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RTyp06
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #45 on: June 21, 2006, 11:44:42 pm »

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I tried to research and present both sides of the issue as fully as possible, but I could not come to any conclusion other than the fact that intelligent design is a load of crap.

Want to know what is a load of crap? A 600 year old man and his three sons building a ship in the middle of the desert, as big as the titanic, out of wood four thousand years ago. Then loading a pair of every animal on earth, (plus sevens of "clean" animals to sacrifice on an alter) surviving a world wide flood for a year then repopulating the entire earth without problems of inbreeding, feeding, disease and predatory animal issues. Then from the mountians of aararat we get polar bears in the arctic, lemurs only found in madagascar and kangaroos only found in austrilia. And all this because of the wrath of god and man's "sin". Why would god do somthing absolutely pointless in the first place? Did the flood really achieve anything if to be believed? Christians MUST believe in ths story because Jesus makes reference to Noah and the deluge during his surmons...


Guess what else is a load of crap... That random chemicals organized themselves into the first dividing cell. That the correct chemicals came together by chance and wrote the DNA codes for all living organisims. DNA code is not called a code for convienience, it literally is a code, a binary represention of 3 dimensional forms (protiens). Each code has to be specifically written with very few variations allowable else it is completely worthless. The cell has "spell checking" machines to make sure each protien chain is built to exacting precision. Protien chains are then used with other protiens wich work togther, so on an so forth until you come to a very high level of structured order and DESIGN.

Contractors follow a blueprint for a reason.. Everything has to be organized to come togther just so, with the correct materials and in the correct sequence.. So it is with even the simplest cell. The simplest cell has more machines and operational complexity than the operational systems of the space shuttle.

IMO the truth  is somwhere in between Organized religion and Darwin. Ironically, the leading thoughts on string theory is called "M Theory". M for master or matrix.. The universe has some very compelling properties that can be interpretd as design.

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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #46 on: June 22, 2006, 01:30:30 am »

Guess what else is a load of crap... That random chemicals organized themselves into the first dividing cell. That the correct chemicals came together by chance and wrote the DNA codes for all living organisims.
Earth is a big place and there's been a lot of time for things to happen. However, the theories regarding the origin of life seem to be somewhat shoddy right now (see, for example, the Wikipedia article on the origin of life), so I'd reserve judgement for now.

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DNA code is not called a code for convienience, it literally is a code, a binary represention of 3 dimensional forms (protiens).
Quaternary, not binary, but close enough.

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Each code has to be specifically written with very few variations allowable else it is completely worthless. The cell has "spell checking" machines to make sure each protien chain is built to exacting precision. Protien chains are then used with other protiens wich work togther, so on an so forth until you come to a very high level of structured order and DESIGN.
Actually, most DNA doesn't seem to have any effect at all and thus a large number of mutations have no discernable effects. Most that have effects are harmful, but some may even be beneficial (e.g. lactose tolerance). Mutation seems to be the most plausible mechanism for the genetic change required for evolution.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #47 on: June 22, 2006, 03:16:57 am »

Is it really lazy to not be sure about something? If you are not sure whether you will live to 80 or not, does that make you lazy?

It really doesn't matter if one considers ignorance on a subject acceptable, if no body can prove which belief is the ignorant one. Besides, you can be plenty active in your explorations of other aspects of life (other than "supernatural" beings,) like deciding what one considers to be right or wrong in new, semi complex situations.
A person who wants to know the truth about this or that religion and is actively seeking it would better be termed "undecided" than "agnostic," because agnostics will tell you that such seeking is fruitless and that supernatural things are unknown and unknowable to man.  Agnosticism is not the simple observation that man can't prove one way or another, because that's obvious.  I believe that man can't prove one way or another.  Am I an agnostic?  Nope.  I firmly believe that the character of God is very much knowable to every human being on earth.

I am not certain whether I will live to 80, and, quite frankly, that ignorance IS acceptable.  God hasn't told me, man doesn't know, and I don't trust the Devil.  It's not as important for me to know when I will die, as to know what will be there to recieve me when I do.  I find the comparison invalid, because one of these things we can discover for ourselves, and is important, the other we cannot, and it isn't.

To me, the important part is not so much the conclusion (we'll all find out in the end which one was right), but that you search, and you search sincerely, and you come to a conclusion, because this is really what's important in life.  Yes, you can be active all your life in exploring other aspects of life, and never "have time" to sit down and try to figure out all this supernatural good/evil stuff, but that's just like putting off work to play.  It's fun, and can be just as fulfilling, or even more so, but the important stuff in life doesn't get done when you play.  I consider that exploring right and wrong is merely a subset of discovering the character and nature of God or the gods.  I also believe that God is the only one who can tell you about both things, since man really doesn't know and you oughtn't trust the devil.  Especially not on these subjects.

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I think a religion is something that centers around the belief in supernatural being(s), so neither of those would rank as religions. Also, there are some Agnostics who are such because they simply don't know for certain, not because they don't think it is an important topic. Still others could be confused on what a god actually is supposed to be. The ancient Greek gods did not create the earth (the earth created them, in fact), they could be killed, and their eternal survival depended on Ambosia. The existence of this sort of being does not seem nearly as far fetched as an invisible, all powerful, all knowing, creator of everything that works somewhat cryptically through the natural world and a few prophets amoungst many false ones. There is a tremendous difference between these two definitions, requiring vastly different levels of faith.
So... Buddhists aren't religious?  Shintoists?  Taoists?  What about New Age religions, that deny the existence of supernatural "beings," deciding instead that there are supernatural presences or other non-living enities?  I'm not trying to be contentious, here, or start an argument, but I want to see where you draw the line.  Why would your definition count atheism as not a religion, since it centers in the belief in the non-existence of supernatural beings?  I disagree with your definition of religion, and it raises more questions to me than it answers.  I'm not saying you have to abandon it, but that it is far too narrow for my purposes.  Religion is the worship of something, whether formalized or not, supernatural or not.  And everyone has a "god" of some sort.  Everyone deifies something.

As to the question of faith, I don't think you are correct in stating that the two require vastly different levels of faith.  In both circumstances, one who doesn't believe must pass through certain stages before believing.

1) "I don't know."  Subject is ignorant about the religion or god(s) in question.  He must be introduced to it before making any decision.
2) "That's interesting."  Somebody tells the subject about the existence of said god(s).  This can be through written text or orally.  Often times, the subject is curious to know more.
3) "Why should I believe you?" Subject begins to question the testimony that he has recieved.  The preacher who shared her testimony in 2) should disclose how she knows about the god(s).  In the case of the Bible or the Qur-'An, the answer is from prophets who say "We talked to God, and this is what He had to say."  Parents might answer "because I'm your parent and I say so, that's why."
4) "How can I know?" This  is an important stage if the subject really wants to know.  However, not every subject will reach this.  Many times they will be satisfied with the explanation in 3), resulting in a condition that is derided and is called "blind faith."  At this point, the subject will seek a spiritual experience of his own, and come to his own conclusions.

I think that Agnosticism is apathetic or lazy because it goes up from 1) to 3) and says "That's nice, but you can't prove it."  To which I would respond "Well, of course not, but do you want to know wheher I'm right or not?  Find out for yourself!"  Agnosicism seems to encourage a view that laymen cannot have religious or spiritual experiences, because it holds the condition and even the existence of God as unknowable.  But perhaps we disagree on the definition of agnostic.  There are so many varieties, it's hard to communicate properly on the subject, especially over the internet.



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Want to know what is a load of crap? A 600 year old man and his three sons building a ship in the middle of the desert, as big as the titanic, out of wood four thousand years ago. Then loading a pair of every animal on earth, (plus sevens of "clean" animals to sacrifice on an alter) surviving a world wide flood for a year then repopulating the entire earth without problems of inbreeding, feeding, disease and predatory animal issues. Then from the mountians of aararat we get polar bears in the arctic, lemurs only found in madagascar and kangaroos only found in austrilia. And all this because of the wrath of god and man's "sin". Why would god do somthing absolutely pointless in the first place? Did the flood really achieve anything if to be believed? Christians MUST believe in ths story because Jesus makes reference to Noah and the deluge during his sermons...
You do realize that, for the biblical account to be correct, the whole globe did not have to be flooded.  Just the whole "world."  It probably sounds like I'm splitting hairs, but at that point in time, the known world was a lot smaller than the earth.  Thus, not every animal in existence had to be on the ark, and it's doubted by some that he had to bring on seven of each clean animal... that might have been an addition by the elitist priests of the Jews after the death of Malachi.  And there's also no claim that they lived in a desert.  We think we know where they LANDED, but if the account was correct, they could have crossed an ocean in there and we wouldn't know the difference.

Is it more far-fetched to believe that two people could repopulate the earth, than to think that people started out as a group, and not as individuals?  I don't know.  Can't tell you.  I honestly don't think it's that important.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #48 on: June 22, 2006, 04:55:57 am »


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Actually, most DNA doesn't seem to have any effect at all and thus a large number of mutations have no discernable effects. Most that have effects are harmful, but some may even be beneficial (e.g. lactose tolerance). Mutation seems to be the most plausible mechanism for the genetic change required for evolution.

Irregardless of how much DNA has an effect or not, it doesn't change the fact that DNA is a language. Quite literally in fact. It compares quite nicely to human language:

DNA Language
Human Language
Nucleotide -Character
Codon-Letter
Gene-Word
Operon-Sentence
Regulon-Paragraph
 
There are three properties we know of, Energy, Matter and Information. In every case of information, wether it's music, digital code, language, writing, mathematical formulas, computer programs etc. the cause is intelligence. There is no known naturalistic mechanisim for creating complex, specified information and that IS what we find encoded on the DNA molecule.

If indeed evolution does occur, due to the vast amount of new DNA programming needed from body plan to body plan, I can only conclude DNA is designed purposefully to evolve. Random genetic changes go nowhere and are almost always detrimental to the organism.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #49 on: June 22, 2006, 05:25:25 am »

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Agnosticism is not the simple observation that man can't prove one way or another, because that's obvious.

It depends on your definition of "proof." One could argue that we are all living in "the Matrix" and nothing we see or feel around us is real, and everything we feel has been "proven" is just an illusion. It is probably more like "Agnostics are those who do not have faith in the existence of supernatural god(s) or spirit(s) or lack thereof, feel that there is good evidence for both arguements, don't really give a damn, or are not clear what it is that is supposed to exist or not.

In regard to that last one, I might think that using the definition of a god being an immortal, if I found a way to extend my human life indefinitely, I would be a living god.

So basically, Agnostism is just the default. It isn't even a philosophy, because it has no real system of beliefs, it is just a grab bag. It is sort of like if you had a name for everything that was not alive, or that didn't sneeze, and refered to everything within that set as though they were intricately related. Unlife and Asneezers. Smiley


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God hasn't told me, man doesn't know, and I don't trust the Devil.

So then the devil talks to you?


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I find the comparison invalid, because one of these things we can discover for ourselves, and is important, the other we cannot, and it isn't.

Different individuals might have different opinions as to which can be discovered and is important and which is not. Others might argue that neither or both can be discovered. As a Christian, you should feel that you'll find out the truth about both, in the end.

My personal conviction is that you will simply die and reincarnate, and then believe you will die and go to heaven for that next lifetime as well. (You heard right, I have a belief in something that is not proven.) Wink


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So... Buddhists aren't religious?  Shintoists?  Taoists?

I don't know much about Shintoists, but the other two might be called philosophies. It really depends on you definition of supernatural beings, or what exactly is natural.


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What about New Age religions, that deny the existence of supernatural "beings," deciding instead that there are supernatural presences or other non-living enities?

Are all gods living gods? What is the difference between a supernatual presence and a supernatural being?


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As to the question of faith, I don't think you are correct in stating that the two require vastly different levels of faith.  In both circumstances, one who doesn't believe must pass through certain stages before believing.

What I mean is, the definitions of gods or supernatural whatevers is vastly different over different religions. And our understanding of what is "natural" has expanded greatly since ancient times. It is possible, that through the usage of certain technologies, man can extend his life indefinitely unless violently killed (which can happen to many gods of different religions,) terraform or create new worlds, life, etc. Some is more far fetched than the rest, but it still might be possible using the laws of nature.


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But perhaps we disagree on the definition of agnostic.  There are so many varieties, it's hard to communicate properly on the subject, especially over the internet.

Yes, see what I wrote above. Can you think of any Agnostics, besides myself, that have pretty much total faith in the existence of reincarnation?


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Is it more far-fetched to believe that two people could repopulate the earth, than to think that people started out as a group, and not as individuals?

There exists the belief, that people didn't really just "start out," but are simply a loose and artifically defined group of primate animals, with a relatively smooth evolutionary heritage leading back to the first protocells of this planet.

Simply having a couple advanced organisms  appear out of nowhere and produce a stable population without horrible inbreeding issues is a highly flawed belief, at best.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #50 on: June 22, 2006, 03:31:30 pm »

In every case of information, wether it's music, digital code, language, writing, mathematical formulas, computer programs etc. the cause is intelligence. There is no known naturalistic mechanisim for creating complex, specified information and that IS what we find encoded on the DNA molecule.
I'd argue that such a mechanism exists: the DNA molecule (and RNA too, for that matter). Besides, humans are not the only beings on this planet that communicate; most animals do so too, meaning that they have something that could be considered a language (albeit one limited by the scope of their understanding).

The basic issue here seems to be that you maintain that complexity can not increase as the result of natural processes, which is what I disagree with. Even simple computer simulations can produce very complex results, mimicing evolution. Whether evolution has happened is, of course, far from conclusively demonstrated, but the idea is consistent and plausible.

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If indeed evolution does occur, due to the vast amount of new DNA programming needed from body plan to body plan, I can only conclude DNA is designed purposefully to evolve. Random genetic changes go nowhere and are almost always detrimental to the organism.
Yes, random genetic changes are almost always detrimental. However, advantageous genetic changes, by increasing the probability of offspring (through e.g. improved survival) are very likely to become more common in later generations. Horribly detrimental mutations (e.g. anything that invariably kills the organism) don't propagate to later generations at all; milder ones may decrease the chances. Given a million or so generations (depends a lot on what sort of organism we're talking about), the accumulated mutations may be enough to produce e.g. human beings.

Besides, you don't have to get human beings at all. The sheer amount of different species on Earth shows that life can exist in a large variety of forms. The diversity of human beings shows that many small variations are possible. This further undermines arguments that mutations are necessarily bad.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #51 on: June 23, 2006, 01:30:08 am »

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I'd argue that such a mechanism exists: the DNA molecule (and RNA too, for that matter). Besides, humans are not the only beings on this planet that communicate; most animals do so too, meaning that they have something that could be considered a language (albeit one limited by the scope of their understanding).

Yes you are correct, animals are comunicating via. "language". And that language once again comes from intelligence. When a honey bee colony finds a source of nectar it goes back to the hive and does a complex figure 8 dance that tells the rest of the colony how far and in what direction the food source is. Albeit simple, this IS intelligence. The bees also build a hive via. intelligence. Can you show me one single case other than DNA where useful information is NOT caused by an intelligent source?

Now DNA may have been built by an intelligent source long ago. Perhaps the designer designed DNA to evolve and self replicate. Just like when archiologists find an ancient hyroglyph they immediately know it was made by an intelligent source although it doesn't tell us WHO made the ancient symbol(s). Why do we throw that logic out the window when it comes to biologicals? DNA has all the hallmarks of design as we know it.
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The basic issue here seems to be that you maintain that complexity can not increase as the result of natural processes, which is what I disagree with. Even simple computer simulations can produce very complex results, mimicing evolution. Whether evolution has happened is, of course, far from conclusively demonstrated, but the idea is consistent and plausible.

Actually complexity itself CAN increase via. natural processes just not specified complexity (purposeful). And in actuality, i'm not saying anything about natural processes pers sey but rather BLIND, RANDOM natural processes.

If you see Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota it contains specified complexity.. Complexity that cannot be dismissed as simply wind, water or geologic processes. Processes which are always random and can never duplicate. Instead we recognize imediately the faces of the presidents in the rock and know it was designed by an intelligent agent. Likewise, the DNA molecule , in fact all biological lifeforms, demonstrate unfathomable amounts of specified complexity. In my mind, at least somthing has to be guiding these complexities and natural selection just isn't enough to do it.

We know that a great dane and a poodle are from the same species. If our only knowledge of a great dane and a poodle were from bones found in the geologic strata, scientists would be "Ah ha" see these two animals evolved one from the other. They do this with very similar dinosaurs such as T rex and Allisaurus, Brachiasaurus and Brontasaurus etc. etc.  This is the problem I have with evolutionary grandiose claims because they make HUGE extrapolation from controversial evidence.

The beak of a finch..so what where's the new species here? The color of a moth.. so what, where's the new species? Four winged fruit flies, which grow a new set of wings without muscles and they are useless and cannot survive outside the lab. Bacterial evoultion of resistance to penicilin, still an EColi with a damaged penicili receptor.. So what. Show me the evolution!!!!

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Yes, random genetic changes are almost always detrimental. However, advantageous genetic changes, by increasing the probability of offspring (through e.g. improved survival) are very likely to become more common in later generations. Horribly detrimental mutations (e.g. anything that invariably kills the organism) don't propagate to later generations at all; milder ones may decrease the chances. Given a million or so generations (depends a lot on what sort of organism we're talking about), the accumulated mutations may be enough to produce e.g. human beings.

Besides, you don't have to get human beings at all. The sheer amount of different species on Earth shows that life can exist in a large variety of forms. The diversity of human beings shows that many small variations are possible. This further undermines arguments that mutations are necessarily bad.

Animals, even humans have a great capacity for variation by simply breeding. Although this is true, it's not nessicarily a case for evolution. Tigers, lions, leapords and cheethas can breed and have offspring. Buffalos, Oxes, Domestic cattle can breed and have offspring. Dolphins and some whales can interbreed. All dog species. Horses, ponies, zebra  etc .etc. And it is very possible that someday some of these variences of the same animal may become genetically isolated. The problem is that these variances seem to be limited and PROGRAMMED into the species' GNome. You dont see truely novel body parts. So there really is no evidence that an antalope evloved into a giraffe or a hippo into a whale. The differences are simply too overwhelming. 

In my mind, only some sort of guidance is going to turn a flipper into a paw or hand. A gill into a diagphram lung, a jawbone into an ear canal.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #52 on: June 23, 2006, 05:30:42 pm »

DNA, RNA, and proteins all form randomly when you apply energy to the relevant elements. They do not need to have been designed, they naturally occur.

As for getting feet from flippers, why do you think it would take guidance?

If every large animal in the world is presently in the ocean (though there are insects on the land), then there is a tremendous push to be able to get on land:
1) no predators!
2) you can better survive being stranded in a tide pool.
3) lots of food on land, in the form of plants and insects, and no competition for it.

Due to the existence of tide pools, fish have an excellent training ground for getting stronger and stronger flippers and better abilities to breathe air: if they can succeed just a little, they can get their way out of a tide pool as it is losing its connection to the ocean. if they can succeed a little more, they can do it even after the last connection has been lost but it's still close. And so on.

Each of these capabilities provides a large competitive advantage, and so any mutations that improve land survivability will be kept and spread quickly.


As for the dogs argument, dogs have been under some of the most intense selective breeding ever, by humans. They are very much the exception.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #53 on: June 23, 2006, 06:27:16 pm »

Yes you are correct, animals are comunicating via. "language". And that language once again comes from intelligence. When a honey bee colony finds a source of nectar it goes back to the hive and does a complex figure 8 dance that tells the rest of the colony how far and in what direction the food source is. Albeit simple, this IS intelligence. The bees also build a hive via. intelligence. Can you show me one single case other than DNA where useful information is NOT caused by an intelligent source?

And how far does this very liberal definition of  "intelligence" go? There are certain varieties of bacteria that will congregate and generate organized structures known as biofilms, which involve complex inner structures such as a transport network to move nutrients to the inner members of the colony, and a protective film (hence the name) to help defend the colony from hostile agents. Based on this organized behavior, are you going to suggest that these bacteria are also intelligent? If that's the case, you may as well suggest that trees are intelligent as well, since they grow towards the sunlight and nutrients in the soil.

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If you see Mt. Rushmore in South Dakota it contains specified complexity.. Complexity that cannot be dismissed as simply wind, water or geologic processes. Processes which are always random and can never duplicate. Instead we recognize imediately the faces of the presidents in the rock and know it was designed by an intelligent agent.

So then, do you believe that someone finding the face of the virgin Mary in their toast is also done by an intelligent designer? Granted, we know who carved Mt. Rushmore, so it's not really a mystery, but I hope you're not going to tell me that my toaster has intelligence as well now.

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Likewise, the DNA molecule , in fact all biological lifeforms, demonstrate unfathomable amounts of specified complexity. In my mind, at least somthing has to be guiding these complexities and natural selection just isn't enough to do it.

Evolution via natural selection is a very powerful factor for changes in a species, sometimes very quickly. You may want to read D999's example above with the tidal pool fish, since it is a perfect example.

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We know that a great dane and a poodle are from the same species. If our only knowledge of a great dane and a poodle were from bones found in the geologic strata, scientists would be "Ah ha" see these two animals evolved one from the other. They do this with very similar dinosaurs such as T rex and Allisaurus, Brachiasaurus and Brontasaurus etc. etc.  This is the problem I have with evolutionary grandiose claims because they make HUGE extrapolation from controversial evidence.

There's a big fallacy with your dinosaur argument. Carbon dating has shown that these species emerged thousands, or even millions, of years apart. It's not much of a logical leap to say that two different dinosaurs with similar bone structure that are separated by 2 million years in the strata may be related through the process of evolution. Try that same experiment on dog skeletons of various breeds, and you'll get a date of 1000 years, tops, since humans didn't really start breeding dogs for appearances until sometime around then. For geological distances that recently removed from the present, carbon dating is considered uselessly innaccurate anyway, so anyone making a dog evolutionary claim like you used in the example is a hack using bad scientific method to make their data and results fit a predetermined conclusion.

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The beak of a finch..so what where's the new species here?

According to the way living things are classified, that's really all it takes. Besides, it's hard to argue that, as a finch in a small ecosystem like the Galapagos, changing your diet to a food source that you don't have to compete as much for is certainly more conducive to breeding more successful offspring. If said offspring have, by chance and a fortunate combination of genetics, a beak that is more specialized for exploiting said food source, then that will in turn make them more likely to breed successful offspring. And so on and so forth, and these new traits are passed down the line. Natural selection in action, no designer required.

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The color of a moth.. so what, where's the new species?

Actually, that's often not enough to differentiate a new species of moth. However, in an ecosystem where most of the trees have light colored bark (birch, for example), white moths will have better camoflauge than black ones, increasing their odds of living to reproduce. Likewise, those black moths will do better than the white ones in forests with dark bark on the trees. Over time, and if the two groups are separated, other genetic variations (possibly due to other selective presures) may cause these moths to become so far removed from each other that they may no longer even be able to breed with one another, at least not with any measure of success. Thus, the separation of species (and possibly even genus, though certainly the ability to interbreed is not going to preclude the separation of species in classification). Natural selection in action, no designer required.

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Four winged fruit flies, which grow a new set of wings without muscles and they are useless and cannot survive outside the lab.

Bad, bad, bad example. Anything like this, that happens in the lab (but certainly not in nature) is so far removed from reality that it really has no bearing in this discussion. Human selection pressure is far different from natural selection pressure.

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Bacterial evoultion of resistance to penicilin, still an EColi with a damaged penicili receptor.. So what. Show me the evolution!!!!

That is the evolution! That broken receptor has given that bacterium free reign to multiply out of control while its fellows die off from the penicillin. Naturally, this mutation will be passed along to offspring (and in fact must be in order to insure their survival, so long as the selection pressure of penicillin in the environment remains). Before long, you have colonies of bacteria that are immune to the drug, which is an incredibly useful survival trait, as evidenced by the fact that we are struggling to find new drug to kill these resistant strains as we speak! Natural selection in action, no designer required!

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Animals, even humans have a great capacity for variation by simply breeding. Although this is true, it's not nessicarily a case for evolution. Tigers, lions, leapords and cheethas can breed and have offspring. Buffalos, Oxes, Domestic cattle can breed and have offspring. Dolphins and some whales can interbreed. All dog species. Horses, ponies, zebra  etc .etc.

Lots of bad examples here. Yes, many of these animals can interbreed. However, they will, in many cases, not do so in a natural environment. It seems that you are once again confusing natural selection with human selection. In addition, even when those animals that can interbreed do so, their offspring are often sterile. Suffice to say, that is hardly an effective way to ensure that your genetic lineage continues.

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The problem is that these variances seem to be limited and PROGRAMMED into the species' GNome. You dont see truely novel body parts. So there really is no evidence that an antalope evloved into a giraffe or a hippo into a whale. The differences are simply too overwhelming.

In my mind, only some sort of guidance is going to turn a flipper into a paw or hand. A gill into a diagphram lung, a jawbone into an ear canal.[/quote]

First of all, it's not GNome, it's genome. That first word is a product of videogames alone.

Second, there really is no guidance necessary. Check D999's explanation of the tidal pool example above. Now consider that the earliest mammalian ancestors in the fossil record had a "hand" (or perhaps flipper) structure remarkably similar to not only our own, but to that of all mammals. Variations in the length of bones, differences in whether skin cells between bones undergo apoptosis, etc., have generated a diverse number of hand strutures in modern mammals. But underlying it all, you can see where the common ancestor's traits have simply been altered over time for each one.

Now consider a bird's or lizard's "hand" structure. They are markedly different. That doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of a common ancestor, but it would have to be much farther back in the fossil record, and those members of the animal kingdom evolved along a divergent path from mammals. Inevitably, you can see the similarities between the bones in a bird's wing and a human's hand, but it's not quite so glaringly obvious as the comparison between, say, a mouse paw and a human hand.

However, what you see as a design philosophy can really be chalked up to common ancestry, albeit an incredibly long time ago. These structures don't look novel to you, because they aren't; all came from a common source somewhere, and simply changed in different ways depending on the various selective pressures (or random chance) exerted over time.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #54 on: June 23, 2006, 08:46:34 pm »

I've been trying to avoid feeding the Nathaniel troll here, but I found a slightly different set of comics and figured this would be an appropriate post to link them to.

The Brick Testement
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #55 on: June 24, 2006, 12:48:52 am »

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DNA, RNA, and proteins all form randomly when you apply energy to the relevant elements.

No offense but you couldn't be more wrong with that statement. If that were true then there would be no debate. If you mean Amino acids, the building blocks of life can be made by applying energy then you have a point. Amino acids are complex molecules made from simpler ones. But still, it has NEVER been demonstrated that raw chemicals or existing amino acids plus energy produce a protien, let alone a dividing cell.. Not once, not ever. Once again, DNA coding IS a language and language as we know it ONLY comes from an intelligent source.

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And how far does this very liberal definition of  "intelligence" go? There are certain varieties of bacteria that will congregate and generate organized structures known as biofilms, which involve complex inner structures such as a transport network to move nutrients to the inner members of the colony, and a protective film (hence the name) to help defend the colony from hostile agents.

Read what you yourself wrote^. Does one organism feeding another of the same organism or defending another same organism sound like anything BUT intelligence? Do rocks protect themselves or others? This is behavior we find in the higher level animals and yes, by all means this is intelligence.

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Based on this organized behavior, are you going to suggest that these bacteria are also intelligent? If that's the case, you may as well suggest that trees are intelligent as well, since they grow towards the sunlight and nutrients in the soil.

Why do you suppose sunflower plants pan with the sun? Why do leaves grow toward the sun? Rocks don't follow the sun, so EXACTLY why do plants? Perhaps they were designed to do this?

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So then, do you believe that someone finding the face of the virgin Mary in their toast is also done by an intelligent designer? Granted, we know who carved Mt. Rushmore, so it's not really a mystery, but I hope you're not going to tell me that my toaster has intelligence as well now.

The problem with that argument is that we know and can reproduce the natural mechanisims that create these designs. Heat and matter.  One may look at any natural formations such as mountians and clouds and imagine recognizeable shapes such as  the face of jesus or the virgin mary. What I'm talking about is specified complexity. Say you see a field of red and yellow flowers on a hillside. No problem, nature can handle that easily. But what if the flowers spelled out "Welcome to Springfield". Instantly you'd know it was design. Likewise we see this sort of organized complexity when it comes to DNA and the cell.

A DNA molecule is a double helix molecule with matching base pairs. The DNA is unzipped into two halves by a molecular machine. One half is called RNA and is transported through gates in the cell wall by other molecular machines where it is transcripted by still another machine. Each position on the RNA strand is then read (all the while being checked for errors), and the correct chemicals are brought into place to form a long protien chain. The protien chain then litterally folds into a 3 demensional shape and then transported to where it's needed..

Srry but I don't see this as anything but intelligent design. You can't tell me that no thought went into this process whatsoever. Rocks don't do stuff like this. The only place we see anything similar to complex processes such as this is in a human factory...

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Evolution via natural selection is a very powerful factor for changes in a species, sometimes very quickly. You may want to read D999's example above with the tidal pool fish, since it is a perfect example.

I have no problems with natural selection. Natural selection is fact. But natural selection happens only AFTER the genetic mutation has taken place, and only to the genetic information that will be passes on to offspring. That means most of the genetic changes that happen after fertility are useless as an evolutionary factor. In fact it can ONLY happen to sperm or egg cells since that is the only place in higher biological systems that is passed on to offspring.

In bacteria, genetic mutations being passed on may be very high, and in fact we have been able to manipulate the genetic codes of of bacteria. Problem is that we have never been able to evolve anything, not once, not ever. If we change the genetic code of an EColi bacteria, guess what, it's still an EColi bacteria. If it's a single celled protoza, it's still a single celled protozoa when the scientists are done.

Life is designed with many variational possibilities built into it. If a super flu hit the world and killed 90% of all humans and 10% survived. ANd those 10% rebounded the human population would this be evolution? No because, A they are still humans and B we are programmed with transpon genese that give every one of us a unique immune system. Same with bacteria. EColi has been around for millions of years. Penecilin has been around millions of years. It's only man's DISCOVERY of penicilin and it's anti bacterial properties we began to notice this "mutational resistance" to it. They probably have had this ability for millions of years already. Furthermore, anti drug resistant bacteria is actually LESS fit to survive when reintroduced to the original non resistant bacteria and quickly dies out. And how can they actually be sure some of the Non resistant bacteria wasn't already resistant since they have to destroy the organism to sequence the DNA?


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There's a big fallacy with your dinosaur argument. Carbon dating has shown that these species emerged thousands, or even millions, of years apart. It's not much of a logical leap to say that two different dinosaurs with similar bone structure that are separated by 2 million years in the strata may be related through the process of evolution. Try that same experiment on dog skeletons of various breeds, and you'll get a date of 1000 years, tops, since humans didn't really start breeding dogs for appearances until sometime around then. For geological distances that recently removed from the present, carbon dating is considered uselessly innaccurate anyway, so anyone making a dog evolutionary claim like you used in the example is a hack using bad scientific method to make their data and results fit a predetermined conclusion.

LoL, a hack? The point I was trying to make is that there is great diversity in breeding alone. Dog's are not the exception but more the rule. A buffalo, oxen,water buffalo and a cow ARE the same species. A tiger, leapord, cheetah and lion ARE the same species. Just becuase they don't tend to mate in the wild doesn't mean they can't. And look how radically different they are. Ornothologists are having to re-write books on bird species becuase we are finding many once thought seperate species can interbreed.

Now humans using artifical selection can breed for many different traits in many different animal species but it has limits. You can only go so far, so big, so small.. And no matter how many times you breed a certain animal it will never suddenly have a 5 chamber heart,  six legs, two tails, opposable thumbs etc. etc. This is a big blow to darwin's evolution imo.




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If said offspring have, by chance and a fortunate combination of genetics, a beak that is more specialized for exploiting said food source, then that will in turn make them more likely to breed successful offspring. And so on and so forth, and these new traits are passed down the line. Natural selection in action, no designer required.

The problem with this is that a different shaped beak doesn't NOT make a different animal. Period. And when the selection pressure stops, the animals go right back to the same diversity of beaks they had before.

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Actually, that's often not enough to differentiate a new species of moth. However, in an ecosystem where most of the trees have light colored bark (birch, for example), white moths will have better camoflauge than black ones, increasing their odds of living to reproduce. Likewise, those black moths will do better than the white ones in forests with dark bark on the trees. Over time, and if the two groups are separated, other genetic variations (possibly due to other selective presures) may cause these moths to become so far removed from each other that they may no longer even be able to breed with one another, at least not with any measure of success. Thus, the separation of species (and possibly even genus, though certainly the ability to interbreed is not going to preclude the separation of species in classification). Natural selection in action, no designer required.

I have absolutely no problem with natural selection as you describe here. The problem is that a dark and light moth are the same species and that even if one color of moth is favored over another, they will never be anything more than a moth. What selection pressure will make the moth star spinning web like a spider? Breeding has limitations and moths breeding will never produce anything but moths unless some new genetic programming of the DNA language happens. Only intelligence can be involved in that process somwhere along the line imo.

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Now consider a bird's or lizard's "hand" structure. They are markedly different. That doesn't necessarily preclude the possibility of a common ancestor, but it would have to be much farther back in the fossil record, and those members of the animal kingdom evolved along a divergent path from mammals. Inevitably, you can see the similarities between the bones in a bird's wing and a human's hand, but it's not quite so glaringly obvious as the comparison between, say, a mouse paw and a human hand.

A bat's wing, a porpise's flipper, a mouse's foot, a lizard's foot.. Yes they all have similarities. But guess which existing biological set of bones looks the most like a human hand? The human foot.. Am I to conclude that the human hand evolved from the human foot? Once again, there is absolutely NO PROOF that one organism evloved from another. I can't say it didn't happen either but can only conclude that an intelligent agent had to have modified the existing forms to the complex strucures every body part is. Random mutation will not produce the complexity and high specificity we see in the bone structures.
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However, what you see as a design philosophy can really be chalked up to common ancestry, albeit an incredibly long time ago. These structures don't look novel to you, because they aren't; all came from a common source somewhere, and simply changed in different ways depending on the various selective pressures (or random chance) exerted over time.

I'm not opposed to evolution, just random mutation and natural selection as the driving force. Bones are no good without muscles and ligaments  to move them. Muscles are no good without blood supplying nutrients and oxygen to them. Blood is no good without lungs to swap carbon dioxide with oxygen and a system of tunnels to transport them. A digestive system has no purpose if it didn't have anything to feed nutrients to. And none of these would be good for anything without a brain and electrical system to control them. How does a body part evolve without changing many different complicated things at one time without some sort of intelligent guidance? I think you underestimate just how complex living things are., especially living things like us...
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #56 on: June 24, 2006, 03:10:24 am »

Evolution and design are not really that opposed. Many technologies have evolved over the years, take computers for example. The designer of the first computer, created something so primitive, there isn't even any point in trying to compare its power to the thing that sits on your desk before you. But many designers, experiments, and products later, you get to where we are now.

The only real difference is that evolution through random events takes longer than evolution augmented by intelligent designs.  So when you have biological evolution taking place over millions, upon millions, upon millions of years, you don't really have to have Bezabu the Arilou or Ala the Invisible playing cut and paste with your acid. On the flip side, you could say evolution is the effect of an unseen intelligence, but given its level of failures and average development period for successful designs, it is probably somewhere in the range between Forrest Gump and a Sea Limpet.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #57 on: June 24, 2006, 03:33:57 pm »

No offense but you couldn't be more wrong with that statement. If that were true then there would be no debate. If you mean Amino acids, the building blocks of life can be made by applying energy then you have a point. Amino acids are complex molecules made from simpler ones. But still, it has NEVER been demonstrated that raw chemicals or existing amino acids plus energy produce a protien, let alone a dividing cell.. Not once, not ever.
As far as I can tell from the Wikipedia article on the origin of life, the current model is that protein synthesis is based on RNA, meaning that the first organisms were RNA-based and they (possibly much later) evolved proteins. In this case, spontaneous (and quick) generation of amino acids from inorganic sludge is not necessary. This RNA world hypothesis is under dispute, though, although recent research seems to support it.

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Once again, DNA coding IS a language and language as we know it ONLY comes from an intelligent source.
Why do you keep repeating this groundless claim?

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Why do you suppose sunflower plants pan with the sun? Why do leaves grow toward the sun? Rocks don't follow the sun, so EXACTLY why do plants? Perhaps they were designed to do this?
Or perhaps getting the additional sunlight helped them reproduce, causing sun-following sunflowers to dominate over non-sun-following?

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But what if the flowers spelled out "Welcome to Springfield". Instantly you'd know it was design. Likewise we see this sort of organized complexity when it comes to DNA and the cell.
Major difference: flowers spelling out "Welcome to Springfield" does not give them any sort of edge (except possibly if some crazed florist is doing a lot of weird selective breeding). Cells are a good way to create other cells, which is why there are so many of them.

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Srry but I don't see this as anything but intelligent design. You can't tell me that no thought went into this process whatsoever. Rocks don't do stuff like this. The only place we see anything similar to complex processes such as this is in a human factory...
Again, your argument boils down to "something this complex can not occur without design". You're just reiterating the same point (with slightly different examples) without providing anything to back up your reasoning.

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In bacteria, genetic mutations being passed on may be very high, and in fact we have been able to manipulate the genetic codes of of bacteria. Problem is that we have never been able to evolve anything, not once, not ever. If we change the genetic code of an EColi bacteria, guess what, it's still an EColi bacteria. If it's a single celled protoza, it's still a single celled protozoa when the scientists are done.
Not entirely true. Take the dog, for example. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors started taming wolves. Over just a few thousand generations of selection, we have a bunch of really freakish creatures ranging from chihuahuas to bulldogs, many of which would have a seriously bad time without Man. This is, essentially, controlled evolution in action; we've created a whole bunch of creatures that (externally, at least) look nothing like the original through our interactions with the creatures. The only real difference (and part of the explanation for the speed of change) is that humans much more directly control which dogs reproduce than any other creature or other environmental factor would. The basic mechanism is still the same, though: mutation, recombination, selection.

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Life is designed with many variational possibilities built into it. If a super flu hit the world and killed 90% of all humans and 10% survived. ANd those 10% rebounded the human population would this be evolution? No because, A they are still humans and B we are programmed with transpon genese that give every one of us a unique immune system.
Right. You've just killed off most of the humans suspectible to this flu; the remaining ones are much more likely to produce offspring that is also resistant (assuming the resistance has a hereditary component, which is likely). That's the selection part of evolution. Before that, of course, some of these people had to develop the resistance in the first place.

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Same with bacteria. EColi has been around for millions of years. Penecilin has been around millions of years. It's only man's DISCOVERY of penicilin and it's anti bacterial properties we began to notice this "mutational resistance" to it. They probably have had this ability for millions of years already. Furthermore, anti drug resistant bacteria is actually LESS fit to survive when reintroduced to the original non resistant bacteria and quickly dies out. And how can they actually be sure some of the Non resistant bacteria wasn't already resistant since they have to destroy the organism to sequence the DNA?
Some of it probably was resistant in the first place, but now you've isolated that particular strain, which, as you note, probably would never have made it without human intervention.

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Now humans using artifical selection can breed for many different traits in many different animal species but it has limits. You can only go so far, so big, so small.. And no matter how many times you breed a certain animal it will never suddenly have a 5 chamber heart,  six legs, two tails, opposable thumbs etc. etc. This is a big blow to darwin's evolution imo.
Wrong again. For example, two-headed snakes have been observed. Animals with extra legs (e.g. in the place of antennae) are not even uncommon. Even two-headed humans exist. Most of these mutations aren't any help to the organism (mostly they're just trouble), so they never become common. See e.g. Wikipedia on mutants as a starting point.

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The problem with this is that a different shaped beak doesn't NOT make a different animal. Period.
A matter of definition. How many changes do you want before it's a different animal? The definition of a species is not too clear, anyway, but basically, the more changes you make, the less it resembles the original. Changing the shape of the beak may not seem like much, but make thousands of changes of that magnitude and you have something completely different.

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And when the selection pressure stops, the animals go right back to the same diversity of beaks they had before.
Well, if the shape of the beak is genetically determined and only one shape remains, you'd have to have mutations occur to get the original beaks back. If the new common type isn't worse than the others, it'll probably stay common. If the other beaks survive but are less common, they'll still be less common in the following generations.

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I have absolutely no problem with natural selection as you describe here. The problem is that a dark and light moth are the same species and that even if one color of moth is favored over another, they will never be anything more than a moth. What selection pressure will make the moth star spinning web like a spider? Breeding has limitations and moths breeding will never produce anything but moths unless some new genetic programming of the DNA language happens. Only intelligence can be involved in that process somwhere along the line imo.
Complex changes are unlikely to occur as single mutations (although small changes may occasionally have surprising results). They may, however, occur gradually as long as the intermediate steps aren't harmful (in some cases, they may be quite useful). Although the chances of a specific species developing a certain trait may be very low, the chances of some species developing some useful new trait is much higher.

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A bat's wing, a porpise's flipper, a mouse's foot, a lizard's foot.. Yes they all have similarities. But guess which existing biological set of bones looks the most like a human hand? The human foot.. Am I to conclude that the human hand evolved from the human foot?
Since both appear in the same organism, this doesn't really make sense. However, it is quite reasonable to assume they both have a common origin, which is what this is really about.

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Once again, there is absolutely NO PROOF that one organism evloved from another. I can't say it didn't happen either but can only conclude that an intelligent agent had to have modified the existing forms to the complex strucures every body part is. Random mutation will not produce the complexity and high specificity we see in the bone structures.
What do you base this complexity argument on? All your arguments essentially boil down to the last sentence in this paragraph, which you haven't justfied in any way, nor have you commented the counter-arguments.

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I'm not opposed to evolution, just random mutation and natural selection as the driving force. Bones are no good without muscles and ligaments  to move them. Muscles are no good without blood supplying nutrients and oxygen to them. Blood is no good without lungs to swap carbon dioxide with oxygen and a system of tunnels to transport them. A digestive system has no purpose if it didn't have anything to feed nutrients to. And none of these would be good for anything without a brain and electrical system to control them. How does a body part evolve without changing many different complicated things at one time without some sort of intelligent guidance? I think you underestimate just how complex living things are., especially living things like us...
More nonsense. For example, many organisms get by just fine without a brain; none of the plants I've seen have one. As you'd expect from evolution, a wide range of different brains ranging from barely complex enough to call a brain to ours exists, and the maximum complexity of them generally seems to increase with time (although the smaller brains seem to serve many species well enough).

In this case, you're postulating that small incremental changes don't work, while the evidence seems to suggest that is exactly what happened.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #58 on: June 24, 2006, 06:39:56 pm »


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As far as I can tell from the Wikipedia article on the origin of life, the current model is that protein synthesis is based on RNA, meaning that the first organisms were RNA-based and they (possibly much later) evolved proteins. In this case, spontaneous (and quick) generation of amino acids from inorganic sludge is not necessary. This RNA world hypothesis is under dispute, though, although recent research seems to support it.

RNA is the copying mechanism that transcripts DNA code into a protein. If protiens evolved much later, RNA would just sit around being useless. Where's the natural selection advantage in that?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA



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Once again, DNA coding IS a language and language as we know it ONLY comes from an intelligent source.
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Why do you keep repeating this groundless claim?

Which part is "groundless"? That the DNA code is a language or that language only comes from an intelligent source?



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Major difference: flowers spelling out "Welcome to Springfield" does not give them any sort of edge (except possibly if some crazed florist is doing a lot of weird selective breeding). Cells are a good way to create other cells, which is why there are so many of them.

I was simply drawing a distinction between complexity and specified complexity.

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Again, your argument boils down to "something this complex can not occur without design". You're just reiterating the same point (with slightly different examples) without providing anything to back up your reasoning.

Im making a distinction between, specified, purposeful complexity and complexity alone.

 A mountian range is complex, but it is random,serves no purpose and is the result of natural forces.

A snowflake is complex, no two are alike, servers no purpose and is the reult of natural forces.

A tornado is complex, it is random, serves no purpose and is the result of natural processes.

A toaster is complex, it is not random, serves a specific purpose and is the result of intelligent design.

A coffee maker is complex, it is not random, serves a specif purpose and is the result of intelligent design.

A blood cell is complex, it is not random, serves a specific purpose and is the result of natural blind processes?

That is my whole point.. When we see specified complexity we immediately infer design in everything EXCEPT biologicals. This is flawed logic to me.

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[
Not entirely true. Take the dog, for example. Thousands of years ago, our ancestors started taming wolves. Over just a few thousand generations of selection, we have a bunch of really freakish creatures ranging from chihuahuas to bulldogs, many of which would have a seriously bad time without Man. This is, essentially, controlled evolution in action; we've created a whole bunch of creatures that (externally, at least) look nothing like the original through our interactions with the creatures. The only real difference (and part of the explanation for the speed of change) is that humans much more directly control which dogs reproduce than any other creature or other environmental factor would. The basic mechanism is still the same, though: mutation, recombination, selection.

The point I was trying to make here is that ALL species have a great amount of possible diveristy encoded into their genes that can be brought about by simply breeding. It doesn't matter if it's artificial selection or natural selection, the genetic potential for change covers a wide range. The problem is that b reeding can only bring about a limited amount of change.

An analogy: Just like changing the variables in Windows XP I can set backgroung colors, wallpaper,screen savers, screen resolution , change file suffixes, move folders around etc. This is like the genetic variences we find in animals and can achieve by breeding. This is also called MICRO evolution.

Now my Windows XP operating system will never be more than an operating system unless I actually get into the code, intelligently make changes to the code then recompile it. Likewise, in the biological kingdom, only vast amounts of genetic programming is going to turn an antalope into a giraffe or a hippo into a whale. This is known as MACRO evolution, and to my knowledge, never been demonstrated in ANY capacity.

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Wrong again. For example, two-headed snakes have been observed. Animals with extra legs (e.g. in the place of antennae) are not even uncommon. Even two-headed humans exist. Most of these mutations aren't any help to the organism (mostly they're just trouble), so they never become common. See e.g. Wikipedia on mutants as a starting point.

These are genetic mistakes. Isn't the whole point of natural selection to select out the fit changes? As you pointed out, these two headed variants are detrimental to the species. I have yet to see a benifical Macro mutation (large scale change) in any living organism.

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A matter of definition. How many changes do you want before it's a different animal? The definition of a species is not too clear, anyway, but basically, the more changes you make, the less it resembles the original. Changing the shape of the beak may not seem like much, but make thousands of changes of that magnitude and you have something completely different.

There is no magic numer of changes that facilitate a new species. See, thousands of changes are not even possible with breeding alone. A different sized beak is simply a micro variable designed into the finch. Just like some humans have dark skin, or red hair. Theses are pre-programmed variables. I suppose I define a new species when they cannot interbreed and produce offspring.

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More nonsense. For example, many organisms get by just fine without a brain; none of the plants I've seen have one. As you'd expect from evolution, a wide range of different brains ranging from barely complex enough to call a brain to ours exists, and the maximum complexity of them generally seems to increase with time (although the smaller brains seem to serve many species well enough).

The whole point of that paragraph is that in order to facilitate a large structural change of a biological organism, many many levels of complexity have to be traversed. Not all biological structures have a step by step evolutionary path to achieve the complex structure. There are biological structures with many complex parts, where if you are to remove one single part ,the whole structure becomes useless.

A caveman may have a stick, a rock and a string of leather. Only intelligence on the part of the caveman is going to tie the rock to the stick with the string and make a hammer or axe. Each part may even have been a useful tool in it's own right, but ONLY intelligence is going to put em all togther. This is the same we find in biological structures such as the bacterial flagellum, the human eye, the blood clotting cascade. Even the DNA, RNA, Protien relationship is irreduceably complex. Take out any one part and the cell doesn't divide.
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Re: Cool Comic Booklets.
« Reply #59 on: June 24, 2006, 11:23:51 pm »

RNA is the copying mechanism that transcripts DNA code into a protein. If protiens evolved much later, RNA would just sit around being useless. Where's the natural selection advantage in that?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA
Did you read the article I referred to (which the one you linked to also refers to)? Just because RNA occurs in one context in most current life-forms, it isn't prevented from occurring in another context. Specifically, RNA can handle the tasks of DNA and proteins itself, albeit less efficiently. Thus, RNA in itself could account for early life.

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Which part is "groundless"? That the DNA code is a language or that language only comes from an intelligent source?
The combination of both, really; depending on how you define "language" (coding scheme or communication mechanism for intelligent beings) either one is true. However, I don't see any reason why both, and thus the combination, should be true regardless of what you mean by "language". As far as I can tell, you're using an ambiguous definition as the basis for your argument.

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Im making a distinction between, specified, purposeful complexity and complexity alone.

 A mountian range is complex, but it is random,serves no purpose and is the result of natural forces.

A snowflake is complex, no two are alike, servers no purpose and is the reult of natural forces.

A toaster is complex, it is not random, serves a specific purpose and is the result of intelligent design.

A blood cell is complex, it is not random, serves a specific purpose and is the result of natural blind processes?

That is my whole point.. When we see specified complexity we immediately infer design in everything EXCEPT biologicals. This is flawed logic to me.
The way I see it, the flaw is that you're assuming the cell has a purpose. The cell just happens to be good at replicating itself (and, as an occasional side effect, create beings that ramble about the origin of life for no apparent reason). It exists because it's good at making sure it exists in many copies. "Purpose" is a subjective construct of the human mind; it doesn't actually mean anything.

Besides, I fail to understand why you can accept the complexity of a snowflake or weather system as the result of a natural process, but reject it in the case of a cell, especially since the cell has a better chance of incrementally developing complexity (through evolution) than the snowflake.

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The point I was trying to make here is that ALL species have a great amount of possible diveristy encoded into their genes that can be brought about by simply breeding. It doesn't matter if it's artificial selection or natural selection, the genetic potential for change covers a wide range. The problem is that b reeding can only bring about a limited amount of change.
Sources, especially for the "limited amount of change" part?

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An analogy: Just like changing the variables in Windows XP I can set backgroung colors, wallpaper,screen savers, screen resolution , change file suffixes, move folders around etc. This is like the genetic variences we find in animals and can achieve by breeding. This is also called MICRO evolution.

Now my Windows XP operating system will never be more than an operating system unless I actually get into the code, intelligently make changes to the code then recompile it. Likewise, in the biological kingdom, only vast amounts of genetic programming is going to turn an antalope into a giraffe or a hippo into a whale. This is known as MACRO evolution, and to my knowledge, never been demonstrated in ANY capacity.
The distinction between macroevolution and microevolution is essentially meaningless, as both are essentially the same process in different degrees. I fail to see why a species would have some sort of inherent limitation in how much it can change; you seem to be suggesting that there's some sort of untraversable chasm between species preventing one from evolving into another. The only convincing reason for this I can think of is that such a creature would be very bad at surviving and/or reproducing (and most, quite probably, are).

Also, speaking as a programmer, your metaphor sucks. In the first case you're manipulating the inputs to the code, in the second you're rewriting it. Micro- and macroevolution both involve the genetic code changing.

A better metaphor would probably be randomly changing bits of XP and "breeding" the least buggy versions with each other (which might even be an improvement given enough CPU time and good tests!).

This is actually not as stupid as it may sound to you: genetic programming exists. The page references dozens of evolved programs that can hold their own against their human-written competitors, and this is quite a new avenue of research.

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These are genetic mistakes. Isn't the whole point of natural selection to select out the fit changes? As you pointed out, these two headed variants are detrimental to the species. I have yet to see a benifical Macro mutation (large scale change) in any living organism.
You wanted extra legs; I gave you extra legs. Most of the extant species are pretty well adapted to their surroundings, making sudden changes unlikely to occur.

Besides, I thought we'd already gone over several convincing examples of macroevolution. I guess lactose tolerance, beak reshaping or wolves turning into poodles wasn't macro enough for you, and you reject longer-term changes such as chimps turning into humans or flying lizards turning into birds as "not possible without intelligent intervention" or "not well documented enough". What kind of example would you accept, anyway?

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The whole point of that paragraph is that in order to facilitate a large structural change of a biological organism, many many levels of complexity have to be traversed. Not all biological structures have a step by step evolutionary path to achieve the complex structure. There are biological structures with many complex parts, where if you are to remove one single part ,the whole structure becomes useless.
OK, there are a lot of non-beneficial mutations. Some gene goes haywire and baby gets born blind, or minus a foot, or dead. Either way, bad things happen to the kid, mutant gene probably doesn't get passed on.

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A caveman may have a stick, a rock and a string of leather. Only intelligence on the part of the caveman is going to tie the rock to the stick with the string and make a hammer or axe. Each part may even have been a useful tool in it's own right, but ONLY intelligence is going to put em all togther. This is the same we find in biological structures such as the bacterial flagellum, the human eye, the blood clotting cascade. Even the DNA, RNA, Protien relationship is irreduceably complex. Take out any one part and the cell doesn't divide.
Taking the eye (an ID favourite) as an example: if you look at different animals, you can see a wide range of different eyes of different complexity (again, as evolution would predict). See, e.g. Wikipedia on the evolution of eyes. The point here is that eyes that are, from our point of view (pun not intended), half-formed are useful in the right context. Same thing, as mentioned above, with DNA, RNA and proteins. Flagella seem reasonably simple to me. Blood clotting is getting a bit complicated, but this seems like a plausible explanation.
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