Notices
Results 1 to 100 of 100

Thread: The Life of Mammals

  1. #1 The Life of Mammals 
    2112
    Guest
    I just ordered this BBC documentary starring David Attenborough and I must say, this is the best documentary on Mammals so far. It far exceeds my expectations and anything that the Discovery Channel has put out. They start with Marsupials, one of the earliest mammals, and branch out to placental mammals (like us) where the babies are born independent. They classify and show so many different mammals and how each is adapted to its environment and specific diets that it's hard to imagine that there is no intelligent design in this world. These animals are SO specific to what they need to survive.

    But what I'm wondering is: I know that when things evolve over millions of years, that is a lot of time to change. But I wonder how and when and why these animals made the choices they did. It must have been quite a struggle. And how did the animals body parts adapt to what they needed them to? I think of it like a plant. When you watch a plant in your living room grow, it does nothing. But when you take a photograph every day and after a year flip through the photos, then you can see the plant making it's choice to grow toward the sun and you can see it move. Mammals must have been like this, where they change over time. But some species have stopped changing, except maybe in size. Some of these species have stayed exactly the same because their diets and conditions have not changed in millions of years. I just wonder why their bodies change to be perfect for what they intend to do. It's so weird.

    I also ordered Blue Planet, with David Attenborough, and it should be here any day. It's about the ocean. I can't wait to see it.


    Reply With Quote  
     

  2.  
     

  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    I like mammals. The most interseting class I took involving mammals was a physical anthroplology class where we learned the origins of primates, which are mammals.


    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  4. #3  
    2112
    Guest
    You know what's really bizarre? You're sounding more and more like me when I was 17 Buffstuff. Now that's weird.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  5. #4  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Hi 2112,

    But what I'm wondering is: I know that when things evolve over millions of years, that is a lot of time to change. But I wonder how and when and why these animals made the choices they did. It must have been quite a struggle. And how did the animals body parts adapt to what they needed them to? I think of it like a plant. When you watch a plant in your living room grow, it does nothing. But when you take a photograph every day and after a year flip through the photos, then you can see the plant making it's choice to grow toward the sun and you can see it move. Mammals must have been like this, where they change over time. But some species have stopped changing, except maybe in size. Some of these species have stayed exactly the same because their diets and conditions have not changed in millions of years. I just wonder why their bodies change to be perfect for what they intend to do. It's so weird.
    Your use of the word 'choice' for how mammals or plants end up being the way they are, effective and efficient in survival, would not be approved of by biologists.

    The essence of natural selection is around the survival of those traits that do survive. Those that are not suitable to survive, do not survive. As a result, over millions of years, one finds a matching between the environment and the beings that inhabit it. Every now and again the environment changes dramatically, like the proposed asteroid collision 65 million years ago, but for the most part we see it as gradual in the time frames. In this case the dinosaurs, that had been well adapted to the previous environment, suddenly became extinct. (Suddenly is relative, it might have taken some years to finally happen). When this happened the mammals, hitherto unable to compete effectively with the dinosaurs in the various ecological niches, suddenly blossomed.

    Blind cavefish, a species that inhabits underground caves, where there is zero light, have lost eye function through evolution. Eyes are good for survival when some light exists, but in stygian gloom, are a liability as the delicate tissue will be damaged by contact with sharp, stony cave sides. This introduces infection and death to many of those with full functioning eyes. Individuals with less sensitive eyes or even mutations with no eyes fare better, with less damage and less infection. Eventually you find an entire species without eyes. Their very close relatives, in the sun, have fully functioning eyes.

    The question of intelligent design is neither proven nor disproven by this mechanism. In the event of an intelligent designer existing, setting up a random process like 'evolution by natural selection' would be a piece of cosmoc cake for an omnipotent being. In the absence of an intelligent designer you return to the perplexing question of how and why this process began -i.e. the big bang, something current science is unable to provide. The ID argument provides a neat answer to all these questions, but is currently unprovable.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  6. #5  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    You're sounding more and more like me when I was 17 Buffstuff. Now that's weird.
    Now THAT is just scary! :P But you know what they say, great minds think alike!
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  7. #6  
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by TB
    Blind cavefish, a species that inhabits underground caves, where there is zero light, have lost eye function through evolution. Eyes are good for survival when some light exists, but in stygian gloom, are a liability as the delicate tissue will be damaged by contact with sharp, stony cave sides. This introduces infection and death to many of those with full functioning eyes. Individuals with less sensitive eyes or even mutations with no eyes fare better, with less damage and less infection. Eventually you find an entire species without eyes. Their very close relatives, in the sun, have fully functioning eyes.
    That is, if the mutation ever happens. I'm thinking more like porcupines and echidnas whose hairs have evolved into prickly spines. I don't understand how this can happen so slowly, and yet they survived through having hair to having spines. What is the rate of mutation and does it occur at different rates for different species? Some species find the mutations die off, while others find that the mutated offspring (or perhaps even one who will pass along its mutation) survives better than the population of the species.

    It's just a lot to think about and leads me to the conclusion that something about the design was intelligent and that somewhere there is a higher power. But I don't know if it has a direct relation to things as they evolve or not.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  8. #7  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    2,697
    I think a really big question is how does nature have the intelligence to mutate in such a way as to be useful. What made the porcupine become what it is, what made so many creatures develop such complex systems. It seams hard to believe it's random mutation.

    Edit:

    Guess I should read all of the post first: TB kind of went over this
    Reply With Quote  
     

  9. #8  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    2112, (In)sanity,

    There seems to be an idea that the process is based on a predetermined outcome.

    I think a really big question is how does nature have the intelligence to mutate in such a way as to be useful.
    and

    I don't understand how this can happen so slowly, and yet they survived through having hair to having spines.
    Nature does not mutate intelligently. The traits that work survive more often than the traits that do not. Survival defines fitness, not the other way around. If hair or spines were ineffective in assisting survival, then by defintion, they would not have survived. We only know them to be effective is because they DID survive. This is not to say that all traits are required for survival. Just as there is 'junk' DNA there are also traits that are unlikely to affect the prospects of survival.

    Mutation is certainly a factor in evolution but normal DNA mixing that occurs with sexual reproduction also produces varirty. When the male and female half cells are formed they are a random and complementary half of the DNA of the parent cell. This means that not all the DNA from a parent will be passed to offspring. Eye color is a good example of a very definite genetic effect on a physical trait without overlap into multiple genes. Having blue eyes was arguably an advantage to survival during Nazi Germany. In an evolutionary process it is theoretically possible to eliminate all those who do not have blue eyes. As a recessive gene both parents need to have the gene in order for the child to have blue eyes (and both genes for blue eye color).

    By eliminating all those without them, blue eyes could be removed as a genetic trait. All future mutations and DNA mixing during reproduction would then work from this base.

    Just as you have smooth pebbles formed in a river bed over a period of time, these changes can be dramatic over billions/millons of years when looking at living things. The selective breeding of dogs for various traits has produced significant differences in appearance, yet as they can still produce fertile offspring they are still the same species.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  10. #9  
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by TB
    Mutation is certainly a factor in evolution but normal DNA mixing that occurs with sexual reproduction also produces variety.
    I think the problem I have with it is that there can be so much variety in the world. But it is more believable. Again, we can look at humans and how different each of us look and how each of us are better at one skill than another and how if we could each have one million children those children would be unique from each other. So I guess it is believable. Not that I doubted evolution and natural selection, it's just hard to believe how varied it is in only millions of years.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  11. #10  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    One thing that gets me about evolution, and something 2112 said made me think, why aren't we seeing mutation today? In the past 2000 years or so of deffinate known histroy, why haven't any mutatins started?
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  12. #11  
    2112
    Guest
    Well, you are seeing it. When you see birth defects, those are mutations. Also when you see an 8 foot person or a 3 foot person, those are also mutations. Whether the genes can pass on (assuming it's in the genes) or not is up to the individual mutations.

    Like, my son is going to be 6 feet tall. I'm short, my father is short, but my son is taller even than his father was and is going to be bigger than the mean (average) height for men because of his father's genes and maybe my mother's genes. I suppose if my son and his offspring were to reproduce with bigger people our family would keep getting bigger and bigger. But then again most traits common to survival don't apply to humans anymore. I think pretty much all traits have survived in humans because we are at the top of the food chain and live everywhere. The only traits that don't get passed along are the ones resulting in death at an early age.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  13. #12  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    2,697
    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Well, you are seeing it. When you see birth defects, those are mutations. Also when you see an 8 foot person or a 3 foot person, those are also mutations. Whether the genes can pass on (assuming it's in the genes) or not is up to the individual mutations.

    Like, my son is going to be 6 feet tall. I'm short, my father is short, but my son is taller even than his father was and is going to be bigger than the mean (average) height for men because of his father's genes and maybe my mother's genes. I suppose if my son and his offspring were to reproduce with bigger people our family would keep getting bigger and bigger. But then again most traits common to survival don't apply to humans anymore. I think pretty much all traits have survived in humans because we are at the top of the food chain and live everywhere. The only traits that don't get passed along are the ones resulting in death at an early age.
    Actually the average height of people has increased over the last 2000 years. Not just an inch or two either.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  14. #13  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    True, but we could still reproduce with them. There are always genetic changes through generations. A species, however, must be different from the original 'species', that it can not reproduce.

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  15. #14  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    I see your point 2112, and agree. But what about macroevolution? Why aren't we seeing the changing of species?

    And the height thing, IMO, is due to the better diets, and more abundant food sources. Also, the more enriched food. I don't see that as much of a mutation.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  16. #15  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    The word mutation might bring to mind some kind of deformity, when in fact it is possible that at a genetic level a mutation does not produce a visible change in an individual. Since many genes have a matching gene on the opposing pair and also work in conjunction with other genes, and even then might require an environmental trigger, it is not something clearly seen by untrained observation.

    Why do we not see macroevolution? Macro/micro evolution seems to appear when defending the possibility of humans to have descended from primates, etc. However I am not sure how relevant this point is except in the religious/scientific politics. At what point do you draw the line betwen them? Most species seem to evolve at the boundaries of the geographic range, or by a group that gets isolated. To see major changes in genes and appearance needs time and is not something we expect to catch in a transition. If you do not buy into 'macro' then logical arguments will not help. If you do then, micro and macro different levels of the same thing.

    Mr U, to make a change to your definition of species

    True, but we could still reproduce with them. There are always genetic changes through generations. A species, however, must be different from the original 'species', that it can not reproduce.
    I think the most accepted definition of species is the ability to produce viable offspring. For example a horse/donkey cross is an infertile mule, just as lion/tiger crosses are tigons and ligers depending upon if the lion or tiger is the mother/father. On rare occasions these are fertile, however the norm is infertile, hence lions and tigers are described as different species. They also only occur in captivity so far as we know.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  17. #16  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    I took a begginning leval Physical Anthropology course and we learned about cell mutation, species isolation etc. But why aren't we seeing the efects of this today in any species? And Im not talking micro, like mosquitos becoming immune to pesticides.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  18. #17  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    It is still happening. In fact, cancer is a mutation. It, however, takes time for species to change. And, frankly, mainstream media do not spend much time on it. However, if you do a search on it on Google, I'm sure you can find some 'newly 'created' ' species.

    TB, you are correct, of course, and you have caught me quite embarassed. Time for old Mr U to take back up his old Biology, aye? Heh, you have got a genetic mutation right there. My whole family is bad at remembering stuff.

    Mr U

    //PS. The Science Forum does not condone racism, and I do not intend this following remark to be intented as racistic, I just want to add this disclaimer to make sure people won't take it up as that.

    I asked my biology teacher why the 'african man' could still reproduce with a 'European man'. Though the answer was uninteresting, it comes to show how long it can take before one species can split up. African man and European man were separated for quite some time (as with the aboriginals), but we are still all capable of creating viable () offspring.

    Again, I'm not trying to say that black people are less or more than white people or anything along those lines, simply trying to illustrate that it can take a long, long time.

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  19. #18  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Mr U,
    Let me start by thanking you for acknowledging your error on species. More than any scientific knowledge etc, the ability to say 'I was wrong' seems to be getting rarer. I have indulged in many debates on the internet and spend lots of time looking for logical/factual inconsistencys. It is quite possible that you are the first one who has not hidden behind any excuses, just a blunt achknowledgement. What do we find being wrong so hard?

    Theres a virtual internet beer on me for that (if you drink, that is).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  20. #19  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Buffstuff,

    But why aren't we seeing the efects of this today in any species? And Im not talking micro, like mosquitos becoming immune to pesticides.
    What effects are you expecting to see in any species. When you say micro and use an exmaple of mosquito becomeing immune to pesticides, I assume you exclude any cases where a mosquito became immune through a process of mutations that produced something other than a mosquito.

    You obviously do not consider the cross breeding of lions and tigers, with an occasional fertile offspring as a mutation of the sort that might create an entire species of fertile tigons that evolved further over some 1000's of years. I am far from expert on this topic, I would imagine that a web search would give you some of the answers you are looking for.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  21. #20  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nederland
    Posts
    1,085
    A funny aspect of evolution is that it sometimes leaves rudiments. Like whales having rudimentary foot-bones (if i'm not mistaken). Did you know you've had gills as a young foetus? (I found this gill word in the dictionary, not sure wheter it's right. what I mean is those breathing organs of fish). Our gills only partly develop and then disappear again, we don't need them for anything. Maybe this comes close to the example of macroevolution Buffstuff asked for.

    In a broader sense evolution is everywhere. When I asked my uncle, who's a biologist, how birds are able to colonise every island on earth, he explained that sometimes a bird just flies off to the ocean in a random direction. Most die, but if there happens to be a little island there the bird will colonise it. You can see the bird that flies off to the ocean as a mutator that probably dies, but sometimes finds a new niche and survives. By producing random events species can make sure that eventually every niche (every island) gets occupied.

    Evolution is such a perfect and clever concept that it's quite hard to resist the temptation to explain it as divine intervention, but I think that would be denying the enormous power of randomness: If you try out everything, then without a doubt you'll find the perfect solution in the end :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  22. #21  
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by TB
    You obviously do not consider the cross breeding of lions and tigers, with an occasional fertile offspring as a mutation of the sort that might create an entire species of fertile tigons that evolved further over some 1000's of years. I am far from expert on this topic, I would imagine that a web search would give you some of the answers you are looking for.
    I thought they were called ligers, not tigons. And to bring up another example of this; horse mated with donkey produces a mule. All cross breeding of similar species produces offspring that cannot reproduce, so is infertile.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  23. #22  
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Pendragon
    A funny aspect of evolution is that it sometimes leaves rudiments. Like whales having rudimentary foot-bones (if i'm not mistaken).
    Yes, they have two small bones where legs would be, but no legs.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  24. #23  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nederland
    Posts
    1,085
    Quote Originally Posted by 2112
    Quote Originally Posted by TB
    You obviously do not consider the cross breeding of lions and tigers, with an occasional fertile offspring as a mutation of the sort that might create an entire species of fertile tigons that evolved further over some 1000's of years. I am far from expert on this topic, I would imagine that a web search would give you some of the answers you are looking for.
    I thought they were called ligers, not tigons. And to bring up another example of this; horse mated with donkey produces a mule. All cross breeding of similar species produces offspring that cannot reproduce, so is infertile.
    I'm affraid you'll have to read back the thread, TB covered both mules and ligers (what a name :wink: ) in an earlier post.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  25. #24  
    2112
    Guest
    It's probably one of those things where if the mom is a tiger it's a liger and if the mom is a lion it's a tigon. Is it in this thread?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  26. #25  
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by TB
    I think the most accepted definition of species is the ability to produce viable offspring. For example a horse/donkey cross is an infertile mule, just as lion/tiger crosses are tigons and ligers depending upon if the lion or tiger is the mother/father. On rare occasions these are fertile, however the norm is infertile, hence lions and tigers are described as different species. They also only occur in captivity so far as we know.
    Must have missed this post because it was the last on the first page.

    Pictures...

    Liger: http://www.silverdragon.com/punkie/c...iger-0599b.jpg
    Tigon: http://animalpark.pe.kr/wonderfulani...igon/tigon.jpg
    Reply With Quote  
     

  27. #26  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    When I talk about evolution, I am talking about the kind involved to get us where we are today (homo sapiens).
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  28. #27  
    2112
    Guest
    We are 'great apes' and came from the monkeys who left the trees to travel across swamps and so had to start walking upright. We lost tails and our bones changed alignment to foward facing. We are the the most intelligent species that we know of.

    The closest species to us is Orangatangs and Chimpanzees (can't remember which is closer). Also, in this documentary, they show these African Chimps who actually look more like Gorillas (big and black, some with silver linings on their backs) who beat up one of the members of their clan. It was pretty sad. They said it was the first time that species had been filmed, which I believe because I've never seen or heard of them before.

    Man I just love this DVD box set!
    Reply With Quote  
     

  29. #28  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    The closest is the Bonobo chimp, which has behavior unlike any other mammal besides us. They have sex just to have sex, as a social thing. Not just sex, but gay sex, oral, anal, adult infant. Its pretty sick but that is the only other species that has sex for anything other than reprodiction besides us.

    Back to my last post, why aren't we seeing any of the other great apes evolve into another humanoid species like homo sapienses? Why aren't we seeing that?
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  30. #29  
    2112
    Guest
    I... don't... know...
    Reply With Quote  
     

  31. #30  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    Nobody does, and that is why I can't even begin to believe in evolotion.
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  32. #31  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Buffstuff

    Back to my last post, why aren't we seeing any of the other great apes evolve into another humanoid species like homo sapienses? Why aren't we seeing that?
    Why do you expect to see current great apes evolve into a human like species? Because evolution posits that we evolved from an ape like ancestor, it does not follow that apes must evolve into humans. The theory says we had common ancestors, not that we evolved from todays apes. Each line followed a different track. The unique conditions at the time caused unique outcomes. I am not arguing that evolution is correct here, although I do believe it, merely pointing out how it is supposed top work. No evolutionist is watching to see if chimps are becoming human, because they do not expect it.

    On a different subject you say


    The closest is the Bonobo chimp, which has behavior unlike any other mammal besides us. They have sex just to have sex, as a social thing. Not just sex, but gay sex, oral, anal, adult infant.
    I was not aware of any solid evidence showing this entire range of behaviour in this species. 'Oral' sex and adult infant sex appears to be common among numerous animals. What is the evidence for anal sex in bonobos?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  33. #32  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    All I want to see is evolution of some type, and not the peppered moths crap. Why aren't ANY species evolving to new ones?

    And the Bonobo thing was just something we learned in Anthropology. I don't have proof or facts, because thats not a subject I want to think a lot about, but my proffessro did seem excited to talk about it. Don't ask...
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  34. #33  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Buffstuff,

    All I want to see is evolution of some type, and not the peppered moths crap. Why aren't ANY species evolving to new ones?
    I would say that given your comment above, you need to study the theory of evolution in more detail, before any evidence is going to mean much to you. If you are not comfortable with the basic principles you will not get across how it gets proven. You will never see existing species evolving into new ones. There is no fixed point that identifies where a transition occurs. Reproducing species are on a continuum, to expect to find an offspring a 'different' species to its mother is not going to happen. One looks at populations over time and sees that sevral variations emerge. Darwin did this with the finch populations in the Galapagos where he saw that the finch appeared to have evolved to fit various niches in the ecosystem and had begun with a single population. Isolation and natural selection were formulated to explain this.

    You have mentioned elsewhere that you do not believe in macro evolution, only micro. Logically there is no difference between the two, but politically and emotionally they are used as arguments to support religious views on mans origins.
    If you have a religious faith based view on this, I suggest that you are wasting your time debating evolution, especially on this forum. To get a real knowledge of the subject read Origin of Species and then debate it once you know the theory.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  35. #34  
    Forum Professor Pendragon's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Location
    Nederland
    Posts
    1,085
    evolution is like erosion. It goes grain by grain, in a lifetime nothing spectacular happens. However, if given the right amount of time erosion can make a whole mountain disappear. Still, like TB points out, the disappearance of the mountain is exactly the same thing as the removal of a single grain of sand.

    Let's turn it around, how would you explain this without evolution theory?

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/evosit...tion_horse.gif
    Reply With Quote  
     

  36. #35  
    Forum Sophomore buffstuff's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Somewhere over the rainbow...
    Posts
    157
    Explain what?
    Progress isn't made by early risers. It's made by lazy men trying to find easier ways to do something. -Robert Heinlein
    Reply With Quote  
     

  37. #36 Re: The Life of Mammals 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    [quote="2112"]

    But I wonder how and when and why these animals made the choices they did. It must have been quite a struggle. And how did the animals body parts adapt to what they needed them to?

    Dearest 2112 -- Choices have nothing to do with evolution. And if lower animals can even make choices is in question. Heck, whether or not we can make choices is also in debate as a result of recent high resolution imaging of brains in damage and mental illness. Though I seriously doubt any "pre-ordination" in our lives, and would be sorely disapointed if this were the case, choices have very little affect on ones survival, as a species or, in the other direction, as a GENE.

    You see, it is not 'survival of the fittest' individual at all...'tis the gene. We are but mechanisms for our genes' propagation. The biggest statistical mistake folks make in working with the probabilities of natrual selestion is assuming the creature is of import: it is not. The genes it carries are found throughout the pool, in a variety of combination. The more combinations, the better the odds of survival, but I think I may be getting ahead of the lesson.

    Darwin vs. Lamarck -- Why does a giraffe have a long neck? Lamarck would say that, as the lower plant materials were ravaged in some past famine, those parent giraffes who were successful in stretching their necks to higher foliage were more successful and they passed the longer necks down to their young. But then, if one had lost a leg, would the offspring be three legged? Nope. The truth is only lightly different, but the difference is critical to the thing. he giraffes who happened to have slightly longer necks survived in larger numbers and were healthier: moreable to breed successfully, so over time, the short necks were "selected against" and less and less giraffes were born with shorter necks. Do this a few thoudand times and voila, you have giraffes of today.

    Why giraffes and not zebras? Simple answer (and a bit lame, I'll admit) is thatthey ate different stuff and the bigger problem for them in the fist place was lions (or proto-lions). So, the ones that disappeared into the grasses that they fed upon survived while the ones that stood out did not. Grass is light and dark...hense stripes.

    There are tons of other examples of how natural selaction works, but there is more to it --- punctuated equilibrium also pplies slecetive pressures but in a far more catestrophic manner with much faster results in speciation. On argument the "intelligent design" proponents use is the "absence" of transitional forms in the fossil record. Nonsense.

    There are plenty of transiotnal forms in the fossil record -- just about as many as probablity would predict -- frankly, the record is beter than I'd have thought it be. But there remain some branches that have some gaps. While this is expected from mere random chance, punctuated equilibrium may also play a part. (Species change so rapidly that the few generatiosn of transioional forms simply do not have enough members in enough environments to produce fossils.)

    But nowhere in here are individual choices of any import at all. Do not hink that your choices can affect your species evolution -- you simply are not that important. Sorry.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  38. #37  
    2112
    Guest
    I know about the Giraffes. It wasn't stretching but genes that created the longer necks.

    What I was thinking of, especially after watching the documentary that this thread is about, is things like the echidna and porcupine. How did their hair evolve into spines without them all dying before it happened? If the hair just gets a little harder and a little bit harder over thousands of years, that doesn't stop the predators from eating them when their hair is semi soft and semi hard. There are other species I wonder about too, but that is just one.

    I know that evolution and natural selection is not about choice, I didn't mean to convey that I thought it was. Animals do in a sense make choices, but they are usually because of environment, and the only real choices they make are what to eat and where to poop.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  39. #38 mammals 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    OK, good that you are not a Lamarckian! (You might be surprised how many folks are...several of whom I believe are in the White House.) The gradual nature of changes can sometimes be difficult to reconcile with any selective advantages, but one must remember that (a) not all genetic changes are gradual, (b) some changes in phenotypes are sudden expressions of other gradual genetic changes and (c) most selective pressures are not at all absolute for a phenotype.

    For example, the porcupines: were the changes gradual, as you surmise, the mere fact that the stiffer hair was less palatable than softer hair might have been enough to GRADUALLY select for stiffer hair. Alternatively, the mutation that created the spiny hair was a single change: spiny or not spiny. Another alternative is the most likely, that the changes that led to the evolution of porcupines were myriad and intertwined and one can’t separate the development of spines for direct examination.

    There is, of course, the fact that, while Evolution is absolutely proven to occur and still is occurring, the theories that describe Evolution are not Laws. There is no Law of Natural Selection (Darwin) nor is there a Law of Punctuated Equilibrium (Gould). What actually occurs is probably a combination of both models as well as others (including choice, since choice can affect evolution in special cases, e.g. GW could choose to launch a nuclear attack on Russia and that would have a considerable affect on evolution of all species on the planet).

    If you have not read any of Gould’s works describing Punctuated Equilibrium, I urge you to do so. (His other works, for popular consumption, can also be quite entertaining.) PE can also explain rapid changes such as selection for spines instead of hair.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  40. #39 Re: mammals 
    2112
    Guest
    Quote Originally Posted by Steve Griffin
    For example, the porcupines: were the changes gradual, as you surmise, the mere fact that the stiffer hair was less palatable than softer hair might have been enough to GRADUALLY select for stiffer hair.
    I had not considered the taste of the spinier hair to predators. That's a great idea.

    I agree that the world is a myriad of theories, no one idea can explain how everything came to be. I'm sure many things happened, and only a huge cataclysmic event could effect evolution on a grand scale (one caused by a nuclear device, as well).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  41. #40 The value of Pi 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    Dear 2112 --

    I concur. I concur. I concur. We struggle to define our environment, from mesons to moon pies, but one must resign oneself to the simple fact that we will never know anything absolutely.

    While studying chemistry, as an undergraduate, I had a laboratory TA with whom I developed a particularly close relationship. In a conversation one evening, being the braggart that I was (and remain), I mentioned that I had never read a paper or text without uncovering at least one fundamental error within. She was not impressed, countering that most of these errors were typos or old data that got in due to the typical rush to publication. Asking for an example of such an error, I presented a paper from my backpack that cited a physical constant that did not agree with my CRC. I admitted that the error was small and only affected the "true" result of the data set by about 1%. She laughed (a bit to much), stating that my 10-year old issue was probably the one that was wrong but that nothing in the CRC was correct anyway.

    Huh? That book was my Bible. To dismiss it so... She explained further that the reason a new issue comes out each year is that the information tabulated within is constantly changing; therefore, we can assume that nothing within is absolutely correct. Besides, Heisenberg clearly showed that we can't know any measure absolutely. As we refine techniques, we are able to get better measures of such things as the vapor pressure of mercury at STP, etc., but we'll never know the absolute value, if there is one.

    So, the world did not end that evening, but my perception of scientific endeavor did change immeasurably. Does the absolute value of any quantity matter? Aside from intellectual satisfaction, I'd have to say that it does not. The approximations we have are very good, for the most part, and the vast majority of them are good enough for all but extremely critical applications. Heck, we don't even know the absolute value of Pi, but the errors incurred by our various approximations are always less than the errors from other sources (if one uses significant figures properly, that is).

    When I entered graduate school, one of my professors took me aside and informed me that now was the time to forget everything that I'd been taught about chemistry, as an undergraduate; the models used to rationalize chemistry at that level were flawed or simply wrong and in order to grow as a chemist, one had to shed these simplistic notions.

    That statement floored me. And it was not strictly true...much of what I'd learned retained value, but the point that was made was valid: models are just that. They are not LAWS and, in fact, even laws are overturned from time to time (though to do so generally meets considerable resistance, but ultimately wins the Nobel Prize for the heretic who challenged prevailing thought).

    It is human nature to want to know the truth. This can be a problem or an asset, depending upon how you approach life. Rather than allowing oneself to become frustrated by the fact that one will never know any truths, use this knowledge to question all "truths" put forth by others. Accept nothing as ordained. Seek alternative explanations and you will be amply rewarded.

    As to evolution and selective pressures, our human biases are a HUGE problem in efforts to ferret out what is going on. As to porcupines, for example, it could be that stiffer hair smelled bad to the principal predators at the time or that the subtle chape change in the prey was enough to turn a stomach...could have been anything.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  42. #41  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    It is human nature to want to know the truth.
    Nietzsche would say there was no will to truth, but rather that it is a manifestation of will to power :P.

    Still, I agree with you on the notion. I must impress however, that though these rules are flawed, it should not imply that we can not get reasonable results with it.

    And that, I believe is the most we can get in this lifetime. Reasonability <- Woo! I invented a new word :P.

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  43. #42 Reasonability 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    Reasonable truth via ability to reason reasonably well?
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  44. #43  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Hi Steve,

    It is human nature to want to know the truth. This can be a problem or an asset, depending upon how you approach life. Rather than allowing oneself to become frustrated by the fact that one will never know any truths, use this knowledge to question all "truths" put forth by others. Accept nothing as ordained. Seek alternative explanations and you will be amply rewarded.
    Why do you think humans are like this? We can either assume you are correct in your premise (which I do) and then debate if it is an adaptive trait? Or we can try and debate if, indeed we do seek the truth or just its appearance? Or maybe we have no desire for truth or its appearance at all.

    Do you think that all life seeks the truth, or is it a human trait. If all life does then we would have a good case for its adaptive benefits.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  45. #44  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    A very philosophical question, TB. I have begun reading Nietzsche, and although I do not yet comprehend his will to power, it is basically a 'drive to self-overcoming', even more basic than the will to survive.

    In any case, Nietzsche believes the will to truth, as you state it, wanting to know the truth, is in fact a manifestation of truth.

    Maslow, known for his characterisation of human 'needs', would probably rank the want for truth in one of the higher orders, the self-actualisation needs.

    Now, my take on it is somewhat complex, as I am a reductionist, and I ask of every single thing, what is it's nature, what is it's origin, at what does it find it's base.

    When looking at this 'form' of curiosity, one inevitably comes to the conclusion that a natural sense of curiosity (ignoring the extreme or neurotic patterns of curious behaviour, if such exist) is neccesary to survive.

    If a child, imagine a baby-tiger, does not begin to scout it's surroundings, it will never find food when its parents seize to supply it with food. It will die.
    Thus, through darwin, base curiosity (wanting to find knowledge about one's survival) is a positive survival trait.

    I understand that it can be difficult to appreciate the simple behaviour of scouting an environment (something a robot can do) lying at the foundation of philosophy, and probably this post.

    However, I do believe that every human behaviour either has a darwinistic, survivalistic 'reason' (I'm no teleologist) or is learned through trial and error/outside influences.

    Although I believe that curiosity at it's core is natural, the manifestation of that curiosity, is not. Some people might want to learn the names of all the Pokémon, while others find studying Nietzsche worthwhile. in both cases, it is a manifestation of curiosity.

    On an ethical point, I do not put value to information. I consider it not important what knowledge a person possesses, or how vast knowledge is, but rather what one does with it, and how one unleashes his, or her, own creativity on that knowledge.

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  46. #45  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Hi Mr U,

    If I understand you correctly. You are saying that a curiosity to know the truth (or physical reality) assists in survival, for example in lower life forms. So an amoeba recoiling from dangerous stimuli, an antelope from the tiger and so on. I do not wish to be pedantic, how since I am, let me try and refine this a little. Curiosity for the truth alone is not sufficient, one must have the ability to accurately know the reality (for amoeba) to aid in survival.

    As a reductionist do you tihnk that one can extrapolate the base 'knowledge of reality' to the higher human concept of 'truth' as arising from the same adaptive biological mechanism?

    How do we deal with the tendency to deceive, both in people and animals? Does the accurate perception of reality by competing organisms prompt a need for lower animals to successfully obscure the reality from others? Extrapolating to humans, it might be adaptive to lie to others in order to relatively have a better grasp of reality.

    So why do we hold up truth as a gold standard? My first post pointed out that the 'appearance of truth' might be an important trait as well. Not much good in lying and then telling everyone you are.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  47. #46  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    Animals, I believe, do not have a concept of truth. Not because it is some divine concept, but rather that they have insufficient 'neural processing power' to create the concept of truth.

    Though lying may be at foundation a survival trait, the need to deceive people, to con people is not. It is the separation I try to make between instinctual drives and the following behavioral patterns, the more advanced patterns.

    Child destroys Ming Vase. Parent comes and is furious. Child is afraid. Child tells that child's brother did it. Parent talks to brother, finds out child has lied, child get's punished.
    Child learns, with next Ming vase, the child will probably blame the dog.
    An example where I try to distinguish between the instinctual drive to lie and survive (the child is afraid of the parent, and fears his wrath, thus it lies to prevent itself from harm. Whether this is actually neccesary is another matter. A good parent, in my eyes, makes it unnecessary for his/her children to lie, but that's a different matter), and between learned behaviour.

    As you see, the learned behaviour (blaming the dog) still suits the base drive, but it is no longer natural. I am of course handling from the premise that blaming the brother was a 'random' response, although this is impossible to prove in a real scenario.

    Now, if I am correct, a child will override information. Once a child has lied, it becomes the truth. Although I am not 100% sure, I believe I have read some research into this.

    It would offer a simple way for animals to adapt to their surrounding without having to make a distinction between truth and false, which seeing as instincts develop 'randomly', a difficult step to make.

    I guess the perception of truth is learned, but it is a much too difficult subject to handle within one post .

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  48. #47  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Mr U

    Animals, I believe, do not have a concept of truth. Not because it is some divine concept, but rather that they have insufficient 'neural processing power' to create the concept of truth.
    I agree with you on this however theydo have the ability to percieve reality. In other words a gazelle might not say "Is that a lion stalking me, or is it just patterns in the grass". Countless generations have been invested in honing this ability to accurately assess reality. However because lions and gazells compete, the lion has also evolved an ability to decieve the gazelle on enough occasions to prey on them. So a balance is formed. The animal world has many examples of trying to establish acurate reality for itself and trying to establish false for competition.

    If we avoid the leap from reality to truth at this point and looking at your quote

    Though lying may be at foundation a survival trait, the need to deceive people, to con people is not. It is the separation I try to make between instinctual drives and the following behavioral patterns, the more advanced patterns.
    I am not sure I follow you here with lying as a foundation trait and the need to decieve people. If I am a stone age hunter trying to catch prey I will try and fool their senses into thinking I am not there until it is too late. If I am at war with other humans I will likewise suffer if they know exactly what they are up against. It makes sense to fool them to.

    If I am a modern businessman selling widgets, I am unlikely to offer the reality of these widgets to my competition, so I patent and protect intellectual property so they in fact do not know the reality of my product. Even if I watch men and women dating, they often 'hide' aspects of themselves if they think it will help. Children offer transparent examples of lying to advance their survival.

    Now, if I am correct, a child will override information. Once a child has lied, it becomes the truth. Although I am not 100% sure, I believe I have read some research into this.
    I agree that children (and many adults) need to establish an internal truth, a personl reality that might differ from the objective reality, sometimes in order to protect themselves. This is seen when people approach death. To protect the mind it is common for dying people to deny the approach of death.

    I still return to the difference between the survvival benefit of knowing reality and denying your competition the same power. It is not difficult to demonstrate in lower animals, and I can see plenty of examples in human life. I do not see why we should be any different (apart from the advanced politics).

    The leap from reality to truth awaits.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  49. #48  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    Yet it are these advanced politics that I believe are a direct result from enhanced instincts. Nothing more, nothing less.

    As you have stated, the gazelle observes a suspicious section of grass, and wonders whether it is a lion or a pattern of grass.

    Philosophically, one could speak of two truths, the simple truth, and the absolute truth. The simple truth being the truth that we observe, the absolute truth being reality.



    On one end stands absolute False, on the other Absolute truth. The absolute truth is binary. That which is, can not be not. If it is a lion, it can also not be a pattern of grass.

    The simple truth, the approximation of reality, what we believe to be real is never 1 and never 0, nothing is certain.

    An example, a child that wakes up in the middle of the night, and see a terrible witch in his room. He pulls his sheets over his head and fears for his life for five minutes until he gathers the courage to look over the sheets and see it was the moon casting a shadow over some pens, books and clothes.

    Had we asked the child whether there was a child present in his room when he was under the sheets, he would have said yes. To him, this was a truth. Had we asked him after he had seen there was no witch, than he would have told us no.

    Imagine now, the child is a paranoid-schizophrenic. When the child looks again, and sees the shadow, he would conclude that the witch had left and position the pencils and clothes in such an order as to make it seem as if he had seen a witch.

    What is the absolute truth? Was there a witch? Both the sane and the paranoid-schizophrenic boy make the same observations, but they attach different conclusions. They both attempt to approximate the absolute truth, but both fail, because we can never know the absolute truth. Are they completely wrong than, no. They are probably somewhere near the A on the line.

    Personally, I believe that men (and we both know that almost philosophers are men, at least, the proper ones. Let's all forget Rand .) have an urge to either serve, or attempt to fullfill the alpha role.

    Now, the alpha role in my vision is the most desirable male. He is most appreciated by the females, and receive the most offspring. Another survivalistic trait to enhance the chances of survival.
    Tigers will see a strong male as alpha. However, if tigers suddenly have to be fast, the fast tigers will automatically become alpha males, as the rest are killed.

    I believe that every man has a few basic drives, from which other drives are propelled. One of these drives is the acquisition of food and drinks, personal protection, but also the drive to reproduce and to belong with a group (groups offer higher survival statistics).

    In our world strength and speed are not needed to gain food, drink and personal protection, but rather knowledge. Knowledge and wisdom. I therefore believe that people strive for acquisition of knowledge, to become an alpha male, to draw females and to produce, hopefully children that will be equally smart, and will have even higher 'survival' traits.

    These days, would you rather have a child with a great body, or with a great mind?

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  50. #49 Mr. U and coorespondant 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    This is a fascinating discourse, but does it not have to the the appearance of truth, by definition, since there are no truths -- at least no absolute truths. Further, are not those drawn to religion so drawn because they believe in the fundamental truth of the mess?

    As to information -- I find regurgitation of "fact" tedious and not related to intelligence in any way. Smart folks know where to look it up. Save the grey matter for more creative pursuits.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  51. #50  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    2,697
    I like this

    As to information -- I find regurgitation of "fact" tedious and not related to intelligence in any way. Smart folks know where to look it up. Save the grey matter for more creative pursuits.
    I've met many a smart fellow that hasn't a clue how to solve a problem when they can't look the answer up in a book. Some of the smartest minds are also great detectives.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  52. #51  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    by definition, since there are no truths -- at least no absolute truths.
    Is this absolutely true or does the axiom apply to itself, creating a logical paradox?

    I am not tryin to evaluate the concept of 'truth' in my debate, merely an objective reality to start with. Despite the debate around this, the simple recognition of what is objectively real is adaptive in nature, and to my mind lays the groundwork for what has become an esoteric concept with humans.[/code]
    Reply With Quote  
     

  53. #52 paradox? 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    That there are absolutely no absolutes is not a paradox in any but a artificial way.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  54. #53  
    Forum Ph.D.
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Maastricht, Netherlands
    Posts
    861
    How about 'Cogito Ergo Sum'? Surely we know something exists, because something is driving our thought. Whether this is a brain, or in fact a soul, or some scientist sticking probes in my brain, something must be driving my thoughts, and so 'something must exist'.

    Now, because whathever exists is forming the thoughts that I am experiencing, I might as well encompass as whatever that is driving my thoughts as 'me'. Whether this is a brain, a soul or anything else is irrelevant for this experiment. In biology, the concept 'me' is nonsense. We are composed of many, many different entities.

    Philosophically, is the air in my longues, me? Is the air in my blood veins me? Is the air in my cells free? When does something become me?

    I believe there is an absolute truth. The existence of 'me'. Whatever that is.

    Mr U
    Reply With Quote  
     

  55. #54 belief vs. reality 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    But you, yourself, freely admit that you do not know what you are and, by implication, can not know. While you may see it as a truth, your very existance, it remains an unknowable truth and as such, is no truth at all.

    I suppose what I am getting at is that I got sidelined a bit (meaning thrown off the track, derived from US football) -- there are truths, assuredly, but within the limits of human senses, we will most probably never know a single one of them. And this does not matter, in and of itself. I may never KNOW Pi, but 3.1415926536, as calculated about half a century ago, is close enough for me in my daily life.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  56. #55  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve, I hate to keep the mental gymnastics going but your comment

    But you, yourself, freely admit that you do not know what you are and, by implication, can not know. While you may see it as a truth, your very existance, it remains an unknowable truth and as such, is no truth at all.
    cannot be true, based upon its own definition. However if it not true then it allows the possibility of knowing that truth.

    Going in circles like this is entertaining and perhaps creates some extra neuron pathways, but I still think that humans arrived at the esoteric view of truth via the adaptive nature of living things accurately seeing objective reality. We have inummerable systems that either assume truth/objective reality or actively try to know it. Science, law, religion all try and state the truth of human existence, the how and why. Other systems like business and politics assume a truth (that rarely exist). However you look at it truth or its appearance dominates our horizon.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  57. #56  
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  58. #57 truth and math and existance 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    I do enjoy battling with philosophical types from time to time, but I also tend to get agitated by some of the reasoning that is typically used. I have absolutely zero training in philosophy. My education did require studies outside of my specialties, but I chose ‘anything but philosophy’. As such, I may be perceived to tread upon some of the accepted facts, or “truths” of the discipline and for this I apologize, but my arguments derive from the most basic elements that I can find, so I do not think them invalid just for being unconventional. And I seriously doubt that they are that unconventional – I am not so bright as to believe I have original thought in this vein.

    Euclid and Aristotle formed the basis upon which all mathematics (and consequently all science) is founded through select assumptions (axiom or postulate), e.g. the shortest distance between two points is a straight line. These postulates were taken to be fact (truth) by the Greeks, but they are not fact in that they can not be independently proven. All higher math and science exists as theorems that rely upon use of these basic postulates for “proof”. As such, they are also not fact or truth.

    You seem to be approaching the argument from the spiritual (for lack of a better term) while I approach from the mathematic of physical. As a consequence, it is highly probable that we will never reach an agreement as to what truth is or is not. My position is that there are no truths that mankind can know. There may well be truths out there – I’d concede that there is a high probability that there are – but I disagree with anyone who believes that they know one.

    You believe that there is at least one truth, your existence, because you know that you exist. This is flawed logic (circular) because there is no factual basis. You can have no factual basis because there is none for anything man does. We believe that our mathematics is correct. We believe scientific endeavors yield valid insight. We do not know these things. You believe that you exist: you do not know that you do. Just because you can conceive of existence does not mean that existence itself exists.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  59. #58  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve, you do not say if you regard me as 'a philosophical type'. However any specialist area is based upon philosophy - hence the use of the term PhD across all disciplines.

    I have no wish to enter into a convoluted debate about knowledge of absolute truths etc. My simple (at least I thought so) question was about an objective reality that relates to simple biological survival, how it arises, and how it could have become the esoteric truth that we have laboriously debated. Simply put, is it possible that a drive for knowing 'truth' has come about because survival has depended upon knowing reality, hence we seek it.

    Give me some direct answers/comments to this observation and I will cease the dialectic trickery.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  60. #59 TB 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    I beleive I was responding to Mr. U's latest point, but your point is well taken...I am getting off subject.

    Yes, I would agree that a strong argument can be made for man's inate curiosity and quest for knowledge about reality and truth deriving from a survival mechanism. In fact, I an think of dozens of arguments supporting this assertion wothout focusing, but it is a more complex trait to "fully" explain than say, a child's rejection of new foods ("neophobia").

    Even mice seek knowledge of their environment. When moved to a new cage, or maze, from a familiar one, the first task is to explore. A strong case of the benefit of simple exploration being beneficial can even be made for bacteria, so long as one remembers that it is not the survival of the individual that defines "success", but the genetic sequences.

    This last concept throws many neophtes to evolutionary modeling, but it is actually easy enough to grasp for bacteria when one knows a bit of their molecular biology. Closer to home, consider that esentially nothing that occurs to a human female post-menopausally can affect the selection process. Only things that affect her ability to conceive, bear and rear to puberty as many children as possible are germane (an over simplification, to make a point).

    Furthermore, some traits are immune to selection; if a genetic sequence is present in 100% of a population, there is no selective pressure at all.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  61. #60  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve,

    Yes, I would agree that a strong argument can be made for man's inate curiosity and quest for knowledge about reality and truth deriving from a survival mechanism
    Perhaps I am being pedantic, but presumably we could seperate the curiosity about our surrounds from the knowing. Something curious (like the cat) that does not have an accurate grasp of reality, would not survive. Something less curious, but with a better grasp would.

    However it seems likely that in order to know reality there must be some curiosity, hence some risk of coming across something new and dangerous. Without any seeking in a changing environment one would be overcome soon enough.

    Can we make the leap from reality to truth for humans?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  62. #61 the truth about reality 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    TB --

    I am afraid that in making that leap from reality to truth, you also wish to define both as existing and as being determinant. You may substitute truth for reality where you wish, but I remain unconvinced of the existance of either.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  63. #62  
    2112
    Guest
    I just wanted to say that I've been reading this thread, I just haven't had anything to reply to it with. I'm not feeling so good lately, but I have at least checked this thread... That's it really. :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  64. #63  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve,

    I am afraid that in making that leap from reality to truth, you also wish to define both as existing and as being determinant. You may substitute truth for reality where you wish, but I remain unconvinced of the existance of either.
    I did not actually MAKE the leap from reality to truth. In fact I am not even saying it can be done. I want to explore if it can be done, and was inviting discussion.

    We do not define either reality or truth as existing or determinant to do this. We could place these as caveats up front. If we start by assuming that an objective reality does exist in which our senses (also assumed to exist) defines this. As for truth, we do not have to assume it is exists at this point. We can follow the path from reality and examine the (arguably) less tangible views of truth.

    I am not sure why you think I have positioned them both as 'determinant' (a determining factor), or did you mean 'determined' (decided by a determinant). Once again I assumed that this would be part of the debate.

    I do not want to simply substitute 'truth' for 'reality'. I am starting with a base assumption that an accurate perception of objective reality is adaptive for living things. Humanity, equally subject to the same process, has refined, and in some ways, lost the link and created something esoteric and undefinable, purely as a political tool.

    I have to say that as someone who distances yourself from philosophy you are taking very much this approach. Do you want to debate the existence of reality/truth as a solipsist? I am not well up on the specifics of the various groups within solipsism, but am willing to debate and learn. In this case perhaps we should move to another part of the forum.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  65. #64 I suppose that I may not be up to the task 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    My problem in this discussion is that I appear to be anticipating the conclusions of your arguments rather than permitting them to unfold as you craft them. My error and I apologize. I’ll try to restrain myself.

    How do you define objective reality with reference to perception? Is not any reality that man perceives by definition subjective?

    If yu wish to move this discussion, by all means do so and let me know where.
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  66. #65  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve, thank you for acknowledging this

    My problem in this discussion is that I appear to be anticipating the conclusions of your arguments rather than permitting them to unfold as you craft them. My error and I apologize. I’ll try to restrain myself.
    Your honesty does you credit, admitting to yourself and us.

    How do you define objective reality with reference to perception? Is not any reality that man perceives by definition subjective?
    Like you (I think), I do not believe that abolute objective reality can be confirmed, however I believe there is a commonly accepted subjective reality (casr) that is different to subjective reality. I do not want to be semantic so I will use examples to explain what I mean.

    CASR is that we are communicating on an internet forum, that the sun rises in the east, that jumping off a 10 storey building onto concrete is likely to kill or injure me in the sense that we all understand, that we suffer material death, and so on.

    A subjective reality might be that I think that I am communicating better than you on this forum, that the sun will stop rising in the east in 5 billion years when it novates, that jumping off the building is morally wrong, that we reincarnate into other bodies after initial material death.

    I am aware that the above two example clusters have grey areas of overlap, but for the purposes of objective reality and survival value, human beings would agree broadly with the above. My take is that an accurate perception of CASR is adaptive for all living things. This is because we need to know what food is good to eat, whether poison mushrooms or fast food, what living and non living things threaten our lives. Simply put any organism that was unable to recognise things that threatened that survival, would not have survived and hence not passed on this genetic tendency.

    That is my proposition with some limited provisos.

    My question based upon the previous is to seek a link between what we know as 'truth', philosphical, religious etc has evolved in human society from the CASR. Truth or reality seeking systems like science, religion, philosophy etc all seem to be driven to answer questions of "what is this creation", "who am I" and "what is my relationship to this creation". Other human systems like justice also try and establish 'facts' and reality. Business and politics do not actively seek the truth but they maintain they are based on truth.

    Once again the CASR shows that we know politicians and business to be riddled with dishonesty that denies itself, and is resilient to discovery.

    So, if my logical process above has been consistent do we have a good argument that (set aside a divinity) all our systems of truth have all arisen from a biologically adaptive trait?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  67. #66 CASR 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    I would have to agree that a CASR exists - although I'd quibble about some aspects that we accept as CASR that are more than likely not - and do follow your reasoning just fine. The leap is not so large from the value of CASR to the value of scientific endeavor to survival. Religion is more problematic.

    I find returning to the most basic elements very useful in developing thought in all areas. For example, rather than attempt to determine what value knowledge of mesons is to survival, I look at a club, lever, inclined plane or pulley. These basic tools were developed by some inquisitive ancestor and very probably enabled him/her to procreate more prolifically than his neighbors who could not grasp such concepts.

    In modern times, as a successful scientist I can have a safer car, security systems in my home and business, clean water and nutritious foods, for me and my offspring. It is not the scienct, itself that permits me to survive to procreate, and in fact, science damned near made me miss out on that entirely. (I was too busy studying and working to develop a lasting relationship, and stumbled into one rather than seeking it out. It was almost too late - I had my first child at age 40.)

    And as an educated member of society and one who attempt to be a good citizen, I chose to have only two children, one of whom truned out to be autistic. Those who do not seek higher education or can't tend to have more children...so in a way, sceintific pursuit is the harbinger of reverse evolution for the species...

    Sorry about that, had a rough couple of days and am in a pessimistic mood :x
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  68. #67  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Steve, thanks for the response,

    The leap is not so large from the value of CASR to the value of scientific endeavor to survival. Religion is more problematic.
    I am focussing on the concept of 'truth' rather than the specific outcomes from a system like science or religion, as a survival mechanism. I am not claiming that science exclusively offers truth or reality, although discovery of things like medical breakthroughs do expose us to facts that materially affect our lives. Medical science for example does this, but still we manage to get deluded by what is offered as reality. DDT, antibiotics, smoking, thalidomde are examples where science offered us a reality, then new facts came to light and reality was adjusted.

    Religion is quite a different approach, faith based (with some attempts at the appearance of reason) but it still offers us a 'reality' of why we are here, what lies after death, who we are etc.

    I take your point of
    In modern times, as a successful scientist I can have a safer car, security systems in my home and business, clean water and nutritious foods, for me and my offspring. It is not the scienct, itself that permits me to survive to procreate,
    It is the position within society that science places you, and access to its fruits that offers better quality of life and..

    Those who do not seek higher education or can't tend to have more children...so in a way, sceintific pursuit is the harbinger of reverse evolution for the species...
    However those in positions of higher status, where education etc also gives social power, do tend to smaller families, however it is sometimes argued that higher status gives better survival odds to the fewer offspring to influence the greater number of those of less status. I distinguish between education and social status, because education does not always offer the status. I have sometimes felt that some scientists sacrifice commercial gain for job satisfaction.

    Do you mean that access to scientific knowledge means we might actually devolve. I am not a professional darwinist however my understanding of the process is that evolutionary survival defines fitness not the other way around. Lower education etc might indeed become adaptive and education a ticket to extinction. However, evolution itself is neutral and natural selection goes on its way.

    I had my first child at age 40
    Welcome to the club. My first was at 38, the rest at 40, so I look forward to a late retirement unless I win the lottery.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  69. #68  
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    Ah, so you, too, know the pleasures of middle age fatherhood! This is an area where I would like to trade notes sometime as I am constantly challenged by the task.

    Yes, I do fear that education is leading to a reversal of "evolution" although by definition this is not possible; evolution is a one-way street so it is the affect of education on the species that has an apparently reverse component to it when examined strictly as a function of mean intelligence. Anticipating your response (I told you I was prone to this)...yes, I believe that the mean intelligence of the species is dropping, at least in "industrialized nations" and defined as governments define reductions in budgets. (For example, defense spending is said to be 'reduced' when its growth is slowed from 10% per annum to 5% per annum.)

    Overall the trend is still likely positive as a result of nutritional advances and improved medical care for the young, but the improvements very probably suffering a reversal due to disproportionate procreation. I know that it is not PC to assume that those without education are less intelligent than those who do have the benefit of education, and it is certainly not absolutely true (see earlier arguments, at a minimum), but I do think that the mean intelligence of the uneducated is below that of the educated, particularly in countries such as the USA, where class barriers are minimal and the opportunities for higher education abound.

    Of course, this is a chicken and egg situation…the lower mean intelligence could well be due to poorer nutrition and health care in utero and in early childhood. On a personal note, my in utero and early childhood nutrition and access to medical care was right down there with the worst of situations, with exposure to high levels of lead, mercury, alcohol and tobacco, bulimia in utero and poverty in early childhood. If my intelligence was adversely affected, it can not have been a large factor.

    Also akin to the downtrodden masses, I had to work fulltime in high school to support myself since I got tossed out at age 16. In order to afford college, I joined the Air Force at 18 but still had to work nights and sell plasma twice a week to afford tuition and books since the GI Bill only paid enough to barely cover rent and about a week of food per month.

    But back to the seeking of “truth” as an adaptation for survival...sure, it seems plausible to me. The problem is, this question is like all other science: we can only form hypotheses and develop evidence for or against: we can not know absolutely. Would you like to begin a process of examining evidence in support of the hypothesis, or evidence contrary thereto?
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  70. #69  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Hi SG,

    Ah, so you, too, know the pleasures of middle age fatherhood! This is an area where I would like to trade notes sometime as I am constantly challenged by the task.
    Its a double edged sword. More mature, less flexible, more cautious. More time and money to spend when childless. Later retirement. Still there's nothing like getting your genes out the door, so to speak.

    Yes, I do fear that education is leading to a reversal of "evolution" although by definition this is not possible; evolution is a one-way street so it is the affect of education on the species that has an apparently reverse component to it when examined strictly as a function of mean intelligence
    This could make an interesting point related to my original topic that life seeks an accurate view of reality. If those with lower education are somehow favored in evolutionary terms it will affect individual ability to recognise reality, if we assume this is one of the traits of intelligence/education etc.

    But back to the seeking of “truth” as an adaptation for survival...sure, it seems plausible to me. The problem is, this question is like all other science: we can only form hypotheses and develop evidence for or against: we can not know absolutely.
    Point taken. I propose further that we only seek objective reality for ourselves and to conceal it from those we compete with. So not only is an ability to recognise reality adaptive, but also the ability to conceal from our competition.

    We need to establish who we compete with and what competition is, in order to progress this, however I will make another comment about your intelligence spiral.

    I propose that society as a whole competes with individual needs, in which case society prepares a social reality for individuals to accept. You mentioned 'political correctness' over the topic os intelligence etc. For some things we certainly recognise that we pay lip service to social sensitivity, but I think that in many cases we spout the party line and truly believe it. The less intelligent people are, the easier society can do this, in turn this makes the social group more powerful than groups with more intelligent individuals who are less gullible.

    However survival also relies upon being able to change and adjust to changes in the environment and for this it needs to recognise a level of objective reality. Some level of intelligence is required for some of this, however most of the useful things in our lives have been invented and innovated by relatively few people. In the main, these few people have lived highly stressed lives often in conflict with their society and others.

    The above also affect subjective reality, in that society needs to construct a reality that it sells to its members. Some are taken in completely, others pay lip serive and go along. Others resist this and break away to form opposing groups or are eliminated.

    Are you for or against me - and remember we are both late age parents, so we have some similar realities.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  71. #70  
    Forum Isotope (In)Sanity's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2004
    Location
    Mesa AZ
    Posts
    2,697
    I propose that society as a whole competes with individual needs, in which case society prepares a social reality for individuals to accept. You mentioned 'political correctness' over the topic os intelligence etc. For some things we certainly recognise that we pay lip service to social sensitivity, but I think that in many cases we spout the party line and truly believe it. The less intelligent people are, the easier society can do this, in turn this makes the social group more powerful than groups with more intelligent individuals who are less gullible.
    This explains how Bush got back in office.

    Sheepeople I believe is the term I'm looking for

    You two have an interesting semi-debate going on here. The question still remains, if there one reality one consciousness, or are there really multiple realities unique to many different conscious beings.

    To put it another way, are you a figment of my reality and if my reality the only reality with many sub thoughts that make my reality real. Pretty much an impossible question to answer without a loop in logic.

    I love logic (Yes I just combined illogical and logic in one statement)
    Reply With Quote  
     

  72. #71  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    This explains how Bush got back in office.
    Not only George, but also school, political, business, sport, military, family, even internet forums display and rely upon this behaviour.



    The question still remains, if there one reality one consciousness, or are there really multiple realities unique to many different conscious beings.
    I see conciousness and reality as quite seprate things. There might be a single conciousness/reality, however this is something that seems difficult to unambiguously prove. We are sure that most people show variations in their level of consciousness and have differing flavours of similar realities. An absolute, by definition, is immutable and eternal, anything else will be variable in its form, life etc.

    To put it another way, are you a figment of my reality and if my reality the only reality with many sub thoughts that make my reality real. Pretty much an impossible question to answer without a loop in logic.
    I do not believe this theory. The idea that when I sleep and my conciousness is shut, then my constructed reality dissappears. The proving of this, as you say, is circular and futile. This is solipsism and can be argued quite elegantly, but when you ask a supporter to step into the road and see what happens when an imaginary car hits them, they seem less convinced about fictional reality.

    In my opinion this debate is not useful to discover more about the world, but can be entertaining and good mental exercise.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  73. #72  
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    I would agree fairly completely with you on the last points made, and while I differ in my reasons for not believing the "you are all figments of my imagination" crapola, I concur that this is a futile area to enter into as insoluable -- and pointless nonetheless.

    In attempting to establish a "reality gap" if I read you correctly, as a fundamental strategy to survival, you intrigue me. Can you offer examples?[/quote]
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  74. #73  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    In attempting to establish a "reality gap" if I read you correctly, as a fundamental strategy to survival, you intrigue me. Can you offer examples
    A simple example is the lion gazelle interaction. If the lion can get the gazelle to think there is no lion, bent on predation, lying in the nearby grass, then the lion will have a better chance of catching the gazelle, eating it and surviving. Its reliance on camoflauge, deception etc. are all different realities to the 'objective' one.

    In human terms we are somewhat removed from in naked predation, however I could argue that a woman who uses makeup to enhance her 'good' cosmetic points, mask her 'bad' ones like a flat chest with implants is constructing a deceptive reality in order to attract men, in order to mate with and have offspring. In short, to help the survival of her genes.

    I have used these two specific examples to show an aspect of human cultural deception. Few people will take issue with my lion/gazelle example (and all lions or gazelles do not care), even if they disagree with the concept it illustrates.

    However, breast implants as deception, designed to propagate genes, will raise ire in some quarters. Even the disclosure of reality, as I believe it does, can be labelled as politically incorrect and discounted as sexist, fascist whatever, to blunt it. Exposing realities like this will weaken agendas held by some feminists (and followers) as the female gender struggles for more control over their destiny aka survival.

    Hence in its own way a backlash against sexist comments like mine above, offer additional evidence for untruth as a survival strategy.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  75. #74 deception 
    Forum Freshman Steve Griffin's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Location
    PHX, AZ
    Posts
    70
    Very good, and I should have been able to see the simplicity of truth myslef. Seems I was thinking too abstractly, as political or pseudo-scientific deception, rather than taking my own advise to boil it down to the fundamentals. Clearly, you are correct, so the more subtle deceptions mentioned above, and myriad others, are supported by the basic 'fact', as demonstrated, that deception is indeed an individual survival mechanism as well and one for enhancing procreation success.

    There are myriad examples of basic deception in the amimal world, from stick and leaf shaped insects to octopus coloration to angler fish. What intrigues me much more than these examples are the human ones. Makeup and cosmetic surgery are surely deceptive in that they mask the results one would expect from mating with the genotype (although one must be aware that the results of genotype blending are far from predictable -- as demonstrated by my parents' attractiveness and attractivness of my offspring).

    There are well accepted (by women) examples of male deception as well, e.g. the classic statement about a guy with a powerful sportscar "compensating for something". But can we extend this to politics, religion and other social situations?
    Dr. Silica

    “The definition of insanity is to do the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” – Ben Franklin
    Reply With Quote  
     

  76. #75  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Very good, and I should have been able to see the simplicity of truth myslef. Seems I was thinking too abstractly, as political or pseudo-scientific deception, rather than taking my own advise to boil it down to the fundamentals. Clearly, you are correct, so the more subtle deceptions mentioned above, and myriad others, are supported by the basic 'fact', as demonstrated, that deception is indeed an individual survival mechanism as well and one for enhancing procreation success.
    Thankyou

    But can we extend this to politics, religion and other social situations?
    I don't see why not. Aside from the obvious examples, if we examine the cause and effect mechanism that brings about deception in nature and see if it applies to politics etc.

    The will to survive is adaptive for all of life. In other words a disinterest in survival fulfills itself. In order to survive one must have control over one's destiny. This involves competition with other organisms for limited resources. To do this effectively is there any reason why integrity/honesty etc will assist the organism. I would say that for for totally non social individuals there is no reason for integrity. As organisms become social, a tradeoff occurs in which the individual compromises their own direct needs in order to get some benefit from the group. If the individual is caught deceiving, they are punished in various ways. This results either in individuals who do not decieve or are good at concealing deception. There is also a continuum of mixed deception/integrity by individuals depending upon various competing social groups and sub groups etc. One of the mechanisms to overcome deception is conformity.

    If can be argued that knowledge of truth/reality favours survival, can it be argued that presenting untruth to others also does this, if we are in competition with them. Since societies consists of a mix of cooperation and competition in a complex continuum, I would argue that honesty to others does not precede survival as a cause.

    It is a self concealing mechanism. Untruth does not stand up and announce that it will be masquerading as truth and should thus be ignored. It needs to maintain the illusion to be, otherwise it dissolves

    Sorry for the long preamble, but I offer this as background to your question about politics, religion, business etc. Since these are mechanisms that assist with the survival and status of individuals and groups, and honesty is secondary to survival. If you examine the evidence in business and politics in particular it is quite apparent that a spin is put upon most things. Suprisingly some people still believe election promises, but the platfrom is there only to get elected, not to uphold truth/reality. In business we have trade secrets, an officially sanctioned form of deception. The tobacco industry is a good example where deception is still a hard fought action over a couple of generations, even today the untruths are still in evidence.

    Religion and science and justice are slightly different as they have reality/truth as their raison d'etre so defend themselves differently.

    This is a bit of a rushed post so I have not crystallised all my thinking on this.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  77. #76  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    23
    Hi,

    well - I have to make a comment.
    The author of the beginning threat seems to sthink of evolution as a heredity of properties, aquired in lifetime. Actually, this is not correct.

    One of the greatest insights of Darwin was to refuse this assumption.
    Greetings,

    BM
    Reply With Quote  
     

  78. #77  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Posts
    23
    Quote Originally Posted by HomoUniversalis

    I asked my biology teacher why the 'african man' could still reproduce with a 'European man'. Though the answer was uninteresting, it comes to show how long it can take before one species can split up. African man and European man were separated for quite some time (as with the aboriginals), but we are still all capable of creating viable () offspring.

    Mr U

    human senses are specialised to differ between humans.
    interistingly in europe there are different mice, who are not reproduce with each other, even if they look pretty similar
    Greetings,

    BM
    Reply With Quote  
     

  79. #78  
    Forum Bachelors Degree charles brough's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Location
    joplin MO USA
    Posts
    425
    The question was raised as to why there has been no further genetic evolution in us during the last 2,000 years(!) Some said there has been because there are still mutations, but it was also then made clear that mutations do not cause evolution if they do not survive, reproduce and spread in the genetic heritage.

    Actually, scientists have no evidence that we evolved biologically or physiologically at all in not just 2,000 years but almost 200,000 years! We have been the same species all that time. Our evolution occured as primates and preceeded that development. We are a product of it.

    No one likes to think we have stopped evolving that way because it makes us seem static, to seem like "progress" has ended.

    Obviously, however, we have not been "static" and we have "progressed" or achieved considerable if not amazing change! We have "civilization" and are posed to spread out into the rest of the universe.

    How did we accomplish this without any further evolution? It is obvious to scientists that we have done that, but "how" and "why" is a very dilicate question! There is no answer at all without getting into social evolution, and that is a very emotional subject! You cannot deal with it without offense to both our religious and secular beliefs.

    So, the subject remains anathema and you poor students are left with the carefully nurtered but false impression that we are still evolving genetically and that it is what explains our "progress" as a species.

    charles
    http://humanpurpose.simplenet.com
    Reply With Quote  
     

  80. #79  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    North America
    Posts
    49
    I've seen some of the Mammal shows on the Science channel, but, I have read the book and it is just as good. Evolution can't be measured in thousands of years, it's measured in millions and millions of years.
    "Nature is an infinite sphere whos center is everywhere and whose circumferense is nowhere."
    Reply With Quote  
     

  81. #80 Evolution 
    New Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Location
    Espera Feliz (MG) - Brazil
    Posts
    2
    The secret of the evolution is not in the change of the alive body in itself and yes in chanche that it will have to survive to change itself. Possibility this that the others, without these modifications, will not have.
    The mutations, in the biggest part of the times are the responsible ones for such modifications.
    Which can be said that they are as "biological accidents", in turn are not controlable.
    In surrounding determined one, after thousand of these mutations, some are of course privileged and remain unchanged ("accomodated"), and are well accepted to the long one of the evolution of one determined individual.
    The final result, in a global vision of determined species, is that it perfected itself to the long one of the centuries.
    Nenhuma espécie viva busca a perfeição. Ela é simplesmente proibida de viver em seu mundo se não consseguir adaptar-se a ele.
    No alive species searchs the perfection. It simply is forbidden to live in its world if not to obtain to adapt it it.
    Many real and concrete cases of this adaptation exist.
    Where I live exists a species of lizard, or better two, very similar between itself, in the truth identical it was not the fact of one to possess articulated superior and inferior members, and to another one not, with a serpent.
    Most interesting it is that they occur in the same environment.
    This sample that the evolution is still more interesting of that it seems.
    In my particular opinion some beings possess the capacity of if isolating in small environments very, very next, of where it finishes resulting the evolution.
    Also, in these cases you can perceive that the evolution occurs of much more fast form, arriving not even a set of ten of years, for some.
    But it is not alone. The example more clearly of this fact I observe in the creation of Guppy (the famous ornamental fish of the family of the Poecilidae).
    In some few years a trained person obtains, through the artificial election, entirely distinct ancestries.
    I believe that if I obtained to work an only ancestry for a longer period (30, 40 or 60 years, perhaps) I got a different species leaving of an only base even though (what I believe to have of course happened with the others of its same family).
    At last. I find that he is this!
    :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  82. #81  
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    6
    I think that how fast a species changes depends as you say on its need to change. However, life creates its own need because some species changes to become a more effective predator or more elusive prey and this forces other species to likewise adapt in an endless cycle. This is one reason why mammals have evolved so rapidly.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  83. #82  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    It is fascinating how this thread "evolved" from a discussion on evoloution to a discussion on truth and absolutes and has finally "devolved" back into a discussion on evolution.

    I only want to observe that I saw some promulgation of the myth that homo sapien "evolved" from gorillas, or chimpanzes or orangutangs or some other identifiable and existing primate. Evolutionary theory does not predict this construct sometimes iterated by evolutionist and sometimes by non evolutionists.

    Evolution predicts that homo sapien and gorilla and chimpanze and orangutan all have common ancestry far back in the family tree. Whatever that common ancestor was, evolution predicts that evolution took place along several lines which lead to the current list of existing primates.

    It is not my intent to express any agreement or disagreement with this construct.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  84. #83  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Key West, Florida, Earth
    Posts
    4,789
    Evolution is an ongoing science and new clues are found everyday. They have found that in certain cases mutations occur withing 2 or 3 generations which sometimes changes a certain charastic about something very rapidly.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  85. #84  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler
    Evolution is an ongoing science and new clues are found everyday. They have found that in certain cases mutations occur withing 2 or 3 generations which sometimes changes a certain charastic about something very rapidly.
    Not to be boorish, CT, but do you have an example of this phenomenon? Is this something which has occurred randomly and naturally or is it something that has occurred by selective breeding?
    Reply With Quote  
     

  86. #85  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Key West, Florida, Earth
    Posts
    4,789
    That, "Evolution is an ongoing science and new clues are found everyday" , well if you have a PC you can look it up as easily as I can.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  87. #86  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    CT:

    I'm talking about examples for the

    Quote Originally Posted by cosmictraveler
    They have found that in certain cases mutations occur withing 2 or 3 generations which sometimes changes a certain charastic about something very rapidly.

    part. I do have no quibble with the ongoing process part.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  88. #87  
    Forum Radioactive Isotope cosmictraveler's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2005
    Location
    Key West, Florida, Earth
    Posts
    4,789
    To understand mutations please read what this link provides :

    http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ult...Mutations.html

    If further explanations are required I think you can use Giigle as I have to find more links as to what you need.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  89. #88  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    Well, CT, I looked at the link you cited and it did not provide any examples of two or three generation mutations. Actually a mutation would occur in one generation, it is the preservation of that mutation such that it can be reliably transferred to offspring that takes time. So I do understand the mutation process.

    Anyway, having asked twice for a validating example of a two or three generation mutation (actually preservation of a mutation) and received no such example, the claim begins to become suspect as possible unfounded hyperbole.

    I am not trying to trap you or even discounting the possibility of such an occurance, but it would be interesting to see what that mutation was, in what animal (or plant) it occured, and how it was observed. It would also be interesting to investigate whether this mutation was beneficial to the mutant or, possibly, some cosmetic type mutation.

    I should not have to be googling to verify your specific claim. Surely there is a study someplace that you read or something. I earlier got dinged for suggesting that others google a specific term to seek various sources of information rather than putting down a list of URLs which could be suspect of being onesided. But, at least, I did give a specific term to google.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  90. #89  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    DaytonTurner, this article details a genetic difference that would indicate a divergence of Chinese sheep, via a mutation, at some point in the past.
    Anim Genet. 2005 Aug;36(4):331-6.
    A novel maternal lineage revealed in sheep (Ovis aries).
    Guo J, Du LX, Ma YH, Guan WJ, Li HB, Zhao QJ, Li X, Rao SQ.
    It is generally believed that domestic sheep have two maternal lineages (haplotypes A and B), based on mitochondrial DNA analysis. In the present study, we provide evidence that a novel maternal lineage (haplotype C) is exhibited in Chinese native sheep. To verify this finding, 231 samples were collected from six Chinese local breeds, which cover the vast geographical region of sheep inhabitation in China. For comparison, 50 samples were collected from two Western breeds collected in China. Mitochondrial DNA was screened by PCR single-strand conformational polymorphism (SSCP), leading to the identification of novel band patterns in ND2 and ND4 genes in the Chinese breeds. Interestingly, mutations at the two loci were in strong linkage disequilibrium. Direct sequencing of the DNA fragments revealed a non-synonymous substitution in ND2. Furthermore, two synonymous mutations were identified by comparisons of the novel type (haplotype C) and the established types (haplotypes A and B). The entire mitochondrial control region for 55 samples was then sequenced to construct a phylogenetic tree and median joining network. Both the tree and network demonstrated a topology of three groups, which is in consistent with the SSCP analysis. Unlike Western breeds, Chinese breeds are composed mainly of haplotypes A and B, but with a small fraction of haplotype C. According to Fu's test and mismatch distribution, haplotype C has not been subject to a recent population expansion. Based on these results, we propose a novel origin for Chinese sheep.


    In this one you will see from the tenor of the discussion that evolution via mutations is wholly accepted by biologists and geneticists. It is, once again, in the details that there is matter for dispute.

    Genome Biol. 2005;6(9):R75. Epub 2005 Aug 16.
    Evidence for selection on synonymous mutations affecting stability of mRNA secondary structure in mammals.
    Chamary JV, Hurst LD.
    BACKGROUND: In mammals, contrary to what is usually assumed, recent evidence suggests that synonymous mutations may not be selectively neutral. This position has proven contentious, not least because of the absence of a viable mechanism. Here we test whether synonymous mutations might be under selection owing to their effects on the thermodynamic stability of mRNA, mediated by changes in secondary structure. RESULTS: We provide numerous lines of evidence that are all consistent with the above hypothesis. Most notably, by simulating evolution and reallocating the substitutions observed in the mouse lineage, we show that the location of synonymous mutations is non-random with respect to stability. Importantly, the preference for cytosine at 4-fold degenerate sites, diagnostic of selection, can be explained by its effect on mRNA stability. Likewise, by interchanging synonymous codons, we find naturally occurring mRNAs to be more stable than simulant transcripts. Housekeeping genes, whose proteins are under strong purifying selection, are also under the greatest pressure to maintain stability. CONCLUSION: Taken together, our results provide evidence that, in mammals, synonymous sites do not evolve neutrally, at least in part owing to selection on mRNA stability. This has implications for the application of synonymous divergence in estimating the mutation rate.

    I located these after a two minute search. If you wish I can locate more. I will likely get bored when I get into the second hundred.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  91. #90  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    I am sorry, Ophiolite, but I do not understand those paragraphs enough to offer any agreement or disagreement. I do not think I am a stupid person, but when something is written in the jargon of a highly technical nature with which I am not all that familiar, I have a problem.

    I would much rather read a translation of this stuff in plain English. For all I know this is gospel or it is just gobble-de-gook double talk.

    I do not deny that when some people look at studies such as must have been conducted here, it is blatantly obvious to them that it is a fine example of evolution. Yet others can look at the same information and conclude that it is not supportive of evolution.

    Bottom line here is that I am not swayed one direction or the other by information which I cannot understand. Get this stuff into the plain English of the common man and I will accept it or rip it to shreds -- which ever is appropriate.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  92. #91  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Dayton, I am equally sorry. You simply cannot have it both ways. Evolution is a simple concept, in that it can be explained in a few sentences. The evidence for is, however, hugely complex and covers a multitude of disciplines.
    On the one hand you say - give me some satisfactory evidence to support your arguments in favour of evolution. When we answer in generalities, you respond alng the lines of "You are just expressing opinions. I want facts".
    When I provide facts - and this is the second occasion I have presented you with abstracts of detailed research - you respond, "I am sorry I cannot understand this".
    Too me your position is untenable. The evidence does require a measure of education in a variety of topics that you declare you do not have, yet despite that lack you feel that the fault lies with science for failing to provides the facts.
    I cannot accept that as a reasonable position. I feel I am in the position of one who challenged to provide a missing link does so, only to now face demands for two missing links on either side of that provided.
    I do not have the time to place these papers in laymans terms - I suggest work through the papers, especially the second one, and google each unfamiliar term in turn. Do some reading around each of these terms. To begin to appreciate the significance of this particular paper you may need to spend several hours doing such background reading.
    If you do not feel that would be time well spent I suspect I have little further to say to you.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  93. #92  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    I attempted to respond to your Monday post much earlier, Ophiolite. Thinking I was just going to write a short reply, I typed into the message box, but it took longer than I thought and when I went to submit it, my connection had timed out and my eloquent reply was absorbed by some black hole in cyberspace. My attempt to reproduce it, resulted a seriously mutated version of far inferior quality and so I just dumped it in favor of a new attempt at such time as my mind had cleared. The mind has done so sufficiently enough now that I have no idea what my original comments may have been. I have, perhaps, rebooted several times in the interim.

    I think my response is something of a rhetorical question. Why is it that the detractors to evolution seem to find it so easy to take the details of some of these studies and reduce (or expand?) them to rather easily understood lay terms while the proponents seem only capable of speaking in their highly developed specialized jargon?

    Hopefully, I have previously admitted that I do not know exactly what I believe relating to evolution. In the (understandable) materials I have read whether pro or anti evolution, there is a tendency for them to be unclear as to cause and effect and seem to always be subject to a the-chicken-or-the-egg dilemma.

    So it is not my position that evolution has not or did not take place. My position, as near as I can define it, is that we have a lot more questions than we have answers. In the abstract, I would suggest that we have factors A, B and C and from that we extrapolate and deduce and infer results R, S and T. These results are predicated on the idea that factors D, E and F will confirm the results.

    I do not really object to the concept of evolution as being responsible for many of the differences in the life forms we find on earth. What I object to is the attempt to exclude from all the possibilities, the possibility that evolution was a process utilized by some intelligence to effect these differences. I also object to the use of the concept of evolution to justify the spontaneous generation of life (thus agreeing with what I think is your position that evolution and the origins of life are vastly different and unrelated disciplines).

    My position is that this possibility cannot be conclusively supported or refuted by scientific method. I am not locked into that as being the only possibility.

    Speaking of the origins of life on earth, in your notation that “primordial ooze” has fallen out of favor, you listed some other popular potential sources. But you left out the one which I might find the most promising – the random and accidental implantation of virus via meteorite.

    My understanding here is that viruses can exist in a totally inert environment in an inert state. Thus they potentially can survive, unprotected, in space.

    It leaves open what on earth could have catalyzed such a virus back to life and also begs the question of where the virus came from in the first place.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  94. #93  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    I attempted to respond to your Monday post much earlier, Ophiolite. .
    I wondered where you'd gone. I knew I hadn't beaten you into submission with my razor sharp wit and intellectual bonhomie (I've no idea what intellectual bonhomie is, but it sounded good, so I thought I'd leave it in.)
    Quote Originally Posted by daytonturner
    Why is it that the detractors to evolution seem to find it so easy to take the details of some of these studies and reduce (or expand?) them to rather easily understood lay terms while the proponents seem only capable of speaking in their highly developed specialized jargon?
    This is a good question for two reasons:
    1. It is perceptive.
    2. I know the correct answer.

    The detractors simplify. The do not just simplify, they oversimplify. They not only remove the heart of the message, they suffocate its spirit. Some see research papers as dry, academic documents, written in a stilted, jargon loaded, convoluted manner. And they are right. But look at the message, not the medium. (F*** Marshall McLuhan!)

    These research papers reveal the inner structure of reality, whether it be the aerodynamics of a butterfly wing, the decay rate of muons created by cosmic rays in our upper atmosphere, or the co-operative behaviour of bonobos in the African rain forest. They are filled with passion and wonder. If you are religious, here is where you can find the handwriting of God interpreted.

    And the detractors destroy that. They take a word here, a phrase there; a paragraph, a sentence. They take them out of context, they twist and distort, they imply and insinuate. They take 'sound bites' of a lifetimes work and declare, "See, evolution is a lie. Scientists are atheists and liars.”

    Of course this does not entirely answer ‘why do the proponents speak in their highly technical jargon?’ There are three reasons for this, I believe:
    1. The jargon allows one to say much more in a word or phrase than would be otherwise possible. This is generally a good thing.
    2. The poor bastards have spent many years becoming experts in their field. They don’t want just anyone walking in and understanding what’s going on. This is generally a bad thing,
    3. Scientists are not always the most sociable of creatures (though much more so than IT gurus or actuaries). It hasn’t occurred to most of them that they ought to make science more accessible. They will get there. Generally this is a bad thing that is becoming better.

    What I object to is the attempt to exclude from all the possibilities, the possibility that evolution was a process utilized by some intelligence to effect these differences.
    I would challenge any scientist who attempted to do this as being guilty of unscientific thinking. I do not believe scientists do exclude this, but there are some caveats I have to apply. (The Devil is in the detail. Can we find God in there also?)
    Caveat 1: Scientists are investigating the process. How that process came to be is not yet the subject of proper scientific investigation. Science can therefore not reasonably rule out the possibility that some intelligence was involved in setting up this process. (Let us recall for a moment that Francis Crick has postulated life on Earth was placed here by aliens – yes, that Francis Crick.)
    Caveat 2: Since this involvement would have been to set the rules under which evolution operates in motion, science has no interest in it. I can accept that some scientists will therefore declare it irrelevant.
    Caveat 3: It would be improper to expect scientists to go off looking for evidence of this intelligence until such times as some evidence appears to suggest that this would be a worthwhile pursuit. Words written in religious works don’t meet this criterion.

    But you left out the one which I might find the most promising – the random and accidental implantation of virus via meteorite.
    That is covered by pan spermia. This allows for the introduction of life from space by ones of several mechanisms, including:
    1) Life originates on another planet. Microscopic life forms are then transferred through bolide impact into space, where they drift until reaching a new planet.
    2) Life originates in space on comets or meteors or amongst the ever romantic stardust, (God bless Willy Nelson.) then impacts the Earth.

    Pan spermia is, by the way, my preferred explanation for life on Earth.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  95. #94  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    Back again, Ophiolite. Thanks for your explanation.

    I did want to revisit a point we discussed earlier, on this thread or one of the others, not sure I remember and I don’t want to go looking for it.

    I had objected to the phrase, “Evolution is a fact.”

    Whether I knew or did not know what a specific person’s view of evolution was, I think I would object to that phrase, because it is either too complete or not complete enough.

    If you sat 10 people down and ask them what evolution is to them, you would probable get 10 different answers. You would look them over and probably make comments such as these: This one is pretty good; I don’t agree with this one. This has some good ideas but is somewhat off base; I agree with this one. This is stupid. What idiot wrote this?

    Each of these people, no doubt, believes what he or she wrote was the perfect answer to the question.

    When one says, “Evolution is a fact,” one is giving tacit approval to all of those ideas since none of them have been excluded. Even if I absolutely and fully and completely agreed with the concept held by the person making such a statement, I still could not agree with the statement because to do so would be to in some way agree with those concepts I did not agree with.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  96. #95  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    I think I understand the point you are making here; and in certain contexts I would agree with you; but not in this context.

    We are conducting this discussion in a science forum under the Biology umbrella. I would argue therefore that when I say 'evolution is a fact' in this context I am implicitly using evolution as defined within science and within biology.

    Indeed, I am obliged to use such a definition: in this context if I use a different definition I would need to present it clearly and justify its introduction to the discussion.

    If we were discussing evolution in a 'Joe Public' kind of way, then the diversity of evolutionary notions you refer to would all be proper items for discussion. Any debate in that context would probably best proceed by first seeking to reach some agreement on which definition or definitions were to be used.

    Note, also that if someone were to try to discuss evolution in a scientific framework, but using concepts not currently middle of the road, then again I would expect clear definitions (and justifications) would be proffered.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  97. #96  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard
    Join Date
    Oct 2005
    Location
    Beautiful Pacific Northwest, USA
    Posts
    2,096
    Surely, Ophiolite, looking through the gamut of input on evolution offered at various places on this forum, you cannot believe this is anything other than a place where "Joe Public" frequents and posits all sorts of information pro and con on this and various other issues.

    I feel safe in conjecturing that a huge majority (and I include myself in this group) of the people who comment here are far less informed, far less studied and far less based on this topic than you appear to be. (And which is, by the way, one of the reasons I have enjoyed discussing this topic with you.)

    To be sure, (and I've said this before) I do not find a lot of really hard core scientific information here but a lot of argument and rhetoric about it. My expertise is not really founded on the knowledge, but rather more toward logical thinking and reasoning and interpreting.

    What I am suggesting is that if you are accurate in your assessment that the relative positions of the various people who post and read here are commensurate and in total agreement with yours, then you can feel comfortable in saying, “Evolution is fact.” If that assessment of the local population is flawed, then I don’t think such a statement is appropriately meaningful.

    Minor point and I think we understand each other on it, now.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  98. #97  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    Again, I grasp what you are saying, but am not in total agreement. I view forums such as this as places where people can (amongst other things) learn more about science, both the facts and the methods. This is achieved in part through discussion and debate.

    I think an important part of that learning process is a growing familiarity with the language of science - both the specific (actual definitions) and the general (the need for precision). I acknowledge fully your point that many posters are not well versed in topics they may be discussing. That, for me, is even more reason that we should work within the correct context when we know what it is. Those who are less familiar will gradually acquire the vocabulary and concepts, either by 'osmosis' or by challenging and debating, as we are doing here.

    Every topic I have posted in so far I can at best claim amateur status in. In some topics I would feel I rank as an enthusiastic well informed amateur with a good grasp of the fundamentals, but I am not an expert: I am not doing research in any of the specific fields. Therefore it becomes even more important that I phrase and structure my factual posts correctly.

    When I stated 'evolution is a fact' I was thus seeking to achieve two things:
    1) Apply good scientific practice, as discussed above.
    2) Generate questions or challenges to the statement so that its truth could be demonstrated via discussion.

    I think its working. :wink:
    Reply With Quote  
     

  99. #98  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Ho Ophiolite,

    Sorry to barge in, and I am digressing, but your comment of

    I view forums such as this as places where people can (amongst other things) learn more about science, both the facts and the methods. This is achieved in part through discussion and debate.
    I would add to this, that for certain topics, and evolution is one, some people are not trying to understand and discover the reality of things. Often they are just trying to convince others of their viewpoint and, as best as they can, knock others off. The debates between ID/creationism and evolution illustrate that people have their beliefs defined without knowing all, or sometimes any of the facts. The arguments are just a jostling for position and power. Not that I disagree with this, just stating my view on this (and hopefully convincing you).
    Reply With Quote  
     

  100. #99  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    14,169
    I am in at least partial agreement with you. Very often people express their strongly held positions without entertaining an alternative.

    Where I may be in disagreement with you is in relation to your example of evolution versus intelligent design. Intelligent design, despite its pretensions is not science. I have no problem with anyone choosing to believe in an omipotent being who took six days to create the world. I have no problem with people choosing not to accept the findings and methods of science. [I have no problem with mature adults choosing to place their hands in a vat of boiling water. I just don't want them telling me to do that. ]

    I do not expect to learn anything about intelligent design in a forum such as this other than the diversity of means by which evidence can be manipulated. However, I remain open to the possibility that I am wrong. So far, however, nobody has presented any evidence that I find even remotely convincing.

    I have, on the other hand, learnt a great deal more about evolution - either from knowledgeable individuals, or through researching topics in order to counter ID arguments.
    Reply With Quote  
     

  101. #100  
    TB
    TB is offline
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Dec 2004
    Posts
    64
    Ophiolite,

    Intelligent design, despite its pretensions is not science.
    Agreed, however how relevant is this unless this is the crux of the argument. ID is creationist mutton dressed as ham. Due to the moral high ground held by reason, ID takes its a priori assumption of a creator and looks for evidence and logic to support (unsuccessully in my view).

    However both ID and evolution are both reality seeking systems, in that that they try and explain and give cause to what is about us. Whether the facts stack up is less important than whether the facts can be made to appear to stack up.

    I have no problem with anyone choosing to believe in an omipotent being who took six days to create the world. I have no problem with people choosing not to accept the findings and methods of science.
    I have a problem with these if they are argued to be factual, rational and evidence based (I am prepared to waive repeatable on this one). If they are positioned as faith based, then that is OK, even though I disagree with the principle.

    I do not expect to learn anything about intelligent design in a forum such as this other than the diversity of means by which evidence can be manipulated.
    It gives me insight into how social systems operate and the ability of a group to construct a reality that is blindly accepted and becomes reality for an individual. Even as they are superceded, the absurdities are overlooked and the new king is born equally perfect.

    However, I remain open to the possibility that I am wrong. So far, however, nobody has presented any evidence that I find even remotely convincing.
    I am uncertain that I, or others, are able to be truly open. So much of what we believe and operate within, is taken on before rational thought has developed. It's a comforting idea though, so I will agree with you.

    I have, on the other hand, learnt a great deal more about evolution - either from knowledgeable individuals, or through researching topics in order to counter ID arguments.
    Likewise, I have even changed sides to see if I can argue the case for ID, but this has been difficult for me to do. However, I have discovered that the belief in evolution for most is not based upon a real understanding of the logic or the evidence. It is also faith based.

    As daytonturner says
    If you sat 10 people down and ask them what evolution is to them, you would probable get 10 different answers.
    This is not to say there is not a solid base of accepted dogma for evolution in the mainstream, but for most believers in evolution, it is simple conformity.
    Reply With Quote  
     

Bookmarks
Bookmarks
Posting Permissions
  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •