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06/20/2007 05:07:17 PM · #201
I've been reading this thread for its entire length and pondering whether there's anything new to add.

How about this?

I think the only reason we have this discussion is because we're trying to decide what kids should learn in public school. I mean, in your daily life, does evolution vs. creationism matter? Do any of your decisions hinge on which one's correct? Why do you care what others believe?

Now, why do we care what kids are taught in public school? I'd argue it's because how they approach questions like this directly affects how they approach many other, directly relevant questions in life.

For example, I'd much prefer my leaders, public officials, and corporate decisionmakers to choose safety standards, food quality requirements, road construction materials, etc. from a rational standpoint based on evidence, not based on what one group or another declares to be the best choice.

Hence, I'd like the public school system to teach a mode of thinking that reflects such an approach.

You want to teach kids to have faith? Wonderful! Do it in your preferred religious setting. But don't teach it to my kids; I'll take care of that.

But we all benefit from people learning how to approach questions with a scientific, evidence-based mindset.

Outside of public schools and public safety/health/leadership issues, I don't much care which is right between evolution and creationism, and I have no problem with others believing what they want.

Now here's something I don't hear people acknowledging: If you believe in an omnipotent God, then you can't know that YOU existed 1 second ago, much less that the universe existed billions of years ago. For that matter, you don't know that God doesn't randomly stop the clock every once in a while for a day, a year, a trillion years, then restart it. There's no way to objectively prove, either, that your current life isn't just a simulation in a computer. Such a God would have been able to create the universe a few thousand years ago and could've planted whatever life forms fit his/her/its fancy, plus fossils, decayed carbon atoms, etc. Who knows why? Is it to "test" you? That's some person's interpretation, not something God told anyone, right?

Of course, such a God could just as easily have created the universe billions of years ago, established some laws of physics, chemistry, etc., and let things take their course.

So if you believe in an omnipotent God, why worry about either evolution or creationism? You have no way of knowing, and I'd bet most people believe what their parents told them anyway, which is what their parents told them, back into history.

Now, if you don't believe in an omnipotent God, then you have to look for explanations of things that fit what we've found about fossils, carbon dating, etc. And evolution is the best theory to fit the evidence.
06/20/2007 06:10:51 PM · #202
Originally posted by OmanOtter:

Originally posted by RayEthier:


I happen to enjoy defending views that run counter to the established norm if only to have people understand that theirs is not the only way... that there do exist other viable options.
Ray


How pompous of you to presume to think that because I argued a position I think that mine is the only way! Read through my F'ing posts and I think you'll find that my views are anything but the established norm.


... Goodness gracious, did someone get up on the wrong side of the bed today? Surely you can understand that your views form only part of the collective and that YOU are NOT representative of all people.

Your last comments were directed at me personally, (that part about me being an Atheist) whereas mine make no such specific references, but were rather an attempt to demonstrate that I often strive to defend what many would consider an unpopular stand.

... and yes I have read through what you so eloquently and so adroitly describe as your F'ing posts, and would strongly suggest you revisit my comments, calmly this time, and you might come to a different conclusion.

Rather sad that what was a civilized discourse degenerated to baseless name calling.

Ray

Message edited by author 2007-06-20 23:03:46.
06/20/2007 10:59:32 PM · #203
Originally posted by Angadeon:

I'm really enjoying reading this "mostly" intelligent conversation. But I'm afraid it's all for naught.

Tonight when I sit down to eat my gloriously spicy pasta and meatballs, I shall lift up a prayer in thanks for the bounty granted me by
The Flying Spaghetti Monster.

Ramen.


I am a fan of this Flying Spaghetti Monster, but, alas, not a follower....
06/20/2007 11:18:55 PM · #204
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

I am a fan of this Flying Spaghetti Monster, but, alas, not a follower....

Ah, you remind me of a bumper sticker ...

LORD Protect Me
From Your Adherents
06/20/2007 11:27:59 PM · #205
Originally posted by GeneralE:

Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

I am a fan of this Flying Spaghetti Monster, but, alas, not a follower....

Ah, you remind me of a bumper sticker ...

LORD Protect Me
From Your Adherents


...Where can I get one??? hehehe :O)

Ray
06/21/2007 09:53:53 AM · #206
I have a few points to make – I’ll try and direct them in roughly appropriate directions.

Originally posted by those (inc. bear_music) who say:

“even if you accept evolution, what was responsible for the creation of the universe and the first living organism?”

There are two, mutually exclusive answers: either there is a natural solution (albeit one that we may not yet have convincingly understood) or a supernatural explanation. As has been said before, if you choose the supernatural explanation (eg “god”) you are left with the question “what made god?” – which religions usually try and deal with by saying something obviously dissembling like “don’t question his nature” or “we are not meant to understand” because there is no answer.

The big picture point is that none of this is justification for believing in anything more than a force that was responsible for starting the universe and life. That is a long way from suggesting that there is a god with supernatural powers who is involved in our modern lives – given the total absence of convincing evidence that, say, prayer has any positive effect or that believers in one or other religion are better off than non-believers, it is bizarre that people think that there is some supernatural power in any way involved in our lives.

Originally posted by those (inc Kudzu) who say :

“our existence by evolution is a statistical impossibility”


Here is a simple example why it is wrong-headed to think that the evolution of life is a statistic impossibility. Ironically, the argument is better used to demonstrate that evolution is the only probable explanation for our existence.

Flip a coin a thousand times and record the sequence of heads and tails. Look at the list. What are the odds of that sequence of flips occurring? Billions and billions to one. A statistical impossibility. But somehow… it happened!!

This is exactly the same statistical analysis that you are effecting when you say “what are the odds of us existing?”.

The better analysis is to take a state of affairs and ask “what are the odds of the next development occurring?”. In the case of the coins, the odds are always 50:50. In nature, events tend to follow the easiest path (eg where the probabilities are highest) – our development is in fact the likely outcome given all the environmental circumstances. The proof? Because we are here! The combination of many trillions of probable events has resulted in one outcome – an outcome that is almost infinitely unlikely to have occurred in a single step such as creation.

More later..

Message edited by author 2007-06-21 09:56:52.
06/22/2007 12:43:07 AM · #207
Originally posted by Matthew:

“what made god?” – which religions usually try and deal with by saying something obviously dissembling like “don’t question his nature” or “we are not meant to understand” because there is no answer.


To submit a slightly cheeky answer from alterna-land: evolution.

I'm trying to stay out of these science vs. Christianity discussions, though, so that's all I've got right now.
06/22/2007 07:37:32 PM · #208
Originally posted by EducatedSavage:

Originally posted by Matthew:

“what made god?” – which religions usually try and deal with by saying something obviously dissembling like “don’t question his nature” or “we are not meant to understand” because there is no answer.


To submit a slightly cheeky answer from alterna-land: evolution.

I'm trying to stay out of these science vs. Christianity discussions, though, so that's all I've got right now.


Scientifically speaking... The "big bang" theory points to there having been a creator.

"The Big Bang theory is an effort to explain what happened at the very beginning of our universe. Discoveries in astronomy and physics have shown beyond a reasonable doubt that our universe did in fact have a beginning. Prior to that moment there was nothing; during and after that moment there was something: our universe. The big bang theory is an effort to explain what happened during and after that moment.

According to the standard theory, our universe sprang into existence as "singularity" around 13.7 billion years ago. What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics."

The above was taken from big-bang-theory.org. Basically it says that before, there was nothing. Then, there was something (and a lot of it). Science seeks to explain that which occured during and after the big bang. Strangly enough they have yet to offer an explaintion for the imbalance of cause and effect. They point to it as an uncaused effect and are happy to leave it at that even though it distorts a law of physics (every action has an equal and opposite reaction). The christian Bible offers one explanation... "In the beginning GOD..."

I.D. doesn't seek to explain that there is a god or anything of that sort... it simply states that something or someone caused the eventual effects and those effects and the cause had a purpose and an order. Even the most ignorant man of science can see that there is an order to things occuring in the universe... even if he can not explain them.
06/23/2007 11:05:29 AM · #209
Originally posted by fireserpent:

Scientifically speaking... The "big bang" theory points to there having been a creator.


It most certainly does not - it is something that is unknown. A "god" is only one explanation and I would submit that any contemporary god would be a pretty far fetched explanation.

Originally posted by big-bang-theory.org:

What is a "singularity" and where does it come from? Well, to be honest, we don't know for sure. Singularities are zones which defy our current understanding of physics."


Originally posted by fireserpent:

Basically it says that before, there was nothing.


Again - it most certainly does not (I posted the relevant bit). It says that what it is and what was there before are unknown. Going beyond what is stated in the quote you provided, it may be a nonsense to talk about "before" the big bang as time as we understand it may be a facet of physics that only exists within the universe as a consequence of the big bang. Similarly, there may be nothing "outside" the universe as dimensional space that exists within and defines our universe.

However, this is all very hard or perhaps impossible to conceive - as I understand it, it only really starts to make sense in some types of esoteric maths. Much easier to just say "creator" and be done with it. Especially if you have a significant socio-political investment in that concept...

Originally posted by fireserpent:

The christian Bible offers one explanation... "In the beginning GOD..."


If you are going to believe one story over all others, it would be a shame to choose the christian one - there are so many other far more inventive stories...

Originally posted by fireserpent:

I.D. doesn't seek to explain that there is a god or anything of that sort... it simply states that something or someone caused the eventual effects and those effects and the cause had a purpose and an order. Even the most ignorant man of science can see that there is an order to things occuring in the universe... even if he can not explain them.


I think that ID goes far further than you suggest - it seeks to deny that our evolution could have occurred naturally. In fact, the odds are almost infinitely in favour of evolution over creation (per my earlier post).

I don't know what kind of order you are talking about. I see laws of physics applying in a consistent fashion - ie, not being interfered with by some supernatural creator force. Is that the kind of order you mean?
06/23/2007 12:10:36 PM · #210
Originally posted by fireserpent:

I would have to disagree with you on one point. Faith is rational argument. You buy a car with seat belts and air bags because you have faith that in the event of an accident they will maximize your chances for surviving a collision. That faith is not based on a dream or a fictional bed time story you were told as a child. You don't believe those things because you simply want to believe them to be true. You have faith because there is history, facts, proofs and tests. Faith is buckling your seatbelt because you've seen that crash test dummy commercial by Volvo.


You're describing knowledge, not faith; you KNOW these things because they've been "proven". Faith, by definition, is belief in the absence of proof.

R.
06/23/2007 01:51:43 PM · #211
Someone once described the difference between belief and faith to me.

It went like this:

Belief is going to the circus and watching tight rope walker push a wheelbarrow across the wire. You believe he can do it.

Faith is getting into the wheelbarrow while he pushes it across the wire.

:-D

Message edited by author 2007-06-23 13:55:27.
06/24/2007 10:11:21 AM · #212
I've always thought evolution was the survival of the fittest. Mutations are happening daily and the one's that help in survival are generally the ones that survive. Bad mutations that hurt in the survival of a life form die out. The best able to adapt to a given environment continue the chain of evolution. This seems logical to me.

I don't think evolution is kind, I think it is ruthless with no regard to what came before. I'm sure there have been plenty of species that have been wiped out because a newer better copy has mutated into existence.

The humans have arrived, we've been mutated into existence. Now what do we do? Do we totally take over, like we are well on our way of doing. Do we stop evolution in it's tracks, anything mutated better then us will be looked at as an aberration. I have a feeling that what we are used to is what we'll accept, any change from the norm will be looked at as deviant.

What do you think?

Message edited by author 2007-06-24 10:35:21.
07/05/2007 02:38:15 PM · #213
In case anyone is interested, here is an amusing demolition by Mr Dawkins of the latest tome on intelligent design by M Behe.
07/05/2007 03:02:08 PM · #214
And here is an interesting article on some recent thinking on the big bang theory and mathematical models (and proposed experiments) intended to identify if the universe is cyclical.
07/18/2007 06:44:59 PM · #215
So I don't have time to read everything because I'm doing homework and that is what lead me to wanting to post here so I'll make it quick.

I don't think the problem is the holes in the theory. The problem is it is a percieved threat to Christian beliefs...

To this I say look at Galileo (this is my homework, lol, philosophy). Tried as a heretic because of his scientific beliefs.. namely believing the Earth went around the Sun and not the other way around. Ohhh...

Today this is obvious, it's been proven beyond a doubt, so it is no longer a debate to cling to, and it no longer a threat to Christianity because obviously, it is still around. So sad they realized God didn't put the universe around us, and let go of that idea.

So now we are here in 2007 with the internet and a vast amount of knowledge still trying to cling so SOMETHING. SO we think God made us special and put us here in our own special place and evolution screws that whole theory up.

No. The day evolution is proven beyond a reasonable doubt, there will STILL BE religion. Perhaps a more evolved, smarter religion, perhaps not. But there will always be some sort of religion, it's human nature...

So. To sum. Lets use a little historical perspective and relax about this whole science ruining religion debate because at the end of it all, as long as there are humans, both will be around.
07/18/2007 06:56:12 PM · #216
Religion is taking the facts (science) of things presented before you and trying add to it and perfect what was previously thought of as being the peak of the particular science. Faith is fiction untill proven otherwise. People must have faith because there are so many possibilities. There is no end to anything.
07/18/2007 06:58:32 PM · #217
please watch this:

//youtube.com/watch?v=xAFLIPSSU5M

it's pretty amazing and will pose some tough questions.
07/18/2007 07:24:10 PM · #218
Originally posted by Sebi:

please watch this:

//youtube.com/watch?v=xAFLIPSSU5M

it's pretty amazing and will pose some tough questions.

07/18/2007 08:03:53 PM · #219
Originally posted by Sebi:

please watch this:

//youtube.com/watch?v=xAFLIPSSU5M

it's pretty amazing and will pose some tough questions.


As a starter, he makes some basic mistakes in his science eg evidence for first cell was 4bn years ago, not 600m.

His aim is to demonstrate irreducible complexity - the central tenet to intelligent design theory (see my earlier post for an amusing read from Mr Dawkins).

He falls into/leads you into a basic trap by assuming that the bombardier beetle develops structures one at a time and that the end result is in some way the intended result.

It is perfectly plausible that structures developed for one purpose, parts of them became redundant, others were enhanced, then later some combined in a different manner.

There is a video response with one plausible evolutionary sequence of events here.

Remember that we are talking hundreds of billions of beetles, and mutational changes that make the community better or worse at surviving. We know these do happen because we see them happening in insects around us in tens of years. A lot can happen in a few million years - as a comparitor consider that all human civilisation has existed for 10k years during which time, and despite their relatively long lifespans, by exaggerating environments we have used evolutionary pressures to develop all domesticated animals from their very different wild equivalents.

Message edited by author 2007-07-18 20:05:16.
07/18/2007 11:03:00 PM · #220
I read about this study of some sort of flies that did a little dance to mate. They put them in a dark envornment where they couldn't see and after... I believe only 7 generations their mating patters had changed and there was no longer this "dance" to mate because obviously it wasn't that effective in the dark.

I thought that was a pretty cool study. Kind of proves right there things change and adapt, I see no denying that. I guess people just have a hard time wrapping their brains around little changes like that happening over billions of years until you have humans.

07/18/2007 11:16:17 PM · #221
Originally posted by Matthew:

Your thing was long so i'm erased it and am writing here to show that i am replying to you. I'm weird.


Really cool facts, cool ideas present in the video as well.

I gotta disagree with you, he does not say this beetle developed these things one at a time.

He says that in an evolutionary process, things develop one at a time usually, like something starts out small and eventually happens, like the human appendix shriveling up.

He is stating that if the beetle were to have everything come in one at a time, it could have never happened.
he's saying this had to happen all at once.

For example, if the liquid squirty chamber thingy came in and allowed him to explode before the tube that allows him to aim it came in, the bug would have simply exploded and the species would be wiped out.
thus it all had to happen at the same time in order for it to survive.

Personally, I believe evolution is just the ability for something to adapt to it's environment. If it's cold out and you put on a jacket, that's evolution right there. just like a monkey learning to use a stick. I believe it's all the same, just physically changing would take a long time.

Like it would probably take a few million years for me to grow gills if I took a 20 hour bath everyday.

i'll stop now i'm not making sense anymore.

Oh and here is a cool article

//www.iht.com/articles/2005/01/23/news/thai.php

i'd do more googling but I believe the people there have webbed feet and can hold their breath longer than most.

and the people there learn to swim before they can walk.

I saw it on 20/20. hah.
07/18/2007 11:56:46 PM · #222
This is why I believe (from working in an ED), evolutionarally (that a word?), the human race will be a a giant blob sack of gooey flesh in no time. Not just obesity, and underexercised, but also because it seems as no one can tolerate any type of pain anymore and think it is a RIGHT to be pain free (see lots of "stubbed" toes that seem to think Dilaudid is necessary for pain control).
If you don't have some kind of small pain somewhere, you aren't living. or not living right.
07/19/2007 12:00:04 AM · #223
Originally posted by dacrazyrn:

the human race will be a a giant blob sack of gooey flesh in no time. Not just obesity, and underexercised, but also because it seems as no one can tolerate any type of pain anymore

all we need is our brain, or maybe, just the mental form of it.
imagine eternal life after your physical form die and rot away.
07/19/2007 12:11:06 AM · #224
One small point I would like to add, and if it's been said before I apologise.

Evolution relies on mutations to create new species. However, almost all mutations are either detrimental or fatal. So there would have to be one heck of a lot of "trial and error" to get from pond scum to humans. Also, mutations involve a loss of genetic material or information, whereas evolutionary mutations would require a gain of genetic material or information.
07/19/2007 12:18:43 AM · #225
Steven Wright's Theory of Evolution:

"Darwin was adopted"
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