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Evolution Stood on its Head?

I'm officially in "I told you so" mode. (for those of you new to Wizbang... if you care you can search the archives, or read the last paragraph in the extended section for a brief explanation.)

Startling Scientists, Plant Fixes Its Flawed Gene

In a startling discovery, geneticists at Purdue University say they have found plants that possess a corrected version of a defective gene inherited from both their parents, as if some handy backup copy with the right version had been made in the grandparents' generation or earlier.

The finding implies that some organisms may contain a cryptic backup copy of their genome that bypasses the usual mechanisms of heredity. If confirmed, it would represent an unprecedented exception to the laws of inheritance discovered by Gregor Mendel in the 19th century. Equally surprising, the cryptic genome appears not to be made of DNA, the standard hereditary material.

The discovery also raises interesting biological questions - including whether it gets in the way of evolution, which depends on mutations changing an organism rather than being put right by a backup system.

"It looks like a marvelous discovery," said Dr. Elliott Meyerowitz, a plant geneticist at the California Institute of Technology. Dr. David Haig, an evolutionary biologist at Harvard, described the finding as "a really strange and unexpected result," which would be important if the observation holds up and applies widely in nature.

My argument about evolution* is and will always be, that all you loud mouth people who accept as some sort of fact etched in stone that man evolved from some primordial ooze are just as religious as the people you bash.

The truth is --though you are loath to admit it-- that we don't know jack about the origin of the species. If there is indeed some mechanism built into organisms to repair flawed genes, the whole theory -which is already mathematically astronomically improbable- is now a few dozen more orders of magnitude more improbable. There is something other than DNA that apparently carries some sort of genome and we don't even have a name for it yet, much less understand it!

OK, you can now commence to ranting in the comments about how it is a fact and I'm just some ignorant fool. And make sure you bash religious people... If there is one thing I love to laugh at, it is one religious zealot claiming the other guy is just a religious zealot.

* The nomenclature will always bite you. I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed.... And no amount of your typing in the comments section will make unflawed.

And as an explainer to newbies... My point is, it does not matter if you believe in the Bible's version of Adam and Eve or you believe in the whole "primordial ooze" theory, either version requires a leap of faith. And the hypocrisy of the "oozers" bashing the religious for accepting something on faith just annoys me. The only real "truth" in the whole debate is that we have no clue. I'm enough of a scientist to admit that. Though the pseudoscientists can't accept it.


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Comments (101)

I'm a scientist, a chemistr... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

I'm a scientist, a chemistry PhD, and have to say that one big difference between the leap of faith necessary for the Adam and Eve story vs 'primordial ooze' is that things like the gene discovery you refer to will force scientists to think about the evidence. Religion isn't subject to revision by new data. It therefore isn't really fair to compare the corresponding leaps of faith, in my opinion (and that's all it is. If science has taught me anything, it's humility). That said, I have never had any problem believing in both God and evolution. Having a backup copy of a gene seems like a good adaptation that the almighty allowed to evolve...

Life is a precious and divi... (Below threshold)
Dan Patterson:

Life is a precious and divine gift. Just ask Terri Schiavo's parents.

Dan Patterson

I smell a Nobel prize for P... (Below threshold)
Neal:

I smell a Nobel prize for Paul.

Everyone who reads Wizbang ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Everyone who reads Wizbang by now probably understands that I am a Christian, a Catholic and that my beliefs and my behavior as best as I can manage it are devout according to my beliefs.

About evolution, I've never had much of a problem with the process in biology and can and do recognize the fossil record. The only problem I have in conjunction with evolution is the wierd dogmatism that bestows an irrationality through insistence on dogma that disallows any other life process of creation and/or change within biology in an effort to disallow any explanation other than evolution of species.

God can and appears to my understanding to do whatever He wants and can and we are so meagerly limited to comprehending the mind of God as to be mere microbes by comparison. Microbes revered and loved by God, but microbes still the same if even that by comparison with the Divine and what is possible to and through God by Divine action, thought, perception.

I can't believe that God would not USE processes of change to bring about what He wanted because that's what I understand God does, and I see that each and every day of my lifetime, that change and modulation of conditions is and how God works His will in my life and the lives and conditions of others. Some miracles (God thinking, reasoning, being) take time, some take less time, but it's all time passage when you think about it. It's just a case of how much we as mortals comprehend God's time and measurements to be...and about evolution, it seems that God has brought about a lot of change over our measurement of time that just may be the blink of a thought to Him.

But I don't disallow the Creation nor refute that God Created what we now understand, all that is. It's just a case of what God used and how He used it to accomplish what He accomplished and I've never disallowed His use of what we define to be an evolutionary change process to bring about what He has in mind.

The irrationality about these academics often rests within the dogma of dedicated evolutionists, however, who refuse to consider that there is something out there beyond their scope of study, as in, Creationism.

The smarter science community is today beginning to accept the idea of Creationism and that's a great place to begin to incorporate the already understandable (to us mortals) process of evolution.

I'm in Dave E.'s camp. As... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

I'm in Dave E.'s camp. As an engineer, I understand how hard it is to design something from scratch. If I was omnipotent, I'd just create a system that designs things for me and then wait a few billion years. I've got better things to do than to be drawing stripes on zebra's 24/7.

As far as this backup mechanism though. Who's to say that it's not also subject to mutation. Maybe sometimes it makes "corrections" that aren't normal. In any case, it's an interesting discovery, and does go to show that we really don't know squat about most things.

There is process to biology... (Below threshold)
-S-:

There is process to biology, and the process and how it came to be...that's where God and Creationism enter into things and so far, "science" has not disproven nor proven the existence of God. If we are limited to believing and accepting only that which we can read is already accepted as being, of possessing accepted definition, there's no margin for anything new, anything imagined, anything believed, anything ventured.

If science stops explorations, science discovery stops. What remains to be explored and understood by our human species seems to be unlimited and that includes scientific discovery itself.

I used to wonder when I was a child, looking at the stars, where we were situated. That is, where in what the Earth was. Where our galaxy was and what the remaining parameters were. If there's no end, no limitation to all that is beyond our known universe, then there is also unlimited discovery possible.

If there is a limit, however, if existence suddenly stops at some edge or boundary, then what? Are we on someone's living room table as a science project? No? Then, what's after the boundary?

Questions such as that are simple, yes, but they are also meaningful to learning and to exploration. Which is, in fact, what the scientific process is, or at least, should be.

Master of None: if you wer... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Master of None: if you were omnipotent, perhaps you'd just bypass designing a biological human altogher, and just opt to go with the use of aluminum and plastics.

Meaning, I do not believe as humans that it is possible for us to comprehend, without Divine intervention and helps, what and how the omnipotent thinks and reasons.

Could you have ever imagined atoms? Or mammalian cardiovascular system? I mean, invented it in all it's complexities. I think it puts humans in perspective when you take into consideratiion that no known human could or has ever imagined our known universe. Much less everything we do not yet understand or comprehend.

We're still trying to compr... (Below threshold)
-S-:

We're still trying to comprehend Einstein and retroviruses. I don't think any human could ever create either from scratch, out of the imagination, all materials involved considered.

I am both a Catholic... (Below threshold)


I am both a Catholic and someone who subscribes to the theory of evolution. The two things are only incompatible to the small-minded on either side.

That being said, I am skeptical of the experiment. We know that DNA contains the coding for the plant's design, as evidenced by the fact that we can, and do, manipulate these things all the time. My thought is the scientists either have an imperfect understanding of hte plant's genome or there is hidden, in what is now considered to be part of the plant's "junk" DNA, additional information that makes the genome self-healing.

I don't reject the possibility that, like in the famous scene in Pulp Fiction, "god came down and stopped the bullets". Certainly, in a universe with a God, such things are possible. I think it more likely that the scientists in question here either a) are in error, or b) that the process is simply more complicated than previously thought.

That doesn't mean that either
a) evolution is wrong, or
b) that there is no God.

Those who try to derive the big picture from little things often deceive themselves.

>>I've got better things to... (Below threshold)
Ben Zeen (a pseudonym):

>>I've got better things to do than to be drawing stripes on zebra's [sic] 24/7.

Being eternal means having a lot of time on your hands. If you exist outside of time, you have even more (in a sense).

Dave Eaton I don't disagree... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Dave Eaton I don't disagree.

Neal, truth hurts?

For those of you that want ... (Below threshold)
Duke:

For those of you that want to analyze this intelligently, read the full article. It's chock full of explanations of why this doesn't necessarily refute evolution. In fact, only 10% of the offspring "corrected" the mutated gene. Conclusive evidence that evolution is wrong, this is not. Further, the possibility that genetic data is retained in the RNA is also discussed.

This doesn't give Paul license to go into "I told you so" mode. The fact that he thinks it does, shows just how much of a putz he can be sometimes.

While we're talking about i... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

While we're talking about it, I just want to simultaneously defend methodological naturalism AND faith in one breath. Scientifically, I never see a time when we should throw up our hands and say "God did it". Even if it's true, things that exist in nature have a rational, predictable aspect. I won't rule out miracles, either, but neither will I appeal to them to understand things.

I think most of us would recognize miracles, if such exist, as an intervention into an otherwise lawful universe. Since such an event presumably would come from a Deity with a mind belonging to Itself that I am not privy to, a miracle can't be an explanation, but rather, a denial that an explanation is possible. So when I want to understand or explain, I don't appeal to miracles. It's a dead end, scientifically, especially if the miracle actually happened. Most things yield to this sort of reductionist program more or less, and it makes sense to play it out as far as it will go.

The faith part- well, I am not as articulate about that, but I can't see that trying to understanding the clickity-clack of the machinery of biochemistry forces one into any faith position. As a human being, I have alway found the fact that there is something rather than nothing to be compelling enough to remain at ease with the belief in God. I don't think it is proven, per se, by my intuitions, but I can't say that I find scientific counterarguments compelling, either.

My brother is a hell and br... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

My brother is a hell and brimstone kinda guy, and even HE REALIZES THE WORLD WAS NOT MADE IN 7 DAYS and that WE ALL CAME FROM ADAM AND EVE.

Does that mean him or me completely go with Evolution? Nah, some of that sounds like crap too, but sure beats a fairy tale.

Can't people just be happy being left in wonder? Why do we have to know EVERYTHIN GODDAMN THING eh?

I don't see how it refutes ... (Below threshold)

I don't see how it refutes evolution either. I agree with Colossus. I also think that some time down the road, way down the road, science and religion stand a good chance of merging.

To Rob Hackney-For... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

To Rob Hackney-

For me, it's a compulsion. I know I'll never understand everything, which is in itself a more modest goal than knowing everything. But if something needs explaining, I feel compelled to try and figure it out to some extent. I suspect that other people, even people who just think "God did it" or argue for preserving mystery or wonder secretly have a pet theory about how things work, but don't want to subject them to scrutiny. I mean no offense by this, and in any case, I may just be projecting my compulsions onto others.

I'm just lucky enough to live in a time when I can profit from my compulsion rather than being burned at the stake.

duke missed the point compl... (Below threshold)
Paul:

duke missed the point completely when he said....

"or those of you that want to analyze this intelligently, read the full article. It's chock full of explanations of why this doesn't necessarily refute evolution. In fact, only 10% of the offspring "corrected" the mutated gene. Conclusive evidence that evolution is wrong, this is not."

DUH! Nobody said it refutes evolution. Can you read?

I said it proves how little we understand about his stuff. And it does!

I may be a putz but I'm a putz can freaking read, you idiot.

Strange...a new method of i... (Below threshold)

Strange...a new method of inheritance is discovered, showing that there may be another pathway for the transmission of favorable traits over the dreaded "mutations almost always kill" argument and this is somehow evidence against evolution?

A friend of mine alway figu... (Below threshold)
DAVE:

A friend of mine alway figured that one day science was going to prove that there is a God.
(like looking through a telescope and realizing that you are looking into the eye of God) - this last part is my idea. - sorry

>>"I don't see how it refut... (Below threshold)
Paul:

>>"I don't see how it refutes evolution either."

Nobody said it did.

Let's see, the scientists r... (Below threshold)
JP:

Let's see, the scientists respond to new data with words like "if confirmed," "appears," "raises biological questions," and "if the observation holds up." Doesn't sound as if they accept any facts "etched in stone" Paul, an unfortunate choice of words which perfectly represents the religious view.

Jason please take a reading... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Jason please take a reading class and get back to us.

I'm a scientist, a chemi... (Below threshold)

I'm a scientist, a chemistry PhD, and have to say that one big difference between the leap of faith necessary for the Adam and Eve story vs 'primordial ooze' is that things like the gene discovery you refer to will force scientists to think about the evidence. Religion isn't subject to revision by new data.

Boy, nothing like starting out the comments with a blatant lie. If religion isn't subject to revision by new data, then why do Christians even exist? Should they all be Jews? And what about the Reformation? And scarecrow's brain? Er, scratch that last one.

My comment about not wantin... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

My comment about not wanting to draw stripes on zebras was just meant to show that the method of God's creation is not comprehendible by humans. A more important question is WHY did God create the world, not how. Science can't help with that one.

Now, I have a sister-in-law who not only believes in creation, she believes that the world is only about 20,000 years old. You should read some the the literature she gives me about that theory. Yipes!

This only goes to prove one... (Below threshold)

This only goes to prove one thing, upon which we can all agree.

People from Purdue are smart. ;-)

Go Boilers!

Master:My brother ... (Below threshold)
Rob Hackney:

Master:

My brother would disagree with your sister in law. He says the world should technically be only 10 000 YEARS OLD. and that MANY OF HIS BUDS THINK MAN CO_EXISTED alongside the DINOSAURS. heh

Both sides have some crap 'proof' for their stories, but I think the religious one makes for better movies.

Jinx-Touche' that ... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

Jinx-

Touche' that religion changes, but I'll stick by the assertion, in that there isn't anybody 'fact checking' religion like there is science. And when it changes, say during the protestant reformation, or during the second Vatican council, I'd argue that it isn't new data that leads the charge. The fact that there are still Catholics and Jews suggests that some didn't find the new stories so compelling, and that there probably wasn't data available to decide the case, unlike what usually, eventually happens in science. So I wouldn't characterize the lead off as a lie.

Dave Eaton: your frame of ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Dave Eaton: your frame of reference seems to suggest that all that you perceive is "rational" while all that is of faith is not.

Meaning, you imply that what you know to be in your visible, explored environment possesses rational development, bespeaks of a plan involved.

While, by the contrary, that then brings into question the miraculous that is, by comparison with your known environment, not logical, not based on a plan, not logical.

I believe that bespeaks of a limited perspective, since all that is know to our human perceptions, even now, is only a gradation, a part, of what is possible to know and perceive. We can't even hear elephants communicating, or smell even one fifth of what canines do, so what else are we as a species missing in our daily ventures?

I'm thinking that the rationality of the observable to humans is, in fact, what the miracle is. That we perceive rationality and the rational, that we can reason and display logic, that's the miracle. Not the norm, but the exception. Which to me, again, indicates the miraculous nature of logic itself, of the thought process.

Rob Hackney: do you know w... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Rob Hackney: do you know with any certainty or does your brother what a "day" is to God? Meaning, the "seven days" creation information just may mean something else to He who was active in that process than what it means to humans. Even OUR measurement of what "a day" is has changed, as has our perception about time and space and calendar and more.

I mean, to dismiss the CONCEPT and information in Creationism, as it is presented in the Bible, based upon a limited understanding of concepts involved, is to miss the party.

Maybe a day to God is two million years in human understanding. I mean, I don't know, but it's the message that matters in that story. I think the idea of God abiding by a 24-hour cycle to get His work done seems a bit funny.

Master of None: actually, ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Master of None: actually, that comment about you having other things to do with your time than draw stripes on zebras is a great example of human perceptions being imposed as limitations of the concept of the Divine. God perhaps brought about zebras by his imagination, as it's written (the Bible, Genesis) that He imagined light.

In which case, that could more easily explain the "seven days" measurement if God simply commanded and imagined and made it so instantaneously and perhaps he did, in fact, get His initial work done in seven days. I just don't know but I'm willing to believe that there is far more to know than we as humans currently do and can. Meaning, we understand our environment through our own limitations. What we don't know, I am almost certain, about everything, far outweighs what we do not, and what is knowable.

Sorry, typo (^^): shoulld ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Sorry, typo (^^): shoulld have read, "...what we don't know...far outweighs what we do know, and what is knowable."

There is as much empirical ... (Below threshold)
cool universe:

There is as much empirical proof that a spore flew out of a passing alien's butt and landed on earth as there is for creationism or the primordial ooze theories. All science has to do is create life in a test tube with electrified ooze and the THEORY could be considered "probable". Genetic mutation happens every day via chemical and sunlight stimulus - for example: Cancer. Normally cells "proofread" cellular replication but conditions occasionaly occur where a mutant cell that can replicate gets past the proofreader mechanism. Sometimes it's a good change (evolution), sometimes the cells just die due to bad programing, sometimes it's cancer. Add a few million years to the mix and anything could happen.

There is still a billion mysteries...

S:I would cop to b... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

S:

I would cop to being limited, and hopefully rational. I'm certain that we are missing a lot (I think science would be boring if it were otherwise.)

I think it's likely science will prove to be a dead end for many questions, some of which may have answers that we are incapable of understanding. I'm just a chemist, so most of what string theorists do escapes me completely, but I do get the impression that they aren't sure what it all means. It could mean that they are dead wrong, of course. More tragic, in my mind at least, is that it's possible that they are correct, but humans are too limited to understand it.

Rob & Master of None,... (Below threshold)

Rob & Master of None,

Two of my recent coworkers were "Young Earth" Southern Baptists, while I have a degree in Geology and lean more Catholic. We had lots of arguments on this, and I read some of that "Creation Science" literature...what utter crap! I tried to explain to them the concepts of "Circular Logic", delved into Aramaic translations, and completely failed to get their attention with a quote from an old rabbi, "Whoever takes the Bible literally is a fool."

They also failed to appreciate that my "Giant Alien Worms" theory of earth formation was as "scientifically plausible" as theirs.

There is some whacked out stuff in those pamplets--people claiming it all works because "the speed of light is slowing down" and other wacky ideas that, if actually true, would mean that our entire universe wouldn't even exist as we know it.

Rob Hackney: do you know... (Below threshold)

Rob Hackney: do you know with any certainty or does your brother what a "day" is to God? Meaning, the "seven days" creation information just may mean something else to He who was active in that process than what it means to humans. Even OUR measurement of what "a day" is has changed, as has our perception about time and space and calendar and more.

Not to mention the fact that if you compress all of the Universe into one infinitesimally small point (which is what it seems to me that G-d was doing when He created everything from nothing), time tends to get a bit distorted, at least if physicists are to be believed.

I am not a scientist. I am ... (Below threshold)
Scott H:

I am not a scientist. I am a Christian who believes it is my obligation to seriously think about, and challenge, my faith...that through this my faith grows stronger. I am not a fundamentalist or a literalist.

On this debate about creationism and evolution, especially in the context of public school education, I've reached the following conclusions.

I think I understand why some Christians cannot accept evolution in any form. This is due to their core faith that the Bible is literally true, every word, chapter and verse. Anything that pokes the tiniest hole in that belief is a threat to their faith. Now while I disagree with that, I understand it.

I also think I understand why some agnostics or atheists take the opposite position...and for the same fearful reason.

And then there are the majority who proabably lie somewhere in between.

The more I've thought about this issue, the more it seems to me that this debate isn't really a debate, not in the sense that one side is going to be able to prove its point. No, I think what we have here is a confusing attempt to blend two different disciplines, namely science and philosphy.

Both disciplines are equally important and both shed light upon the other...but they are not the same. The techniques, reasoning and burden of proofs are different. It is wrong to try and force the two together.

Instead of redacting or stickering science books why not do something that actually helps...institute philosophy classes in public schools. This would provide the appropriate forum where the designer/no-designer discussion can take place.

It would provide a forum where the students of this nation can begin to grapple with the ethical issues posed by modern science and technology.

Let science and philosophy coexist, and don't make either try and do the other's task.

I guess this takes me back ... (Below threshold)
Just Me:

I guess this takes me back to some of the things I have said in the Terri Schiavo case, where it seems some sort of think of the medical community as all knowing gods.

I think we have sort of done that with science. There are some very dogmatic people out there whose opinions on evolution are about as questionable as those who question the young earth creationist.

But Science isn't all knowing, as a matter of fact there is still far more we do not know about the world around us than we think we know. I think evolution is one of those things. God or no God, I think one of these days much of what we think about evolution in the origin of species and major changes from one species into another (as in dogs to cats type things, not some isolated fruit fly population that now can't mate with other fruit flies).

I figure eventually research is going to set much of what we think about evolution on its heels, and those who are dogmatic about evolution as we currently understand will have their "faith" called into question.

I agree with Paul on the probability issues, I just don't see evolution as all that plausible, absent some sort of purposeful design (although I don't know to what degree Paul holds with the design concept).

Some great comments, folks.... (Below threshold)
Cousin Dave:

Some great comments, folks. Let me go back to the original subject a bit and talk about evolution and Darwin's theories. Please review with me for a minute. The process of evolution as spelled out by Darwin consists of two steps: (1) mutation, and (2) selection. In step 1, various species and offshoots arise. In step 2, some turn out to be better adapted to their particular environment than others, and the better-adapted ones are more likely to survive and reproduce, and eventually they become dominant.

Now, as for the current state of scientific thought about these two things: There's not much dispute about selection. It happens; we can observe it in nature (natural selection) and reproduce it in the lab (artificial selection). Admittedly, the bulk of this data concerns lower species, like the famous pepper-moths in London adapting to Victorian-era industrial pollution. Data concerning selection on higher species is much less certain. There are two reasons for that: the relatively long life cycles and slow reproduction rates for higher species, and the ethical issues involved in doing selection experiments on higher species. But, at least among the lower species, there is little dispute in the scientific community that selection works pretty much the way Darwin said it did.

Mutation is another matter entirely. Keep in mind that when Darwin first wrote about the subject, DNA was unknown. Darwin himself had little to say about mutation; back in his day few people could conceive of a mechnism by which mutation could occur. Then, the mid-20th century came around, with pioneering work on both DNA and nuclear physics. In the 1950s, some scientists put two and two together and concluded that mutation was caused by spontaneous alteration of DNA due to natural radioactivity in the environment. A necessary element of this theory was that evolution had to be a slow, gradual process, because it was believe that random hits on DNA by high-energy radition would have a high probability of producing harmful mutations, and that only a relatively few would "get lucky" and produce a benificial mutation. In this onesey-twosey style, mutations would have to accumulate over many generations in order to produce noticably new species.

However, starting around 1975, some people began questioning the notation of radioactivity-driven mutation. Some mathematical work and computer simulations indicated that the kind of gradual mutation envisioned by the 1950s theorists couldn't create radical new species, such as evolving reptiles into birds, because the intermediate forms would be maladapted and wouldn't survive long enough to reproduce. Then, biologists started discovering other mechanisms of genetic alteration, such as the plasmid mechanism that bacteria can use to swap DNA between individuals.

So now we know that the mutation mechanism probably has multiple drivers, some capable of much faster and more dramatic transformations than the 1950s radioactivity theories. (In fact, some biologists now discount radioactivity entirely as a significant influence in evolution.) Particularly since 1990, we are finding out that lower species at least have all kinds of DNA-alteration mechanisms that were unknown and unsuspected a few decades ago. The study that Paul mentions might be yet another new mechanism for mutation (or "de-mutation" in this case). We've known for a while that, in the total DNA for any given species, there's quite a lot of it that doesn't appear to do anything in particular. Perhaps some error-correcting mechanism is buried in these seemingly dormant genes.

In short: Among the bulk of serious scientists, there is little dispute that evolution occurs today and has been occuring for at least longer than human civilization has been around. However, there is considerable dispute about how it actually works, and right now this picture actually seems to be getting cloudier rather than clearer.

What does this all say about the actual origin of the universe and of mankind? Not much. Where evidence is hard to find, science cannot reach any conclusion. That's where philosophy and theology come in.

Well said paul... (Below threshold)
M.Palmer:

Well said paul

You know, I thought science... (Below threshold)

You know, I thought science and philosophy were two completely different things,until I actually took a philosophy class. My experience in the sciences goes like this:

If you start studying biology at a sufficiently small level, it turns into chemistry. Chemistry turns into physics. Physics turns into math. And math turns into philosophy.

I concur with many posters ... (Below threshold)
wannabe:

I concur with many posters above, I'm no expert but it seems to me this discovery can bolster the theory of evolution as opposed to refute it.

Isn't Darwin's basic theory that species mutate or adapt in order to ensure their survival? An ability to correct a defective gene sure is going to ensure the survival of that species huh? Now if humans could glom onto that "glitch", the biotech industry would be out of business.

Suzi, a good joke once went... (Below threshold)

Suzi, a good joke once went

A man finds himself in the fortunate position of talking with God. He asked God, "Hey God, how long is one of your days to us?" God replied, "oh, about one million of your years." The man asked then, well approximately how much is a penny to you?" God responded, "Well, about one million of your dollars is worth about a penny to me." The man thought a little, then greed took over, "Hey God, could you lend me a penny?" God smiled and responded, "Sure, just give me a second..."

Actually, people MISS THE P... (Below threshold)

Actually, people MISS THE POINT. Everyone (except the 0.01% of wackos) can accept the "selection process", either Darwin's theory, or the group behavior theory (the theory that not just natural selection, but communal behavior can ensure survival, hell just look @ humans, we are extremely weak physically, but we've had the cabalities to band together in groups and beat off attackers with tools) explains the evolving part.

HOWEVER, the MAIN disagreement occurs when we try to argue about how LIFE began! The Intelligent Design theory says that some intelligent being sparked the creation of life, whereas the other theory is that it occured naturally. Please get our arguments back to this specific point.

HOW did life begin? Please keep the arguments revolving around that single question.

"Please get our arguments b... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

"Please get our arguments back to this specific point."

This comment thread has never been about that specific point. Mind if we keep discussing what we've been discusssing?

HOW did life begin? ... (Below threshold)
andy:

HOW did life begin?

The linked article was about evolution, not the origin of life itself.

Paul, To break it ... (Below threshold)
Tman:

Paul,

To break it down for you real easy like.

What "started" life= not understood. Could be God, could be cake. Could be Godcake. Nobody is claiming to know.

What happened after life "started"= evolution. The mechanics of evolution are what is debated in the article, not whether or not evolution exists.

As Stephen Gould said- "Well evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts don't go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's in this century, but apples didn't suspend themselves in midair, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered."

Does that help?

Well, I think it's worth ex... (Below threshold)
-S-:

Well, I think it's worth exploring in the discussion that point raised by Henry ("HOW did life begin?"), so will wander down the tangential lane a bit...

By beginning.

Whatever the process of that beginning, I'm venturing to guess is also beyond our current ability to comprehend.

An explosion, some implosion, some spark (still an explosion), whatever, perhaps a mere thought to God if my faith theories hold true (that a thought to God makes anything possible, that a Creative act in the 'mind' of God -- He who created all that is, whether that is force or moment or however we can marginally get our minds around the idea of a Creator, an act of Creation, the 'mind' of God as I earlier wrote.

You know, theoretically, anything is possible. But, life began with the beginning, and the larger question is, what motivated the beginning, what brought the beginning into being?

And, back from my walk down... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, back from my walk down that tangential lane, the processes of evolution versus creationism are not at all that different, if different at all, theoretically.

Because they both rely on the process of change, of one thing sponsoring (or "sparking") another thing and on and on, all the while whatever exists along the way throughout ongoing processes will eventually (or, at least potentially) become something else.

Which is what Creation was, that things became out of nothingness. Evolution is simply process and relies on most people not stopping to ask at what point it all started, assuming that the process is ongoing and always has been.

If that last part is true -- assuming here for now -- then that relies on the idea that life always existed, that there was no beginning point, that it's always existed, somewhere, then another place then finding it's way to Earth, etc.

But the question is (in this case, Henry's point is not tangential), what brought all that is into being? If you can perceive that everything that is has always been, then the issue is moot but if you can perceive that at one point in unmeasurable time and space, nothing ever was and then it began, then you have to deal with the issue of a creation point, and thus, a Creative author, something/someone/a source that started everything and how the resources existed from whence all was started (again, seems to me that if nothing existed at some point, then there'd be nothing available to build anything with so everything had to have a starting point, some means by which everything came into existence at a time and place, such as they can be imagined or measured, out of nothingness).

But both are still processes. I accept evolution as I do the fact that vehicles roll down a road: they're constantly passing point after point after point after point...meaning, I can easily comprehend the process of evolution as a means by which creation is "updated" and, well, serviced of sorts, constantly moving from point to point to point in such a fashion that no one ever quite notices one isolated point but does notice the road and the movement involved.

As an area of human academics, however, and within science, the dogmatic rejection by some within science tends to prove to me that they aren't focused on the scientific method but on their own concept of 'religious' idealism to the rejection of that by others, because science, the empirical process, relies on studying change if not change itself as process. Processes of change: nothing is ever so fixed as it is in a state of change, however subtle, and what the results are of that/those changes when they're able to be isolated and studied.

But, actually, if there was... (Below threshold)
-S-:

But, actually, if there was ummeasurable space, then something already was, in which creation took place.

I think the concept is just too big for most humans to perceive: that once there was nothing, and then there was something. And who/what made something and how.

Common descent is inferred ... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Common descent is inferred from the repeatable observations of: 1) Biostratification of the fossil record 2) Transitional fossils 3) Molecular analysis and comparison of mt and nuclear DNA 4) Vestigial structures 5) Observed speciation 6) Comparative anatomy/physiology/homology

The Theory of Natural Selection derives from:

1. Populations often reproduce exponentially reaching the carrying capacity of the biome quickly, resulting in inevitable competition for resources

2. Variation exists among members of the popualtion including differentials in mortality, morbidity, and/or fertility, some of which are at least partially heritable.

3. Biological traits which are heritable and positive are assymetrically selected over those which are neutral or detrimental resulting in eventual wide spread distribution of that phenotype via the genotype after a number of generations

All three staments are falsifiable.
The Theory of Natural Selection concludes that after many iterations this can result in clearly detectable changes in the species over time and/or diversification and speciation.

Despite misinformation spread by creationists preying on their Christian victims, evolutionary biology, be it common descent or The Modern Synthesis, is not synonymous with atheism or any political ideology. This is self evident considering the vast number of scientists who profess some version of theism, cover the politcal spectrum, and who accept evo as the most plausible explanation by far, for observed biodiveristy.

Primer: Intelligent Design/Creationism proponents often claim that ID is a purely secular, scientific theory which explains the similarities and differences in extant and extinct taxa more or less as well as ‘evolution’, which they often refer to as Darwinism, Materialism, Naturalism, etc. (All of which are code words for atheism BTW).
Evolution can mean two basic things in biology: The first is the inferred fact of common descent. The second is the theoretical process by which an ancestral population might split into two or more subpopulations, and build up enough morphological divergence from one another over time, that they can be considered two separate species. It’s SOP for creationists to play bait and switch with these two meanings for the term ‘evolution’. Typically ID/Cists will use the theoretical aspect, attack it, distort, present it misleadingly, and then smoothly transition form that and discredit the idea of common descent. The most infamous creationist soundbite, “Evolution is only a theory”, being the textbook exemplar. Lets be crystal clear: Natural selection, or the present incarnation of the theory of Evolution called The Modern Synthesis, could be dead wrong, and common descent would be unaffected.

Intelligent design is not a scientific theory. What does this mean? In science, unlike in everyday usage, the term theory is a general statement that unites a wide array of facts under a single explanatory framework, and which makes testable predictions. IOW, it’s possible in principle to find some data or perform an experiment which either supports or does not support the theoretical explanation. ID/C explains nothing and rests almost entirely on arguments against various aspect of evolutionary biology, and then implies or directly states that whatever flavor of magic the individual creationist professes wins by default. These elementary logical fallacies are well known, and are referred to as a False Dichotomy and an Argument From Ignorance, and ID/C makes no testable predictions (With the exception of denying common descent, which is in itself reason for rejecting ID/C).

And of course, when speaking to religious fundamentalist audiences, the ID/C advocates are open about their motivations. The Wedge begins with “The proposition that human beings are created in the image of God is one of the bedrock principles on which Western civilization was built. Its influence can be detected in most, if not all, of the West’s greatest achievements, including representative democracy, human rights, free enterprise, and progress in the arts and sciences.”

What a lot of folks don’t know, even some who are sympathetic to ID/C, is that the goal of The Discovery Institute, the PR arm of ID/C, is to replace not just evolutionary bio with theistically approved dogma, but all of science! This is where The Wedge gets its name.

“Evolution is the ‘thin edge of the larger wedge’ the ID/Cists plan to drive into science. As plainly stated by autheor Philip Johnson “The social consequences of materialism have been devastating. As symptoms, those consequences are certainly worth treating. However, we are convinced that in order to defeat materialism, we must cut it off at its source. That source is scientific materialism. This is precisely our strategy. If we view the predominant materialistic science as a giant tree, our strategy is intended to function as a “wedge” that, while relatively small, can split the trunk when applied at its weakest points.”

Their goal is to practice and teach ‘science’ as a series of religious decrees; By Fatwa. And they have a very restricted idea of precisely which religion, demonination, and clerics, are to bo so empowered, and which are not. Based on past and present theocracies (Iran, The Taliban, The Inquisition), this would be a very bad idea.

A line of research those of... (Below threshold)
Dave Eaton:

A line of research those of you interested in the origins of life can be found by searching online for A G Cairns-Smith. He has some interesting theories about how early pre-biotic replication could be templated by clays. Fascinating stuff, and he has written at least one book on this idea for laymen.

That said, I'm hardly convinced by his arguments, not because I've decided or been told by the bible or my pastor it isn't so, but largely because they are very speculative so far. But his ideas suggest experiments that might give insight. I guess my position would be summed up thusly: If you want to know the mind of God, science won't help much, however evocative it might be, despite what physicists say. If you want to know something for which there is the possibility of experiment or historical data, it can help. In any case, it's hard, and takes a long time, is expensive, and after all that, may still give equivocal answers.

I don't capital K know that evolution happened like I know what I had for lunch...wait, bad example, I'm pretty forgetful...but it seems to explain the data past the point of the origins of life. We could fight about how well it does, and such is healthy, if we will stay confined to things we can measure or model. If something overturned the theory of evolution, I'd live with it. But one or two findings won't do it, since so much of the evidence converges (again, we could argue how well, and looking for counterexamples is cool). Biology would have to figure out something every bit as encompassing to replace it.

I don't think god is litera... (Below threshold)

I don't think god is literally dictating at some point, "hey you there chimpanzee, lose the hair, trust me on this."

but then again, I'm only human, so I guess I have no clue...

However, when people discuss creationist theory versus evolution, the heart of the debate usually (at least in the past here at WIZBANG!) ends up revolving around the key points for each. The Intelligent Design Theory tries to focus their debate at the point where life began, whereas the evolutionist people try to focus their debate on the evolution on life already begun.

I'm not choosing sides because I subscribe to both ideas, without excluding one or the other.

My argument about evolut... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

My argument about evolution* is and will always be, that all you loud mouth people who accept as some sort of fact etched in stone that man evolved from some primordial ooze are just as religious as the people you bash.

That isn't an argument, it's a statement of personal opinion and it's grossly erroneous. Evolution is a scientific explanation in the case of the theorretical aspect, and an iferred fact in the case of common descent. This is accepted by both evangelical Christians (Glenn Morton, Welsy Elsberry, Richard Wein) and atheists, and for that matter, it corsses every religious creed and political ideology on earth. Thus your statement that 'evolution is a rleigion' is clearly falsified by the facts.

The truth is --though you are loath to admit it-- that we don't know jack about the origin of the species.

There are an estimated 100 million extant species and an estimated 100 billion that have existed. I have no idea which of those numbers you are referring to. If you mean anatomically modern humans, yes we have an excellent idea where and how we originated most recently. We evolved from a common ancestr with chimps, gorrilars, primates, mammals, vertebrates, metazoans, eukaryotes, etc. 1. Comparitive analysis of mtDNA and nuclear DNA (I.e. Genetic Material: ERV's, SINE's and LINE's, retrotransposons, pseudogene complexes. The distributions of these features is exactly what we would expect for known or suspected phylogenies in common descent scenarios involving humans)

2. The fossil record of hominid transitionals, A. Afarensis, H. ergaster, archiac H sapeiens, and anatoimcally modern h sapeins, is both morphologically and temporally in the precise framework to support recent common ancestry with other primates.

3. Homology, anatomy, and physiology, together with vestigial structures also converges on the same answer.

And as an explainer to newbies... My point is, it does not matter if you believe in the Bible's version of Adam and Eve or you believe in the whole "primordial ooze" theory, either version requires a leap of faith.

There is no 'primordial ooze theory'. More importantly, you have created a fasle dichotomy implying that it's 'either/ or'. This is clearly invalid as most scientists (About 95 % plus) who are theists accept evolutionary biology and common descent.

There is no shame in being related to animals. Huamns are animals. Personally I think it's pretty cool to be able to call a cheetah or an eagle a member of your extended family. And it's odd that anyone would attempt to limit the Creator, or try to tell Him what He can and cannot do, when in fact the evidence clearly shows that any Creator which does exist used evolution to bequeath unto us the most precious and amazing instrument we will ever own: Our bodies and minds. This is evidence for the brilliance of said Creator, not evidence against Him.

Jolly Roger - There ... (Below threshold)

Jolly Roger -
There actually is some real scientific controversy over whether or not the speed of light has changed. See here for example, or the idea that the speed of light changed during the Big Bang. Yes, findings of this sort might very well mean that "our entire universe wouldn't even exist as we know it" - but, you know, that like totally never happens in science.

Cousin Dave -
While I agree that natual selection happens, there is lots of controversy over the pepper moth study - the most important point being that pepper moths don't actually land on tree trunks.

"Among the bulk of serious scientists, there is little dispute that evolution occurs today and has been occuring for at least longer than human civilization has been around. However, there is considerable dispute about how it actually works"

This is kind of a problem. How can a scientist be convinced that something is occuring and yet not have a clear theory about how it works?

The problem here is one of the differing definitions of evolution. Do we mean natural selection? If so, yes we have examples of that occuring. Do we mean mutation? If so, while there are lots of theories of how mutation might work, have we actually ever observed one life form mutating into another? Not that I've ever heard of. We have mutations occuring and forms of life changing in the fossil record, but the connection of the two is a theory, and not a scientific theory either. Do we mean that life exploded from the primordial soup? If so, that's not even a theory - just pure speculation.

Ds, did you know that banan... (Below threshold)

Ds, did you know that bananas are like 50% the same as us genetically?

anyways,

The point he was asking about the origin of species is mainly the origin of LIFE. I have yet to hear a straight answer that Intelligent design could be just as viable a theory as "oops" from the evolutionist nuts when it comes to the origin of LIFE.

Of COURSE we all recognize that the species evolved from each other (and not always as darwin intended, read my last comment about humans, we're extremely weak physically, but behaviorally, we created inter-relationships and teamwork unlike any animal around, not only us, but packs of predators can take down any larger animal)

MASTER OF NONE, READ BELOW ... (Below threshold)

MASTER OF NONE, READ BELOW THE FOLD ON PAUL'S POST FIRST
"The nomenclature will always bite you. I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed.... And no amount of your typing in the comments section will make unflawed.

And as an explainer to newbies... My point is, it does not matter if you believe in the Bible's version of Adam and Eve or you believe in the whole "primordial ooze" theory, either version requires a leap of faith. And the hypocrisy of the "oozers" bashing the religious for accepting something on faith just annoys me. The only real "truth" in the whole debate is that we have no clue. I'm enough of a scientist to admit that. Though the pseudoscientists can't accept it."

Yes it was about that specific point.

Raina said: There actual... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Raina said: There actually is some real scientific controversy over whether or not the speed of light has changed.

This would not rescue Young Earth Creationism, note the bold font. Consider SN1987A: SN1987A was a supernova observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud in 1987. (The progenator was a star blue white supergiant catalogued as SK-69 202). SN1987A has a primary gas ring that allows us to calculate it's distance using simple triangulation. That distance is 168,000 light years. Ergo: SK-69 202 blew up 168,000 years ago or about 160,000 years before you believe the univrerse was created if you're defending YEC. So we know the universe is older than 6,000 - 10,000 years years, because in 1987 we observed the light of a super nova which actually occurred in 166,000 BC.
We also know the light from 1987A has not slowed down during transit because if it had, among other enormous physical problems, events on 1987A would be in 'slow motion' and they're not, again direct observation. SN1987A also gives us rock solid evidence that radiodecay processes operated at the same rate in the remote past as they do today. During the super nova explosion exotic isotopes were created with short half lives such as cobalt 56 and nickel 55. We can observe the decay sequence of those isotopes in the spectral emission of 1987A. They match exactly the empirically measured rates on earth which are also the theoretically predicted rates universally applicable in the entire universe. Thus SN1987A is a 'twofer' in falsifying YEC.

Henry asked: Ds, did you know that bananas are like 50% the same as us genetically?
More or elss depending on you count, by base pair, by sequence, etc. Mor eimportantly, do you know why bananas share so much genetic material in common with other forms of life on earth? And why those patterns are consistent with phylogenetic scenarios? A-Common descent.

I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed....
Take this in the genuine spirit of good will in which I ofer it. You've made a fundamental error.

There is no such theory as yopu're articulated. Evolution is merely an explanation of how life changes over time, it does not address the development of life AT ALL. Life could have arisen from supoernat6ural emans, it could have developed naturally but directed by a Creator, it could have been blind chance, it could have been the Gorth Mothership purging it's sewage tanks on the early earth.
But evo doe snot address that, anymore than Chemistry addresses the development of elements from staller nucleosynthesis. You can make up any definition you want for evolution. But no one else will udnerstand you if you do it too often.

work, have we actually e... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

work, have we actually ever observed one life form mutating into another? Not that I've ever heard of.

We have observed speciation of two species from a single ancestral population in which the new clade is not interfertile, and it arose by mutation, yes. We have not, due to our mayfly lives and our short time keeeping precise records, seen a fish turn into a cat, just as we have not observed continents skidding across the oceans and bumping into one another, or a star form from a Bak Globule, age, and go supernova. For that matter, we've never observed/recorded via camera or video tech, a Giant Red Wood grow from a seed to a towering 200' titan. It is precisely because these phenomena occur so slowly, that we have to tease the facts out of nature. The easy stuff, stuff humans can watch happen, is mostly figured out long ago.

~DS~That's nice. ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

~DS~

That's nice. All of that.

But, the issue isn't that someone asked for a definition and examples to support that, as to what evolution was.

However, that's nice.

Not like it's not a part of Bio 101, however...

You do make a great example of all that Paul attempted to share, however, and that is that those devoted to the theory of evolution (it is theory, after all, however acceptable to some) (and I've never declined to join in accepting it, by the way) are as "fundamentalist" in their commitment to their own "religious" ideology as those Creationists they disdain as fundamental religious-right.

It's a case of those involved in academic sciences often blindly accepting their empirical process as dogma to the denigration and dismissal of religious theory, while both are still theory, both are only as acceptable and dismissable as they are agreed to be by those who need to dismiss one inorder to believe in the other.

Not to speak on Paul's behalf here, but the point being that to assume that there exists only science -- a very, very human thing, when you think about it -- as study and understanding, then that actually defies the empirical process of science itself. Sadly, many among ardent evolutionist theorists really seem limited in scope and again I include the fact that their entire focus begins and ends with the assumption that life already existed, then the study of life. Seems rather juvenile, actually, highly presumptive.

ROFL!If that's your ... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

ROFL!
If that's your definition of 'fundamentalist" then we've barely scratched the surface of my 'religious convictions' ~S~, hehe. In addition to evolutionary biology, I'm also a staunch convert of Newtonian Physics below high velocities and energies, at which time I turn to the teachings of the prohpet Einstien to resolve discrepancies. I light candles in worship of Lord Kelvin and Maxwell, for both my thermodymanics faith and my electromagnetic deities. When praying to the Gods of genetics, my prohpets are Mendel, Crick, and Watson. I advocate the Gallilean Laws od Motion when solving kinematics probelms on earth, and I drop to me knees in abject subjurgation. Brian Greene and associate Witten command my total faith in M-Thoery, the other night I saw his face in a taco and wept profusely with joy framed by Calabi and Yau.
The beautiful thing about all my many fundamental rleigoius views here is that they're testable, and you don't even have to believe in them for them to work for you.

Now seriously, do you want to be absurbly silly and give us some good, quotable material to spread around the blogosphere and laugh at your desperate idiocy? Or do you want to discuss the evidence?

Hehe, religious theory</... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Hehe, religious theory, still chortling on that one! Thanks for the grins! Pray tell O Wise One, what testable predictions does religious theory make with respect to a specific deity? What are the falsification criteria? Where can I see thes eprocesses happening in part or in whole right now? How can I reproduce thos eprocesses under controlled conditions?

"This would not rescue Youn... (Below threshold)

"This would not rescue Young Earth Creationism, note the bold font. Consider SN1987A: SN1987A was a supernova observed in the Large Magellanic Cloud in 1987. (The progenator was a star blue white supergiant catalogued as SK-69 202). SN1987A has a primary gas ring that allows us to calculate it's distance using simple triangulation. That distance is 168,000 light years. Ergo: SK-69 202 blew up 168,000 years ago or about 160,000 years before you believe the univrerse was created if you're defending YEC. So we know the universe is older than 6,000 - 10,000 years years, because in 1987 we observed the light of a super nova which actually occurred in 166,000 BC."

I wasn't actually trying to convince anyone about YEC (because I don't believe it), but merely pointing out the fact that what was said about the speed of light isn't necessarily true. As regards what you said above, you must remember the fact that the expansion of the universe changes those calculations. We can actually see things in the universe that are 3 times the age of the universe itself because of that.

In terms of YEC, you can't actually disprove that with science anyway, since it would be entirely possible for God to have created the universe anytime, including 2 seconds ago for that matter, to look as though it had been around a lot longer.

However, I tend to believe that God isn't out to fool us like that. In fact, the Big Bang seems like a pretty cool way to create the universe if you ask me.

DS-
"We have observed speciation of two species from a single ancestral population in which the new clade is not interfertile, and it arose by mutation, yes. We have not, due to our mayfly lives and our short time keeeping precise records, seen a fish turn into a cat"

I've never read the research about that myself, but I'll take your word for it. However it's still a big leap from two species of fly from a fish to a cat, or even a cat to a tiger for that matter. First we started out with the theory that there was slow change over time, but then the problems of transitional forms came up so then we say "well, it must be happening faster and in bigger leaps." If we've never seen any of these leaps, then how do we know they exist?

Also, I've never understood how it is we can go from a creature with 2 chromosomes to a creature with 26 chromosomes. Where does all that new information come from? We're not just talking about a 1 gig of information becoming corrupted so it runs linux instead of windows, we're talking about that 1 gig becoming 15 gigs of completely new information. 6 billion years may be a long time, but it doesn't seem like it's long enough to come up with that much information. A million monkeys typing on a million typewritters might eventually come up with a novel - but it will take a longer time than you might think.

However, I'm not actually saying that it's impossible for all the mutation theories to be correct. I am saying that there's an awful lot of questions to be answered before we get to the point where anyone who doesn't accept them is just a plain idiot.

Ok, jumping into the [primo... (Below threshold)
Wanderlust:

Ok, jumping into the [primordial ooze] pool with my three cents:

cent one: Paul, your views echo nicely the character Reason in C.S. Lewis' "The Pilgrim's Regress", where in that story, she upbraided the main character, John, for jumping to conclusions. Her response was (paraphrased), "if you don't have all the data, why must you make a decision? Better to live a lifetime with doubt, than to make a decision that is ill-considered or one that leaves any room for doubt."

cent two: the main Creationist argument these days does not center around faith (required to "believe" a conclusion on either Evolution or Creationism, regardless of anyone's attempt to label it otherwise), but rather, the idea that living organisms consist of various complex subsystems that are, in themselves, "irreduceably complex". In effect, you cannot maintain the operation of the subsystem within its scope if you attempt to reduce its complexity. The subsystem fails.

cent three: since no one was there to witness or record the event, in either case, all we have to go on is the data we find. So how can we be sure that the data we are able to find is complete, or even that it is entirely accurate? What I mean is this: suppose that, for the sake of argument, there really *was* a Creative Week, six literal days of creation. Is that impossible from a theological point of view? The very idea that Something could be "omnipotent" suggests that a creative week is possible. But to prove? If you were God, and you decided to make your creation as "complete", you would include all the marks of completion, including AGE. Therefore, if you were to be there at the end of the creative week, and you were to cut down a tree, that tree would have rings, as if it had lived for years, or centuries, before the Week.

There are many other items to be argued from both points of view, but I stand with Paul's point of view, in that because we weren't there, accepting either one is ultimately a matter of belief.

Yes but "Lat Wesdnesdayism"... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Yes but "Lat Wesdnesdayism" as it' called, is untestable. In facty, one could make a philosophical argument that there's no difference between a universe that is ancient, and one which perfectly apepars ancient. You have two theological problems here though.
1. God crafted every photon, every Quasar, every radio wave from distant points to perefctly appear to be ancient, yet accoridng to Young Earthers, silly God forgot about the receeding moon and that pesky salt in the ocean (Both are YEC arguments used extensively)
2. If God went to such trouble to make the universe apopear ancient, it stands to reason he wants you to think it is, so you'd better stop flapping your chops about a young universe and pissing God off blowing his whole speil.

I want to talk more about ~S~ contribution earlier because...we because it's so much fun when they get this desperate! He or she seemed to feel that tlaking about evolution was somehow religious, or that explaining it is a sign of religious fundamentalism ...How strange.

Commenting on an evolution post in which the message thread discusses the nature and evidence for evolution is an example of ... religious fundamentalism? What would be an example of 'not' fundamentlism with regard to the topic? Or what exactly are you driving at ~S~? Should I have been discussing rock climbing or cooking here in order to discuss evolution .. or what exactly ~S~?
You wish to call science a religion or scientists religoius fundamentliats? That's fine with me, although the many millions of scientists who profess Christianity or Islam or Judiasm or Hinduism, etc, might have a real problem with your unconventional definition.

Let me explain why making up definitions on the spot and/or using your own private definitions is alway diceys, especially if they don't make any sense and confuse people!

For example, I forgot to mention one thing, I didn't think it was really important; when I say the word creationist or Christian, what I'm referring is to Pedophiles for Satan.

If say you're a creationist or a Christian, why that means you're a Satanic Pedophile.

Isn't that fun? It's amazing how much you can tar your opponent and confuse the issue if you abandon honesty and integrity, eh?

Now I'll be happy to discuss the issue of evolution-or any other scientific matter- with you. And I promise you; I'll never knowingly mislead you in anyway, although being human I might make an honest mistake and have done so before. Provided you stick to standard definitions, or at the very least clearly define when you're diverging from them. And I'm happy to clear up honest mistakes on your part with regard to the meaning of technical terms in evolutionary biology.
But I have little time or inclination to try and talk reasonably with a sick, degenerate, Satanic pervert who rapes and murders small children in the name of The Dark Prince, so make up your mind which it's going to be by your next post addressing me ... get it? (And by raping and murdering children for Satan, what I really mean is shopping at Walmart for those low, low, discount prices!)

1. The sun will appear abov... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

1. The sun will appear above the eastern horizon tomorrow, cloud cover permitting.

2. The sun will turn purple tomorrow and rain down cheeseburgers (Whatabuger's to be exact, the Sun is classy)

Both beliefs? I suppose they could be by stratching the meaning of the word to the point of absurdity. Both occupying the same rung on the ladder of plausibility? Ummm...no.

The ruse here is to present two ideas as belliefs, and then to queitly assume that places them in the same class of probability. That's a rather juvenile outlook, quite invalid, and as used here, I'd say clarly dishonest in intent.

Evolution is an established... (Below threshold)
Lee:

Evolution is an established fact of nature. Arguing about it is about as rational as disputing the heliocentric model of the solar system. Even the Catholic church admits that the Ptolemaic model is wrong. Sooner or later either evolution will be universally accepted, or it will be replaced by a better theory the same way that relativity replaced the newtonian model of physics. If it is replaced, it will be by a theory (not to be confused with a hypothesis) that is rooted in observable, verifiable phenomena and concrete data, unless of course civilization itself falls into ruin and we're all reduced to the level of ignorant illiterate medieval peasants.

The only area where there are any doubts about evolution are in the details. We have a general understanding of how it works (its a genetic algorithms with natural selection acting as a culling mechanism), but there is still plenty of room for little surprises such as this one to pop up.

I'm surprised that this is even a topic of debate anymore, at least among anyone with a college education.

The older I get, the more I come to realize just how fucking stupid a lot of people are. Those who are not stupid due to a lack of innate intelligence are effectively reduced to the level of stupidity by accepting and internalizing an intellectually bankrupt ideology. It is no coincidence that the words Ideology and Idiot sound so much alike. The former tends turn people into the latter.

Lee

"HOW did life begin? Please... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

"HOW did life begin? Please keep the arguments revolving around that single question."

The article that Paul linked to and his added comments had to do with a discovery at Purdue that seems to make the process of evolution by genetic mutation more difficult. Nothing in that article had anything to do with "how life began"

Ot's also kind of strange P... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Ot's also kind of strange Paul would think this prevents mutations from occuring, seeing as how they do, and how we can even produce them at will.

I think the original point,... (Below threshold)
drc:

I think the original point, which some seem to have missed, is that there is a very strong CONSERVATIVE element to DNA that acts against the types of mutation needed for evolution to work.

This, by the way, seems to be another case of scientists over-hyping their work - the conservative behavior of DNA is hardly new news. Anyone who has followed Lobzhansky(sp?)'s experiments with Fruit Flies knows that no matter how you manipulate DNA, successive generations "pull" the DNA back to the middle. I seem to recall an experiment with the "eyeless" gene, where researchers would remove the gene for eyes from a fly, and breed "eyeless" flies. But, when they interbred the eyeless flies, successive generations of flies got their eyes back - despite the parents' lack of the original gene.

Interesting stuff, and one that certainly would seem to cause a problem for evolution. Remember, by definition, evolution of species is either a) subtractive as genetic strains are "selected" out, or b) random due to mutations. If the conservative and destructive influences outweigh the "constructive" potential of random mutations, how did advanced species get here, so quickly? Quite a conundrum.

My personal opinion is that evolution's biggest problems are two-fold:
1) Law of biogenesis
2) "Cousins shouldn't marry."

I think the original poi... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

I think the original point, which some seem to have missed, is that there is a very strong CONSERVATIVE element to DNA that acts against the types of mutation needed for evolution to work.

Too bad that 'conservative element' doesn't prevent cancers and hordes of other mutations from killing people eh?


1) Law of biogenesis

The "Law" of Biogenesis states that non living matters doesn't suddenly turn into living things, it was based on maggots not arising naturally from rotting meat in the 19th century. It is a Law in the same sense of "Murphy's Law' or Moore's Law. The term "Law" is no longer much used in science. It was popilar back in the day, but it's an archaic term. It's also misleading, which is apprently what Creationism is all about, misleading you fellow Christians with a load of nonsense. These "Laws" can be broken in many cases. For examples Newton's Laws were shown invalid by Einstein.

On abio, folks, do you guys think we're just making shit up when we point out that the strict biological venue of evo is not abiogenesis? I mean do you think we're lying about that? Or are you simply so lazy, or dishonest, that you're spreading that error?

2) "Cousins shouldn't marry."

Huh? Outside of humans, I don't think there's been a hell of a hell of marriage ceremonies performed in the wild among starfish and butterflies ...

It's fascinating to ... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:


It's fascinating to read the defensive comments by those who deny very LOUDLY that the plant's corrective mechanism is a threat to their sacred religion. Apparently they do realize how frail is the foundation of their belief system.

Speaking of falsific... (Below threshold)
jack rudd:


Speaking of falsification criteria, what would they be regarding macroevolution? Is there ANY conceivable evidence that would falsify the theory of macroevolution?

If not, then it's just a religion after all. And not a very persuasive one at that.



Darwin's theory should have... (Below threshold)

Darwin's theory should have come into question with the discovery of DNA. Instead a new and improbable dogma appeared to save the paradigm, viz. Dawkins et al. & genetic fundamentalism.

Jack RuddSpeaking... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Jack RuddSpeaking of falsification criteria, what would they be regarding macroevolution? Is there ANY conceivable evidence that would falsify the theory of macroevolution?

Of course there is, as has already been stated on this very thread by myself and others-and which is also freely available on the Internet with the click of a mouse, in libraries, or in Museums. The thread is getting long though, so I can understand if you missed it.

If not, then it's just a religion after all. And not a very persuasive one at that.

Well there is so by your own admission it's not a religion. See below ...

The Theory of Natural Selection derives from:

1. Populations often reproduce exponentially reaching the carrying capacity of the biome quickly, resulting in inevitable competition for resources

2. Variation exists among members of the popualtion including differentials in mortality, morbidity, and/or fertility, some of which are at least partially heritable.

3. Biological traits which are heritable and positive are assymetrically selected over those which are neutral or detrimental resulting in eventual wide spread distribution of that phenotype via the genotype after a number of generations

All three staments are falsifiable. It didn't have to be that way; But it is.
The Theory of Natural Selection concludes that after many iterations this can result in clearly detectable changes in the species over time and/or diversification and speciation.

If by evolution you mean common descent, it predicted: 1) Biostratification of the fossil record 2) Transitional fossils 3) Molecular analysis and comparison of mt and nuclear DNA 4) Vestigial structures 5) Observed speciation 6) Comparative anatomy/physiology/homology

Jack you may not wish to accept these criteria, however your perosnal opinion is not the arbitrator, IOW, you're not in charge of that. Would it be too much for you to return my courtesy? Now your turn, what would falsify Intelligent Design Creationism?

Now your turn, what woul... (Below threshold)
andy:

Now your turn, what would falsify Intelligent Design Creationism?

I vote for hydrocephalic infants, the weakness of the human knee, and blind spot in our eyes. Oh, and kittens with two heads.

Of course, all of those are for a "greater good."

Or whatever.

Wow. The utter cluelessnes... (Below threshold)
drc:

Wow. The utter cluelessness is breathtaking.

Cancer/deadly mutations are irrelevant to the conservative nature of DNA, because we're talking about conservation over generations, not in individuals. Mutations are bad - breeding (among distant relatives) tends to eliminate mutations.

"It is a Law in the same sense of "Murphy's Law' or Moore's Law."

No, it is a Law in the sense of the Law of Gravity. Hypothesis - make an informed guess. Theory - perform experimentation to validate/invalidate said guess. Law - extensive experimentation has validated the Theory w/o contradictory evidence. The Law of Biogenesis remains a "law" because it has never been contradicted via laboratory experimentation. Newton's Laws are still considered "laws", because they are experimentally valid where v

And abiogenesis IS relevant to evolution, whether you want it to be or not, because the raison d'etre for evolution is a PURELY naturalistic/mechanistic theory of the origin of species. You can't just "punt" once you work back to a single-celled life form and say "we don't really care how that got here, its unimportant". If we accept a "miracle" or "alien intervention" or "I don't know" for cell one, there's really no need to exclude these possibilities for cells two through 2mil, is there.

And you completely missed the point behind "Cousins shouldn't marry". Why shouldn't cousins marry? Same reason that purebreed dogs are, um, "flighty". Ever see the movie "Deliverance"? Evolution requires new mutations be preserved - this would indicate the need for inbreeding among lifeforms having a specific mutation. Unfortunately, inbreeding is universally a "bad thing". The damage done by inbreeding will quickly overwhelm any possible "benefit" of a single random mutation. C.F. "genetic burden" or "genetic load".

Don't complain about clules... (Below threshold)
StarMan:

Don't complain about clulessness if you are about to claim that a scientific law is something higher and more valuable than a scientific theory.

In science theory mean explanation. A law explains a relation under certain circumstances. A theory is something much more extensive than a law. A theory can include scientific laws.
A scientific theory might be replaced, modified or expanded in the light of new evidence, but scientific theories are as good as it gets.

Yes abiogenesis is relevant to evolution, but biological evolution does not depend on it. Life got here somehow and now it evolves.

You should perhaps drop the arogance when discussing a subject where your knowledge is limited.

Paul: "I don't us... (Below threshold)

Paul: "I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material ...."

Ah yes. The time-honored tradition of beating strawmen.

~DS~: ah, I see I scratche... (Below threshold)
-S-:

~DS~: ah, I see I scratched the surface of hell and you popped up with all your smarmy insinuations and nasties.

If you can't respect another person's worth, there's little anyone can discuss with you beyond that point. Good luck.

What I find interesting is that you consider my expressions, me, in fact, via heavy projections of nonsense, and yet you actually read what I wrote.

And, to that audience that ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

And, to that audience that ~DS~ assumes is here for him/her/it, he/she/it wrote:

"....I want to talk more about ~S~ contribution earlier because...we because it's so much fun when they get this desperate! He or she seemed to feel that tlaking about evolution was somehow religious, or that explaining it is a sign of religious fundamentalism ...How strange.

Commenting on an evolution post in which the message thread discusses the nature and evidence for evolution is an example of ... religious fundamentalism? What would be an example of 'not' fundamentlism with regard to the topic? Or what exactly are you driving at ~S~? Should I have been discussing rock climbing or cooking here in order to discuss evolution .. or what exactly ~S~?
You wish to call science a religion or scientists religoius fundamentliats? That's fine with me, although the many millions of scientists who profess Christianity or Islam or Judiasm or Hinduism, etc, might have a real problem with your unconventional definition.

Let me explain why making..."


Excuse me, but I did prick the surface of a big pustule, now didn't I?

It amazes me how writing about God, wonder and even suggesting Creationism while never even going so far as to negate evolution and recognizing the fossil record and more, it amazes me just how emotionally sick ~DS~ has become and quite so quickly about that.

I really have no idea just what it is that's bothering you, ~DS~. No one merits your throwup, however well documented it may be.

So, let;'s look closely at ... (Below threshold)
-S-:

So, let;'s look closely at that throw-up by ~DS~, who writes:

"...Commenting on an evolution post in which the message thread discusses the nature and evidence for evolution is an example of ... religious fundamentalism? What would be an example of 'not' fundamentlism with regard to the topic? Or what exactly are you driving at ~S~? Should I have been discussing rock climbing or cooking here in order to discuss evolution .. or what exactly ~S~?
You wish to call science a religion or scientists religoius fundamentliats? That's fine with me, although the many millions of scientists who profess Christianity or Islam or Judiasm or Hinduism, etc, might have a real problem with your unconventional definition..."


You imagined all that from what I wrote earlier? You've wandered from Bio.101 copy and pasting to now writing imagined content and attempting to accredit your imagined content to me.

I never expressed what you carried on there about. The problem with clouded perceptions is that anyone can express anything and, unfortunately, to those with clouded perceptions, a large dose of their own clouded perceptions are projected onto what they THINK they have just heard/read expressed by someone else, and then they attempt to disagree with their very own clouded perceptions and no amount of typing on blog site will ever undo the very bad intellectual and emotional space they've worked themselves into.

~DS~, you have problems. Read what someone else says, express what you need to but leave out your misrepresentations about the opinions of others.

In reference to me describi... (Below threshold)
-S-:

In reference to me describing ~DS~ as both sick and throwing up, here's a great example of that:

Now I'll be happy to discuss the issue of evolution-or any other scientific matter- with you. And I promise you; I'll never knowingly mislead you in anyway, although being human I might make an honest mistake and have done so before. Provided you stick to standard definitions, or at the very least clearly define when you're diverging from them. And I'm happy to clear up honest mistakes on your part with regard to the meaning of technical terms in evolutionary biology.
But I have little time or inclination to try and talk reasonably with a sick, degenerate, Satanic pervert who rapes and murders small children in the name of The Dark Prince, so make up your mind which it's going to be by your next post addressing me ... get it? (And by raping and murdering children for Satan, what I really mean is shopping at Walmart for those low, low, discount prices!)

Posted by: ~DS~ at March 23, 2005 07:56 PM


And you assume that you are a reputable source from whence anyone would seek an opinion about anything academic? You wrote all that and you then offer up your "time" as a source for 'evolutionary biology'?

Is that all?

You'd be surprised what other people already know, and learned without ever involved ~DS~ on a blog site. It's all right there in very undergraduate biology at any university.

You have problems, ~DS~, lots and lots of problems.

Words, words, words...... (Below threshold)
epador:

Words, words, words...

I think that came from one of Shakespeare's tragedies.

That's all I could think of after reading the above: so many almost lucid and very eloquent attempts to struggle in this vat of jello (the primordial ooze Paul created in his post). But if this is the best creationism can create, I'm favoring the spore from an alien's butt theory myself.

Sorry, I had nothing lucid or coherent to add, so I thought a little psychotic rambling would fit in here.

You said I can't read. You... (Below threshold)
Duke:

You said I can't read. You said:

"* The nomenclature will always bite you. I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed.... And no amount of your typing in the comments section will make unflawed."

Evolution is not flawed. Nothing in this article is contrary to the theory of evolution. It's just illustrating that there is more complexity inherint in it than some people's models of it showed.

I think it's interesting that you need to fall back on cussing in order to get your point across Paul. That's a sure sign of someone insecure of their position.

~S~ please, save your breat... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

~S~ please, save your breath. In my day-to-day dealings with creationist advocates, I get flamed by professionals, I'm talking trolls who truly care about their work. Your efforts are frankly not even effective enough to make me angry, I'm just trying to help you and give you an out, so that we can get back to discussing the evidence; a topic you seem terribly, terribly, anxious to avoid. How about this, what kind of evidence would you accept for common descent and/or The Modern Synthesis? Or will you once again duck evidentiary matters and resort to diatractions? Or if you choose to defend the mythological alternative, what is the scientific Theory of non-human Intelligent Design creationism which does not rely on common descent, and what is the falsification criteria? Evidence my friend, evidence, nothing else really matters here.

DarkSyde:Should I ... (Below threshold)
Orac:

DarkSyde:

Should I show him the one massive article on Talk Origins that tells what it would take to falsify evolution and how the evidence thus far has not only failed to falsify evolution, but has in fact supported it.

I would expect at least as comprehensive an article for creationism/intelligent design before I would start to take it seriously as anything other than a trasnparent attempt to disguise religious beliefs as "science" and force them down our children's collective throats.

Orac

Well let's give him/her a c... (Below threshold)
~DS~:

Well let's give him/her a chance Doc. He/she might be a good sort sincerely interested in productive ... Hahahaha! Ok I almost said it with a straight face, take two ..

He/she might be interested in a productive exchange of ideas.

~DS~ said:"If that's... (Below threshold)
Curtis:

~DS~ said:
"If that's your definition of 'fundamentalist" then we've barely scratched the surface of my 'religious convictions' ~S~, hehe. In addition to evolutionary biology, I'm also a staunch convert of Newtonian Physics below high velocities and energies, at which time I turn to the teachings of the prohpet Einstien to resolve discrepancies. I light candles in worship of Lord Kelvin and Maxwell, for both my thermodymanics faith and my electromagnetic deities. When praying to the Gods of genetics, my prohpets are Mendel, Crick, and Watson. I advocate the Gallilean Laws od Motion when solving kinematics probelms on earth, and I drop to me knees in abject subjurgation. Brian Greene and associate Witten command my total faith in M-Thoery, the other night I saw his face in a taco and wept profusely with joy framed by Calabi and Yau."

Thats the most hilarious thing I have read this week. ~DS~ is my new god.

Raina says:... (Below threshold)
Mad Chemist:

Raina says:

"How can a scientist be convinced that something is occuring and yet not have a clear theory about how it works?"

Easy. The first thing scientists do is document a phenomenon. The next thing they do is try to explain it (which is where the theory comes in).

Historical example: fire. Man has used fire since before recorded history. Modern theories of combustion were not developed until the 1780s, when Lavosier discovered oxygen's role in combustion.

For further examples, look up the history of the periodic table and the periodic law.

A phenomenon can be documented and described rather thoroughly long before it is understood.

I got through the first sen... (Below threshold)

I got through the first sentence of this post and frankly nearly stopped. It is stock fundamentalist crap to assert that to believe in the processes of science is to worship the processes of science.

As has been noted in a few comments, it's possible to believe in both evolution and God. There is nothing incompatible at all with a theory that is based in science, and one that is based in religious philosophy. That there are a number of scientists who espouse Christian beliefs ought to tell you something about the long-time assertion that to believe in the scientific method is to worship it.

Further, I know no one who is familiar with evolution who considers it a fact etched in stone. What you think is strongly held fact is nothing more than people trying to beat you over the head with a basic biology textbook in an attempt to get you to understand that it is the best conclusion based on the facts at hand. The only reason anyone's yelling is because folks like you simply refuse to accept that because it doesn't fit in with your own preconceived notion of how the universe works. The fact that an article that says new discovery raises interesting questions sends you into "I told you so" mode says much about your scientific illiteracy.

" I light candles in worshi... (Below threshold)
Master of None:

" I light candles in worship of Lord Kelvin and Maxwell, for both my thermodymanics faith and my electromagnetic deities."

I've been known to pray to the porcelain god from time to time.

'The smarter science commun... (Below threshold)
Uber:

'The smarter science community is today beginning to accept the idea of Creationism and that's a great place to begin to incorporate the already understandable (to us mortals) process of evolution.'


No not the smarter science community but a small, loud, group of idealoques. The smarter science community is pushing science forward.

Your a catholic, you should examine some of the claims of your religion with the same force that you throw darts at sound theory.

Posted by: -S- at March 23, 2005 09:22 AM

'And the hypocrisy of the "... (Below threshold)
Uber:

'And the hypocrisy of the "oozers" bashing the religious for accepting something on faith just annoys me. The only real "truth" in the whole debate is that we have no clue. I'm enough of a scientist to admit that. Though the pseudoscientists can't accept it."


UG, no one accepts anything on faith. What are you going to do if and when the experiments being conducted in at least 10 labs yield results of life from 'ooze'?

So if it requires nothing but faith to buy we came from 'ooze' why continue looking for any answers at all. Lets just throw up our hands.

Very well written. One of ... (Below threshold)
rorochub:

Very well written. One of the best pieces on the belief system of both sides that I've ever seen.

Whats sad is that people th... (Below threshold)
Uber:

Whats sad is that people think evolution is a belief system and secondly that it has sides.

So I guess the heliocentric solar system is a belief system as is germ theory, gravity, et al.

It's about evidence folks, and the evidence points, well not just points, but shows common descent so likely to make dissent seem trivial.

* The nomenclature will ... (Below threshold)

* The nomenclature will always bite you. I don't use "evolution" in the strict definition here, I mean evolution as in the theory that lighting stuck inorganic material and started life that a bazillion years later evolved into every life form on the planet. That version of "evolution" is seriously, seriously flawed.... And no amount of your typing in the comments section will make unflawed.

You seem to be using "evolution" in the sense of "life arose by the operation of natural law". That happens to be the definition of "evolution" I believe. Where did the origin of life require a step that violates natural law, and why?

The best book I've seen on ... (Below threshold)
insomni:

The best book I've seen on this subject is The Science of God, by Gerald Schroeder. A man of science and faith, Schroeder clearly lays out the case that science and religion need not diverge in their explanation of the origin of the universe and life on earth. Well worth reading, whichever side of the debate you're on. (I'm going to copy this in the comments of a few other blogs -- no spam intended, I'm just a big fan of this very relevant book.)

Meaning, I do not... (Below threshold)
Ruthless:


Meaning, I do not believe as humans that it is possible for us to comprehend, without Divine intervention and helps, what and how the omnipotent thinks and reasons.

And yet people still do try to figure out the will of god...we call it "religion". I'd agree it's a waste of time, but then I'm an atheist.


Could you have ever imagined atoms? Or mammalian cardiovascular system? I mean, invented it in all it's complexities. I think it puts humans in perspective when you take into consideratiion that no known human could or has ever imagined our known universe. Much less everything we do not yet understand or comprehend.

Humans can only imagine things that they've been exposed to. Imagination is simply combining things together that we've already been exposed to (that's why we "imagine" god as being like an old man, though clearly that's absurd.)
Think about it.
Try to conceptualize something that is a totally new concept to humanity (something no one has ever observed nor is it like anything ever observed.)
I think you'll have trouble.

It's not that you're being ... (Below threshold)
Charlie (Colorado):

It's not that you're being a religious dolt, it's that you're demonstrating that you're a philosophical dolt. How, other than your professed religious faith, do you propose to distinguish between your two cases, mindless evolution and intelligent creation? If a bolt of lightning did cause the initial condition that led to biology, was God somehow absent from the event? Did an omniscient and omnipotent God lack the capability to build the Universe so that we would arise as a consequence of the initial lux fiat?

Isn't claiming limits on what the Creator can do both logically flawed and theological error? Have you talked to your confessor about the weakness of your faith (as well as your conflict with the position of the Church, which is that evolution is not inconsistent with doctrine?)

Thread closed, moved <a hre... (Below threshold)
Paul:

Thread closed, moved here.

hmmm a review of the thread... (Below threshold)
Paul:

hmmm a review of the thread tells me you guys are mostly playing nice... I'll leave the thread open but If you want to talk to ME, I moved the thread. You guys feel free.

Paul




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