the strength of the evidence for evolution. The very fact that the concept of evolution is helpful in the areas mentioned is extremely strong evidence for it, as he understood very well.

Quote:
From the chapter’s summary:
Finally, the several classes of facts which have been considered in this chapter, seem to me to proclaim so plainly, that the innumerable species, genera and families, with which this world is peopled, are all descended, each within its own class or group, from common parents, and have all been modified in the course of descent, that I should without hesitation adopt this view, even if it were unsupported by other facts or arguments.
Quote:
From Jyera:
Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
He believed in evolution and natural selection from many years spent gathering and examining evidence, and applying scientific reasoning to the evidence. Scientists are pragmatists in the sense that they accept theories according to their usefulness in systemising current observations and correctly predicting new ones.
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Old 16th April 2005, 08:25 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by NarrMaster
Well, I believe in the theory of gravity, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in understanding why I don't fly away from the earth, the motions of the planets, why objects fall at the same rate, the tides, etc....
And some people believe that some sentient God is keeping them from flying off the face of the earth. In fact, it helps them reconcile the idea that someone is making those planets move, objects fall, etc.... right now. This very moment. And I guess if God forgets about you for a moment, you're gonna go flying off. Or something.
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Old 17th April 2005, 08:38 AM   #24
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Ok, I'm back from the library. Went leafing through the 14 volumes of the The Correspondence of Charles Darwin, which ranges from 1821-1866.

And then I sat down back at my computer and the first link I found was the The Darwin Correspondence Online Database. Oops!

Anyway, you will be unsurprised to discover that no Thompton of any kind is alluded to in any of the 45 years' worth of Darwin's letters. However, there was a Sir Thomas Thomson.

Not only did Darwin not write any letters to Thomas Thomson (or indeed to anyone with the surname Thomson or Thompson) in 1861, he never wrote to Thomas Thomson at all. He received one letter from Thomas Thomson in 1860, where Thomson expressed opposition to the idea of natural selection, but that letter has been lost. We know about it because CD mentions it to a mutual friend, John Dalton Hooker, who, in his many letters to Darwin, would now and again mention Thomson. So Thomson appears in the index of the correspondences a bit, but only due to letters from Hooker to Darwin. And that's it for the Charles Darwin-Sir Thomas Thomson correspondences.

Maybe Darwin did write the quote in the OP. But he didn't write it to anyone called Thompton, or Thomson. He also probably didn't write it to anyone called Thompson, either, but I didn't exhaustively chase down all those possibilities.
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Old 17th April 2005, 09:11 AM   #25
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More Darwin obsession silliness. Darwin is of tremendous historical interest because he is the first major proponent of Natual Selection. There's been 140 years of scientific research and discovery since. Unlike in religion, science doesn't worship sacred cows, and Darwin is not much more relevant to current understanding in biology than Galen is to current medicine.
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Old 17th April 2005, 02:33 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by hgc
More Darwin obsession silliness. Darwin is of tremendous historical interest because he is the first major proponent of Natual Selection. There's been 140 years of scientific research and discovery since. Unlike in religion, science doesn't worship sacred cows, and Darwin is not much more relevant to current understanding in biology than Galen is to current medicine.
Oh come now! The gap between ourselves and Galen, both in years and in knowledge, is vastly wider. Modern biology is entirely consistent with Origin, while Galen's anatomical work misled physicians for over 1300 years.
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Old 17th April 2005, 07:17 PM   #27
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Quote:
Originally posted by Asolepius
Oh come now! The gap between ourselves and Galen, both in years and in knowledge, is vastly wider. Modern biology is entirely consistent with Origin, while Galen's anatomical work misled physicians for over 1300 years.
OK, so my analogy is a stretch. But I am increasingly annoyed by creationists' fetish with Darwin as the face of biological science. I know why they do it; because they need a personified demon, a father of the evolutionary religion. Indeed Darwin is the "father" of evolution, but when I hear creationists say they don't believe in "Darwinism" or "Darwin's evolution," they are stabbing as much at imaginary demons as they do in their anti-Satan rants. They ignore all the years of discovery since, and why not? Their prominent mode of thinking is full of ancient sacred texts informing their worldview. It's most accessible to attack what they think is the ancient sacred text of evolution, Origin of the Species, and its Satanic author, Darwin.
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Old 18th April 2005, 12:18 AM   #28
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Quote:
Originally posted by hgc
OK, so my analogy is a stretch. But I am increasingly annoyed by creationists' fetish with Darwin as the face of biological science. I know why they do it; because they need a personified demon, a father of the evolutionary religion. Indeed Darwin is the "father" of evolution, but when I hear creationists say they don't believe in "Darwinism" or "Darwin's evolution," they are stabbing as much at imaginary demons as they do in their anti-Satan rants. They ignore all the years of discovery since, and why not? Their prominent mode of thinking is full of ancient sacred texts informing their worldview. It's most accessible to attack what they think is the ancient sacred text of evolution, Origin of the Species, and its Satanic author, Darwin.
I agree that creationists seem astonishingly unaware of the amount of evidence supporting evolution which has emerged in the last 140 years. But surely they also demonise Dawkins? My creationist friend has been circulating various lies about him, such as "he was refused a Nobel Prize because his research was flawed". Yes I know, with friends like this......

But I do think it's right for Darwin to be afforded such a great amount of respect. His was possibly (and here I am starting an argument I know) a greater achievement than Einstein's. Darwin's theory was based on decades of meticulous and high quality research, and although this was observational rather than experimental it laid a methodological foundation that was broader than biology alone. Einstein never did any practical research, and the Special Theory of Relativity was more of a thought experiment. It was the only way he could imagine that the results of the Michelson-Morley experiment could be explained.
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Old 18th April 2005, 07:00 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally posted by Asolepius
Oh come now! The gap between ourselves and Galen, both in years and in knowledge, is vastly wider. Modern biology is entirely consistent with Origin, while Galen's anatomical work misled physicians for over 1300 years.
I see Darwin more akin to Linus Pauling in chemistry. Pauling's "The Nature of the Chemical Bond" was exceedingly influential and pretty original in its thinking. Moreover, a lot of what Pauling talked about there is still very useful in modern chemistry (i.e. electronegativities). OTOH, many things have moved well beyond Pauling's views, and there are far more precise treatments that handle things better than Pauling's methods did (for example, electronegativities do not account for the dipole in iodomethane). However, just because Pauling's methods cannot account for the dipole moment in iodomethane does not mean all of chemistry is wrong.
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Old 19th April 2005, 10:21 PM   #30
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."


Question 1: Is it true ? Did Darwin say that in his letter?

...snipe...
The source I got from did not mention the source.
Yes it was from a islam creationist site.

Thanks JamesM for his search.
Technically, as of now, I would say there is no prove that Darwin did said those stuff .
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Old 19th April 2005, 11:36 PM   #31
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Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Found this on the Internet:

Darwin's Letter to his friend, Sir Thomas Thompton, 1861: 'I believe in the theory of evolution, not because I have proof, but because it helps me in classification, Morphology, Embryology, and rudimentary organs..."

...snipe...
Question 2: Does pragmatic needs justify belief without proof?
It seems to be the case for Darwin. He believes evolution because of it's pragmatic benefit.
If the Answer is ...
"Yes, pragmatic needs justify belief without proof",

Then it would be justified for people to jump into conclusion about their pet belief, if it serves their practical purposes. They can cite Darwin's example. And say that eventually their theory will be proven to be right.
From a skeptic point of view, I understand it isn't encouraged to belief without proof.
Evidence and proof are needed before a belief.

OTOH,
If the answer is ..."No".

Then if Darwin was a skeptic and rejected idea without proof.
Perhaps "Theory of Evolution" would not be popularly recognised.
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Old 20th April 2005, 06:12 AM   #32
Phaycops
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Re: Re: Darwin believe in evolution without proof?

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
If the Answer is ...
"Yes, pragmatic needs justify belief without proof",

Then it would be justified for people to jump into conclusion about their pet belief, if it serves their practical purposes. They can cite Darwin's example. And say that eventually their theory will be proven to be right.
From a skeptic point of view, I understand it isn't encouraged to belief without proof.
Evidence and proof are needed before a belief.

OTOH,
If the answer is ..."No".

Then if Darwin was a skeptic and rejected idea without proof.
Perhaps "Theory of Evolution" would not be popularly recognised.
I still think you're making a huge leap here. Scientists don't believe things in the sense I think you mean it.
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Old 20th April 2005, 11:24 AM   #33
Mason
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Imagine if Darwin's diary were found tomorrow. Imagine that in that diary he completely renounced all of his previous works and fully embraced the idea that God had created the world 6000 years ago. Imagine he made full statements such as "In light of my new discovery, I conclude that the idea of evolution is completely ridiculous and should never be discussed again"...

Would it really matter, even a little bit, in light of what science has discovered in the 100 years since his publications?

Seriously, should remarks made 100 years ago be grounds for ignoring that 100 years? Sure, he opened up some great doors into the evolution theories, but investigation didn't stop with his death. Science didn't just take what he discovered as fact and stop researching from there. Evolution is not the religion of Darwin, it is a scientific theory.

Just my scattered thoughts. Carry on.
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Old 20th April 2005, 12:07 PM   #34
hgc
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mason
..
Would it really matter, even a little bit, in light of what science has discovered in the 100 years since his publications?
..
Huge to history, nothing to science.
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Old 20th April 2005, 12:58 PM   #35
Phaycops
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mason
Evolution is not the religion of Darwin, it is a scientific theory.
Which is why it gets my panties in a knot when people tell me I "believe" in evolution. I no more "believe" in evolution than I "believe" that the sky is blue.

Evolution does not require faith.
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Old 20th April 2005, 07:46 PM   #36
Jyera
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Quote:
Originally posted by Mason
Imagine if Darwin's diary were found tomorrow. Imagine that in that diary he completely renounced all of his previous works and fully embraced the idea that God had created the world 6000 years ago. Imagine he made full statements such as "In light of my new discovery, I conclude that the idea of evolution is completely ridiculous and should never be discussed again"...

Would it really matter, even a little bit, in light of what science has discovered in the 100 years since his publications?

Seriously, should remarks made 100 years ago be grounds for ignoring that 100 years? Sure, he opened up some great doors into the evolution theories, but investigation didn't stop with his death. Science didn't just take what he discovered as fact and stop researching from there. Evolution is not the religion of Darwin, it is a scientific theory.

Just my scattered thoughts. Carry on.
I agree that Evolution is not the religion of Darwin.
Agree that a remark made by a human 100 years ago should not be ground for ignoring 100 years of science. Although his remark is indeed important in the sense that creationist will exploit his fame to erode the validity of evolution.

But you have missed my point.

My emphasis is not about the what Darwin said.
But more about how he decided to believe in the "Theory of ABC".
Where ABC happens to be evolution in this case.


Darwin believed in a Theory without a concrete proof.
And perhaps with much less evidence than we have today.


Based on the less evidence during Darwin's time, there is reasonable ground to expect critical thinkers and rational skeptics of Darwin's era to doubt his theory. And perhaps to criticise his persisting belief in Evolution.

Darwin believe in it (theory of evolution). Enough to adopt it as a basis for scientific classification of plant and animals etc.
Enough for him to go against many prevailing the ideas.
Against prevailing way of classification. Eg. Linaeus system of classifying plants and animals.
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Old 20th April 2005, 11:36 PM   #37
Darat
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
I agree that Evolution is not the religion of Darwin.
Agree that a remark made by a human 100 years ago should not be ground for ignoring 100 years of science. Although his remark is indeed important in the sense that creationist will exploit his fame to erode the validity of evolution.

But you have missed my point.

My emphasis is not about the what Darwin said.
But more about how he decided to believe in the "Theory of ABC".
Where ABC happens to be evolution in this case.


Darwin believed in a Theory without a concrete proof.
And perhaps with much less evidence than we have today.


Based on the less evidence during Darwin's time, there is reasonable ground to expect critical thinkers and rational skeptics of Darwin's era to doubt his theory. And perhaps to criticise his persisting belief in Evolution.

Darwin believe in it (theory of evolution). Enough to adopt it as a basis for scientific classification of plant and animals etc.
Enough for him to go against many prevailing the ideas.
Against prevailing way of classification. Eg. Linaeus system of classifying plants and animals.
But I thought you'd acknowledged that there doesn’t seem to be any verification that Darwin even said what you originally quoted?
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Old 21st April 2005, 06:08 AM   #38
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Darwin believed in a Theory without a concrete proof.
A) This is not true.
B) You're still making the mistake of thinking that scientists "believe" in theories the same way that other people "believe" in gods. While it is convenient to use the word "believe," it does not, in the context of "believing in a theory" mean the same thing. It's just quicker to say "believe" rather than "based on the balance of evidence, I conclude for now that the aforementioned theory adequately explains the observed phenomena, and therefore can be considered provisionally true, barring new evidence that may render the whole thing obsolete."

ETA: Also, it does not appear that Darwin even said the thing you're basing your argument on!
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Old 21st April 2005, 06:49 AM   #39
John Bentley
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
[b]My emphasis is not about the what Darwin said.
But more about how he decided to believe in the "Theory of ABC".
Where ABC happens to be evolution in this case.


Darwin believed in a Theory without a concrete proof.
And perhaps with much less evidence than we have today.
Certainly he had much less evidence than we have today, and was unaware, or chose to ignore, Mendel's theory of inheritance, which would have greatly bolstered his case.

What exactly is your definition of "concrete proof"? I think that's where most people get bogged down. Most people simply cannot or will not accept that there is no such thing as "concrete proof" in the scientific method. There are observations, and there are "theories" that attempt to explain those observations.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Based on the less evidence during Darwin's time, there is reasonable ground to expect critical thinkers and rational skeptics of Darwin's era to doubt his theory. And perhaps to criticise his persisting belief in Evolution.
They did. Ad infinitum. Still do. Which is why this is science rather than religion.

Quote:
Originally posted by Jyera
Darwin believe in it (theory of evolution). Enough to adopt it as a basis for scientific classification of plant and animals etc.
Enough for him to go against many prevailing the ideas.
Against prevailing way of classification. Eg. Linaeus system of classifying plants and animals.
Just curious. Have you ever read "Origin of the Species"? The archaic sentence structure and grammar can be a little difficult, but you get used to it after a while. He goes to great lengths to justify his views, and why he considers other classification systems to be in error. In great detail. Excrutiatingly boring detail. His view just explains the evidence better than anyone else's at the time. That's how science works. He didn't just declare he was right and everyone else was wrong.

He left human evolution out altogether, precisely because he was scared of the implications for religion. However, he wrote a separate book about that later. And this is really what the argument is all about, isn't it? Religious types wouldn't give a rat's patooie about evolution if humans were found to be exempt from it.
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Old 26th April 2005, 03:04 AM   #40
Jyera
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QUOTE]Originally posted by Darat
But I thought you'd acknowledged that there doesn’t seem to be any verification that Darwin even said what you originally quoted? [/quote] Yes. But it is an uncomfortable one.

I don't mean to dismiss or be-little JamesM effort. But the truth is, we only verified that there is no record. No record of Darwin saying what was quoted in the opening post of this thread.
The letter could have existed.

If the letter concerning the quote existed, we could live with it and celebrate Darwin's courage to champion it. There is really nothing wrong with what he said. I trust that even if Darwin do not have irrefutable experimental prove, he has gathered enough supporting living specimens as evidence.

However if it did not exist, then the implication is more serious.
It means that people are told lies thru those websites.

Something must be done to dispute it strongly, else after another few hundred years, it might be taken as factual. ( That, Darwin said what was quoted.)
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