Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
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09-08-2015, 07:42 AM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
My suggestion is more an historian suggestion on the subject than a biologist one. If you want a good base to learn evolution, you might well want to start with on the Origin of Species by Darwin. You can find it for free on several website on internet (watch out for a few creationists ones for I have seen some editing of the book). This is why I would direct you to darwin-online.org where you can find its entire bibliography. It's a very good read, simple, well divided and cover the base of the modern theory of evolution. Of course, there is several mistakes for example, there is of course no mention of genetics, evolution is describe has very slow while it can be rather fast in some cases, but all in all, a very solid document.
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09-08-2015, 08:01 AM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
I second free thought's recommendation of the "made easy" series. I haven't rewatched it recently but I remember it being very approachable: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL3E95AF63477FB365

C0nc0rdance also has a number of good videos albeit mixed in with a number of other topics:



Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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09-08-2015, 08:05 AM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
It was astoundingly astute for being published in 1859 (and before anyone knew what genes were except an obscure monk named Mendel), but it's also fairly dry, written in Victorian-era language, and is a humongous book to read. I totally recommend Origin, but not as an introduction to evolution. I also don't like the focus on Darwin, as he was neither the first nor the most important scientist in evolutionary theory-- that's not to say his co-discovery of Natural Selection isn't important as hell, only that there are many things more important in understanding how biology works than that one item-- and is seen as such a controversial figure that they often attack his work, as you pointed out, as though he's the be-all-end-all of evolutionary theory. Even Darwin's grandfather was a fairly major evolutionary biologist, in his day, though he had as-yet no accurate mechanism for the observed changes in species over time (they were using the ideas of Jean Baptiste Lamarck, which proposed an idea that species adapted to environments during their lifetimes and passed the adaptations on to offspring... a concept which is, interestingly, being bolstered in modern times somewhat by the field of Epigenetics), and the principle concept of geological eras, that is, when and how the species had evolved over time (and which intrigued/influenced Darwin greatly) was laid down in the 1830s by Charles Lyell, in Principles of Geology.

If you really want to read an older/historical book that is considered a cornerstone of modern evolutionary biology, try Genetics and the Origin of Species (often called "The Modern Synthesis") by Ukranian/Russian expatriate Theodosius Dobzhansky.

But I still recommend you start with slightly less-heavy works, designed for laypersons. Once you gain a bit more knowledge in the field, you can crack the more technical nuts, and get into the historical versions. I definitely agree that not only does On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection contain some beautiful language, but it's amazing to read what he managed to predict with so little to go on, in his day. Truly a brilliant man. And to think, Darwin originally intended to become a preacher. Tongue

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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09-08-2015, 08:47 AM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
(09-08-2015 01:32 AM)Szuchow Wrote:  I would reccomend Why Evolution Is True by Jerry Coyne.

THIS^

That was the textbook for my evolutionary science course from college, great book, and still very relevant. Below is my book summary of it, as well as a couple other works related to that class. RS76 made some excellent recommendations as well, and I am sure others did too. I use the vestigial organs and bone formations a lot in my evolutionary debates...to me it is the hammer that disproves we were created in our current form...if we were, we would not have this evidence of our evolution from earlier forms through time inside of us. it is covered in great detail in Coyne's book.

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid674792

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid674797

http://www.thethinkingatheist.com/forum/...#pid674798

Reference:
Coyne, J. (2009) Why evolution is true. London: Penguin Books Ltd. Print.

Also check out (this was the other required textbook in my evolutionary science class):

Shubin, Neil. (2008) Your Inner Fish: A journey into the 3.4 billion year history of the human body. New York: Vintage Books. Print.

If you have any questions, please let me know. Those two books are on amazon, and relatively cheap. A must have. Also, here is an online breakdown for them:

https://ogremk5.wordpress.com/2011/05/23...er-review/

https://vialogue.wordpress.com/2012/05/0...es-review/

and two of my favorite fun sites for evolution:

http://ideonexus.com/2012/02/12/101-reas...oftheEarth

http://io9.com/the-most-unfortunate-desi...1518242787

Thumbsup

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"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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09-08-2015, 08:58 AM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2015 09:25 AM by Full Circle.)
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
Everything my forum cohorts have suggested is great. Here is a top-only nice little overview with hyperlinks that is accessible.

http://ideonexus.com/2012/02/12/101-reas...oftheEarth

PS I just saw that GwG already had included this one Dodgy...damn you GwG, damn you to hell! Weeping







Wink

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09-08-2015, 11:42 AM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
(09-08-2015 01:22 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  
(08-08-2015 11:08 PM)IntrovertedPostosuchus Wrote:  So I'm still a fairly new atheist, but I'm very interested in learning about evolution properly. It's a complex subject and I honestly don't know where to begin with it.
I've begun familarizing myself with some aspects but I am still in the dark about many related concepts.

Are there any websites, books, or YouTube channels you would recommend I check out?

I would appreciate any help, cause I like to know what I'm talking about.

G'day, welcome to the club.

Everybody else have already given great assets to use (I heartily recommend Dawkins' Greatest Show on Earth), here's my contribution:

Potholer54 has a great series called Our Origins Made Easy, which discusses a small range of topics from the Big Bang to evolution and cuts them down for easy consumption; there are three videos you'll primarily have interest in; those on Natural Selection, The Theory, and Human Evolution. I've linked the first two below. You might also want to check out Crash Course's episodes on natural selection and evolution.

(please forgive the poor audio and video; these were made waaay back when, but are still relevant)







I'll add that you can always turn to the community here if you have questions; not only do we have one or two individuals who are educated in the field, but most here are quite familiar with it.
Since others have already, I'll give my own horn a small toot and say I am myself not too shabby when it comes to the topic of evolution.
I watched both videos and I have to say I learned a lot. It's mindboggling that creationists can't see the fallacies in their argument against evolution. Dodgy


I'm happy to say I can now offer a rebuttal when the whole " If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? " comes up. Thumbsup

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09-08-2015, 12:56 PM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
I can't help but get a little sarcastic when I run into their "why are there still monkeys?" BS. My retort to it is, "Yeah! If we came from the Primordial Soup, then why is there still soup!?" (Not because it's a serious reply, but because I like watching their faces as they try to figure it out.)

GwoG - All joking aside, I never try to get that far into it, when discussing vestigals with Creationists. I simply ask them the very serious question: "If we are not a part of the rest of the animal kingdom, exactly like every other mammal on earth, then why do I have nipples?"

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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09-08-2015, 01:03 PM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
(09-08-2015 12:56 PM)RocketSurgeon76 Wrote:  I can't help but get a little sarcastic when I run into their "why are there still monkeys?" BS. My retort to it is, "Yeah! If we came from the Primordial Soup, then why is there still soup!?" (Not because it's a serious reply, but because I like watching their faces as they try to figure it out.)

GwoG - All joking aside, I never try to get that far into it, when discussing vestigals with Creationists. I simply ask them the very serious question: "If we are not a part of the rest of the animal kingdom, exactly like every other mammal on earth, then why do I have nipples?"

Hehe that reminds me of a spin I was on once; "did Adam have god have nipples, and if so why?"

Man was made in god's image, so did god have nipples? If so why? Laughat

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"Belief is so often the death of reason" - Qyburn, Game of Thrones

"The Christian community continues to exist because the conclusions of the critical study of the Bible are largely withheld from them." -Hans Conzelmann (1915-1989)
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09-08-2015, 06:53 PM
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
(08-08-2015 11:08 PM)IntrovertedPostosuchus Wrote:  So I'm still a fairly new atheist, but I'm very interested in learning about evolution properly.
Dawkin's book - "The Magic of Reality: How We Know What's Really True" is a great starter, it has an introductory chapter on evolution.

Dawkin's book - "The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution" is a good book for furthering your understanding of evolution and knowing about the evidence that is available in support.

Dawkin's book - "The Blind Watchmaker" gets more technical about the mechanisms of evolution.

In concept evolution is very simple.
It has two main aspects
1. Decent with modification
2. Natural selection

Item 1 just recognises that offspring are similar to their parents. Have a mixture of genes from one parent and from the other parent. But sometimes there are random errors, meaning that the offspring may have something "new".

Item 2 is non random. It recognises that not all offspring are fit for their environment. i.e. the faster antelope are more likely to survive when being chased by a Cheetah and hence more likely to reproduce, hence it is more likely that the next generation of antelope carry the fast genes.

Do this for 100,000 - 1,000,000 generations and you get some pretty significant changes. When a group of a species gets isolated in some way then they diverge in a different way to the other groups of the same species and over many generations they then become an entirely different species.
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09-08-2015, 07:03 PM (This post was last modified: 09-08-2015 07:13 PM by Full Circle.)
RE: Where to start with learning the theory of evolution?
(09-08-2015 11:42 AM)IntrovertedPostosuchus Wrote:  I'm happy to say I can now offer a rebuttal when the whole " If humans evolved from monkeys, why are there still monkeys? " comes up. Thumbsup

This ridiculous question from theists comes from “Baraminology: quite possibly the stupidest thing you will learn of today”.

http://rationalblogs.org/rationalwiki/20...-of-today/

In a nutshell:
"Baraminology is a Bizarro-ray version of cladistics, the way scientists actually classify species these days: everything placed in one tree of descent of all life. Baraminology postulates multiple trees, discontinuous and unrelated. Baraminologists use many of the techniques of cladistics — and some of it approaches excellent evidence for evolution, if only they could admit it to themselves.”

So where we see a single tree of life they see a “creation orchard”
[Image: Evo-BioM-Fig8-PhyloOrchard-500x400.jpg]

This is where they get their “kinds”.

Kinda ridiculous but this is their view and why they hold on to this “why are there still monkeys” argument.

Show them this...
[Image: evolution-878287.jpeg]

“I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man’s reasoning powers are not above the monkey’s.”~Mark Twain
“Ocean: A body of water occupying about two-thirds of a world made for man - who has no gills.”~ Ambrose Bierce
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