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How can evolution/abiogenesis possibly happen on it's own?


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#1 Libre

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 09:03 PM

This is something I've been pondering and debating off and on for, well, as long as I can remember, and I'm sure the same can be said for many of you. The more I look into it, the more I'm convinced that there has to be some conscious, intelligent force "out there" if you will, but more likely and accurately, "in here" somewhere, that is guiding the evolutionary process. To me, the wonder and the practicality of it all is too much of a coincidence for it to have all just miraculously taken shape on it's own. Take the simplest life form, a single celled organism. The idea behind abiogenesis is that lipids floating around in the primordial soup formed the first cells, which I can accept, since this is an observable fact that is known to happen on it's own. Where I become skeptical is where the dna or rna comes into play. How and why would a complex chain of molecules spontaneously form on it's own, by chance become engulfed by a lipid cell wall for protection, and then proceed to self replicate? I know it's been proven that they can form on their own, but how would they by nature duplicate themselves spontaneously? This is completely counter intuitive to the way a non-living thing works. You don't see rocks self replicating. You don't see the moon creating new moons. How is it possible for a completely non-living thing to spontaneously self replicate? It makes no sense.

Furthermore, in regards to evolution itself, certain things are too difficult for me to believe there is not some intelligent consciousness behind it all that is looking at what will work, and directing the dna in that way. Certain things may happen on their own, such as certain birds developing larger beaks, simply because the seeds of a particular locale may be larger, and as such, those with larger beaks proliferate and those with smaller beaks don't do so well. However, take a trait such as tentacles that some of the first organisms developed to direct food into their mouths. How would this have just spontaneously materialized by chance around the mouth? Why not the base or the side? If it served no detriment, it would have remained a species and we would have seen it in the fossil record. Or how about gills? Or lungs for that matter? Or the circulatory system? How did those magically evolve? And why? There had to be some intelligence there that sensed the interaction of gases and liquids and thought "Hey, I could use this gas to power a new kind of cell that would give these organisms better interaction with their environment".

Another example that is quite pertinent to this forum is certain psychoactive compounds. The idea that plants just randomly, by chance, form a variety of compounds that happen to plug quite nicely into a neurotransmitter in our brain which regulates happiness, thus creating a mystical experience in those who ingest those plants, giving a sense of unity with all of creation and a sense of empathy for nature, seems too complex of an interaction to be called an accident.

Enzymes, the eye, the brain itself, the list can go on and on of things that I would deem too complex to have simply evolved on their own without some sort of intelligent guidance behind it. Perhaps I'm preaching to the choir here, but does anyone have any input on this? Maybe you can elaborate my points for me, or perhaps clarify any misconceptions I may have. Also, any links anyone has on the specifics of certain aspects of evolution, such as eye evolution, enzyme evolution, etc, would be of great interest. Thanks in advance!
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#2 lysergic

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Posted 08 September 2010 - 09:34 PM

I don't really have an answer to your question at the moment,
but I thought that you might find this interesting:



http://mycotopia.net/forums/attachment.php?attachmentid=187400&stc=1&d=1283999600

A yellow-bellied three-toed skink carrying embryos, visible as light orbs inside its body.



Brian Handwerk
for National Geographic News
Published September 1, 2010
Evolution has been caught in the act, according to scientists who are decoding how a species of Australian lizard is abandoning egg-laying in favor of live birth.

Along the warm coastal lowlands of New South Wales (map), the yellow-bellied three-toed skink lays eggs to reproduce. But individuals of the same species living in the state's higher, colder mountains are almost all giving birth to live young.
Only two other modern reptiles—another skink species and a European lizard—use both types of reproduction.
Evolutionary records shows that nearly a hundred reptile lineages have independently made the transition from egg-laying to live birth in the past, and today about 20 percent of all living snakes and lizards give birth to live young only.
But modern reptiles that have live young provide only a single snapshot on a long evolutionary time line, said study co-author James Stewart, a biologist at East Tennessee State University. The dual behavior of the yellow-bellied three-toed skink therefore offers scientists a rare opportunity.
"By studying differences among populations that are in different stages of this process, you can begin to put together what looks like the transition from one [birth style] to the other."

Eggs-to-Baby Switch Creates Nutrient Problem

One of the mysteries of how reptiles switch from eggs to live babies is how the young get their nourishment before birth.
In mammals a highly specialized placenta connects the fetus to the ovary wall, allowing the baby to take up oxygen and nutrients from the mother's blood and pass back waste.

In egg-laying species, the embryo gets nourishment from the yolk, but calcium absorbed from the porous shell is also an important nutrient source.
Some fish and reptiles, meanwhile, use a mix of both birthing styles. The mother forms eggs, but then retains them inside her body until the very last stages of embryonic development.
The shells of these eggs thin dramatically so that the embryos can breathe, until live babies are born covered with only thin membranes—all that remains of the shells.
This adaptation presents a potential nourishment problem: A thinner shell has less calcium, which could cause deficiencies for the young reptiles.
Stewart and colleagues, who have studied skinks for years, decided to look for clues to the nutrient problem in the structure and chemistry of the yellow-bellied three-toed skink's uterus.
"Now we can see that the uterus secretes calcium that becomes incorporated into the embryo—it's basically the early stages of the evolution of a placenta in reptiles," Stewart explained.

Evolutionary Transition Surprisingly Simple

Both birthing styles come with evolutionary tradeoffs: Eggs are more vulnerable to external threats, such as extreme weather and predators, but internal fetuses can be more taxing for the mother.


For the skinks, moms in balmier climates may opt to conserve their own bodies' resources by depositing eggs on the ground for the final week or so of development. Moms in harsh mountain climates, by contrast, might find that it's more efficient to protect their young by keeping them longer inside their bodies.
In general, the results suggest the move from egg-laying to live birth in reptiles is fairly common—at least in historic terms—because it's relatively easy to make the switch, Stewart said.
"We tend to think of this as a very complex transition," he said, "but it's looking like it might be much simpler in some cases than we thought."

The skink-evolution research was published online August 16 by the Journal of Morphology.





http://news.national...ive-birth-eggs/

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Edited by lysergic, 08 September 2010 - 09:41 PM.


#3 hallucinogeneti

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:13 AM

I like talking about this so apologies for the long rant....

Many things in evolution are theories. It's hard to say whether or not we'll be able to trace the exact steps on how eyes evolved. But time and time again it's has been proven that it is possible. Evolution is a fact, it's a fact that we have eyes. So unless you think that evolution stopped at some point along the way, you must concede that eyes evolved.

The guiding force you speak of is simply the laws of physics. No one knows why the things exist so you can call them god, you can call it what you want. The world today is the product of said laws at work for a long long long time.

The fact that we're complex makes us seem pretty special, but take a bigger look. For every advantage humans and all other organisms have (like eyes, or other senses) there are a thousand disadvantages. Needing to eat, needing sleep, having soft fleshy skin that can easily be damaged, not being able to use echo-location, not being able to breath underwater. Not to mention the many vestigial body parts (appendix, male nipples, body hair) examples of things that once had an advantage but are no longer needed. The more you focus on reality the more glaringly un-intelligent the design becomes. The more it seems like a product of one very long system of trial and error. Trial and error inevitably gets many things right, but also many things wrong. Whales have back legs buried under their blubber, cave creatures have leftover eyes on they're head but are still blind. Any flightless bird. If we didn't evolve from the water why are we 70% water? why do we and all other organisms need it to survive?

What evolution really is is just a perspective change for people, albeit a humbling and ego shattering one. Nothing stays the same, time passes and patterns emerge, that is all it means. Look at any major city and try to imagine it's humble beginnings as a few shacks next to a stream. Think of how you climb a mountain, -one step at a time. look at a simple sperm and egg turn into an amazingly complex creature.

Like I said perspective, think of a puddle that looks at the hole it's in and it thinks the hole was perfectly crafted for it, when in reality the puddle filled the hole. Things aren't always as they seem at first glance, we're energy blips on a big graph.

Anyways with all the biodiversity on this planet it only makes sense that some animals will have longer arms, quicker wits, lighter bones, an sharper teeth than others.

the American society for biochemistry and microbiology website here outlines a study that demonstrates one of the ways rna can become more complex through a kind of fusion.

some links about theories of eye evolution

here's a wikipedia article
here's a video

#4 yogin

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:35 AM

I saw a very articulate argument against intelligent design by Neil deGrasse Tyson describing the many ways that nature was not designed well or designed well for us. "Stupi design" is teh name of the talk if you want to google it. The one that stuck the most in my mind was..
" Whats this going on between our legs? An entertainment complex in the middle of a sewage system...No engineer would design that AT ALL!"

#5 finite_synapses

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:40 AM

Pick up an introductory zoology book or something. It'll show you the slight changes brought about by BILLIONS of years that have culminated in the world as we now see it. Things change over time, and given enough time some of those things will tend to dominate. As for changes in DNA, there may have been a mutation that caused these primordial creatures genetic scripture to change according to the shit that it had going on. We all know that DNA is able to mutate, but to say that DNA didn't serve a different function during the beginnings of life is to concede to suppositions.
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#6 Libre

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:34 AM

Needing to eat, needing sleep, having soft fleshy skin that can easily be damaged, not being able to use echo-location, not being able to breath underwater.


Actually, there are some people out there that claim to not need to eat, some mystics. Whether this claim is true or not is yet to be seen. Also, the echo location thing is definitely not true, blind people are able to use it extremely well, to the point where they can walk up to something, do some clicks, and be like "Oh, a telephone booth.".

I want to make one thing clear. I'm not debating whether evolution actually happened. I firmly believe that the way things came to be in this world is through an extremely slow transition over billions of years from the simplest cell to the largest and most complex animal tree and fungi. What I'm arguing is whether this transition came about as a result of blind mutation or if there is some conscious force in every living thing that knows what might work and what might not and guides that creatures dna in that direction. Things like eating and sleeping are just a reality of functioning in a material world where energy is expended and as such needs to be replenished.

A few things about eye evolution. In the video, he says that eye evolution would have taken place by "favoring those with a transparent lens over the simple eye", or something to that effect, which would allow them to focus them image. This is interesting, but why would nature randomly mutate, first a photoreceptive patch of nerves, and then by chance, a thin transparent layer of skin over that patch that would act as a lens? How would it know that this is a beneficial thing to do? Why would it not mutate first some fur in that spot, just because the skin around it was doing the same stuff? Or some other strange thing that it could mutate besides a microthin layer of skin? Furthermore, why is it that in every eye you see, it's two light sensitive spots right next to each other. If this was a random mutation, don't you think you would see some species with strangely placed spots? Or maybe a species that mutated a whole body full of light sensitivity? Either of those things would have no detriment, and if placed properly or in the right environment, those sorts of creatures would thrive I think.

Second, here's a fact that has to be dealt with. As you can see in that video, the eye flips the image upside down, but somehow our brains turn it right side up. How in the hell does that work out by chance? We could have easily functioned quite well in a world where everything was upside down, but for some reason, our minds evolved a little flip switch to interpret the image as right side up. How would that have possibly evolved on it's own?

Finally, I looked into that "stupid design theory". Here's what I found:

http://uncyclopedia....i/Stupid_Design

Interesting, but I don't agree. Here's the list of "stupid designs" that it talks about:


While some of those are obviously meant to be a joke, it's really quite a condescending theory of anyone who questions evolution, and also ignores the fact that, while some things may look "stupid" to us, it's really the smartest way for that animal to exist in the environment, and so many aspects of that animals anatomy are incredibly intelligent.

#7 MycoDani

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:24 AM

Very interesting and good points by everyone! I have enjoyed everything I have read. For me the eye is an evolutionary process that comes from when we split from the primates. Evolution of primates and humans follow a straight line till at one point in time we split from them and homo superior, australopithecus robustus, Tong child, and others were born "created" whatever you want to call it for lack of a better word and from just some of these examples the human species was refined and evolved to survive in their environments.

I also believe we will continue to evolve and I believe it is the environment as well as a universal creation that aids us in evolution of humans as a species. Therefore evolution is a universal creation imo. Why can't it be both why is it always evolution or intelligent design what if evolution is intelligent design?

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#8 PsychoDrogue

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 08:02 AM

I have no extra insight into this conversation but I did have a thought a few weeks ago that blew my mind and is related...

I was at a friends house that grows a lot of tropical plants. One of his orchids/pitcher plants had some very large flowers on it that looked very similar to a rather large hornet or bee. i mean, this thing looked almost exactly like a bee, but quite larger. My friend explained that the plant evolved this way for a reason, which i now have forgotten. The thing he couldn't answer, is how the hell a plant could possible know what a bee looked like in the first place in order to mimic its appearance. plants obviously dont have eyes.

That leads into a twilight zone kinda topic... There is a video out there of a man that worked for nasa that claims to have been taken aboard an alien vessel and traveled in time. i know, very likely BS... what stands out about it in relation to this topic, is he claims to have been taken to various points in pre-history on earth. He had the opportunity to take some shitty polaroids (as this took place in the 70s or 80s if memory serves me correctly). One of his photos was claimed to be a plant with eyes. The picture did not convince me of that since the quality was so lame, but if its a possibility it would explain how the plant i mentioned above might have known what a bee looks like, and possibly a hint at how eyes came about in the first place. I myself and pretty skeptical about his entire story, but its worth mentioning IMO.

#9 TVCasualty

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 12:57 PM

The idea behind abiogenesis is that lipids floating around in the primordial soup formed the first cells, which I can accept, since this is an observable fact that is known to happen on it's own. Where I become skeptical is where the dna or rna comes into play. How and why would a complex chain of molecules spontaneously form on it's own, by chance become engulfed by a lipid cell wall for protection, and then proceed to self replicate? I know it's been proven that they can form on their own, but how would they by nature duplicate themselves spontaneously?


Answering those questions is the Holy Grail of molecular biology. There's a lot of fascinating stuff out there about it, and it seems to be directly related to protein folding.

Biological systems are epitomized by a high level of organization, both in space and time. This organization has both inherited and spontaneous components. Genome organization and development takes temporal cues passed down over the course of evolution and reproduction. However, organization of macromolecules (both intra- and intermolecular) into complex structures is often spontaneous. Protein folding is one of the more spectacular examples of self-organization seen in biological systems. Often without the input of external energy, small monomeric proteins can fold into very organized, compact structures that show little structural variation around the biologically active `native state'. This folding process often involves a hundred or more residues, corresponding to thousands of protein (and solvent) atoms. http://iopscience.io...015001/fulltext


Here's a link to a short (and highly technical) video explaining some of the process. A good bit of it went over my head, but there were enough comprehensible parts to get a sense of what's going on: http://hstalks.com/m...6&s_id=22&c=252

DNA is made up of folded protein chains,the proteins are formed from amino acids, and at least one amino acid has been found on a comet (many have been found in meteorites):
http://www.newscient...on-a-comet.html

But wait, there's more!

Spontaneous formation of amino acids in the absence of liquid water has been observed in a simulated interstellar gas cloud:

But now Max Bernstein and Jason Dworkin of the SETI Institute, together with colleagues Scott Sandford, George Cooper, and Lou Allamandola of NASA's Ames Research Center, have made an astounding discovery. They did so by going into their lab and simulating the dusty, interstellar clouds that formed the planets and Sun. Icy dust grains were stuffed into a vacuum chamber at bitterly cold temperatures, and exposed to artificial starlight. After giving the grains some time, the researchers checked out the grains, and found four of the amino acids that make up earthly life - the building blocks of biology, constructed without the benefit of liquid water!

...You might be thinking, what's the big deal? Acids made in warm water or in cold ice? What do I care? The reason to care is this: comets and asteroids that might occasionally harbor pools of liquid water could be rare. Maybe a lot of solar systems don't have an asteroid belt or a cloud of handy comets. If cooking up the ingredients of life requires liquid water in space, then life itself might be as rare as white rhinos.

But all planetary systems are made from cold dust clouds. They're truly universal. So forming amino acids on cold dust grains is more than an esoteric laboratory exercise. The implications of this remarkable experiment are that biology might be as common as planets themselves.
http://www.space.com...tak_020404.html


For me, it all still boils down to what I like to call the First Cause (as in "cause and effect"). Nearly everything that happens in the universe is an effect or reaction (strange quantum phenomena -called Hawking Radiation- occurring at the event horizons of black holes may be an exception), but at some point it seems to me there had to be an event that was not caused or was not a reaction to some other action; that's the little push (the first cause) that got the whole ball rolling and once we figure that out all the rest will hopefully fall neatly into place. That said, we may never be able to figure that out beyond forming an untestable theory since we may not ever be able to recreate the proper initial conditions to test it.

No matter how deep we probe, the Mystery either remains intact or gets even more mysterious. I'm ok with that since answering the fundamental question of the origin of our existence would probably take a lot of the profundity out of tripping our collective balls off.

Edited by TVCasualty, 09 September 2010 - 01:04 PM.


#10 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:21 PM

Here's your First Cause - Gravity:


http://www.guardian....ig-bang-creator

God did not create the universe, the man who is arguably Britain's most famous living scientist says in a forthcoming book.

In the new work, The Grand Design, Professor Stephen Hawking argues that the Big Bang, rather than occurring following the intervention of a divine being, was inevitable due to the law of gravity.

In his 1988 book, A Brief History of Time, Hawking had seemed to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. But in the new text, co-written with American physicist Leonard Mlodinow, he said new theories showed a creator is "not necessary".

The Grand Design, an extract of which appears in the Times today, sets out to contest Sir Isaac Newton's belief that the universe must have been designed by God as it could not have been created out of chaos.

"Because there is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing," he writes. "Spontaneous creation is the reason there is something rather than nothing, why the universe exists, why we exist.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to light the blue touch paper and set the universe going."

In the forthcoming book, published on 9 September, Hawking says that M-theory, a form of string theory, will achieve this goal: "M-theory is the unified theory Einstein was hoping to find," he theorises.

"The fact that we human beings – who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature – have been able to come this close to an understanding of the laws governing us and our universe is a great triumph."

Hawking says the first blow to Newton's belief that the universe could not have arisen from chaos was the observation in 1992 of a planet orbiting a star other than our Sun. "That makes the coincidences of our planetary conditions – the single sun, the lucky combination of Earth-sun distance and solar mass – far less remarkable, and far less compelling as evidence that the Earth was carefully designed just to please us human beings," he writes.

Hawking had previously appeared to accept the role of God in the creation of the universe. Writing in his bestseller A Brief History Of Time in 1988, he said: "If we discover a complete theory, it would be the ultimate triumph of human reason – for then we should know the mind of God."

Hawking resigned as Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at Cambridge University last year after 30 years in the position.

#11 Libre

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 01:49 PM

what if evolution is intelligent design?


Exactly.

TV, interesting stuff. I didn't know that amino acids were found in space, but given the fact that amino acids were created from nothing but electrified water and minerals in a lab, it doesn't surprise me.

The video you posted exactly illustrates my point. Look at how incredibly complex that stuff is, and how it has a "native state" that is not the lowest energy state for it to be in. Unless I'm understanding it incorrectly, proteins somehow "know" what their native state is supposed to be. If they didn't somehow "know", they would just flail around like long snakes, rather than fold into very specific shapes.

Take for example some info I learned about proteins and enzymes in my nutrition class. I didn't pass the class, so bear with me if I mess anything up, but this is my understanding of it. The purpose of enzymes is to break down molecules into a useful form for the cells of the body. In order to do this, there are enzymes for every single molecule the body needs to break down. It breaks them down by what is called a lock and key method. The enzyme is the key, and the molecule chain is the lock. As such, every enzyme that is suited for every particular molecule is shaped EXACTLY like that molecule, except in reverse, so that the molecule can enter the enzyme and have it's chemical bond broken. Like I said, this is my very basic understanding of it, but to me, that's fucking incredible.

And finally, psychodrogue, excellent point! I almost forgot this aspect of it. How about camoflage? What the hell is that all about? How could a caterpillar or bug or anything for that matter's genes know what the environment around it looks like, texture and all, and then randomly mutate in a way that miraculously mimics that texture/color, not just close, but precisely? Here's some pictures to illustrate the point:

Posted Image
Posted Image
Posted Image

^^The one on the left looks like a bird dropping!!

Couldn't get this one to work, but it's definitely work it:

http://3.bp.blogspot... camouflage.jpg

I mean, I understand that in certain cases, like in the case of the pepper moth, those that stand out will be naturally selected to extinction, but with stuff like this, what the fuck!?
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#12 dial8

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 02:42 PM

One thing we should all remember is that evolutionary processes are still greatly misunderstood. Im not saying that evolution did not happen Im just saying its hard for anyone to fathom these processes considering the enormous aount of time it takes for these things to occur. These kinds of vast time apans are simply unfathomable.

I am also not saying that there is not an outside "higher" force that started it all either. Both scenarios are very plausible to me and both are just as incomprhensible.

#13 hallucinogeneti

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 03:11 PM

Good replies!

the plant that has a flower which looks like a bee causes the illusion that a plant could somehow know what a bee looks like. But it's just an illusion Camoflage is a similar phenomenon. Lizards don't need to know that they look like a tree and consciously make an effort to look like them. The lizard nor it's genes has any idea that it looks like a tree. It's just that in that particular species of lizards existence, the ones that looked more like trees were able to flourish more than non-tree like lizards.

Dial 8 makes a good point. It's hard to fathom how long this takes. It doesn't take an intelligent force, it just takes a long time, predators and alot of breeding.

The banana is an example of artificial selection. Once a small bitter inedible seed filled piece of crap is now a big yellow nutritious fruit because of our selectiveness in which ones survived. The lizards camo skin comes about the same way, just with different forces at work.

I think what your really asking cannot be answered at this point. Why does information organize itself at all? And that's more of a physics question. We know how it organizes itself but why? still working on that.

#14 TVCasualty

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 03:32 PM

How about camoflage? What the hell is that all about? How could a caterpillar or bug or anything for that matter's genes know what the environment around it looks like, texture and all, and then randomly mutate in a way that miraculously mimics that texture/color, not just close, but precisely?


One type of critter that I'm stumped by regarding how they managed to evolve are woodpeckers.

There are great survival advantages to be had in being able to get to the bugs that are hiding under bark or to create a nest/shelter from a solid tree trunk so I can see how woodpeckers have endured once they emerged, but their specialized shock-absorbing skulls almost certainly didn't evolve all at once.

To me, the problem is that to be able to hammer holes in trees with their heads, woodpeckers have to have their specialized skulls, beaks, and brain cushioning in place before unleashing a single peck. A bird without the necessary traits would most likely knock itself out, break its beak, or kill itself if it slammed its head into a tree. It seems highly unlikely that an egg hatched one day and a fully-formed woodpecker popped out. It's also highly unlikely (as far as I can tell) that an incremental mutation would 1) give a bird a hard enough beak with the right shape, 2) create a shock-absorbing skull that allows a bird to slam its head into a tree without injury, AND 3) compel the bird to engage in woodpecking behavior -alter its pre-pecker instincts- in the first place thus utilizing the other unlikely mutations. All that would have to happen simultaneously PLUS the new species would have to successfully mate and pass on the traits (which I suppose would have to be dominant).

Or it could just be that our/my current understanding of evolution isn't sufficiently advanced like dial8 pointed out.

Amino acids form in interstellar gas clouds, the acids combine into proteins on a suitable planet, the proteins fold and DNA/life is formed, life evolves and diverges until one form is a tree, another is an animal that smacks its head into the tree, and a third is an animal that thinks about animals that smack their heads into trees. It's all very strange no matter how it happened. :special:

#15 Libre

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 04:03 PM

You bring up another interesting point TV, and that's the topic of new species emergence. Another thing I've pondered before, with no conclusive answer.

In order for a new species to emerge, not only does a mutation have to happen in one organism, but that identical advantageous mutation has to occur in two organisms, one male and one female, and to top it all off, those two organisms have to be in close enough of a location to each other to be able to find each other, mate, and thus start the progeny of said new species. The probability of this happening is not only unsettlingly mind-boggling, but something about evolution that I have seriously been struggling with.

#16 StheNC

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 05:55 PM

While I'd like to discuss various points made by several persons who've posted in this thread, I'm posting from my phone so that will have to wait. In leiu of a an atheist diatribe I shall provide a link to an article that discusses one of my favorite theories on The Origin Of Life On Earth. ( A topic for another day may be, "What do you consider LIFE? Is it strictly biological or is the Universe itself ALIVE?")

I attempted to post the full text of the article but due to the constraints of my phone's OS, the process proved to be unreasonably laborious.

http://m.discovermag...e-evolve-in-ice

#17 Oblivion

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:19 PM

Great topic Libre. To answer your question Libre, you first have to reduce it to a manageable equation. Keeping the question simple keeps the answer simple. Asking yourself a couple simple questions can do that quickly. Before we start asking questions though, we have to exclude man from two of these questions. If man were included, the scale would unfairly tip towards creation. We are the Arkenstone if you will, the most spectacular of all precious things to behold. Only the final question will involve man, after all, it is man that asks these questions. Would it not be proper to include that nature in the equation?

First off, we need to take a look at the argument of an imperfect design.

The fact that we're complex makes us seem pretty special, but take a bigger look. For every advantage humans and all other organisms have (like eyes, or other senses) there are a thousand disadvantages. Needing to eat, needing sleep, having soft fleshy skin that can easily be damaged, not being able to use echo-location, not being able to breath underwater. Not to mention the many vestigial body parts (appendix, male nipples, body hair) examples of things that once had an advantage but are no longer needed. The more you focus on reality the more glaringly un-intelligent the design becomes. The more it seems like a product of one very long system of trial and error. Trial and error inevitably gets many things right, but also many things wrong. Whales have back legs buried under their blubber, cave creatures have leftover eyes on they're head but are still blind. Any flightless bird. If we didn't evolve from the water why are we 70% water? why do we and all other organisms need it to survive?


I'm not picking on you hallucinogeneti, but this is a variation of a well used argument against intelligent design or creation. Lets take a look at it though and see where it leads us.
This argument and others like it suggests that life is not a perfect design. It's not even a good design. In fact, it barely gets by with error after error. In order to determine if something is perfect or imperfect you will need some examples to compare against. If there are no examples, then a determination can not be made stating the level of 'correctness' of any given thing. So lets ask the question. What example has life been measured against? More to the point, what do we have to look at that can show us that life is imperfect or perfect for that matter. What ever this this thing is, it needs to be perfect so we know what perfect is or imperfect if you like. I'll go grab a beer while you try and think of one.
I'm sure some folks would like to poke that dead argument with a stick but in the end, there are no examples to compare against period, a determination can not be made. If one is made, it's comprised of primarily speculation. During the struggle of anyone trying to find a perfect thing to compare life against, they will come closer and closer to describing what many call god.

Now that we've established there are no examples of perfection to compare against, we may discard that argument until some are provided and move on to the next question. Does life work properly? Again, we have no external sample to compare against. Since we arent talking about perfect life, we could compare various life forms on earth and make some reasonable assumptions on how it's supposed to work and whether it works or not. That very concept starts to lead us towards a design. Designs are supposed to work a certain way. Lets ignore that for now though. Things live, reproduce and adapt to environmental changes. That seems to be the general idea on how life is supposed to work. So the answer is yes, life works properly. Not only does it work properly, one might say it works better than one could ever hope for. Life of every sort exists everywhere on earth.

So far we have life may or may not be perfect and it works properly. We also know that we have no external example to compare against so we are still dealing with speculation or at best, reasonable assumptions.

For this final question, lets look at the framework of life. Things we know and things that can be proven or demonstrated reliably and things that are true but cant be reproduced. Its the known and undeniable framework that lead me to a final conclusion when I asked myself the very question you asked yourself. I used the word framework because life has a structure and a program that is executed upon conception. These programs and subroutines seem to be executed flawlessly for each specific form of life. Salmon swim upstream to spawn and migratory birds carry out the biological program on schedule. 60,000 bees work as one and the single spider weaves its web for thousands. The oak branches grow down while the maple branches grow up. The platypus lays eggs and the skink gives birth. The diversification is complete and without void. Now, after billions of years, plants give fruit in great abundance and the earth is ripe and full. So emerges man, a culmination of niche filling. A crossing of all things possible by all other life forms. An evolutionary refinement that has no example to compare against. If we choose, we may fly. If it pleases us we may travel to the deepest of the depths. At our leisure we escape this terrestrial prison for the simple amusement of placing a flag on the moon. We are the near final expression of life. A construct that took place over billions of years, following the rules of physics, it's assembly is near completion. We stand alone in traits but not alone in life. We may ask ourselves if we have a purpose. And that is the final question. Do you have a purpose? If you answer no to that question then your answer is we are an accidental merging of proteins and this is all meaningless beyond reproduction. If you do have a purpose, then you were given purpose by one greater than you, the one that constructed you.
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#18 StheNC

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 06:53 PM

I have a purpose. It was not given to me, and it may not be everyone's purpose. I chose my purpose. My purpose is to enjoy myself as much as I can without hindering other's enjoyment, to learn as much as I can about all that there is and to spread happiness and positivity as far and wide as I may.

#19 Oblivion

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 07:29 PM

Mmm, that's close to mine, I was in line for booth 12, what booth were you in line for?

#20 SilvrHairDevil

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Posted 09 September 2010 - 09:41 PM

Is this an Evolution vs ID thread?

The quick and dirty answer to that is: God Created Evolution.

Both sides happy, case closed. Questions?




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