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How confident are you in your knowledge of evolution?

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:05 AM
Original message
Poll question: How confident are you in your knowledge of evolution?
If someone were to ask you to tell them all about evolution, do you have a good idea of what you would tell them? Do you feel you have a solid grounding in what evolution is, how it came to be accepted as the best explanation for the origin of species, what its relationship with Mendelian genetics is, what molecular biology has meant to current evolutionary thought?

Sorry, polls are turned off at Level 3.

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Autonomy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:07 AM
Response to Original message
1. Above average
but since the "average" person thinks evolution means "we came from monkeys", the above average bar is not set very high.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:08 AM
Response to Reply #1
2. Ain't that the truth!
:evilfrown:
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:12 AM
Response to Original message
3. this poll is so subjective
you need to find some online quiz that would actually test it.
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:18 AM
Response to Reply #3
6. It's meant to be subjective.
It's not a scientific poll, for one thing, and it's not a test about evolution. It's a request for an assessment of one's confidence in one's knowledge. I'm assuming DUers are better versed than average in evolution, but as so many of us are products of the American school system, I'm guessing not many of us had a solid education in evolution.

I've been reading about almost nothing BUT evolution this summer, but I can't say I'm totally confident in my understanding of evolution. I'm not a biologist and I've gotten a very late start on trying to get a firm grasp of the subject. So I rate myself (with some confidence) as above average in my understading of the subject. A few years ago, I would probably have had to say "I need a refresher course."
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hfojvt Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:42 AM
Response to Reply #6
15. One thing is that some of us are a little bit old
back in the day, I aced my biology class. I mean I was scoring 100% on almost every exam and over 95% on the others. I took my high school's biochemistry course and got the highest grade on that final, but that has been 25 years ago and that knowledge has not really been relevant in my life. I did not take a single biology class in college except the one about race.

Still would a refresher course do anything except help me in Jeopardy and Trivial Pursuit or maybe some on-line arguments? I have been reading a HS biology text for that.

Mainly, I wanted the ego boost of taking a quiz and doing well at it, like I used to long ago and far away.
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mcctatas Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:14 AM
Response to Original message
4. WHAT?????
you herectical heathen, everyone knows God created man out of dirt and woman from his rib!!! :rofl:
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DemInDistress Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:16 AM
Response to Original message
5. I believe we are made from monkeys...
It took what a couple of million years,more?Neanderthal Cromagians..Homo erectus.Homo-sapiens..today's Human kind...Something like that still there's no doubt we evolved..coincidentally,chimpanzes DNA has 98% of what human DNA is today...I don't buy into God created Earth in 6 days,made Adam out of Clay,Eve from a rib and they lived in the Garden of Eden until they ate from the Tree of Knowledge..THEN A SNAKE CAME BY AND TEMPTED EVE...GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!
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Autonomy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:25 AM
Response to Reply #5
8. Literally speaking
it's a virtual impossibilty that humans evolved from a species that could be considered a "monkey". More likely, from my understanding, all living primates branched off from some early proto-primate.

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number_nine Donating Member (12 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:19 AM
Response to Original message
7. Compared to my obsessive-compulsive creationist co-worker, I know nothing!
Based on my upbringing, friends, acquaintances and family, until a few years ago, I though evolution was a generally accepted theory. I used to think that all the creationism versus evolution debates were relatively small, isolated discussions.

My naivety was rudely exposed, shortly after college, and working my first "real" job. A co-worker and I were eating lunch. At the time, I knew my co-worker was a hardcore right winger, but I didn't know he was also obscenely fundamentalist. He was ranting about liberals views on global warming, how it's exaggerated, etc. Not wanting to argue, and content to give him the benefit of the doubt, I said, "Well, I'm sure the earth's temperature has had some wild fluctuations. It's what, four billion years old?"

Suddenly, he got pretty grim, and took on a completely different tone. "Well, if you believe in evolution, sure, but realistically, geological evidence more strongly supports a 30,000 year-old earth."

I didn't say anything, but he must have been able to read the look of shock on my face. I mean, I'd never met *anyone* who really believed in creationism.

My friend must have felt it necessary to utterly defend his beliefs, and went on a 30 minute (literally) diatribe explaining all the holes in the theory of evolution. And how the fossil record better supports the 30,000 year-old earth idea. And how carbon dating is completely inaccurate. Seriously, I didn't even have a chance to say anything; he talked nonstop for half an hour.

What do you say to something like that? How do you have an intelligent conversation with somebody who clearly spends way too much time reading (and memorizing) right-wing talking points, and the "science" that backs up creationism (or intelligent design or whatever they're calling it this week)?

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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:28 AM
Response to Reply #7
9. I've never met anyone in person like that
though I've had a few encounters with that sort on the Net. That's barely a nineteenth century--more like a medieval--mindset. It's very Lutheran, especially, to think scripture and commentary on scripture is more trustworthy on the subject of the age of the universe than the universe itself.

You've hit on why scientists try not to get into debates with creationists/IDers. Scientists are open to honest argument and examination of the evidence, so they don't come prepared for the curve balls creationists are very practiced at pitching. They're steeped in the lore--and they're very determined to appear to win the debate at any cost.

I did once almost get reluctantly pulled into a "debate" with a person who was adamantly opposed to stem cell research and who used a very similar method of just pouring on--and on and on--the "facts" against it. They just wear you down with words!

Welcome to DU, by the way! :toast:
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Autonomy Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:30 AM
Response to Reply #7
11. I'd like to know
on what day God created hominids and premodern humans.
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Blue-Jay Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:30 AM
Response to Original message
10. "Ook Ook!"
"Z'at you, Uncle Monk?"
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EnfantTerrible Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:32 AM
Response to Original message
12. About average
I think... What is average anyway?
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BurtWorm Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 09:35 AM
Response to Reply #12
19. On evolution? Among Americans?
I think average is unspeakably low.
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EnfantTerrible Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 11:02 AM
Response to Reply #19
20. Then I MUST be above average...
Edited on Wed Aug-24-05 11:03 AM by EnfantTerrible
Wouldn't you say? Please say it... please...

I mean we have a chimp in the White House! How much more evidence does one need?
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Cleita Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:41 AM
Response to Original message
13. Between high school biology and college zoology courses
in the early sixties, I think I could use a refresher course. Back then they still believed there was a missing link. This all changed with Leakey's discoveries in the Olduvai Gorge, so I think what I was taught and what has "evolved" is different.
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longship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:42 AM
Response to Original message
14. Above average with respect to biological side.
But on the ancillary theories from physics... well, that's my field.

That's the problem with all the creationists claims. In order to deny evolution, they have to tear down so many other ancillary theories that the entire body of science is ripped apart.

Questions that so-called ID scientists will never be able to answer:

What physical barrier prevents micro-evolutionary change from accumulating to macro-evolutionary change? What are the characteristics of such a barrier? What kind of experiment can be done to probe such a barrier?
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aePrime Donating Member (676 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:52 AM
Response to Original message
16. My research is evolutionary computation
I'm a computer science graduate student.

So I have a pretty good understanding of it biologically, but I have a great understanding of it concept-wise. I've seen it in action thousands of times! Of course, we're evolving solutions to problems, not really organisms, but we do follow several evolutionary theories.

And guess what -- it works.
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TahitiNut Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 12:59 AM
Response to Original message
17. DU is now Lake Wobegon ... where all the folks are above average.
Edited on Wed Aug-24-05 01:00 AM by TahitiNut
:silly:

In the case of evolution, however, it's clear that the average is below the median ... so it's not so bad.
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AlienGirl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Aug-24-05 01:10 AM
Response to Original message
18. Above average, I think
Evolutionary biology is one of my favorite reading subjects; I think I've read every word Stephen Jay Gould ever wrote. I buy Discover and Scientific American and like to read websites about avian and equine evolution (in particular) for fun. (I want a teratorn. And an eohippus. They'd have to be kept apart.)

Tucker
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