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Teach the controversy | 102 comments | Create New Account
Comments belong to whoever posts them. Please notify us of inappropriate comments.
Teach the controversy
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, June 11 2012 @ 11:55 PM EDT
Again, to ascribe randomness _of a particular event_ is to
know claim to know something for certain. We don't know for
certain that a given quantum fluctuation was random; in
fact, we have quantum mechanics precisely _because_ it was
discovered that below particular thresholds of size and time
characteristics that can be straightforwardly measured and
ascribed at larger scales are unmeasurable and unknowable.
Of course, if observations of a large population of such
events satisfy criteria of randomness that we agree on you
win.

A joker in the deck is that debating whether the genetic
mutations that play in Evolution are _actually random_ or,
evaluated one by one, due to some ultimately discoverable
cause--a ding from ionizing radiation? invasion by virus?
chemical stress?--is practically pointless unless statistics
for large populations of similar events allow us the luxury
of prescription, as in "exposure to ionizing radiation
increases one's chances of developing cancer, so go easy on
the CAT scans." Genetic mutations _do_ occur, for whatever
reason; and selection does indeed operate when
characteristics ascribable to genetics operate to favor or
disfavor the survival of individuals to the point of
parenthood.

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

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