Do you believe evolution happened and is happening? Do you think a higher power guides evolution or is it random?
It is real; however I cannot tick the evolution happens box because of the "its random" part, it is not random since the process it operates by is natural selection which negates the randomness.
On the higher power question, I do not think a higher power guides it, nor do I think that one set it in motion and left it running on autopilot- I could be wrong, but Occam's razor applies here. This part of the question will fall under the "There is not enough information to know for sure", but I will not work under the assumption that there is a higher power behind it since there is nothing that warrants taking that position, and I would not bet on the higher power line regardless of the odds offered me (unless one was to really stretch definitions and consider natural processes like natural selection itself a "higher power")
I will go with the unavailable "other" option since none of the above really fit for me.
Last edited by marduc; 08-18-11 at 05:15 PM.
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Evolution happens, it's clear that the earth's environment and organisms upon it have changed over time. Is it random? Maybe not purely, it could very well be response to environmental stress and pressure which causes mutation. Not all the mechanisms behind evolution are understood yet. I don't think there is a higher power guiding it because...well I don't believe in a higher power at all. It seems to me that a natural cause is well more probable than an supernatural cause.
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Originally Posted by A. de Tocqueville
Well, this is quite an interesting question, and one that I find difficult to answer.
Some of it depends on how one defines "evolution" per se.
I believe God was and is in control of the creation and development of life, whatever the details might have been. Was some sort of evolution, Divinely guided, involved in some sense? Perhaps. I'm tempted to click "Evolution happens and is guided by a higher power" on that basis.
Yet at the same time, I don't know that evolution is really proven beyond reasonable doubt. Humanity has not yet scientifically observed one species genetically transform into another substantially different species with which it cannot interbreed... only various fossils can be pointed to that supposedly show transitions from this to that... say Eohippus to Mesohippus to modern horses. Of the transitions themselves we remain lacking in direct observation, and in my opinion a number of questions remain unanswered about such transitions.
Evolution is science's current "working theory" on how life developed, much like Relativity is the working theory on the interrelationship between matter, energy, velocity, and time... until perhaps it is modified, or replaced, by a better theory.
I wasn't there when Earth was born or when life first squiggled out of the mud. Can I really KNOW what happened? Not entirely; not with certainty. I can look at the evidence and the theories and speculate, but barring that infinitely-improbable time machine I can't KNOW.
I can take evolution as a natural phenomenon, or a Divinely guided one; or I can accept Genesis literally, or metaphorically... or try to blend them both.
The only thing I can say for certain that I believe is that God was in charge of Creation from start to finish, whatever the details. The rest I have to take with a question mark.
If we're talking about biology, and the context is purely scientific, I'm capable of entertaining the idea of Evolution as a working theory, without necessarily accepting it. When speaking of religious matters, I am likely to talk of the Genesis account as if it were literal... even though I allow for the possibility that it was a metaphorical explanation for something the people of the time were incapable of comprehending.
When all is said and done, I suppose I belong in the "I don't know" category... not from lack of interest or declining to think about it, but simply in acknowlegement that I think there are things we don't understand about the genesis of life on Earth, regardless of which viewpoint one takes.
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I don't believe in the theory of evolution and as of now I do not believe it was guided by a higher power. There is no solid evidence for evolution, no experimental evidence, and mainly speculation and theory.
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Well...see, I didn't see the option I wanted. Evolution happens, but I don't think it's necessarily "random". That isn't to say there's a higher power pulling the strings and turning the knobs. I think, instead, that evolution occurs on the basis of necessity. Adaptations and species diversity occur in response to environmental needs.
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Science, and scientists, also have not "scientifically observed" mountain ranges being formed. The fact that we cannot observe over the span of one human life the process under question is not a valid basis upon which to declare a hypothesis falsified.Humanity has not yet scientifically observed one species genetically transform into another substantially different species with which it cannot interbreed... only various fossils can be pointed to that supposedly show transitions from this to that... say Eohippus to Mesohippus to modern horses. Of the transitions themselves we remain lacking in direct observation, and in my opinion a number of questions remain unanswered about such transitions.
We have plenty of evidence of the speciation in progress.
A demonstration of how small changes can lead to species-level differences is provided by ring species, in which two reproductively isolated forms are connected by a chain of intermediate populations. We review proposed cases of ring species and the insights they provide into speciation. Ring species have been viewed both as illustrations of the history of divergence of two species from their common ancestor and as demonstrations that speciation can occur in spite of gene flow between the diverging forms. Theoretical models predict that speciation with gene flow can occur when there is divergent ecological selection, and geographical differentiation increases the likelihood of speciation. Thus ring species are ideal systems for research into the role of both ecological and geographical differentiation in speciation, but few examples have been studied in detail. The Greenish warbler is a ring species in which two northward expansions around the Tibetan plateau have been accompanied by parallel evolution in morphology, ecology, and song length and complexity. However, songs have diverged in structure, resulting in a lack of recognition where the reproductively isolated forms come into contact in Siberia. Our analysis suggests that these differences could have arisen even with gene flow, and that parallel rather than divergent ecological changes have led to divergence in sexually selected traits and subsequent speciation.
The evolutionary divergence of a single species into two has never been directly observed in nature, primarily because speciation can take a long time to occur. A ring species, in which a chain of intergrading populations encircles a barrier and the terminal forms coexist without interbreeding, provides a situation in which variation in space can be used to infer variation in time. Here we reconstruct the pathway to speciation between two reproductively isolated forms of greenish warbler (Phylloscopus trochiloides). These two taxa do not interbreed in central Siberia but are connected by a long chain of intergrading populations encircling the Tibetan Plateau to the south. Molecular data and climatic history imply that the reproductively isolated taxa came into contact following expansions northward around the western and eastern sides of the plateau. Parallel selection pressures for increased song complexity during the northward expansions have been accompanied by divergence in song structure. Playback experiments show that the two Siberian forms do not recognize each other's songs. Our results show how gradual divergence in a trait involved in mate choice leads to the formation of new species.