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: 4147
Latest Activity: 9 hours ago

The portrait is Charles Darwin, age 31, in 1840

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Discussion Forum

Very Ancient Sharks Teeth Found

Started by Patricia 19 hours ago. 0 Replies

Ebola Spreads to U.S.

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by John Jubinsky 22 hours ago. 8 Replies

Hawking Likes Film on His Life

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Meri Weathers on Tuesday. 1 Reply

Mother Defends Daughter's Right to Die Choice against Vatican

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by Bertold Brautigan on Sunday. 36 Replies

Comet Hunters: Rosetta and its lander, Philea

Started by Joan Denoo. Last reply by Patricia on Sunday. 4 Replies

Ancient Footprints

Started by Patricia. Last reply by Patricia on Sunday. 2 Replies

empathizing–systemizing

Started by Rick Springfield. Last reply by Joan Denoo Nov 18. 6 Replies

Knowledge and Atheism

Started by Madhukar Kulkarni. Last reply by Jimmy McCann Nov 18. 55 Replies

Human Genome 45,000 years old reconstructed

Started by Dr. Terence Meaden. Last reply by James M. Martin Nov 1. 4 Replies

Ebola Evolution

Started by Ruth Anthony-Gardner. Last reply by Ruth Anthony-Gardner Oct 26. 5 Replies

Nose Nerve Cells Repair Man's Severed Spinal Cord

Started by John Jubinsky. Last reply by James M. Martin Oct 24. 2 Replies

A huge tragedy in our past

Started by Luara. Last reply by Tommy Tucson Oct 24. 9 Replies

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Comment by Sarah Walton on April 14, 2012 at 2:00pm

Joan: Tell me about it! I'm especially interested in astronomy and I am amazed daily by new developments in the field.

I took an earth science class in university, and my professor told us that when he was going to university there were several geology professors who refused to teach plate tectonics, stubbornly refusing to see the preponderance of evidence. My professor observed that they probably knew damn well that the theory was right, but hen they'd have to back down on a lifetime of professional science work!

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 14, 2012 at 1:55pm

@Sarah, what a great idea! And the great thing about having these sciences as a hobby means you never run out of material to read or experience and there are new discoveries daily.

My Dad did not "believe" in tectonic plates of the planet and we had some really stupid arguments. But it was a generational thing. He had a lot to teach me, but not about geology. 

Kind of like religion. There may be some aspects that enrich one's life, such as community, but it is not a history or science tradition.

The difference is, geology, biology, and astronomy are based on observable facts and those facts change often, not to diminish the science, but to make it more accurate.

Religion is a failed social paradigm because it bases its "facts" on stories, myths, wishful thinking, and the desire to be dependent. Too bad the dependence exists as a dream, not a reality. 

Comment by Sarah Walton on April 14, 2012 at 1:34pm

Chantal & Joan: I've been watching a lot of geology documentaries lately, getting me interested in a topic I wasn't previously interested in. Maybe I'll look into some geo classes as well; I was considering auditing biology and astronomy classes just so I can play with their lab equipment!

Comment by The Flying Atheist on April 14, 2012 at 1:32pm

Chris, paying monthly to be in a club such as the Stanford Who's Who doesn't give you a credible reputation, it just provides you with PR marketing exposure.  

Comment by Joan Denoo on April 14, 2012 at 12:31pm

@Chantal Wallace I am sure there are classes still. I lived there in 1970-75 when the Community College at Killeen first opened. We were stationed at Fort Hood. Our classes went on some wonderful excursions all around central Texas looking for different features. I've forgotten the details, but a good geology map will show you where to look for different geologic zones. Chantal, I envy you the opportunity to explore these places. 
In those days, we had a truck that held a motorcycle for my husband, smaller motor bikes for each of our three children, and a little putt-putt that I rode up and down the river cuts looking for fossils. We pulled our little Starcraft trailer along behind and loaded both the truck and trailer with fossils. Over the years I have given them away most or they got left behind. However, I still have a nice collection of fossils of central Texas. 

One of the really great things about fossil hunting is you meet some very interesting people. One day, our three children and I were at an old mission that was built by Indians for a catholic priest that travelled with explorers. The mission grounds were built on an ancient burial sight of pre-European Indians.
I discovered information about it in the stacks of a college library in Georgetown. Searching out the site, we had to go through open ranch land, through barbed wire fences, drive up and down river cuts. It wasn't a road to the mission, it was an ancient native trail.
At the site, we found archeologists digging up an old native burial ground. The kids and I watched them separate the bones and artifacts out of the ground.
My three 10-year olds went off by themselves and I stayed with the archeologists. One of the archeologists went over to see what the kids were doing ... they had dug a hole, gathered small sticks and arranged them in the ground as though they were a human burial, covered it up, and then "discovered" their "burial". We all laughed. 

Happy hunting Chantal. 

Comment by Chantal Wallace on April 14, 2012 at 8:08am
That was beautiful Joan! I live in Texas. Is there anyway I could take those classes? :)
Comment by Joan Denoo on April 14, 2012 at 2:14am
Comment by Joan Denoo on April 14, 2012 at 2:08am

I had the great pleasure of living for several years in central Texas and took all the geology classes I could find in the area. We lived on ground laid down during the Cretaceous period; at the time it was formed, it was a sea, so there were all kinds of fossil gastropods, echinoids,  trilobites, brachiopods, bivalves, sponges, and other invertebrates.

Underlaying that layer were pre-cambrian rock at the deepest layers with outcroppings poking up through the upper layers. It had no fossils because flora and fauna had not developed yet. There were igneous outcroppings, beautiful metamorphic rocks, geologic structures, and complex landforms, and sedimentary clays overlaid everything except in river cuts, where we found ancient  fossils.  I found sharks teeth in the Devonian.
The shoreline shifted back and forth many times, leaving behind a record of both marine and non-marine flora and fauna. These layers  containe a rich fossil record including dinosaurs, other reptiles, amphibians, birds, fish, and mammals. There were ammonites as big as six feet across but they fell apart when I dug them. I have many smaller ones. 

By comparing sharks teeth from the Devonian, on up through the Permian, Triassic shales, and Jurassic, fossils were in the river cuts, and the Cretaceous overlaid it all. 

The point of all this is that the changes of each flora and fauna could be tracked from oldest to youngest over millions of years. Devonian was 360-410 million years ago, the Cretaceous was 66-138 million years ago. 

Chris, can you even imagine the time it took to go from no fossils in the pre-cambrian, and the development of plants and flowers, and sea creatures over time? 

There was no designer, no planner, no creator of all this. Things just grew, kind of like things grow in the refrigerator or in the vegetable bin if left unattended. Cells divide, mix with bacteria and molds, and who knows what all else is there, but they just change, cell by cell, day by day, and in the case of the geologic time scale, over millions of years. 

Do you have any idea how long it took the black skin of Africans to evolve into white skins, blond hair and blue eyes? It didn't happen in a generation or a thousand years .. it took thousands and thousands of years. And the Africa migration that turned east out of Africa toward Asia developed characteristics we now know as Asian or Oriental. We all come from ooze in Africa. We are all made of the same stuff. We all look at the same stars and moon and sun. 

Human change didn't come because of eugenics, it came from natural selection of those creatures that survived to give birth to the next generations. Eugenics is a human made device to "cleanse" one group from another, but when that happens the cleansing is of our cousins. We destroy our own kind. 

Comment by The Flying Atheist on April 14, 2012 at 12:53am

A simple Google search sheds light on what, exactly, is the Stanford Who's Who list.  It's basically an online networking site for professionals (and "professionals") which you can join simply by paying their listing fee.  If you read through some of the Google search articles you can see that the Who's Who list comes with a lot of questionable baggage and business practices.  'Nuff said. 

Comment by Sarah Walton on April 13, 2012 at 11:38pm

Chris. They can hear your thoughts, man. Adjust your tinfoil hat.

 

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