Are we still evolving? Cool new video for the doubters of evolution.


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jebus197

that part is so convoluted and self contradictory I'm not sure what you're trying to say, unless you mean to say that "Are a lot greater than you think".

My grammar is fine my friend, but thanks for the constructive criticism in any case. However for your own clarification think of the beginnings of life being a bit like the flipping of a coin. Everywhere we look in the universe the actual precursors to life are abundant. If you were to flip a coin a thousand or more times, roughly half of those would come up heads and half would come up tails. Now the conditions in the universe under which life can [potentially] exist are probably much rarer than the 50/50 in the above example. But in those cases and because the universe is so vast, the chances that life could spring into being spontaneously by a set of entirely random processes are reduced significantly. Think of it more in terms of tens of trillion upon trillions of coins being flipped every single instant, with each of those coins having a different symbol on each face. If even only one of those faces says 'life' (although it could be more), then as unlikely as it sounds, after a long enough time the coins with the face side reading 'life' will emerge at some point. (In fact it's almost guaranteed.)

The problem is one of scale. Most people are just utterly unaware of the scale of the Universe and while this is indeed vast, it is even more impossible to comprehend the many trillions upon trillions of processes that are occurring within it ever second and every instant that goes by.

My own belief that life may not exist elsewhere is simply a hunch, in that life is so unlikely it's quite possible that it may well only have emerged on a single occasion. Again the question is one of scale. Although vast if the universe is finite then there are a limited number of times each process can occur. If on the other hand it is effectively infinite, any number of processes can occur any number of times - and perhaps in some cases several times over. My own view is that although the universe really is unimaginably vast, it may only be big enough to allow for the possibility for life to have emerged only once. It is however just a hunch, as we have no effective way of measuring the size of the Universe at this point in time.

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HawkMan

Actually the size of the universe is known. well the distance to the edge anyway.

and just in the milky way, there's so many solar systems, just the number of systems with habitable planets outnumber the number of grains of sand on every beach on earth together.

So even if it was all a great big accident, chances are the dice would have rolled and landed the same on many many many planets. and it's an old galaxy, the dice aren't being rolled just once, they're being rolled continually.

and your assumption assumes that life is a totally random accident. when reality is that the basic building blocks for life is everywhere. just like all the other materials found in our planet form naturally in any planet where the circumstances are right. so will life. And on top of that, we already know that life doesn't need the perfect conditions of earth. Life can form under anything from severe radiation, high pressure, no sun light. extreme heat... anything. already on earth we see life that has evolved in an entirely alien environment, that would otherwise be totally uninhabitable by earlier human estimated. Dee sea went creates, live without sun, under extreme pressure, and they don't live of neither oxygen or photosynthesis, but off nitrogen or something from the vents.

life can and will form if the conditions are right. and the right conditions are far bigger than we ever dared to believe.

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jebus197

Actually the size of the universe is known. well the distance to the edge anyway.

and just in the milky way, there's so many solar systems, just the number of systems with habitable planets outnumber the number of grains of sand on every beach on earth together.

So even if it was all a great big accident, chances are the dice would have rolled and landed the same on many many many planets. and it's an old galaxy, the dice aren't being rolled just once, they're being rolled continually.

and your assumption assumes that life is a totally random accident. when reality is that the basic building blocks for life is everywhere. just like all the other materials found in our planet form naturally in any planet where the circumstances are right. so will life. And on top of that, we already know that life doesn't need the perfect conditions of earth. Life can form under anything from severe radiation, high pressure, no sun light. extreme heat... anything. already on earth we see life that has evolved in an entirely alien environment, that would otherwise be totally uninhabitable by earlier human estimated. Dee sea went creates, live without sun, under extreme pressure, and they don't live of neither oxygen or photosynthesis, but off nitrogen or something from the vents.

life can and will form if the conditions are right. and the right conditions are far bigger than we ever dared to believe.

Well it seems I will have to relinquish my qualifications in the life sciences then, since you have just taught me so many new things lol. In any case, although I'm not an expert (in astrophysics), the last time I remember speaking to some astrophysicists many of them are still very non-committal as to whether the Universe is finite, or infinite. However I'll be sure to fill them in on your assertions too, when I next speak to any of them. The fact of the mater is however that life in other parts of the Universe is still just pure speculation, for which we have no direct evidence. In the largest part science tries not to deal too much with pure speculation, so while it is fun to think of it, until we find it it isn't generally what science does.

Anyway I fear we are at risk of derailing the topic from one of a serious scientific discussion, to one about UFO's and aliens. The two aren't connected and attempting to do so brings an air of farce to the discussion. The initial question of if we are still evolving is interesting enough on it's own I think.

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Gutierrez

yes, we still evolving. With all the artificial food and the lesbians, for sure we are evolving...

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DrunkenBeard

I don't think anybody can doubt evolution, but what I don't understand is why people make creationism the antipode of evolution, origin of life != evolution ...

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carmatic

2. We still do not have the full history of how animals evolved and from which ancestors.

maybe thats why theres such a term as 'prehistoric' ? because it all happnened before the existence of writing... there is no straightforward record of what happened when, all you can do is piece together as good an explanation you can have from whatever you can find... it is exceedingly unlikely, almost by definition, that we can get all the information we are looking for from fossils etc

this video reminded me of a chart somewhere that humans on average have been getting taller since Roman times, or something

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Subject Delta

I have a hard time believing in evolution (i mean going from nothing to us now) is because i think there might be life outside of the earth... and if you believe that the odds of life coming from nothing happened twice, i have a bridge to sell you...

i do think there are small adaptations happening tho...

It's generally been discovered that a lot of stars have at least 1 planet orbiting them, and given that our minds cannot even comprehend the amount of stars in our own galaxy let alone the number in the entire universe, I think you'll find that the math practically does itself.

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thommcg

I don't think anybody can doubt evolution, but what I don't understand is why people make creationism the antipode of evolution, origin of life != evolution ...

Evolution and Atheism are, unfortunately, lumped into the same boat in many circles.

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carmatic
if natural selection can change these worms(near the Devon copper mine) so quickly, perhaps its changed us since our species first appeared

but how exactly do you define when our species 'first appeared' ?

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+BeLGaRaTh

Thanks for the heads up, I have added this to my Sky+ to record on the BBC HD channel. Looks well worth a watch, I never watch anything on BBC (apart from Top Gear)

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rathefeare

I believe that is an old news story and was eventually traced to earth side contamination. If you have other links to that news story though post them up I would love to be wrong on this one.

I do remember reading a book where scientists plugged in their best guesses into the Drake equation for the Milky Way only and came up with the chances of any life in our galaxy being less than winning the lottery. Given the vastness of the universe they did conclude that it was likely in the universe. Due to the same vastness we were unlikely ever to come across it however. It was interesting stuff.

Upon further research this appears to be a new story, but it is very similar to one about 15 years back. I will remain a skeptical optimist on this one until more work is done. I remember getting prematurely excited about the previous story.

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pepsihabbit

They've already figured out how to make some of the essential building blocks of life by simulating the conditions of the early earth. Given the right conditions, the atoms naturally arrange themselves to form these molecules.

Plus, given the chaos of the early earth, where entire moon-size bodies would collide into the earth (potentially up to six times), throwing dust miles up into the air and heating the surface to thousands of degrees, there was lots of interesting chemistry going on. So it's not so hard for me to think that a simple molecular structure like DNA could form from this.

350px-DNA_chemical_structure.svg.png

If the chemicals in the experiment represent the earth's early environment and the molecules produced represent the building blocks of life, whom or what does the scientist who performed the experiment represent? Does he represent blind chance or and intelligent entity? Protein and RNA molecules must work together for a cell to survive. Scientists admit that it is highly unlikely that RNA formed by chance. The odds against even one protein forming by chance are astronomical. It is exceedingly improbable that RNA and proteins should form by chance in the same place at the same time and be able to work together.

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XIII

Thanks for this informative video. Do you have any other BBC Horizon clips ? I love documentary films like this. Thanks in advance.

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Solid Knight

If the chemicals in the experiment represent the earth's early environment and the molecules produced represent the building blocks of life, whom or what does the scientist who performed the experiment represent? Does he represent blind chance or and intelligent entity? Protein and RNA molecules must work together for a cell to survive. Scientists admit that it is highly unlikely that RNA formed by chance. The odds against even one protein forming by chance are astronomical. It is exceedingly improbable that RNA and proteins should form by chance in the same place at the same time and be able to work together.

You're assuming RNA developed in its entirety at a single point in time.

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pepsihabbit

You're assuming RNA developed in its entirety at a single point in time.

I don't think its possible. I am saying I believe the origin of life is too complex to happen by chance.

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HawkMan

I don't think its possible. I am saying I believe the origin of life is too complex to happen by chance.

You didn't answer his question, and it seems you don't fully understand the concept of evolution.

but yeah sure. It's hard to imagint that complex creatures evolved in a universe so vast that there are virtually infinite planets for this to fail, succeed and not happen at all.

it makes much more sense that instead, an all powerful magical far more complex being already existed, and made all this...

but then when we think about it, that assumes that that even more powerful creature was created by chance, in only one go, without even the materials around for it to happen. whereas there's infinite chances of planets where we could form...

so that returns us to a fundamental question no believer can answer. "who made God"

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Solid Knight

so that returns us to a fundamental question no believer can answer. "who made God"

Another God because He certainly didn't evolve from anything.

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iamawesomewicked

I don't think its possible. I am saying I believe the origin of life is too complex to happen by chance.

So, it's too complex to happen by chance.. but not too complicated to have been made from an invisible being?

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jebus197

If the chemicals in the experiment represent the earth's early environment and the molecules produced represent the building blocks of life, whom or what does the scientist who performed the experiment represent? Does he represent blind chance or and intelligent entity? Protein and RNA molecules must work together for a cell to survive. Scientists admit that it is highly unlikely that RNA formed by chance. The odds against even one protein forming by chance are astronomical. It is exceedingly improbable that RNA and proteins should form by chance in the same place at the same time and be able to work together.

Scientists don't admit any such thing at all, and you clearly have little conceot of what evolution is. This is what amazes me about these discussions, people who clearly have little or no understanding of the subject at hand fel free to speak with authority about scientists and researchers and their theories about which (and whom) they know nothing. It's almost as if ignorance gives people an assumed authority to speak.

In any case RNA (if you even know what that is) didn't come into being spontaniously. I't came into being over millions of years of separate and progressive steps, going from the very simple to the more complex - and on that point the vast majority of scientists very much do agree.

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R1pper

so what your saying is that, the building block of life,RNA, which is very complex, somehow created accidentally (that must be flawlessly) , over millions of years. well, for argument sake il go along. even though basic human logic is against it.( i.e something out of nothing.)

but what about the process itself, that created the rna, where did he came from? what started it, what make it so, what gave it the ability to create life?

again, we are going back to where we started.

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Ently

I'm not religious however I have had my doubts in evolution. This might just set the record straight, cheers ;)

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Solid Knight

so what your saying is that, the building block of life,RNA, which is very complex, somehow created accidentally (that must be flawlessly) , over millions of years. well, for argument sake il go along. even though basic human logic is against it.( i.e something out of nothing.)

but what about the process itself, that created the rna, where did he came from? what started it, what make it so, what gave it the ability to create life?

again, we are going back to where we started.

Arguing that RNA couldn't be formed by random circumstance is like arguing that diamonds couldn't be formed by random circumstance. It also appears that you think evolution is some sort of sentient process.

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