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Thread: predictability of theory of evolution

  1. #1 predictability of theory of evolution 
    Forum Junior xxx200's Avatar
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    friends as we know that the effectiveness of any scientific theory depends on its predictability: how accurately the theory can predict . for example: the third law of newton said: every action has its same and opposite reaction. with the help of this theory i can predict accurately the reaction of every action : in which direction the reaction will go, what the reaction can cause etc.

    the theory of heat transfer said that heat will transmit from hot object to cold object. with this theory i can predict what will happen if i put a cold object in touch of a hot object: which direction heat will go, how much heat will go etc.

    now what about predictability of theory of evolution?


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  3. #2  
    Administrator KALSTER's Avatar
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    Let's see you predict how a hand full of dice will end up.


    Disclaimer: I do not declare myself to be an expert on ANY subject. If I state something as fact that is obviously wrong, please don't hesitate to correct me. I welcome such corrections in an attempt to be as truthful and accurate as possible.

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    It predict problem is solve after species having sex and reproduce several generation.
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    Forum Professor Zwirko's Avatar
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    xx200,

    Firstly, evolution is not a law like Newton's Third that you used as an example. It's not even a straightforward theory, rather it's many connected theories. Secondly, the effectiveness of a theory does not depend on its predictive powers. It's nice to have a theory that lends itself to detailed predictions, but not a necessity. The more important question is: does evolutionary theory make predictions? Are those predictions testable? The answer is yes, btw.

    Evolution is predictable to an extent. Some argue that it's a lot more predictable than we often assume. If we could track the positions and momentum of every particle in the universe then it would probably be quite a lot more predictable.
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    Brassica oleracea Strange's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxx200 View Post
    now what about predictability of theory of evolution?
    Here are a few:
    http://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/evo_science.html
    CA210: Evolution predictions
    Without wishing to overstate my case, everything in the observable universe definitely has its origins in Northamptonshire -- Alan Moore
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    Forum Junior xxx200's Avatar
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    thanks a lot strange
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  8. #7  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    When Charles Darwin wrote his "Origin of Species" ( the first definitive book on evolution) no-one had pieced together fossils in any time order.

    Darwin made the clear cut prediction in his book that the fossil record would show a progression of living things, from older and simpler ones to more recent and complex ones. Guess what? He was right.
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    WYSIWYG Moderator marnixR's Avatar
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    another thing that strengthens a theory no end is when new evidence comes in and fits in seamlessly with the existing framework even though the original theory had initially nothing to say about the new evidence : when genetics came on the scene in the early 20th century, many saw it is the last nail in the coffin of the theory of natural selection - in the end it turned out it explained the part of Darwin's theory that he had never truly come to grips with, which is inheritance and why it works the way it does

    also, evolution DOES make predictions, just not of the type that you have in mind : when antibiotics came on the scene it was heralded as the end of all disease, whereas anyone with an understanding of how evolution through natural selection works could have predicted that resistant strains would develop given half a chance
    it would have saved a lot of heartache if the use of antibiotics had been used with more circumspection rather than the cure-all wonder drug
    "Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away." (Philip K. Dick)
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  10. #9  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    When Charles Darwin wrote his "Origin of Species" ( the first definitive book on evolution) no-one had pieced together fossils in any time order.

    Darwin made the clear cut prediction in his book that the fossil record would show a progression of living things, from older and simpler ones to more recent and complex ones. Guess what? He was right.
    That is quite simply wrong. The science of stratigraphy, initiated by William Smith, was well established and based upon distintinctive, ordered, sequential fossil assemblages.
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  11. #10  
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    Xxx200, one of the things about theories that distinguishes them from hypotheses, is that in general there is no single intuitive killer experiment that you can do to confirm predictions. This is due to the fact that the implications of the Theory are so penetrant, whereas Hypotheses tend to lend themselves to predicting behaviour in narrower, more specific fields. Despite this, the Theory of Evolution by Natural Selection is concordant with pretty well all of the evidence - be it predictive or observational - that Nsture has to offer.
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  12. #11  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    That is quite simply wrong. The science of stratigraphy, initiated by William Smith, was well established and based upon distintinctive, ordered, sequential fossil assemblages.
    Not quite.

    Stratigraphers knew that certain fossils characterised certain strata.
    However, before Darwin, no-one knew there would be a clear path from fossil to fossil.
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  13. #12  
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    friends as we know that the effectiveness of any scientific theory depends on its predictability
    Somewhat of a misnomer anyhow and I wish we'd stop teaching it that way. It's a lot more about consistency with observations, past present and future (which is a bit different), than predictive ability. Predictability only comes with the simplest of systems--most natural systems are far from simple.
    Meteorologist/Naturalist & Retired Soldier
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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by skeptic View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by John Galt View Post
    That is quite simply wrong. The science of stratigraphy, initiated by William Smith, was well established and based upon distintinctive, ordered, sequential fossil assemblages.
    Not quite.

    Stratigraphers knew that certain fossils characterised certain strata.
    However, before Darwin, no-one knew there would be a clear path from fossil to fossil.
    Sorry, skeptic, I believe you are mistaken.

    Comte de Buffon published
    Epoques de la nature in 1778, in which he described seven Earth stages or epochs, six of which were prehistoric. Fishes appeared in the third of these, land animals in the fifth, with separation of the continents and their ecologies in the sixth.

    Lamarck, in 1809, in Zoological Philosophy, took the view that life was arranged from simple to complex and that evolutionary force propels organisms up this arrangement.

    Cuvier, in 1825, in Discourse on the Revolutions of the Globe, argued for a series of catastrophes that replaced one suite of animals with another.

    Some digging will produce further examples, including, I think Erasmus Darwin. But these three, all very well known, are sufficient to falsify your assertion.

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  15. #14  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope skeptic's Avatar
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    John

    I think there is misunderstanding here.
    Darwin predicted evolution would be shown in the fossil record. That is : older fossils changing over time to become newer life forms. His prediction is notably different to the simple fact that different strata have different fossils, or even strata characterised by fish, or whatever. It is the transition from fossil to fossil that is special about Darwin's prediction.

    Interestingly, Darwin also predicted that pre-human fossils would be found in Africa. He was correct, but I cannot see how the information he had available to him would lead to that conclusion. I guess it was just the presence of chimps and gorillas in Africa, which Darwin thought were human relatives. Seems a bit inadequate as the basis for a prediction, but it turned out to be right.
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by KALSTER View Post
    Let's see you predict how a hand full of dice will end up.
    Suppose I have ten of them. One can predict that the smallest sum will be 1*10=10 and the largest sum will be 6*10=60. Specify any sum, between 10 and 60, and the probability of that sum can be calculated. Knowing the probability one can predict how many times (approximately) will that sum be found, for example, in 10,000 experiments.
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