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  #1  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:38 PM
gitfiddle gitfiddle is offline
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What inaccurate or flawed history, science, etc. lessons was I taught in school as a kid?

I'm talking about pre-college. I'd like to know what children were being taught from the mid-eighties to late-nineties that we now know/strongly believe to be wrong.

I'm not sure of specific examples to give for what I'm looking for, so I'll give some hypotheticals. I remember learning in Chemistry that heavy metals in the body could never be removed because heavy metals don't bond with any other elements, so say now we've learned that there are ways to coax them into bonding with other elements, and those opened the prospect of getting them out of the body.

The only example that comes to mind is one that I'm pretty sure I didn't learn much about in school to begin with, but it's the fact that El Cid might have actually been Muslim and that the whole history celebrated in Spain might have been constructed after the fact (badly paraphrased here, but discussed in this documentary about 65 minutes in)
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  #2  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:50 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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giraffes have long necks so they can eat leaves at the top of trees. there was supposed to be less competition for the leaves in the treetops.
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  #3  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:51 PM
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One of the biggest science myths taught to kids is that glass is a liquid, but just flows very, very slowly, and we can prove this because really old glass is thicker at the bottom of the window pane.

Calling glass a "liquid" is a GROSS over-simplification of it's material properities. It's an amorphous solid, which basically means that it's a solid that lacks a firm crystalline structure. Old glass is thicker at the bottom because of manufactoring techniques.
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Old 05-18-2010, 02:56 PM
TimeWinder TimeWinder is online now
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Originally Posted by bouv View Post
One of the biggest science myths taught to kids is that glass is a liquid, but just flows very, very slowly, and we can prove this because really old glass is thicker at the bottom of the window pane.
And that we don't know how bumblebees fly, that water swirls down drains in opposite directions in different hemispheres, that frogs won't jump out of boiling water if you turn the heat up slowly enough, and a jillion other "strange but true" facts that are strangely false.
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  #5  
Old 05-18-2010, 02:58 PM
DCnDC DCnDC is online now
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In early elementary school you learn that Columbus sailed the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and discovers America. Then many years later, from the same school system, you learn that he actually never set foot in North America proper, but rather what he "discovered" was Hispaniola and Cuba.
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  #6  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:00 PM
Palo Verde Palo Verde is offline
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giraffes have long necks so they can eat leaves at the top of trees. there was supposed to be less competition for the leaves in the treetops.
That isn't true? Why do they have long necks then?
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  #7  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:07 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
giraffes have long necks so they can eat leaves at the top of trees. there was supposed to be less competition for the leaves in the treetops.
Is that a fact or a hypothesis? This article (PDF) does suggest that the long neck results from sexual selection rather than feeding competition, but it the case it makes hardly seems conclusive. It does not convince me, anyway. (On the other hand, it is quite old, so maybe there is more evidence by now.)
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  #8  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:12 PM
gitfiddle gitfiddle is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
In early elementary school you learn that Columbus sailed the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and discovers America. Then many years later, from the same school system, you learn that he actually never set foot in North America proper, but rather what he "discovered" was Hispaniola and Cuba.
I think when I was a kid, we were also just starting to learn that the Vikings came to North America long before Columbus.
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  #9  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:21 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Is that a fact or a hypothesis? This article (PDF) does suggest that the long neck results from sexual selection rather than feeding competition, but it the case it makes hardly seems conclusive. It does not convince me, anyway. (On the other hand, it is quite old, so maybe there is more evidence by now.)
I have seen video of giraffes having neck fights, like they were going at eachother with whiffle bats.
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  #10  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:35 PM
johnpost johnpost is online now
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Originally Posted by bouv View Post
One of the biggest science myths taught to kids is that glass is a liquid, but just flows very, very slowly, and we can prove this because really old glass is thicker at the bottom of the window pane.

Calling glass a "liquid" is a GROSS over-simplification of it's material properities. It's an amorphous solid, which basically means that it's a solid that lacks a firm crystalline structure. Old glass is thicker at the bottom because of manufactoring techniques.
and the glazers installed it that way.
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  #11  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:35 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
In early elementary school you learn that Columbus sailed the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and discovers America. Then many years later, from the same school system, you learn that he actually never set foot in North America proper, but rather what he "discovered" was Hispaniola and Cuba.
We were taught that Columbus was unusual in thinking that the world was not flat. Few, if any, educated people at the time believed that.
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  #12  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:36 PM
sqweels sqweels is offline
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Originally Posted by DCnDC View Post
In early elementary school you learn that Columbus sailed the Nina, Pinta and Santa Maria and discovers America. Then many years later, from the same school system, you learn that he actually never set foot in North America proper, but rather what he "discovered" was Hispaniola and Cuba.
Well what were the names of the ships then?

The fact the Colombus never set foot on the mainland is less important than the fact that everyone in Europe found out about all these "new" lands as a direct result of his voyage.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gitfiddle
I think when I was a kid, we were also just starting to learn that the Vikings came to North America long before Columbus.
They "came to" NA, but they didn't see to it that the knowledge became widely disseminated. (They left behind clues in the form sagas that Colombus then heard, so they get partial credit.)
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  #13  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:43 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by Johnny Angel View Post
I have seen video of giraffes having neck fights, like they were going at eachother with whiffle bats.
That is as may be, but it is hardly proof that that is the main reason why they evolved long necks. Humans use their fists for hitting each other, and even for fighting over potential mates, but I hardly think that is the reason why we evolved hands.
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  #14  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:46 PM
Chessic Sense Chessic Sense is offline
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We were taught that Columbus was unusual in thinking that the world was not flat. Few, if any, educated people at the time believed that.
I just don't understand how this myth perpetuates. How could anyone living near mountains or the coastline not realize that the mountain/coast disappears over the edge of the earth? And that at a certain point, you can see the ship's sail but not its hull? Even in third grade, when the teacher said "They thought the earth was flat", I was like "Not a chance they did."

Anyway, what about the Bohr model? That was defeated in the 1920s but still taught.

Or how about the "fact" that lactic acid causes muscle soreness?
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  #15  
Old 05-18-2010, 03:55 PM
Johnny Angel Johnny Angel is offline
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
That is as may be, but it is hardly proof that that is the main reason why they evolved long necks. Humans use their fists for hitting each other, and even for fighting over potential mates, but I hardly think that is the reason why we evolved hands.
Wait, I thought we were cynically writing off the "eat more leaves" theory.
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  #16  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:05 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Might I add:
Galileo was persecuted by Church authorities because they thought his views about the solar system were dangerous to Christian faith (or contradicted the Bible, or were new and scary, or because they were not comfortable with the implication of a bigger universe), and he courageously stood up to them because of his love of the truth.
Note: I am not denying the fact that Galileo was tried and punished (though rather leniently, by the standards of the time), ostensibly because of his astronomical views; I am denying the motivations that are usually ascribed on each side.
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  #17  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:13 PM
CalMeacham CalMeacham is offline
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I was taught some phenomenally stupid stuff in grade school -- but it was, I think, the teacher's fault, not institutionalized error, as most of these are. If you want a good rundown of flawed history, read Richard Schenkman's books, especially Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of American History, I Love Paul Revere, Whether he Rode or Not, and Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of World History. I practically guarantee that you'll find something you learned in school that's been overturned, or at least seriously questioned.

Schenkman doesn't have an ideological axe to grind, unlike Loewen, so there's not much to dispute there. He combed through history journals and books to find these facts, and presents them without a lot of detail, but gives you the references. It's like a historian's version of Jearl D. Walker's The Flying Circus of Physics, which I also recommend in this regard -- lotsa refined interpretation of physics, showing things they got wrong in school.
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  #18  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:18 PM
74westy 74westy is offline
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Airplanes fly because of "the low pressure created on the top of an airfoil".

I also may have been taught that we only use 90% of our brains but it's hard to remember that long ago.

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Originally Posted by Chessic Sense View Post
Or how about the "fact" that lactic acid causes muscle soreness?
Awesome! More ignorance fought!
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  #19  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:42 PM
Dahu Dahu is offline
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Originally Posted by sqweels View Post
(They left behind clues in the form sagas that Colombus then heard, so they get partial credit.)
Is this true (the bit about Columbus knowing of the sagas)? Got a cite?
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  #20  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:44 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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74westy beat me to the punch with airfoils.

Atoms are so small that we will never be able to take pictures of them.

If you duck under your desk it will protect you from a nuclear bomb.

Computer processors will never run faster than about 40 MHz. There's just too many physical limitations that will prevent us from ever making them faster than that.

The U.S. and the Soviet Union both fought against the Germans in WWII, but the Soviet's contribution was fairly minor compared to the whole war. The U.S. had the best tanks in the war too.

The U.S. Civil War was all about slavery.

The founding fathers all agreed on what the government of the U.S. should be like, and they didn't have politics like we do now back then.

You should have seen the looks on my Canadian cousin's faces when I explained to them what the war of 1812 was all about.

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The fact the Colombus never set foot on the mainland is less important than the fact that everyone in Europe found out about all these "new" lands as a direct result of his voyage.
Columbus was a lucky moron, not a great explorer. The reason other folks didn't want to try what he did was that they more correctly calculated the size of the earth and realized they wouldn't make it around. Columbus totally whiffed the calculation and figured that the earth was only about half the size that it is. Fortunately for him, there happened to be land over here that no one knew about, otherwise the bumbling moron would have gotten his entire expedition killed. American Indians are still misnamed as Indians to this day because the freaking moron didn't even have a clue where he was.

And yet the history books still teach what a great explorer he was and how he was somehow smarter than everyone else.
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  #21  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:50 PM
Morbo Morbo is online now
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I distinctly recall seeing a film in grade school with the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner together, and the Indians introducing popcorn to the Pilgrims.

I remember thinking it was shenanigans while watching it.
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  #22  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:52 PM
engineer_comp_geek engineer_comp_geek is online now
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I distinctly recall seeing a film in grade school with the Pilgrims and Indians sitting down to Thanksgiving dinner together, and the Indians introducing popcorn to the Pilgrims.
That sounds familiar. I think I may have seen the same film.
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  #23  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:58 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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Galileo was persecuted by Church authorities because they thought his views about the solar system were dangerous to Christian faith (or contradicted the Bible, or were new and scary, or because they were not comfortable with the implication of a bigger universe), and he courageously stood up to them because of his love of the truth.
The real truth is, the primary reason Galileo got persecuted is that he was one of the biggest assholes in history. Don't get me wrong, he was a great scientist and this doesn't diminish that, but he seemed to take a positive delight in pissing folks off. Especially folks with a lot of power.
Quote:
The U.S. Civil War was all about slavery.
A lot of folks lately have been trying to push the idea that it was about states' rights, but in actual fact, the only specific states' right that was relevant was the right to slavery. So, that one wasn't flawed.

My favorite example: Every single elementary school science book will talk about the "Six Simple Machines". Except of the six they list, only three are really distinct, and I could come up with about a dozen other distinct simple machines that they don't list. The wheel is just a special case of a level, and the wedge and the screw are just special cases of the inclined plane, but the hydraulic ram, for instance, can be constructed without use of any of the other simple machines.
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  #24  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:58 PM
Meme Chose Meme Chose is online now
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I started learning in the '50s, and nearly everything i've learned has had to be scrapped and replaced, or at least revised. It's no wonder old folks get confused.
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  #25  
Old 05-18-2010, 04:59 PM
John Mace John Mace is offline
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I also may have been taught that we only use 90% of our brains but it's hard to remember that long ago.
I think that was more of an urban legend than anything taught in schools. And I'm pretty sure it was that we use only 10% of our brainpower (whatever "brainpower" is).
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  #26  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:12 PM
jayjay jayjay is offline
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I have seen video of giraffes having neck fights, like they were going at eachother with whiffle bats.
Or pool noodles.
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  #27  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:14 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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Originally Posted by njtt View Post
Is that a fact or a hypothesis? This article (PDF) does suggest that the long neck results from sexual selection rather than feeding competition, but it the case it makes hardly seems conclusive. It does not convince me, anyway. (On the other hand, it is quite old, so maybe there is more evidence by now.)
i sometimes say that evolution shouldn't be taught in schools because its invariably taught wrong (i'm talking about pre-college institutions). giraffes have long necks because of a long series of accidents which allowed pre-modern-giraffes (pmg) with genetic mutations (or possibly variations) that produce long necks to mate with each other and survive through generations. that's pretty much how all evolution works (based on the known evidence).

the article you cite is kind of pointless because sexual selection is a primary driving force in evolution (where sex is involved). it doesn't reinforce the treetop feeding concept, but does continue to imply that darwin supported that concept.

here is another good reference:
http://www.scq.ubc.ca/the-giraffe-a-...nary-theories/

the stephen jay gould piece it cites is quite good as well.

things i've noted over time:
1) not much evidence to support the idea that there is more available food in the treetops. i've seen studies that refuted the claim, though i can't confirm or deny the conclusions.

2) how did the pmg's know how to mate with taller pmgs so that their offspring would have longer necks and more available food? if they are so precognizant maybe they just wanted to be displayed in zoos one day.

3) pmg's necks did not just 'get longer'. there were numerous adaptations necessary for modern giraffe physiology.

4) everybody seems to attribute this to darwin, but he didn't make that claim. find the gould piece, or darwin;s works for a discussion of giraffe tails.

5) not much time is spent on the 'survival of the fittest' argument. giraffes can see predators from a long way off.
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  #28  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:35 PM
Jet Jaguar Jet Jaguar is offline
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When I was a kid, we were taught that sauropods were too heavy to walk on land and must have lived submerged in water. Turns out that their legs were adapted to walking on dry land after all, and in fact the water pressure at the depth required to support their weight would've made breathing impossible.
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  #29  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:37 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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item 4) above:

after posting, i realized i hadn't looked into this since the pre-internet days. the quotations from darwin i've found don't have full context, but maybe darwin did make this claim after all.
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  #30  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:42 PM
EdwardLost EdwardLost is offline
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The things mentioned fall into different categories:
(1) simplifications - stuff they taught you because you didn't know enough to learn the truth and it would take too long to teach you (Bohr atom, Newtonian mechanics),
(2) legends - stuff your teachers thought was true but any good scientist or historian would have known was false (Columbus discovered America),
(3) politically correct stuff,
(4) old news that hadn't made it into the text books,
(5) theories that were dogma at the time but later fell into minority status,
(6) discoveries - stuff that no one at all knew about.

I think the OP wants (4), (5), and (6).

I was a 70's kid so I don't know if these all applied in the '80s/'90s:

The moon formed near or was captured by the earth.
Megafauna died from the ice age (or its ending).
Memory is stored in RNA.
90% (or whatever) of DNA is junk.
The five kingdoms of life.
Mayan script is unreadable.
Jupiter has 12 moons, only Saturn has rings, etc.
Four-color theorem, Fermat's last theorem unproved.

Last edited by EdwardLost; 05-18-2010 at 05:45 PM..
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  #31  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:46 PM
Hyperelastic Hyperelastic is offline
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My favorite example: Every single elementary school science book will talk about the "Six Simple Machines". Except of the six they list, only three are really distinct, and I could come up with about a dozen other distinct simple machines that they don't list. The wheel is just a special case of a level, and the wedge and the screw are just special cases of the inclined plane, but the hydraulic ram, for instance, can be constructed without use of any of the other simple machines.
This one has always bugged me, too. The "simple machines" concept is not used anywhere in mechanical engineering. It's not as if you sit down to design a robotic manipulator and say OK, let me arrange these simple machines so as to result in a manipulator.
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  #32  
Old 05-18-2010, 05:59 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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The real truth is, the primary reason Galileo got persecuted is that he was one of the biggest assholes in history. Don't get me wrong, he was a great scientist and this doesn't diminish that, but he seemed to take a positive delight in pissing folks off. Especially folks with a lot of power.
I am not sure I would go as far as that (Galileo was arrogant, but he did have a lot to be arrogant about), and pope Urban seems to me to have behaved a good deal worse than Galileo did, effectively prosecuting Galileo for publishing a book that he (Urban) had already given personal permission to be published.

I strongly suspect (but can't prove) that the reason Galileo wanted to publish the Dialogue on the Two Great World Systems (the book for which he was prosecuted) when he did was to try and impress the pope, a personal friend with a reputation was as a great progressive and modernizer, and who had supported Galileo in other disputes with the Aristotelian establishment. It might have worked if it had not turned out to be a politically very inopportune moment at which the pope needed to appease his more conservative enemies in the Curia.
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  #33  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:06 PM
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While I was TA-ing a freshman physics-for-non-majors course, I remember thinking that almost everything we were teaching was either simplified or "old" (classical) physics. One exception was, as learned in elementary school, that heat transfer is by conduction, convection, or radiation. Knowing quantum mechanics gives you insight into the details but doesn't show it to be untrue.
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  #34  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:14 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
i sometimes say that evolution shouldn't be taught in schools because its invariably taught wrong (i'm talking about pre-college institutions). giraffes have long necks because of a long series of accidents which allowed pre-modern-giraffes (pmg) with genetic mutations (or possibly variations) that produce long necks to mate with each other and survive through generations. that's pretty much how all evolution works (based on the known evidence).
What is your point? Both the "food in the treetops" theory and the sexual selection theory (or both) are consistent with that.

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1) not much evidence to support the idea that there is more available food in the treetops. i've seen studies that refuted the claim, though i can't confirm or deny the conclusions.
I think it is pretty obvious that there is going to be food available to giraffes in the treetops, because they will not be competing with other, shorter necked animals for it.

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2) how did the pmg's know how to mate with taller pmgs so that their offspring would have longer necks and more available food? if they are so precognizant maybe they just wanted to be displayed in zoos one day.
Hmm, I think maybe it is you who doesn't understand how evolution works, mate.

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3) pmg's necks did not just 'get longer'. there were numerous adaptations necessary for modern giraffe physiology.
So?

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5) not much time is spent on the 'survival of the fittest' argument. giraffes can see predators from a long way off.
That may actually be a good point.
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  #35  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:15 PM
california jobcase california jobcase is online now
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We were taught in elementary school that the Panama canal had locks to prevent the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from flooding each other somehow, creating mayhem and chaos. In reality, the canal connects the Carribean to the Gulf of Panama, and the locks allowed for much less digging. IIRC, the French gave up on a sea-level canal there some years earlier.
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  #36  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:40 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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What is your point? Both the "food in the treetops" theory and the sexual selection theory (or both) are consistent with that.
the key word in may original statement is 'so'. evolution doesn't happen to achieve some goal.

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I think it is pretty obvious that there is going to be food available to giraffes in the treetops, because they will not be competing with other, shorter necked animals for it.
there are many other animals that can climb and fly to the treetops, and there is less food available further away from the ground.

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Hmm, I think maybe it is you who doesn't understand how evolution works, mate.
see my initial response. evolutionary adaptations don't occur to serve some future need.

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So?
actually that point is kind of a catch-all, so i take your point. i guess i'm looking at the complexity of evolution and the difficulty in attributing the numerous changes that brought the giraffe to its current form to any particular reason.

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That may actually be a good point.
thank you. it goes back to the difficulty in attributing any evolutionary change to a simple benefit.
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  #37  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:44 PM
Chronos Chronos is online now
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I am not sure I would go as far as that (Galileo was arrogant, but he did have a lot to be arrogant about), and pope Urban seems to me to have behaved a good deal worse than Galileo did, effectively prosecuting Galileo for publishing a book that he (Urban) had already given personal permission to be published.
Except that the book that Galileo did publish wasn't really the book that Urban had given him permission to publish. Galileo asked for and got permission to publish a book describing the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems, but he only presented the strengths of the Copernican system and the weaknesses of the Ptolemaic system. Plus, the defender of the Ptolemaic system in the book is a thinly-disguised caricature of Urban himself, and is named "Simplicio".
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  #38  
Old 05-18-2010, 06:45 PM
TriPolar TriPolar is online now
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We were taught in elementary school that the Panama canal had locks to prevent the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from flooding each other somehow, creating mayhem and chaos. In reality, the canal connects the Carribean to the Gulf of Panama, and the locks allowed for much less digging. IIRC, the French gave up on a sea-level canal there some years earlier.
i suppose its a matter of definition, but many people consider the carribean to be part of the atlantic, and the gulf of panama to be part of the pacific.

if you enter the canal from it's western side, and exit on it's eastern side, what body of water are you in?

the panama canal is actually a system of canals, locks, and a man made lake. its hard to imagine how the french planned to dig a sea-level canal through a mountain range.
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  #39  
Old 05-18-2010, 07:00 PM
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if you enter the canal from it's western side, and exit on it's eastern side, what body of water are you in?
The Pacific
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  #40  
Old 05-18-2010, 07:03 PM
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Overall, the Panama canal runs southeast, going from the Carribean. I guess the French's imaginations were bigger than their ability.
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  #41  
Old 05-18-2010, 07:48 PM
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Originally Posted by Jet Jaguar View Post
When I was a kid, we were taught that sauropods were too heavy to walk on land and must have lived submerged in water. Turns out that their legs were adapted to walking on dry land after all, and in fact the water pressure at the depth required to support their weight would've made breathing impossible.
I remember seeing this in my Little Golden Book of Dinosaurs when I was about 5 years old. There was a painting of a (mislabeled) Brontosaurus with most of its body underwater and his long neck stretching to the top of the water so he could breathe.

Dinosaurs were also portrayed with their tails dragging on the ground, and standing upright like Kangaroos. I understand that many older museum displays of dinosaur skeletons have their tails broken so they will conform to that posture
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:37 PM
campp campp is offline
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I don't know about you, but to me, Pluto is still a planet.
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:46 PM
Tethered Kite Tethered Kite is offline
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Just in case you don't mind someone a little older chiming in I'm still stinging over the scolding I got from a Sociology 101 prof when I questioned his comment about tabula rasa. That would have been in 1972.

Decades later I saw him on the street and reminded him. Asked him if he'd like to discuss it. He said he was busy.

That's what I get for being a smarty pants (Twice.) Teachers hate that.

Last edited by Tethered Kite; 05-18-2010 at 08:46 PM..
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Old 05-18-2010, 08:57 PM
gitfiddle gitfiddle is offline
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Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
The U.S. Civil War was all about slavery.
Being from South Carolina, I was taught the opposite, i.e. that everyone says it was about slavery but that was only part of it. I didn't, and still don't, buy the state's rights argument. Any time I've ever heard it argued, it seems pretty clear that the economic or legal reasons for seceding wouldn't have existed were it not for the question of slavery.

Well, okay, I did buy it. What I mean is that, I remember thinking, "That doesn't seem to make much sense, but the teacher said it." Not exactly the best thought process to be encouraging in young people.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:14 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by engineer_comp_geek View Post
.

If you duck under your desk it will protect you from a nuclear bomb.

The U.S. and the Soviet Union both fought against the Germans in WWII, but the Soviet's contribution was fairly minor compared to the whole war. The U.S. had the best tanks in the war too.

The U.S. Civil War was all about slavery.

Columbus was a lucky moron, not a great explorer.
Well, if the bomb is far enough away, it will.

I never heard that. Of course I heard little of the contributions of the Soviets, and a lot about ours, but pretty much all nations do that.

More or less, it was.

Umm, no. Leading those puny ships that far across uncharted waters? Fantastic act of leadership. Yes, he was lucky in that America was there, but his drive, initiative and leadership were great.
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Old 05-18-2010, 09:16 PM
DrDeth DrDeth is online now
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Originally Posted by campp View Post
I don't know about you, but to me, Pluto is still a planet.
Just a matter of interpretation and definiations.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:03 PM
notsoheavyd3 notsoheavyd3 is offline
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Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
Except that the book that Galileo did publish wasn't really the book that Urban had given him permission to publish. Galileo asked for and got permission to publish a book describing the strengths and weaknesses of the two systems, but he only presented the strengths of the Copernican system and the weaknesses of the Ptolemaic system. Plus, the defender of the Ptolemaic system in the book is a thinly-disguised caricature of Urban himself, and is named "Simplicio".
I've heard this put as he basically called his college drinking buddy "Mr Stupid" and the pope didn't take too kindly to that. Actually one thing I've learned in years is that Galileo didn't actually have evidence that "proved" the earth moved. (What's even weirder is Einstein had pointed this out.) The evidence he did have (phase of Venus and moons of Jupiter) were consistent with the Copernican and Tychonic systems. (The church ended up going with Tychonic since it explained the evidence and let them keep the earth in the center and unmoving.) Oh here's a short bit from James Burke on it.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNbjN...eature=related
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:04 PM
notsoheavyd3 notsoheavyd3 is offline
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Oh, for those that care the big proof that the earth moved was that it caused the tides. It unfortunately seems that his explaination would result in 1 tide per day which is a little wrong
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:11 PM
AClockworkMelon AClockworkMelon is offline
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I don't know about you, but to me, Pluto is still a planet.
If Pluto's a planet then so are all the other larger-than-Pluto objects in the Solar System.
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Old 05-18-2010, 11:22 PM
njtt njtt is offline
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Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
the key word in may original statement is 'so'. evolution doesn't happen to achieve some goal.
It is a pity, then, that the word 'so' appears nowhere in your original post (nor in mine in any relevant position), and also a pity that nobody, certainly not me, ever suggested or implied that evolution happens to achieve some goal. You seem, rather incoherently, to be trying to correct mistakes that have not been made.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
there are many other animals that can climb and fly to the treetops, and there is less food available further away from the ground.
All the flying and climbing animals can reach the lower leaves too (although I don't think that many of them are leaf eaters), but many non-flying, non-climbing leaf eaters cannot reach the higher ones.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ed malin View Post
see my initial response. evolutionary adaptations don't occur to serve some future need.
It was you who said that "pmgs" would have to know to mate preferentially with longer necked mates in order for neck length to be selected for (at least, that is as much sense as I can make of what you wrote). That is nonsense (as I think you are aware) and was certainly never said or remotely implied by me. What is not nonsense is that it is possible (and quite plausible) that a long neck might confer a selective advantage on an animal that is in competition with other animals for a food source that can be found high up. Darwin could see that. Why can't you?

And yes, I take your point that there have probably been multiple relevant selective factors at work. NOBODY HAS BEEN DENYING THAT.
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