ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

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ORIGINS: UNIVERSE, LIFE, HUMANKIND, AND DARWIN

We debate origins of the Universe, life, Earth, humans, religion, atheism, using common sense, evolution, cosmology, geology, archaeology, and other sciences, to repel biblical creationism and other religious beliefs.

Location: Oxford University, England
Members: 4136
Latest Activity: 9 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

Ebola Spreads to U.S.

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Larry 10 hours ago. 1 Reply

Limb Regeneration Ability

Started by Patricia. Last reply by The Flying Atheist on Sunday. 1 Reply

Scientific Adam and Eve

Started by Rick Springfield. Last reply by James M. Martin on Friday. 26 Replies

Leader of the Church of England doubts the existence of god

Started by Dr. Terence Meaden. Last reply by Joan Denoo on Thursday. 35 Replies

Nazca Lines Found in Kazakhstan

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Joan Denoo Sep 25. 4 Replies

A huge tragedy in our past

Started by Luara. Last reply by HPhan Sep 23. 7 Replies

Preying on our humanity

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Grinning Cat Sep 22. 3 Replies

New Mapping of Stonehenge

Started by Patricia. Last reply by Joan Denoo Sep 11. 1 Reply

Thigh Bone on Mars?

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky Sep 11. 24 Replies

Where in the Universe is our Milky Way Galaxy?

Started by Dr. Terence Meaden. Last reply by Madhukar Kulkarni Sep 11. 3 Replies

DNA testing gives more history of paleo-Eskimos

Started by Sentient Biped. Last reply by Joan Denoo Aug 31. 1 Reply

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Comment by Chad Kreutzer on September 14, 2013 at 6:42pm
Dorian, be careful attributing intent where no exists: Evolution happens in populations, not individuals. In the examples you cite, it is not the individual organisms "choosing to change" it is simply that of the large population, the ones who survived already had the mutation necessary to enable them to survive. Those ones reproduced and passed on that trait to their offspring.

As to free will, Shaun, on a level metaphorically similar to Dorian's example of our "moving 350+ miles per second in seven different directions," free will is an illusion. But on a middle world human scale that is just a pointless sophistry. As far as I am concerned, I am sitting at my desk at work, not moving aside from to type this comment. And as far as I am concerned, I freely chose to write this comment. Sure, in theory we could trace back antecedent after antecedent to show that I didn't chose to make this comment but was rather compelled by layers of cause, but that, although it might be true, is silly, sophomoric, and pointless.
Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 6:11pm

Shaun logic doesn't always correlate with reality.

Back in the 1600s it was unimaginable to conceive that we are moving at 350+ miles per second in 7 different directions, but we are.  And we are doing that without anyone feeling any motion sickness or anything flying around the house.

But more interesting is your comment that creatures do not live long enough to direct their own evolution.  I'm not sure where you are drawing this conclusion from, but it couldn't be further from the observed facts.

Just think about the HIV virus, it constantly mutates to it's advantage.  Even as the immune system kills it off.  It actually hides and mutates again and again.

Bacteria becomes immune to drugs even as most of them die from such drug.  The very few remaining bugs mutate to become immune to the drug.

There is no controversy in Evolution, only missing pieces to the puzzle.   Evolution is a fact, but the theory that explains it, is incomplete.

Comment by Shaun Johnston on September 14, 2013 at 5:54pm

I am not a theist, but l am driven by logic to accept that in a world that contains creatures with consciousness and free will, consciousness and free will cannot be defined as absent from how they evolved.  Judging from your answers, though, my opinion is controversial, confirming that-- unless you deny any validity to my logic--there can be controversy in evolution.  I am of the opinion that  individual creatures do not live long enough to direct their own evolution, but some agency at the level of the species or the order or the kingdom might. Can logic rule out such a possibility ?

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 5:48pm

I'm not an expert, I'm just throwing that out there based on educated assumptions, but have you seen what a Fly can do?

http://www.ted.com/talks/michael_dickinson_how_a_fly_flies.html

Comment by Joseph P on September 14, 2013 at 5:18pm

I wouldn't go so far as to say that all animals are conscious.  Most insects have such primitive stimulus/response processing that I don't think it qualifies.  Then, there are plenty of animals that have an even more primitive nervous system.

Most of the animals in our section of the tree are probably conscious, though.  I imagine most mammals would qualify to some degree.  Some mollusks are damned smart too, for that matter.  You have higher order processing evolving in a few different sections of the tree.

And Shaun, no.  Really, you need to read up a lot more on ... well, I'm not even sure what the name of the branch of evolutionary study is that involves brain development, but they have some rather good working models on the subject.

There's no faith in Darwinism.  It's the only working model we have, for the evolution of biological creatures.  It won out over a few competitors.  Creationism doesn't even have a model, which is why the term creation science is such a steaming pile of crap.

You're not a theist who sneaked on here, are you?

Comment by Homer Edward Price on September 14, 2013 at 4:37pm

Shaun Johnson's thought shows the classic theistic assumption that if something happened, "somebody" had to make it happen. The assumption is that the "somebody" is an anthropomorphic being, having  consciousness and free will like ourselves.  This is the way children think.  It is not the way scientists think.   Children in school should be exposed to real science, not to childish pseudo-science.

Comment by Dorian Moises Mattar on September 14, 2013 at 2:30pm

Shaun, it would seem to me that all animals are conscious, they simply don't possess the brain power to understand things the way we do because consciousness is directly proportional to the brains capacity.

Consciousness therefore is a natural occurrence and had to evolve with time and could not have simply popped into existence.

Comment by Shaun Johnston on September 14, 2013 at 1:51pm

"

I think there is a controversy, but it doesn't involve creationism. It involves how free will and consciousness evolved. If we can be conscious then consciousness can be an agent in the world through other "creatures." And it is only faith in Darwinism that makes some people deny free will--most others experience us as having it. Grant us free will and that too could exist in other agents in the world. To me it seems plausible that the creation (small "c") of conscious creatures like us with free will involved the operation of a process also involving (in some way) conscious and free will of its own.

Isn't that controversial?

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 14, 2013 at 1:40pm

Watch A Musician Give The Coolest Science Lecture This Side Of Anyw...

Let's talk about expectations, led by Bobby McFerrin, who demonstrated the universality of melody and how music affects our brains and emotions.

Comment by Joan Denoo on September 14, 2013 at 1:13pm

Creationists Once Again Threaten to Make a Mockery of Texas Science...

"Earlier this year, the BoE (Board of Education) sent out letters to “experts” asking to help them evaluate the high school biology textbooks being considered for use. ...Several of the “experts” were creationists, and they met recently to give their opinions. Several statements given by them have been made public, :

"I understand the National Academy of Science's [sic] strong support of the theory of evolution. At the same time, this is a theory. As an educator, parent, and grandparent, I feel very firmly that ‘creation science’ based on Biblical principles should be incorporated into every Biology book that is up for adoption."
~ Member of Board of Education 

" the First Amendment of the United States Constitution makes it clear that you cannot teach creation “science” in public schools. There have been many, many court cases about that, and they tend to fall on the side of reality. Teaching religion as fact in public schools is a big no-no."

 Phil PlaitPosted 

 

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