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Intelligent Design vs. Natural Selection

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Local Rebel
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25 posted 12-22-2005 06:39 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Brad -- Common Descent is exactly what evolution predicts/retrodicts -- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Common_descent

Jim, Ron,
Retrodiction is both historic and scientific -- we can scientifically retrodict, for example, the phases of the moon or a solar or lunar eclipse -- it is a matter of being history and science - they are not mutually exclusive propositions.

The fossil record is supportive of Common Descent -- it does not support transformationism or a sudden generation of life.  But Common Descent is also supported by biochemistry, anatomy, biogeography, embryology and genetic principle alone without ever even looking at a fossil and then there is Homology or non-functional similarities between species.  

Micro-evolution supports macro-evolution -- if a population (A) migrates and undergoes environmental selection and becomes (A1) then the opportunity for (A2) to emerge with further migration and environmental selection is entirely possible... there is no need for A, or A1 to ever be selected out if they don't migrate though and by the time (A20) exists it is completely compatible with Micro-evolution that (A20) and (A) may be so dissimilar that re-production between the two is not possible -- thus -- a new species.  (A20)=(B)  Speciation.

What we can infer about Common Descent is also falsifiable if, for example, it becomes evident that our methods for carbon dating are incorrect and the universe and the world are in fact only a few thousand years old.  This would then throw the fossil record out.

Creationism still maintains the problem of explaining the origin of the creator and being falsified -- the statement 'God made it' can' t be falsified by saying 'did not'.  This is not, however, an indication that God did not make it.  It merely means that we can't observe it -- or observe enabling evidence to support the claim.  The simple, elegant solution is Macro-evolution -- but we can't bombard a dog with enough radiation to turn it into a chicken in the laboratory-- they tend to die first.

Even though Macro-evolution is vague and speculative it remains scientific -- it is unlikely that a life form will evolve that is not subject to gravity.  Even though Newton's theory breaks down at the atomic level -- it's still a good bet that equal and opposite reactions will take place and that cow's aren't going to be jumping over the moon tonight.  Retrodictively we can say a cow has probably never jumped over the moon.

Brad
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26 posted 12-22-2005 07:11 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

I meant universal common descent. You're right that evolution speaks of a common ancestor for different species, but I don't see how it predicts a common ancestor for everything. It, to use Ron's word, accomodates quite well to that however.

Am I missing something?

I seem to remember a discussion in Dennet's book on common parenthood that I never quite got either. It made sense at the time but it didn't stay with me (which usually means that I didn't understand it all that well).
Local Rebel
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27 posted 12-22-2005 07:32 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Try this Brad;
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/comdesc/
Skyfyre
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28 posted 12-22-2005 10:54 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

The problem with macroevolution isn't immediately apparent because it can't be seen with the naked eye.

Speciation is all well and good, but on a cellular and sub-cellular level, the tiny changes which are responsible for speciation in complex organisms just aren't possible.  Remove any part of a cell and it ceases to work.

If any theory wishes to suggest the development of life from simpler organisms, wouldn't it make sense to start from the bottom of the chain?
Local Rebel
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29 posted 12-23-2005 12:46 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Well, first.. a biologist isn't going to differentiate between macroevolution and microevolution.  There is simply evolution.  Changes in genetic code over time is what is observable.  The distinction between macro and micro is an ontological argument made by creationists either intentionally meant to confuse the issue or merely represents a misunderstanding of the science.  I'm convinced that usually the case is the latter and not the former.

Please -- anyone -- explain the mechanism that prevents microevolution (which is stipulated by most creationists in the same manner as Ron and Jim here) from becoming macroevolution over time.

Because of the relatively short life-span of humans it is difficult to observe speciation because it isn't a huge leap from dog to cat.  But we can, and do, observe speciation in plants and flies.
latearrival
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30 posted 12-23-2005 02:11 AM       View Profile for latearrival   Email latearrival   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for latearrival

All very interesting but goes nowhere. I as maybe the oldest here can say: I remember being in junior high in 1945 and making drawings about evolution for science class.I agree it does not belong in the science class. At the same time we were facing the problem of religion in the schools.They worked that out by allowing those who wanted a class on religion  to go across the street to a church on Wednesday at the last class period for a religious study. A lot of kids oped for that as technically we were let out of school forty minutes early on Wednesday.We did have to show up at the class, thought I do not remember if any one really checked on that. Later they discussed having the "Bible as Literature" for a class in English. I don't know how long that lasted there as I went on to high school.(I still have the notebook containing the drawings! AND the "facts" have changed!) I had nothing along either line in high school,if I did my mind was elsewhere. I quit school in the third year. I am posting only because I wonder if this problem will ever be solved to everyones best interest? I do not personally think so.  martyjo
Ron
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31 posted 12-23-2005 07:28 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
LR ...it is completely compatible with Micro-evolution that (A20) and (A) may be so dissimilar that re-production between the two is not possible -- thus -- a new species.  (A20)=(B)  Speciation.

Defining "species" by the inability to reproduce is one way, LR, to reach speciation, but it's a definition not all naturalists would agree is accurate or useful. Your example, after all, would suggest that breeding a horse and a donkey will produce a new species of animal. Many within the biological community use quite different definitions of species, including those based on morphological, genetic, evolutionary (a bit circular, that one), paleontological, phylogenetic or biosystematic models.

How can we agree that speciation has been reliably observed when we can't even agree what constitutes a species?

The problem with every example of speciation I've seen published (and there aren't that many) is that there is never a test for viability. Even if we agree on the definition of a species, and even if we use that definition to discover the introduction of a brand new one, that alone is not enough to support the claims of evolution. Mutations are not in dispute, after all.

Virtually every claim, prediction, and retrodiction of evolution rests on the single premise that the functions of Life could follow multiple paths.

There are hundreds of different polymers, for example, but only three are used to support Life. The DNA in all organisms uses only four nucleotides out of nearly a hundred known. The list goes on and on and on, and all of this evidence is used to prove the validity of common descent.

Occam's razor would suggest a much simpler explanation. Maybe we've only seen one way for Life to function because there IS only one way for Life to function?

There is absolutely nothing in evolutionary history to predict a single point of origin. On the contrary, if there are a hundred different ways for DNA to exist in a viable form, evolution would tell us the only thing required is sufficient time.

You want to convince me the commonalities of life prove common descent? Fine. Show me the exception evolution insists must exist. Find or build me a form of life that falls outside the nested hierarchy. Do that and I'll have no choice but to accept that everything within the hierarchy sprang from a single source.

We have an infinitude of integers, yet only zeroes and ones are used to write today's digital computer programs. Gather all those programs into a taxonomy and I strongly suspect cladistics would give us a phylogenetic tree that very closely resembles the universal common descent tree attached to Life. Should I then theorize that, given a little background radiation and enough time, the word processor I'm using to write this post will one day evolve into a sapient spreadsheet?

While I understand your reluctance, LR, to differentiate between micro- and macro-evolution, I think it is nonetheless a necessary distinction. Survival of the fittest is about emphasizing characteristics that already exist in a species and is very nearly inevitable. Bacteria don't suddenly develop a resistance to penicillin through magic, but rather because a few already had a resistance that allowed their progeny to survive where others couldn't. It does not, in my opinion, naturally follow that bacteria will one day exhibit entirely new characteristics that enhance their survival, perhaps turning into green algae or horn worts in the process.

Micro-evolution is inevitable. Macro-evolution is a matter of completely random chance, and even within the context of a hundred million years, the odds aren't real good.
jbouder
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32 posted 12-23-2005 03:00 PM       View Profile for jbouder   Email jbouder   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for jbouder

Brad:

quote:
Wouldn't you have to get rid of geology, meteorology, and cosmology as well?


I think I'd prefer to get rid of the term "science" - since it seems to have become trite and misleading term used to give a discipline credibility, rather than that credibility being earned by a clear demonstration of the production of knowledge.

My problem with applying the term "science" to all of the so-called "scientific" disciplines, regardless of the activity that is taking place within the discipline, is that the biologist, geologist or palientologist rarely advertises whether we are being led into an uncertain or certain environment.  Think of it in the same way Aristotle cautions his audience to not confuse knowledge (i.e., self-evident or highly certain information) and opinion (i.e., positions that progressively approach knowledge as the evidence supporting their claims grows).  

Most of the arguments I hear in favor of evolution include a statement such as, "There is currently no better explanation than evolution."  Naturally an evolutionist would argue this, and they might be right in doing so, but I think they must also accept that their opinion is supported by  the weight or majority of available evidence behind it, rather than certain knowledge.  If you must classify me, call me a "soft evolutionary-agnostic."  To me, it is not so important which theory of origins is the correct one, but that all acknowledge that they very well could be wrong.

Brad, within the disciplines you mentioned, it is certainly possible to arrive at opinions with a very high degree of certainty, but it is also possible to falsify highly certain opinions.  Meteorologists were highly certain that Katrina was going to hit somewhere between the Texas and Alabama coasts, and somewhat certain it would be in the vicinity of New Orleans.  This illustrates that, given a limited number of data, the closer we move from the general to the particular, the more uncertain our conclusion becomes.  This is just as true of evolution as it is of meteorology.

We increase knowledge of a problem beyond mere opinion when (1) we collect relevant data, (2) identify patterns in that data, and (3) apply the identified patterns in the data to the problem.  This increases our ability to think in more objective terms, moving us away from the uncertain environment of mere opinion and further toward an environment of certainty.  

Great care must be taken in the problem-solving process because of internal factors that can affect the validity of our conclusion such as the analystís ability to (1) sift relevant from irrelevant data, (2) perceive patterns in the applicable data, and (3) lay personal biases aside. By presupposing the validity of a macroevolutionary position, are the analysts ruling out other possible conclusions or ignoring information that undermines their position?  

I don't know.  Do you?

Hawke:

quote:
Well, first.. a biologist isn't going to differentiate between macroevolution and microevolution.  There is simply evolution.  Changes in genetic code over time is what is observable.  The distinction between macro and micro is an ontological argument made by creationists either intentionally meant to confuse the issue or merely represents a misunderstanding of the science.


Or perhaps the biologist has made a precipitous classification error by assuming minor changes in the genetic code over short periods of time are indicative of dramatic changes in the genetic code over long periods of time that can result in an organism changing from a fish to a frog over the course of so-many-million years.  When the biologist does this, he isn't doing biology anymore ... he's doing logic.  And the validity of his conclusion is dependent on the validity of his premise(s).  And as I suggested above, those premises are at least somewhat uncertain.

quote:
Please -- anyone -- explain the mechanism that prevents microevolution (which is stipulated by most creationists in the same manner as Ron and Jim here) from becoming macroevolution over time.


I can't anymore than you can explain the mechanism that enables microevolution to become macroevolution over time.  We can't observe it.  We can't explain it.  All we can do is speculate and opine about it.

Jim
Essorant
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33 posted 12-23-2005 09:28 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

Everything is the same universe just in a different shape.
Skyfyre
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34 posted 12-23-2005 10:36 PM       View Profile for Skyfyre   Email Skyfyre   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Skyfyre

quote:
Well, first.. a biologist isn't going to differentiate between macroevolution and microevolution.  There is simply evolution.  Changes in genetic code over time is what is observable.  The distinction between macro and micro is an ontological argument made by creationists either intentionally meant to confuse the issue or merely represents a misunderstanding of the science.  I'm convinced that usually the case is the latter and not the former.


Actually, macroevolution is a theory that arose from inexplicable gaps in the fossil record.  Given a fossil record that carbon dating and geological examination would suggest to be fairly complete (or at least more complete than incomplete), the lack of transitional species such as Darwininan theory would predict forced proponents of Evolution to attempt to explain the appearance of sudden, radical mutations which apparently occurred on a population-wide scale.

While it seems reasonable to suggest that speciation, given enough time, could account for just about any variety of life, the fossil record in many cases simply does not support this claim.  Perhaps we will one day unearth the fabled Elephant Graveyard where all the missing transitional species are hiding, but until then ...
Essorant
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35 posted 12-24-2005 01:02 AM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

If scientists can project what they see in this little acre of the universe--evolution--as scientific evidence of something that works universally,  then why can't creationists project what they see --creation--as scientific evidence of something something that works universally?  
How can anything in a universe not be universal?

There is physical proof and observation of creationism/intellegent design as readily observable as the proof and observation of evolution.  

Animals/insects create nests, holes, hutches, webs, honey, etc.  Humans create poetry, movies, automobiles.  This very site was created by Ron; and our poems were created by us; not by Evolution.
These are very parts of the universe that are creationism/intellegent design, not evolution.

Are you saying that onely one kind of proof can be scientific and projected on the rest of the universe, but the other cannot?  How do you justify that?

I still don't think they should be taught in the same class, but this is because they are so very different; just as math and poetry are very different.  But I think it is a mistake to treat one as having "scientific evidence" and the other as not.  

However, this was only a point toward some of the physical evidence.   A wiser scientific approach also acknowledges that spiritual evidence is just as true for evidence as physical evidence.   If one studies well he knows that clouds, winds, less solid influences are every bit as existant and based on substantial things as rocks and soil, more solid things; and therefore also, that beliefs are every bit as existant and based on substantial things as sciences.  

Nothing in a universe is not substantially based on the universe itself.

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-24-2005 03:30 PM).]

Local Rebel
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36 posted 12-24-2005 01:44 AM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

When Filipchenko coined the terms macro and microevolution in 1927 he was attempting to reconcile Mendelian genetics and evolution.  He was an orthogeneticist, not a Darwinian.  His student, Dobzhansky, by 1937 said "we are compelled at the present level of knowledge reluctantly to put a sign of equality between the mechanisms of macro- and microevolution" in his 'Genetics and the Origin of the Species'.  (Which is what Darwin had posited since the 1860's)  -- this is where the terms were introduced to the English language.

It was a conversation between scientists talking about how speciation occurs -- not whether or not it does.   In the same manner today the conversation between proponents of Gould's Punctuated equillibrium or the majority who are still in synthesis are talking about a process that does occur and is observable -- they just aren't always sure how -- and neither is necessarily mutually exclusive -- speciation can happen both ways and it is observable.

To biologists talking about microevolution and macroevolution is like talking to a mathematician about pi and super pi.  The same process(es) that cause within species changes in the frequencies of alleles can be extrapolated to between species changes.  Unless -- there is a mechanism that prevents it.  All of the steps have been demonstrated in the rest of biology and genetics. Occam's razor favors synthesis.

What we observe today in more mature life forms may not have been true in the past though -- and explosions of change may have occurred -- that is to say -- at some point change may not have been as tightly regulated as it is in today's cutting edge playthings of nature... and it stands to reason that life forms that were more resistant to change were/are more likely to persist.

Creationists have latched onto the terminology and either through ignorance or willful strategy have twisted it in an attempt to discredit speciation.  It isn't really a bad strategy -- because if we can't even agree to the terms, like -- what a species is http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=species  and attempt to salt the population with red-herrings like hybrids who don't have the ability to reproduce (that is to say -- mules don't reproduce -- but, unfortunately Jackasses seem to be able to appear spontaneously   ). then it is a pointless exercise.  

quote:

You want to convince me the commonalities of life prove common descent? Fine. Show me the exception evolution insists must exist. Find or build me a form of life that falls outside the nested hierarchy. Do that and I'll have no choice but to accept that everything within the hierarchy sprang from a single source.



I would certainly hope not.  I would merely hope that you would provisionally accept it as the best explanation available. Science isn't interested in absolutes or dogma.  But we don't have to find one.. as in the other historical sciences, archaeology, astronomy, geology -- natural experiments can test and falsify.  

What some claim are 'gaps' in the fossil record are due to the speed at which some changes have occurred -- extinctions, population bottlenecks, unoccupied niches -- geological conditions, catastrophic events --

quote:

I can't anymore than you can explain the mechanism that enables microevolution to become macroevolution over time. We can't observe it. We can't explain it. All we can do is speculate and opine about it.




The mechanism is the same Jim.  It is evolution.  Genetic change that occurs over time.  Certainly you played telephone when you  were a kid.  Same thing.  Change accumulates.  We do observe it.  We do explain it and find solutions that appropriately model the evidence.  We certainly don't understand everything that we know about it -- but computer models certainly support it.  

(and -- no Ron -- I don't expect your word processor to evolve into a sapient spreadsheet due to background radiation and time -- but -- it might become intelligent through the rapid increase in the economy of computing power -- doubling - what every 18 months??  by 2030 with hardware advances and programs writing programs -- it's not out of the question -- but that's another conversation isn't it?  There are multiple false scenarios that can satisfy the conditions of evolution -- and that's clear indication of falsifiability).

quote:

I think I'd prefer to get rid of the term "science" - since it seems to have become trite and misleading term used to give a discipline credibility, rather than that credibility being earned by a clear demonstration of the production of knowledge.

My problem with applying the term "science" to all of the so-called "scientific" disciplines, regardless of the activity that is taking place within the discipline, is that the biologist, geologist or palientologist rarely advertises whether we are being led into an uncertain or certain environment. Think of it in the same way Aristotle cautions his audience to not confuse knowledge (i.e., self-evident or highly certain information) and opinion (i.e., positions that progressively approach knowledge as the evidence supporting their claims grows).




But that's what science is Jim.  Every path in science is uncertain.  It isn't in the business of dogma or absolutes.  Newton gives way to Einstein gives way to Quantum..... in the meantime -- gravity exists.  Every scientific fact carries the unwritten disclaimer 'to the best of our knowledge'.  But what science does is seek consistency of methodology and of internal and external explanations.  Anomalies don't thwart science -- they drive it.  Ron uses the right word when he says 'accept'.  

You're driven by ontology and epistemology -- evolution theory doesn't seek those things -- it's  a study of a system that exists.  

Ron
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37 posted 12-24-2005 08:46 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
To biologists talking about microevolution and macroevolution is like talking to a mathematician about pi and super pi.  The same process(es) that cause within species changes in the frequencies of alleles can be extrapolated to between species changes.

Again, LR, I disagree. Emphasizing what already exists within the DNA is markedly different from randomly introducing what never existed into the DNA. I don't think one can legitimately extrapolate from one to the other.

quote:
What we observe today in more mature life forms may not have been true in the past though -- and explosions of change may have occurred -- that is to say -- at some point change may not have been as tightly regulated as it is in today's cutting edge playthings of nature... and it stands to reason that life forms that were more resistant to change were/are more likely to persist.

That sounds remarkably like a statement of faith, LR.

quote:
It isn't in the business of dogma or absolutes.  Newton gives way to Einstein gives way to Quantum..... in the meantime -- gravity exists.

And yet, LR, the very statement "gravity exists" IS dogmatic and absolute.

I'm not trying to be facetious, either, but rather trying to demonstrate that absolutes are impossible to avoid. The only difference between Euclidian and Riemannian geometry are the absolutes/axioms upon which they are built. Macro-evolution is based upon the axiom that random change inevitably leads to increased order and complexity, an absolute I believe has never been sufficiently supported. Of course, that doesn't mean it's wrong.

It does, however, mean other alternative axioms should carry equal weight. Newton was "mostly right," a conclusion that could be amply demonstrated through experiment, but there is no such demonstrable weight behind Darwin.
Brad
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38 posted 12-24-2005 04:37 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
Macro-evolution is based upon the axiom that random change inevitably leads to increased order and complexity, an absolute I believe has never been sufficiently supported.


No, it doesn't. The theory doesn't predict that and the fossil record shows that, for most of life's existence, that's not what happened.

We have a record of life existing at least to 3.5 billion years ago. Perhaps, it was getting more complex, perhaps it wasn't. As far as we know, they were still single celled creatures.

There's nothing inevitable about that. It's not complexity or order (at least not in an aesthetic sense) that matters, it's survivability and reproducibility.

What could be more common sensical than that?

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39 posted 12-24-2005 06:35 PM       View Profile for Jaime Fradera   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Jaime Fradera

I'll have more to say about this in a minute, well in a while, when I will propose a theory that the universe was designed by an ancient cockroach in a sombrero, which not only explains the existence of Mexico, but also, of sombreros.But right now I'm going off to participate in a ceremony that probably got started in Celtic Scandanivia, which was performed this time of year to make the Sun stop going down and start coming up.
But later ... later ... ... ...
La Cucaracha

Ron
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40 posted 12-24-2005 06:53 PM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

quote:
There's nothing inevitable about that. It's not complexity or order (at least not in an aesthetic sense) that matters, it's survivability and reproducibility.

Which is still just another way of saying, "We got lucky." You have to admit, Brad, it would be really tough to type on this keyboard were we still singe-celled creatures.

It always comes back to worshipping at the feet of randomness.
Local Rebel
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41 posted 12-24-2005 07:08 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

Sure Ron.  Even if you only acknowledge microevolution -- you're still at the mercy of randomness.

You started out as a sperm in competition with hudreds of thousands of other sperm for one egg -- and you won the lottery.  Or, just swam faster -- depending on how you look at it.  Your potential survived -- your potential siblings did not.  

But what did you eat today?  Did you kiss anybody?  Did you brush up against a plant?  A peice of wood?  Did you catch a virus?  Inhale some bacteria?  Even if you were in a hyperbaric chamber all day long as your cells reproduced the telomeres in each cell got a little bit shorter.  Mine too.  Ergo -- when we shave in the morning we might find a new wrinkle... a new gray hair - or a new vacant spot where a gray one used to be.

Everytime we come in contact with foriegn genetic material our body's immune system develops a response that says -- that's not me.  It remembers and encodes.  

This is one way it is possible for new genetic information to get into our own complex systems.

Complexity isn't really an argument for intelligent design though -- quite the opposite -- elegant design is always the simplest.

If logic sounds like faith to you I have no idea what to say about that -- except that I have faith you'll explain it.

I'll leave you with this question though before I depart for the Yule -- how many times do you have to flip a quarter before it comes up tails?  

Happy Christmas, Channukah, Kawanza, Ramadan, Festivus, Solctice, Saturnalia, to all... and to all a good night.

May random chance bless us every one!  
Ron
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42 posted 12-25-2005 09:38 AM       View Profile for Ron   Email Ron   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Ron's Home Page   View IP for Ron

Happy Holidays back at ya, Reb . . . no matter what random day upon which it may fall for you.

quote:
I'll leave you with this question though before I depart for the Yule -- how many times do you have to flip a quarter before it comes up tails?  

At least once, Reb.

While we shouldn't confuse probabilities with randomness, neither has the opportunity to occur until someone reaches out a hand and picks up the coin. How it lands can be attributed to chance, but that it lands at all still falls within the realm of cause and effect.
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43 posted 12-25-2005 03:25 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

"how many times do you have to flip a quarter before it comes up tails? "

It depends on how you flip it.

If you try to juggle knives without experience and skill then they are more likely to cut you according to how you juggle them;  If you juggle them with experience and skill though they are less likely to cut you, according to how you juggle them.  The same principle is on the coin; it's just far more difficult to see exactly how it flips or control that with such a small object.  

[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-25-2005 10:22 PM).]

Not A Poet
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44 posted 12-25-2005 11:16 PM       View Profile for Not A Poet   Email Not A Poet   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Not A Poet's Home Page   View IP for Not A Poet

For a follow-up question: How many times do you have to flip a quarter before it becomes a $20 gold piece?

Long ago, I had a physics prof who had the annoying habit of always looking up every time he broke the chalk while writing on the board. His explanation: "There is a small but finite probability that the chalk will fall up instead of down. If it happens, I damn sure don't want to miss it." I believe he is still waiting.
Local Rebel
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45 posted 12-26-2005 12:13 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

If a quarter or a $20 gold peice exhibited any of the four characteristics of life then evolution would apply to them as well -- attempting to apply evolution to inanimate objects is not arguing the merits of the science -- it's just being argumentative.

Neither is attempting to steer the question back to one of ontology either.  Evolution has no mechanism for examining where life came from or if it was created intentionally or accidentally.  Ecologists and geneticists aren't really all that concerned about prebiotic chemistry.  Evolution starts with the organization of complexity and examines the dynamics of change in that system -- not the origin of the system.

Specific tenets of specific religions have been challenged by the knowledge obtained through the study of life -- but it remains rather difficult to study the existence of a force or personality that resides outside of the universe.  It may be on this front that atheists have been as dishonest as theists.  

The questions of why we exist and what to do with our existence belong in a different realm outside of science.  I understand that to some theists it is a personal affront to consider themselves as nothing more than another animal -- but evolution doesn't say this either -- it says we're much more than that -- that we've transcended, somehow.  We didn't evolve FROM monkeys -- we have common ancestry with today's very matured species we recognize as monkeys -- and also with the bird flu virus.  

Is it really so out of line with Judeo-Christian heritage to make such claims?  Only if one wants to interpret the bible as being literally 'true'.

While we can't even begin to talk about randomness without talking about probabilites we have to recognize that randomness is random -- and that even though this is true the law of probability is still in effect -- if I, or you, honestly, randomly flip a quarter enough times it is probable, and likely that about 50% of the time it's going to come up heads and the other 50% of the time it's going to come up tails.  But it's even beyond the power of the 'hard' science of math to make a specific prediction about any given flip -- just as biology can't make any specific predictions about what direction evolution will take for a specific genome or why some variations never become manifest -- if variations never occur though -- they certainly can't be selected.

Mystery abounds in the universe and in the study of it.  We won't get smarter if we don't give children the right tools though -- which is what this thread is supposed to be about.  
Essorant
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since 08-10-2002
Posts 4689
Regina, Saskatchewan; Canada


46 posted 12-26-2005 03:40 PM       View Profile for Essorant   Email Essorant   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems   Click to visit Essorant's Home Page   View IP for Essorant

But from the point of view of the coin though it  seem to have rightness, not randomness.  In any flip, it goes to the right height, speed, direction, etc. according to how it is flipped, and reacts rightly to anything it encounters along its flight, then lands rightly just as it may from that flight.  The human may not show or intend any "pattern" in the way he flips the coin off his thumb, but the coin certainly has a pattern of how it must go based on how it is flipped, and differs rightly according to any difference in the condition around flipping it.


[This message has been edited by Essorant (12-26-2005 04:51 PM).]

Midnitesun
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since 05-18-2001
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Gaia


47 posted 12-26-2005 04:30 PM       View Profile for Midnitesun   Email Midnitesun   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Midnitesun

quote:
Mystery abounds in the universe and in the study of it.  We won't get smarter if we don't give children the right tools though -- which is what this thread is supposed to be about.

zactly, and so? in thinking about the cockroach/sombrero story promised to us by senior jaime?
1. I honestly believe all possible origin theories should be presented equally

2. let's not presume to be smarter than the future generations

3. give the students the info, let them sort through it themselves...most don't really want to be spoon-fed our regurgitated hash
Local Rebel
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since 12-21-1999
Posts 5742
Southern Abstentia


48 posted 12-26-2005 06:08 PM       View Profile for Local Rebel   Email Local Rebel   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Local Rebel

When you have a formula for determining which butterfly's wings caused a particular tornado Ess, that will be a useful and impressive technology.

On the other hand, if you keep telling a golfer the ball went exactly where he hit it you'll be tossed out of the cart and have to walk back to the clubhouse -- where the beer tab will undoubtedly be left for you to pay.

You raise a good point though, chaos, fractals, and the study of automotons show quite regularly that complexity can and does arise out of simplicity.


Kacey,
I eagerly await Jamie's creation myth as well. And I agree with your point.  Evolution just isn't one of those idealisms.  It belongs no more in a class on metaphysics than intelligent design belongs in evolution.
Brad
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since 08-20-99
Posts 5896
Jejudo, South Korea


49 posted 12-27-2005 05:49 PM       View Profile for Brad   Email Brad   Edit/Delete Message      Find Poems  View IP for Brad

quote:
We won't get smarter if we don't give children the right tools though


There it is.

What tools do the IDeists bring to the table?

If intelligent tampering were discovered before we came along, it wouldn't disprove evolution. Because evolutionary theory doesn't presuppose a world view, it's not a creation myth, it doesn't contradict living on turtle shells.

It would change the current way we describe natural history, but evolutionary theory wouldn't be touched.

Dennett has an hypothesis on what to look for when it comes to ID (I'll tell you later if you're interested).

What do the IDers have?

 
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