Why Evolution?

Discussion in 'Science and Technology' started by eagleseven, Apr 22, 2010.

  1. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    I was thinking today, of an unusual phenomenon in biology...the tendency for lay persons to consider themselves qualified to seriously argue for or against theories in biology.

    In almost every case where this occurs, grossly incorrect assumptions are made and the field of genetics is blatantly ignored. For people unacquainted with these topics, lay arguments seem plausible, but to those with in-depth knowledge of the field, the absurdity of these claims is painfully apparent.

    What puzzles me is that these people persist, but not in other fields. You do not see lay persons arguing the merits of string theory, or dark matter, or polymer synthesis, or computational theory. These topics require just as much background as evolutionary biology, in order to discuss honestly, yet laypersons intrinsically realize this.

    What is so special about evolution, that every average joe imagines himself a master of the topic? Is it the fact that it goes to the very core of what it means to be human? Or is it simply because it blatantly disregards the teachings of half-a-dozen religions?

    ---

    What makes me consider this topic now? Today, we were discussing techniques for building artificial lifeforms, and how we can utilize evolutionary mechanisms to rapidly optimize our designs, simplifying the process.

    This would not be possible, if evolution was false. Yet, here we are, in 2010, building organisms through evolution. Playing "god," so to speak.


    While lay people are busy convincing themselves that evolution is an atheist lie, we are using those very principles to do the once unimaginable...making life from non-life.
     
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  2. Baruch Menachem
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    Baruch Menachem '

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    It really gets to the heart of theology more than any other topic.


    Are we just lucky chimps, or are we the special darlings of a juvenile delinquent god with a cruel sense of humor? is there a plan, or is our existence due to lucky rolls of the celestial dice.

    This is the last stand man can make for special existence. If we give up here, there is no point.

    I have to admit that I am conflicted here, as I don't want to go where the logic of evolution leads.
     
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  3. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    You are speaking of abiogenisis. Here is a very good article on that subject.

    Lies, Damned Lies, Statistics, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations

    One of the questions in abiogenisis is chirality. Yet, from the creation of a favored handedness in space, by light, to that created when lipid compounds form spheres in nano-cavities in feldspars, we see chiral processes in all realms of the pre-biotic environment.

    And the best arguement for the ease of life forming from non-life is that we see signs of life from the very earliest periods in the Earth's history.
     
  4. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Baruch, why should one that believes in a Diety have a problem with abiogenisis and evolution? After all, by how quickly life formed on this planet, it would seem that the laws of the universe are planned for life. As for being a Diety's special creation, the fact that we now have minds that can conceive of at least part of the glory of the universe is gift enough. Should we fail to use that gift, we have only ourselves to blame.
     
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  5. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    One could argue that, given the laws of physics, as the universe grows, the probability of self-aware life developing reaches 1.

    In this sense, we are special, as we are part of the next stage of the natural development of the universe. This doesn't presume, however that we are the best, or final, stage in the Universe's growth.

    The fact that we have discovered planets outside our solar system that could support earth-like life is evidence of this. Earth is not unique in this galaxy, let alone the Universe.
     
  6. Old Rocks
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    Old Rocks Diamond Member

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    Which means, of course, that in all probability, we are not unique, either. So if we muck up our nest bad enough, if there be a Diety, it may just consider us to be a failed start of no importance, whatsoever.
     
  7. eagleseven
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    eagleseven Quod Erat Demonstrandum

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    Indeed.

    The people of Iceland and Haiti learned this the hard way.
     
  8. Dr Gregg
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    Dr Gregg BANNED

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    Was watching the LIfe series yesterday and was seeing very cool behavior, even in insect, and especially in the Primates one, and each example given we see that behavior in humans. We are like a culmination of animal behavior, as a whole.

    There was two groups of baboons (equivalent to human "gangs) that were having a brawl over territory. THere was male bees killing each other over the female, and even taking out the females sometimes in the process, we see humans do things similar to that, especially the killing of our own species, which is rare in the animal world but does happen.

    During the baboon battle, some females would try and escape to the other group, and those that failed, the males would give them a beat down, and keep their females in check, sounds like pimps.

    Then you get the primates, especially chimps, and their passing down of knowledge to the next generation, their trial and error and ingenuity, having different "groups" have new and unique ways to find food, and use tools to get the food. Even one clip of a male giving his tool to a female to break open nuts, with empathy have been observed in the animal world. Again, all things we see in humans

    YOu watch this, read the news and see how animals behave, and I think "how can people think humans are not animals.

    it's just pure denial and dishonesty to not accept this fact, just so they can feel special.
     
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  9. SpidermanTuba
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    SpidermanTuba BANNED

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    Not true. Laypeople think they know everything there is to know about atmospheric science and computer modeling all the time.

    See, not true. With regards to climate simulations, there are plenty of laypeople who believe themselves the foremost experts in computational theory - even though most of them have never written a single line of code.

    Sweet. I love that sort of think. I wrote a chess program a few years back that learned by evolutionary programming. It consisted of a pool of 50 or so chess "engines", each slightly different in the way they value a position. They played each other, the winners stuck around, the losers were killed off and replaced with very slightly altered copies of the winners. The program's average performance improved by over 250 ELO points in less than 10,000 games.
     
  10. JBeukema
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    JBeukema BANNED

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    Yeah, well, fuck you :)
    Feel free to correct me if ever I am incorrect. :eusa_angel:

    In fact, I think you have a few times :lol:
    It doesn't really take all that much in the way of formal education to get a reasonable grasp of things. It mostly takes a willingness to learn and the balls to admit when you're wrong.
    They love to 'argue' astronomy and astrophysics when they're arguing for the 7-day creation.

    Also, they love to pretend to have debunked radio-decay dating and archeology.

    Can you cite your source for the highlighted claim. Surely such an accomplishment would have made sciencedaily and every other news outlet worldwide...
     

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