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Evolution is a Fundamental Concept of Modern Science

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  • Evolution is a Fundamental Concept of Modern Science

    Simply put, evolution explains how organisms change over time, how we (all living organisms including you and me) came to be. Evolution is at the foundation of our understanding of life. People may talk about evolution as a theory, but it is, in reality, an established fact. Populations do change over time, and that is the definition of evolution.

    The theoretical part is how evolution happens, not if it happens. Evolution is the key scientific principle behind every substantive thing we know about biology, the study of living things. In biology, evolution refers to specific changes (genetic changes) in a group of organisms through time.

    Every major scientific society, college, and university in the world agrees that evolution has to be a part of science curricula, that the evolution of life on Earth stands as one of the central concepts of modern science; and that evolutionary studies apply to most branches of science including organic, cosmic, geologic, planetary, and cultural evolution.

    Each of these scientific disciplines provide evidence that evolution is pervasive: galaxies have changed, stars and planets have changed, Earth has changed, life forms have changed, and human culture has changed. Therefore, evolution is factual and is a unifying concept of the natural sciences.

    Published and reaffirmed position statements on the scientific validity of evolution by all of the scientific societies clearly demonstrate that the modern scientific community no longer debates whether evolution has occurred. Scientists often disagree about explanations of how evolution works, the importance of specific evolutionary processes, or the patterns that are observed, but all agree that evolution has occurred and is occurring now.

    Biological evolution over most of the earth’s more than four billion year history is no less supported by evidence than gravity or plate tectonics. Although details may be contentious, the biological and geological record cannot be understood except in the light of evolutionary theory.

  • #2
    Evolution: Position Statement

    Position statement concerning evolution by the National Association of Biology Teachers:

    The frequently-quoted declaration of Theodosius Dobzhansky (1973) that “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution” accurately reflects the central, unifying role of evolution in the science of biology. As such, evolution provides the scientific framework that explains both the history of life and the continuing change in the populations of organisms in response to environmental challenges and other factors. Scientists who have carefully evaluated the evidence overwhelmingly support the conclusion that both the principle of evolution itself and its mechanisms best explain what has caused the variety of organisms alive now and in the past.

    The principle of biological evolution states that all living things have arisen from common ancestors. Some lineages diverge while others go extinct as a result of natural selection, mutation, genetic drift and other well-studied mechanisms. The patterns of similarity and diversity in extant and fossil organisms, combined with evidence and explanations provided by molecular biology, developmental biology, systematics, and geology provide extensive examples of and powerful support for evolution. Even as biologists continue to study and consider evolution, they agree that all living things share common ancestors and that the process of evolutionary change through time is driven by natural mechanisms.

    Evolutionary biology rests on the same scientific methodologies the rest of science uses, appealing only to natural events and processes to describe and explain phenomena in the natural world. Science teachers must reject calls to account for the diversity of life or describe the mechanisms of evolution by invoking non-naturalistic or supernatural notions, whether called “creation science,” “scientific creationism,” “intelligent design theory,” or similar designations. Ideas such as these are outside the scope of science and should not be presented as part of the science curriculum. These notions do not adhere to the shared scientific standards of evidence gathering and interpretation.

    Just as nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution, nothing in biology education makes sense without reference to and thorough coverage of the principle and mechanisms provided by the science of evolution. Therefore, teaching biology in an effective, detailed, and scientifically and pedagogically honest manner requires that evolution be a major theme throughout the life science curriculum both in classroom discussions and in laboratory investigations.

    Biological evolution must be presented in the same way that it is understood within the scientific community: as a well-accepted principle that provides the foundation to understanding the natural world. Evolution should not be misrepresented as ‘controversial,’ or in need of ‘critical analysis’ or special attention for any supposed ‘strength or weakness’ any more than other scientific ideas are. Biology educators at all levels must work to encourage the development of and support for standards, curricula, textbooks, and other instructional frameworks that prominently include evolution and its mechanisms and that refrain from confusing non-scientific with scientific explanations in science instruction.


    • #3
      The Paleontological Society's Position on Evolution

      Position statement regarding evolution from The Paleontological Society

      Evolution is both a scientific fact and a scientific theory. Evolution is a fact in the sense that life has changed through time. In nature today, the characteristics of species are changing, and new species are arising. The fossil record is the primary factual evidence for evolution in times past, and evolution is well documented by further evidence from other scientific disciplines, including comparative anatomy, biogeography, genetics, molecular biology, and studies of viral and bacterial diseases. Evolution is also a theory – an explanation for the observed changes in life through Earth history that has been tested numerous times and repeatedly confirmed. Evolution is an elegant theory that explains the history of life through geologic time; the diversity of living organisms, including their genetic, molecular, and physical similarities and differences; and the geographic distribution of organisms. Evolutionary principles are the foundation of all basic and applied biology and paleontology, from biodiversity studies to studies on the control of emerging diseases.

      Because evolution is fundamental to understanding both living and extinct organisms, it must be taught in public school science classes. In contrast, creationism is religion rather than science, as ruled by the Supreme Court, because it invokes supernatural explanations that cannot be tested. Consequently, creationism in any form (including “scientific creationism,” “creation science,” and “intelligent design”) must be excluded from public school science classes. Because science involves testing hypotheses, scientific explanations are restricted to natural causes.

      This difference between science and religion does not mean that the two fields are incompatible. Many scientists who study evolution are religious, and many religious denominations have issued statements supporting evolution. Science and religion address different questions and employ different ways of knowing.

      The evolution paradigm has withstood nearly 150 years of scrutiny. Although the existence of evolution has been confirmed many times, as a science evolutionary theory must continue to be open to testing. At this time, however, more fruitful inquiries address the tempo and mode of evolution, various processes involved in evolution, and driving factors for evolution. Through such inquiry, the unifying theory of evolution will become an even more powerful explanation for the history of life on Earth.


      • #4
        The American Geophysical Union on Evolution

        Position concerning evolution from the American Geophysical Union

        Biological Evolution and the History of the Earth are Foundations of Science

        Within the scientific community, the theory of biological evolution is not controversial, nor have “alternative explanations” been found. This is why no competing theories are required by the U.S. National Science Education Standards. Explanations of natural phenomena that appeal to the supernatural or are based on religious doctrine—and therefore cannot be tested through scientific inquiry—are not scientific, and have no place in the science classroom.

        Evolution through natural selection is one of the great unifying theories of biology. It explains the myriad forms of life—including human—that have originated from simple beginnings early in Earth's four and a half billion year history, and it emphasizes the interrelatedness of all living things. It is a theory in the scientific sense—a body of knowledge that has accumulated through testing of hypotheses, by observation and by experiment over a long period, so as to become accepted by the scientific community as an explanation of natural phenomena. Although there is broad agreement within the scientific community, the theory of evolution, like any scientific theory, is subject to revision as our understanding improves. Indeed, science seeks to unravel innumerable unsolved problems in the natural world, including the evolution of the universe itself.
        An increasingly complex and competitive international economy calls for a scientifically literate public. The theory of biological evolution is one of the most important foundations of the science enterprise, and therefore education of the future workforce in evolution and other pillars of science is essential.

        In addition to the practical benefits of understanding evolution, there is an aesthetic one: the gaining of a sense of awe and wonder at the beautiful complexity of our dynamic planet and the integral role of its evolving biological component throughout much of its history. To deny students a full understanding of the theory of evolution in the context of Earth history is to deprive them of an important part of their intellectual heritage.

        AGU urges its members to help the public better understand the scientific process, including biological evolution and the history of the Earth, as foundations of science.

        Evolutionary theory provides a framework for understanding all living processes, including humanity. Today, evolutionary theory is expanding beyond the biological sciences to include all human-related subjects from neurobiology to the nature of religion.

        These scientific developments are profoundly relevant to improving as well as understanding the human condition. Pick any topic relevant to human welfare from prenatal care to obesity, from psychotherapy to cooperation and conflict among nations, and evolutionary theory can provide insights that integrate and go beyond previous perspectives.

        Evolutionary theory is as important for managing human affairs as physics and chemistry are important for managing the physical world.


        • #5
          dodge, sorry to bother you over here, but let me ask have you ever study herbs, did research into them as far as viitamins? I just curious. I could start a thread on healthy nutrition. YOu know vitamins are good for all walks of life.


          • #6
            Position Statement on Evolution by the Biophysical Society

            Position on evolution from the Biophysical Society

            As biophysicists, we are engaged in studying the structure and function of living organisms at a molecular level. Such studies have demonstrated that all life forms on earth obey the laws of chemistry and physics, and that these life forms are built from molecules that show common origins. The hypothesis that binds all these studies, built upon an immense body of evidence accumulated from geology, paleontology, biochemistry and molecular biology, is the theory of evolution.

            The main mechanism for evolutionary change is genetic variation. Scientists have demonstrated how at the molecular level, imperfections in DNA replication and damage to DNA caused by sunlight and radiation can contribute to genetic variability. One need only look at the progression of influenza to see evolution in action today.

            What distinguishes scientific theories from theological beliefs is the scientific method, which is driven by observations and deductions, leads to testable predictions, and involves the formulation of hypotheses that can be refuted. This process results in a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed by experiments, which in turn result in a theory. Scientific theories are therefore not “guesses,” but fact-supported, self-consistent, reliable accounts of the world. Theological explanations for origins are not based on the scientific method, and are, therefore, not in the realm of science. They are in the realm of faith.

            Accepting the evidence that evolution has and continues to take place does not preclude one from believing in theologies, but those beliefs have no place in a science curriculum.



            • #7
              There is also proof that sun is good for us. The sun gives us vitamin D. Our bodies need this vitamin for healthy cell growth, vitamin D has been put in our milk at exra source of vitamin for kids not getting enough activity outside, but outside sunlight is healthy if it does not burn the skin. Our skin is designed to enjoy the sunlight. The enjoy the rays of the sun, but where many stay indoors it is like an overdose of sun causing our skin to burn. Which in retrospect is dangerous and painful to have.


              • #8
                "Atheism/Agnosticism/Humanism/Non-theist Spiritual"

                "Evolution is a Fundamental Concept of Modern Science"

                The overly dogmatic ideas of Scientific Atheism results in:

                Death to all Religions is a Fundamental Concept of Scientific Atheism

                Scientific Atheism will not tolerate an alternative Worldview, and Communism is proof of this.

                "The former Soviet Museum of Scientific Atheism, better known as St Isaac's Cathedral in St Petersburg, photographed in December, 1985. Internally, it is the second biggest cathedral in the world.
                Under Stalin in the 1930s, by which time the city had been renamed Leningrad, the building was cleared of all religious clutter and turned into a Museum of Scientific Atheism. Exhibits included a pendulum which proved the rotation of the earth.
                Stalin's enthusiasm for Scientific Atheism led to the regime treating faith and belief in God as a form of mental illness. Anyone who was openly Christian had their path to promotion at work blocked, and many professions closed to them.
                Thousands of people who stubbornly persisted in the Christian faith were treated as delusional, and found themselves carted off to special hospitals for treatment and re-education. Many of these people ended up in the gulags, a system of concentration camps, many in northern Siberia, where millions of people met their deaths.
                Scientific Atheism also promoted the idea that bringing up your kids in the Christian tradition was a form of child abuse. Inevitably, many children of militant Christians were taken into care by the State, to be brought up in vast orphanages."


                "Today, Marxists-Leninists prefer two words: scientific atheism.
                From the university days of Karl Marx to the present, official spokesmen for Marxism have been consistent about the content of their theology—that God, whether known as a Supreme Being, Creator, or Divine Ruler, does not, cannot, and must not exist.

                God is considered an impediment, even an enemy, to a scientific, materialistic, socialistic outlook. The idea of God, insists Lenin, encourages the working class (the proletariat) to drown its terrible economic plight in the “spiritual booze” of some mythical heaven (“pie in the sky by and by”). Even a single sip of this intoxicant decreases the revolutionary fervor necessary to exterminate the oppressing class (the bourgeois), causing the working class to forfeit its only chance of creating a truly human heaven on earth: global communism.



                • #9
                  Because prayer was allowed to be taken out of school, atheism has slowly crept into our churches. People with atheistic views, like suicide to all that is different them is being taught. We do not like to think this is happening but it is. And it got to be stopped. True democracy and protection of our first ammendment rights our at stake, if people teach our children to destroy themselves based on the fact they are different then anyone else, because of their beliefs, their ideas, their ability to free think. To respond in a rational manner. It is a form of control, that needs to be equally abolished. Yet it is also something that has to be allowed based on the constitution. What must be taught is to incorporate freedom to keep freedom of all rights for all humans in all groups. It must be taught in all groups that choose to segregate their children from other or even themselves. The basic rights of freedom have to be understood. Otherwise these groups rise up to corrupt and destroy God given freedoms as well as freedoms the devil would like to say they wrote.


                  • #10
                    Hi Easteltine. I see you’re still talking about the former Soviet Union, Stalin, Marx, Communism, and Socialism in an attempt to demonize science for reasons of your own. What would you do, ban the teaching of science and replace it with Bible study in our schools for fear that if our children learned the fundamentals of science they would become crazed atheists out to destroy people of faith?

                    Do you want to ban science books and the teaching of science, Easeltine? Would you change the educational standards that require high school students to take biology and one of the physical sciences in order to get into college, all of which have as a basic fundamental concept evolutionary theory?

                    Science is not your enemy, Easeltine. Ignorance is.


                    • #11
                      Easeltine did you not know that Russia fell a few years back oh sometime in the nineties. Nothing much changed government wise, but america has been helping Russia that pass few dozen years. In fact there are Russian foreign exchange students as well as doctors and things sharing new and exciting ideas. However government will it not democratic it is probably more socialist form of government then strictly communism, but still all in all it is still a form of control America does not want or totally need.


                      • #12
                        Evolutionary Theory is Basic to Understanding Health and Disease

                        Evolutionary science can be viewed as the fundamental organizing principle of all biology. The biological and biomedical sciences can only be fully integrated with the aid of an evolutionary toolkit. Together with discovery of the nature of genes and the sciences of molecular and developmental biology, evolutionary biology provides the basis of our understanding both of the function of an organism and of it relationship with it physical, social, and biotic environment.

                        An effective comprehension of human biology, health, and disease requires knowledge of evolutionary principles and an appreciation of how they have shaped biological and biomedical processes at both an individual and a population level.

                        Modern biology rests on two related concepts. The first is the description of the gene and its structure; the second is the description of the evolution of the whole organism.

                        Human biology can only be understood fully in terms of our evolutionary history. Our biology is both determined by and constrained by this history. Our biology shows much evidence of our evolutionary past; for example, rudimentary ‘vestigial’ organs such as the appendix and anatomical arrangements such as the long pathway of the recurrent laryngeal nerve. The evolution of bipedalism from a quadripedal ancestor has many consequences.

                        The evolutionary history of Homo sapiens has been considerably clarified by the use of molecular biology approaches. These have led to a revision of our understanding of the evolutionary relationships between the various hominoid species and the order of separation from last common ancestors.

                        Hominoids comprise the superfamily of apes and humans, whereas the term hominins is restricted to humans and their direct ancestors after division from the ancestors of the other great apes in the evolutionary tree. The hominoid superfamily comprises the currently living great apes (the orang-utan, the bonobo, the chimpanzee, the gorilla, and the human), their extinct ancestors, and other extinct species which had evolved from the last common ancestor of these five species. Molecular evidence shows that the orang-utan lineage was the first to split from the primitive hominoid lineage some 12-15 million years ago and that the gorilla lineage split perhaps 7 million years ago.

                        We shared a last common ancestor with the chimpanzee and the bonobo as recently as about 5-6 million years ago. These dates are based on estimates from the molecular clock about when species diverged. It is now clear thast H. sapiens originated only in Africa, the alternative theory of multiple origins in diverse geographies from Homo erectus being no longer tenable.

                        (from Principles of Evolutionary Medicine, by Peter Gluckman, Alan Beedle, and Mark Hanson, Oxford University Press 2009.)

                        Evolutionary science is critical to an understanding of integrated human biology and is increasingly recognized as a core underpinning discipline by medical and public health professionals; and incorporating evolutionary thinking is essential for medicine to achieve its full potential.

                        The book mentioned above is the first integrated and comprehensive textbook to explain the principles of evolutionary biology from a medical perspective and to focus on how medicine and public health might utilize evolutionary biology.

                        The first section provides a systematic approach to the principles of evolutionary biology as they apply to human health and disease, the second section illustrates the application of these principles to our understanding of nutrition and metabolism, reproduction, combating infectious disease and stress, and human behavior. The final section provides a general framework to show in practical terms how the principles of evolutionary medicine can be applied to medical practice and public health.

                        This textbook provides the necessary toolkit for doctors and other health professionals, medical students and biomedical scientists, as well as anthropologists interested in human health, to gain a better understanding of the evolutionary processes underlying human health and disease.



                        • #13
                          Dodge do you subscribe to the theory that man came from monkey or they have similiar attributes in their body makeup. However we did not from these animals. After all with research I sure you will discover that dna is not linkable, but the frame and body appearance is the same in many ways as well as the placement of organs. However if you stand a cat on his hind legs or a dog, we could look like them a well. Yet neither a dog or a cat have hands like a monkey, yet monkey hands are not duplicates of ours. And we do not have a tail like a dog or a cat, but monkeys have tails too. OUr heart is also said to be like a pigs. So has far a bamboon heart it has the ability to be a transplant in humans does not mean animals should be used to replace human parts. Other wise I might have dog ears, with pig nose, and long neck like a giraffe.

                          By the way cats and dogs do not mimick like monkeys. They seem to have their own independent nature about them unless they find something we human do fancinating.


                          • #14
                            Turtle, if you made an effort to educate yourself concerning evolutionary theory, you would know that the scientific community doesn’t say that humans “came from monkeys.” Instead, humans share a common ancestor with chimpanzees and bonobos (monkeys). The evolutionary lines diverged somewhere around six million years ago. So, humans evolved from a common ancestor with monkeys, not directly from them. Gorillas split off from common ancestors about seven million years ago.

                            I would advise you to stop the “man came from monkeys” routine; it demonstrates your ignorance.


                            • #15
                              dodge it shows the ignorance of the school systems over twenty years ago, not explaining it. I would of remember that.