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Christianity &Science Johnson on 19 Dec 2008 12:32 am

Science Moment – Understanding Evolution

Here is an enlightening video series that explains evolution in simple terms. Part 5 is particularly interesting:

If you find that interesting, start the series with part 1: Facts Of Evolution – (Chapter 1 of 6)

A quote from Chapter 1:

Every living thing on earth is related to every other living thing on earth. A common misconception is that some modern species are descended from other modern species. This is rarely the case. Instead, closely related modern species descended from a common ancestor, that is neither one or the other. Humans did not come from chimps. Both humans and chimps came from a creature that had more primitive deatures than either modern humans or modern chimps.

If it is to be called Science, it must be testable. And for almost 150 years, the research community has done every test imaginable to examine evolution and common descent. And for 150 years, not a single test has ever failed to validate that all life on earth comes from one common ancestor.

In other words, evolution is a proven fact. The evidence is undeniable.

Where did life start? Why would life start? Why does life continue? How can life become more complex over time? Here is one way to think about it:

Why Life Originated (And Why it Continues)

In their study, which is published in the International Journal of Astrobiology, the researchers considered a primordial pool that contained some basic compounds. By reacting with one another and coupling with an external energy source such as the Sun, the compounds formed a chemical system. The compounds continually engaged in chemical reactions, thriving the most when capturing and distributing more and more of the Sun’s energy in the quest for a steady state. The evolutionary process was and still is non-deterministic, even chaotic, since the energy flows create energy differences that in turn affect the flows.

Due to random variations stemming from the chemical reactions, some novel compounds may have emerged in the primordial system. Some of these compounds (such as those involving carbon) might have been exceptionally good at creating energy flow, enabling the system to diminish energy differences very efficiently and reach a higher level of entropy.

And:

The scientists give several examples of mechanisms associated with life that increase entropy. For instance, when systems (e.g. molecules) become entities of larger systems (e.g. cells) that participate in larger ranges of interactions to consume more free energy, entropy increases. Genetic code might have served as another primordial mechanism, acting as a catalyst that could increase energy flow toward greater entropy. Today, complex organisms have cellular metabolism, which is another mechanism that increases entropy, as it disperses energy throughout the organism and into the environment. The food chain in an ecosystem is another example of a mechanism for transferring energy on a larger scale.

In this sense, life is a very natural thing, which emerged simply to satisfy basic physical laws. Our “purpose,” so to speak, is to redistribute energy on the Earth, which is in between a huge potential energy difference caused by the hot Sun and cold space. Organisms evolve via natural selection, but at the most basic level, natural selection is driven by the same thermodynamic principle: increasing entropy and decreasing energy differences. The natural processes from which life emerged, then, are the same processes that keep life going – and they operate on all timescales.

5 Responses to “Science Moment – Understanding Evolution”

  1. on 24 Jan 2009 at 5:01 pm 1.Elija said …

    Are you positive there’s no God?
    In your final moments you better hope(pray)you’re right. Also, IF it turns out that He is real, how do you think you’ll be received by Him knowing He knows you promoted Him as preposterious. If He is real you will stand accountable for not only yourself but the lives of those you caused/affirmed your ideas that followed. I know you don’t accept any part of this message but now you can never say you didn’t know. Obviously, I know He’s real because I possess Him in my heart.
    It’s not too late–you too can still come to know Him.

  2. on 24 Jan 2009 at 5:47 pm 2.Gern Blansten said …

    Elija, what if it turns out that God only likes rational and logical people, such as atheists?

    What if he despises people who are gullible, such as the type of people who would believe all the senselessness in the Bible? Maybe God created the Bible merely to identify the gullible people.

    That would mean atheists go to heaven and believers go to hell. How do you know that isn’t a possibility?

  3. on 24 Jan 2009 at 7:08 pm 3.Anonymous said …

    elijah,

    >”IF it turns out that He is real, how do you think you’ll be received by Him knowing He knows you promoted Him as preposterious.”

    well, that would be on Him.

    If I created a robot that could think and learn new things, interact with its environment and even programmed it to potentially learn that I had created it, would I be deny it entry into my Kingdom if it never acknowledged that I had created it? Personally, I’m not that megalomaniacal and in the off chance that there is a god I doubt god would be either. Further, if that god was intelligent enough to create all that exists, wouldn’t it be pretty silly if he even gave a rat’s ass whether we ‘believed’ in his existence or not?

    Gern’s got a very good point. Reverse the scenario and you see how ridiculous the notion of judgement by a ‘creator’ is.

  4. on 24 Jan 2009 at 7:09 pm 4.loved one said …

    ((sorry, that last anon. comment was mine.))

  5. on 25 Jan 2009 at 2:13 am 5.Hermes said …

    Elija: “Are you positive there’s no God?”

    Capital G ‘g o d’, the common Christian all knowing, all powerful, and all good deity? Yes. That one is bullocks.

    Generic ‘g o d’ meaning a super powerful entity? It’s possible, though highly unlikely.

    Elija: “In your final moments you better hope(pray)you’re right.”

    Three comments;

    1. Is Pascal’s Wager the reason why you have your religious beliefs?

    2. If not, why do you think threats would be effective?

    3. Threats like that show me how limited Christian beliefs are and how vengeful Christians will be if they run a theocracy. Seriously; be a mensch.

    Elija: “It’s not too late–you too can still come to know Him.”

    Serious question: Why your deity and not some other deity?

    I’ve never gotten a good answer out of a Christian on that one. They all assume that their unproven deity is special while some other unproven (and not-disproven) deity is not worth considering. Maybe because you have a better version of eternal torture?

    In either case, you are welcome to come to the forums;

    http://whywontgodhealamputees.com/forums/index.php

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