Author Topic: Learn About Evolution!  (Read 4793 times)

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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #58 on: November 15, 2008, 05:14:57 AM »
As far as AIG being morally corrupt, I dont know, I had never heard of them before.

But when I look at the Miller Urey experiment it looks to me like they took a bunch of components and kept throwing them together in different possible earth environments until they found one that the components stuck together in. Then they decided that this must have been how the early earths atmosphere must have been composed of.

Its like taking a theory then finding the facts to fit. Instead a theory should be based on facts.

Also another reason it doesnt make sense to me is ....ANALOGY TIME :)

Say you have a box of legos. You know you have the building blocks for the basis of just about anything. Dropping this box at various heights produces differing responses of how and what pieces stick together. Although just because two pieces stick together doesnt mean in millions of years if left unattended we would expect to see a lego house complete with tree house for Jr in the backyard appear. If you again drop the box thos two pieces you produced the time before would most likely break apart.

Life tends to fall apart not get more complex. (I think there is a law of some sort saying as much, but its 5 Am so Im not remembering to well)

Miller Urey was how many years ago and they havent produced life in a test tube. If they do I would be much more inclineded to believe them.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #59 on: November 15, 2008, 05:49:55 AM »
Whenever anyone uses the Watchmaker argument (like you just did) they are forgetting two things.  First we're talking about a span of perhaps half a billion years, and a global ocean, in which those Legos kept getting dropped and re-dropped countless times.  I can't even conceive of the vast time spans or number of molecules involved.  My mind simply has no way to deal with such huge numbers.

Second, we're not expecting those random drops to produce "a lego house complete with tree house for Jr in the backyard".  All we need is the first, simplest replicator. Evolution will take care of the rest. 

They'll never produce life in a Miller-Urey style experiment, but that was not the point of the experiment.  They only wanted to see if they could make the Legos, and they succeeded.  Actually more than they knew, because it has recently come to light after re-analyzing the gunk in their flasks that they produced many more amino acids than they thought at the time.

Forget life. If anyone ever produces a replicator in a test tube, will you be inclineded to believe them?

I don't know where you got the idea that "life tends to fall apart not get more complex".  There is no such law.  Maybe you're thinking of the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics which states that a closed system will tend to a state of maximum entropy, but that has nothing to do with Life, because we're not living in a closed system - it is a system that is constantly being pumped by the energy from the Sun.   

AND... evolution is not random.  That's another common misconception.

The reason I say AIG is morally corrupt is because they KNOW everything I've just said above, but they choose to ignore it all and twist the facts in order to justify their perverse religious beliefs.   Some of the arguments they use were first made in the 1920s and have been soundly debunked years ago, but that doesn't stop them.

I harbor no malice against people who believe in Creationism simply because they're uninformed about science.  But for such scoundrels as AIG and their ilk, I would reserve the deepest pit of Hell, if Hell actually existed.

I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #60 on: November 15, 2008, 02:39:43 PM »
1. Watchmaker argument...your assuming.

2 Replicators. Have any working replicators ever been produced?

3. Would I believe them if they would be able to make replicators. Replicators no. Working replicators, more concievable. Working cells, yes.

4. Ok maybe not a law, more an observation. It was 5 am so maybe I was mixing laws of thermodynamics with other strings of information running around between the ears.

5. Not aware as you of AIG. Still just because you say they are twisted facts doesnt mean that they are. Go over the article I used pick the twisted fact, and debunk it with modern or not so modern research and I will be more inclined to believe you. The funny thing is many on that side say the same thing (ignore things and twisting facts) about the abiogenesis side. Who is a guy supposed to believe?




Other Questions

Replicators,
RNA or something similar I am assuming you mean? Doesnt RNA need enzymes to replicate? Enzymes are synthesized by cells. Which came first the chicken on the egg.
Or where enzymes there become the first replicators. If they where where did they come from?


Doesnt the Miller Urey experiment assume what the atmophere of the earth was during this. It seems they decided by what worked best in the lab for their tests. Has it ever been proven (beyond Miller Urey) what the atmosphere was made up of.
Your heroes are dead, they were all in your head. When nothing is left we will start again. Below the surface of every hero is an envy, a restless evil

Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #61 on: November 15, 2008, 03:45:29 PM »
Static,

AIG: Answers in Genesis.

Firmament, 6 day creation, Noah's Ark, Jonah and the whale.  Need I go on?

In fact, if you visit their website like I just did, it appears they are no longer interested in free education.  I had trouble finding actual information.  Most of it appears to be, "Bye this!"

If this doesn't convince you of the dubious nature of anything coming from AIG, there isn't much point in furthering this conversation.

http://www.answersingenesis.org/articles/nab/really-a-flood-and-ark
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #62 on: November 15, 2008, 05:11:12 PM »
1. Watchmaker argument...your assuming.

You used the analogy that shaking a box of legos would not produce a house.  The implication is that since a complex object exists, it could not have been formed without an intelligent purposeful creator.  That is the watchmaker argument.  Google it if you like.

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2 Replicators. Have any working replicators ever been produced?

Yes.  We can synthesize DNA and RNA.  It can replicate via the the polymerase chain reaction (PCR).  If you mean have we made any replicators by shaking a flask of amino acids for a few weeks, then no.  Remember how long it must have taken, and how big the "flask" was, in the real world though.


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3. Would I believe them if they would be able to make replicators. Replicators no. Working replicators, more concievable. Working cells, yes.

I never made a distinction between working replicators and any other kind of replicator.  I would not even bring up the subject of a non-working replicator, because I wouldn't call it a replicator.  I sense you are uncomfortable answering my question directly.  Yes or no: if researchers claimed to have made working replicators, and that claim was verified by independent peer review, would you believe them?

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5. Not aware as you of AIG. Still just because you say they are twisted facts doesnt mean that they are. Go over the article I used pick the twisted fact, and debunk it with modern or not so modern research and I will be more inclined to believe you. The funny thing is many on that side say the same thing (ignore things and twisting facts) about the abiogenesis side. Who is a guy supposed to believe?

You don't have to believe anybody.  Do your own research.  Study molecular biology.  All the information is available on the web.  It will be a lot easier for you than it was for me back in the dark ages before the Internet when I took a class in molecular biology (taught by a Christian, by the way).



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Replicators,
RNA or something similar I am assuming you mean? Doesnt RNA need enzymes to replicate? Enzymes are synthesized by cells. Which came first the chicken on the egg.
Or where enzymes there become the first replicators. If they where where did they come from?

Not necessarily RNA.  Could have been a simpler molecule.  Proteins can replicate (see prions).  Again, google "first replicators" and study the subject on your own.  Here is an excerpt from a book by Richard Dawkins.  Whatever you may think of his philosophical arguments, he is undeniably a good biologist, gifted with the ability to explain complicated biological ideas in layman's terms.

http://books.google.com/books?id=Tub-X6wydKgC&pg=PA563&lpg=PA563&dq=first+replicators&source=web&ots=wFMGd8cUbu&sig=1dU2a5B8lRiZ6fifXRU4H-t3k-E&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=6&ct=result#PPA566,M1

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Doesnt the Miller Urey experiment assume what the atmophere of the earth was during this. It seems they decided by what worked best in the lab for their tests. Has it ever been proven (beyond Miller Urey) what the atmosphere was made up of.

We know what it was not.  It did not have any free oxygen.  It was probably very similar in composition to that of the atmospheres of the outer planets (such as Jupiter) and their satellites with atmospheres (such as Titan), and with comets - in other words, water, ammonia, methane, nitrogen, sulfur, CO2, etc.  The outer planets are cold and frozen in time in a sort of deep freeze snapshot of the early solar system.
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #63 on: November 16, 2008, 06:42:58 PM »
Ok so I had this nice long post and accidentally deleted it. I guess I am not the only one to make this mistake. So if I leave something out or part are rushed and unreadable its because I am getting pissed at this computer

1. You are assuming I am a creationist. I dont think that the watchmaker argument is the only one that doesnt include abiogenesis. Panspermia comes to mind. Google panspermia

2 So is your answer no to "have any working replicators been produced from non living material (or not produced by living material)"?

Heres Dawkins for you
"An origin of life, anywhere, consists of the chance arising of a self-replicating entity.  Nowadays, the replicator that matters on Earth is the DNA molecule, but the original replicator probably was not DNA.  We don’t know what it was.  Unlike DNA, the original replicating molecules cannot have relied upon complicated machinery to duplicate them.  Although, in some sense, they must have been equivalent to “Duplicate me” instructions, the “language” in which the instructions were written was not a highly formalized language such that only a complicated machine could obey them.  The original replicator cannot have needed elaborate decoding, as DNA instructions... do today. Self-duplication was an inherent property of the entity’s structure just as, say, hardness is an inherent property of a diamond... the original replicators, unlike their later successors the DNA molecules, did not have complicated decoding and instruction-obeying machinery, because complicated machinery is the kind of thing that arises in the world only after many generations of evolution.  And evolution does not get started until there are replicators.  In the teeth of the so-called “Catch-22 of the origin of life”... the original self-duplicating entities must have been simple enough to arise by the spontaneous accidents of chemistry (Dawkins 1996, p. 285).

He talks a lot about what would need to be there to start life, but not how these simple replicators where made. See question above. There are a lot of must haves and probablies

3 I have no trouble directly answering your question. "Yes or no: if researchers claimed to have made working replicators, and that claim was verified by independent peer review, would you believe them?" The short answer is yes I would believe they have replicators. Would I believe in abiogenesis, no I would not. If they came up with living cells under your same criteria, yes I would. Where is stands now, producing amino acids no I definitly dont believe the abiogensis theory. There are too many hoops to jump through to get to a living thing. I believe Dawkins calls it "Mount Improbable"


4 "Not necessarily RNA.  Could have been a simpler molecule.  Proteins can replicate (see prions).  Again, google "first replicators" and study the subject on your own.  Here is an excerpt from a book by Richard Dawkins.  Whatever you may think of his philosophical arguments, he is undeniably a good biologist, gifted with the ability to explain complicated biological ideas in layman's terms."

I couldnt get to your link. Something about using up my page views.

"We know what it was not.  It did not have any free oxygen.  It was probably very similar in composition to that of the atmospheres of the outer planets (such as Jupiter) and their satellites with atmospheres (such as Titan), and with comets - in other words, water, ammonia, methane, nitrogen, sulfur, CO2, etc.  The outer planets are cold and frozen in time in a sort of deep freeze snapshot of the early solar system."

Again a lot of probablies in both of these statements. When you add up all of these probablies you get...

"...the sort of lucky event we are looking at could be so wildly improbable that the chances of its happening, somewhere in the universe, could be as low as one in a billion billion billion in any one year.  If it did happen on only one planet, anywhere in the universe, that planet has to be our planet—because here we are talking about it" (Dawkins, 1996, pp. 282–283,

Im not a betting man, but those number want to make me a betting man. Ill take the other 999 billion billion in any one year.

Also do these assumptions about the earths atmophere come from the Miller Urey experiment. Ill go back to my original question "Has it ever been proven (beyond Miller Urey) what the atmosphere was made up of?" Its not a smart ass question I just would like to know. Everything I looked up on the internet didnt say where they go their ideas of how the earths atmosphere looked.


For my own information how do you quote small parts of some ones reply?

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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #64 on: November 16, 2008, 07:28:49 PM »
Just a brief comment on 'chance': the truth is that we don't actually know how likely or unlikely the appearance of life in the natural Universe actually is. There are a few things to note here: one, we only have experience of life on Earth, and even our assumptions about that keep getting challenged as we explore more of this planet and discover all sorts of weird and wondeful life-forms; two, research into abiogenesis is still in its infancy and as a result, there is much we still don't understand about it; and three, it is an incredibly vast Universe, and however mind-bogglingly impossible the chances of life appearing on this planet might seem to us, if you consider the multitude of star-systems that exist in the Universe, and the multitude of planetary bodies that may orbit them (of which we are only just now beginning to discover an infinitesimal part), the chances of some sort of life appearing somewhere are significantly higher.

This is the thing. To say that life couldn't have happened by chance - that it must have been "fixed" in some manner - is like saying that because the odds against Mr. James Ashford of 42, Swindon Road, Gloucester winning the Lottery are so huge (around fourteen million to one against), if he happens to have won the Lottery this week, then the Lottery must have been fixed. The reality is that there are so many Lottery tickets sold that the chances of someone winning the Lottery are considerably greater than of just one particular person winning it. (In fact, on some occasions there is more than one winner.) If you like, we just happen to have won the lottery of life - but some people still think the lottery is fixed.
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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #65 on: November 16, 2008, 08:30:14 PM »
Just a brief comment on 'chance': the truth is that we don't actually know how likely or unlikely the appearance of life in the natural Universe actually is. There are a few things to note here: one, we only have experience of life on Earth, and even our assumptions about that keep getting challenged as we explore more of this planet and discover all sorts of weird and wondeful life-forms; two, research into abiogenesis is still in its infancy and as a result, there is much we still don't understand about it; and three, it is an incredibly vast Universe, and however mind-bogglingly impossible the chances of life appearing on this planet might seem to us, if you consider the multitude of star-systems that exist in the Universe, and the multitude of planetary bodies that may orbit them (of which we are only just now beginning to discover an infinitesimal part), the chances of some sort of life appearing somewhere are significantly higher.

This is the thing. To say that life couldn't have happened by chance - that it must have been "fixed" in some manner - is like saying that because the odds against Mr. James Ashford of 42, Swindon Road, Gloucester winning the Lottery are so huge (around fourteen million to one against), if he happens to have won the Lottery this week, then the Lottery must have been fixed. The reality is that there are so many Lottery tickets sold that the chances of someone winning the Lottery are considerably greater than of just one particular person winning it. (In fact, on some occasions there is more than one winner.) If you like, we just happen to have won the lottery of life - but some people still think the lottery is fixed.

1. Ill give you a couple hundred billion on the odds and I still like mine.

2True, but only because we know for sure that James Ashford has won the lottery. In this case its almost like picking the lottery winner without knowing who the winner is. In many cases in the lottery there is in no winner. (Ill tend to believe those odds until the other odds can be slimed down quite significantly) The fact is we do not know exactly where cells have come from. Plus add a couple hundred billion to those odds for the lottery and you have the odds for abiogenesis
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #66 on: November 16, 2008, 08:49:20 PM »
1. Ill give you a couple hundred billion on the odds and I still like mine.

And what are your odds? Given the utter lack of reliable evidential support for such notions as supernatural entities, they're one in infinity. Zero. So in fact, I'd take any odds over yours.

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2True, but only because we know for sure that James Ashford has won the lottery. In this case its almost like picking the lottery winner without knowing who the winner is. In many cases in the lottery there is in no winner. (Ill tend to believe those odds until the other odds can be slimed down quite significantly)

In the UK Lottery, there's a winner most weeks actually. And it makes no difference whether we know James Ashford has won or not. The Lottery is no more "fixed" if he wins than if he doesn't.

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The fact is we do not know exactly where cells have come from. Plus add a couple hundred billion to those odds for the lottery and you have the odds for abiogenesis

And on what are you basing that figure? Given that relatively little is known about it, it strikes me as somewhat hubristic (to say the least) to declare any particular figure as accurate "odds" at all.

But even if you did add a "couple hundred billion" to the odds against abiogenesis, that would still leave you with odds of "only" one in two point eight quintillion (or 1:2.8x1015) - which, considering that there are thought to be in excess of 1021 stars in the Universe, many of which may have multiple planets, many of which may have planets capable of supporting life,and given that the building-blocks for life are abundant in the Universe,  and given that during a star system's lifetime there may be any number of opportunities for life to start on one or more of its planets, would still leave us with a potentially large number of life-bearing planets in the Universe.

The other problem with a lot of assertions about the odds of abiogenesis is that some people have it in their heads that unless we can get in one straight step from hydrocarbons to DNA, there's nothing to see. The reality is rather more complex.
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #67 on: November 16, 2008, 11:47:57 PM »
1. You are assuming I am a creationist. I dont think that the watchmaker argument is the only one that doesnt include abiogenesis. Panspermia comes to mind. Google panspermia

Panspermia is not an alternative to abiogenesis.  It merely pushes the question back one more step to another planet.   Even if we knew that panspermia were true, we would still be wondering how life got started on that planet.

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2 So is your answer no to "have any working replicators been produced from non living material (or not produced by living material)"?

I mentioned synthetic DNA and RNA.  They are working replicators that have been produced from non-living material.  Or are you saying that it doesn't count if we produce it, because we are living material?  In that case what experiment could possibly satisfy you?

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There are too many hoops to jump through to get to a living thing. I believe Dawkins calls it "Mount Improbable"

Actually Dawkins uses the book Climbing Mount Improbable (which you desperately need to read) to explain how life has managed to scale the mountain in spite of the hoops.  It's not impossible.  There are not "too many hoops".  We know because it has happened and we are here to study it.    Dawkins explains it much better than we could.  Really, get the book and read it.  If nothing else, it's a good read for the skill with which he uses language.

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Also do these assumptions about the earths atmophere come from the Miller Urey experiment. Ill go back to my original question "Has it ever been proven (beyond Miller Urey) what the atmosphere was made up of?" Its not a smart ass question I just would like to know. Everything I looked up on the internet didnt say where they go their ideas of how the earths atmosphere looked.

How would you go about determining the makeup of the atmosphere 3 billion years ago?  Easiest way would be to build a time machine and go back and sample it directly, but unfortunately we can't do that.  Since we can't get a sample we have to infer it indirectly.  For example, as I said before, many of the outer planets in our solar system have similar atmospheres of hydrogen, methane and ammonia.  Apart from the Sun, they make up most of the mass of our solar system, and it's reasonable to assume that the earth's atmosphere was similar.

Presumably, volcanic outgassing back then produced the same gases it does today: H2O, CO2, SO2, CO, S2, Cl2, N2, H2, NH3, and CH4.

There are other ways which I don't pretend to understand.  For example, by studying the sulfur isotope ratios in old diamonds they can deduce that there was very little free oxygen originally.

By studying the iron oxidation states in rocks we can know that the amount of O2 increased over time.  Photochemical dissociation of H2O can account for a small part of it, but the majority of it had to have been produced by photosynthesis from living plants.

Again, I don't know this stuff.  I am googling it as I go along, and I have a good enough background in science that I can make sense of it.

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For my own information how do you quote small parts of some ones reply?

The easiest way is to use your cursor to highlight the entire part you want to quote and press the button.

Another way is to put [ quote ] (without the spaces) in front of the part you want to quote, and [ /quote ] at the end (again without the spaces).
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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #68 on: November 17, 2008, 07:14:13 AM »
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I mentioned synthetic DNA and RNA.  They are working replicators that have been produced from non-living material.  Or are you saying that it doesn't count if we produce it, because we are living material?  In that case what experiment could possibly satisfy you?

What I mean by this is that based on an experiment similar to Miller-Urey in which inorganic material is used to produce the replicators. In other words nothing else is added, no enzymes ect...( nothing that comes from a cell). When you mention PCR it doesnt fit the bill. Ill quote Wikipedia "Almost all PCR applications employ a heat-stable DNA polymerase, such as Taq polymerase, an enzyme originally isolated from the bacterium Thermus aquaticus." Not that wikipedia is the best source, but do you understand what I am getting at? You cant build your replicator and the replicate it with something that couldnt have been there until millions of years later to prove that abiogenesis is possible.


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Actually Dawkins uses the book Climbing Mount Improbable (which you desperately need to read) to explain how life has managed to scale the mountain in spite of the hoops.  It's not impossible.  There are not "too many hoops".  We know because it has happened and we are here to study it.    Dawkins explains it much better than we could.  Really, get the book and read it.  If nothing else, it's a good read for the skill with which he uses language.


I understand his argument. All I am saying is if it is that improbable isnt it possible that something else more probable could be the start of life? Of course what is more probable is all in the eye of the beholder.


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How would you go about determining the makeup of the atmosphere 3 billion years ago?  Easiest way would be to build a time machine and go back and sample it directly, but unfortunately we can't do that.  Since we can't get a sample we have to infer it indirectly.  For example, as I said before, many of the outer planets in our solar system have similar atmospheres of hydrogen, methane and ammonia.  Apart from the Sun, they make up most of the mass of our solar system, and it's reasonable to assume that the earth's atmosphere was similar.

Presumably, volcanic outgassing back then produced the same gases it does today: H2O, CO2, SO2, CO, S2, Cl2, N2, H2, NH3, and CH4.

There are other ways which I don't pretend to understand.  For example, by studying the sulfur isotope ratios in old diamonds they can deduce that there was very little free oxygen originally.

By studying the iron oxidation states in rocks we can know that the amount of O2 increased over time.  Photochemical dissociation of H2O can account for a small part of it, but the majority of it had to have been produced by photosynthesis from living plants.

Again, I don't know this stuff.  I am googling it as I go along, and I have a good enough background in science that I can make sense of it.

Its still an assertion. I sense though that many of the inferences made by people studying the earths atmosphere were influenced by the MIller-Urey experiment. In other words first the theory then the facts to fit. Although generally the other way around is more scientific. Although like I said its my guess.

Your heroes are dead, they were all in your head. When nothing is left we will start again. Below the surface of every hero is an envy, a restless evil

Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #69 on: November 17, 2008, 07:27:18 AM »

In the UK Lottery, there's a winner most weeks actually. And it makes no difference whether we know James Ashford has won or not. The Lottery is no more "fixed" if he wins than if he doesn't.


And on what are you basing that figure? Given that relatively little is known about it, it strikes me as somewhat hubristic (to say the least) to declare any particular figure as accurate "odds" at all.

But even if you did add a "couple hundred billion" to the odds against abiogenesis, that would still leave you with odds of "only" one in two point eight quintillion (or 1:2.8x1015) - which, considering that there are thought to be in excess of 1021 stars in the Universe, many of which may have multiple planets, many of which may have planets capable of supporting life,and given that the building-blocks for life are abundant in the Universe,  and given that during a star system's lifetime there may be any number of opportunities for life to start on one or more of its planets, would still leave us with a potentially large number of life-bearing planets in the Universe.

The other problem with a lot of assertions about the odds of abiogenesis is that some people have it in their heads that unless we can get in one straight step from hydrocarbons to DNA, there's nothing to see. The reality is rather more complex.

1 it wasnt my own odds. See my above quote. I mearly used Dawkins odds because (even though he of course was making them up to show how improbable it is) if I would have said the same odds you would have said bull sh*t to me or called me full of myself (which it looks like you did). Odds are just numbers given to a situation to so probability.

2 I am unsure if you understand my point. Of course if we knew it were true we could throw out the probability thing because we know it happened. We could then proclaim ourselves the luckiest lottery winners in the universe. But we are still dealing with theories so...the odds still apply. If I misunderstood your answer try explaining it again to me. I have little patience for people getting upset over misunderstandings, not explaining themselves, calling the other person an idiot and leaving angry. I like to learn so the later situation doesnt help me. (just something I have observed on this site, not necessarily you)

3. Again to your rant about my hubris at the bottom. Wasnt my odds. see number 1
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #70 on: November 17, 2008, 09:09:43 AM »
What I mean by this is that based on an experiment similar to Miller-Urey in which inorganic material is used to produce the replicators. In other words nothing else is added, no enzymes ect...( nothing that comes from a cell).

I understand your point, and as far as I know that hasn't been done yet.  Working, infectious polio viruses have been synthesized "from scratch", but since they used enzymes and proteins from cells to do it, that doesn't quite fit your bill.  But given that we've only known about DNA for less than a hundred years, I think we've made amazing progress.  I'd be surprised if someone doesn't come up with a completely inorganic replicator soon.

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if it is that improbable isnt it possible that something else more probable could be the start of life? Of course what is more probable is all in the eye of the beholder.
Again, are you talking about abiogenesis, or evolution?  Evolution may not be the only way to scale Mount Improbable, but it is the only one we've found so far.  If you can think of another possible way to do it, let's take your idea into a lab and test it. 


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Its still an assertion. I sense though that many of the inferences made by people studying the earths atmosphere were influenced by the MIller-Urey experiment. In other words first the theory then the facts to fit. Although generally the other way around is more scientific. Although like I said its my guess.

The experiment used only CH4, NH3, H2 and H2O.  Before Miller-Urey it was already known that the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn were made up of these.

To be fair, there has been some debate recently that the earth's early atmosphere may not have been primarily a reducing environment.   But it doesn't matter because amino acids have been found in comets and meteorites, so if it didn't happen the way Miller and Urey thought, they could have fallen to earth from space, or formed at deep sea hydrothermal vents.  The end result is the same: a global ocean containing amino acids. 

This is a good article: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/originoflife.html
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #71 on: November 17, 2008, 01:56:04 PM »
1 it wasnt my own odds. See my above quote. I mearly used Dawkins odds because (even though he of course was making them up to show how improbable it is) if I would have said the same odds you would have said bull sh*t to me or called me full of myself (which it looks like you did). Odds are just numbers given to a situation to so probability.

I do not see any assertion of the odds in the quotation from Dawkins here, only speculation. "Could be as low..." isn't an assertion of fact, and should not be mistaken for one. The fact is that we do not know the odds. So I stand by my point that it would be hubristic to declare any particular figure as accurate odds. Of course, since you haven't provided a complete citation for that particular quote, I have no way of verifying it, but that's by the by - what's there does not support the notion that he made a positive assertion about the odds. And even if he had done so, his field is ethology and zoology, if I remember correctly, not molecular biology.

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2 I am unsure if you understand my point. Of course if we knew it were true we could throw out the probability thing because we know it happened. We could then proclaim ourselves the luckiest lottery winners in the universe. But we are still dealing with theories so...the odds still apply.

While it may be interesting to speculate upon the odds, it does not a useful purpose in attempting to determine what actually may have happened when we don't actually know what the odds are. Speculative guesses at the odds don't, I would contend, have any useful application.

Just a point of note: Theories, in scientific parlance, are not mere guesses or speculative notions. But in any case, they aren't relevant here as abiogenesis isn't a Theory.

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If I misunderstood your answer try explaining it again to me. I have little patience for people getting upset over misunderstandings, not explaining themselves, calling the other person an idiot and leaving angry. I like to learn so the later situation doesnt help me. (just something I have observed on this site, not necessarily you)

I'm glad about that; I'm not upset or angry.

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3. Again to your rant about my hubris at the bottom. Wasnt my odds. see number 1

Oh, come now - it wasn't a rant. If I'd wanted to rant, you'd have been met with a word wall. :) It was a straight comment that I thought it was rather hubristic to declare a certain level of odds as fact. As it turns out that the source of that figure doesn't claim it as a fact, I think that establishes that perhaps you should be a little more cautious in future about making such declarations.

Dawkins was making a speculative comment about the odds, and in context, his point is that it doesn't matter how low the odds might be: we know it's happened because we're here.

As has been stated earlier, the point of Dawkins' "Mount Improbable" was that if you look at a bunch of organic compounds and a DNA molecule and compare them, or more specific to his field if you look at a single-celled organism and compare it with a complex multicellular organism, it does indeed seem improbable that one could ever have arisen from the other.

The reality, however, is rather different; Nature doesn't take one giant leap from a single-celled organism to complex multicellular life, but rather progress happens in stages, and each of those individual stages isn't nearly so improbable at all.

Taking the eye example: the chances of a complex eye forming spontaneously from basic photosensitive cells may indeed be next to nil, but the chances of a simple "eye" being produced after successive generations, aided and abetted by competition and natural selection, are considerably better. A simple eye that can sense the direction from which light is coming may give an organism an advantage over another that can only sense light and dark. The chances of a slightly more complex eye being produced after further successive generations are equally good. And so on, and so forth, until after a great many generations you end up with a complex eye.

The same sort of thing applies to abiogenesis - no-one expects DNA to be poofed into existence out of a sea of hydrocarbons, but rather, under the right circumstances (and this is still an area of ongoing research), more complex chemicals will eventually produce a basic self-replicating molecule. The earliest self-replicating molecules, according to current hypotheses, were most likely not DNA, but something rather simpler. As for the odds? We simply do not know them yet. We still don't have the data. Not you, not me, not Dawkins, and not the molecular biologists.
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Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #72 on: November 17, 2008, 02:25:57 PM »
My favorite example illustrating why it is useless to back calculate statistics uses a deck of cards. 

The common deck of cards has 56 unique cards.  What are the odds that one will draw from the pile the 56 cards in one order?  How likely am I to draw the same 56 cards in the same order?  I would suggest we use two decks, but my calculator freaks out.

Odds of drawing a specific order of cards: 1/(56!) = 1.4*10-75

That's 74 0s in front of the 1.4.

Isn't it a miracle that you drew that specific set of cards?  The odds are just stupendously low!  But you drew that deck of cards.  It's a miracle!

How this is calculated:
The chance of drawing your first card is 1 out of 56 cards (1/56).  When you draw one card, you now have 55 cards remaining.  The chance to draw that second card is 1 out of 55 remaining cards.  The chance of you drawing the first two cards in the correct order is the chance of drawing the first card multiplied by the chance of drawing the second card (1/56)*(1/55).

(1/56)*(1/55) = 1/(56*55).  The factorial operator (!) takes the number and multiplies it by all of the whole numbers below down to one.

4! = 4*3*2*1 = 24
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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #73 on: November 18, 2008, 07:32:44 AM »
You are still assuming that abiogenesis is true.

Ill explain later when I have more time
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #74 on: November 18, 2008, 07:50:46 AM »
You are still assuming that abiogenesis is true.

Ill explain later when I have more time

Why did you post at all, if you don't have time?

When we see a forest fire, we assume that there must have been an initial spark, rather than that a supernatural being simply blinked the forest fire into existence.  If I were going to research the origin of a forest fire I would spend my research dollars studying the known causes of fire.  You're welcome to study the God hypothesis if you like - no one's stopping you.
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Offline Cycle4Fun

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #75 on: November 18, 2008, 09:02:58 AM »
You are still assuming that abiogenesis is true.

Ill explain later when I have more time

Well, yes I am.  Abiogenesis has yet to be proven.  The theory does have something going for it though.

Abiogenesis is just organic chemistry.  We do know life is just chemistry.  We know for certain that what we call chemistry does indeed exist and happens.

What do we know of gods and the supernatural?  That there has never been any evidence that they exist.

Who is making the bad assumption here?
How do you define soul?
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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #76 on: November 18, 2008, 04:52:31 PM »
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Why did you post at all, if you don't have time?
I was afraid you might miss me xphobe. No in all seriousness I see what happens if people don’t respond timely in this forum, they get jumped on for trying to escape the argument. So I just wanted you to know I was still around and that I wanted to respond in a thought out manner but needed more time than I could come up with in the last 2 days.


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I understand your point, and as far as I know that hasn't been done yet.  Working, infectious polio viruses have been synthesized "from scratch", but since they used enzymes and proteins from cells to do it, that doesn't quite fit your bill.  But given that we've only known about DNA for less than a hundred years, I think we've made amazing progress.  I'd be surprised if someone doesn't come up with a completely inorganic replicator soon.

I would be surprised if they do come up with one soon. I think in 25 years abiogenesis will be seen similarly to the theory that the world is flat. My opinion


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When we see a forest fire, we assume that there must have been an initial spark, rather than that a supernatural being simply blinked the forest fire into existence.  If I were going to research the origin of a forest fire I would spend my research dollars studying the known causes of fire.  You're welcome to study the God hypothesis if you like - no one's stopping you

Ok two very different things. You are still assuming abiogenesis is true. Take a second assume its not true and then look at your argument. The reason we assume there must have been an initial spark is because we have observed it happen before. A spark starts a fire. It can be replicated, even in a lab if you so desire. Abiogenesis is completely different from your analogy. We have never witnessed it, we cant replicate it in the lab (of course you will say not yet, but unless you invent a time machine and show me the future ill hold to my argument) And Miller-Urey was not abiogenesis. It merely showed the first step was possible under certain theoretical earth environments (also not proven)

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Again, are you talking about abiogenesis, or evolution?  Evolution may not be the only way to scale Mount Improbable, but it is the only one we've found so far.  If you can think of another possible way to do it, let's take your idea into a lab and test it.

I don’t have to have an idea, I am merely pointing out that just because it’s the way (abiogenesis leading to evolution) most people lean on doesn’t make it true or even probable. There could be millions of other more probable ways that haven’t even been thought of or discovered.

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The experiment used only CH4, NH3, H2 and H2O.  Before Miller-Urey it was already known that the atmospheres of Jupiter and Saturn were made up of these.

To be fair, there has been some debate recently that the earth's early atmosphere may not have been primarily a reducing environment.   But it doesn't matter because amino acids have been found in comets and meteorites, so if it didn't happen the way Miller and Urey thought, they could have fallen to earth from space, or formed at deep sea hydrothermal vents.  The end result is the same: a global ocean containing amino acids. 

This is a good article: http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/originoflife.html

Ok that’s all I am saying is its still up for debate. Agree? And did you just mention panspermia? Didn’t you just try and shoot that out of the water a couple of posts ago after I brought it up  :)

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Well, yes I am.  Abiogenesis has yet to be proven.  The theory does have something going for it though.

Abiogenesis is just organic chemistry.  We do know life is just chemistry.  We know for certain that what we call chemistry does indeed exist and happens.

What do we know of gods and the supernatural?  That there has never been any evidence that they exist.

Who is making the bad assumption here?
For one abiogenesis is fringe organic chemistry (once its proven in the lab ill agree with you so far it has not been). Second of course chemistry exists and did exist, not the argument that is going on here. Third, you are making assumptions about my supposed bad assumptions. Which, I didn’t even know was possible till now  ;) If you are trying to side track the thread start your own. In this one we are discussing the potential of abiogenesis being the start of evolution. On a side note, there has been just as much evidence that abiogenesis exists as god exists. In other words NOT PROVEN.

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I do not see any assertion of the odds in the quotation from Dawkins here, only speculation. "Could be as low..." isn't an assertion of fact, and should not be mistaken for one. The fact is that we do not know the odds. So I stand by my point that it would be hubristic to declare any particular figure as accurate odds. Of course, since you haven't provided a complete citation for that particular quote, I have no way of verifying it, but that's by the by - what's there does not support the notion that he made a positive assertion about the odds. And even if he had done so, his field is ethology and zoology, if I remember correctly, not molecular biology.

Ok everybody has a problem with hypothetical odds. Which are of course hypothetical. He could have just said very very unlikely. Would that have made it better? Giving a hypothetical number to it shows how very very unlikely. People compare things better with numbers. If I would say very unlikely and not very likely how would we tell the difference between the two. Plus, did you just call into question Dawkins credentials as an evolutionary thinker? "Climbing Mount Improbable" Dawkins, 1996, pp. 282–283

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Dawkins was making a speculative comment about the odds, and in context, his point is that it doesn't matter how low the odds might be: we know it's happened because we're here.

This is again assuming that abiogenesis did indeed happen. Let me give you an example. Ive been on this forum long enough to know that you have argued with many theists.
Theist: I know god seems improbable to you, but he is real, I know he is. No we cant put him in a lab and prove it, but we have all this religious scripture to back it up. Someday we might be able to prove god is real. It may seem improbable but yet its true so no matter how low the odds we know it happened because “here we are”.
Deus: (insert your own argument against this in, but mine would go something like this) We don’t know its true so the very very unlikely exisitance of god is still, well very very unlikely(notice I didn’t use odds since being called full of myself ;) ) SHOW ME PROOF. You cant because god doesn’t heal amputees ect..ect…
Lets flip the coin.
See my point. Cycle 4fun same response can be said for your post on probability in a card deck. WE DON’T KNOW abiogenesis happened.  Come back with proof and Ill believe you until then the idea is highly suspect.

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The reality, however, is rather different; Nature doesn't take one giant leap from a single-celled organism to complex multicellular life, but rather progress happens in stages, and each of those individual stages isn't nearly so improbable at all.

But definitely still improbable, and why I am holding it in suspect. Especially since the nothing has been proven and believe me there are a lot of things that have to be proven first. Improbable yes, impossible just about, but ill give you a tiny glimmer just to keep with Dawkins theoretical odds.

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As for the odds? We simply do not know them yet. We still don't have the data. Not you, not me, not Dawkins, and not the molecular biologists.
And we never will because we can’t observe it happening to come up with odds. The odds could be 0.  Still I think the best thing we have is to go with a professional opinion about likelihood, which is what I did.

Now you can see why I needed more time. Sorry if there wasnt a point in your post I responded two, I tried to get the main ones. And Dues I expected a better rant from you and your wall of words :) I know you are good for it.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #77 on: November 18, 2008, 06:02:24 PM »
Just a brief note before I respond to Static: if you're going to quote multiple forum members in your response, it's less confusing if you include the name of the person in the quote block. You can do this as follows:

Code: [Select]
[quote author=Deus ex Machina]
Quoted text
[/quote]

Quote from: Deus ex Machina
Quoted text

If you're feeling particularly masochistic, you can even include the link and date:

Code: [Select]
[quote author=Deus ex Machina link=topic=1788.msg51978#msg51978 date=1356307199]
Quoted text
[/quote]

Quoted text

Anyway, back to the topic...



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I do not see any assertion of the odds in the quotation from Dawkins here, only speculation. "Could be as low..." isn't an assertion of fact, and should not be mistaken for one. The fact is that we do not know the odds. So I stand by my point that it would be hubristic to declare any particular figure as accurate odds. Of course, since you haven't provided a complete citation for that particular quote, I have no way of verifying it, but that's by the by - what's there does not support the notion that he made a positive assertion about the odds. And even if he had done so, his field is ethology and zoology, if I remember correctly, not molecular biology.

Ok everybody has a problem with hypothetical odds. Which are of course hypothetical. He could have just said very very unlikely. Would that have made it better? Giving a hypothetical number to it shows how very very unlikely. People compare things better with numbers. If I would say very unlikely and not very likely how would we tell the difference between the two.

This is a misrepresentation of his statement. What he's saying is even if the chances of Earth bearing life were so low, it's beside the point - the very fact that there is life on Earth renders the odds meaningless, and in fact the Universe is so old and vast that the chances of life being somewhere in the Universe are actually quite high. Dawkins is not making a positive assertion that the odds are very low, and I'm sorry but you're not going to convince me otherwise by means of quote-mining. Tell me, have you actually read the book or did you just lift that quote-mine from a creationist Web site?

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Plus, did you just call into question Dawkins credentials as an evolutionary thinker?

I'd certainly call into question his credentials as far as abiogenesis is concerned, because he is not a biochemist or a molecular biologist. I respect his breadth and depth of knowledge of the field of biology, but I would not lend as much credence to his views on the matter as I would to people who are actively researching in the field. I don't think that is an unreasonable position to take.

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Dawkins was making a speculative comment about the odds, and in context, his point is that it doesn't matter how low the odds might be: we know it's happened because we're here.

This is again assuming that abiogenesis did indeed happen.

It's Dawkins' argument, as I recall.

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Let me give you an example. Ive been on this forum long enough to know that you have argued with many theists.
Theist: I know god seems improbable to you, but he is real, I know he is. No we cant put him in a lab and prove it, but we have all this religious scripture to back it up. Someday we might be able to prove god is real. It may seem improbable but yet its true so no matter how low the odds we know it happened because “here we are”.
Deus: (insert your own argument against this in, but mine would go something like this) We don’t know its true so the very very unlikely exisitance of god is still, well very very unlikely(notice I didn’t use odds since being called full of myself ;) ) SHOW ME PROOF. You cant because god doesn’t heal amputees ect..ect…

Actually, my argument would go nothing like that, but that's a subject for another day. :)

Also, I didn't call you "full of yourself", so please don't put words into my mouth; I said it was rather hubristic to make assertive declarations about the odds when they are unknown.

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Lets flip the coin.
See my point.

Nope... the analogy doesn't work for me.

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{...} WE DON’T KNOW abiogenesis happened.  Come back with proof and Ill believe you until then the idea is highly suspect.

False dichotomy. Unless we have proof (by which I assume you mean "extremely compelling evidence"), then an idea must be "highly suspect"? It's either proven or highly suspect, no in-between? Really?

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The reality, however, is rather different; Nature doesn't take one giant leap from a single-celled organism to complex multicellular life, but rather progress happens in stages, and each of those individual stages isn't nearly so improbable at all.

But definitely still improbable, and why I am holding it in suspect.

On what grounds do you assert that those stages are "definitely" improbable?

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Especially since the nothing has been proven and believe me there are a lot of things that have to be proven first. Improbable yes, impossible just about, but ill give you a tiny glimmer just to keep with Dawkins theoretical odds.

Enough of the quote-mining. He is not saying that the odds are that low. What he is saying is that even if they were that low, the chances of it happening somewhere in the Universe are actually very high.

Allow me to illustrate (purely for the purposes of nailing this one down). The odds he speculated upon, after all, were one in a billion billion billion per year, and that's just for one planet in one Solar System. The thing is, there are something like a thousand billion billion stars in our observable Universe (that we know about) - which would mean even if Dawkins' speculation turned out to be accurate, you would have to accept that there's a fair chance of life arising from non-life somewhere every million years or so. Given that the Universe is much older than a million years, that's actually pretty good odds - by that token, there should be thousands of life-bearing planets in the Universe!

This is why I don't like people bandying about hypothetical odds. All too often, people who do, don't understand them.

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As for the odds? We simply do not know them yet. We still don't have the data. Not you, not me, not Dawkins, and not the molecular biologists.
And we never will because we can’t observe it happening to come up with odds. The odds could be 0.  Still I think the best thing we have is to go with a professional opinion about likelihood, which is what I did.

Now you can see why I needed more time. Sorry if there wasnt a point in your post I responded two, I tried to get the main ones.

I think that maybe you needed to spend a little more time than you did on this last part, because your quote-mining and failure to respond to what has actually been written don't do you justice. I make no assumption that abiogenesis is true. I simply say that there is some support for it.

When you say we "never will" and that we "can't observe it happening", that's another positive assertion. One what grounds do you make that assertion?

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And Dues I expected a better rant from you and your wall of words :) I know you are good for it.

It's "Deus", and I have no need to rant. Civilized discussion is more fruitful, is it not? Are you trying to bait me? :)

If you want to have a sensible discussion about this, you really will need to stop simply regurgitating creationist dren.
« Last Edit: November 18, 2008, 06:04:09 PM by Deus ex Machina »
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Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #78 on: November 18, 2008, 08:50:46 PM »
Deus gottcha sorry for the typing slip up. I have a habit of transposing letters. And thanks for the info on how insert authors, I was wondering how to do that. Now to see if it works.

[quote author Deus ex Machina]This is a misrepresentation of his statement. What he's saying is even if the chances of Earth bearing life were so low, it's beside the point - the very fact that there is life on Earth renders the odds meaningless, and in fact the Universe is so old and vast that the chances of life being somewhere in the Universe are actually quite high. Dawkins is not making a positive assertion that the odds are very low, and I'm sorry but you're not going to convince me otherwise by means of quote-mining. Tell me, have you actually read the book or did you just lift that quote-mine from a creationist Web site?
[/quote]
Also the odds of life never arising that way are very good as well.

[quote authir Deus ex Machina]Also, I didn't call you "full of yourself", so please don't put words into my mouth; I said it was rather hubristic to make assertive declarations about the odds when they are unknown.
[/quote]
Noted, although hubristic sounds the same to me. Ill chalk it up to my oversensitivity

[quote author Deus ex Machina]False dichotomy. Unless we have proof (by which I assume you mean "extremely compelling evidence"), then an idea must be "highly suspect"? It's either proven or highly suspect, no in-between? Really?
[/quote]
Sure there are inbetweens, but there are a lot of things that have to be proven first before abiogenesis can be possible. The quantity of those things (if you want I can make a list) and the "never have seen before in nature" qualities of those things are what make abiogenesis highly suspect. I think panspermia would make the entire idea (I mean evolution) more believeable. Ill work on another analogy for you :) since you and I agree so well on analogies.

Enough of the quote-mining. He is not saying that the odds are that low. What he is saying is that even if they were that low, the chances of it happening somewhere in the Universe are actually very high.

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Allow me to illustrate (purely for the purposes of nailing this one down). The odds he speculated upon, after all, were one in a billion billion billion per year, and that's just for one planet in one Solar System. The thing is, there are something like a thousand billion billion stars in our observable Universe (that we know about) - which would mean even if Dawkins' speculation turned out to be accurate, you would have to accept that there's a fair chance of life arising from non-life somewhere every million years or so. Given that the Universe is much older than a million years, that's actually pretty good odds - by that token, there should be thousands of life-bearing planets in the Universe!

This is why I don't like people bandying about hypothetical odds. All too often, people who do, don't understand them.

Still assuming abiogenesis is possible. Which we still do not know yet. I believe his odds were assuming it was. Basically the whole argument works only if abiogenesis is possible. Anyway like you say its all speculation.

I guess we will just have to wait for science to advance farthur and either prove or disprove the idea


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I think that maybe you needed to spend a little more time than you did on this last part, because your quote-mining and failure to respond to what has actually been written don't do you justice. I make no assumption that abiogenesis is true. I simply say that there is some support for it.

When you say we "never will" and that we "can't observe it happening", that's another positive assertion. One what grounds do you make that assertion?

What I mean by that last part is that since it is all history (begining of life) I dont have a time machine to go observe the many times of try and fail to come up with the actual odds. So I guess I shouldnt say never, time travel may eventually be possible.
Also maybe my oversensitivity kicking in but it sure sounds like you telling me "you can do better you idiot, all your doing is pulling a piece out of someones whole argument to make your own point" I just like to clarify before I take it the wrong way. Although insults do not go to well with your "sensible discussion".

As for the first part, I agree with you there is some support for it. There was also support for the idea that the world was flat. Time will tell either way. Point out to me what I didnt respond to. There is always the possibility of my misunderstanding you.

Side note.
I wonder where xphobe went.





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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #79 on: November 18, 2008, 10:18:20 PM »
I wonder where xphobe went.

This morning all my servers crashed simultaneously because the super-duper expensive redundant power advertised by the hosting company failed.  Then when the power came back on, it fried one of my L2 switches so I had to replace it.  Then I had to fire someone.  Then I worked the rest of the day, drove the 35 miles back from the city and worked out at the Y, then got a speeding ticket on the way home, and I just walked in the door.  How you doin'?


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I would be surprised if they do come up with one soon. I think in 25 years abiogenesis will be seen similarly to the theory that the world is flat. My opinion

Interesting.  I don't see how they are similar, because you can easily disprove the flat earth theory, for example by flying into space and looking down.  I'm not sure how to go about disproving abiogenesis.  I suppose if we could find some super-powerful alien who admitted to intentionally seeding the earth, we could close the case at that point, but even that confession wouldn't be "proof".

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Ok that’s all I am saying is its still up for debate. Agree? And did you just mention panspermia? Didn’t you just try and shoot that out of the water a couple of posts ago after I brought it up 


I never said that panspermia isn't a possible answer to the question of how life got here.  I said it doesn't answer the question of abiogenesis vs. ?.?.?  Sooner or later, no matter where life came from, you're going to have to confront the issue of its origin.  As far as I can see, the only two options are that it arose spontaneously, or it was created by a supernatural being.  Am I missing something?  Is there another option I haven't thought of?   You feel the first option is extremely unlikely.  Do you feel that the second option is more likely, equally likely, or less likely?


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #80 on: November 19, 2008, 07:30:09 AM »
I wonder where xphobe went.

This morning all my servers crashed simultaneously because the super-duper expensive redundant power advertised by the hosting company failed.  Then when the power came back on, it fried one of my L2 switches so I had to replace it.  Then I had to fire someone.  Then I worked the rest of the day, drove the 35 miles back from the city and worked out at the Y, then got a speeding ticket on the way home, and I just walked in the door.  How you doin'?


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I would be surprised if they do come up with one soon. I think in 25 years abiogenesis will be seen similarly to the theory that the world is flat. My opinion

Interesting.  I don't see how they are similar, because you can easily disprove the flat earth theory, for example by flying into space and looking down.  I'm not sure how to go about disproving abiogenesis.  I suppose if we could find some super-powerful alien who admitted to intentionally seeding the earth, we could close the case at that point, but even that confession wouldn't be "proof".

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Ok that’s all I am saying is its still up for debate. Agree? And did you just mention panspermia? Didn’t you just try and shoot that out of the water a couple of posts ago after I brought it up 


I never said that panspermia isn't a possible answer to the question of how life got here.  I said it doesn't answer the question of abiogenesis vs. ?.?.?  Sooner or later, no matter where life came from, you're going to have to confront the issue of its origin.  As far as I can see, the only two options are that it arose spontaneously, or it was created by a supernatural being.  Am I missing something?  Is there another option I haven't thought of?   You feel the first option is extremely unlikely.  Do you feel that the second option is more likely, equally likely, or less likely?




Wow rough day. I would take today off if I were you. Anyway glad you are back. My point about the earth being flat was that at the time science hadnt advanced enough to prove it right or wrong. We can say the say here. Advancements in science will eventually prove right or wrong, but from were we stand now I just lean towards wrong. As far as tw options I see 3 and you left out my favorite. One life arose spontaneously, two supernatural being( aliens, god, whatever floats your boat), three unknown source because we havent studied enough of the galaxy to come up with that right answer yet. We can study earth to see if abiogenesis was right or wrong, but as for indepth studies of other planets, we are just starting to do that. More info, more ideas. There could be any number of possibilities out there yet.

As for the second option being likely or not. Hard to say. If you are indeed dealing with a supernatural being how do you deem something as likely or unlikely? Unless the direct existance of that being is in question (which on this site it is, many other threads on this) Since the supernatural is well supernatural you could say almost anything to anyones response. For instance, God doesnt exist because he doesnt heal amputees ect. ect.. . Response God can do what ever he wants because he is supernatural. That statement basically allows anyone to put god in any sort of gap they want. Its hard to cover all lose ends on a supernatural being.

I say as far as the unknown goes. Sure the existance of a supernatural being is possible, just like abiogenesis is possible, and panspermia is possible. Anything is possible, I dont think we will ever come to a point where we will rule out everything except one theory. There will always be many theories and of course they will change over time. Some will get proven wrong and so they will change but there will always be at least a couple different ones. The more we learn the more possibilities there are.
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Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #81 on: November 19, 2008, 03:38:05 PM »
Deus gottcha sorry for the typing slip up. I have a habit of transposing letters. And thanks for the info on how insert authors, I was wondering how to do that. Now to see if it works.

Almost. That '=' sign is sort of important. :)

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Quote from: Deus ex Machina
This is a misrepresentation of his statement. What he's saying is even if the chances of Earth bearing life were so low, it's beside the point - the very fact that there is life on Earth renders the odds meaningless, and in fact the Universe is so old and vast that the chances of life being somewhere in the Universe are actually quite high. Dawkins is not making a positive assertion that the odds are very low, and I'm sorry but you're not going to convince me otherwise by means of quote-mining. Tell me, have you actually read the book or did you just lift that quote-mine from a creationist Web site?
Also the odds of life never arising that way are very good as well.

Actually, the odds of life not arising anywhere, if Dawkins' figure was based upon anything other than pure speculation, would be extremely low indeed. If the odds of life appearing in a five-billion year timespan are (for simplicity's sake) 5x109 multiplied by 1x10-27 = 5x10-18 (or one in two hundred quadrillion), and these odds are the same in each and every solar system in the Universe (of which there are around a sextillion), then the odds of there being no life anywhere in the Universe are (1-(5x10-18))1021. (My laptop gives a figure of around one in 102,166, which is far worse odds than your "one in a billion billion billion"! However, I'd caution that rounding errors almost certainly abound here.)

Code: [Select]
#include <stdio.h>
#include <math.h>

int main(int argc, char **argv) {
        long double odds2 = 5e-18;
        long double odds = 1 - odds2;
        long double power = 1e+21;
        printf("%1.20Le %Le %Le\n", odds, power, powl(odds, power));
        return(0);
}

And that was Dawkins' point. Even with such seemingly low odds as one in a billion billion billion of life appearing in any given star-system in any given year, life in the Universe would be practically inevitable.

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Quote from: Deus ex Machina
Also, I didn't call you "full of yourself", so please don't put words into my mouth; I said it was rather hubristic to make assertive declarations about the odds when they are unknown.
Noted, although hubristic sounds the same to me. Ill chalk it up to my oversensitivity

Consider it rather a caution against over-confidence. :)

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Sure there are inbetweens, but there are a lot of things that have to be proven first before abiogenesis can be possible. The quantity of those things (if you want I can make a list) and the "never have seen before in nature" qualities of those things are what make abiogenesis highly suspect.

I'll leave that decision to your discretion.

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Still assuming abiogenesis is possible. Which we still do not know yet. I believe his odds were assuming it was. Basically the whole argument works only if abiogenesis is possible. Anyway like you say its all speculation.

I guess we will just have to wait for science to advance farthur and either prove or disprove the idea

The thing about the odds in this thread was your argument to begin with; I guess you're disowning it now! :D

And would you like to summarily declare abiogenesis impossible?

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What I mean by that last part is that since it is all history (begining of life) I dont have a time machine to go observe the many times of try and fail to come up with the actual odds. So I guess I shouldnt say never, time travel may eventually be possible.
Also maybe my oversensitivity kicking in but it sure sounds like you telling me "you can do better you idiot, all your doing is pulling a piece out of someones whole argument to make your own point" I just like to clarify before I take it the wrong way. Although insults do not go to well with your "sensible discussion".

I can't help what you might read into my posts, though if I come across as intimating that you're in need of some education on the matter of probabilities and large numbers, I am not about to disabuse you of that notion.

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As for the first part, I agree with you there is some support for it. There was also support for the idea that the world was flat. Time will tell either way. Point out to me what I didnt respond to. There is always the possibility of my misunderstanding you.

It was more your comment about "assuming that abiogenesis is true", when I had made no such assumption. My contribution to this discussion was merely to address the point about seemingly low probabilities, and how they aren't necessarily that low in reality. The problem here is that certain outlets like to mislead people with such impressive- (or depressing-)seeming numbers in order to further their own agendas (and make no mistake, people like AiG and the Discovery Institute have a very clear agenda, and it's not the pursuit of science, or of "truth" as you or I might recognize the term), and if you don't know what the numbers actually mean, then you're likely to get taken in by them. :)
« Last Edit: November 19, 2008, 05:35:22 PM by Deus ex Machina »
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Offline xphobe

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #82 on: November 19, 2008, 03:42:22 PM »
My point about the earth being flat was that at the time science hadnt advanced enough to prove it right or wrong.

There is a difference between being able in principle to prove something right or wrong, and being able to do it at the present time, with the tools at hand.  For example, before 1959, if you had said there are huge cities on the far side of the Moon, we would have had to say "Well, it's doubtful but we don't know because we have no way to see it.  Then after the Soviets launched Luna 3, we could say "No" with confidence because we had been there.

Abiogenesis is a different situation, and it's not just because of the tools we have currently.  I don't think we'll ever be able to prove that abiogenesis can't happen anywhere, any time.  It's like trying to disprove the existence of any gods.  Can't prove a negative.

On the other hand, to prove abiogenesis, we only have to make it happen once.  Again, same with a god.  Except the process of abiogenesis would be a natural event, which we could observe.  Gods are supposed to be supernatural, so we would have no idea what we were observing, if anything.

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Advancements in science will eventually prove right or wrong, but from were we stand now I just lean towards wrong. As far as tw options I see 3 and you left out my favorite. One life arose spontaneously, two supernatural being( aliens, god, whatever floats your boat), three unknown source because we havent studied enough of the galaxy to come up with that right answer yet.

Sorry, you've added an incorrect rider to Answer #2.  Aliens are not supernatural.  And again (I'm repeating myself) even if we knew that aliens brought life here, we'd still be left with the question of how the alien life itself got started on their planet, and so on.

Also, Answer 3 = "unknown source" can not be an option.  You can't propose "I don't know" as an answer to any question.

If you want to propose a supernatural being, that's cool.  But you have to have some evidence... any evidence at all...  You can't just say "Well it seems lots more likely to me".
I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is gonna be so pissed when they find out...

Offline kevyrat69

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #83 on: November 21, 2008, 12:47:54 AM »
I found this on an atheist site and I thought people here would like to read it.  I thought it would fit here.




I mentioned before that many individuals believe in religion because of what they perceive to be logical reasons, and it is often based on the illusion of design, both here on earth, and in the cosmos in general. The Universe, as far as we can observe, seems to be both extremely complex and mysterious at first glance. Here on earth, the complexity of life is staggering; in a handful of dirt, there are million of organisms, some working in symbiotic co-operation while others are parasitic. All of these organisms are engaged in a struggle to survive, both with other species and members of their own group. To remain competitive, every individual organism has become an expert at exploiting a specific niche. Whether or not their strategy will continue to work is uncertain. What is known is that this constant fight for survival has many different battlegrounds, each one staggeringly beautiful and complex. It is this complexity that leads many to credit a God for its existence.

Human beings,by their very nature, are builders. Since the dawn of our species, we’ve created tools; weapons to hunt and kill our food, and clothes to keep us warm. As our race progressed, and civilizations began, we constructed ever more complex cities, bureaucracies and governments to manage them. Each new level was seen as a considerable improvement over the last one. A civilization still in the Stone Age going up against one in the Iron, or even Bronze Age didn’t stand a change of surviving. Technology was imperative for the survival of civilizations as they competed for land, resources, or even ideologies. The victors were usually the ones that were more advanced, and therefore generally more complex. Now, particularly in the West, we view technological progress as a sign of intelligence and superiority, and the complexity of modern civilization mimics some of the complexity of our biosphere. The fact that our most sophisticated technology looks downright primitive compared to the intricacy of biological life seems to lend credence to the idea that it must have been designed by an intelligence far superior to our own. In other words, the power and complexity of biological life is inferred as being the product of design from a far more complex, and infinitely more powerful entity: God

The illusion of design, for many, is a required step for the belief in a higher power. It fulfills their desperate need for the intellectual necessity of their theological axioms. The Bible, even if it is taken allegorically, still clearly implies that the universe is the product of a grand designer, no doubt the result of the simple observations of the varied authors of the book. During their lifetime, nothing but the supernatural could explain how the Universe could have been originated, or how things would fall to the ground if thrown, and why hot things always burned. Laws were not of nature: they were of God. As science has evolved, however, the laws of the Universe have been uncovered, and appear not to require the work of a supernatural force to make them work. This is true of all the forces we know, including Evolution. Darwin’s insight shattered one of the most powerful mysteries about how the vast diversity of life originated without a designer. Everything operated as a function of selective pressure, and the only reason that human beings existed was because we exploited a particular niche, and nothing else.

The majority of Christians believe in evolution, not because of theological reasons, but rather because they understand how accurate and logical it is. They do not need the inference of a designer to justify their religious beliefs. Of course, not every religious person takes this reasonable stance. Some Christians, particularly Evangelical ones, necessitate a literal interpretation of the Bible, and in the defense of their theology, they employ the illusion of design in their creationist explanation of the universe. This “theory” has been dressed up in a cheap tuxedo and given the name “Intelligent Design”.

The idea of Intelligent Design is not especially new; most of our history we’ve been young earth creationists, believing that the earth is only a few thousand years old. We did not possess the scientific gumption to think otherwise. Besides, our respective religions discouraged the type of curiosity that might undermine the exactitude of church doctrine. As far as we were concerned, all the answers had already been discovered, and the most important thing wasn’t this world, but rather the world of the hereafter. Certainly, if you think the Universe consists of the earth, and 7 different layers or celestial object revolving around it, it’s not exactly an exciting enough place that needs much attention. But the Universe isn’t small: it’s astoundingly huge, and human curiosity is far to powerful not to want to learn more about how it all works.

Intelligent design isn’t science. It is an attempt to undermine science in favor of theological appeasement. It is irrelevant that we are inclined to believe that the elegance of nature is too incredible to be the result of only natural law; it does not change the fact that the evidence is against a grand designer. We must abandon the idea of inferring intelligence to anything that is complex or powerful without evidence. It’s true that it’s in our nature to feel that the world obeys the same rules we’ve created for ourselves, but it does not make it so.
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

whatever people are experiencing when they experience God, it's not something they're perceiving in the external world. It's something their brains are making up.
Greta Christina

Offline Static

Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #84 on: November 21, 2008, 08:00:25 AM »
In reponse to Deus,

Ah the = sign thats what I was missing. Isnt there an easier way?

Understood on the probability, good point by the way on the odds.(still hinges on what is actually possible on this earth so Ill continue to take the wait and see approach). As for the intimidation factor of our friend deus. Not at all, I would just like to know when an actual insult is hurled my way. Nothing like being slapped in the face and then told that it wasnt meant that way. Although it seems you were just trying to make me realize the apprent fault in my logic. Ill still hold to my point that time travel is impossible  :)

And no I wont say that abiogenesis is impossible, I dont think I ever said it was. I was merely using the unlikelyhood of it happening on this planet to show that it could have easily not happened at all or may not even be possible. We have still yet to produce a working replicator from a Miller Urey type experiment. I dont think (I may be wrong correct me if I am) we have even produced all the necessary amino acids for life.

Although I see now that your purpose in posting was not to prove abiogenesis right, but more to hold to the actual intent of the quote. Still I think that being they are theoretical probablities there is also the distinct possibility that the probablility is zero. The closer we get to zero the stronger that possibility becomes theoretically of course.

In response to Kevyrat,
I thought this was a discussion on abiogenesis not a discussion on how moronic some creationist theories are. Or a discussion of evolution even. Although abiogenesis is the start, but lets stick to the topic shall we.

annnd I am already late for work, sorry xphobe. Ill have to respond to you when given time at a later date
Your heroes are dead, they were all in your head. When nothing is left we will start again. Below the surface of every hero is an envy, a restless evil

Offline Deus ex Machina

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #85 on: November 21, 2008, 07:10:32 PM »
In reponse to Deus,

Ah the = sign thats what I was missing. Isnt there an easier way?

Understood on the probability, good point by the way on the odds.(still hinges on what is actually possible on this earth so Ill continue to take the wait and see approach). As for the intimidation factor of our friend deus. Not at all, I would just like to know when an actual insult is hurled my way. Nothing like being slapped in the face and then told that it wasnt meant that way. Although it seems you were just trying to make me realize the apprent fault in my logic. Ill still hold to my point that time travel is impossible  :)

More of a tap on the nose than a slap in the face, was the intention. :)

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And no I wont say that abiogenesis is impossible, I dont think I ever said it was. I was merely using the unlikelyhood of it happening on this planet to show that it could have easily not happened at all or may not even be possible. We have still yet to produce a working replicator from a Miller Urey type experiment. I dont think (I may be wrong correct me if I am) we have even produced all the necessary amino acids for life.

ICBW but I think scientists have managed to synthesise a great many of the building-blocks for life in one way or another, and there are ongoing experiments to produce working self-replicating systems in the lab. I'm not sufficiently up-to-date on it to confirm or disconfirm your statement, though. The problem for abiogenesis, though, is that there's a difference between being able to synthesise things in general and being able to synthesise them under what scientists believe to be appropriate prebiotic conditions. Indeed, there's still some speculation about what precisely those prebiotic conditions were. It's a fascinating subject.

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Although I see now that your purpose in posting was not to prove abiogenesis right, but more to hold to the actual intent of the quote. Still I think that being they are theoretical probablities there is also the distinct possibility that the probablility is zero. The closer we get to zero the stronger that possibility becomes theoretically of course.

It's the nature of science that not all research leads to new sets of discoveries. If we discovered, for example, that one essential component for early life simply could not have been present at all in prebiotic conditions, then abiogenesis hypotheses would be in serious trouble.
No day in which you learn something is wasted.

Offline kevyrat69

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Re: Learn About Evolution!
« Reply #86 on: November 22, 2008, 01:51:36 AM »
I apologize static.  My mistake.
http://www.jesusneverexisted.com/

whatever people are experiencing when they experience God, it's not something they're perceiving in the external world. It's something their brains are making up.
Greta Christina