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Was Darwin Wrong?

Discussion in 'The OT' started by jonstad, Nov 22, 2004.

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  1. pjmrt

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    ya think :)

    As a scientist and someone fond of history too - I am amused how science of the 19th century, who had began to feel they really understood things was turned on its head at the beginning of the 20th century and how science of the 20th century, comfortable in the beliefs it was close to solving the riddle of life, the universe and everything, has been turned on its head by discoveries made during the late 1990s and early 21st century. The questions are far more interesting than the answers sometimes.
     
  2. pjmrt

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    Good point. If one accepts the definition by some that evolution is simply defined "change" then I agree. But many put more into it, which I would say then what you observe is not evolution - for example I think the Oxford Science Dictionary says something to the effect that evolution is the gradual process by which the more complex plant and animal live arise from more primitive forms. If one accepts that definition, then I would say your earlier statement is probably false.
     
  3. pjmrt

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    I once had the chance to talk to Arno Penzias, one of the two people to win the Nobel prize for physics back in the late 70's. What went "bang". His answer - all the data just says it was just "there". 30 years later that is still the best answer. The more data we find, the better the theories - at some point there was nothing, an instant later it was present, an instant later still it was huge.
     
  4. Dec 1, 2004 #104 of 140
    Danny R

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    something to the effect that evolution is the gradual process by which the more complex plant and animal live arise from more primitive forms.

    Thats not a good definition. Evolution does NOT mandate that the future forms be more complex. Its certainly possible for evolution to cause simplified forms and a reduction of complexity. Very simple bacteria still exist because they are extremely adapted for the conditions they live in.

    Scientists generally define evolution in a couple ways:
    I am curious where the athiests believe the matter that created the "big bang" came from. No scientist has ever been able to tell me that.

    Scientists don't know, and this is one good reason why belief in evolution is NOT contrary to belief in God. Something started the universe. Perhaps it was God. Perhaps not. Its doubtful humanity will ever know.

    I obviously don't know the answer myself, but I have my own pet theories. It is believed that matter spontaneously appears everywhere all the time: amazingly enough, pairs of particles appear and vanish constantly from nothingness. Perhaps our universe is just another example of this effect (or something simular in nature), but on a much larger scale. If this is true, then there is a negative universe out there as well. ;)
     
  5. Dec 1, 2004 #105 of 140
    SAEMike

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    Yeah, the highly scientific "well it just appeared out of thin air" theory. :lol:
     
  6. Dec 1, 2004 #106 of 140
    djlong

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    Isn't that what Creationists believe?
     
  7. Dec 1, 2004 #107 of 140
    SAEMike

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    No, they believe that God created the earth.
     
  8. Dec 1, 2004 #108 of 140
    HappyGoLucky

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    One should never confuse "evolution" with other theories on the origins of the universe. They are not interchangeable. There are many theories other than the "big bang" which attempt to explain the origins of the universe. At the heart of the "big bang" is a singularity. It is not unthinkable that the singularity could have been "always existent" any differently than to think some deity was likewise. The "rubber band" adjunct to the "big bang" has the universe continuously expanding from the singularity to a certain point, then contracting upon itself back to the singularity, then expanding again in a continuous cycle.

    We currently do not possess the technology to comprehend certain things in our universe. Just as cavemen could not understand fire or lightening and attributed them to gods, it would be equally untenable to say that because we don't yet have the understanding of how the universe began it must be the work of a god.
     
  9. Dec 1, 2004 #109 of 140
    SAEMike

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    1. Nowhere in the post you quoted did I mention evolution.

    2. You just typed a whole lot of words, that basically said what I said. The atheist scientsts highly scientific conclusion is that it just popped up out of thin air.
     
  10. Dec 1, 2004 #110 of 140
    HappyGoLucky

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    Is that any less plausible than saying some all-powerful deity blinked and everything suddenly appeared out of nothingness just as it exists now? What created the deity? Did it "just appear out of thin air" at some point?
     
  11. Dec 1, 2004 #111 of 140
    SAEMike

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    Nobody has ever insinuated that the creation of the earth involved "blinking". Please stick to intelligent discussion rather than empty rhetoric.

    My point is that the scientists argue that the fact that God created the earth cannot be proved, therefore it is an unlikely scenario. However, their unprovable scenario requires events that they could never possibly prove, they have just been able to create possibilities along the way, that are in no way inconsistent with an earth created by a Deity.
     
  12. Dec 1, 2004 #112 of 140
    HappyGoLucky

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    The entire thread is about evolution.
    Are you certain all the scientists are athiest? Have you any idea of what the concept of singularity means?
     
  13. Dec 1, 2004 #113 of 140
    SAEMike

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    No, I am certain that all athiest scientists (of which I referred) are athiests. Possibly some remedial English courses will help with any confusion you may have.
     
  14. Dec 1, 2004 #114 of 140
    HappyGoLucky

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    Get over it.
    How do you know we could never prove such events? Cavemen had no concept of ever being able to understand fire or lightening. Given mankind's track record of progress in understanding the universe around him, it is very likely that we will continue to expand our knowledge and come close to, if not succeeding entirely, understanding the very beginnings.

    Earlier men needed deities to explain what they couldn't. But eventually those deities were no longer needed.
     
  15. Dec 1, 2004 #115 of 140
    HappyGoLucky

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    Your personal attacks are not conducive to discussion here. Since I was warned by Richard King for writing similar responses to you, I'm amazed he hasn't likewise warned you. I'm sure he would not want to appear unfair or biased in any way.
     
  16. Dec 4, 2004 #116 of 140
    jonstad

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    The Burgess shale of Canada leap to mind but any number of mountains contain some fossils, probably all of them actually, except recently formed volcanic peaks. Even the Himalayas, the highest mountains on Earth, are liberally peppered with marine fossils from when they were a sea floor before India slammed into Asia, probably MORE then 6000 years ago.:grin: Or were they washed up to the 20,000+ foot level during Noah's flood?:sure: And yes, the scientifically overwhelming weight of these "literally mountains" of fossils confirm beyond a reasonable doubt that Darwinian evolution is precisely the method that life evolved on our planet.

    I've been on Oahu the last week and several other notions have been added to the mix. Yours is "spontaneous generation and common ancestry, both of which appear ludicrously improbable to the (more than) casual observer, even over supposed millions or billions of years."

    I assume by "spontaneous generation" you refer to the origins of life. This is not a subject Darwin addressed but certainly is a valid question. As I have stated earlier, all that is necessary is for one chemical compound to have developed a proclivity to generate more molecules of the same compound, only by a slight advantage of what other compounds could be expected to do naturally. Now that's obviously WAY oversimplified. But the inevitable consequence would be a preponderance of that compound over time, assuming proper medium and raw chemical material. And any further change(mutation?) that enhanced this chemical's ability to reproduce itself would multiply the effect. Now I have no proof for this and it's possible that sometime in the distant past a "God" did reach down and stick a divine finger into some "lake of goo" to start the process. They are both simply hypotheses of what might have happened. Mine however is more plausable as it is the simpler hypothesis. Because if you are to assume "God" and expect others to believe in It, then it is on your shoulders to reasonably EXPLAIN this "God", Its origin and intent, and most importantly WHY anyone should accept it as the correct hypothsis. Because once more, "God" simplifies nothing. "God" makes things almost infinitely more complex.

    As for "common ancestry", will you even admit there are striking physical similarities between the great apes(chipanzees, gorillas and orangutans) and humans? And if you go to the genetic level, our DNA is very similar also? In fact genetically, Chimps are more closely related to humans then they are to gorillas or orangutans.

    If you can't entertain these "facts", it is not for lack of hard evidence, as there is plenty of it, it is human pride and ego, not unlike the pride and ego that until recently held the white race as superior to the "muddy races" and viewed them with arrogant disdain, genetically inferior and literally almost as sub-human. And I should add this was a common viewpoint even amongst leading scientists. It is a view Darwin himself likely may have held. And although Darwin avoided making this opinion openly, there were plenty of others more then happy to extrapolate it(wrongly) from his "theory".

    As for lack of transistional fossils and/or giraffe adaptations, these are both creationist urban myth. Whales were mentioned as example of no transitional fossils. But in fact there ARE such fossils. And further, recent evidence links hippopotami as being their closet living relatives. Hmmm? A large, fatty mammal that spends much of its time in water? Could a shared common ancestor of whales and hippopotami diverged in two directions, one thriving in fresh water, the other in salt? Why is that so hard to accept? Especially when all the relevant evidence shows it's very likely? Even for the "casual observer"?

    Perhaps it should be reiterated at this point, despite there being "mountains" of them, fossils are very rare. Not everything gets fossilized and it is very rare circumstances(except in some marine environments) that anything does get fossilized and preserved to this day. If everything did get fossilized we would literally be surrounded by all the fossils of all the creatures that ever existed. So, as a caveat, I should say it is very unlikely that any particular fossil is exactly the common ancestor of any two species, whale and hipopotamus, or human and chimpanzee. What we can tell from fossils is there were various species that could have been either precursors of a common ancestor, or somewhere after a common ancestor leading on one of the branches to a contemporary species, OR even a fossil species that became extinct and fostered no contemporary species. What we CAN see from such fossils is that at some time in the past there were species which exhibited characteristics of two or several contemporary species. It is certainly possible that we have some fossils that ARE common ancestors to contemporary species. However, it is highly unlikely given the chance rate of fossilization. And even if we did have such fossils, we have no way of knowing for sure which are true common ancestors and which are merely closely related species of the three catagories outlined above.

    To giraffes and their particular and peculiar adaptations, the arguments put forward are confirmation of evolution, not refutation. The ability to reach food high in trees that others cannot should probably be a pretty straightforward survival advantage for any species. If any can't see that, I'll be glad to explain. And it is such an advantage that many other species have evolved to exploit it. Birds fly up to the food out of reach of ground animals. Small animals like monkeys and others have learned to climb trees. And other large animals like elephants have developed their own particular, and peculiar adaptation in the form of a long grasping nose, the trunk.

    And this is the fallacy, addressed earlier, of "evolutionary leaps". There didn't suddenly appear on the savanna creatures that overnight made the "leap" from antelopes to giraffes, not even over a thousand, ten thousand, or even a hundred thousand years. The giraffes immediate "ancestor species" most probably was an antelope who had become somewhat taller then other antelopes. This slight advantage allowed them to survive only a little better then other antelope species. And those who were taller still held even mor of an advantage, small though it might have been. The question lies in particular features, namely blood flow mechanisms, that allowed giraffes to continue their "upward mobility".;) Obviously these "tall antelopes" would reach a "roadblock" where the advantage of height would be negated by the "passing out disadvantage" at waterholes. And there probably was a time when there were some pretty tipsy tall antelopes at watering time. However, by chance one of these antelopes developed a mechanism that slightly reduced their inclination to black out at water holes. Thereafter, that antelope and its descendants were less likely to keel over at the oasis and fall prey to predators. Antelopes in which this mechanism worked better would survive and those in which it didn't work better would be more likely to perish. It's called "NATURAL SELECTION"! Those better adapted to survive, will survive, the much misunderstood "survival of the fittest".

    Now this "mechanism" didn't have to happen. It was entirely by chance. There's no reason giraffes "HAVE TO" exist. And it is shown to be entirely by chance by the fact there are no other animals which developed this adaptation in exactly the same way. There ARE no other extremely tall giraffe like animals anywhere else on the planet, at least none using the same mechanism to accomplish the deed.

    Now if we embrace the notion of a "creator", wouldn't it seem likely He/She/It would have "recycled" this mechanism for other animals? Many species have hearts, lungs, livers, kidneys, etc. that we share if not exactly, then in general with other species. They're relatively similar organs that serve relatively similar purposes. Why don't more species have ten foot necks then? The particular organs and mechanisms involved seem to work pretty well for giraffes. Why didn't "God" make more spectacular creatures like giraffes? A fifteen foot zebra or impala would certainly be an equally awesome creature to behold.

    The answer is simple. "God" didn't make any of them! All species with hearts, lungs, livers, etc., including humans and giraffes are descended from common ancestors who had developed them earlier, precisely because they worked so well. And all this happened long before giraffes developed long necks and we opposable thumbs.
     
  17. Dec 5, 2004 #117 of 140
    SimpleSimon

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    Dang, jonstad. I actually agree with you!

    And just to keep the record straight, none of this has anything to do with whether god exists or not, only in the so-called theory of 6000 year old creation, which most (all?) true theologans understand to be not literal.

    Heck, maybe it's even an error in translation - there's plenty of them in the English translations of the bible.
     
  18. Dec 5, 2004 #118 of 140
    jonstad

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    Thanx Simon.;)

    However, also to "keep the record straight", although I am an atheist, as I have stated from the outset, this thread was never intended to either prove or disprove "gods". It was intended to SET the record straight about Darwinian evolution, which despite being universally accepted in scientific circles, especially the most relevant fields of biology, paleontology and genetics, is being prevented from being taught in many of our public schools as valid science. This idiocy that "it's only a theory", "it hasn't been proven" or it's one of several plausable alternatives has got to stop. It's the ONLY plausable explanation, at least scientifically. And that's how it has to be taught in our schools. I can assure you that in science classes in Japan, India or Europe it isn't relegated to "just a theory". Or that "plausable alternatives" can be found in Shinto or Hindu scripture or Intelligent Design junk science. The result is science students in those countries enter medical school and the other sciences(and industry), or even those who go on to ordinary working class lives, have a fuller, more comprehensive understanding of evolution. And I guarantee you 45% don't believe it's all some nefarious scientific conspiracy plot.

    As for "misinterpretations"? OK, fine. Perhaps the scrptures have been misinterpreted and mistranslated. But how badly, and how many times can something be misinterpreted and mistranslated before it becomes meaningless gibberish? Perhaps creationists and intelligent design advocate's time would be better spent addressing THAT question!
     
  19. Dec 5, 2004 #119 of 140
    SimpleSimon

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    Quite right! There's some nice fables and such in the bible, but literal word of god - no way. And if the 'author' is actually non-human, I'll lay my money on ET (see: Sitchin ;) ), not "the" god.

    I have had the existence of spirit/soul/whatever proven to my own satisfaction more than once. I don't need no stinkin' faith as the saying goes. ;) There's definitely something there, but if the Judeo-Christian god actually exists, he/she/it is far from the be-all-end-all. OTOH, if any given person wants to hang Jesus's face on their higher power, that's fine with me - whatever floats your boat.
     
  20. Dec 6, 2004 #120 of 140
    Tusk

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    God was probably thinking outside the box. :lol: I think God must have been in an especially creative mode when he created the Platypus. :D
     
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