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In a world of skepticism, is it still possible to believe?

In a world of skepticism, is it still possible to believe?

(6:50) Can we explain religion away? American Christian apologist and pastor of Redeemer Church in NYC, Tim Keller argues that we can't. From a talk at The Veritas Forum, University of California, 2008. Full video

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Guest: Sly588 (3357 days ago)
Oh dear, puerile semantics. An informed appreciation of Darwinian selection reveals that evolution effortlessly proceeds without any predetermined goal or final 'perfection'; it is a constantly contingent process that shapes and reshapes all living entities according to their changing environment and circumstances. The fact that our ancestors achieved self awareness and levels of consciousness, as we currently understand it, can in no-way vouch safe or legitimise any of the accompanying belief's, instincts or customs that have filtered down to us today. Indeed it has taken most of human history to fully recognise and appreciate the true potency, value and far reaching implications of impartial rational thought. It is only really now that the philosophical ideals of the 'Enlightenment' have filtered down to substantial proportions of the non-academic, general populations of the West to allow widespread secularism to flourish naturally and to permit more than a tiny minority here to finally recognise default religious indoctrination for the irrational and pervasive force that it really is. For complex cultural reasons the US seems to be lagging behind Europe but the groundswell continues. It might sound patronisingly trite but to gain some appreciation of how much of religiously liberated Europe views US Christianity, you only need reflect a moment upon how you regard fundamentalist Islam; it holds that level of incomprehension! I'm sorry if that lowers the tone.
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Oh dear, puerile semantics. An informed appreciation of Darwinian selection reveals that evolution effortlessly proceeds without any predetermined goal or final 'perfection'; it is a constantly contingent process that shapes and reshapes all living entities according to their changing environment and circumstances. The fact that our ancestors achieved self awareness and levels of consciousness, as we currently understand it, can in no-way vouch safe or legitimise any of the accompanying belief's, instincts or customs that have filtered down to us today. Indeed it has taken most of human history to fully recognise and appreciate the true potency, value and far reaching implications of impartial rational thought. It is only really now that the philosophical ideals of the 'Enlightenment' have filtered down to substantial proportions of the non-academic, general populations of the West to allow widespread secularism to flourish naturally and to permit more than a tiny minority here to finally recognise default religious indoctrination for the irrational and pervasive force that it really is. For complex cultural reasons the US seems to be lagging behind Europe but the groundswell continues. It might sound patronisingly trite but to gain some appreciation of how much of religiously liberated Europe views US Christianity, you only need reflect a moment upon how you regard fundamentalist Islam; it holds that level of incomprehension! I'm sorry if that lowers the tone.
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Guest: Redback (3357 days ago)
"a constantly contingent process that shapes and reshapes all living entities..." I would posit that if you truly understood the immeasurable unlikelihood of processes that move an organism from one state to another in favour of - instead of detrimental to - it's survival, let alone from one species to another, you would understand how tenuous and grasping evolutionary theory really is.
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"a constantly contingent process that shapes and reshapes all living entities..." I would posit that if you truly understood the immeasurable unlikelihood of processes that move an organism from one state to another in favour of - instead of detrimental to - it's survival, let alone from one species to another, you would understand how tenuous and grasping evolutionary theory really is.
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Guest: Sly588 (3356 days ago)
At the risk of sounding facile your comment implies a fundamental misunderstanding of the level at which selection actually operates within evolution; this is, I'm afraid, an all too common misconception that invariably and quite understandably induces incomprehension. No Darwinian suggests that individual organisms are subject to evolutionary change; they're not and cannot possibly be. As far as selection is concerned, beyond living and dying NO complex organism can be 'moved from one state to another' as you put it; it simply doesn't work that way. More specifically, the element of 'change' per se doesn't even take place during selection, how could it? Differential selection can only operate on pre-existing genetic diversity within an entire species and the speed of that selection process can only normally operate at a phenomenally slow rate; one dependent upon thousand upon thousands or reproductive cycles. If there is insufficient genetic diversity present or the environmental change occurs too rapidly, the species will either have to relocate or become extinct; it has few other options. Microorganisms reproduce within seconds and their growing resistance to antibiotics is a good example of an evolution 'arms race' in action. Genetic diversity, drift if you will, also takes place over many generations which for most species requires geological time scales and to be lasting must, by necessity, be absolutely minute; individually imperceptible! Most gross/large scale mutations prove disadvantageous and are usually fatal to individuals. Minute genetic variation is a gradual natural process and the older a cohesive population, the greater the genetic diversity within it. Hence, there is more genetic diversity found within any given African ethnic group/tribe than in the rest of Europe put together!
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At the risk of sounding facile your comment implies a fundamental misunderstanding of the level at which selection actually operates within evolution; this is, I'm afraid, an all too common misconception that invariably and quite understandably induces incomprehension. No Darwinian suggests that individual organisms are subject to evolutionary change; they're not and cannot possibly be. As far as selection is concerned, beyond living and dying NO complex organism can be 'moved from one state to another' as you put it; it simply doesn't work that way. More specifically, the element of 'change' per se doesn't even take place during selection, how could it? Differential selection can only operate on pre-existing genetic diversity within an entire species and the speed of that selection process can only normally operate at a phenomenally slow rate; one dependent upon thousand upon thousands or reproductive cycles. If there is insufficient genetic diversity present or the environmental change occurs too rapidly, the species will either have to relocate or become extinct; it has few other options. Microorganisms reproduce within seconds and their growing resistance to antibiotics is a good example of an evolution 'arms race' in action. Genetic diversity, drift if you will, also takes place over many generations which for most species requires geological time scales and to be lasting must, by necessity, be absolutely minute; individually imperceptible! Most gross/large scale mutations prove disadvantageous and are usually fatal to individuals. Minute genetic variation is a gradual natural process and the older a cohesive population, the greater the genetic diversity within it. Hence, there is more genetic diversity found within any given African ethnic group/tribe than in the rest of Europe put together!
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MissAlanius MissAlanius (3357 days ago)
We have no choice but to believe in evolution because that's what the evidence says. If there was evidence for God, we would have no choice but to believe in God. That's how it works, evidence dictates the truth, not an ancient book, a con man's fantasy, or a personal desire for meaning.
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We have no choice but to believe in evolution because that's what the evidence says. If there was evidence for God, we would have no choice but to believe in God. That's how it works, evidence dictates the truth, not an ancient book, a con man's fantasy, or a personal desire for meaning.
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Guest: James Serville (3356 days ago)
Surrey_Tidal_wave..I did stop..Then looked at porm I mean porn..And I liked it...Especially the movies of naked woman and men with big willies..Thank you for your suggestion...Hallelujah
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Surrey_Tidal_wave..I did stop..Then looked at porm I mean porn..And I liked it...Especially the movies of naked woman and men with big willies..Thank you for your suggestion...Hallelujah
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Guest: (3357 days ago)
not the belief itself helped us, the possibility to make things up to explain situations helped us to survive, from simple what if questions to detailed imagining of future events, religion is just a byproduct of our brains having nothing to do when not out in the wild e.g. a human might ask himself, why were today so many deer out there, he has no answer, maybe he links it to the weather or something else natural, or he thinks someone/thing might have elped him -> gods/spirits are born
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not the belief itself helped us, the possibility to make things up to explain situations helped us to survive, from simple what if questions to detailed imagining of future events, religion is just a byproduct of our brains having nothing to do when not out in the wild e.g. a human might ask himself, why were today so many deer out there, he has no answer, maybe he links it to the weather or something else natural, or he thinks someone/thing might have elped him -> gods/spirits are born
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Guest: RichardJN (3357 days ago)
He's missing the point. When a scientist "believes" in a theory, he means that he has tested it against the evidence, weighed the alternatives, and finds it convincing. When a pastor "belives" in a deity, it means he accepts his faith and gut-feeling that this deity exists. Because religious people "believe" in this way, they can't understand why scientists don't "believe" in the same way. So they unintentionally talk past us.
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He's missing the point. When a scientist "believes" in a theory, he means that he has tested it against the evidence, weighed the alternatives, and finds it convincing. When a pastor "belives" in a deity, it means he accepts his faith and gut-feeling that this deity exists. Because religious people "believe" in this way, they can't understand why scientists don't "believe" in the same way. So they unintentionally talk past us.
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Guest: analogy (3353 days ago)
Latest comment: For what it's worth, the best analogy I have found for evolution is movies. Everyone is familiar with movies - the key thing is that there is motion. But when you find out how they work, it turns out that there is no motion at all. Each frame is perfectly stationary, and the appearance of motion is something of an illusion. This is true whether it is on the big screen or on a computer display. The analogy is that an individual is like a single frame. The individual's genetic makeup is fixed. The individual's offspring - the next generation - are like the next frame. They too are genetically fixed, but they may be slightly different from their parents. When you view them as a film (or as a flick book), then it seems to be moving. A 90-minute movie at 24 frames per second has 129,600 frames. Life has been around on Earth for about 3 thousand million years. For most of that time it was single-celled bacteria, so one generation might last only a few hours. Human generations are about 25 years long. A very simple approximation is that on average life has had 3 thousand million generations - though this is almost certainly too small a figure. Even so, at one generation per frame, that works out at a movie almost 4 years long. Given how much can happen in a few seconds of movie, it's not hard to see that a great deal can happen in 4 years.
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Latest comment: For what it's worth, the best analogy I have found for evolution is movies. Everyone is familiar with movies - the key thing is that there is motion. But when you find out how they work, it turns out that there is no motion at all. Each frame is perfectly stationary, and the appearance of motion is something of an illusion. This is true whether it is on the big screen or on a computer display. The analogy is that an individual is like a single frame. The individual's genetic makeup is fixed. The individual's offspring - the next generation - are like the next frame. They too are genetically fixed, but they may be slightly different from their parents. When you view them as a film (or as a flick book), then it seems to be moving. A 90-minute movie at 24 frames per second has 129,600 frames. Life has been around on Earth for about 3 thousand million years. For most of that time it was single-celled bacteria, so one generation might last only a few hours. Human generations are about 25 years long. A very simple approximation is that on average life has had 3 thousand million generations - though this is almost certainly too small a figure. Even so, at one generation per frame, that works out at a movie almost 4 years long. Given how much can happen in a few seconds of movie, it's not hard to see that a great deal can happen in 4 years.
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Guest: this is SPARTA! (3356 days ago)
Both seem like a religion to me. Most people have no understanding of the theory but still believe because they have a kind of faith in the clever people who cannot be wrong. And if you question the theory you become a target for ridicule. Since you have no alternative cast iron explanation you must not question the 'truth'. It is permissible in all disciplines of science to ask 'could I be wrong?' But this is not tolerated when evolution is discussed. To me the jury is still out and I am yet to be persuaded either way. Don't like dogmatism, period.
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Both seem like a religion to me. Most people have no understanding of the theory but still believe because they have a kind of faith in the clever people who cannot be wrong. And if you question the theory you become a target for ridicule. Since you have no alternative cast iron explanation you must not question the 'truth'. It is permissible in all disciplines of science to ask 'could I be wrong?' But this is not tolerated when evolution is discussed. To me the jury is still out and I am yet to be persuaded either way. Don't like dogmatism, period.
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Guest: Redback (3355 days ago)
I'm in full agreement with you, Sparta. I enjoy the intellectual vigour in discussions on this topic, but too often it descends into ridicule by highbrows. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the tenor of the conversation here.
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I'm in full agreement with you, Sparta. I enjoy the intellectual vigour in discussions on this topic, but too often it descends into ridicule by highbrows. I have to say I'm pleasantly surprised by the tenor of the conversation here.
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Guest: klavier (3357 days ago)
Tim Keller's argument is based on a logical fallacy. Humans have a need to explain phenomena and that has most certainly contributed to our survival. Because of a lack of understanding of these phenomena, humanity devised a means to explain them using a set of mystical tales based on some kind of mystical being. The sad thing is that by the time science was able to explain the phenomena using tests and empirical observation, the fairy tales had become too inexorably linked with human culture to be able to dismiss them for what they are.
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Tim Keller's argument is based on a logical fallacy. Humans have a need to explain phenomena and that has most certainly contributed to our survival. Because of a lack of understanding of these phenomena, humanity devised a means to explain them using a set of mystical tales based on some kind of mystical being. The sad thing is that by the time science was able to explain the phenomena using tests and empirical observation, the fairy tales had become too inexorably linked with human culture to be able to dismiss them for what they are.
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Guest: Redback (3357 days ago)
What empirical tests and observations are you referring to? Evolution has never been tested or observed.
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What empirical tests and observations are you referring to? Evolution has never been tested or observed.
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Guest: (3357 days ago)
it's tested and been observed many times, every microbiological lab in a hospital that has to deal with multiresistent bacteria is experiencing evolution right now
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it's tested and been observed many times, every microbiological lab in a hospital that has to deal with multiresistent bacteria is experiencing evolution right now
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Guest: (3357 days ago)
I believe that would be classified as mutation and adaptation, which is infinitely less complex than evolution from one species to another.
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I believe that would be classified as mutation and adaptation, which is infinitely less complex than evolution from one species to another.
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Guest: SLY588 (3356 days ago)
Yes exactly, mutation and adaption! Lets make this simple: suppose, for the sake of argument, that one of those adaptions you refer to actually represent a 1/1000,000th of a 1% change in that bacteria's genome; so small you'd hardly notice anything but the fact that it survived okay? (You do realise that the only thing that can adapt or mutate are the genes right?). Now in a constantly hostile environment (modern medicine) that strain of bacteria must keep on adapting or it will quickly die out - and that in practice is exactly what they do. So if after 100,000,000 individually imperceptible adaptions how much of the original species might be left do you think? What about after a billion adaptions, a trillion eve? Big numbers you say? Well, bacteria are capable of mind numbingly fast exponential growth - in favourable conditions they can reproduce 1000,000 cells in just 7 hours! Think about a year's change ..... you do the maths. Oh, and as we share over 98% of our DNA with Chimps, how much genetic change do you really think you need between species to make them distinct?
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Yes exactly, mutation and adaption! Lets make this simple: suppose, for the sake of argument, that one of those adaptions you refer to actually represent a 1/1000,000th of a 1% change in that bacteria's genome; so small you'd hardly notice anything but the fact that it survived okay? (You do realise that the only thing that can adapt or mutate are the genes right?). Now in a constantly hostile environment (modern medicine) that strain of bacteria must keep on adapting or it will quickly die out - and that in practice is exactly what they do. So if after 100,000,000 individually imperceptible adaptions how much of the original species might be left do you think? What about after a billion adaptions, a trillion eve? Big numbers you say? Well, bacteria are capable of mind numbingly fast exponential growth - in favourable conditions they can reproduce 1000,000 cells in just 7 hours! Think about a year's change ..... you do the maths. Oh, and as we share over 98% of our DNA with Chimps, how much genetic change do you really think you need between species to make them distinct?
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Guest: Redback (3356 days ago)
Sly588, the problem I have with evolutionary theory is encapsulated is in this phrase of yours: "that strain of bacteria must keep on adapting or it will quickly die out - and that in practice is exactly what THEY DO." Mutation is not something that an organism "does". Evolution is not a "force" that is exerting itself on all organisms, driving them to a higher state of survival or being, nor is it a "response mechanism" to detrimental environmental factors. An organism doesn't mutate in response to environmental conditions. Evolution theory, if I'm not mistaken, is based on incremental naturally-occurring genetic mutations. If the mutation is favourable, it helps the organism survive. If not, it dies. The issue thus becomes one of probability; that an organism will manifest countless successive utterly random mutations over generations that are beneficial, and survive breeding with other non-mutated members of it's species, to ultimately move the whole species forward. And then multiply that probability by the number of species of plants and animals on the planet, and it becomes quite overwhelming.
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Sly588, the problem I have with evolutionary theory is encapsulated is in this phrase of yours: "that strain of bacteria must keep on adapting or it will quickly die out - and that in practice is exactly what THEY DO." Mutation is not something that an organism "does". Evolution is not a "force" that is exerting itself on all organisms, driving them to a higher state of survival or being, nor is it a "response mechanism" to detrimental environmental factors. An organism doesn't mutate in response to environmental conditions. Evolution theory, if I'm not mistaken, is based on incremental naturally-occurring genetic mutations. If the mutation is favourable, it helps the organism survive. If not, it dies. The issue thus becomes one of probability; that an organism will manifest countless successive utterly random mutations over generations that are beneficial, and survive breeding with other non-mutated members of it's species, to ultimately move the whole species forward. And then multiply that probability by the number of species of plants and animals on the planet, and it becomes quite overwhelming.
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Guest: Sly588 (3356 days ago)
Well yes, you are mistaken, like so many others you seem to have all the emphasis the wrong way around and that tends to distort understanding. You are right that it is vanishingly improbable that in complex organisms anything could or would mutate on demand (improbable but not impossible) but as that is not an essential requirement, I'm not making that claim. Likewise, evolution is NOT a force in and of itself and it certainly has NO 'mechanism' nor does it in any way 'DRIVE' genetic mutation as such; they are entirely separate and exclusive processes. At its most simplistic level Evolution is merely the cumulative consequences of NON-RANDOM differential selection over time, nothing more. And just to emphasise that point, the 'selection' in question is anything but random and, as always, this is where so many go wrong. The 'agent of choice', the 'Selector' itself, is the force of change in the subject's environment, whether that be food shortage, climate, predators, parasites or anything else providing that survival comes under pressure. It therefore follows: no pressure, no evolution irrespective of trait utility or usefulness. Regarding mutation, all of this action takes place in the germ line reproductive cell cycle: where chromosomes, nuclei, cellular organelles etc, are all torn apart and recomposed in new unique combinations. These include the processes of mitosis, meiosis and cytokinesis etc during which every species randomly shuffles their genetic content to produce a unique offspring; this is what stops us becoming clones of our parents and also why we have sex. Although programmed genetically, it is a complex yet randomly haphazard process which frequently results in minor duplications, sequence reversals, incomplete copies and misalignments etc: simplistic, easy to understand subtle modifications that we call mutations. If they are benign and functionless they will persist and will become passed on indefinitely (our own DNA is littered with such examples). However, genes seldom operate in isolation and form more complex 'polygenes', any mutation finding itself in one of those may, in the presence of others, form a different or modified genetic (phenotypical) effect. The truth is that you will need a proper appreciation of all the natural processes involved to truly understand evolution. At its most simplistic level, once you grasp all of the disparate processes involved, evolution becomes such a logical, rational and, above all, elegant theory that, to my mind, it would require the deliberate conscious dabbling of an outside agent to actually PREVENT it from happening; which is, of course, the absolute antithesis of 'Intelligent Design'.
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Well yes, you are mistaken, like so many others you seem to have all the emphasis the wrong way around and that tends to distort understanding. You are right that it is vanishingly improbable that in complex organisms anything could or would mutate on demand (improbable but not impossible) but as that is not an essential requirement, I'm not making that claim. Likewise, evolution is NOT a force in and of itself and it certainly has NO 'mechanism' nor does it in any way 'DRIVE' genetic mutation as such; they are entirely separate and exclusive processes. At its most simplistic level Evolution is merely the cumulative consequences of NON-RANDOM differential selection over time, nothing more. And just to emphasise that point, the 'selection' in question is anything but random and, as always, this is where so many go wrong. The 'agent of choice', the 'Selector' itself, is the force of change in the subject's environment, whether that be food shortage, climate, predators, parasites or anything else providing that survival comes under pressure. It therefore follows: no pressure, no evolution irrespective of trait utility or usefulness. Regarding mutation, all of this action takes place in the germ line reproductive cell cycle: where chromosomes, nuclei, cellular organelles etc, are all torn apart and recomposed in new unique combinations. These include the processes of mitosis, meiosis and cytokinesis etc during which every species randomly shuffles their genetic content to produce a unique offspring; this is what stops us becoming clones of our parents and also why we have sex. Although programmed genetically, it is a complex yet randomly haphazard process which frequently results in minor duplications, sequence reversals, incomplete copies and misalignments etc: simplistic, easy to understand subtle modifications that we call mutations. If they are benign and functionless they will persist and will become passed on indefinitely (our own DNA is littered with such examples). However, genes seldom operate in isolation and form more complex 'polygenes', any mutation finding itself in one of those may, in the presence of others, form a different or modified genetic (phenotypical) effect. The truth is that you will need a proper appreciation of all the natural processes involved to truly understand evolution. At its most simplistic level, once you grasp all of the disparate processes involved, evolution becomes such a logical, rational and, above all, elegant theory that, to my mind, it would require the deliberate conscious dabbling of an outside agent to actually PREVENT it from happening; which is, of course, the absolute antithesis of 'Intelligent Design'.
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Guest: Redback (3355 days ago)
I follow your line of reasoning here Sly588, with my limited grasp of all the natural processes involved. I understand how environmental pressures affect selection on a species, in that those with a random mutation which better enables them to survive said pressures ensure the survival of the species and over time alter the characteristics of that organism. But it's still a massive intellectual leap for me, at least mathematically, to grasp how the selection process led to the diversity of species we see on the planet; from one simple primordial proto-cell we have bacteria, whales, roses and man.
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I follow your line of reasoning here Sly588, with my limited grasp of all the natural processes involved. I understand how environmental pressures affect selection on a species, in that those with a random mutation which better enables them to survive said pressures ensure the survival of the species and over time alter the characteristics of that organism. But it's still a massive intellectual leap for me, at least mathematically, to grasp how the selection process led to the diversity of species we see on the planet; from one simple primordial proto-cell we have bacteria, whales, roses and man.
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Guest: Sly588 (3354 days ago)
I appreciate your dilemma, I had it myself before the penny dropped. The problem is that you are attempting to take in the entire show with one quick glance; effectively trying to compress all of nature and geological time down into a comfortable human perspective. But instead, do the opposite and shift down to the macro world: The smallest unit of self replicating life is DNA and NOT the organisms it constructs; DNA is the basic unit and it is identical in all living things. Every part of every living thing is made of the same 'stuff' and it is interchangeable. DNA forms the 4 base 'digital' instruction unit: the gene and it is genes that build and maintain host organisms (i.e. us) to ensure THEIR own survival. NB regardless of how it looks and feels, we are built to serve gene survival, not the other way around! If you care to look, you'll discover that you also carry many inactive gene sequences, some capable of contributing to the construction and functions of many other life forms; again recall that we share over 95% of our DNA with chimps; that is no coincidence! Just reflect upon how vulnerable DNA and gene sequences are to damage, copying errors, chemical change, biological attack, reproductive competition, solar rays etc and then marvel at how any replicated sequence of it ever manages to pass intact through generation after generation of host bodies. Consider also that each and every gene originally derived from a mutation itself as the very first single cells required minimal DNA/gene instructions. Now think of biological evolution in terms of stalagmite formation: each water droplet contains the merest trace of mineral, barely perceptible even under a microscope; and yet over the millennia countless billions of them drop and each individual leaves an imperceptible trace of its passing, but over the eons a structure is formed. This is analogous to the scale and speed at which evolution runs and any development, no matter how small is powerfully cumulative and exponential when played out over large enough time scales. The important point is that, at any given moment, everything appears in equilibrium and every species is in its complete and fully functional form as nothing is in transition or moving towards a predetermined goal; like a stalagmite that can only be discerned in hindsight. I hope this helps?
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I appreciate your dilemma, I had it myself before the penny dropped. The problem is that you are attempting to take in the entire show with one quick glance; effectively trying to compress all of nature and geological time down into a comfortable human perspective. But instead, do the opposite and shift down to the macro world: The smallest unit of self replicating life is DNA and NOT the organisms it constructs; DNA is the basic unit and it is identical in all living things. Every part of every living thing is made of the same 'stuff' and it is interchangeable. DNA forms the 4 base 'digital' instruction unit: the gene and it is genes that build and maintain host organisms (i.e. us) to ensure THEIR own survival. NB regardless of how it looks and feels, we are built to serve gene survival, not the other way around! If you care to look, you'll discover that you also carry many inactive gene sequences, some capable of contributing to the construction and functions of many other life forms; again recall that we share over 95% of our DNA with chimps; that is no coincidence! Just reflect upon how vulnerable DNA and gene sequences are to damage, copying errors, chemical change, biological attack, reproductive competition, solar rays etc and then marvel at how any replicated sequence of it ever manages to pass intact through generation after generation of host bodies. Consider also that each and every gene originally derived from a mutation itself as the very first single cells required minimal DNA/gene instructions. Now think of biological evolution in terms of stalagmite formation: each water droplet contains the merest trace of mineral, barely perceptible even under a microscope; and yet over the millennia countless billions of them drop and each individual leaves an imperceptible trace of its passing, but over the eons a structure is formed. This is analogous to the scale and speed at which evolution runs and any development, no matter how small is powerfully cumulative and exponential when played out over large enough time scales. The important point is that, at any given moment, everything appears in equilibrium and every species is in its complete and fully functional form as nothing is in transition or moving towards a predetermined goal; like a stalagmite that can only be discerned in hindsight. I hope this helps?
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Guest: Sly588 (3355 days ago)
To reiterate because this is so important. Just because a mutation might be favourable or could potentially aid survival DOES NOT mean that it must be passed on, nor does it follow that useless ones will therefore die out: It is non-random differential selection that is the ultimate decider and negative mutations are just as likely to stay if accompanied by more useful positive ones. Mutations are random and cumulative, selection is particular and incremental and you are just as likely to get the rough with the smooth. You need not wrestle with huge compound probabilities when each and every selection stands independently on its own without any dependence on the past or the future. turn the telescope around and the same image is transformed!
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To reiterate because this is so important. Just because a mutation might be favourable or could potentially aid survival DOES NOT mean that it must be passed on, nor does it follow that useless ones will therefore die out: It is non-random differential selection that is the ultimate decider and negative mutations are just as likely to stay if accompanied by more useful positive ones. Mutations are random and cumulative, selection is particular and incremental and you are just as likely to get the rough with the smooth. You need not wrestle with huge compound probabilities when each and every selection stands independently on its own without any dependence on the past or the future. turn the telescope around and the same image is transformed!
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Guest: Surrey_Tidal_Wave (3357 days ago)
He is right Jesus is your safior and you can only be safed through believed. Don't fall into sin see NYC for example!!!!!!!!!!! Stop look at porm.
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He is right Jesus is your safior and you can only be safed through believed. Don't fall into sin see NYC for example!!!!!!!!!!! Stop look at porm.
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Guest: Millhouse (3354 days ago)
PORM? Is that what you get from a SAIFOR? Safe me Jeebus!
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PORM? Is that what you get from a SAIFOR? Safe me Jeebus!
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Guest: Brutus (3357 days ago)
Whether you disagree or agree - it is nice to see a person of faith given a chance to be articulate and reasoned rather than just lampooned.
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Whether you disagree or agree - it is nice to see a person of faith given a chance to be articulate and reasoned rather than just lampooned.
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Guest: Millhouse (3354 days ago)
I don't mean to sound patronising even though I know that it will; but to most non-theists Christianity has no more legitimacy than Viking Runes, Astrology, magic crystals or fortune cookies. If you find it impossible to give any serious credence to Zeus, Odin, Osiris, Vishnu, Baal, or Ganesh welcome to the club, you're an atheist like me but, as Dawkins so eloquently points out, we just go one myth further than you. How polite do you have to be when confronted by someone espousing that the world is flat, World leaders are really Alien Reptiles or your Grandfather has been reincarnated as a donkey? I'm afraid that all the evidence implies that the Abrahamic God is up there with the rest of them ....... I.e. no evidence at all. Sorry
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I don't mean to sound patronising even though I know that it will; but to most non-theists Christianity has no more legitimacy than Viking Runes, Astrology, magic crystals or fortune cookies. If you find it impossible to give any serious credence to Zeus, Odin, Osiris, Vishnu, Baal, or Ganesh welcome to the club, you're an atheist like me but, as Dawkins so eloquently points out, we just go one myth further than you. How polite do you have to be when confronted by someone espousing that the world is flat, World leaders are really Alien Reptiles or your Grandfather has been reincarnated as a donkey? I'm afraid that all the evidence implies that the Abrahamic God is up there with the rest of them ....... I.e. no evidence at all. Sorry
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Guest: (3357 days ago)
One set of beliefs held in imperfect brains is not equal to all other held by it. The difference beween the belief in à god and belief in evolution is that the latter has been supported by countless independent tests and observations. Using the same basic principles which have tangibly and dramatically shaped our surroundings (science). The former however have nil explanatory or predictive power, are totally interchangeable with other religions and in the end really only offer some ephemeral experiential aspect. This is why religion is more suspect in being an illusion than a belief in evolution.
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One set of beliefs held in imperfect brains is not equal to all other held by it. The difference beween the belief in à god and belief in evolution is that the latter has been supported by countless independent tests and observations. Using the same basic principles which have tangibly and dramatically shaped our surroundings (science). The former however have nil explanatory or predictive power, are totally interchangeable with other religions and in the end really only offer some ephemeral experiential aspect. This is why religion is more suspect in being an illusion than a belief in evolution.
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