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A few Catholics still insist Galileo was wrong

Snuckles
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Quote:
Reporting from Chicago— Some people believe the world revolves around them — and their belief is born not of selfishness but of faith.

A few conservative Roman Catholics are pointing to a dozen Bible verses and the church's original teachings as proof that Earth is the center of the universe, the view that was at the heart of the church's clash with Galileo Galilei four centuries ago.

The relatively obscure movement has gained a following among those who find comfort in knowing there are still staunch defenders of early church doctrine.

Read it here.


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Catchfire
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Thank goodness there are still those with the courage to stick to their convictions in the face of all adversity and good sense.


6079_Smith_W
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Funny, though I am not as concerned about that crew with the not-so-fashionable whips and spike belts as I am about this movement:

http://www.nytimes.com/2011/08/29/opinion/republicans-against-science.ht...

(edit)

And this.... ha!

http://news.yahoo.com/bachmann-irene-gods-message-washington-142224573.html

 

 


Fidel
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I think that what the Catholic Church has said in public and what its inner circles believe about the universe and all that's in it are two different things. It's true that the Church astonomers have said in recent years that the notion that we are not alone in the unverse is compatible with the Church's teachings. It's the conservative fundamentalists within the Church itself and high church offshoots, like those southern Baptist sects etc, who want to believe that man is the crowning achievement of Darwinian evolution period. They have only child syndrome - there can be no other rival siblings and are the most important life forms ever to evolve.

In their puny minds, we are the centre of the universe and where Darwinian evolution begins and ends. And it's an absurd notion shared by both right wing fundamentalists and weak minded conservatives in general who, for whatever reasons, want to believe in biblical fairy tales or that Charles Darwin was extremely narrow minded just like themselves. 

 


milo204
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is this really surprising?  i mean, if you can stretch the imagination to believe in god or any of the other ideas religion proposes to be true why not believe the world is the center of the universe?  it's about as believable as the world is a few thousand years old and there are millions who still believe that.  funny too, since the world isn't even at the center of our solar system or galaxy...

the funny thing is, these folks make quite clear they have no idea what the universe even is, let alone specific knowledge about it.  They should really check out those images from hubble that show billions of other galaxies.


Fidel
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Try the Drake Equation Yourself

Drake's equation is a sentence describing how many worlds there might be in the Milky Way with advanced technological capabilities, and the verb is the equal sign.

Carl Sagan gave an example of how some scientists estimate N by more or less conservative numbers:

Quote:
N* (N-sub star) = 400 billion stars in this galaxy

f sub-p = 1/4 or 0.25

n sub-e = 2

f sub-l = 1/2 or 0.5

f sub-i = 1/10 or 0.10

f sub-c = 1/10 or 0.10

f sub-L = 1/100,000,000

By conservative estimates, there may only be 10 advanced civilizations having arisen on worlds at some point during billions of years of evolution. And any of those ten may not have learned to live with advanced technology. In a fit of passion or negligence, any of them could have destroyed themselves as we may still. There may ever be just 2 civilizations total and not at the same stage of technology, or perhaps there is no one out there for us to communicate with.

f sub-L is the most interesting factor here, Sagan suggested that if just one per cent(f-L =1/100) of possible advanced civilizations actually learn to live with technology and do not snuff themselves out, then it's no longer N ~ 10 but rather N ~ millions. There could be millions of civilizations with advanced technical capabilities out there in this galaxy. And I think that's breathtakingly awesome.


milo204
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that's the feeling i get every time i watch the animation from the hubble telescope.  there must be billions of planets out there with life on them!  

it's really interesting when you think about that in conjunction with the time scales the universe must run on, millions of life form must have come and gone throughout the years.  who knows how many might exist simultaneously!

 


Fidel
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milo204 wrote:
it's really interesting when you think about that in conjunction with the time scales the universe must run on, millions of life form must have come and gone throughout the years.  who knows how many might exist simultaneously!
 

Apparently some believe that if the leap can be made from type 0 to type 1 or 2 civilization, we will have achieved immortality in one way or another. Certainly life spans should be extended from 75 years into the hundreds of years and perhaps even indefinitely at some point. But as more conservative scientists predict, we may not survive this predatory phase of human development. Are all life forms predatory in nature? Are only aggressive life forms successful, or is it a flaw in the greater evolutionary scheme of things? Perhaps it is only at the precipice that we will evolve. We'e threatened the existence of every living thing on earth, and perhaps we should not colonize the moon or other planets in future. Perhaps our demise is encoded in our genes, a genetic experiment that will end badly.

What if some abstract law for something or other is a governing force in the heavens. What if the most successful organisms learn to exist by a higher principle for living? Need to feed could have driven single cells to evolve into colonies Apparently a need for cooperation is what resulted in single cell life  organizing into complex organisms. Dinosaurs are considered to have been the ultimate predatory organisms and were highly successful for many tens of millions of years longer than we've been around. But why did they not evolve into anything as advanced as us? They had plenty of time to hone their skills as predators. There was lots of food and oodles of time to develop large brains. And yet they left no sign of having developed into anything more than foul breathed lizards that spent all their time eating and knocking one another off. Same with large cats - they eliminated most all of their land-based competition for food and territorial claims over 40 million years or so. Meow?

Meanwhile we arrive on the scene, and the large cats see us as midnight snacks on two legs,  walking in to our encampments and trotting off with one of us in their mouths on a regular basis. Stashing our corpses in trees for later was common place. And inside of 30000 years or so we made a huge evolutionary leap from using crude stone tools to landing on the moon. Why us, and why so fast? 30k years is a blink of an eye in evolutionary scale of time. Evolution says minute physical changes in biology happen over very long periods of time. Man has evolved at breakneck speed by comparison.


milo204
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interestng points!

i wish there was some scientists here to explain this stuff to us in terms of an evolutionary perspective.  why the big leap in "intelligence" and power all of a sudden, why didn't it happen at some other point in history?  perhaps it has something to do with migration, inter breeding with other species?

or perhaps it's knowledge compunds on itself, each new discovery speeding up the process of making the next leap?  


6079_Smith_W
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Fidel wrote:

Meanwhile we arrive on the scene, and the large cats see us as midnight snacks on two legs,  walking in to our encampments and trotting off with one of us in their mouths on a regular basis. Stashing our corpses in trees for later was common place. And inside of 30000 years or so we made a huge evolutionary leap from using crude stone tools to landing on the moon. Why us, and why so fast? 30k years is a blink of an eye in evolutionary scale of time. Evolution says minute physical changes in biology happen over very long periods of time. Man has evolved at breakneck speed by comparison.

Those were not evolutionary changes, but technological ones. And most of the changes in our height and size have to do with nutrition.

I have read that a Neanderthal (and those humans who are not from Africa are all part Neanderthal) could probably walk down any street and not draw attention. Certainly their brain size was the same as ours.

I did find this, though again, technological change is not the same as genetic change. You only have to look around you to see that we aren't any more intelligent than people were 3,000 years ago.

http://www.news.wisc.edu/14548

(edit)

Most of the theories I have read point to agriculture as the spark that started the technological revolution. 


Fidel
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So, what is it about intelligent design that upsets Darwinian fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins? I realize he explains the alleged irreducibly complex eyeball in Dawrwinian terms. But what if the 40-some odd components of the eyeball are not the sum total of the eye? The eye sees nothing really. It sends electrical signals through a part of the eye which science is not very close to being able to reproduce  in any lab today, the retina with its many rods and cones. The retina accepts photons of light where they are transformed into electrical signals along the optic nerve and transmitted to a visual cortex in the brain. And there the brain interprets what it sees and induces certain feelings of elation, curiosity, or sadness and so on. Who or what is responsible for interpreting the images as viewed through the eye? Apparently this is an example of how some scientists tend to be lacking in describing incremental, stepped change according to their materialist views of nature. 


ygtbk
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Fidel wrote:

So, what is it about intelligent design that upsets Darwinian fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins? I realize he explains the alleged irreducibly complex eyeball in Dawrwinian terms. But what if the 40-some odd components of the eyeball are not the sum total of the eye? The eye sees nothing really. It sends electrical signals through a part of the eye which science is not very close to being able to reproduce  in any lab today, the retina with its many rods and cones. The retina accepts photons of light where they are transformed into electrical signals along the optic nerve and transmitted to a visual cortex in the brain. And there the brain interprets what it sees and induces certain feelings of elation, curiosity, or sadness and so on. Who or what is responsible for interpreting the images as viewed through the eye? Apparently this is an example of how some scientists tend to be lacking in describing incremental, stepped change according to their materialist views of nature. 

I think the thing that disturbs people about "Intelligent Design" is that to a first approximation it's Creationism with the word "God" rubbed out and "We don't know" written in in crayon. It may have intellectual merits (perhaps) as a foil to Darwinian evolution, but historically it came about as a way to try to get Creationism-like statements into U.S. textbooks after Creationism had been tried and found wanting. Try reading:

http://www.amazon.ca/Monkey-Business-Scientist-Looks-Creationism/dp/0671...


Fidel
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ygtbk wrote:

Fidel wrote:

So, what is it about intelligent design that upsets Darwinian fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins? I realize he explains the alleged irreducibly complex eyeball in Dawrwinian terms. But what if the 40-some odd components of the eyeball are not the sum total of the eye? The eye sees nothing really. It sends electrical signals through a part of the eye which science is not very close to being able to reproduce  in any lab today, the retina with its many rods and cones. The retina accepts photons of light where they are transformed into electrical signals along the optic nerve and transmitted to a visual cortex in the brain. And there the brain interprets what it sees and induces certain feelings of elation, curiosity, or sadness and so on. Who or what is responsible for interpreting the images as viewed through the eye? Apparently this is an example of how some scientists tend to be lacking in describing incremental, stepped change according to their materialist views of nature. 

I think the thing that disturbs people about "Intelligent Design" is that to a first approximation it's Creationism with the word "God" rubbed out and "We don't know" written in in crayon. It may have intellectual merits (perhaps) as a foil to Darwinian evolution, but historically it came about as a way to try to get Creationism-like statements into U.S. textbooks after Creationism had been tried and found wanting. Try reading:

http://www.amazon.ca/Monkey-Business-Scientist-Looks-Creationism/dp/0671...

 

Okay, so apparently IDers make no claims that God must be responsible. Darwinian fundamentalists insist that is the implication. Who or what else could IDers be referring to they ask? They must be referring to the Christian God of war and vengence with a dash of imperial Roman flavouring.

But again, scientists know with few doubts what enters the eye. They know that Nautilus' have crude pinhole eyes and therefore a good first step toward a more complex evolution of the eye in general.

But what is it that interpretes the images? What is it about our highly evolved bodies that decides Charlie Chaplin films or Jim Carey movies are humorous to watch? We know that other anim,als are capable of having a sense of humor however slight. But who or what part of the visual system is doing the observing? We know what goes into the eye, but what is at the other end of the deal and peering through the camera lens? 

 


Sineed
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Fidel wrote:
So, what is it about intelligent design that upsets Darwinian fundamentalists like Richard Dawkins?

Because it's total bullshit, creationism dressed in pseudo-scientific clothes.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7lLqNFERgUY



Fidel
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Tell us the way it is, Sineed. Tell us why instructions encoded in DNA just happened by wild chance. Apparently you know.

Like you chided us to cease mining "kook sites" like Canadian based globalresearch when they were printing "tediously paranoid conflation of unrelated events" WRT Fukashima and probably the worst industrial accident in history with all three reactor cores now known to have been in 100% meltdown. Personally I think youre full of baloney the odd time, but I tend to keep that opinion to myself. Smile


milo204
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doesn't"intelligent design" by it's nature imply creation by some "intelligent being" meaning a god?  for something to be designed it must have a designer and not just be the accumulation of random events.


Fidel
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milo204 wrote:

doesn't"intelligent design" by it's nature imply creation by some "intelligent being" meaning a god?  for something to be designed it must have a designer and not just be the accumulation of random events.

 

There may well be religious elements supporting the ID thing, I don't know. I would say it's likely. And I don't think you or I want to set ourselves up for a good lynching by the inquisition at the same time. We won't argue against evolution in terms of the age of the earth or universe. We won't even dispute the fact that organisms evolve over long periods of time including the eyeball.  

But I think we know when certain fundamentalists on one side of the argument fall off their pulpits and start shouting at those other guys. It's like asking someone what caused two balls to fall and hit the ground when dropped from the tower of Pisa? If they tell you it was by random chance, you'll know they are giving you a bullshit answer.


6079_Smith_W
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From wikipedia:

Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling, which barred the teaching of "creation science" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state.

And while most people don't think balls falling to earth is a random act, Galileo conducted that experiment to point out that the natural world follows a strict set of laws which sometimes upsets peoples' expectations of what they think they see.

 

 


Fidel
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6079_Smith_W wrote:

From wikipedia:

Intelligent design was developed by a group of American creationists who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard ruling, which barred the teaching of "creation science" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state.

Right on!

6079_Smith_W wrote:
And while most people don't think balls falling to earth is a random act, Galileo conducted that experiment to point out that the natural world follows a strict set of laws which sometimes upsets peoples' expectations of what they think they see.
 

Right on! Random chance would not be useful in explaining why water flows downhill, or why things fall to the ground and not float off in some direction other than down. It's not a product of wild chance kind of world. When your dinner comes off the hot barbeque, it always cools off and never stays warm or becomes hotter. That's due to entropy and not wild chance.

DNA is a set of instructions. Scientists will say DNA has rules and grammar and proper syntax. They have mapped or are mapping genomes for at least one or two species of living things.

Consider this English language sentence created by a famous biologist:

Richard Dawkins wrote:
One of the things that is wrong with religion is that it teaches us to be satisfied with answers which are not really answers at all.

Is it possible to re-arrange the letters of that sentence even one letter at a time and improve it without loss of meaning?

Claude Shannon demonstrated something, too. Shannon said, essentially, that there is a limit to how much information can be reproduced randomly. A telecommunications signal can handle so much EM interference and noise before it can't be reproduced no matter how much time is allowed for a communications signal to reconstruct itself by either deliberate effort or random chance.

If we broadcast a Dawkins book letter by letter over the internet, and some significant percentage of the information is obliterated by noise and attenuation loss, how can someone who's never read Dawkins before guess what information is missing?

If tone deaf Tommy scrambles a digital recording one bit at a time of music by Bach or Beethoven, can we improve their masterpieces, or will something be lost eventually?


Sineed
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Fidel wrote:

Tell us the way it is, Sineed. Tell us why instructions encoded in DNA just happened by wild chance. Apparently you know.

No problem! This is a common misconception about evolution and not just among creationists. Complex systems in nature don't develop randomly, but become selected when they confer an advantage. Just to clarify: evolution is not a random process, but occurs when there's the accrual of many many small changes occuring over a vastly long period of time. And it may look "irreducibly complex" (to quote another creationist talking point), but that's partly because we have trouble wrapping our heads around what can happen in, say, a billion years.

But you don't have to grasp geologic time to find evidence for evolution. It occurs all around us, continuously, and we can observe it in short lived organisms, such as bacteria. Think of the multiply drug resistant bacteria that are a growing problem in the health care system. When antibiotics were invented, bacteria were generally susceptible. But the evolutionary pressure placed on populations of bacteria by antibiotics that killed vulnerable organisms and spared those that mutated to be resistant resulted in the rise of these organisms.

If evolution didn't exist, neither would these multiply drug resistant bugs. A doctor I was talking to on line quipped that we should withhold the fancy antibiotics from creationist patients because we don't want to offend their beliefs.

Part of my job involves looking at the lab reports of cultures of purulent wounds to see the resistance patterns of these patient's infections, and making recommendations to the doctors for antibiotics that will work on those bacteria. But that's just me being an evolutionary fundamentalist.


GOD
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Sineed pretty much has it right.


Caissa
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Amen.


6079_Smith_W
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Fidel,

If you want to see an intelligence behind the laws that govern the universe, I don't have a problem with that, and I certainly can't prove your hunch wrong.

Though one presumes that if there were an intelligence behind it those laws could be changed if the intelligence got bored or wanted to do something special. But that is not what happens.

I also don't get my nose out of joint about it,  as you say in #10 that some do. I don't actually care.

But there is no hard evidence of it. And my point about Galileo's experiment is that sometimes people think they see things which are disproven when you fine-tune the conditions.


Fidel
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Thanks, Sineed. So just to clarify, evolution is not a random process either. Natural selection is not random. 

6079_Smith_W wrote:
But there is no hard evidence of it. And my point about Galileo's experiment is that sometimes people think they see things which are disproven when you fine-tune the conditions.

I'm not arguing against gravity. I can't see or measure gravity without some expensive equipment. It's invisible to most of us, but gravity is a force of nature no doubt about it.

OTOH there are patterns in nature, like ice crystals. No snowflake is the exact same as another. Patterns arise out of chaos and consist of matter and energy. No one is responsible for creating snowflakes as far as anyone can tell.

Information, though, is trickier. Information consists of matter, energy, and what else? English, Latin, Farsi and Innu didn't arise from chaos. Morse code and TCP/IP didn't just happen randomly either. The languages themselves could form by random patterning over a billion years or so, but I would have an extremely difficult time believing that. They wouldn't be experimental results that anyone could reproduce in a lab. Dawkins et al are asking that you have a leap of faith in that regard.


Fidel
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Eureka! I must confess to having started to read an "argument" by some telecom engineer named Perry Marshall, an ID proponent. His initial argument about information entropy and DNA sounded pretty good to me. He makes a direct comparison of mutations in genetic evolution to that of noise in a communications system, internet transmissions, sound recordings etc. I understand that noise never improves a signal only makes it worse. And as long as at least half of the original information in the signal is preserved, it's possible to reconstruct most of the important parts of the message. 

Anyway, reading the FAQ on chance mutations and evolution at TalkOrigins.org, it is possible to have random mutations of genetic material and still have nature select out the best DNA "information", which is not random but natural selection, a well known process in evolution for which there is ample evidence according to biologists and so on. And Sineed points out that bacteria are prolific mutaters when it comes to multivaccinal resistant bacteria. And bad bacteria, like TB and MRSA , are pretty darned good reasons not to run health care like a business. Killer bacteria don't care that some private enterprise outfit is cutting corners on cleanliness in hospitals to save a buck. 

And Marshall goes on to mention mutations and time, which I am still kind of fascinated by but not so much. If Marshall has taken upper level math courses as most engineers do, then he should know that it really is possible to transmit a stream of random binary 1s and 0s, and eventually the complete works of Shakespeare and Bach, Beethoven, the human genome in all its correct spelling etc, will be transmitted and in a finite amount of time. And it won't be in our lifetimes, we can be sure. The math says so. Sorry, Perry. 

But there is still the question of human consciousness and whether the universe is a materialist or non-materialist reality. And just a few engineers and astronomers have had some input into that discussion as well... 


Sineed
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Interesting that you should say, "Eureka!" Archimedes said it when discovering a principle with which many Americans, perhaps on account of their theologically-heavy education, are unfamiliar (just go to Youtube and search for "deep fried turkey disasters" to see what I mean).

But you don't get to have your cake and eat it too, when the inconsistencies get too glaring to ignore. And God is on my side - an ironic position for an athiest I must say Laughing


Fidel
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Of course we should realize what Christian scientists and the like might say about random mutations in nature. They might say that randomness is perfect opportunity for God's devine intervention. God is playing a part in natural selection, and that nothing occurs by chance.


milo204
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but if god played a part in natural selection, that would make it very unnatural, supernatural actually.  so it should then be referred to as "supernatural selection"

thing is, if these things don't occur by chance or due to real circumstances dictated by distant un related things, like weather, how do explain things like whales and the swimming birds in the galapagos and such?

or are these folks really trying to say "yeah god is all powerful and stuff and he can create a whole universe in seven days and stuff, but in order to make a bird he was delicately making things happen all over the planet to force these birds to get blown in a storm to a distant island so they could then evolve over hundreds of thousands of years to be what they are now...he works in mysterious ways, man."

 


milo204
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...and of course, he did all that just so us wonderful human beings (his greatest work) could excercise dominion over those lousy heathens....


Fidel
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milo204 wrote:

but if god played a part in natural selection, that would make it very unnatural, supernatural actually.  so it should then be referred to as "supernatural selection"

thing is, if these things don't occur by chance or due to real circumstances dictated by distant un related things, like weather, how do explain things like whales and the swimming birds in the galapagos and such?

or are these folks really trying to say "yeah god is all powerful and stuff and he can create a whole universe in seven days and stuff, but in order to make a bird he was delicately making things happen all over the planet to force these birds to get blown in a storm to a distant island so they could then evolve over hundreds of thousands of years to be what they are now...he works in mysterious ways, man."

 

I think they are people who want to rely on what was written centuries ago by people who  were brutally oppressed at the time. They wanted a ray of hope, and their religious leaders did their best to inspire them. Over time, scriptures were edited and re-edited to conform with whatever imperial rulers of the day said was allowable. But I have no doubt that they were deeply religious and imagined what it would be like to live in a more fair and just world. 

As a believer in something greater than ourselves, I don't need to read an obsolete book to be spiritual. I am not under the illusion that I need to declare my allegiance to Jesus as saviour or any other deity. If there is an all powerful, always present higher being or cosmic consciousness, then we can only know after this life comes to an end. And there is evidence of existence beyond the grave. All the old world religions and spiritual people believe there is something more.

Norbert Wiener wrote:
The mechanical brain does not secrete thought "as the liver does bile," as the earlier materialists claimed, nor does it put it out in the form of energy, as the muscle puts out its activity. Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive at the present day.

We have to first achieve an information based economy and not one mired by corruption. Socialism is the way. And then we must advance to the point of being a wise society unafraid of change. Communism.


Timebandit
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Sineed wrote:

Fidel wrote:

Tell us the way it is, Sineed. Tell us why instructions encoded in DNA just happened by wild chance. Apparently you know.

No problem! This is a common misconception about evolution and not just among creationists. Complex systems in nature don't develop randomly, but become selected when they confer an advantage. Just to clarify: evolution is not a random process, but occurs when there's the accrual of many many small changes occuring over a vastly long period of time. And it may look "irreducibly complex" (to quote another creationist talking point), but that's partly because we have trouble wrapping our heads around what can happen in, say, a billion years.

But you don't have to grasp geologic time to find evidence for evolution. It occurs all around us, continuously, and we can observe it in short lived organisms, such as bacteria. Think of the multiply drug resistant bacteria that are a growing problem in the health care system. When antibiotics were invented, bacteria were generally susceptible. But the evolutionary pressure placed on populations of bacteria by antibiotics that killed vulnerable organisms and spared those that mutated to be resistant resulted in the rise of these organisms.

If evolution didn't exist, neither would these multiply drug resistant bugs. A doctor I was talking to on line quipped that we should withhold the fancy antibiotics from creationist patients because we don't want to offend their beliefs.

Part of my job involves looking at the lab reports of cultures of purulent wounds to see the resistance patterns of these patient's infections, and making recommendations to the doctors for antibiotics that will work on those bacteria. But that's just me being an evolutionary fundamentalist.

The other side of the mutation coin is the existence of deleterious mutations.  I remember reading excerpts from author Ian Brown's book "The Boy in the Moon" about his son, who has a rare genetic mutation. 

Quote:
"DNA replicates, but it doesn't replicate with extremely high fidelity. If it replicated and never made a mistake, we would all look the same, right? The good news and the bad news is, if it does make a mistake, it makes a mistake about once every million times. One in every one million base pairs has got a mistake in it. Now, you've got all kinds of proteins and enzymes and stuff that go back and try to find this mistake. So a lot of mistakes you never know about. But sometimes the mistake's not corrected. And when that mistake's not corrected, it causes a change in protein."

Dr. Rauen took a breath and continued. "And that protein behaviour might make our immune system better. It might make our muscles stronger. It could have beneficial effects called evolution. You know, survival of the fittest. But you can have a genetic change that makes a deleterious effect, where it causes a hole in the heart, it causes your immune system to be weak. It might be a beneficial effect, it might be a deleterious effect."

Walker was a deleterious effect. Dr. Rauen didn't put it that way, of course. Indeed, she hurried to assure me that children such as Walker would have enormous value to medicine: Though the CFC genes are found in a cancer-causing protein pathway, CFC children seem not to get cancer.

...

The scientific definition of evolutionary success, of a successful random mutation, is one that allows the organism to survive and reproduce. Nature alone would not have allowed Walker to survive. He was an unsuccessful random human mutation.

http://v1.theglobeandmail.com/v5/content/features/focus/boyinthemoon/par...

 

That's one reason why I have trouble buying into the idea of directed change. Mutations don't seem to be divinely conferred - more often than not, they aren't beneficial. The rare beneficial mutation that is preserved because it's helpful to survival furthers evolution, but the overall process, if guided by any sort of larger intelligence is pretty darned messy for a design process.

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