This is growing too large so let's try and narrow it down a bit.
" A more accurate description is that species who pass their genes on pass on their characteristics, which eventually leads to speciation and adaptation to environmental factors. Now, you might cry "Well, of course, that's so obvious it could never be disproven, and so it's meaningless!" But evolutionary biology alone is not meant to explain WHY life developed or what is behind the evolution (guiding force or no) so much as just describe the process by which it happened. "
OK, perhaps you don't understand what I mean by meaningless. From my perspective, a theory is meaningless if it doesn't tell you anything you didn't know without the theory. You may argue that my word choice is innappropriate, but the fact is there's nothing in evolution theory which is not simply a restatement of what has been observed about living organisms.
" And just because it doesn't explain everything does not make it meaningless. It just makes it a PIECE of the puzzle. "
What you don't understand is that the real piece of the puzzle are the facts, not the theories built on them. It's always possible to explain the same facts in different ways. That's exactly what creationists are doing by the way; that they have been unsuccessful is more a consequence of their stupidity than anything else. 'Random mutations', 'survival of the fittest', and most everything else which is at the foundation of evolution theory are fiction, not fact.
" Well, again, you have to at least give me the jist of your idea. You can't just say "I have this great idea locked away couldn't explain it easily" and convince me with that. "
I'm not trying to convince you of anything, I'm just saying I have another theory. I'm not saying my theory is better, in fact it has just as many problems as evolution has. What I have done is build a theory to explain the facts using different concepts which are just as fictional as the concepts employed in evolution.
I don't believe in theories, and that's precisely my point.
" What happened to Stafford wasn't that people misunderstood him (which, sure, they did, but that's another matter) so much as it was that he couldn't fend off Yanniru, the Warrior King. "
I find it ironic that everyone "knew" that Dick was wrong and were just waiting for someone competent on the matter to find the error. Now that Yanniru found it life can go back to what it was before. I think it's more likely than not that Dick failed at his attempt to solve the fundamental problem he was talking about, but that doesn't make the problem less real or relevant. This is what you guys don't understand, and that is not another matter.
" No true scientist dismisses a theory out of hand. But if you're saying that scientists discard theories that have insufficient evidence or supportive arguments, then well they should. "
This sounds a lot like Harv. "Scientists are Good people whose one and only commitment is to the truth and nothing but the truth"
I always took it that scientists are people like you and me, full of biases, shortcomings, personal interests, and some commitment to the truth but only as long as it doesn't get in the way of their paycheck.
" And if you're referring to investigating consciousness, well, that's damn tricky. How would you go about objectively investigating a subjective phenomenon? "
I have no clue! (actually I do but that is beside the point)
I also have no clue how to go about investigating the birth of the universe, what's happening in galaxies billions of light years away from us, how to measure quarks, how to tell the temperature inside the sun... hope you get the idea.
" I'll take a look. Got any sites with good summaries of his ideas? "
" scientists (and me, very much so) view fundamentalism as a serious and dangerous threat to politics and science in general. I'm worried about fending them off for political purposes, not scientific ones. Fundies scare the hell out of me. I thought it was just a fringe group, but after half the people I talked to about religion my first year of college were fundies, I think there's a LOT more of them out there than we think. "
Here I have to decline debating as this issue is almost exclusively a matter for the American people. I don't see it in Canada, never saw it in South America, its unheard of in the Far East, to mention three places I'm familiar with. Europe also, as far as I know, is free from it. I never understood the American attitude toward religion, both pro and con, and I don't think I ever will.
" I am of the opinion that there is no platonic ideal out there fundamentally seperating a bird or a rock, or organic matter from inorganic. If you were to trace the development of life back to its origins, I suspect that there is no one point where you can say "okay, this is alive, but this isn't." I consider the distinction purely human. After all, where do you draw the line, even in the context of your own body? Are you alive/conscious? Is your liver alive? Is a liver cell? A DNA strand? A nucleotide? An amino acid? A complex carbon molecule? A proton? Why would a single celled organism have a consciousness to its own, and yet a cell in your liver would not? "
Isn't it wonderful to realize how useless thinking about those issues is? If you really squeeze your knowledge and try to make sense of everything you know, sooner or later you will realize the difference between what is really known (aka the past) and what is just a creature of your imagination (theories, explanations, concepts, predictions, etc.)
Welcome to the club!