Evolution vs. Creation

Discussion in 'Religion Archives' started by Boris, May 30, 1999.

  1. CMPHONEIX Guest

    This is my opinion:

    If you are a Christian you must believe every word the Bible says. You cannot pick and choose what you think is truth, that defies the entire purpose of Christianity. The Bible says that man was made in God's image in one day. It does not say, "God created earth and some form of life that eventually evolved into man."
    On that basis we have two options. The first one: God created the earth and everything in it, including man, as they are. ( There was naturally some adaptation by these organisms, but no evolution. The two are very different, and one does not neccessarily lead to the other.)
    Our second option is this: There is no God. The universe and any life in it was an accident.(so to speak) That we are the result of the luck, and have managed to beat the terrible odds against us.
    Now lets do away with all the evidence for either side for just a moment.
    Say there is a God. Then God is everywhere in everything because he made it all.
    If you were a Darwinist trying to prove through experimentation that there wasn't a God you couldn't, because God would be everywhere and it would be impossible to find a world without God to use as a control.
    Likewise, it would be impossible to prove there was a God in a world entirely without God.
    We are all very familiar with the scientific method, but let's do a little review. For a theory, such as evolution or creation, to become a law (an accepted truth) it must be tested through experimentation over and over. Since we have determined that we cannot prove or disprove God or evolution, they must remain theories.
    So now Boris we all must take a leap of faith.(whether or not we are religous) Neither creation or evolution can be scientifically regarded as a truth, but either might become a personal truth. ----------------------------
    On that note I will place a logical basis for faith in God.
    Let us say once again that there is a God. Now if this God says you must believe in him and his son or spend enternity in hell(and he has never been known to lie) what would your choice be? Would you risk eternity in hell to believe that man is a self made race? I don't know that seems a little too risky for me.
    Though this is not the only reason for my faith or the only evidence for creation and God, it certainly does make you think.
    Also, Boris could you explain to me how we are all capable of viewing right and wrong. I've never heard anyone explain how right and wrong were formed. As a matter of fact where did any of the following come from, if not from God?
    -good and evil ( let me say if there is a devil, there is a God)

    Why are we not more like animals? We have instincts, but we are able to control these with our ethics and morals.
    If we all evolved from animals, why did we ever develop a curiosity to find our origin, discover ways to catch our prey more easily, or find ways to help those with more serious injuries? Why did we try to prolong our life spans with medicine and reduce the risk in work? Animals certainly not in too big of a hurry to help the seriously wounded. They care more for their young or their next meal than to ponder how the miracle of birth was created or who the ancestors of their meal where.
    Please do explain. I always had an insane curiosity to know anything and everything. And I am very openminded, and I am not blind to the logic and evidence for the theory of evolution.
    However it does not explain how something was brought forth from nothing. This seems to be the one piece in your puzzle of evolution that screws the whole theory.
    There is a theory that when to options remain and neither can be proved or disproved than the simplest explaination is usually the right one.
    Which is simpler?:
    - An all powerful God created everything, including time and space, the beginning and the end.
    -Somehow from a vast space of nothingness we got a giant ball of gasses that exploded outward creating, eventually the wonderful complexity of the universe.
    Therefore; this is were I stand
    -CMPHONEIX --------------------------------------------
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  3. H-kon Guest

    I enjoyed that post from "CMPHONEIX"

    about your last question which is the simplest.

    The simplest one i would believe is that God created everything. Because I do not believe that man is capable of looking at the Universe as something thats just there. There is got to be a reason for it to be, and how it came to be, is the question that man now is looking for.

    But then again. .What, or who is God? We have the bible, and lots of other scriptures of religion, but have man determined what or who God is? No. We havent. or?

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  5. H-kon Guest

    Something happened with my post there..

    My last thing is that. lets say there are lots of alien civilizations out there, I have many times thought if man could be the only rase believing in a God.. Maybe its just me.. he he

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  7. CMPHONEIX Guest

    I agree H-Kon, God is the simplest answer.

    Here's a little analogy:
    Have you ever drawn a picture or written a poem? That picture or poem may reflect some feeling or part of your life, but it doesn't describe ever detail about you.
    Likewise when God created science to bring order to chaos; it reflected a part of him.
    However, science can't tell you everything about God, because God is more than just laws and logic.
    Even if science did tell us about God, I doubt that we could understand it all. I mean we understand such a small portion of the complexities of the universe; how could we begin to understand the complexity of God.

    Boris, sorry for that explanation about God. I know you think this is all, 'bs' so I'll try to keep to the "what if's" from now on since we can't prove, 100%, God exsists.

  8. Boris Guest

    Good, an 'honest-to-God' challenger!

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    You are very right on our 'two' options. Well, actually there's way more than two -- since Christianity is not the only, or even the most anscient, of the multitude of various religions. But let's take away all that rubbish and simply talk about Creator (present in all religions) vs. Nature.

    You are correct in stating that it is impossible to prove the existence or inexistence of God. In fact, you statement is only a 'lemma' of a much larger 'theorem': it's impossible to prove any theory whatsoever. One can only hope to disprove, or falsify, a theory -- but only in case that theory makes some solid predictions concerning verifiable facts.

    Given that, let's examine evolution vs. creation. You stated that "Neither creation or evolution can be scientifically regarded as a truth, but either might become a personal truth." This is where we differ mightily. A scientific truth is one that concerns itself with natural phenomena, possesses predictive power, and has been verified through physical evidence (and never falsified by physical evidence). In that sense, evolution is a scientific truth. Creation, in contrast, is not -- it makes no specific statements concerning natural phenomena. But even aside from scientific validity, there is the question of explanatory power. Creation states that things simply are. Evolution explains why they are the way they are. It illuminates the various commonalities among lifeforms. It explains the fossil record. It in fact traces life's evolution all the way back to the blue-green algae 2.5 billion years ago. Not only that, but evolution ties in nicely with finds from other disciplines -- from biochemistry, to ecology, to geology, to astrophysics. It is now an integrated part of the whole of modern scientific knowledge. It is more than just a hypothesis -- it indeed now possesses the status of a theory that has been verified through natural evidence again and again across multiple fields of inquiry and by many independent researchers. Creation, on the other hand, always posits some kind of a story regardless of religion. And regardless of religion, the story is never consistent with physical record. And how could it possibly be? For example, there was no way for the anscients to know that the Earth is 4.5 billion years old, or that all lifeforms on this planet share identical biochemistry.

    Concerning your heaven vs. hell, 'logical' argument. If I claimed that God came down to me last night, and told me that we must all sacrifice our first-borns or else we go to hell -- would you do it? Would it not be safer than potentially defying God's will? In my book, the hell and heaven, as well as God's will -- are empty claims. Only particular claims out of infinite numbers of potential claims -- and with no greater probability of being correct than any other.

    Concerning your claim about simplicity. You are misconstruing Occam's razor. That philosophical idea was concerned with natural sciences -- not with groundless claims. To see the fallacy of your assumption, look at humanity 3,000 years ago. Back then, they all had the 'simplest' answers to everything in nature. What's lightning? God's anger. What's the sun? God's golden carriage. What's right and wrong? God's will. Did these 'simplest' theories get humanity anywhere? Absolutely not. If it wasn't for the scientific method, we'd all still sport 40 year lifespans, toil the fields and hunt the forests, and sacrifice our children on mountaintops. Two key ideas in the scientific method are prediction through cause and effect, and testability/reproducibility of such predictions. It is when we come to formulation of such cause-and-effect relationships that the simplest explanation tends to be the right one (although it not always is). I hope in this light, evolution and creation no longer even look like something you can put side by side for comparison.


    Well, now that we've dispatched the ideological issues, on to the exciting stuff.
    For readability, I'm splitting my posts into these two logical chunks.

    I am; therefore I think.
  9. Boris Guest

    You argue that our concepts of right vs. wrong, good vs. evil, our emotions and capability for thought all point toward a Creator. First of all, I'll question the logical transition from one to another. I'd understand if you at least tried to derive the concept of a soul from those phenomena -- but Creator???

    But regardless, these cognitive phenomena indeed form a basis for fascinating discussion. And tell you what: by the time we're through you will see how easily all these phenomena arise from evolution -- and that they are all manifestations of the physical, animal brain that we have, contrary to the claims of some that thought, morals and emotions all point toward an immortal soul.

    First, let's dispatch with emotions since they are the easiest of the bunch. Human emotions arise from a physiological complex in the brain termed the "limbic system". If you want to know, the limbic system consists of such formations as the cingulate cortex, thalamus, hippocampus, amygdala, mamillary bodies and the septum. The limbic system is located in the tectum -- the dorsal (upper) portion of the midbrain -- that portion of our brain that lies underneath the cerebral cortex and is therefore far more anscient. The limbic system is present in its entirety in the brains of all vertebrates, all the way down to fish. Direct evidence abounds for the role of the limbic system in emotional response. Lesion and corresponding psychophysical studies have firmly established the facts. When people claim that 'emotions' are an integral part of the soul, they are committing a fallacy. People are alive in great numbers whose emotional brain centers have been damaged -- through accidents, strokes, genetic deformities or diseases, cancer or surgery. Such people can completely lose their emotions. They would never again get angry, or sad, or excited, or happy. They never experience love, arousal, fear, hatred. They speak in monotone (without prosody) -- like robots in cheap sci-fi movies. They are no longer able to judge emotions of others intuitively -- though they can learn to correlate facial expressions with verbal descriptions of emotion, and they can even learn to fake their own emotions when they sense it's appropriate (though sometimes they misjudge the appropriateness of vivid emotional response). So there you go -- emotions are directly generated by the brain -- a physical entity; they are by far not immortal or indestructible, nor are they an integral part of what it means to be human. Presense of brain emotional centers in all vertebrates directly clashes with your supposition that somehow humans are unique in their emotional response. To the contrary, even neurophysiological evidence alone suggests that even the lowliest of vertebrates possess emotions. But apart from that, in higher animals the emotions are actually very easy to see -- because their emotional response is so much like our own. (And why do you think that is?)

    What is the evolutionary benefit of emotion? Why do animal brains go to such great lengths, creating sophisticated systems that govern the overall behavior of the entire animal? Precisely because the emotional response helps to govern behavior. Anger can be a huge survival benefit when it comes down to a fight. Fear is equally beneficial, especially for prey. Love is absolutely necessary to foster procreation, form 'family' and raise the young. Arousal, wonder, curiosity -- those are all necessary for adaptability, and migration to unknown territories. Hunger and satiety -- well, I hope it's clear what those are for. I hope it is patently obvious that emotional response is of enormous benefit to survival -- which is what the game of life is all about.

    Which brings us to good vs. evil, and right vs. wrong. I don't know how such concepts could possibly benefit a solitary animal. But, as soon as we come to herd animals, the advantages of morals become clear. In fact, for any animal that survives by bunching into a tribe, morals are not just an advantage -- but sheer necessity! What you call 'morals' I call rules of social behavior. They are universal for all social animals, not just humans. And they do require an underlying emotional apparatus. Things like empathy, reciprocity, respect for the more powerful, dominion over less powerful, eagerness to participate in social activities like games, hunting, guarding -- they are all necessary to stimulate any animal into congregation with others of its kind. Without built-in social psychological response, animals would have no interest in maintaining social ties, and herds or tribes would not exist. You might ask, what is the evolutionary advantage of a herd? Well, for now I'll just tell you to use your imagination, since the answers ought to be self-inviting. However, if you can't figure it out, I'll explain in more detail.

    Note that not all of our modern moral laws make sense evolutionarily. For example, such things as 'thou shalt not steal', or 'thou shalt not lie', or monogamy -- are not advantageous for survival. Perhaps it's little wonder then, that we have such trouble following some of those rules! These latter 'morals' have nothing to do with what we innately, or intuitively, consider right; rather they are social constructs of an evolved tribe designed to protect the less powerful from abuse by the more powerful. This is beneficial purely in the sense that a civilization that posits such protective measures tends to last longer as its constituents are more satisfied with their lives (are more secure). Why do lower animals not have something similar? Well, this brings us to the topic of abstract knowledge and thought.

    Animal brains are the most sophisticated piece of biological machinery on our planet (discounting, for a moment, visiting extraterrestrials

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    ) However, they are also extraordinarily expensive to maintain. Did you know that 40% of all your energy is consumed by your brain? Do you realize how much birth is complicated by our disproportionately large heads? Large brains mature much more slowly -- thus greatly prolonging human childhood and therefore exacerbating early vulnerability and dependence upon others for survival. Growing brain size (in proportion to the rest of the body, that is) could only be evolutionarily justified through extremely efficient usage of the new real estate -- that would behaviorally compensate for the extra expense and ultimatelly maintain or increase fitness.

    The great innovation in primate brains is the cerebral cortex. No other animal kind (except the caetacians) sports the feature. Thus, it is fair to say that except the two groups mentioned, no other species on the planet are capable of higher thought. Among primates specifically, the relative proportion of the neocortex to the 'old brain' varies. Monkies have very small, and very smooth neocortex. Apes have a much more pronounced neocortex with noticeable 'wrinkles' on its surface (called gyri and sulci). These wrinkles greatly increase the corex surface area within the same volume. This is related to computational power, since in the brain the computation seems to happen on a cell-by-cell basis, and for efficient interconnection the cells bodies are all pushed to the outside (gray matter), while the central regions of the brain are dominated by interconnection fibers (white matter). Because cell bodies tend to crowd the brain's outer surface, increasing the surface area enables the brain to obtain a greater variety of 'computational units' it can support. This is what happens as the neocortex gets more and more crumpled, until we get to Pan Troglodytis.

    Next to humans, the chimpanzees are the second most intelligent species on the planet. In fact, they are capable of maintaining a vocabulary of abstract concepts (!) spanning around 200 words. They are capable of complex social interactions, basic problem solving, abstract thought on a limited basis. Cognitively, an adult chimp is equivalent to a 2-year-old human child (when we discount world experience and motor coordination skills).

    So now, when we finally arrive at humans, perhaps it no longer seems as if we are so unique in our capabilities. What is unique about us among other primates, is the degree to which we are endowed.

    Like emotions, thought is maintained by a very complex and expensive system in the brain. Aside from other newer things, thought engages coordination centers, memory, sensory systems and emotional centers. But aside from this 'legacy hardware', thought also requires several new or highly enhanced faculties: the ability to maintain a vocabulary of words, a greatly expanded working memory and long-term memory, and more highly-evolved communication centers. A breakdown in any of those subsystems directly leads to breakdowns in various thought capabilities. Again, this has been profusely illustrated by a myriad of lesion and psychophysical studies over the span of this century. Therefore, thought is *not* a supernatural capability; it stems directly from the physical, animal brain of ours, and gives absolutely no evidence for a Creator.

    As for the evolutionary benefits of thought, I think you yourself illustrated them rather well. To quote you:

    "why did we ever develop a curiosity to find our origin, discover ways to catch our prey more easily, or find ways to help those with more serious injuries? Why did we try to prolong our life spans with medicine and reduce the risk in work?"

    All those things you mention (except perhaps curiocity of origin) are obviously beneficial to survival and procreation of both individuals and the species as a whole. And contrary to your claim that we alone engage in the behaviors you mention, other social animals also care for their sick and injured, actively search for ways of getting their dinner more easily, and try to prolong their own lifespan (which also includes 'medicine' in the form of medicinal foods).

    You state:

    "I am not blind to the logic and evidence for the theory of evolution. However it does not explain how something was brought forth from nothing. This seems to be the one piece in your puzzle of evolution that screws the whole theory."

    Un contraire. Evolution explains precisely how life arose from what you'd call nothing -- mere elements, to its present sophistication. Evolution, however, stakes no claim as to how the elements themselves (and the universe per se) came to be. That question is entirely out of evolution's domain.

    The question of what ultimately gave rise to the universe will forever go unanswered. However, science *can* and *will* answer all questions pertaining to the events _following_ the universe's birth. This is the domain where evolution comes in -- and the domain within which creation no longer has a place.

    And by the way: the mere fact that apart from the Universe's ultimate origin, so far we have been able to explain *every* reproducible or readily observable phenomenon through mere physical cause and effect -- argues strongly against any divine intervention in the workings of the Cosmos. Granted, we do not, and never will, possess complete knowledge of all phenomena that had occurred or could possibly occur. However, any reasonable conclusion or prediction must be based on current knowledge and past events. To this effect, the chances of divine intervention in the unfolding of the universe seem to get more and more slender every day. And, on the other hand, there is no tangible evidence to buttress the claim that divine interfention has ever occurred or is occurring now. Thus, I feel that a likely conclusion is this: that even if there was a deliberate creator of the universe -- it seems to have left us on our own, and doesn't meddle in our affairs.

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 12, 1999).]
  10. CMPHONEIX Guest

    glad to be thought of as a "real challenger."
    I should repay the compliment. You have obviously done your research, I am, I think like you, too used to finding people who blindly follow the crowd.(whichever crowd it may be) You certainly have done your bookwork, but I have done mine too. I don't blindly follow my religion, there is evidence for it. You have countered a few of my arguments. I will look at yours. Unfotunately it is 12:30 and I have to leave for a trip in the morning. But I couldn't resist seeing whether or not you'd responded to my posts yet. And I'm rather competitive when it comes to academics, and didn't want you to think because I was gone for a week, it ment I'd given up on my arguments.
    If I had access to the web I'd be here debating, but it's a Christian mission trip, and we have to sleep in tents.
    --------------------------------------------- I am rather competitive and I like to know my opponent. I told you I have an insane curiosity, I am curious what sort of person is looking at the computer screen. You obviously are very skeptical, but you most definately cover your bases. In fact it seems you are familiar with a broad range of subjects.
    Usually when I run into an "unbeliever"(please exscuse the phrase I can't think of a better own at this time)
    There is some emotional basis behind it. Example: man's parent is killed in accident, man can't believe a God would let him/her die. Refuses to believe in God.
    See my point?
    I'm not accusing you of the same thing, but I would like to know if your motives are purely based on logic and science.
    If you tell me I'll answer any questions you have about me. this sounds so incredibly strange doesn't it? Oh well I'm a little too tired to care. Anyway I am not some insane wakko just in case it sounds that way. I just don't like walking into a dark room without knowing what type of obsticles might be inside. I have to get to sleep I'll see if I have time to debate before I leave.
  11. Boris Guest


    I will gladly reveal my background. In fact, I've done that in the past, before the new message board format went up. There is nothing mysterious, sinister, deeply emotional or pathological in my stance. And it is indeed the stance of a skeptic.

    I was born and grew up (all the way to fourteen years old) in the Soviet Union. I considered myself Russian; however my lineage is Jewish (it said so in my USSR documents). But, I was a Jew only in name, as none of my family follows the religion -- even down to my grandparents. My parents are what you'd call agnostics. They do not adhere to any religion, but are nevertheless curious about the paranormal. At a certain point, I was similarly curious, and explored the issues quite a bit -- before finally abandoning my active investigations because I was disappointed by lack of any good evidence. So, I am a bit of a hardliner against my family backdrop.

    Anyway, we emigrated to United States, and now I am a U.S. citizen. I am in the process of acquiring education in Computational Neuroscience, with an eye to an academic career (with heavy emphasis on research).

    My critical stance arises for several reasons (at least so I believe). One is that I grew up without being exposed to institutionalized religion. Furthermore, I was exposed to a starkly materialistic philosophical viewpoint that was promoted by the Communist Party. I grew to question their claims, however, because a lot of their other claims were clearly bull. This is perhaps why I was thenceforth suspicious of any idealistic or ideological claims made by anybody -- including individuals and religious institutions.

    I have spent considerable time trying to hash things out on my own. I was reasonably well-read, did extremely well in school, and in general eventually was amassing enough knowledge to start forming some conclusions. Eventually, I ended up, perhaps ironically, siding with the materialistic viewpoint of Communism. The views I expressed, am expressing, and will express are all derivatives of this on-going process on my behalf to figure out the world.

    Why do I bother? Well, I guess it's a hobby. A passtime. Curiosity, futurism, yearning for knowledge. You know... It's just basically something I enjoy pondering -- call me weird.

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 13, 1999).]
  12. CMPHONEIX Guest

    thanks for the info.
    I seem to have had an entirely opposite childhood from you.
    I was born and raised into a very strong Christian family (My dad was a preacher)
    However, I can never believe anything blindly, I need at least a small foundation of evidence to believe on . I did some research and found that there were errors in other theories and evidence for creationism.
    I am not extremely well-read, I consider myself as possesing a good deal of knowledge, because our family travels, I read anything I can get my hands on, and my dad is also a bussiness man, so I have the opportunity of being exsposed to many different types of people, and also a good deal of common sense. (please don't make some remark about my lack of usage of my common sense, due to your beliefs)
    Now back to the good stuff.

    I don't know who you've been talking to, but as far as I'm concerned, Christians do not deny the fact that Natural Selection exsists, well, atleast not the ones who are clear on the subject. we simply explain it differently. we think DNA is too complex to be advanced by ACCIDENT or chance.

    flies. okay, you use some chemical to rid your house of them. According to you, there would eventually become a few houseflies that were born with a resistance to the chemical. Okay I can believe that, but the problem is that those houseflies do not have as many offspring as the few of the original strain of houseflies that survive. So the mutant fly has less viability than the original strain. So eventually, the strain of mutants is dead, and the original strain is restored.
    no progress is made.

    Also, the problem with a genetic mutations is this:
    if one creature did survive a mutation and produced offspring with that survived and had that same helpful mutation, then the whole eco-system would be effected. You already know how complex the eco-system is, and how human tampering has caused incredible problems in the balance of the enviroment. So if such a genetic mutaion occured, it would cause a general uproar in the balance of nature.

    This suggests that the entire eco-system would have to evolve together as unit. Gather what you will from that statement, I find it rather unlikely.

    Also on a final note on this subject, not one mutation in a thousand is benificial, and is a downward process, opposite from the theory of evolutionists.

    Really quick, on the subject of the missing link. Ok for a change we will say there isn't a God. Ok, so evolution did occur, and algae eventually evolved into a complex species. Evolution is in fact occuring right now. (are you liking this yet Boris?)

    so then Evolution has been occuring for billions of years. We're are not just talking about one missing link ladies and gentlemen, we are talking about billions! where are the apeman indeed?! But also, where is the half vertebrate/invertebrate? there are so many transitional stages in the agoniznizinhgly slow process of evolution. Literally, where on earth are all our missing links? You might say well over time many might be too deeply buried in the surface to discover, or were destroyed from geological reasons. okay, but if Evolution is occuring today, where are those inbetween creatures? Shouldn't there be some more recent remains from the mutations that reproduced and died?

    Okay done with the "if there was no God" discussion for right now. As to your question:
    why are our eyes and inner ears are bathed in liquid? well the answer is supringly simple. Why put padding around fragile objects? If you look at this from a creationist view, it also explains why. God made us so that the fragile parts of our body would be protected. Also according to the creationist view, God knew that man would sin and be imperfect because satan would tempt him, he gave us the freedom of choice so he couldn't justly prevent us from sinning, but he could prepare a back up plan. which is Jesus. so you're asking what's this got to do with anything? well He knew that man would be more vunerable to sickness once sinned, he might of created the rat with a similar brain for use in experimentation for medicine. Or maybe since created man in his own image he also gave the rat a brain somewhat similar to his own. I mean "write what you know about" right?
    Ok. here's a question for you.
    are you familiar with the Laws of Biogenisis? (boy is that a stupid question or what?) Anyway, Louis Pastuer proved there was no such thing as spontaneous generation, life from life you know?. So has it been raining worms or something over at your house? I mean You guys kinda screw that whole Laws of Biogenisis thing. That's what evolution is based on life from non-living things. we can't create life. we can synthesize it, which has never been done entirely, but we can't create it. You probably familiar with Oparin, a Russian scientist. Anyway his theory is that the old earth atmosphere consisted of four gases:
    Methane, ammonia, hydrogen, and water vapor. His theory is that lighting struck, cused the gases to break up and from amino acids. These acids occuring in the ocean, formed protein that eventually became living matter. Ok this was somewhat shown by a few experiments, but unfortunately, one thing the experiment did not exclude was the ozone. You see the ozone is what protects us from the terrible dammaging radiation of the sun's UV rays. These rays would have destroyed any life, there extent reaching ten meters into the ocean in extremely lethal amounts. so the $64,000 question is:
    How do you guys get living from nonliving? Right now nature cannot create new energy for life and neither can we? Why?
    That's all for me right now. Just out of curiosity, Boris, what would be considered a victory fo you? Is just an impasse enough? Or would you rather have me admit Evolution is more likely, or would it be better if i was converted into a darwinist?
  13. CMPHONEIX Guest

    PS> I don't think you're weird. If so, then I might as well join you under the label. The world is an awesome and wonderfully complex place, however it got here.
  14. CMPHONEIX Guest

    PPS> Just a tip. To me it seems like many of the questions your asking about creation, are explained by the Bible. So I think if you want to impress us all and prove a little something to us you should, look through a Bible to see where we're coming from. Then if you could show us a better theory or a loop hole, we might be more willing to agree with you. It's always best to meet people half way before you take them one way or another. Get my drift?

    Give it a Shot though, If I can sit through all my biology classes, get an "A+" in the class, and not stand up preaching against evolution, surely you can read Genisis, or maybe even a little more.
  15. CMPHONEIX Guest

    OKAY you guys are probably sick of hearing from me, but this one's for PLATO.

    My mom is really into geneaology, and as it turns out, we are descended from the Huegnots. Now according to my mom, you may not know sbout them. The huegnots were protestants fleeing from the Catholics. You most definately have heard about that aweful conflict in Ireland. well It was kinda the same except the church was in charge, the Catholic church, that is, and the protestants had three choices:
    -Become a Catholic
    -have all your stuff taken, be beaten, maybe even killed.
    -or run away

    The huegnots ran away. So it seems the Catholic Church turned a blind eye in history, and made no record of that event ever happening. But several others did.

    Just a thought, to ,duh, make you think.
  16. Plato Registered Senior Member


    Now, that is interesting !
    You do know, I hope that the Hugenots were the French protestants (the French version of the Calvinist if I recall correctly) in the sixteenth century. They were persecuted but not that much untill the famous Bartolomeus day where their leader, Colligny and almost every Hugenot of Paris was killed. This was under queen Catherina de Medici in 1572 I believe.

    Of course they fled France after that and since America wasn't an option in those days they kind of had their own diaspora in Europe. I didn't know that a group went also to Ireland, but it sounds logical if you think that in those days Ireland was still a tranquil island. But it didn't stayed that way I see...

    Do you have any more information about the fate of the hugenots when they arrived in the New World ?

    we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
  17. CMPHONEIX Registered Member

    think I accidently missinformed you. I didn't mean that huegnots went to Ireland, all though that is a possibility. What I ment is the conflict between the protestants and the catholics in Ireland is similar, though the French huegnots didn't have the rest of the world and government policy stepping in to keep as much peace as possible.
    I believe many of the French Huegnots fled to Holland and areas like that, and then eventually down to the southern tip of Africa. (you know about the Afrikaners, right? They were the Dutch people who moved to Africa. Some of the Huegnots fled down there with the Dutch when the Catholic Church even tried to influence the people of it's surrounding countries.
    I'll try and get back to you with some more info about the Huegnots.
  18. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member


    The victory for me is hardly achievable. It would be the end of doctrine and independent knowledgeable thought universally.

    But I'm not looking for victory. I am trying to show people who I am conviced are wrong, the reasons for their being wrong.


    The many questions I have asked, and you answered through a Creator, are described far more reasonably by evolution. If you are truly open-minded, pick up an evolutionary biology book and see for yourself. But as an example, I'll take up eyes and ears here. The water in eyes and ears is a left-over from our watery origins. The most primitive eyes are found on seaworms. They don't have eyeballs or retinas -- only simple photoreceptors on their outer skin. Their eyes are indeed vulnerable, and their eyesight poor. A 'modern' eye with a prism and a controlled inner environment hasn't evolved until fairly recently. But in structure it still bows to its evolutionary origins. Same with ears. Fish have along the midlines on both sides of their bodies a series of pressure receptors. A human cochlea is simply those receptors rolled up, compactified and extended with auditory hairs - and still bathed in liquid. Morphology traces all human organs and endoskeletal structures (*including* the backbone) all the way back to sea creatures.

    The reason you don't see the transition from vertebrates to invertebrates in the fossil record is because vertebrates evolved from chordates. Chordates have a cartilaginous tube instead of a bony spine. And cartilage does not get fossilized. In general, any creatures that rely primarily on cartilage rather than bone for skeletal support are lost to the fossil record (not to mention those that do not have a skeleton at all).


    You may have been misled by my reference to rat brains. It's not just rats -- *all* vertebrates, including all mammals, amphibians, reptiles, fish -- all have amazingly similar brain structures. All use essentially the same neurotransmitters (chemical messengers in the brain). Heck, let's get down to basics -- all use *neurons* in their nervous systems!


    DNA is complex only to you (well, me too -- I mean to humans in general). That's because our cognitive architecture is not tailored very well to process things like that. For one, it might well be that a truly advanced intelligence would find DNA trivial. But more importantly, nothing is too complex to be improved by random chance. Not when enough time and parallelism is present in the random search.


    What was that about flies? Pests adapt to pesticides quite successfully, I assure you. And they survive and procreate just fine. If they didn't they wouldn't be such a pain in agriculture's behind.

    Also, in nature unlike artificial settings, any environmental change is usually permanent on relatively long scales. So even if an organism survives the change through mutation but is less fit as a result -- it still gets to survive because all those who did not adapt are simply extinct. And the environmental change usually persists, so there is no chance of a backward relapse. Besides, evolution doesn't stop there -- the hapless mutant will have mutant offspring of its own, some of which will be more fit than others, and they will have their own offspring, and so forth. For example, the dinosaurs were amazingly refined. They featured predators the likes of which make any modern predator look like prey. They featured prey that would easily evade or deter any modern predator. They filled all niches of the environment. They had much more time to be refined -- unlike us mammals, who were born just yesterday on geological scale.


    And, of course, changing species have an impact on the ecology. As do the various other things like falling asteroids or glacial cycles. The key here is that the ecology adapts as well. Usually after some big disaster, the place is devastated. But then, give it a few million years and it will be blooming again. Of course, a change in only one species will not do all that much to the ecosystem anyway. Species die out and are created continuously -- even without our help, though at a slower rate. The ecological systems simply readjust themselves and go on. If that sounds miraculous to you, think of the following: the ecosystems consist of living things. Living things do everything they can to survive. Additionally, biological and meteorological cycles, as well as predator-prey relationships, tend to provide auto-restoring forces to ecosystems.

    But no, ecosystems don't evolve as a unit. They merely adapt to changing circumstances ( with loss or gain as it may be). And don't compare the drastic changes induced by us to the much smaller (typically) changes that would be induced by an alteration in just a couple of species. As a rule, evolution doesn't introduce megatonns of ultratoxic chemicals into the environment, or mow down entire forests across a whole continent.


    Mutations are indeed a downward process for the great majority. You're right, a beneficiary mutation probably has a chance of much less than 1/1000. However, consider the numbers of animals in any species alive at any moment, and the turnover rate of generations. Even we humans are about to hit 6 billion. Now, if the chances of a beneficial mutation are on the order of 1/10,000,000,000 then we already have one individual born into every second generation who is not entirely human (and *beneficially* so). But for us evolution is slower, because it takes us so long to reproduce. Most other animals, on the other hand, tend to a) produce far more progeny and far more frequently, and b) have generational lifespans on the order of 20 years or less. So although a beneficial mutation is indeed unlikely, they do happen all the time. All one needs is a selective pressure to reinforce a particular mutation over all others, and you've got evolution -- based purely on random chance, mind you.

    Also, not all mutations are necessarily good or bad. In fact, the great many of them just make an individual different -- biochemically -- but not as applies to survivability. Until, of course, some selective force comes along (like a disease maybe) that actually prunes all the mutations that can't handle it. For example, we humans tend to have several blood types among us. In themselves, the blood types don't seem detrimental. However, if some deadly virus popped up that only attacked people with type AB, then you can guess what would happen to our genetic heritage as a species.

    Non-harmful mutations can accumulate silently among populations for a long time. But then, yet another mutation, a disease, or a drastic natural change can create a response from those dormant 'features' and induce great change in the organism's function. This goes a long way toward explaining punctuated equilibrium that is so often observed in the fossil record.


    The missing link. (again!!) Seems to be a popular one these days.

    Well, let me remind you of a couple of things. First of all, you don't see a lot of mutants because you are not a pathologist. If you go and visit any museum of pathology, or a 'gallery of freaks' in a more trivial tongue, you will quickly see that we've got in-between creatures up the wazoo. And let me remind you that most of those creatures aren't even seen because they either die quickly or disappear through natural predation. Lastly, we've only been keeping record over any extended territory and time for only the last couple of centuries. This is laughably short on evolutionary scales. In fact, we aren't likely to see any real change in most species over the entire duration of our civilization! So if you want to see elephants growing wings -- good luck to you, because you are in for a wait of a few million years!

    However, amidst organisms that reproduce fast and live short lives, we can observe rapid biochemical change in response to selective pressure even over our lifetimes. This goes for bacteria, viruses, and various pests.

    So basically, the main issue here is of time scales. We are simply too ephemeral both as a species and as individuals to notice the ponderous march of evolution. That's why we have to rely on the fossil record. That's why you don't see any 'in-between' creatures. Well actually, *every single creature* you see is in-between! (including yourself!)

    As for missing links -- yes, there will indeed be billions of them. Because there are thousands upon thousands of species inhabiting Earth at any time, all of them evolving in parallel. If only 500 out of a thousand living species are eventually preserved as fossils, we lose 50% of the information -- thousands of missing links for every evolutionary 'step'! So don't be surprised at missing links. Especially among species that didn't have that many individuals alive anyway.

    The fossil record is a valuable tool for evolutionary biologists, and a great empirical verification of the theory. However it's incomplete (woefully so!), and is not even the cornerstone of evolutionary theories. I don't know why people get fixated on it so much. My advice: look at the big picture, and look at the real roots of evolutionary theories -- *the species that are currently alive*!

    It is the living things that gave Darwin his ideas. The widespread, thorough, pervasive morphological similarities within Kingdoms. The existence of sub-speciation. The obvious variation even within genuses forced by geological barriers or territorial separation. Heck, look at us humans! We are a very young species, but already we have evolved different appearances, body factors, biochemistry -- only because populations were separated from each other by great natural divides of desert, mountains, oceans and wilderness. And, we are the least likely to evolve so quickly, due to our slow reproductive maturation and social structures aiding survival of the disadvantaged!


    In general, evolution can be construed statistically as a Brownian process. Think of an air particle bouncing around. After enough time elapses, the gas particle is equally likely to be anywhere in the room; its chances of being where it started are essentially 0! The DNA can be viewed as a vector within a many-dimensional space, where each sub-dimension consists of four axes: A, G, T, C. The vector undergoes a semi-random drift within that space. First, it fluctuates like a Brownian gas particle, but then it is restored somewhat by cellular repair, natural selection for fitness, and interbreeding. So, it's a 'dampened' brownian motion, but in the long run it will lead to similar results! Given enough time, the DNA 'vector' could end up practically anywhere in the AGTCx1000,000,000-dimensional space! And with evolution, you are even less likely to end up where you started, because a continuous ramp of fitness is applied, so barring great natural disasters a regression toward inefficient design is impossible!


    Concerning ozone and the ultraviolet rays: ultraviolet doesn't go through water (not to mention the mineral soup that an ocean is); neither do the even more lethal cosmic rays. That is among many reasons life developed in water to begin with. The oxygen atmosphere was generated by anaerobic algae in the planet's oceans -- only then did we acquire ozone in sufficient amounts to block the ultraviolet, and oxygen in sufficient amounts for life to evolve into the animals and plants we witness today.

    Where did you get the idea that ultraviolet can penetrate through 10 meters of water?! I am not an expert in optics, but that sounds a bit hard to believe. However, regardless, life could just as easily have started up elsewhere in the ocean strata. Don't forget that the early Earth was in a constant geological turmoil, because of the thinness of its core, greater abundance of radioactive materials, and because it was pummeled by rocks from space. The volcanic ocean vents and hot springs that are so rare today were the rule of thumb back then. So energy was widely available anywhere you went -- from the Earth itself even more so than from the Sun!


    Finally, let me touch on that 'look to the Bible for answers' theme. The question is not whether you have answers. The question is: are your answers any good? As in: are the answers really answering the question, or just brushing it under the carpet of Creation together with the millions of other questions?

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 23, 1999).]
  19. Plato Registered Senior Member

    I would also like to comment on the bible having all the answers.
    You see even the bible wasn't created in a single sweep, it evolved during more then a millinium of jewish history. There you see that even the Book itself is a product of evolution ! Scary thought, huh ?
    Now, or you are saying : ok so god just helped the guys who wrote the bible and made shure they worte the write 'answers' or you say the bible is a product of a people trying to explain the world and their existence in it to the best of their abilities. If you take the first answer then why not let god do the same thing with biological evolution ? (that is what the catholics did for your information) If you take the second answer then evolution itself is responsible for our very beliefs of this moment.

    Besides, why do you think evolution would stand against religion ? Don't you see the religious possibilities here ? Evolution shows us the connection between all living things, it even shows the connection between life and 'non-life', how one came from the other, suppose you would leave the old notion of a supervising god like that and unify him with the universe itself. A supervising god is to much related to Plato's (not me but the old Greek) idealism and absolute truth. A very viable tought at the time but a little outdated today.

    we are midgets standing on the backs of giants,
  20. CMPHONEIX Registered Member


    I know that fossil records are not the corner stone of evolution. In fact, I talked to an expert who I met and he said that fossil records do not support evolution, merely adaptation. And I know very well that evolution is an incredibly slow process. I know that life can recover on it's own, Look at Mt. St. Helen's (it's a volcanoe that practically destroyed itself and the forests around it) The scientists were all amazed at how QUICKLY it recovered, by the way. My point is that there should me remains of each creature who made the transition between charnoloid to vertabrate. Shouldn't there be a couple charnoloid's with the start of a backbone?

    And what I'm trying to get you to see is this:
    If evolution is still an ongoing process, what crawled out of the water today? Shouldn't there be living creatures in there transitional stages? I mean right now as we speak algae is working it's way up the evolutionary chain. Slowly of course, but still, shouldn't we be able to see these, changes? Someone's bound to notice. Even if they all died before the too many people could notice, THAT'S THE WHOLE POINT!! They couldn't evolve because their mutation was bad before it got to be good, but they didn't survive long enough to even pass that on.

    Okay. could you clear something up for me? which part of the eye, the brain, the reproductive system evolved first? Why would the fish crawl out of the water? he had his food, and he was adapted to the enviroment. Why would he even bother? I've heard something like he was forced to crawl around so reeds, and this managed to get him out of the water.

    Don't you wish you could do that? "Gee these reeds are in my way, and there's a predator behind me, I had better grow some lungs so I can get away from him." Or the bird. " Boy I like that food up there, I'm starving down here, I had better grow some wings so i can get it." or " O no a preadator's chasing me I had better grow wings so i can fly!" Or " Ahhh I'm falling off a cliff, I had better fly quick!"

    they couldn't see how something like wings, legs, or lungs could benefit them. the fish who flopped his way out of the water would die. They bird without wings would die also.

    Can you see the bird who started to evolve wings? that would disable them while running from a predator through brush. thus they would eventually be killed, and any offspring they had with the same mutation, would more than likely share their fate. The problem with evolution through chance happening, is that the eniviroment would not be ready for them, The bird growing wings, would be less desirable as a mate. more than likely they would never have offspring.

    The point I'm trying to make is though, the eventual outcome of a mutation may be beneficial, getting there is fatal.

    You completely dodged my question about emotions. Yes i can see how they would be beneficial. But how did they form? Certainly to the less intelligent creature the benefits of emotions would not be obvious.

    It still doesn't matter wether or not the uv rays penetrated the ocean. (Though UV rays are A LOT smaller than visible light, that's why they can be so deadly, they get right into your cells.) When the organisms surfaced or went on land, they would be exposed to them and die.
    I'm going to break this up into two parts.

    [This message has been edited by CMPHONEIX (edited June 24, 1999).]
  21. CMPHONEIX Registered Member

    here's a logical thought:

    If one being created all life, is it not likely that they would all be similar in some way or another? variations of the same idea.

    I'm not sure why you think God has left us alone. Let me just say this, though it may be out of context:
    God created man with the freedom of choice, he can't step in when he knows someone is going to do something bad, and stop them from thinking bad thoughts, that makes that person a robot, and is unfair to them.

    Lori had a point. You can't just examine God under a microscope, He's so much more. Trying to explain God in purely scientific regard, is like trying to explain our pesonality.

    You're thinking," well what about genes and hemicals," and so on and so forth. Well no matter what our genetic tendencies may be, we can always harness our emotions and feelings.
    how is the survival of the fittest, anything like that? If anger helps an organism fight, than why bother controlling it? we could get everything we need and everything we want, through sheer force. What is it in us that makes us want to put the weak first? Suvival of the fittest means you let the weak die so the new generation will be strong. Where does equality come in? Rights? I know this sounds familair, but you still didn't explain it, atleast not enough for me.

    Believe it or not Boris, I have picked up a biology book, I told you, I read it, anylyzed it openly, and aced the class.

    There are just some things that don't connect for me in the thoery of evolution. T

    The reason I have trouble finding the truth in evolution, is because, the Bible explained things before science could explain them. (and I'm not just saying that whole, "the sun is god's chariot" crap, I don't know where you get these connections)

    Did you know the Bible talked about the importance of cleanliness, especially when repearing wounds. The English society didn't firgure that out till Loius Pasteur. By the way you dodged Spotaneous Generation.


    Can you tell me anything about some of the earlier civilazations and medicine?
    You seem to know a lot about history, can you help me please? I don't often have a lot of time to look these things up.

    [This message has been edited by CMPHONEIX (edited June 24, 1999).]
  22. Boris Senior Member Registered Senior Member

    I see your point about 'in-between' creatures now (sorry I was so dense earlier). And here's the simple answer:

    We don't see them because they are indeed at a disadvantage compared to the creatures that had already conquered the domain in question. The modern fish are unlikely to crawl out on land, because they would have to compete with the much more highly-evolved lifeforms already there! Not only that, they would tend to fall prey to land- and air-dwelling predators. They would simply not be able to survive. However, when it first happened the lands were empty. And actually, it's not the fish that made it first; the plants came onto land way before the animals. And by the time the plants 'crawled' out of the water, the Earth already had a thick protective oxygen atmosphere, generated by the cyanobacteria and the blue-green algae.

    Why would plants crawl out of an ocean? Well, the sunlight is surely easier to catch when you're above water than when you are underwater. Plus, the land was not colonized -- so the disadvantaged mutants that first made it ashore had no competition. They essentially found a new safe niche where they can survive *very* comfortably with nobody there to bother them! The first animals crawled onto land for the very same reasons.

    If some enormous disaster would wipe the landmasses clean of life, this colonization of land would proceed anew, and indeed you would see first plants, then animals slowly making it ashore once again.


    Now, your talk about growing wings when you need them is just plain childish. Of course, no creature or species (except us, perhaps) can ever make any decision as to how they want to change their genetics. Evolution is not a conscious process. And it's not a sudden one either. When we talk about growing wings, we talk about the necessary structures forming very gradually, so there is no problem with selecting mates -- because all members of the species look the same at any moment! And wings would not have put birds at a disadvantage. Even flightless birds of today, like the ostriches for example, are quite fit and hardy -- if you don't believe me, try to catch and eat one. Most likely, wings evolved from very long, clawed arms used either to catch prey or to climb through trees.

    Nothing in evolution is sudden; nothing just appears. All the structures can be traced to more and more rudimentary beginnings. And that includes brains, reproductive organs, and the whole gamut of features present in modern or anscient animals or plants. None of these features really 'evolved first'. They all started from some precursors, that evolved in parallel and in concert with each other. So there never was a time when creatures had a modern brain but no modern heart.


    Emotions... What do you mean "to the less intelligent creature the benefits of emotions would not be obvious"? -- 'Obvious'???

    First of all, you seem to be under some kind of an illusion that emotional response requires intelligence. Quite to the contrary -- emotions came first; intelligence arrived much much later.

    And I thought the benefits of emotion I outlined were quite clear. They don't have to be obvious to the creature (the creature doesn't decide its own evolutionary path!) All emotions have to do is make the creature more fit in comparison to its peers. This can come about through better survival of the creature's young, better response to appearance of predators, better motivation to fight for that scarce piece of food with your peers, motivation to explore new territories, and so on and so forth. It's amazing to me you don't see these very obvious benefits of emotional response.

    And btw lest you be under some kind of an illusion that lower animals don't have emotions, I'd like to counter that right away. Even the most 'primitive' animals have emotions -- like fear, anger, hunger, excitement, love. They of course cannot consciously evaluate their own emotional state, but that is not necessary for what they do.

    As to how the emotions formed -- get back to me when neuroscience has unravelled the brain enough to describe precisely how emotions function. Then, it will likely be obvious from the connective structures and neurotransmitters used, what primitive pathway was modified, and how, to eventually support emotional response.


    Now for the second part of your post...


    If one being created all life, and that being was truly intelligent -- wouldn't you think that he would have more than one idea about how life can work? Why would an omnipotent god generate countless variations on the same idea, when it would be that much more fun to explore countless other ideas and variations on all of them? Finally, why would it take God 3 billion years of gradual tweaking to come up with the modern lifeforms, when he could have done it all in a second? And, your position would seem to imply that either God is now done tweaking (in which case the evolution of pests and microorganisms we observe is an autonomous process after all), or God is *still* tweaking his creations for some odd reason! Both of these alternatives are ridiculous enough that I hope evolution plain and simple without divine intervention appears as the only plausible choice.


    My dear believer, the microscope is the *only* way we can examine god!!! Science is only a tool, comprised from methods of observation and theories that arise from those observations. If we are not to use science, then we are not to use any of our senses -- not our eyes, ears, touch, smell, or taste! If you were to deprive yourself of all your senses (which are a form of scientific instruments by the way!) you would know absolutely *nothing* about the world, you would know absolutely *nothing* about God, you would not be able to speak, feel, or reason logically or illogically -- in any fashion, shape or form!!! (And you would have no idea of shape or form, to boot.)

    Our entire cognitive apparatus is driven by senses and real-world experience. These are the *only* tools we could *possibly* use to examine *anything*. If you don't believe me, please start out a separate thread called "Epistemology" and we shall discuss it there in detail.


    By the way, our personality is completely explainable by science. Just because we haven't managed to do it yet, doesn't mean it can't be done!!

    It has been clearly demonstrated that every single cognitive function is tied to the brain and its *physical* computations. Because of the physical nature of the brain, it is entirely susceptible to scientific reduction, and given a little time we will know absolutely everything about ourselves as well as other animals.

    The only reason we have not unravelled the brain completely yet is because we didn't have the tools to do it just a couple of decades ago. Now, we are armed with advanced biochemistry, sophisticated microscopy, exponentially improving nonintrusive imaging (like MRI, fMRI, CAT, PET, etc.), and massive computational power. The field of cognitive science is really beginning to take off. So while this is perhaps the golden time of biochemistry and astronomy, expect the early-to-mid 21st century to be the golden time for the study of the brain. And I am not messing around; I am an insider and I see what's going on firsthand.

    Finally, lest you allude that evolution makes claims about connections between DNA and personality -- let me put an end to that right away. Personality is the domain of psychology, not evolution. Emotional response is considered within the evolutional framework purely as a substructure of the brain and the endocrine system. There is nothing postulated about the cognitive capacities of the higher animals to exert control over themselves -- that is still the unknown land, and is full of psychological speculation but no real rigorous data or theory.

    However, to answer your question concerning the benefits of control. Perhaps sometimes, if you are smart enough, you are better off avoiding a fight. For example, if you are a wolf faced with an angry bear, you should probably put your tail between your legs and run for your life. In this case, the emotional response of fear does the trick. However, sometimes one is faced with unknown danger that is not easily recognized by the emotional apparatus -- and the higher cognitive machinery (if present) could play a crucial role in saving your hide.

    Additionally, for a social animal control of emotions is crucial. For example, even if you are pissed off at the leader of the pack -- you better not show it, lest you be torn to pieces by him and his cohorts.


    Concerning survival of the fittest and social dynamics. First of all, you realize of course that animals who are not social do precisely what you mentioned -- i.e. let the weak die so the species can remain strong. For social animals, the choice is a bit more complicated, because their tendency toward fellowship or tribehood contradicts the egotistic tendencies. Additionally, sometimes the tribe is better off keeping its weaker members alive than letting them all die off, and withering away because of insufficient replenishment.


    If we could get everything we want through sheer force, we would no longer be social animals. We would wonder the woods alone, and maintain our distinct territorial domains. The key to social cohesion is cooperation -- not brute force. It is an evolved trait. My previous discussion of herds and their benefits ought to prevent any further questioning on your part concerning the evolutionary benefits of social behavior.

    As for equality and civil rights -- those are not evolved. Un contraire, those are quite unnatural and are a product of our higher thought centers and the resultant of anthropological evolution. In fact, if you were an antrhopologist, you would see easily that those ideals are never upheld in practice, and we still tend to organize ourselves around 'pack leaders', with all the associated social hierarchy structures.


    Finally, your last paragraphs...

    The Bible explained nothing. It shoved everything under the carpet. It used the anscient trick of invoking all-powerful and all-knowing entities for *explaining away* everything that is not presently understood. It never bothered to examine cause-and-effect relationships, as would be required in a *real* explanation. It simply went back to the good old worn-out idea of divine will, and 'mysterious ways'.

    And by the way, before the Bible explained things, the Romans had it all figured out. And before the Romans, it was the Greeks. And before the Greeks, it was the Egyptians (that's where the God's chariot 'crap' came from, by the way), Mesopotamians, etc, etc, etc, etc. So whatever point you were trying to make with prior explanations, I believe it's moot.

    Knowledge advances by theory-making and theory-testing. Science superceded the Bible and the countless other sources of 'divine truth' because it finally figured out to start making theories and testing them. And it ended up (at last) with a coherent, solid story that doesn't involve fantasy beings or arbitrary mythological constructs.


    The Bible may have talked about importance of cleanliness, and a great many other wonderful useful things. They were all known well before the Bible (I assure you), all over the world. They were simply common sense, and the Jews happened to possess some.


    Spontaneous generation...
    Well, if you consider my explanation simply a dodging, I can't help you. Maybe you should point out specific parts of my explanation that sound like 'dodging' to you, so that I can respond to the specific criticism. However, I do believe I have described in a few of my previous posts on this board, both where, why and how life arose. So please go over my previous posts and see if my position seems any clearer.

    But there is one thing I believe I never explicitly mentioned. It is that whereas life exists for 3 billion years (perhaps even more than that), complex life exists for less than 1 billion years. This is because the sophisticated cellular machinery found even in the modern unicellular organisms took literally over a billion years to evolve.

    *Of course* life did not start out with the DNA forming spontaneously. *Of course* the first living organisms did not possess cell nuclei, ribosomes, Golgi apparati, RNA, or endoplasmic reticulum. The very first living organisms were most likely as primitive as a self-reproducing protein. Even now, there is an active effort in the research community to produce some artificial self-reproducing proteins to make the point. And I believe, there has even already been some limited success (despite the fact that this research only took off a few years ago).

    So you see, there really are no leaps of faith in evolution. All you have is the amazing complexity of matter, the vast abundance of energy in all sorts of forms, the mind-boggling size of the evolutionary 'test-tube' (not even just the Earth's surface, but the entire universe!), and the unimaginable lengths of time over which evolution took place. Once you consider the scales involved, neither the spontaneous emergence of life, nor the evolution that consequently ensued should sound so miraculous after all.

    I am; therefore I think.

    [This message has been edited by Boris (edited June 24, 1999).]
  23. Bigdaddy Guest

    Speaking of dinosaurs,how did they fit all of the different types on Noahs ark? And how many races of humans(his family)were there?

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