[extropy-chat] Re Fight for Evolution?

Herb Martin HerbM at learnquick.com
Fri Mar 3 00:09:51 UTC 2006

> On 3/2/06, Pete Bertine wrote:
> <snip>
> > The ignorance of today's "educated" person is staggering. I 
> frequently ask
> > people how they think cell phones work.  A frequent reply 
> (other than who
> > cares) is that they "talk to satellites." A person in the 
> middle of a
> > concrete building thinks their phone goes straight to a 
> satellite, bounces
> > off it and "talks" to their friend's phone in the same room 
> or around the
> > world.

My students (computer networking) are usually
surprised and a bit delighted to learn why their
cell phones tend to run out of battery faster
(when not being used or under roughly constant
usage) depending on whether they are "out in the
country" or "in the city" or even "down in a 
convention center basement".

Hint:  modern cell phones conserve battery life
by adjusting power output to match conditions: 
the distance or required power to penetrate to 
the cell tower(s) in use.

Old cell phones didn't have this capability since
they lacked the modern microprocessors that do all
of this calculation and adjustment.

Battery have improved some, but much of the 
improvements in battery life, while actually
reducing the SIZE and WEIGHT of the battery
are due to such smart processing.

I doubt you can find anyone (locally) who opposes
the teaching of "evolution" who has actually READ
"Origin of Species" or a modern textbook on "Natural

Even evolutionary scientists frequently screw up
the issue by overlooking that "evolution is just
a set of facts" that is best explained by Darwin's
Theory (with modifications) of Natural Selection.

Much of the confusion comes from (typically) 
referring to the body of evidence AND the theory
under the same name, i.e., "evolution".

In Gravity we don't usually do this, but rather
talk about "Einstein's General Theory of Relativity"
and thus maintain clarity between the theory which
best explains gravity and the set of facts which lead
to that explanation.

Another confusion the anti-science crowd loves to
inject is that "evolution is not the only theory
of how life begin" when in the most general sense
evolution does not seriously attempt to explain the
ORIGIN OF LIFE, but merely the origin of species
through natural selection of differences.
In theory <grin> a theory of natural selection may
one day explain the origin of life, but the tools
of natural selection are currently designed and
tested to explain the evidence that we can trivially
see that all life on earth is related and apparently
descended from common ancestors.

The key is the difference between the evidence of
evolution, and a theory which explains that evidence
(and is extremely well tested against that evidence.)

Anyone who has bred dogs, pigeons (Darwin did), cats,
or other animals for show can DEMONSTRATE evolution,
but the mechanism is artificial rather than natural

Herb Martin

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