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A new study shows that sticklebacks can quickly evolve to deal with colder water (marine male stickleback, pictured).  (Source: Rowan Barrett, UBC)

A male (bottom) and female (top) stickleback get friendly with each other. Perhaps they're preparing to help the evolutionary cause?  (Source: Rowan Barrett, UBC)

UBC researchers wrangle some sticklebacks out on the pond.  (Source: Rowan Barrett, UBC)
Observed evolution recreates a natural process that occurred over the last 10,000 years

Life in the cold freshwater lakes of northern Europe, northern Asia, Canada, and Alaska is challenging for unprepared lifeforms.  Fortunately marine sticklebacks came equipped with a power tool -- evolution -- which allowed them to adapt and colonize this chilly environment.

Researchers at the University of British Columbia, along with colleagues from Switzerland and Sweden, "recreated history" by transplanting marine sticklebacks to freshwater ponds.  Within only three generations -- or roughly three year's time -- the little fish had evolved mechanism to cope with the 2.5 °C colder water.  The resultant population was roughly equivalent to the naturally evolved freshwater sticklebacks in terms of temperature tolerance.

A similar process is thought to have given rise to the first freshwater sticklebacks, which are thought to have diverged from marine sticklebacks 10,000 years ago.  At the end of the last ice age melting glaciers produced lakes and streams in the northern landmasses.  Sticklebacks slowly colonized these new bodies of water, adjusting to the colder temperature of their new home.

Rowan Barrett, a researcher with the UBC Department of Zoology and lead author of the work,states, "By testing the temperature tolerance of wild and lab-raised sticklebacks, we were able to determine that freshwater sticklebacks can tolerate lower temperatures than their marine counterparts.  This made sense from an evolutionary perspective because their ancestors were able to adapt to freshwater lakes, which typically reach colder temperatures than the ocean."

Barret, a new Ph.D, adds, "Scientific models have suggested that climate change could result in both a general, gradual increase of average temperatures and an increase in extreme temperatures.  Our study is the first to experimentally show that certain species in the wild could adapt to climate change very rapidly – in this case, colder water temperature. However, this rapid adaptation is not achieved without a cost. Only rare individuals that possess the ability to tolerate rapid changes in temperature survive, and the number of survivors may not be large enough to sustain the population. It is crucial that knowledge of evolutionary processes is incorporated into conservation and management policy."

Climate change is a popular topic right now, as the research community widely leans towards the hypothesis that the world is warming right now.  Thus the UBC study seems particularly interesting and pertinent as it shows that animals will likely evolve to adjust to the Earth's warmer conditions, if the Earth is indeed warming.

While some believe that the case for evolution is weak, there is ia vast body of evidence including field biology (direct observation), genetics, botany, morphology, paleontology, and biochemistry that indicates it's a virtual certainty that nature has employed and will continue to employ this essential asset.

Sticklebacks were among the first examples of creatures directly observed to have evolved significantly.  
E. Coli are another such model organism that has showed the ability to evolve significant new abilities in a brief amount of time.

The new work is reported in the peer-reviewed journal 
Proceedings of the Royal Society B.



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Jason Mick Strikes Again
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 1:26:17 PM , Rating: 3
It was about time for another evolution/climate change article from Jason Mick. I see that, most likely due to time constraints on his schedule, he went ahead and saved some time by combining the two issues into one article. Well done, Jason!

BTW, what exactly do Jason (and others) think caused the "climate change" thousands of years ago?

Also, it is an extreme logical fallacy to take evidence of micro-evolution, which virtually everyone agrees with, and extrapolate that to prove that a "bacteria to man" macro-evolutionary model is feasible in the time frame of the ediacaran fauna to the advent of homo-sapiens.

It's a bit like seeing a chimpanzee type the word "as" on a computer and extrapolating that to infer that the chimpanzee can reproduce the works of Shakespeare.

Astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler calculate that the probability for the emergence of humans from a suite of bacterial species in 10 billion years or less to be 10^-24,000,000. (In other words, a decimal point 24 million places to the left of the 1.)

Brandon Carter, "The Anthropic Principle and Its Implications for Biological Evolution," Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Astronomical Society A 370 (1983): 347-360
John D. Barrow and Frank J. Tipler, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986), 510-573 and 557-566




RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By Jyrioffinland on 8/6/2010 3:12:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
BTW, what exactly do Jason (and others) think caused the "climate change" thousands of years ago?


I presume changes in the levels of green house gases in the athmosphere due to, e.g., changes in flora/fauna and volcanic activity, and some chaotic features in the climate system.

quote:
Astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler calculate that the probability for the emergence of humans from a suite of bacterial species in 10 billion years or less to be 10^-24,000,000. (In other words, a decimal point 24 million places to the left of the 1.)


That number has nothing to do with reality. It tells us what is the "probability" of randomly ending up from bacteria to humans. In real life it's not random but driven by natural selection. Only the winners win.

Also, calculating the odds for something that already HAS happened often makes no sense. There were myriads of other possibilities that could have lead from bacteria to something similar, or even better, than humans.

Think this way: the probability of your having lived your life just the way you have is basically zero. Nonethesame you have lived it exactly the way you did.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 11:15:53 AM , Rating: 3
quote:

I presume changes in the levels of green house gases in the athmosphere due to, e.g., changes in flora/fauna and volcanic activity, and some chaotic features in the climate system.


It's quite an interesting thing for someone to insist (and I'm not saying that you are one of these people) that any climate change going on today has to be due to human activity but acknowledge that in the past a radical climate change (the end of an ice age) was due to factors completely unrelated to humanity. If climate change is occurring today, how do we know that its not just another one of nature's cycles that have occurred repeatedly in the past?

quote:

That number has nothing to do with reality. It tells us what is the "probability" of randomly ending up from bacteria to humans. In real life it's not random but driven by natural selection. Only the winners win.


Yes but natural selection only deals with what currently exists. It doesn't know that organism A has to evolve certain features so that millions of years later organism B will be able to have a major morphological change.

------------

From pg. 153 of Who was Adam? (written by Hugh Ross)

According to various calculations based on physical conditions, it is extremely improbable that modern humans evolved from bacteria through natural means, given the brief time window of Earth's habitability.

In one study, astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler comment on the surprisingly large number of highly improbable steps in the supposed natural evolution of an intelligent species on Earth. Moreover, the number of such steps merely represents a lower limit; evolutionary biology has not yet advanced sufficiently to determine their actual number. Restricting the count to just the known problem steps (which are statistically independent) in the evolution of Homo sapien sapiens, the trio produced a probability figure for the emergence of humans from a suite of bacterial species in 10 billion years or less: 10^-24,000,000. (In other words, a decimal point 24 million places to the left of the 1.)

An independent calculation done by evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala places the probability for humans arising from single-celled organisms at 10^-10,000,000. As Ayala and others pointed out, animals on ancient Earth did not know they were supposed to evolve in such a way that human beings could later appear. Natural selection operates only during an animal's lifetime. It cannot select a portion of a genome with the intent of using that genome portion 1, 2, or 3 billion years later.

To put the calculated probabilities for humans arising from single-celled organisms into perspective, if every proton and neutron in the universe were a planet, and if each of these planets contained as many single-celled organisms as Earth does today (a trillion quadrillion single-celled organisms ) the probability that humans could have arisen once in the universe would be 10^-999,921, according to Ayala's calculations. According to Barrow, Carter, and Tipler's calculation the number would be 10^-23,999,921.

----

Francisco Ayala (an evolutionary biologist) has actually called for an end to SETI funding because he thinks that the probability of any other advanced lifeforms evolving from bacteria anywhere else in the Universe are essentially zero.

quote:

Also, calculating the odds for something that already HAS happened often makes no sense.


From:
http://www.polkinghorne.net/religion.html

...What do me make of the fact that the world we live in is only fruitful because it's given basic scientific constitution is of a very special, very finely-tuned character. Once again, you can shrug your shoulders and say, 'Well, that's just the way it happens to be. We're here because we're here and that's it'. That doesn't seem to me to be a very rational approach to the issue. I have a friend, John Leslie, who is a philosopher at Guelf University in Canada, and he writes about these questions. He has written far and away the best book about the anthropic principle, called Universes. He's a beguiling philosopher because he does his philosophy by telling stories, which is a very accessible way for those of us who are not professionally trained in philosophy to get the hang of it. He tells the following story. You are about to be executed. Your eyes are bandaged and you are tied to the stake. Twelve highly-trained sharp shooters have their rifles levelled at your heart. They pull the trigger, the shots ring out - you've survived! What do you do? Do you shrug your shoulders and say, 'Well, that's the way it is. No need to seek and explanation of this. That's just the way it is'. Leslie rightly says that's surely not a rational response to what's going on. He suggests that there are only two rational explanations of that amazing incident. One is this. Many, many, many executions are taking place today and just by luck you happen to be the one in which they all miss. That's the rational explanation. The other explanation, is, of course, that the sharp shooters are on your side and they missed by choice. In other words there was a purpose at work of which you were unaware...


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By Jyrioffinland on 8/6/2010 3:54:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Yes but natural selection only deals with what currently exists. It doesn't know that organism A has to evolve certain features so that millions of years later organism B will be able to have a major morphological change.


So basically you say that in order for the evolution to meet a goal, to create the humans, it has to know where to aim.

It does not make any sense. You still fail to see that you make a presumption: things happened for a reason (aimed at creating the humans). Then you use this presumption to 'prove' there must be intelligent design behind the evolution because that's the only way to explain you presumption.

In other words you logic looks like this: I claim X exists so it proves that X exists.

Don't worry, it's been used before: God is a perfect being and nothing's perfect unless it exists - so god must exist.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 4:50:38 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

So basically you say that in order for the evolution to meet a goal, to create the humans, it has to know where to aim.

It does not make any sense. You still fail to see that you make a presumption: things happened for a reason (aimed at creating the humans). Then you use this presumption to 'prove' there must be intelligent design behind the evolution because that's the only way to explain you presumption.


No, the point I am trying to make is that power of natural selection is VERY limited. It can only eliminate organisms that fail to meet a certain criteria for survival purposes.

So suppose that you have a group of bacteria that can have genetic characteristics A, B, or C. Then something changes in the environment so that only bacteria with chacteristics A & B can keep surviving and all the C characteristic bacteria are eliminated.

Natural selection cannot say, "but wait! in addition to characteristics A & B, it would also be helpful to have genetic characteristic D, which, even though it confers no immediate survival or reproductive benefits, will be extremely useful millions of generations from now when the organism needs characteristic D to evolve into a new organism!" It doesn't work that way.

And you can't get from a bacteria to a human being by a series of single step mutational processes. It's like trying to get from New York on planet Earth to Saturn's moon Titan by taking one small step at a time. The pathway just doesn't exist.

To see a better illustrated example of the inability for natural selection to take a two-step adaptive path consult the paper by Ralph Seelke and Ann Gauger on tryptophan biosynthesis. In this study crippled bacteria are incapable of making two small simultaneous mutations to produce tryptophan, even when the first mutation confers a minor survival benefit.

http://bio-complexity.org/ojs/index.php/main/artic...

quote:

In other words you logic looks like this: I claim X exists so it proves that X exists.

Don't worry, it's been used before: God is a perfect being and nothing's perfect unless it exists - so god must exist.


Actually I don't use logic like that at all. My logic is more like this: "Christian theism provides the best explaination for why I am here and why the world works the way it does." So far I haven't heard any better explanations from anyone on why their worldview explains these issues in a superior way. Don't get me wrong, there have been alot of attacks and people telling me how stupid I am because they are insecure in their beliefs and feel threatened when I explain mine, but no superior worldviews have been presented. In fact, no one has even been able to successfully point out any flaw in the Christian theistic worldview. Mostly secularists just want to quibble with me about evolution, George Bush, and call names.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By Jyrioffinland on 8/7/2010 1:08:46 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Many, many, many executions are taking place today and just by luck you happen to be the one in which they all miss. That's the rational explanation. The other explanation, is, of course, that the sharp shooters are on your side and they missed by choice. In other words there was a purpose at work of which you were unaware...


This analogy sucks - and also is very revealing. The sharp shooters are human, thus capable of feeling compassion and pity, having ethics and goals and making moral choices.

That's not how the universe or nature works. There're no goals in nature, it just evolves how ever and where ever it can. There're no moral choices in the universe, it just follows the laws of physics (still partially unknown to us).

What you keep trying to do is force some sort of awareness into natural processes (like evolution only having one possible end result thus it needing someone to 'guide' it there).

You still fail to see that you presume "there is a reason for things, therefore there must be someone behind the reasoning".

If you think that way, you end up cooking up some sort of a story about God or whatever being behind the processes in nature and universe because you first force yourself into a corner with this "there must be a reason for all of this" not leaving any rational explanations left for you.

So your statement "Christian theism provides the best explaination for why I am here and why the world works the way it does." actually should be "Christian theism provides the best explaination for my believes of why I am here and why the world works the way it does."

Anyway, there's no point in continuing this discussion because we obviously don't speak the same language. You talk faith, not science.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By wgbutler on 8/7/2010 10:04:40 AM , Rating: 2
quote:

This analogy sucks - and also is very revealing. The sharp shooters are human, thus capable of feeling compassion and pity, having ethics and goals and making moral choices.


With all due respect, I disagree. I think his analogy is a good one. Think of each sharpshooter as a law or constant in Physics. There are dozens of those which if even slightly different would allow no life of any conceivable kind to exist. Yet they are all precisely fine-tuned on a razor's edge to the exact value they need to be in order to allow us to exist.

quote:

That's not how the universe or nature works. There're no goals in nature, it just evolves how ever and where ever it can. There're no moral choices in the universe, it just follows the laws of physics (still partially unknown to us).


My point exactly. Nature has no goals or choices, and is incapable of producing intelligent life forms like us due to blind chance or unthinking laws. So it makes alot of sense that something outside of nature has shaped the forces of nature to produce intelligent life.

quote:

What you keep trying to do is force some sort of awareness into natural processes


I'm not trying to force any awareness into natural processes. I'm saying that these processes have no awareness and it is insane to think that the blind, random forces of nature in the Universe and on Earth can create intelligent lifeforms like us or life supporting planets like Earth.

quote:

You still fail to see that you presume "there is a reason for things, therefore there must be someone behind the reasoning".


And you fail to to see that you presume "there is no reason for anything, therefore there cannot be any kind of higher power".

quote:

If you think that way, you end up cooking up some sort of a story about God or whatever being behind the processes in nature and universe because you first force yourself into a corner


And if you keep thinking the way you do, you end up cooking up some sort of story about a Universe popping into existence from nothing for no reason whatsoever, with all the properties in physics precisely calibrated, against all odds, to allow life to exist within it, and then some primordial sludge on a planet self-organizing into primitive cells which then eventually mutate into human beings.

quote:

So your statement "Christian theism provides the best explaination for why I am here and why the world works the way it does." actually should be "Christian theism provides the best explaination for my believes of why I am here and why the world works the way it does."


I used to be an atheist who hated Christianity and didn't want to believe in it. In large part because of the compelling scientific evidence I became a Christian.

quote:

You talk faith, not science.


And so do people who believe in infinite multiverses and wishful thinking that someday there will be some purely naturalistic explanation for all of these strange coincidences.


By Jyrioffinland on 8/7/2010 2:35:28 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
quote:
What you keep trying to do is force some sort of awareness into natural processes
I'm not trying to force any awareness into natural processes. I'm saying that these processes have no awareness and it is insane to think that the blind, random forces of nature in the Universe and on Earth can create intelligent lifeforms like us or life supporting planets like Earth.


Oh good grief! You're like a piece of soap. What I meant by awareness in the natural processes is the ID a.k.a. god.

And here you say it again: you believe intelligent life is not possible without something like god. That's belief, not science. There's no scientific proof god exists and there's ample of scientific proof evolution does happen and has happened.

The claim or fact that something is not very probable does not prove it didn't happen.

I know I don't know and understand everything in this universe. I doubt science will ever be able to explain us everything.

Yet I do not presume "there is no reason for anything, therefore there cannot be any kind of higher power". I merely lack the desperate need to fill in the blanks with a belief of "a higher power" like you and your likes seem to have.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By clovell on 8/6/2010 3:02:47 PM , Rating: 2
You're quite the trolling tool, are you?

> BTW, what exactly do Jason (and others) think caused the "climate change" thousands of years ago?

Please read the article and realize it has nothing to do with the causes of climate change. Trolling.

>Also, it is an extreme logical fallacy to take evidence of micro-evolution, which virtually everyone agrees with, and extrapolate that to prove that a "bacteria to man" macro-evolutionary model is feasible in the time frame of the ediacaran fauna to the advent of homo-sapiens.

Please read the article and realize it has nothing to do with macro evolution and its application in discerning the origin of humans. Trolling.

> It's a bit like seeing a chimpanzee type the word "as" on a computer and extrapolating that to infer that the chimpanzee can reproduce the works of Shakespeare.

Nice - trump the red herring with a strawman, and a poor analogy.

> Astrophysicists John Barrow, Brandon Carter, and Frank Tipler calculate that the probability for the emergence of humans from a suite of bacterial species in 10 billion years or less to be 10^-24,000,000. (In other words, a decimal point 24 million places to the left of the 1.)

Oh yeah - that's a good one. A bit like the Drake equation. So many unknowns and so wide the margins of error that the end result is meaningless.

Still, congrats on being a troll; for so subtly reviving the 'origin of humans' and the 'global warming' debates in an article that has nothing to do with them. Reading comprehension FTW.


RE: Jason Mick Strikes Again
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 3:52:43 PM , Rating: 2
clovell,

quote:

You're quite the trolling tool, are you?


Way to open up your post. I can already feel the condescension!

quote:

Please read the article and realize it has nothing to do with macro evolution and its application in discerning the origin of humans. Trolling.


I completely agree that the study has NOTHING to do with macro-evolution and global warming, and I'd like to add two things to your statement.

1) Jason Mick has a history of using this tech blog to post articles that denounce Christians as generally stupid people, evolution as true (by which he means MACRO-evolution even though the articles he posts rarely ever support such an assertion), and global warming to be true.

In other words, Jason Mick is a secular liberal activist masquerading as a tech reporter, and uses this website to advance his ideological agenda. I reserve the right to respond in kind.

2) My initial post was written in response to the usual condescending, snide remarks by the neo-Darwinists who once again used the occassion (which you just admitted has NOTHING to do with macro-evolution) to put down people who disagree with them.

Yet I notice that I am the only one you are calling out and labeling a "troll"...hmmmmmmmmmm..... Why exactly are you calling ME out and at the same time giving all of the neo-Darwinists who posted here promoting MACRO-evolution before I ever posted anything at all a pass?

For examples of what I am talking about, see PaterPelligrino on 8/5/2010 10:19:42 AM, kaoken on 8/5/2010 9:21:41 AM, Helbore on 8/5/2010 10:13:20 AM, and Motoman on 8/5/2010 11:36:18 AM.

quote:

Nice - trump the red herring with a strawman, and a poor analogy.


And here we finally get to the real reason why you are calling me out. You are in fact just another snide, condescending neo-Darwinist who can't tolerate dissenting points of view.

quote:

Oh yeah - that's a good one. A bit like the Drake equation. So many unknowns and so wide the margins of error that the end result is meaningless.


No real response here, just the usual summary dismissal based on vague rationalizations that I typically get from the average neo-Darwinist.

quote:

Still, congrats on being a troll; for so subtly reviving the 'origin of humans' and the 'global warming' debates in an article that has nothing to do with them. Reading comprehension FTW.


Whatever. See you at the next Jason Mick evolution article.


Giv e me a break
By PaterPelligrino on 8/5/2010 10:19:42 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
While some believe that the case for evolution is weak, there is ia vast body of evidence including field biology (direct observation), genetics, botany, morphology, paleontology, and biochemistry that indicates it's a virtual certainty that nature has employed and will continue to employ this essential asset.


Look, the people who doubt the theory of evolution are the same people - even if they're not honest enough to admit it in an open forum - who think the world is 6,000 years old and that Jesus is coming back in their lifetime to carry the righteous white folk off to heaven.

Even the Catholic church recognizes the truth of evolution. Is there really any need on a tech-oriented website to pander to the blinkered religious nutjobs out there who think the Old Testament is the literal truth?




RE: Giv e me a break
By LRonaldHubbs on 8/5/2010 8:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Is there really any need on a tech-oriented website to pander to the blinkered religious nutjobs out there who think the Old Testament is the literal truth?

I'm pretty sure that paragraph was baiting, not pandering.


Good for the ole sticleback
By SnakeBlitzken on 8/5/2010 11:05:48 AM , Rating: 2
I knew they could do it.

Now, if we could just get a combined evolution vs creationism with iphone vs android with manmade global warming vs natural climate change article, we could have a real knock down drag out discussion.

Maybe an article on how man made global warming is affecting our ability to mutate faster more dexterous thumbs for the iphone.




No reason to worry
By sleepeeg3 on 8/5/2010 1:06:36 PM , Rating: 2
If evolution occurs this quickly, then there is no reason to worry if climate change is actually occurring. Nature will just adapt! DailyTech can finally move on to tech articles again...




Simply Amazing
By clovell on 8/6/2010 3:06:23 PM , Rating: 1
Jason posts an interesting article that demonstrates that micro-evolutionary mechanism can adapt in only 3 generations and all anybody wants to talk about is evolution vs. ID and AGW vs. "deniers"?

Excuse me, but - Grow the fuck up, people.




Fairy tales
By bill4 on 8/5/10, Rating: 0
"Evolution"
By IGx89 on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: "Evolution"
By kaoken on 8/5/2010 9:21:41 AM , Rating: 1
What's all this micro/macro evolution crap. It's all the same thing.


RE: "Evolution"
By Helbore on 8/5/2010 10:13:20 AM , Rating: 2
There's no such thing as micro/macro evolution outside of dodgy religious literature.

"Macro" evolution is simply the blatently obvious result of "micro" evolution over extended periods of time. It's a poor attempt to try and discredit evolution once there was ample evidence that showed it actually happening. So seeing as you could no longer claim there was no evidence, now it became "there is only evidence for it happening over the short-term."

Its a really, really stupid notion, because lots and lots of short-term evolutionary changes add up to long-term evolutionary changes. Anti-evolution nuts won't be happy until we have a million years worth of of observed data to prove the point. Then they'll just come up with some other stupid term "like macromacroevolution) and claim its not proven over a billion year period.

The problem is some people are so invested in the notion that evolution cannot have happened, they'll suspend all scientific thought processes in order to say "well it's still not proven."

Note: NOTHING in science is 100% proven. Even theories like gravity still have gaping areas where we don't have all the answers. THat, however, doesn't make what we do know irrelavent and/or less likely to to be true. It means we haven't figured it all out yet.


RE: "Evolution"
By Botia on 8/5/2010 12:19:46 PM , Rating: 3
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Macro_evolution

Coming from an IT (Information Technology) background, I am very familiar with information processes and storage. In biological life, DNA is the storage mechanism for the creation and operation of lifeforms.

From an information perspective, micro evolution and macro evolution are vastly different. Micro evolution is the removal of information that allows for changes within a species. Macro evolution is the addition of information that allows for new species emerge. The problem is, you can not get more information by removing information, no matter how long you give the process.

Let's take the best case of evolution that we know of, that of Timberland wolves and dogs. Over time, people have managed, through selective breading of Timberland wolves, to create various breads of dogs. These dogs all have different qualities. Some are large. Some are small. Some are fast. Etc. Most of them have various health issues as a result of the selective breading. ex. German Shepherds have hip problems, Dalmatians have eye problems, etc. There are a wide variety of breeds, but they are all dogs.

Now you could start again with Timberland wolves and, through selective breading, create different breeds of dogs. This simply requires breeding out traits, i.e. removing information. However, you could not start with dogs and breed them together to get Timberland wolves. That would require additional information in the DNA that has been lost. It doesn't matter how many millions of years you give it, it will not happen.


RE: "Evolution"
By the3monkies on 8/5/2010 12:37:02 PM , Rating: 2
As I understand it dogs, to use your example, have not had genetic wolf information removed from their genomes; rather some info is expressed, that wasn't expressed in wolves; while other genetic info is suppressed in dogs that was expressed in wolves.

This act of expression explains why chimps and humans have 96% of the same DNA yet be vastly different creatures; i.e., tho the genetic info is mostly identical, it is expressed according to a different blueprint.

Accordingly, it would be possible to selectively breed back to wolves from dogs.


RE: "Evolution"
By dastruch on 8/6/2010 3:21:32 PM , Rating: 2
Epigenetics


RE: "Evolution"
By MozeeToby on 8/5/2010 1:13:13 PM , Rating: 2
Repeat after me, "Mutation". How can a mutation result in the 'creation of information'? Well lets see what kinds of mutations are possible in a genetic framework.

Deletion: A base pair, gene, or even whole chromosome is removed from the DNA strand. Seems like this can only destroy information but removing some information can produce a completely different meaning. Take the word "startling" and remove one letter at a time, you could get startling -> starting -> staring -> string -> sing -> sin -> in -> I. Each and everyone one of which conveys a new word and a new meaning. Genes can work the same way, removing part of the gene can cause a completely different protein to be constructed that behaves completely differently.

Addition: Same basic concept as deletion, except that only one or two base pairs will be added at a time, can still drastically change the protein that is created by the cell. Statistically this is just as likely as deletion, so on average the length of the DNA strand will stay about the same, unless one mutation or another improves survival chances.

Flipping: Two base pairs change places, again changes the proteins produced.

Copying: Whole chromosomes can be copied, then diverge from each other by the other types of mutations. So what does that mean? It means that a gene that is key to survival might exist in two (or more) places in the DNA strand, it means that large mutations can occur to one of the copies with less chance of harmful effects (because all the proteins needed are still coded for in the copy). Not to mention increasing the size of the DNA strand, making more room for more mutations in the future.

And from the Wikipedia page on Macro evolotion that you cited: "Within the Modern Synthesis school of thought, macroevolution is thought of as the compounded effects of microevolution. Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental one – the only difference between them is of time and scale."


RE: "Evolution"
By Iaiken on 8/5/2010 1:13:33 PM , Rating: 2
Quoting the wiki on a macro/micro argument doesn't help your case much. Nor does your lack of understanding of genetic mechanisms of evolution.

Genetic mutation allows for the changing of genetic material in many ways. This includes, but is not limited to damage, loss AND addition through incorporation of found genetic material (how do you think viruses).

Selective breeding is not really evolution because you aren't relying on persisting genetic mutations. Instead, you are relying on the dominant/recessive mechanisms of already existing information. The two mechanisms are wholly separate and are not the same.

These cold resistant marine stickleback already existed in the wild marine environment, but the mutation (which was likely introduced to the population back 10,000 years ago) offered them no benefit. The genes persisted regardless and when placed in a colder environment, the cold resistant fish were the only ones to survive and breed in the new environment and after a time they were the only ones left.

This evolution already took place, what the scientists did was use a population of fish to re-create (key word) what has ALREADY happened in nature.


RE: "Evolution"
By ClownPuncher on 8/5/2010 1:22:00 PM , Rating: 2
Selective breading? Is that when you get a bag of chicken strips and only some are breaded? Or is it when you are breeding and there is too much yeast some of the time?


RE: "Evolution"
By Marduke on 8/5/2010 1:58:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Micro evolution is the removal of information that allows for changes within a species. Macro evolution is the addition of information that allows for new species emerge.


You do realize that is utterly, completely incorrect, right?

Even from your own referenced wikipedia article:

quote:
Thus, the distinction between micro- and macroevolution is not a fundamental one – the only difference between them is of time and scale.


There is absolutely no difference between macro and micro evolution.


RE: "Evolution"
By Shatbot on 8/7/2010 2:11:06 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Macro evolution is the addition of information that allows for new species emerge. The problem is, you can not get more information by removing information, no matter how long you give the process.


That's not true at all. A human example is Downs Syndrome where an anomaly creates an extra chromosome. Granted for animals this often spells disaster, but in the case of plants it is generally positive. The vast majority of crop improvements in agricultural history are due to this.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyploid

quote:
Ancient genome duplications probably occurred in the evolutionary history of all life, All eukaryotes probably have experienced a polyploidy event at some point in their evolutionary history.


We are talking about doubling, and even quadrupling the available DNA in one step, in one generation . This has been shown to be occurring 100% naturally, but you can actually do this at home with some Colchicine, just soak your seeds in the solution, and plant them. It really is that easy. I'm sure there must be thousands of ways DNA could be added to a natural system, viruses, replication errors, diseases etc.

In your IT case, it's like if you cut n' pasted the entire code and hit Control + V twice by accident, you have just taken part in the beautiful process that is evolution.


By Suntan on 8/5/2010 12:37:47 PM , Rating: 2
Oh shut it off. The reality is that a very large number of technical, science minded individuals in the world are considered “conservative” in that they have conservative values.

Just because a lot of the religious groups also align themselves with conservative values does not mean that all conservatives are a bunch of pious bobble-heads that distance themselves from reality.

It is just childish to consider the two are identical. It makes as much sense as claiming that all liquids on the earth are Pepsi just because Pepsi is a liquid.

-Suntan


By SmilingMan on 8/5/2010 3:11:07 PM , Rating: 2
That's not what I was claiming.

I'm not trying to say that all conservatives are fundamentalists or that they all deny evolution - but it certainly seems, to an interested observer, that there is a distinct correlation between ID believers and biblical literalists and the group in the US that refers to themselves as "conservatives". The group that gets referred to as "liberals" certainly don't seem to be heavy on the young-earth, literal Bible interpretation. They seem to have a very different brand of woo - more healing crystals and astrology and that kind of gibberish.

Of course, a proper conservative view would be to go with the established theory and support the balance of evidence and research rather than "what some guy in the church tells me", but many Conservatives aren't all that conservative at times, particularly those who refer to themselves as "Christian Conservatives" or "Right-Wing Conservatives".

There's nothing wrong with a conservative viewpoint, or a liberal one, but both labels have been distorted by adding large amounts of additional beliefs that get ascribed to them. In the case of the "conservative" label, it has been quite handily grabed and claimed by the religious right, and I have heard them claim that those who believe differently aren't really conservative - labels like "RINO" get used.


The Same Change
By Botia on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/10, Rating: -1
RE: The Same Change
By MrHanson on 8/5/2010 12:00:18 PM , Rating: 4
Question evolution and you're automatically a religious nutcase. Same old tatic from the followers of the Church of Darwin. If you want to win people over and educate them in 'real science' then why don't you give a good reason to doubt I.D. and demonstrate the 'usefulness' and 'importance' of taking evolution as absolute fact instead of name calling?


RE: The Same Change
By TSS on 8/5/10, Rating: 0
RE: The Same Change
By MozeeToby on 8/5/2010 12:58:09 PM , Rating: 3
The core tenets of evolution are proven much as is possible for a scientific theory to be proven. It's possible that the details are incorrect or incomplete, that we don't know what mechanisms do what or the roles that everything plays in the process; but that doesn't change the fact that the core of evolution (change over time in a population) is true.

Therefore, if you deny evolution there's really only two possible explanations. Either A) you are uninformed about the subject, by choice, by accident, or (by far the worst) by misinformation or B) you are a religious conservative who is worried about what evolution says about your image of God. Statistically you'll find that the answer is most commonly A caused by B (because of your religious views, you choose to remain uninformed or have been misinformed by people you trust on the subject).

Personally, I disagree with the childishness of his response, but the basic core of what he's saying is true. If I choose to discuss the subject with someone who feels as you do, I always make it a point to focus on informing rather than disparaging. To be honest, it doesn't work any better than just being rude, but I can at least hope that I've convinced one or two people to rethink the subject with a bit more scientific rigor than they have in the past.


RE: The Same Change
By PaterPelligrino on 8/5/2010 1:26:05 PM , Rating: 2
Though you might think, reading some of these comments, that the anti-evolution people arrived at their opinions by the same process that the pro-evolution people used to reach their conclusions: i.e., they carried out an objective, unbiased examination of the facts before deciding, in their case, that evolution didn't make sense. But is that really what's going on here?

All of the anti-evolution people I know are fundamentalist Christians, and their religious views precede and determine their take on evolution; they reject evolution because it threatens their religion prejudices.


RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/2010 3:01:02 PM , Rating: 2
How about you provide any evidence, at all, that supports creationism (i.e. "Intelligent Design" - which is creationism).

ALL available evidence from our ~3.5 billion year-old earth supports evolution, making it the most successful scientific achievement in the history of mankind.

No evidence supports "I.D." - asserting any belief in that is no more rational than me proclaiming that invisible alien monkeys live in my butt.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 3:36:25 PM , Rating: 3
quote:

How about you provide any evidence, at all, that supports creationism (i.e. "Intelligent Design" - which is creationism).


There is plenty of evidence out there that supports the idea that an Intelligent Designer (which is God, of course) created the Universe and life.

For example, have you read about the triple alpha process that creates the element carbon, which is necessary for life to exist?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fred_Hoyle

An early paper of Hoyle's made an interesting use of the anthropic principle. In trying to work out the routes of stellar nucleosynthesis, he observed that one particular nuclear reaction, the triple-alpha process, which generates carbon, would require the carbon nucleus to have a very specific energy for it to work. The large amount of carbon in the universe, which makes it possible for carbon-based life-forms (e.g. humans) to exist, demonstrated that this nuclear reaction must work. Based on this notion, he made a prediction of the energy levels in the carbon nucleus that was later borne out by experiment.
However, those energy levels, while needed in order to produce carbon in large quantities, were statistically very unlikely. Hoyle later wrote:
Would you not say to yourself, "Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature would be utterly minuscule." Of course you would . . . A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.[3]
Hoyle, an atheist until that time, said that this suggestion of a guiding hand left him "greatly shaken." …

......

Also

http://www.ideacenter.org/contentmgr/showdetails.p...

Though the Big Bang itself is said to have created mostly helium and hydrogen, nuclear physics says that other elements could have been produced in the nuclear reactions going on inside of stars. Carbon and oxygen, elements vital to life, are two such heavier elements which, due to their chemical bonding properties, appear to be vital for complex life-form metabolic chemistry. The only other element like carbon is silicon, but silicon is much heavier and has significantly different bonding properties (carbon bonds with many other elements to form mobile gas and liquid substances which are useful for allowing for complex organic chemical reactions. When silicon bonds, it typically forms solids, which makes it no surprise that it is the second most abundant element on earth--it comprises the bulk of rock!!). Oxygen is also useful in its bonding capabilities. However, if either carbon or oxygen are to be produced in stellar reactions, the resonance levels of atomic nuclei must match the levels of the processes which create them. Astrophysicist Hugh Ross notes that these levels are "fine-tuned":
"As you tune your radio, there are certain frequencies where the circuit has just the right resonance and you lock onto a station. The internal structure of an atomic nucleus is something like that, with specific energy or resonance levels. If two nuclear fragments collide with a resulting energy that just matches a resonance level, they will tend to stick and form a stable nucleus. Behold! Cosmic alchemy will occur! In the carbon atom, the resonance just happens to match the combined energy of the beryllium atom and a colliding helium nucleus. Without it, there would be relatively few carbon atoms. Similarly, the internal details of the oxygen nucleus play a critical role. Oxygen can be formed by combining helium and carbon nuclei, but the corresponding resonance level in the oxygen nucleus is half a percent too low for the combination to stay together easily. Had the resonance level in the carbon been 4 percent lower, there would be essentially no carbon. Had that level in the oxygen been only half a percent higher, virtually all the carbon would have been converted to oxygen. Without that carbon abundance, neither you nor I would be here."15
These observations led atheist Fred Hoyle to conclude that, "If you wanted to produce carbon and oxygen in roughly equal quantities by stellar nucleosynthesis ... your fixing would have to be just about where these [oxygen and carbon resonance] levels are actually found to be ... A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology..."16


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 4:59:58 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If two nuclear fragments collide with a resulting energy that just matches a resonance level, they will tend to stick and form a stable nucleus. Behold! Cosmic alchemy will occur! In the carbon atom, the resonance just happens to match the combined energy of the beryllium atom and a colliding helium nucleus. Without it, there would be relatively few carbon atoms.


If America invades Iraq and Afghanistan (I'm shooting myself in the foot using an Iraq analogy against an ID believer, I know), people of the Middle East will hate Americans more than ever. Behold!: God did tell Bush to invade!!!

Creationists make it sound as though a 'theory' is something you dreamt up after being drunk all night.
Isaac Asimov


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 5:10:03 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

If America invades Iraq and Afghanistan (I'm shooting myself in the foot using an Iraq analogy against an ID believer, I know), people of the Middle East will hate Americans more than ever. Behold!: God did tell Bush to invade!!!


I guess diverting to Bush and Iraq is better than saying nothing when you don't have any good counter arguments to the scientific evidence. And the catchy Isaac Asimov quote was a nice touch! Bravo!


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 5:25:59 PM , Rating: 2
I could fill plenty of paragraphs worth of text into a post, but that doesn't mean any of it is correct or true. Just as everything in the above guy's post may or may not be correct or true inasmuch as his ID beliefs (sure, I'm willing to think there is a chance he's right).

What I was trying to hastily convey inbetween tasks here at work was that the section I quoted sounded like:

Phase 1: A needs B, and C is made up of lots of D
Phase 2: ???
Phase 3: False Profit!


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 5:27:13 PM , Rating: 2
prophet. sue me.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 5:48:38 PM , Rating: 2
Cruisin,

I'm not really following you. Are you saying that

A)
The evidence posted demonstrating the fine-tuning of the triple alpha process was bogus? That's why I posted links so you could read the source material. You can also google the subject and get more information on it.

or...

B)
The triple-alpha process is just a fortuitous, lucky (for us) random coincidence? The problem with this type of response is that there are so many more of these types of incredibly unlikely coincidences, so you get backed into a corner and start looking more and more ridiculous when you argue that it's all just an accident.

It's a bit like saying that the guy who won the NY state lottery is just really lucky. Then the next day he wins the NJ state lottery and you say that he's just really REALLY lucky. Then he wins the MD lottery and you respond that he's really really REALLY lucky, then the PA lottery, etc etc. You start looking more and more desperate and ridiculous when you fall back to random causation as the explanation for all of these strange coincidences.

Anyway, the reason I posted this was becase the original guy (motoman or whatever his name is) demanded evidence for intelligent design. There's plenty of it in nature, and even atheistic scientists such as Martin Rees concede this fact.


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 7:59:35 PM , Rating: 2
So I read the first link and didn't bother with the 2nd because the first is utter garbage.

Based on statistics Hoyle says the reaction for the triple alpha process is unlikely to happen naturally. So statistics based on what, exactly? Did he go back in time all the way to when the universe started/whatever and take samples at intervals of time from then until now? No. He is guessing based on what are, at best, a couple hundred years worth of scientific data but more likely far shorter of a time period.

I'll use an example that pops into my mind. I dated a girl recently who had experienced some unfortunate sexual things when she was younger. I can only guess but I think these aforementioned things affected how she experienced, and acted during, our more intimate moments. I can't say for sure what she was like before these events occured, but I'm betting at the very least it messed with her trust and ease.

Similarly, how can anyone make an assertion about how carbon atoms were made some ridiculously long time ago when who knows what the universe or whatever there was back then looked like? I'll admit I didn't read much of the info on that page (it seemed like the section on that process was over) but it just seems so ridiculous that I would submit that you are playing a joke on me or whomever, but clearly you believe this stuff...

Or are we bringing into question how long the universe has existed also? 4,000yrs..?


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 12:11:51 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

So I read the first link and didn't bother with the 2nd because the first is utter garbage.


The first link was Wikipedia. I agree with you that they are a biased source of information, but not usually towards people on my side.

At any rate, it was a historical account of some discoveries that Hoyle (an atheist!) made about the triple alpha process. The reason why you dismiss this as "utter garbage" is because it contradicts your worldview, and if you have to pick between scientific evidence and your worldview, you will pick your worldview.

quote:

Did he go back in time all the way to when the universe started/whatever and take samples at intervals of time from then until now? No. He is guessing based on what are, at best, a couple hundred years worth of scientific data but more likely far shorter of a time period.


Can I save this quote and use it the next time someone posts an article about a 300 million year old fossil and how that "proves" macro-evolution?

It's so interesting how fossils that are millions of years old "prove" evolution but the evidence from physics with the very freaky resonance levels of oxygen and carbon atoms (which can be analyzed and studied today) can be so easily dismissed as too mysterious to draw any conclusions from....

quote:

Or are we bringing into question how long the universe has existed also? 4,000yrs..?


Ah yes, I see its time to return to the caricature of the stupid creationist that believes that the universe is only 4,000 years old.

So option A) You are an enlightened person who believes in macro-evolution and the power of random causation to explain everything, OR B)You are a stupid creationist who thinks the Universe is 4,000 years old. Of course there is no option C, is there? No, of course not....

But anyway, let me ask you another question. Since the triple-alpha process can be so easily dismissed as just some strange fluke that has no bearing on anything, how do you explain the cosmological constant (lambda)?

It is fine tuned to one part in 1^120. If this value were any different life wouldn't be possible in our Universe. To see what this chances of getting value exactly right to support a life sustaining universe it is like picking one marble at random with a small blue dot in a jar that contains

1 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 0000000000 marbles.

Is this just another strange coincidence that can readily be dismissed? Did we just get lucky? What is your explanation?


RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/2010 7:21:58 PM , Rating: 1
None of that is evidence. And all has been debunked. Voluminously.

You're like a "moon hoaxer" or "anti-vaxxer." Facts are of no importance to you.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 12:16:30 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

None of that is evidence. And all has been debunked. Voluminously.

You're like a "moon hoaxer" or "anti-vaxxer." Facts are of no importance to you.


Hey this is great! Can I save this quote the next time an atheist makes some kind of argument for his side?

I can just claim that everything he says has been debunked voluminously and then call him names. Then I've won the argument! That's brilliant! Thanks!


RE: The Same Change
By the3monkies on 8/6/2010 12:26:59 AM , Rating: 2
Exactly! and by a similar process of reasoning, I am sure that almighty God himself was responsible for my presence here in this world.

There were approximately two billion men and two billion women on this planet when I was conceived, yet of all the possible mates that either of my parents might have chosen, they chose exactly that specific person required to produce me. But the story becomes even more miraculous: for of all the sperm produced in my parents' many couplings, the one sperm necessary to create me was the very one to fertilize my mother's egg! And how unlikely that either of my parents should exist at all, considering all the improbabilities that must have occurred to produce them. If you calculate the odds of all that happening, all those unique sperm finding all those unique eggs down through the ages, my presence here on this planet at this exact moment in time writing this reply is so infinitely improbable that my very existence indicates that God himself must have had a hand in my creation.

Behold the blessed 3monkies and tremble!


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 12:22:10 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

If you calculate the odds of all that happening, all those unique sperm finding all those unique eggs down through the ages, my presence here on this planet at this exact moment in time writing this reply is so infinitely improbable that my very existence indicates that God himself must have had a hand in my creation.

Behold the blessed 3monkies and tremble!


This is a logical fallacy. Just because something is improbable (your parents meeting and conceiving you, or a random number generated by a computer) does not mean that it is significant. However, if some indepedent variable correlates with the improbability, it becomes significant.

For example, if you put a monkey on a typewriter and it starts mashing keys on the keyboard and types "asdfkjp93jdfnisdfasfjadsfk" that is insignificant, even though that sequence of characters is extremely improbable. On the other hand, if it types "To be or not to be, that is the question", then an indepedent correlation occurs that has nothing to do with the sequence of events, and it because statistically meaningful.

In the case of the evidence I cite, the independent event that is extremely unlikely independent event that is statistically meaningful is the creation of life.


RE: The Same Change
By Fritzr on 8/6/2010 12:55:14 AM , Rating: 2
The Anthrocentric/Anthropocentric Viewpoint simply says that no matter how unlikely the occurrence, if it did not occur in that manner we would not be viewing it.

Since our existence requires a Universe with rules of physics that make our lifeform possible, deviation from those rules would result in our not viewing it.

Result all Universes where a lifeform exists to observe the Universe are "right" for the lifeform making the observations no matter how unlikely or absurd those physical rules are.

Just as a tree falling in the forest does make a noise even if it is unheard. Inhospitable Universes can exist, but are unobserved if they do not allow intelligent life to exist.

The physical rules observed support the theory of evolution and contribute to the continuing process of finetuning the theory to better match the observed Universe

The Holy Scriptures cited to support ID are supported by religious teachers who explain that a variance from their teaching is not permitted by their God.

The main argument in favor of ID is that it is so statistically unlikely that we exist to observe the Universe that it is much more likely that we don't really exist.

The main argument in favor of evolution is that the observed lifeforms do not breed true (offspring are *not* identical clones of the parent(s)) and offspring that are unsuitable for the environment do not survive.

Science observes and attempts to understand what is.
Religion attempts to tell God how it should have been done.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 12:28:26 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

The Anthrocentric/Anthropocentric Viewpoint simply says that no matter how unlikely the occurrence, if it did not occur in that manner we would not be viewing it.

Since our existence requires a Universe with rules of physics that make our lifeform possible, deviation from those rules would result in our not viewing it.

Result all Universes where a lifeform exists to observe the Universe are "right" for the lifeform making the observations no matter how unlikely or absurd those physical rules are.

Just as a tree falling in the forest does make a noise even if it is unheard. Inhospitable Universes can exist, but are unobserved if they do not allow intelligent life to exist.


This is true. But the problem is that we don't have any evidence that other universes exist.

Christian theism explains why we are here and is consistent with all of the scientific evidence. I am completely comfortable with the fact that our Universe had a definate beginning and is finely tuned to allow us to exist. This is completely consistent with what the scriptures have been saying for thousands of years.

I don't need to appeal to metaphysical concepts like multiverses (that there is no evidence for) to justify my worldview. So it is the atheist, rather than the theist, who has to appeal to metaphysics and blind faith to validate their worldview. And there's nothing wrong with that, but then they shouldn't start calling theists stupid and unscientific for disagreeing with them.


RE: The Same Change
By the3monkies on 8/6/2010 2:43:09 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Christian theism explains why we are here and is consistent with all of the scientific evidence. I am completely comfortable with the fact that our Universe had a definite beginning and is finely tuned to allow us to exist. This is completely consistent with what the scriptures have been saying for thousands of years.

I don't need to appeal to metaphysical concepts like multiverses (that there is no evidence for) to justify my worldview. So it is the atheist, rather than the theist, who has to appeal to metaphysics and blind faith to validate their worldview. And there's nothing wrong with that, but then they shouldn't start calling theists stupid and unscientific for disagreeing with them.


Yes the old "deus ex machina - a plot device whereby a seemingly inextricable problem is suddenly and abruptly solved with the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new character, ability, or object." I find it ironic that you object to metaphysical concepts like multiverses, but "are completely comfortable' taking at face value the untestable, unverifiable, and unobservable first causes of Old Testament Judaism.

However, I'm afraid that for anyone other than a Christian the creation myths of ancient Semitic tribes explain precious little. But I am glad you admit that your intelligent designer is in fact - now you see him, now you don't - none other than Jehovah. Tho that's bad news for the religious competition.

However, I must point out that other religions are also compatible with the scientific evidence to the extent that they are untestable and therefore of no concern to science. I could invent, on the spot, any number of new religions that are compatible with science in the same why that Christian theism is.

The 18th century Irish theologian Bishop Berkely theorized that we and all observable reality are nothing more than ideas in God's mind. After attendeding a lecture given by BB, Doctor Johnson observed that it was a very convenient theory in the sense that it could never be disproved. That same is true of Christian theology, but in being immune from the possibility of contradiction or verification, it is also quite empty; it neither adds to nor subtracts from our knowledge of the universe, but merely satisfies the emotional need to understand the seemingly inexplicable.

In any case, Christian theology is just more 'god of the gaps' nonsense. In the same sense that the ancient Norse explained thunder by inventing a thunder god; the ancient Hebrews overcame their inability to explain the existence of our universe by inventing a deux ex machina they named Jehovah.

btw, the anthropic principle does not prove anything, and there are many possibilities as to why it should apply - one being that that is simply the kind of universe we live in, and when our scientific understanding has sufficiently progressed, we will answer the why of it.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/6/2010 5:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
the3monkies,

Thanks for your interesting and intelligent response. I enjoyed reading your message.

quote:

However, I must point out that other religions are also compatible with the scientific evidence to the extent that they are untestable and therefore of no concern to science. I could invent, on the spot, any number of new religions that are compatible with science in the same why that Christian theism is.


I agree that the evidence for design in nature does not prove that the CHRISTIAN God is the correct God. It could be some other God. It could be a God who created everything and then walked away and doesn't concern him or herself with the creation any longer. It could be some advanced extra-dimensional alien race that is conducting a science experiment and are currently studying us through a microscope.

quote:

That same is true of Christian theology, but in being immune from the possibility of contradiction or verification, it is also quite empty; it neither adds to nor subtracts from our knowledge of the universe, but merely satisfies the emotional need to understand the seemingly inexplicable.


I actually think there is other evidence (besides the obvious design in nature) that makes the Judeo-Christian viewpoint compelling. I'll list just a few:

1) The assertion thousands of years that the Universe had a distinct beginning. Keep in mind for quite a period of time the scientific community held to the view of the Steady State Universe, and only in the mid-20th century or so has finally come around to agreeing with Christian theism.

2) The teachings that fatherless homes, divorce, promiscuity, unforgiveness would all have bad social consequences, which has been born out in a dramatically major way as we can see through innumerable sociological studies.

3) The historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus, and the willingness of the early church to endure severe persecution and death for their beliefs.

4) The predictions by Jesus of how the world would treat God's people. That they would be hated and reviled. You can see that being fulfilled on this very message board. You can see extreme bias in the culture against "fundies" and also harshness against the nation of Israel.

5) Fulfilled prophecy (both past and in current events). For example, the restoration of the nation of Israel. The prediction that the world would one day have the technology to wipe out all of humanity, etc.

I could go on and on, but the evidence is there if you are willing to look at it.

quote:

one being that that is simply the kind of universe we live in, and when our scientific understanding has sufficiently progressed, we will answer the why of it.


Yes but as we learn more and more, the evidence is taking us down the path to design, not away from it. And there is nothing out there right now that explains why the Universe has to be the way it is. So what you are postulating kind of sounds like wishful thinking to me, and you are certainly free to do that. But you shouldn't disrespect or ridicule others for seeing a design and purpose to creation.


RE: The Same Change
By the3monkies on 8/8/2010 12:38:26 PM , Rating: 2
I understand the appeal of religious belief, and my life would no doubt be far less vexing if I were able to make the necessary leap of faith; however, it is precisely for this reason that I distrust the religious impulse; I suspect there is a certain amount of willful capitulation in all religious belief - that deep down the believer wants to believe regardless of the evidence.

But even without God life is still miraculous, and I think that if we have one responsibility to the universe for granting us awareness, it's to face life as it is, and a major part of that is not claiming to know what one cannot know. The need for meaning and certainty is very powerful, but needs say more about the human mind than about objective reality. (I think it was Philip K. Dick who said that reality is what's still there even after you stop believing in it.) Isn't it obvious from the great number of mutually-contradictory religions that man has invented that what is really important in religion is the belief in a god rather than the actual nature of that god?

Therefore, what I find most interesting in the debate between theists and atheists is not whether or not god exists - on that score my mind is already made up - but rather how does the human mind work, why do we believe what we believe, and what is it possible to know about the world in which we find ourselves?


RE: The Same Change
By Jyrioffinland on 8/6/2010 9:34:35 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
There is plenty of evidence out there that supports the idea that an Intelligent Designer (which is God, of course) created the Universe and life.


WHAT EVIDENCE?! There's absolutely NO such evidence.

Do you even understand what the term means?


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 3:41:51 PM , Rating: 2
Also, aren't you the same guy who frequently blogs here who is extremely militant about the Android cell phones and hostile to anyone who owns an iPhone?

Man I wonder what it must be like to be you! So many people in the world to despise, so little time...


RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/2010 7:23:58 PM , Rating: 1
Don't give a rat's about Android phones. Or, maybe I would if there was one I wanted.

...and if you have an iPhone, you deserve to be mocked.

It doesn't really take any effort to find people to make fun of - they're all over the place. Plenty of people do lots of stuff that makes no sense at all, and then try to defend it. Like Apple consumers, creationists, anti-vaxxers, etc.


RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/2010 3:02:52 PM , Rating: 2
Oh, and as for:

quote:
Question evolution and you're automatically a religious nutcase.


Yes, that is correct. You may as well argue that water isn't wet...because your deity says so.


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 4:21:55 PM , Rating: 2
Arguement against(?) Intelligent Design:

http://www.venganza.org/

Okay, I'll admit ALL of the pieces for evolution aren't there. But if you think there are NO or even just A FEW pieces, you either aren't looking or aren't willing to.

Whereas with ID am I wrong in thinking the only piece of evidence for it's existence are the souls who were indoctrinated into it such as yourself, and most likely from a young and impressionable age?


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 4:33:52 PM , Rating: 2
cruisin3style,

quote:

Whereas with ID am I wrong in thinking the only piece of evidence for it's existence are the souls who were indoctrinated into it such as yourself, and most likely from a young and impressionable age?


I can't speak for the person who started this particular thread, but please allow me to shatter your stereotype.

I firmly believe that an Intelligent Designer (i.e. God) created the Universe and life, and that the scientific evidence firmly establishes this. I am a former atheist who comes from a non-religious, non-Christian family that are staunch democrats (yes, I am the black sheep of the family).

And I am a well read, highly educated individual who graduated Summa Cum Laude with a post-graduate college degree and a successful career in Software Engineering.

I'm not saying any of this to blow my own horn. I honestly don't care what people think about me, but only to demonstrate that your caricature of believers as hayseed rednecks who dance with snakes, watch Nascar and were indoctrinated into religious nonsense from childhood is completely off base.


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 5:18:25 PM , Rating: 1
I said you were indoctrinated from a young age (i.e. your parents brought you to church). As far as I know this happens all over the US and not just in areas full of hayseed rednecks who dance with snakes(sweet?) and watch nascar (!sweet). I didn't mention ANY of that, and nor do I plan to. I myself live 20 minutes or less from Washington, D.C. in a relatively affluent and very diverse county that I defintely wouldn't consider anything close to redneck and I know of plenty of people who went to church, and to whom I am referring to as "being indoctrinated".

Obviously you weren't "indoctrinated" and thank you for bringing that up but just wanted to clear that up.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 5:25:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

I said you were indoctrinated from a young age


Cruisin,

I am not the person who started this thread. I interjected myself into the conversation, to point out that the stereotypes that many secularists have of believers is often self-serving and patently false.

Being indoctrinated is an interesting thing to accuse someone of. Of course people tend to believe whatever the significant adults in their lives told them, but that applies equally to secular atheistic types as well as religious conservatives.

The person who started this thread could just as easily accuse you of being indoctrinated (by your parents, your teachers, the news media, the culture, etc) with equal logical force.


RE: The Same Change
By cruisin3style on 8/5/2010 5:43:53 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
I am not the person who started this thread


The last sentence of the post you quoted should have clued you in, I was merely clarifying my original intent in saying "I said you were indoctrinated from a young age"

quote:
The person who started this thread could just as easily accuse you of being indoctrinated (by your parents, your teachers, the news media, the culture, etc) with equal logical force.


I saw that argument coming. I guess I'm just going mainstream on this one. My biggest problem with religion is that it seems to be the most used, and effective, tool to promote hatred and violence in all of history.


RE: The Same Change
By wgbutler on 8/5/2010 6:03:50 PM , Rating: 2
quote:

I saw that argument coming. I guess I'm just going mainstream on this one. My biggest problem with religion is that it seems to be the most used, and effective, tool to promote hatred and violence in all of history.


I agree that religion is often abused for destructive purposes and that most religious systems in the world are false (you might say all religious systems are false, just guessing there).

But religion isn't really the problem per se, it's human nature, particularly the desire for money, power, and sexual gratification that cause much of the evil in the world. Religion is just a tool that someone can use to achieve those ends. Government is another tool that can be used for those ends. So if you are consistent with your motivations you should also be strongly anti-government as well as anti-religion.

If we got rid of all religions and militantly implemented an atheistic society, we would have just as much (if not more) evil in the world. Take a look at communist Russia, China, and people like Pol Pot for an example of this.

And even if religion is the cause of all evil in the world, that doesn't invalidate the question of design in nature. If anything, you are letting your personal feelings against religion cloud your ability to interpret the scientific data in an unbiased way.


RE: The Same Change
By Motoman on 8/5/2010 7:27:20 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
If anything, you are letting your personal feelings against religion cloud your ability to interpret the scientific data in an unbiased way.


No. He isn't. You either are a critical thinker and adhere to the scientific method, or you believe in fairy tales (like religion).

Anyone who claims to be both a scientist and religious is actually neither. You can't adhere to the tenets of science for everything in life except for, oh, an invisible, undetectable diety who controls everything. Because then you're not a scientist anymore.

Rejecting religion absolutely is a requirement to be scientist...or just plain rational.


RE: The Same Change
By the3monkies on 8/6/2010 1:00:40 AM , Rating: 2
The difference between atheists and believers is not the possession or lack of intelligence. You find highly intelligent people in both camps. The difference all comes down to personality. You have an atheist's personality and you look at all this god stuff with open-mouthed incredulity; you have a believer's personality and god seems to smile at you from under every leaf.

Atheists, like myself, understand the meaning of terms like 'evidence' and 'knowing' differently from believers. I often hear believers claim to know something for which there is not one shred of objective proof. When I point this out, and say that they can't really 'know' that god exists, I always get the same response: "I absolutely know God - usually some form of Christian god, seeing that I live in the States - exists. (Pointing out that a Muslim or a Hindu or an African Bushman would express equal certainty about the existence of his god(s) makes no difference to the believer because it's always the other guy who's got it wrong.) Obviously, there can be no meaningful dialogue between atheists and believers if the two camps can't agree on the basic meanings of fundamental terms like 'know' and 'evidence'.

In any case, once the believer admits that he doesn't know, in the only respectable sense of the word, that god exists, but that he bases his belief on faith, then it becomes clear that what is involved in religious belief is not a rational assessment of the world around one - the only approach that the atheist admits - but rather a psychological predisposition to belief; i.e., an individual's religious belief - to the extent that it is not just acceptance of cultural tradition - is simply a matter of personality.

In this respect, recently, there has been a lot of very convincing work done explaining the existence of religious belief as a product of natural selection; i.e., because belief in a common deity contributed to group survival, a genetic predisposition to religious belief came to predominate in Homo Sap. Surely, that makes much more sense than any of the highly improbable religions man has invented to get him through the long and frightening night.

btw, it always amuses me to see religious apologists make common cause for some generic god(s)/intelligent designer by appealing to logical sophistry, and 'god of the gaps' reasoning, when they actually hold very specific, mutually-contradictory dogmatic views that, if spoken aloud, would lead them to slit each others' throats if not for fear of punishment by the laws of liberal societies.

(And yes, I note that you claimed "firm belief" in the existence of an intelligent designer, and made no claims to know he existed, so in that respect my reply here is meant more as a general comment on an attitudinal difference between believers and atheists than as a specific criticism of your post.)


RE: The Same Change
By Ben6821 on 8/6/2010 4:05:01 AM , Rating: 2
The existence of God is not properly a scientific question, it is a philosophical one. The concept may be inferred via natural observations, but if the Christian/Jewish/Muslim God exists then he/she/it created science and is therefore not limited by it nor subject to it. You may complain that this notion is too convenient, but of course that is not an actual argument one way or the other. You may also argue that you don't agree with that notion of God. That is also irrelevant because you seem to want to criticize the God as defined by religions like Christianity and Islam, and you are not permitted to redefine the notion and then criticize it. Likewise, science is not a religious question, and religion cannot establish scientific theories.

You seem to have a problem with the notion of "unfounded" beliefs, but of course we all have these. You believe, for example, that you exist, and that you can establish truth via the scientific method. This seems reasonable to you, as it does to me, and yet there is no way to prove that your thought process is rational, relevant, or useful. You may be a frog with vivid dreams for all you know. You trust your own intellect and believe that you perceive reality, as do I. While I posit the notion that you might be a frog, you and I do not actually believe that, but neither of us can prove otherwise. As a self-avowed atheist, you suppose that you KNOW a deity does not exist. Your position is no different than a "believer," as you presume to know that a reality beyond the physical cannot exist, with the believer taking the opposite view on equally dubious grounds, from a purely physical point of view.

You view religion as a crutch. Serious religious people often display a discipline unlike anything ordinarily seen. Religion and its requisite practices and morals lead people to subject convenient and gratifying instincts to moral understanding. Being religious is not a walk in the park. There are moral laws and requisite practices. If rituals bug you, then stop dressing up judges in robes and calling them "Your Honor," stop shaking hands with people, etc. All of these things derive meaning from what we invest in them, by themselves they mean nothing.

As another poster suggested, you and many others take a few oddball extremists and imagine that religion produces these specimens. Most religious violence is not religious at all, it is political. It is naive to imagine that the Irish conflict is about religion, for example. It is about politics, retaliation, and other factors primarily. Religion is a convenient excuse for people to conceal their ulterior motives, after which religion is duly blamed. Do you really think that most Muslim terrorists are actually good Muslims? Christianity teaches people to love one another, it does not teach people to slit the throats of dissenters. Such a dangerous person is not properly called a Christian. There are some decidedly dangerous religions and religious people, but there are also some decidedly dangerous atheists.

While there is a mountain of evidence in support of evolution, at least on the small scale, the concept of spontaneous generation is a bit troublesome still. At any rate, it is foolish for a religious person to doubt good science, but it is equally foolish to imagine that science has the answer to everything. Science cannot concern itself with purpose, ultimate origin, morals, and non-physical reality. It can observe, comment, and study, but it cannot offer answers.


RE: The Same Change
By m27315 on 8/6/2010 11:36:09 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
The existence of God is not properly a scientific question, it is a philosophical one.


It is indeed philosophical, because both views require some assumptions (i.e., supernatural is impossible/possible). However, it is also historical . Science, as evidenced by the scientific method:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_method

Is fundamentally based in experimentation and observability. Any question, such as those related to origins, that cannot be reproduced and tested experimentally, cannot be explored by science. Science can only reveal what is possible and model the underlying mechanics. It cannot "prove" what occurred, historically, where multiple possibilities are recognized. (For example, please prove that George Washington existed - scientifically . Sorry, that's the wrong tool for the job.) Therefore, other methods must be used, such as the "truth-finding" methods of courtrooms and historians. In these cases, "evidence" takes a different meaning. Knowledge is ascertained not by mathematics, scientific proof, or observation, but knowledge is acquired by accumulation and weighing of "evidence" (ie., various witnesses and facts).

If you are asking or seeking for an experiment in which multiple chemicals are mixed that produces green smoke if the Christian God exists, red smoke if the Muslim God exists, or white smoke if the atheist god exists, then you are using the wrong tool.

Religious scientists (i.e., naturalists, humanists) assume there is no supernatural. While other religions embrace that possibility. Yet, the scientific method and science can only illuminate the natural world. Therefore, by definition, it is unequipped to ultimately answer the question of God, since He is by definition, supernatural.

As long as atheists try to answer the question of God with science, and as long as theists use emotional, subjective proofs ("I feel God; therefore, I know God."), then never the twain shall meet. Truth can only be determined here on historical grounds and an openness to the possibility of the supernatural. As long as the atheist assumes there is no supernatural, there can be no progress. As long as the theists assumes that his personal feelings are good enough for everybody else, there can be no progress.

So, can we cut through the signal noise. openly hear the other side, and use the right tool for the job?


"We don't know how to make a $500 computer that's not a piece of junk." -- Apple CEO Steve Jobs














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