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Thread: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

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    Exclamation The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Are these two closely-related, but nonsynonymous topics fair-game for discussion here. or would that violate the forum rules?

    I'd love to have a discussion about both if anyone else is interested.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Forum: Market Square
    Not a board for it? Talk about it here.

    Not a board for debating politics, religion, or other potentially charged topics along the same lines.
    It could be a very interesting discussion, but I doubt it would go very far without straying into being a religious debate.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Agreed, which is why I questioned whether or not it would be deemed appropriate by the mods. It's too bad, as 21st-century science has made these two very fascinating questions.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    As long as you keep it civil and nobody starts making accusations/throwing fits/name calling/etc. then it will be okay.

    Also as to the religion part, it is impossible to have a discussion about it without religion being discussed because if you exclude religion then you have made the choice to not include it. Kind of like if you choose not to decide you still have made a choice.

    So play nice and have a good time, but keep it civil.


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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?



    /end thread

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    "Yeah, but how did that get there?" --A question you could ask for everything, ever.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Right, cdash. That's called the first cause paradox (amongst other names), and it applies to every worldview, whether theistic, deistic, or atheistic. If you ever come across someone who uses the "Who created God?" grade-school-level philosophy, be sure to ask them to apply that same question to whatever it is they believe to be the ultimate source of reality, and watch them go red in the face. Pseudo-skeptics, all of them.

    There are only two possibilities: Either something has always existed, or something arose from absolute nothingness. I find the former to be the more reasonable conclusion, but to each his own.

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    I think you can have a discussion contained to the origins of earth and life on earth without getting into the existence or acts of god. There are a mountain of facts to go on. If you tried to stretch it past that to the start of the universe itself, however, then it becomes unavoidable. As CDash said, ultimately "where did that come from" is a question with infinite answers.
    Last edited by Kstat; 04-24-2013 at 04:44 PM.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    The "mountains of facts" all call into question whether abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are the the causes for the origin and subsequent diversification of life. My own personal, but highly-educated, opinion is that both concepts are archaic, being formulated in a time of ignorance, and are held to today largely for dogmatic, rather than scientific, reasons.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrangeRusHibbert View Post
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    The "mountains of facts" all call into question whether abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are the the causes for the origin and subsequent diversification of life. My own personal, but highly-educated, opinion is that both concepts are archaic, being formulated in a time of ignorance, and are held to today largely for dogmatic, rather than scientific, reasons.
    Just out of curiosity, can you expand on "highly educated?" I'm not questioning you at all, I'm just interested in how much academic work you have done in such an area. Admittedly, I haven't done any, so I am interested in those that have dug deeper than myself.

    Also, if we narrow this scope to the origin of human life, what are your scientific beliefs?

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrangeRusHibbert View Post
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    The "mountains of facts" all call into question whether abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution are the the causes for the origin and subsequent diversification of life. My own personal, but highly-educated, opinion is that both concepts are archaic, being formulated in a time of ignorance, and are held to today largely for dogmatic, rather than scientific, reasons.
    Generally, I see a lot of validity to two viewpoints.

    1. Everything came out of nothingness leading to conclusions of either:

    a. everything having been created by a higher power who had the foresight to plan for and design in evolution as a method of making our planet more easily self-sustaining due to diversity of consumption and productivity of all living things whether they have recognizable intelligence or not

    b. having randomly sprung forth over some incredibly long period of time due to an imbalance of some kind in the "energy" of whatever nondiscernible dimension which caused a point of origin of an enormous release of "energy" in our discernable dimensions which has caused virtually infinite manifestations of matter and antimatter, including life as we currently define it

    or

    2. Everything has always existed and either

    a. randomly assimilated into various states of all forms of energy and matter / antimatter including what we define as life

    b. has been meticulously utilized by a higher power of some kind with such omnipotence that even seemingly random interactions ultimately have equal and opposite reactions, including the creation of and destruction of what we define as life

    In my opinion, evolution, whether planned by a higher power (perhaps even one that exists in dimensions postulated by scientists to exist which have yet to be able to actually observe) or simply due to the continued course of interactions of energy and all forms of matter, is now actually observable through our photographic and video records of just humans over the course of those technologies, and even moreso when we see drawings and paintings from hundreds of years ago, assuming that they are reasonably accurate. We as humans are taller and heavier. Even our facial structures seem to be changing over time.

    Even in our homes it is obvious when comparing homes without remodeling changes from over the years. Cabinetry is significantly taller today than it used to be, toilets are taller and a little more elongated, furniture and bedding is larger overall. Again, we are taller and heavier than we once were, and the rate of change seems to be accelerating, likely due to improved nutrition and healthcare and the different characteristics which have now become more desirable. I believe that the ease of supporting a taller and heavier stature has led to an evolution of a good portion of our species at a far more rapid pace.

    Where it all started though, I wasn't there when / if it did, and have no clue whether the reports of being able to see back to a half billion years of the instant of the "big bang" are accurate, or if somehow there is more complexity in the system than we are capable of understanding given current technological and logistical obstacles and we are actually way off even in our assumptions about what we perceive to be constants.

    Maybe our universe is contained inside the equivalent of a subatomic particle that is constantly changing and interacting with others within an incomprehensibly large system which we would perceive as other dimensions if we were capable of doing so?

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    This crap used to drive me crazy when I would contemplate it. What would there be if there wasn't life? There has to be something right? The fact that there is life is pretty much a miracle IMO. I've always been one to question but just that fact makes a GOD (whatever anybody might define as God) a more likely possibility. Even the people that believe in evolution have to admit that everything started from something. What created that something in the first place?

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Regardless of how life came to be, there's still the much deeper question of how/why nature permits life to exist in the first place. Even if one accepts abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution, those only explain how the potential for life to exist was realized, not how/why that potential exists in the first place. This is the question of the nature of nature; it not only wonders how/why existence is, but why it is as it is.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    This is a passionate subject to me as one who is a proud member of Team Science. I highly recommend you read this whole article if you are at all interested in learning the way evolution really works. I just pasted a snippet.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...-observations/

    Evolution: A Game of Chance | Observations

    By Christie Wilcox | January 11, 2012
    One of the toughest concepts to grasp about evolution is its lack of direction. Take the classic image of the evolution of man, from knuckle-walking ape to strong, smart hunter: We view this as the natural progression of life. Truth is, there was no guarantee that some big brained primates in Africa would end up like we are now. It wasnít inevitable that we grew taller, less hairy, and smarter than our relatives. And it certainly wasnít guaranteed that single celled bacteria-like critters ended up joining forces into multicellular organisms, eventually leading to big brained primates! Evolution isnít predictable, and randomness is key in determining how things change. But thatís not the same as saying life evolves by chance. Thatís because while the cause of evolution is random (mutations in our genes) the processes of evolution (selection) is not. Itís kind of like playing poker Ė the hand you receive is random, but the odds of you winning with it arenít. And like poker, itís about much more than just what youíre dealt. Outside factors Ė your friendís ability to bluff you in your poker game, or changing environmental conditions in the game of life Ė also come into play. So while evolution isnít random, it is a game of chance, and given how many species go extinct, itís one where the house almost always wins.

    99.99% of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct.
    Last edited by PaceBalls; 04-26-2013 at 02:23 PM.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    This is such a complicated subject. I find that while it can be interesting and rewarding to research and read about it, it can also be a huge turn off. The former for the obvious reasons, the latter because I tend to wrinkle my nose when people get arrogant. "It must be God." "There can't be a God." "That is impossible." In my opinion those kinds of quotes get said a lot and I usually find it arrogant and presumptive.

    For me, I think there are things that sound 'magical' to me that may nonetheless be part of reality. I also think our culture is saturated in nonsense, and I think science goes a long way in removing the garbage, but I sometimes fear it throws the baby out with all of the bathwater, too.

    I don't know what the answers are. I like science, I think it's a super important, super powerful tool/method, but I don't like how some people get dogmatic about it and treat it like a belief system. I also think there might be a God, there might be an afterlife, we may be more than our physical bodies, time might be more of an illusion than we think it is. But I don't know. I wish I did. I feel like I won't ever know for sure.

    Frankly, it gets hard to even read up on certain topics like this because there's usually a strong bias injected into the research and analysis. A lot of people make assumptions and treat them as facts and then attack, ridicule, and discredit anything that might suggest their assumptions are wrong. And I find that very unscientific, and I find that extremely unproductive at best, destructive at worst.

    Speaking of what I find unscientific, the popular Saganism, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," fits that bill in my opinion. Why? Because who gets to rule on or to decide what qualifies as 'extraordinary'? I think the answer is nobody. I think an adjective like 'extraordinary' has no place in science. What might seem ordinary to you may seem extraordinary to someone else, and vice versa.

    Claims require evidence in order to be proven as fact. Whether or not anyone does or does not find those claims 'extraordinary' is completely irrelevant.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    I think Sagan defined what he meant by "extraordinary" as being contrary to established laws of science.

    Thus if I claim to have built a perpetual motion machine, my evidence better be pretty good to warrant anyone paying me even a moment of attention.

    If I claim that it rained a whole lot last week then my assertion is pretty much obvious (or not) to anyone in a position to have shared that experience, and I need not have much data to support that assertion.
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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Slick Pinkham View Post
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    I think Sagan defined what he meant by "extraordinary" as being contrary to established laws of science.

    Thus if I claim to have built a perpetual motion machine, my evidence better be pretty good to warrant anyone paying me even a moment of attention.

    If I claim that it rained a whole lot last week then my assertion is pretty much obvious (or not) to anyone in a position to have shared that experience, and I need not have much data to support that assertion.
    I see your point, but this concept still falls prey to subjectivity with regards to how much or what kind of evidence does it take to be seen as 'extraordinary' and again who gets to make that call? The one making the claim? The one denying the claim? Someone else? It's subjective to try to label it as 'extraordinary' or even 'pretty good'.

    And what if the claim has to do with something difficult to capture? I mean 'we all thought' giant squids were a myth for however many centuries... until they finally documented one. You know? It's one thing if the claim is based in newtonian physics (in terms of how easy or difficult it is to replicate the claim), but what if it isn't?

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    I'm a passionate Christian and a young minister (though not yet ordained), so I have an opinion on this. I will not shove it down anyones throat so if anyone has any questions about the truth of creation, message me or email me. Though, if you message me to argue you are not going to get a response so do not bother.

    As it says in Romans 14:

    Welcome those who are weak in faith, but do not argue with them about their personal opinions.
    Last edited by BearBugs; 04-26-2013 at 06:28 PM.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thingfish View Post
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    This is a passionate subject to me as one who is a proud member of Team Science. I highly recommend you read this whole article if you are at all interested in learning the way evolution really works. I just pasted a snippet.
    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/...-observations/

    Evolution: A Game of Chance | Observations

    By Christie Wilcox | January 11, 2012
    One of the toughest concepts to grasp about evolution is its lack of direction. Take the classic image of the evolution of man, from knuckle-walking ape to strong, smart hunter: We view this as the natural progression of life. Truth is, there was no guarantee that some big brained primates in Africa would end up like we are now. It wasnít inevitable that we grew taller, less hairy, and smarter than our relatives. And it certainly wasnít guaranteed that single celled bacteria-like critters ended up joining forces into multicellular organisms, eventually leading to big brained primates! Evolution isnít predictable, and randomness is key in determining how things change. But thatís not the same as saying life evolves by chance. Thatís because while the cause of evolution is random (mutations in our genes) the processes of evolution (selection) is not. Itís kind of like playing poker Ė the hand you receive is random, but the odds of you winning with it arenít. And like poker, itís about much more than just what youíre dealt. Outside factors Ė your friendís ability to bluff you in your poker game, or changing environmental conditions in the game of life Ė also come into play. So while evolution isnít random, it is a game of chance, and given how many species go extinct, itís one where the house almost always wins.

    99.99% of all the species that have ever existed are now extinct.
    Someone needs to put down the 1960's textbooks and read some 21st-century peer-reviewed literature. The notion that random mutation is the driving creative force behind evolution is a relic of a past ignorance; it has no basis in reality.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Hicks is 100% correct. All claims require sufficient evidence; nothing more, nothing less. What Sagan really means by "extraordinary" is claims which challenge his metaphysical presuppositions, thus, it becomes a statement of dogmatism, not skepticism.

    For example, Sagan accepted both abiogenesis and the notion that random mutation could, and did, engineer life -- two seemingly extraordinary claims -- while never observing either. He accepted them because they gelled with his worldview, thus, his standards for what qualifies as evidence were significantly lowered. Sagan was as dogmatic as any Christian zealot, and in some ways even worse, as he masqueraded his dogmatism as proven science.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Hicks View Post
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    This is such a complicated subject. I find that while it can be interesting and rewarding to research and read about it, it can also be a huge turn off. The former for the obvious reasons, the latter because I tend to wrinkle my nose when people get arrogant. "It must be God." "There can't be a God." "That is impossible." In my opinion those kinds of quotes get said a lot and I usually find it arrogant and presumptive.

    For me, I think there are things that sound 'magical' to me that may nonetheless be part of reality. I also think our culture is saturated in nonsense, and I think science goes a long way in removing the garbage, but I sometimes fear it throws the baby out with all of the bathwater, too.

    I don't know what the answers are. I like science, I think it's a super important, super powerful tool/method, but I don't like how some people get dogmatic about it and treat it like a belief system. I also think there might be a God, there might be an afterlife, we may be more than our physical bodies, time might be more of an illusion than we think it is. But I don't know. I wish I did. I feel like I won't ever know for sure.

    Frankly, it gets hard to even read up on certain topics like this because there's usually a strong bias injected into the research and analysis. A lot of people make assumptions and treat them as facts and then attack, ridicule, and discredit anything that might suggest their assumptions are wrong. And I find that very unscientific, and I find that extremely unproductive at best, destructive at worst.

    Speaking of what I find unscientific, the popular Saganism, "Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence," fits that bill in my opinion. Why? Because who gets to rule on or to decide what qualifies as 'extraordinary'? I think the answer is nobody. I think an adjective like 'extraordinary' has no place in science. What might seem ordinary to you may seem extraordinary to someone else, and vice versa.

    Claims require evidence in order to be proven as fact. Whether or not anyone does or does not find those claims 'extraordinary' is completely irrelevant.
    I would think the definition of what is an extraordinary claim is fairly obvious. I could tell you 2+2=4 and you could count your fingers and reach the same conclusion. If I told you that I was born from a virgin, well that is an extraordinary claim. The lack of evidence also would contribute to how extraordinary a claim is. I am pretty surprised you would argue this of all things in regards to scientific thinking.

    I agree there are things that can't be explained, but the skeptical mind would naturally require more evidence as proof and be on the side of caution rather than belief in regards to outrageous claims such as miracles clairvoyance and magic or whatever.
    Last edited by PaceBalls; 04-27-2013 at 12:04 AM.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrangeRusHibbert View Post
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    Someone needs to put down the 1960's textbooks and read some 21st-century peer-reviewed literature. The notion that random mutation is the driving creative force behind evolution is a relic of a past ignorance; it has no basis in reality.
    Did you read the article?

    The whole point of this article is that mutation plays a part but selection is the guiding force. How can you dispute that?

    What is this new fangled 21st century evolution you so highly tote then? Are you going to tell me something about Intelligent Design?
    Last edited by PaceBalls; 04-27-2013 at 12:16 AM.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thingfish View Post
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    I would think the definition of what is an extraordinary claim is fairly obvious. I could tell you 2+2=4 and you could count your fingers and reach the same conclusion. If I told you that I was born from a virgin, well that is an extraordinary claim. The lack of evidence also would contribute to how extraordinary a claim is. I am pretty surprised you would argue this of all things in regards to scientific thinking.

    I agree there are things that can't be explained, but the skeptical mind would naturally require more evidence as proof and be on the side of caution rather than belief in regards to outrageous claims such as miracles clairvoyance and magic or whatever.
    Obviously there are going to be cases where the vast majority would agree that it is probably an extraordinary claim, but it is still a subjective adjective that has no place in science, and it's especially ridiculous to try to objectively describe evidence as extraordinary or not extraordinary. Evidence is evidence. How 'extraordinary' it allegedly is or is not is subjective.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thingfish View Post
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    Did you read the article?

    The whole point of this article is that mutation plays a part but selection is the guiding force. How can you dispute that?

    What is this new fangled 21st century evolution you so highly tote then? Are you going to tell me something about Intelligent Design?
    Selection is a culling process; it eliminates the absolute weakest of organisms, nothing more. If it's the primary "guiding force" for Darwinian evolution, then I say it's time we give Darwinian evolution a nice burial in the pseudoscience cemetery, right next to astrology. As the saying goes, natural selection can explain the survival of the fittest, but it can't explain the arrival of the fittest, and that's where the heart of the controversy lies.

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    Default Re: The Origin of Life/Evolution?

    Quote Originally Posted by GrangeRusHibbert View Post
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    As the saying goes, natural selection can explain the survival of the fittest, but it can't explain the arrival of the fittest, and that's where the heart of the controversy lies.
    Wait for it....wait for it.....


    Well, I guess we're waiting for it.

    Hey GRH, what can explain the arrival of the fittest??

    And what does that mean?
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