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12/22/2005 04:34:57 PM · #51
Originally posted by shanksware:


It is hard for me to imagine the possiblility that there were 40 million beneficial changes to the DNA in the 6 million years scientists say it has been since humans and chimps diverged.


That's fair assessment. However, ask yourself how many mutations are happening to the viruses that cause flu from year to year. Granted these changes are not beneficial to humans, but they are sure beneficial to these microorganisms. How long did we have penicillin? not a 100 years? And we have managed (stupidly applying antibiotics everywhere) to develop antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria in just 10-20 years. That's big.

In these micro worlds, the bacterias of the 1960s can be called chimps, and the bacterias my kids get infected with today are sure to be superhumans - nothing helps killing them.
12/22/2005 04:47:33 PM · #52
Originally posted by shanksware:

It is hard for me to imagine the possiblility that there were 40 million beneficial changes to the DNA in the 6 million years scientists say it has been since humans and chimps diverged.


Firstly, chimps have also descended from our common ancestor, so it’s more like 12 million years of evolution in toto. Six million from modern human back to our common ancestor and six more million from the common ancestor forward to the modern chimp. Secondly, most mutations are neutral.

Do you have a references for your claimed 40 million “beneficial” changes? I would appreciate if you would link or share your sources. Thank you in advance.
12/22/2005 05:46:27 PM · #53
Originally posted by milo655321:


Do you have a references for your claimed 40 million “beneficial” changes? I would appreciate if you would link or share your sources. Thank you in advance.


//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0831_050831_chimp_genes.html

NOTE: I am not a scientist. I struggle to understand this stuff just like most normal everyday people. I know that evolution does not claim to explain the origin of life, just how life has evolved over time.

Final thoughts, and I'll be signing out of this rant.

Fact: evolution does not claim to explain the origins of life, only the development of life over time.

So Either:
1. Life started from some combination of chemicals and proteins some long, long ages ago and evolved over the millenia to be what we see in the world today.
or
2. Life was originally created by some being far more intelligent than us.

We all see the world in our own way and filter what we see by our experiences and our intellect. I disagree with the foundation of evolution. I believe in a Creator God. It's more of a leap of faith for me to believe in the chance combination of elements than "dust of the earth".

I also disagree with the scores I'm recieving in the Shallow DOFII challenge. But that's what makes it so interesting to live in this country. We can disagree, but still get along and learn from each other.
12/22/2005 05:55:01 PM · #54
Originally posted by shanksware:

Fact: evolution does not claim to explain the origins of life, only the development of life over time.

So Either:
1. Life started from some combination of chemicals and proteins some long, long ages ago and evolved over the millenia to be what we see in the world today.
or
2. Life was originally created by some being far more intelligent than us.

I suggest you read up on the experiments by Stanley Lloyd Miller in 1952, and the subsequent research. It seems pretty clear that the mixture of chemicals available on a primordial Earth plus energy gives rise to oranic molecules (e.g. amino acids). Evolution/natural selection can take it from there.

If you want to look for a true "miracle" it is not evolution or genetics, but that our little spheriodal campsite is so fortunate as to be located in a stable orbit at just the precise distance from its primary so as to allow its average temperature to fall within the narrow 100-degree (C) range at which water exists in its liquid state. Without that, we'd all still be drifting dust.

Message edited by author 2005-12-22 17:56:07.
12/22/2005 05:55:18 PM · #55
Originally posted by shanksware:

It is hard for me to imagine the possiblility that there were 40 million beneficial changes to the DNA in the 6 million years scientists say it has been since humans and chimps diverged.


Why is that so hard to believe? There are millions of small changes to DNA every year from common things like variations in skin and eye color, fingerprints and the ability to roll your tongue to more radical mutations like having six fingers, albinism or full body hair (hypertrichosis). Not every change offers a survival advantage, but some do and they add up over time.

Look at all the variations in dogs- toy poodles, bloodhounds, pugs, greyhounds, etc. Some dogs can't bark, some have locking jaws, some don't shed, and on and on. Where were all the wild toy poodles 10,000 years ago? Answer: there weren't any. All those changes in the DNA of dogs were simply the result of selective breeding over time: evolution on a small scale. If you can get something as different as Mexican Hairless and Great Danes just by pairing up dogs with particular characteristics over a few thousand years, just imagine the changes possible over tens or hundreds of millions of years. If the Hairless are confined to Mexico and the Danes are confined to Denmark, it's certainly not hard to imagine that after millions of years of similar gradual changes, the descendants of those animals would become more and more different, and eventually "incompatible" with each other- i.e. new species.

Such changes don't require selective breeding either. Heck, we can see it in ourselves. Even though man supposedly only spread out from common ancestors around Africa a relatively short time ago (from either Biblical or scientific perspectives), we can observe obvious differences in skin color and body types. Some races have curly hair, and some straight. Eskimos are short and stout (less surface area to conserve heat) while Watusi tribesmen are tall and thin (more surface area to radiate heat) and they have darker skin pigmentation for protection against the sun. The recent developments of technology and world interaction limits further change, and mutations in people are now "corrected" by doctors. Otherwise, the comparatively slight racial differences we already see might be huge between isolated populations 50 million years from now.
12/22/2005 06:05:39 PM · #56
Originally posted by shanksware:

So Either:
1. Life started from some combination of chemicals and proteins some long, long ages ago and evolved over the millenia to be what we see in the world today.
or
2. Life was originally created by some being far more intelligent than us.


Um... either life started from a combination of things that weren't alive or was created by an intelligent being. BUT if such a being exists- with intelligence, willpower and the ability to create and communicate, then that being IS alive and thus can't be the origin of life. Sounds like we really only have one possible answer. ;-)

Message edited by author 2005-12-22 18:09:07.
12/22/2005 07:18:29 PM · #57
Originally posted by shanksware:

[quote=milo655321]
Do you have a references for your claimed 40 million “beneficial” changes? I would appreciate if you would link or share your sources. Thank you in advance.


//news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2005/08/0831_050831_chimp_genes.html

"Despite the similarities in human and chimp genomes, the scientists identified some 40 million differences among the three billion DNA molecules, or nucleotides, in each genome.

The vast majority of those differences are not biologically significant, but researchers were able to identify a couple thousand differences that are potentially important to the evolution of the human lineage."

Nowhere does the linked article state that the 40 million differences are necessarily beneficial ones. That is unique to the human viewpoint. :)

Message edited by author 2005-12-22 19:22:48.
12/22/2005 07:37:05 PM · #58
Originally posted by shanksware:

It is hard for me to imagine the possiblility that there were 40 million beneficial changes to the DNA in the 6 million years scientists say it has been since humans and chimps diverged.

Originally posted by milo655321:


Do you have a references for your claimed 40 million “beneficial” changes


Originally posted by shanksware:

National Geographic: Chimps, Humans 96 Percent the Same, Gene Study Finds

Originally posted by from the link:

Despite the similarities in human and chimp genomes, the scientists identified some 40 million differences among the three billion DNA molecules, or nucleotides, in each genome.

The vast majority of those differences are not biologically significant, but researchers were able to identify a couple thousand differences that are potentially important to the evolution of the human lineage.


Ah, I see it, you mistakenly wrote "40 million beneficial changes" instead of just "40 million changes" -- meaning a combination of all "beneficial," "neutral" and "harmful" mutations. I don’t think you did deliberately, but it does make a difference. Remember from the link I provided earlier, most mutations are of the "neutral" variety.

Originally posted by shanksware:

NOTE: I am not a scientist. I struggle to understand this stuff just like most normal everyday people. I know that evolution does not claim to explain the origin of life, just how life has evolved over time.


No problem, shanksware. I'm also a layman with no training other than reading popular science books, articles and educational websites regarding this issue.

Originally posted by shanksware:

Fact: evolution does not claim to explain the origins of life, only the development of life over time.

So Either:
1. Life started from some combination of chemicals and proteins some long, long ages ago and evolved over the millenia to be what we see in the world today.
or
2. Life was originally created by some being far more intelligent than us.


The juxtaposition you're proposing is called false dilemma or, in a description from the recent Kitzmiller decision, a contrived dualism.

Originally posted by shanksware:

We all see the world in our own way and filter what we see by our experiences and our intellect.


That's why using the scientific method and developing critical thinking is so important.

Originally posted by shanksware:

I disagree with the foundation of evolution.


You disagree with using the scientific method to discover the nature or reality?

Originally posted by shanksware:

I believe in a Creator God. ]It's more of a leap of faith for me to believe in the chance combination of elements than "dust of the earth".


That's fine. There are plenty of Christians and other theists who accept evolution as a robust scientific theory based upon the evidence.

Originally posted by shanksware:

I also disagree with the scores I'm recieving in the Shallow DOFII challenge. But that's what makes it so interesting to live in this country. We can disagree, but still get along and learn from each other.


Amen! Preach it, brother! :)
12/22/2005 07:38:21 PM · #59
Originally posted by shamrock69:

Nowhere does the linked article state that the 40 million differences are necessarily beneficial ones. That is unique to the human viewpoint. :)


Drats to you, shamrock69! That was mine!
12/27/2005 02:31:20 AM · #60
Heaven is filling fast.. Those who do not believe in GOD.. I Thank You..
It leaves more room for me and my family when the time comes.

I will say HI!! to Darwin for you..
12/27/2005 03:43:52 AM · #61
Many people seem to forget that Darwin was a deeply religious man, who was troubled by some extrapolations of his findings, as it applied to the question of human origin. Some in this forum have suggested that science and religion are ends of a single spectrum, but this is far from my experience. I know men (and women) who wear white lab coats and sing in the choir on Sundays. One of Darwin's strongest advocates the late Steven Jay Gould used the church phrase "Nonoverlapping Magisteria" to describe how science and faith co-exist.
Darwin did not use the term "evolution" in his writting, the notion of some sort of progress in variation was added to his work. I hear the name "The origin of the species" used by some as if this work answers the question of the origin of man; Darwin never published such a work.
His work is called "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection" it does not try to usurp the book of Genesiss. He studied island populations of canaries.
Some peole of faith claim they don't belive in evolution, yet the belive in Avian Flu and AIDS type I, II and III. Those microbial nasties are natural selection in action. Yeast is studied by geneticists because genetic variations are so easy to introduce and observe as they pass through generations overnight. If we could exclude the issue of origin of man, would anyone contend that natural selection predicated on genetic mutation is not a theory that ought to be taught in school? Because it is quite simply an observable, empirical fact, at least in our simpler breatheren, the yeasts and microbes, the flat worms and canaries.
As to the spark that created life, be it divine or some other agency, whatever that could concivably be, that argument is outside the pervue of science, at least scientific fact, as it can not be replicated, simulated or verified by indipendent review. I do not know what started the clock, but I do hear it ticking.
12/27/2005 12:40:26 PM · #62
Originally posted by TartarFan:

Heaven is filling fast.. Those who do not believe in GOD.. I Thank You..
It leaves more room for me and my family when the time comes.


What does the concept of heaven have to do with the Kitzmiller decision?

To follow up on your off-topic assertions:
Are you thanking people whom you believe are headed for an eternal punishment for going to that eternal punishment? Do you choose not to follow the commandment of Jesus to love your neighbor as yourself? Which religious beliefs do you hold which inform you that heaven has limited space and that there is any concern about overcrowding? If such a place exists, how can you assert with any certainty that any portion of your family will be in heaven? Can you see into and judge their "hearts"? How can you be certain that your religious beliefs are the correct religious beliefs and that you, yourself, are not heading to an eternal punishment, if such a thing exists, for holding the incorrect religious beliefs?

Originally posted by TartarFan:

I will say HI!! to Darwin for you..


Charles Darwin died in 1882, so ... good luck with that.
12/27/2005 06:53:16 PM · #63
Hope to see a reply to the above post.
01/03/2006 11:20:09 AM · #64
Originally posted by MadMordegon:

Great news!


Completely agree, this has no place in a science class.

For all I know or care the Matrix might be a documentry or the world might have been created yesterday afternoon (in which case somebody has a LOT to answer for).

Evolution clearly has the right to be tought as a science based on evidence, observasion e.t.c. (okay I cannot spell:-)
01/04/2006 09:17:59 PM · #65
Just in case anyone is interested, Dr. Kenneth Miller, cell biologist, lead plaintiff’s witness in Kitzmiller and author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientists Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, gave a fantastic talk last night at Case Western Reserve University entitled The Collapse of Intelligent Design summarizing the recent trial and current efforts by certain anti-science factions around the country. The talk is just over an hour with a 45 minute Q&A follow-up. I highly recommend viewing this to anyone who's interested the subject or the current threat to science education in America. Dr. Miller is an excellent and well prepared public speaker.

I couldn't get the url tags to work, but here are two different cut&paste links. The first is for those using Real Player and the second is for Windows Media Player:

rtsp://mv-helix1.cwru.edu/a/2006/biology/intelligent_design_384kbps_01_03_2006_1.rm

mms://mv-helix1.cwru.edu/a/2006/biology/intelligent_design_384kbps_01_03_2006_1.wmv

Message edited by author 2006-01-05 00:10:25.
01/05/2006 01:20:48 AM · #66
LOL this is such a edifying debate everytime I see it I just laugh and wonder WOW! we are soo smart as monkey's, I can't believe the things we can do. Like talk and think we don't have to grunt anymore but yet I am still misunderstood sometimes... I feel like a banana...
01/05/2006 12:04:28 PM · #67
Originally posted by jsas:

LOL this is such a edifying debate everytime I see it I just laugh and wonder WOW! we are soo smart as monkey's, I can't believe the things we can do. Like talk and think we don't have to grunt anymore but yet I am still misunderstood sometimes... I feel like a banana...


What did you think of Dr. Miller’s presentation? Wasn’t the section on human chromosome vs. great ape chromosomes and the predicted existence of extra telomeres and centremeres on human chromosome number 2 interesting? Or how about the fulfillment of the predicted discovery of the of the “walking whale” fossils and the predicted transitional development of the inner ear from a land mammals inner ear to the modern cetacean inner ear found within that fossil series?

Did you know that originally the format for the presentation was to be a debate between ID proponent Dr. William Dembski, Discovery Institute luminary and withdrawn Kitzmiller witness for the defense, and Dr. Miller, until Dr. Dembski withdrew from the debate? Case Western had offered the venue after columnist Cal Thomas called for a public debate following the Kitzmiller decision in an article published in USA Today. Essentially, Case Western replied “put up or shut up”. Dr. Dembski’s personal web-blog Uncommon Descent was soon “mothballed” following his withdrawal, though it has, subsequently (as of today, coincidentally), been resurrected under new management. One might hope, now that he doesn’t have his blog to consume his days, Dr. Dembski will finally find the time to submit some peer-reviewed articles to established science journals, rather than popular books printed by religious/special interest publishers, supporting Intelligent Design. Even a single article would do something to establish Intelligent Design as an actual testable theory.
01/05/2006 03:28:36 PM · #68
Originally posted by milo655321:

Just in case anyone is interested, Dr. Kenneth Miller, cell biologist, lead plaintiff’s witness in Kitzmiller and author of Finding Darwin's God: A Scientists Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution, gave a fantastic talk last night at Case Western Reserve University entitled The Collapse of Intelligent Design summarizing the recent trial and current efforts by certain anti-science factions around the country. The talk is just over an hour with a 45 minute Q&A follow-up. I highly recommend viewing this to anyone who's interested the subject or the current threat to science education in America. Dr. Miller is an excellent and well prepared public speaker.


This was an excellent lecture; highly recommend everyone view it. The above discription does it well justice; Miller is an great speaker.

Thanks for providing it Milo.
01/06/2006 12:49:26 AM · #69
Here's a idea...

Why don't all the people who hate the fruits of science so much stop visiting a DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY website on the INTERNET.

It's not science that's destroying the planet, it's humanity's pesky habit of raising a number of children larger than the parents who spawn them. SOMEBODY has to buy all those damnable cans of spraypaint.

I have never heard religious conservatives sound more like tree-hugging hippie quasi-Luddites in my entire life! Ho ho!

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 03:01:19.
01/06/2006 02:24:41 AM · #70
With all due respect to Dr. Miller, I do not think that he can answer the question: where we came from. He kids himself when he says that the mystery of the tree is more highly appreciated by the scientist because of their superior understanding. No, my friend, the mysteries can not be explained to the satisfaction of many. There are many lovely works of nature which is highly appreciated by those that believe in a higher force. You see, the argument that we are descendants of the lower animals would mean that we have evidence of the creatures between the ape and man. Where are these creatures. I mean, with all the research abilities of the modern scientific community nothing has been exhumed to prove the darwin theory a fact. Yes, we are all made of the same clay, and nature has used similar building blocks to expand her world, so it is no great discovery to find similarities in the chain.

But allow me to introduce one though: The logos, the start. The Egyptians, way, way back had computed the first point of Aries. They knew the speed of our universe as it hurled through space. They knew the rotation of the earth. But go further back when our ancestors ran back in their caves to avoid the thunder. Like primitives everywhere they looked up at the sky and acknowledged a higher force.

Now, you can give this force any name you want and you can brag about the meticulous order under which this universe runs. You want to name it "evolution?" Evolution does not describe the force, it simply goes running with the initial spark. What is the initial spark?

Current scientist sound like monkeys when they get lost in their gibberish about their discoveries...but they can not even begin to explain electricity or gravity and even fire still baffles them.

Separate the higher force from the term God and separate God from religion. Now back to the initial question, who made us or where are from? A force set off the initial spark. This spark is attributed to something that no one can explain but we must agree that this force shows a sense of direction and it has great integity because it keeps its creations on target, that is an orange is an orange and an apple is an apple. Taken to the limits, there is a high sense of order.

Next consider the ability of the "awareness" The neurons that fire in your brain. Another electric phenomena. Well, you can talk about theories all you want but then there is also the theory of God. Again, do not confuse God with religion and if you want negate the term God, use force.

But to say that we are not the properties of this initial force is sheer folly. Again, call the force what you will, but it remains a force.

Could it be that those that give this force the name of God are indeed one step ahead of the so called scientist. You can say evolution and deny mankind a soul. Ah, but then, what is that inner you that can appreciate and be moved by music and understanding and the expression of wonder in this vast universe? The answers found in science are good for practical purposes but consider, the scientist claim to know about the origin of species. Do they say what force triggered the soup? You can talk about light rays and sun waves, but who is the architect? What is this force? They do not know but somehow the lowly peasant observes this world of sheer wonder and in his heart he knows there is a creator.

Look at the history of mankind and their gravitation towards a force mightier then they. The scientist say they know better but have they really explored their innerselves? They do not even know what is at the center of the earth. They get lost in one theory after the other and they talk about their superior understanding, yet they can not even explain the basic forces that shape the order of the universe. They are good at gathering and categorizing information but then when they begin to form theories they do so to knock down the very people they hope to convince.

You can believe what you want and if you feel that being godless is groovy go ahead but do not think that your feeling is the right one or that you can convince anybody else of a different mind. Call those who do not subscribe to your beliefs as common and primitive. One thing they have is a believe that nurtures their life. They give thanks to a higher force. The scientist thanks no one because they have made their life empty and they can't smell a rose if they tried. They speak and speak and they carry a following but then when they take their very last breath, they are not quite sure of anything. Can science really explain life? I do not think so.
01/06/2006 05:09:25 AM · #71

Daniel,

I have known many scientists who appreciate the glory and intricacy of creation. Some of them firm believers in God, some of them marvelers-at-the-force, but collectively I have found scientists to have a deep appreciation of the sheer beauty and complexity of life. This would, of course, be no more true of "all scientists" than it is of "all humans", but I think you do scientists a disservice by categorizing them, collectively, in this way.

Darwin, as far as I know, never actually claimed man was "descended" from (or evolved from) the apes. Darwin's actual observations and theory have survived the test of time. He observed a differentiation of species and made a theory to explain it, and we have seen the theory at work at the micro-evolutionary level countless times. More headstrong scientists than Darwin carried the theory to another level, what we call "macro-evolution", and began to take it for granted that ALL life on earth has evolved in a continual spiral from the most primitive organisms to the huge complexity we have now, and this, IMO at least, has not been proven. But Darwin was not "wrong"; what he observed and theorized about is fact. We see it, for example, in the evolution of new strains of viruses.

I do, however, agree with you that those who feel the need to convince others that "there is no God" are captives of their own (our own) very limited perceptions of the nature of reality. There's so much more out there than we can perceive or understand. If there's one thing we are "learning" from the scientists, it is that the nature of "reality" itself is entirely subjective, that perceptions are entirely subjective in the end. We have lost ground, IMO, as we switched from a spiritually-based perception of the universe and our place in it to a materially-based one over the past several hundreds of years.

I do make a distinction between belief in/acceptance of God and "religion", which too often has nothing to do with God and everything to do with "control".

But I'm not one to preach, and it doesn't do any good anyway.

Robt.
01/06/2006 05:25:39 AM · #72
Hopefully a American learn one day to be them selves .. ice

Originally posted by MadMordegon:

Great news!

Story here: //www.cnn.com/2005/LAW/12/20/intelligent.design/index.html

To quote judge Jones;

"To be sure, Darwin's theory of evolution is imperfect. However, the fact that a scientific theory cannot yet render an explanation on every point should not be used as a pretext to thrust an untestable alternative hypothesis grounded in religion into the science classroom or to misrepresent well-established scientific propositions," Jones writes.


01/06/2006 06:12:54 AM · #73
Originally posted by graphicfunk:


The scientist thanks no one because they have made their life empty and they can't smell a rose if they tried.


I always think the precise opposite: people who believe that a god is responsible for creation are amazed by god's ability; people who do not believe that a god is responsible for creation can be amazed by nature and the things themselves, which are far more tangible and immediate than a supposed god.

This reminds me of a discussion I have with my wife occasionally: how can I enjoy my holidays when I spend so much time behind a lens? to which my response is that I enjoy it more than without a camera, as with camera I am always really looking.

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... what we call "macro-evolution", and began to take it for granted that ALL life on earth has evolved in a continual spiral from the most primitive organisms to the huge complexity we have now, and this, IMO at least, has not been proven. ...


I am not sure how much more physical evidence you need. Evolution has been observed in creatures much larger than virii: mosquitos have been observed to evolve directly into new strains. Evolution can be observed in ring species including certain types of mice and salamanders in the Americas and warblers in Nepal: it is possible to observe communities of mice physically diversifying in different geographical regions surrounding an environmentally unsuitable habitat. The diversification is such that each strain can procreate with its neighbouring strains, but the "ends" of the chain of strains cannot procreate with each other - ie it appears that one end has evolved through all the observable intervening stages to be biologically incompatible and quite distinct from the other. That is before you start looking at the fossil record and can see the "dot to dot" chain of gradual change exhibited by it.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

There's so much more out there than we can perceive or understand.
I think that this depends on how you interpret the word "understand". Certainly, there may be some things that we cannot "know", but we may be able to reach a pretty good understanding of something without needing to "know" it - if all consequences of our understanding appear to be coherent with the world as we see it, it would be strange for us to still feel the need to resort to a panaceatic explanation.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

If there's one thing we are "learning" from the scientists, it is that the nature of "reality" itself is entirely subjective, that perceptions are entirely subjective in the end. We have lost ground, IMO, as we switched from a spiritually-based perception of the universe and our place in it to a materially-based one over the past several hundreds of years.


"Perception" is fundamentally subjective, but I am not sure what is meant by the "nature" of reality, or how that can be subjective. As I interpret those words, you appear to be applying the subjective nature of perception to reality; ie "reality is subjective as perceived". However, this is a somewhat arrogant approach to the nature of reality, assuming that reality is a product of perception rather than something extant (tree falling in woods type argument).

Isn't the main distinction between spirituality and science that science represents a methodology that has objectivity as its goal, whereas spirituality is wholly subjective? Granted, scientific experiments are conducted by humans, and some are not designed very well, and some are perverted for particular aims. However, the nature of modern science is that important principles are subject to peer review, and this should expose significant perversion of scientific experiments. It is hard to believe that all (or even a large number of) scientists have lost their integrity or competence. If conducted properly, a scientific analysis should result in a reasonably objective conclusion.

Ultimately, I think that it is a matter of what one finds satisfying: is one satisfied by looking at the world around us and finding an explanation that appears to answer the questions we have so long been asking, or should we ignore the world as we see it and stick to the (IMO easy and comfortable) panaceatic explanation "god did it".
01/06/2006 06:38:15 AM · #74
Originally posted by legalbeagle:

Originally posted by graphicfunk:


The scientist thanks no one because they have made their life empty and they can't smell a rose if they tried.


I always think the precise opposite: people who believe that a god is responsible for creation are amazed by god's ability; people who do not believe that a god is responsible for creation can be amazed by nature and the things themselves, which are far more tangible and immediate than a supposed god.

This reminds me of a discussion I have with my wife occasionally: how can I enjoy my holidays when I spend so much time behind a lens? to which my response is that I enjoy it more than without a camera, as with camera I am always really looking.

Originally posted by Bear_Music:

... what we call "macro-evolution", and began to take it for granted that ALL life on earth has evolved in a continual spiral from the most primitive organisms to the huge complexity we have now, and this, IMO at least, has not been proven. ...


I am not sure how much more physical evidence you need. Evolution has been observed in creatures much larger than virii: mosquitos have been observed to evolve directly into new strains. Evolution can be observed in ring species including certain types of mice and salamanders in the Americas and warblers in Nepal: it is possible to observe communities of mice physically diversifying in different geographical regions surrounding an environmentally unsuitable habitat. The diversification is such that each strain can procreate with its neighbouring strains, but the "ends" of the chain of strains cannot procreate with each other - ie it appears that one end has evolved through all the observable intervening stages to be biologically incompatible and quite distinct from the other. That is before you start looking at the fossil record and can see the "dot to dot" chain of gradual change exhibited by it.

I don't dispute at all that evolution has been observed in more complex organisms than viruses. What I am uncertain of is that there is a common ancestor of all life on earth, a "proto-protozoan" as it were.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

If there's one thing we are "learning" from the scientists, it is that the nature of "reality" itself is entirely subjective, that perceptions are entirely subjective in the end. We have lost ground, IMO, as we switched from a spiritually-based perception of the universe and our place in it to a materially-based one over the past several hundreds of years.


"Perception" is fundamentally subjective, but I am not sure what is meant by the "nature" of reality, or how that can be subjective. As I interpret those words, you appear to be applying the subjective nature of perception to reality; ie "reality is subjective as perceived". However, this is a somewhat arrogant approach to the nature of reality, assuming that reality is a product of perception rather than something extant (tree falling in woods type argument).

It is for this reason that I placed "reality" in quotes; that we perceive it and think we understand it, even, does not necessarily mean it is real. Or in any case calls into question what "real" really means. You're obviously not naive, and obviously well-read, so you cannot be ignorant of the fundamental questions that are being raised, by scientists, about the nature of reality and whether there even IS, in the end, a singularity of reality.

Isn't the main distinction between spirituality and science that science represents a methodology that has objectivity as its goal, whereas spirituality is wholly subjective?

"Objectivity" is the key here; Perception and categorizing involve "thought", and where's the objective nature of thought? Can you weigh a thought or a perception? Measure it? Pinpoint its existence? You cannot. That science has a demonstrated bias towards "objectivity" does nothing to validate the idea that whatever is NOT "objective" is not real. They've been stumbling over this one for millennia; see Plato's cave, see Shakespeare's "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

Granted, scientific experiments are conducted by humans, and some are not designed very well, and some are perverted for particular aims. However, the nature of modern science is that important principles are subject to peer review, and this should expose significant perversion of scientific experiments. It is hard to believe that all (or even a large number of) scientists have lost their integrity or competence. If conducted properly, a scientific analysis should result in a reasonably objective conclusion.

I have no quarrel with the above; my problem is with those who say if it cannot be measured or "proven" it is not real, it does not exist. I don't even see why this has to be an issue. Even ASSUMING (and it may be a very good assumption, for the matter of that) that macro-evolution from a common source of life IS reality, this in no way addresses the issue of the "prime mover", the "real" beginning, whatever that might be.

Ultimately, I think that it is a matter of what one finds satisfying: is one satisfied by looking at the world around us and finding an explanation that appears to answer the questions we have so long been asking, or should we ignore the world as we see it and stick to the (IMO easy and comfortable) panaceatic explanation "god did it".

I don't see the two as incompatible, and neither did Einstein, to name just one scientist. We wouldn't even be having this discussion if those who sought "objective truth" weren't trying so hard to belittle or discredit those who seek "subjective truth". The whole history of mankind tells us that there are points in favor of both approaches.
01/06/2006 07:37:20 AM · #75
Originally posted by Bear_Music:

I don't dispute at all that evolution has been observed in more complex organisms than viruses. What I am uncertain of is that there is a common ancestor of all life on earth, a "proto-protozoan" as it were.
You originally suggested that (IYO) macro evolution is not proven: now refined to whether all life derives from a common ancestor (in the context of evolution from single cells to large multi-cellular creatures?). The fossil record does show that for a billion years there were single celled Prokaryotes on the planet, then the first multi-cellular organisms about 2.4bn years ago. From thereon in there are fossils of increasing cellular complexity. There is no substantive evidence of anachronistically complex cellular organisms appearing in that period (we can chart developments such as first photosynthesis and respiration occurred). The first complex organisms that might be regarded as animals appeared at about 1bn years ago. Exactly how these changes occurred can be debated, but these organisms did appear in an order that was increasingly complex and which modern evolutionary theory explains coherently without resorting to the supernatural.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

It is for this reason that I placed "reality" in quotes; that we perceive it and think we understand it, even, does not necessarily mean it is real. ...you cannot be ignorant of the fundamental questions that are being raised, by scientists, about the nature of reality and whether there even IS, in the end, a singularity of reality.
By Stephen Hawking no less...! An interesting debate in itself (and one that I am far from qualified to do justice to), but risks confusing evolutionary theory with big bang theory with philosophy (to which you later allude). I do not think that it is a very convincing argument to say that evolutionary theory is suspect because reality itself is suspect (though this is simplifying your argument I know). I think that the most it does is provide that nothing can be proven completely as everything is dubious, which is not very helpful in any context.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

Even ASSUMING (and it may be a very good assumption, for the matter of that) that macro-evolution from a common source of life IS reality, this in no way addresses the issue of the "prime mover", the "real" beginning, whatever that might be.


Again, at the risk of confusing arguments on evolutionary theory with big bang theory et al., it is also possible that we can understand some aspects of creation. For example, we may be able to deduce that there was no beginning (no matter how counter intuitive this is) and that there is no "before", and no "outside" the universe as we perceive it. These may be nonsensical questions given a more thorough understanding of the nature of time and space. I accept that we do not have an answer for these things now. I accept that the answer may be a "creator" (though IMO it would be hard to believe that it would be any traditional kind of god). But this is far from the only possibility.

Originally posted by Bear Music:

We wouldn't even be having this discussion if those who sought "objective truth" weren't trying so hard to belittle or discredit those who seek "subjective truth".


I think that the discussion started because certain people wish to teach children that their "subjective truth" is an "objective truth".

Message edited by author 2006-01-06 07:40:17.
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