A question that you have probly heard a million times.


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splur

The problem I see with this analogy is simple. In a city, if I loose the police department, crime rate will go up, but the entire city wont burn to the ground killing every inhabitant at a huge rate. If I loose power the city wont immediately freeze over killing every inhabitant. If I for example, remove anti-diuretic hormone, I would be dead within a day because I would loose all the water in my body. If I remove any single part of the Loop of Henle I have just destroyed the filtering process of the kidney and I am also dead. if just of of the flaps on my tricuspid valve is too small I have just created a seriouse problem when pumping blood that will lead to my death within an hour if not minuts. I'm too tired to think of anymore tonight but this is were my confusion lies.

You're kind of taking the analogy a bit further, I was talking about the construction of a city compared to the evolution of an organism and why it isn't that far fetched. There's obviously many differences between humans and single cells, our inefficiencies are due to our intelligent thought which isn't a problem when it comes to an organism, but I'll play along even though this is stretching past what the analogy is supposed to be. Anti-diuretic hormone would not be the police department, that would be your immune system. Anti-diuretic hormone would be similar to shutting down the power to the water and waste treatment infrastructures. If you were to do this, the city would last a couple days at most before everyone dies and the city shuts down.

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zhangm

The problem I see with this analogy is simple. In a city, if I loose the police department, crime rate will go up, but the entire city wont burn to the ground killing every inhabitant at a huge rate. If I loose power the city wont immediately freeze over killing every inhabitant. If I for example, remove anti-diuretic hormone, I would be dead within a day because I would loose all the water in my body. If I remove any single part of the Loop of Henle I have just destroyed the filtering process of the kidney and I am also dead. if just of of the flaps on my tricuspid valve is too small I have just created a seriouse problem when pumping blood that will lead to my death within an hour if not minuts. I'm too tired to think of anymore tonight but this is were my confusion lies.

I believe every individual has on average about 50 genes that have been destroyed or crippled by mutations.

Since we're diploid organisms, we don't need to worry so much about such things.

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justmike

I try not to quote Wiki anything. It's in many ways like quoting uncle Henry's Myspace page.

"that a premise is true only because it has not been proven false, or is false only because it has not been proven true." OK? Think about that, if ANY premise IS true (the sky is up?) to an individual, then there can be no questions, and it can not change? If ANY premise IS false (the sky is no color?) to an individual, then there can be no questions, and it can not change? The fact is that we are talking about individual people here with real questions, and that there is some amount of belief or disbelief, based on some amount of proof or disproof. Once you introduce the word belief into any equation, there must be a reason. How many years have people been asking questions, and what are the mathematical odds of this? It sounds like perfect choice to me. I simply BELIEVE that we do not know much at all. Would you think and believe exactly the same as you do now if you were born 3000 years ago, and why? Would you have the same choices, and if so, what choices would be the same, and why? What do you believe will be different 3000 years from now, and why?

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the evn show

If I for example, remove anti-diuretic hormone, I would be dead within a day because I would loose all the water in my body. If I remove any single part of the Loop of Henle I have just destroyed the filtering process of the kidney and I am also dead.

Evolution postulates that high-life forms are the descendants of lower-life (forgive the archaic terminology). One of the ways to disprove evolution would be to find completely developed high-order systems (like the complete endocrine system) in an animal long before it's precursors have developed and long before that system can be useful. If you found an oak tree with a cardiovascular system pumping blood in a loop but otherwise connected to nothing: you'd have great evidence that evolution is a poor theory. You'd also be right to note that if a human being were to spring into existence during the cambrian he then that would be evidence against evolution.

Bacterium do just fine without hearts, kidneys or nerves, plankton gets along with a very simple vascular system, trees too are fine without complex nervous systems. You can walk the same step back through vertebrates. A contemporary eagle might not last long without the trochlear nerve, but you can walk back through history and see how it's ancestors got along without a highly developed sense of sight (and going back far enough: without eyes at all). The ancestors may not appear to be much like eagles but we have ample evidence they existed and that they went on to produce eagles (and every other modern bird).

It's also important to make the distinction between complexity and well designed. Life is complex, but not particularly well designed: the frailty of the whole system is evidence to that.

Would you argue that a house which collapsed a toilet valve valve in the bathroom wasn't closed tightly is well designed? If not: why would you argue the same flaw indicates that you or I are intelligently designed?

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Memphis

Evolution postulates that high-life forms are the descendants of lower-life (forgive the archaic terminology). One of the ways to disprove evolution would be to find completely developed high-order systems (like the complete endocrine system) in an animal long before it's precursors have developed and long before that system can be useful. If you found an oak tree with a cardiovascular system pumping blood in a loop but otherwise connected to nothing: you'd have great evidence that evolution is a poor theory. You'd also be right to note that if a human being were to spring into existence during the cambrian he then that would be evidence against evolution.

Bacterium do just fine without hearts, kidneys or nerves, plankton gets along with a very simple vascular system, trees too are fine without complex nervous systems. You can walk the same step back through vertebrates. A contemporary eagle might not last long without the trochlear nerve, but you can walk back through history and see how it's ancestors got along without a highly developed sense of sight (and going back far enough: without eyes at all). The ancestors may not appear to be much like eagles but we have ample evidence they existed and that they went on to produce eagles (and every other modern bird).

It's also important to make the distinction between complexity and well designed. Life is complex, but not particularly well designed: the frailty of the whole system is evidence to that.

Would you argue that a house which collapsed a toilet valve valve in the bathroom wasn't closed tightly is well designed? If not: why would you argue the same flaw indicates that you or I are intelligently designed?

Your right in saying that other forms of life do just fine without all these extra components. I also am to the understanding that in evolution these systems did not come about with a specific purpose, but rather took over that purpose as it developed. This is something I buy into and what your saying makes sense to me. I think I just need to study more into it I guess.

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TrueMonolith

Sidroc, the way you're looking at this is akin to a puddle saying "Isnt it wonderful that this hole designed specially for me".

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Memphis

Sidroc, the way you're looking at this is akin to a puddle saying "Isnt it wonderful that this hole designed specially for me".

Not quite, as I don't care much for the ID argument at all. I go back in forth from whether I am steadfastly a believer in evolution or not but today I finally read about an animal that helps to change my position. The blind mole rat seems to me like perfect evidence for evolutionary theory. Nevertheless something else will most likely come up and change my perception again.

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the evn show

Your right in saying that other forms of life do just fine without all these extra components. I also am to the understanding that in evolution these systems did not come about with a specific purpose, but rather took over that purpose as it developed. This is something I buy into and what your saying makes sense to me. I think I just need to study more into it I guess.

I think for the questions you have: Richard Dawkin's book will be the best choice. I flipped through the two I mentioned and it seems to me that "Why Evolution is True" focuses more on the evidence we have to support it while "The Greatest Show on Earth" drifts more toward the mechanics by which it all happens. If you've still got a soft spot for religion or intelligent design you might find him a bit confrontational: atheism is sort of his hobby-horse.

"Greatest Show" reads much more like a science text than say "The God Delusion" but it's got more content devoted to religion than "The Selfish Gene" or "The Extended Phenotype". If you can deal with the occasional digression to agnosticism/atheism then the biological science presented is excellent, convincing, and accessible.

If you find studies of particular animals and their origins to be more compelling then you should probably steer towards Coyle's book "Why Evolution is True." I suppose Dawkin's is more like the math that explains how atoms bind. Coyle was more about the chemical reactions that we did to prove the math was right.

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Growled

Why is it even an issue with you? The way I look at things, something like this is an fascinating intellectual discussion but it really doesn't impact my day to day living one bit. If this I evolved from monkeys or was designed by a creator does not change anything for me.

As for the discussion itself, the complexity of the world lends itself toward a creator who uses evolution, in my opinion. You could say I subscribe to both. To me it's just too much order to be just random chance.

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Memphis

I think for the questions you have: Richard Dawkin's book will be the best choice. I flipped through the two I mentioned and it seems to me that "Why Evolution is True" focuses more on the evidence we have to support it while "The Greatest Show on Earth" drifts more toward the mechanics by which it all happens. If you've still got a soft spot for religion or intelligent design you might find him a bit confrontational: atheism is sort of his hobby-horse.

"Greatest Show" reads much more like a science text than say "The God Delusion" but it's got more content devoted to religion than "The Selfish Gene" or "The Extended Phenotype". If you can deal with the occasional digression to agnosticism/atheism then the biological science presented is excellent, convincing, and accessible.

If you find studies of particular animals and their origins to be more compelling then you should probably steer towards Coyle's book "Why Evolution is True." I suppose Dawkin's is more like the math that explains how atoms bind. Coyle was more about the chemical reactions that we did to prove the math was right.

I'm gonna look into reading these. I got a lot of spare time coming up as I am taking Spring Semester off from my studies. Might as well read something in that time :p.

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splur

Not quite, as I don't care much for the ID argument at all. I go back in forth from whether I am steadfastly a believer in evolution or not but today I finally read about an animal that helps to change my position. The blind mole rat seems to me like perfect evidence for evolutionary theory. Nevertheless something else will most likely come up and change my perception again.

Blind mole rat? How?

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Kirkburn
I try not to quote Wiki anything. It's in many ways like quoting uncle Henry's Myspace page.

If Uncle Henry's MySpace page was edited by thousands of people from all fields, and had many references cited. Strangely enough, Wikipedia is not about spreading lies, and you think someone might have noticed something in ... ooh, I don't know ... the last five years?

In summary: Wikipedia is perfectly reasonable to reference for overviews of concepts. If you want more info, check the references.

As to the rest of your argument, why bother thinking anything then, if you reckon it'll change entirely in 300 years?

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Memphis

Blind mole rat? How?

Simple, it has an organ that is a true vestigial organ. Its eyes are internal. Their fully developed but they are completely internal under the skin. That cannot come about about in intelligent design.

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+Xinok

I was taught in school that evolution was a random process, and that natural selection is what drives evolution. The animals with the best traits are more likely to survive and pass on those traits. More and more though, it seems that evolution is more of an adaptive process than a random one. I keep seeing more and more examples of genetic changes being triggered by changes in the environment and other factors, and not just happening completely at random.

An example of this is lactose intolerance. Europeans have one of the lowest percentages of people with lactose intolerance because their ancestors have been drinking milk for thousands of years. Simply drinking milk caused the specific genetic change so they were no longer lactose intolerant. I can't think of many other examples right now, but another example is that some scientists think we became as intelligent as we are simply because we eat cooked food.

Personally, I think all of physics is perfectly balanced for producing and sustaining life, but we just haven't gotten to a point yet where we can understand or explain how this is possible. I think life is a naturally occurring phenomenon which happens given the right conditions. This is how I get around the argument that "life is too complex to have happened by chance" and throw out the idea of creationism.

More or less though, I'm an atheist more because of history than science. History can explain the origins of each religion, and how certain things influenced the development of said religion. It can show how peoples interpretations of religion have changed throughout time. The more I learn about history, the less convinced I am that there is a creator or higher being of any sort.

My views on religion aren't all negative. I think it's responsible for creating the world we have today. Religion gave our ancestors a reason to build the pyramids and all of the other grand structures that came with each civilization. And this helped us to develop engineering and science to give us the world we have today. They didn't build the Parthenon because they were bored. :p

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Stetson

I was taught in school that evolution was a random process, and that natural selection is what drives evolution. The animals with the best traits are more likely to survive and pass on those traits. More and more though, it seems that evolution is more of an adaptive process than a random one. I keep seeing more and more examples of genetic changes being triggered by changes in the environment and other factors, and not just happening completely at random.

An example of this is lactose intolerance. Europeans have one of the lowest percentages of people with lactose intolerance because their ancestors have been drinking milk for thousands of years. Simply drinking milk caused the specific genetic change so they were no longer lactose intolerant.

Or the people who were lactose tolerant were naturally selected because milk was what was available.

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jebus197

The answer to this question is simply time. You have no concept (saying 4 or 5 billion years may sound easy - but is in fact almost impossible for most humans to conceive of in the limited extent of their own life spans.

We humans have only been around for the equivalent of one minute to midnight on the evolutionary clock. Before us life continued on very happily without us. Also all of the species alive on Earth today represent only about 3% maximum of all of the life that has ever existed. That's billions, upon billions, upon billions of iterations (given that life also has a tendency to overproduce). So if you ask the question, has there been enough time for all of these changes to occur, the answer is yes! Certainly.

I would wait until you learn more about how evolution works and about, geology and about the history of life before you consider discounting it. I am also a biology student, and am often filled with wonder at the intricacy that has emerged from such humble beginnings - but it has not led me to attribute these changes to a creator.

Rather it has often led me to wonder about purpose, since there is often a sense in me that sometimes life does seem directed towards a purpose. But I am torn on this front, because I know that much of this can be attributed to a personal desire in me to see this purpose, even though in reality such a purpose may well not exist.

But certainly it is an arbitrary choice, since with or without God, there is a sufficient mechanism in place and there has been sufficient time for all of the changes you speak of to occur.

You accept the doctrine of a higher order of meaning because you chose to, but it doesn't mean that if you do that evolution is false.

Also it's important to remember that evolution is an adaptive process, not a random one as someone else pointed out. An average biology course doesn't give you a full run down on the intricacies involved in the evolutionary process. As I said, don't make your mind up about anything until you have had time to do a course and to study the topic properly.

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jebus197

I would also certainly also recommend you read the books others have pointed you too. Beware somewhat of Dawkins. Read him and you will find him utterly convincing - and he is because his arguments are largely sound. But Dawkins confuses much of his study of evolution (and much of his readership!) with his ardent support for the ideology of atheism. Evolution however has nothing to do with atheism. They are not as Dawkins would have us believe, 'the same thing.' The study of one, does not automatically lead to the conclusion of the other. (I personally despise the angry atheist brigade, as they have often helped inspire just as much ignorance and intolerance in the world as many of their religious counterparts).

Evolution simply studies life processes. That is all. It does not ask questions about God, because as in most sciences God is a subject that it is impossible for biologists to study. Could evolution have happened and could a God still have existed? Yes! Could it have happened without the need for a God? Yes! Could life exist for a purpose? Yes! Could life exist entirely without purpose? Yes! If God does exist, does he care about us, or is he entirely indifferent? Equally so yes to both questions... Again these are not questions that are open to scientific enquiry. That evolution (given all of the evidence we have) is very likely to have occurred is something that we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty, but the kind of questions you are asking have more to do with our personal values and preferences They are as I said in large part almost wholly arbitrary choices - and as such are almost equally interchangeable with each other.

You are certainly at the moment trying to piece together an understanding of a world view from the perspective of very limited knowledge. This is always a dangerous thing to do. You will not 'see the whole picture' until you look and can see the whole picture. (Or at least as much of it as it is possible for you to see). You should stop and accept where you are at the moment, an undergraduate with limited insight and experience and then look again at everything when you have had a chance to think about it and study it more fully.

What you are experiencing is a sense of wonder. Even if you do get a chance to understand evolution properly and you do not feel able to attribute life processes, or evolution itself to a God, if you study well, with any luck I trust that sense of wonder will never leave you.

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fhpuqrgrpgvirzhpujbj

We have developed a huge complex society, communication, science, and all sorts of crazy things. Why could your body not do the same?

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PreKe
I was taught in school that evolution was a random process, and that natural selection is what drives evolution.

Mutations are random. Evolution is not "conicidence", as you seem to suggest. Natural Selection indeed "directs" evolution.

The animals with the best traits are more likely to survive and pass on those traits. More and more though, it seems that evolution is more of an adaptive process than a random one. I keep seeing more and more examples of genetic changes being triggered by changes in the environment and other factors, and not just happening completely at random.

Uh, yes. That's Natural Selection. Not "completely random" at all.

Personally, I think all of physics is perfectly balanced for producing and sustaining life,

How?

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splur

Evolution simply studies life processes. That is all. It does not ask questions about God, because as in most sciences God is a subject that it is impossible for biologists to study. Could evolution have happened and could a God still have existed? Yes! Could it have happened without the need for a God? Yes! Could life exist for a purpose? Yes! Could life exist entirely without purpose? Yes! If God does exist, does he care about us, or is he entirely indifferent? Equally so yes to both questions... Again these are not questions that are open to scientific enquiry. That evolution (given all of the evidence we have) is very likely to have occurred is something that we can say with a reasonable degree of certainty, but the kind of questions you are asking have more to do with our personal values and preferences They are as I said in large part almost wholly arbitrary choices - and as such are almost equally interchangeable with each other.

Completely agreed. Evolution does not disprove God nor does it try to, but it points out the inconsistencies of religion.

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jebus197

Completely agreed. Evolution does not disprove God nor does it try to, but it points out the inconsistencies of religion.

It doesn't even do that. Science should be a peaceful contemplative pursuit. It doesn't draw any conclusions about religion at all. That's for individuals themselves to do. I'm all for live and let live in science. In my eyes if evolution is correct and religion is not, then religion is probably just another survival strategy - and in that sense it is just as valid a strategy as any other, including atheism.

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elantheros

It doesn't even do that. Science should be a peaceful contemplative pursuit. It doesn't draw any conclusions about religion at all.

I think you agree with the post you quoted more than you think. The post never claimed that science draws conclusions about religion. But it shows how religion is inconsistent, even though that wasn't the originally intended purpose.

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jebus197

Well for the sake of a peaceful existence I'll let it roll. But please don't try to interpret what I mean for me. ;-)

To be frank I am for a whole new stance in science completely. I would like to see the debate move away from religion V's science to one where these questions don't really matter all that much. This doesn't make me a religious person, what it makes me is sick and tired of people using science (and often it's people who lack any real education themselves who do this, as scientists rarely do - with the exception of Dawkins of course) to beat religious people over the head with.

There is no real debate in science about God - because that's not what science is about.

Dawkins screws up because he fails to consider this - and also because he roundly fails to realise evolution prefers no single survival strategy over any other. His atheism is as equally valid a survival strategy as that of even the most fervent bible belt baptist. (Indeed they probably have much more in common than he thinks).

My way is a middle way, where we can use evolution as a means to both acknowledge and accept our differences, and not see these differences as a reason to spread fear and mistrust. If all differences are equally valid, then clearly we have no choice other than to accept them. But I digress.

I think for now the question of the OP has been quite well answered.

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the evn show

There is no real debate in science about God - because that's not what science is about.

Chapter 2 of "The God Dellusion" discusses the existence of a supernatural creator as a hypothesis which can be tested scientifically. His earlier book...(I'd like to say "The Blind Watchmaker", but I can't remember for sure) discusses the concept of NOMA as proposed by Stephen Gould an he builds on his rejection of non-overlapping magisteria through his more recent text. Given that I'd propose the same argument against NOMA, and the idea that God cannot be scientifically tested, can you please cite pages/paragraphs that you disagree with, and your reasons for disagreeing.

Dawkins screws up because he fails to consider this - and also because he roundly fails to realise evolution prefers no single survival strategy over any other. His atheism is as equally valid a survival strategy as that of even the most fervent bible belt baptist. (Indeed they probably have much more in common than he thinks).

What? He was very clear on how the mechanisms of evolution works in both "The Selfish Gene", "The Extended Phenotype", and returned to the topic in "The Greatest Show on Earth."

Your sentences sounds as though you're ascribing some sort of 'ultimate goal' for evolution: "I'll make giraffes have longer necks because they'll be better suited to eating leaves" or "I'll make bats develop sonar so they can eat in the dark". That's simply not the case and Dawkins reminds the reader of that repeatedly through all of his works.

Specific to atheism (and I'm assuming you're talking about the chapters on the reasons for belief at the end of The God Delusion): it think you missed the point of them.

The introduction clearly spelled out that he was proposing possible explanations for the persistence of religious belief even though it no longer appears to serve a useful purpose. He certainly didn't argue those were the only conclusive reasons for the continuation of supernatural thoughts, they were offered as 'food for though'.

More to the point: atheism is the lack of belief--that is it challenges the assertion of religions without raising any alternative--I can't see how you'd try to reverse the arguments he laid out. Evolution acts by selecting things that currently exist to contribute to future generations: not by striving toward some ultimate goal or speeding away from some undesirable past. Atheism, by definition--explicitly so in Dawkins' books--can't be acted on by an evolutionary process because it is defined as "the absence of belief" not "belief in nothing".

Maybe you were thinking of Robert Wright's "The Evolution of God"?

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TrueMonolith
Chapter 2 of "The God Dellusion" discusses the existence of a supernatural creator as a hypothesis which can be tested scientifically. His earlier book...(I'd like to say "The Blind Watchmaker", but I can't remember for sure) discusses the concept of NOMA as proposed by Stephen Gould an he builds on his rejection of non-overlapping magisteria through his more recent text. Given that I'd propose the same argument against NOMA, and the idea that God cannot be scientifically tested, can you please cite pages/paragraphs that you disagree with, and your reasons for disagreeing.

I was going to cite this too.

Dawkins explains why NOMA doesnt apply quite well, and im inclined to agree.

OFC, there is no such thing as Religion vs Science...its actually Art vs Science. Religion is merely the application of human creativity to imagine answers (which is an art). Science is the application of human reasoning to test our imagination in comparison to reality.

I'm inclined to agree with Dawkins and say that they are conflicting world views, in the sense that one works...and the other has no basis in reality...it could be true or it could be absolutely false, however its lack of applicability makes it unuseful outside the expression of human intuition.

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