Open Thread on #698 »« Why is pseudoscience so appealing?

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  1. says

    @Tyler OlsenCool. I'd always wondered if prominent atheists such as Dawkins were aware of the show. A little suprised it's taken this long to get around (considering that "atheist experience" is virtually the #1 search suggestion on Youtube if you type in "atheist" and something like the third on Google), but there you go.

  2. says

    Chuck Norris being an evangelical bastard who wants bibles in every classroom and atheists branded on the forehead, makes this passage that much funnier:"Superman wears Chuck Norris pajamas to bed, Chuck Norris wears Matt Dillahunty Pajamas to bed"

  3. says

    Matt deserves everything he gets. For the past few months (I've been watching all the AE episodes and listening to all the Non-Prophets audio), so he's been the apple of my eye. Matt can talk and he should get paid IMO. He does have a fat head though. Its funny to know that in real life Matt D. would destroy Chuck Norris intellectually, but be wary of Chuck's Jesus punch, its a doozie.

  4. says

    Ooh, MH has a really good point. I certainly hope we'll be seeing or hearing from the professor on an upcoming TV or radio show!He got a bit burned by the Rational Response Squad a few years ago, and Josh Timonen more recently, so he may be hesitant, but as it appears he has just now (eek) discovered the ACA, if this is a concern for him, hopefully he spends a few days watching your shows and realizes that you're all an ethical bunch and it would be a great relationship!Here's hoping!

  5. Tassie Devil says

    An appearance by Professor Dawkins may not be practical, but surely a phone call would be the way to go.Should that ever happen, please, oh please, let the phones be working without issue on that day. :)GaryHunter Valley, NSWAustralia

  6. says

    The comparison is flawed. Matt isn't a scientist, like Dawkins. But I would put Matt in the same league with Hitchens, when it comes to debating theists.

  7. says

    If you go to richardawkins.net and scroll down to the "news" section and click on "The real cost of religious faith" you will find the comment from Dawkins himself. Time stamp on comment is Fri. Feb 25. 1:41 AM #595863.

  8. says

    Congrats from a random internet stranger you don't know from Adam (well, aside from that I exist). You guys and the SGU are the best there is, bar none. I don't want to just praise Matt to the exclusion of the other hosts, who more than pull their own weight on the show and are a critical part of what makes it great. But I do think Matt is the best, most eloquent and passionate counter-apologist I've ever seen, and watching over the last few years since discovering it on YouTube I've learned so much about how to respond to the typical arguments, and how to get to the heart of uncommon ones. I'll be proud to put on my hipster glasses and assure everyone I liked you before it was cool.

  9. says

    Matt does not get enough recognition as it is so this is just great. I was listening to past episodes where Matt speaks about not being able to go to TAM, and another where he speaks of going to TAM–He should get paid to go and be a speaker! Its about time he gets credit for what he does. All the hosts are great, but Matt is the main host now and I agree with Dobermanguy that he should get paid.

  10. says

    I'm glad to see more connections being made among atheists groups and activists. You guys deserve all the recognition you can get. I've been "singing your praises" all over Western KY. So far, I think I've snagged you a few new viewers. I wish you guys could go national. Ooh, maybe you could replace Oprah or the View.

  11. says

    ˙lɐuoıʇɐu oƃ ɹǝʌǝ llıʍ ʇı lnɟʇqnop os ǝɐʇ ǝʞıl ƃuıɥʇǝɯos oʇ uoıʇuǝʇʇɐ ʎɐd oʇ ƃuıoƃ ʇ,uǝɹɐ s,uɐıʇsıɹɥɔ ʇsoɯ uǝʌoɹd s,ʇı ʞuıɥʇ ı 'oslɐ ˙ɹǝɥʇǝƃoʇ s,ʇsıǝɥʇɐ ƃuıɹq oʇ ʇno pǝɥɔɐǝɹ sɐɥ ʇı pɐǝʇsuı ʇnq ɟǝılǝq ɟo ǝuılɹǝpɹoq ǝɥʇ uo ǝldoǝd ɹo suɐıʇsıɹɥɔ oʇ ʇno ɥɔɐǝɹ oʇ sɐʍ ǝɐʇ ɟo ʇuǝʇuı lɐuıƃıɹo ǝɥʇ ǝʌǝılǝq ı – ɐssılǝɯ@

  12. says

    I cannot believe I just read through your entire response upside down. Thanks, gmc87110, for screwing with my eyes. And I think The Atheist Experience could go national. If they had loads of money and a few tv producers in their pockets. There are lots of shows christians don't like. Besides, one day in the near future they won't be the majority. I meet more and more people living by reason every day-many of them are just laying low.

  13. says

    There’s a fellow we all love named Matt.Who says reason, not faith’s where it’s at.He argues what’s true,As does all the crew.And the theist responses fall flat. Yeah Matt!Yeah TAE!!

  14. says

    Martin, Jen, Tracie, Don, Russel, and everyone behind the scenes, I hope yall don't feel like the old Star Trek cast compared to William Shatner (Matt). Just because one guy gets more publicity doesn't mean we don't love yall too! :)

  15. says

    @All,Hello All. I am not an atheist, but I am genuinely interested in interacting with scientific minds. I am on a spiritual journey that has forsaken all organized religions and their dogmatic teachings for the purpose of finding truth. I've been told that the true spiritual journey begins with healthy agnosticism and I figure that no one is more agnostic than an Atheist. Would anyone be interested in a true dialouge about spiritualism and science? I am willing to listen and learn what I can.

  16. says

    I see the value in science and scientific evaluation but I also know that there is more to our existence than what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Each of our senses have parameters of function that limit what we are able to perceive so there will always be an unknown dimension of our reality to explore. Science teaches us that 'matter' has states (solid, gas, liquid,etc..). At the subatomic level, however, nothing is truly solid. Since we are more space than matter, the states of matter are an illusion. By illusion I mean to say that the states of matter are only the frequencies that we are able to perceive but are not the actual reality of said matter.

  17. says

    As I said, science is definitely important but it does not appear to me that it can be our only means of understanding our reality. Being that you are all scientific thinkers, I would appreciate any of your thoughts on this subject. If nothing is truly as we perceive it, how do we trust solely in our senses and intellect? I know, by the way, that the 'God' preached by organized religions is not the truth. I believe in the Big Bang theory, but that theory only explains the mechanics and not the reason. I'm interested in the WHY. We can see and verify that there was an explosion but why? What caused it? These are genuine questions that I hope some of you have insightful ideas on. Sincere Thanks to any who indulge me.

  18. says

    Edward, I would first suggest you need to discover a method that you can use to discover and learn about 'the reason why'. If you aren't going to use the scientific method, what method will you use? Dreams, guesswork, faith, polling? You need a method to test your hypothesis' before you can discover anything worth a damn.

  19. says

    I've been told that the true spiritual journey begins with healthy agnosticism and I figure that no one is more agnostic than an Atheist. Would anyone be interested in a true dialouge about spiritualism and science?If we're going to have a true dialogue, you're going to need to tell us what "spiritual" and "spiritualism" mean. Do you believe in spirits?I see the value in science and scientific evaluation but I also know that there is more to our existence than what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch. Each of our senses have parameters of function that limit what we are able to perceive so there will always be an unknown dimension of our reality to explore.This is true. And how do we know it's true? Science. It was through science that Joseph Priestley first isolated invisible gases from the air. It was through science that Michael Faraday demonstrated the existence of invisible magnetic fields. Are there are any other methods of demonstrating the existence of otherwise intangible things?

  20. says

    Science teaches us that 'matter' has states (solid, gas, liquid,etc..). At the subatomic level, however, nothing is truly solid. Since we are more space than matter, the states of matter are an illusion. By illusion I mean to say that the states of matter are only the frequencies that we are able to perceive but are not the actual reality of said matter.I don't think you're using "frequency" in the sense most commonly understood by scientists. It's true that the reality we perceive is only a model construct by our brains. But the phases of matter represent discrete, measurable physical states related to the average kinetic energy of the particles in a substance. These states, and the changes they undergo, behave according to predictable principles that we can unravel through experiment and logic. Are there other methods of obtaining reliable information about the behavior of reality?As I said, science is definitely important but it does not appear to me that it can be our only means of understanding our reality. Being that you are all scientific thinkers, I would appreciate any of your thoughts on this subject.It's hard to respond to your ideas when you haven't fleshed them out. If science is not the only means of understanding reality, what other means are there?If nothing is truly as we perceive it, how do we trust solely in our senses and intellect?You have the answer right there. We don't trust solely in our senses, because our senses don't tell us the whole story. But through controlled experiments, repeated many times independently by different researchers, we can eliminate the bias of our senses and get reliable results. Then, using our intellects, we can reason from those results to construct theories about reality which we can test with future experiments. Our senses alone deceive us, and our intellects alone confine us to the insides of our own heads. With both we can unravel the fabric of the universe.I'm interested in the WHY.Why what? If by "why was there a Big Bang?" you mean "what underlying physical principles led to the Big Bang?" then clearly the means of finding the answer is through science. If you mean something else, such as "who caused the Big Bang?" or some other question implying agency, you may be asking something meaningless. Maybe there is no why. Maybe there's no other way for a universe to be. Maybe there are infinite ways for a universe to be, but this is the only universe where beings like you or me could arise. And even if there were such a "why," how would you find out what it is? What answer could you trust if it didn't come through a method that is iterative and self-correcting like science?

  21. says

    @Jolly I have been using transcendental meditation as a means of discovery. If there is more to being than sensual perception, there would have to be a way to transcend that perception to experience what is behind (or above) it. Meditation seems to be the only credible way of transcending the intellect that is not based on tradition or old wives tales. I figure that it would be kind of pointless to attempt to discover what is beyond the intellect by using the intellect.

  22. says

    @Christopher I believe that we are spiritual entities who inhabit physical bodies. The fact that one is aware of their conscious thoughts leads me to believe that we are more than those thoughts. I can only speak from the perspective of my own awareness since I cannot experience another's, but I would assume that every individual's perception is at least equal to my own. When I am thinking about something, I am aware that I am thinking about this particular thing. I can see my own thoughts from the perspective of an onlooker which would not be possible if I were only my thoughts. As far as other methods for demonstrating the existence of intangible things, there probably is not. Even though I do not feel that science is capable of such a feat. Science is logical conclusion drawn from observing the effects of unknowable causes. It's all about representation. It's all ideas and theories when everything is said and done.Science gives us names, definitions, and explanations of what we perceive with our senses. But there are questions that science cannot answer. Science cannot tell us at what point consciousness/awareness comes into existence. Science cannot tell us how it is that the random spontaneous creation of life is able to produce purposeful, logical, and intelligent life forms.I believe in science and logic, but it is not logical that we can get the intelligent purposeful life that is our existence from a random and spontaneous occurance. At least it's not logical to me.

  23. says

    By the way, I do remeber that spontaneous generation was disproven by a scientist in an experiment using maggots, jars, and meat. How is it that the basis of our scientific explanation is that life just happened. If life just sprang forth because of perfect environmental conditions, why the need for procreation? Reproduction would be totally useless in a universe where animate matter could spontaneously form and randomly evolve. And if evolution (which I believe in) is random, why do creatures exhibit mutations that meet very specific needs according to their respective environment? If genetic mutation is consistent why have some reptiles remained unchanged for millions of years? These questions fill my scientific mind to the brim. If you can enlighten me, please do. Thank you all for responding by the way.

  24. says

    "but I also know that there is more to our existence than what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touch" -EdwardHow do you know, if your own senses can't detect it?" But there are questions that science cannot answer. " -EdwardJust because we don't have answers doesn't mean we can just stick random beliefs into the equation (just because it makes you feel good or special). There's nothing wrong with saying you don't know. Just because we can't know the truth doesn't mean that any claim is automatically correct.Also, you have to be prepared to believe in things that may be unwelcome to you, like the heat death of the universe. I don't like it, but it's more than likely that is what's going to happen in a billion years. The facts, the evidence, the truth, beats my emotions. It's mostly through emotions that every single theist on the planet thinks their religion is the right one. So we can't trust it to lead to truth (since logically they can't all be correct). Faith therefore is unreliable. Our senses have always been more accurate in determining truth, even in their flawed nature.

  25. says

    Hi Edward, The experiment with the maggots was performed in 1668 by Francesco Redi before sience knew that flys layed eggs.link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis.As for why animals appear to develop mutations that suit their needs. They do not. Although they do develop mutations randomly some of the mutations help the creature to survive/thrive where the creature without the mutation would die/struggle (natural selection)eg.(hypothetical) a creature randomly mutates a heat receptor into a light receptor (just detects a different frequency of electromagnetic radiation) (rudimentry eye) this creature would have an advantage of orienting itself and finding food and passes this advantage on to its offspring, then in times of scarce food all the creatures without the advantage die of starvation because the ones with the advantage find the food first. Another mutation happens in that the light receptor depresses slightly into a small pit on the surface of the creature's skin, then this version of creature would have an advantage and so on and so on.In reguard to procreation, i'm guessing but i suppose occasionally (probably quite rarely) a combination of amino acids would come together to create a simple organism, which would live and then die. but if the organsim could reproduce itself before it died then its offspring would live on and be generated a a much faster rate than the randomly created organisms, then eventually the environment would become so saturated by the procreating organisms that any randomly created creatures would be immedialely overwhelmed.Sexual reproduction was a mutation which developed because it promotes more frequent mutations.

  26. says

    Sorry Edward missed one question. the reptiles being almost unchanged for long periods of time if just testimony to a good design. as long as no conditions occur to cause the extinction or a species then it will continue to exist. a cold blooded creature is more efficient than a warm blooded creature, as long as it has a reasonably consistent temperate to live in, it will survive well. The creatures which seem survive well over time seem to be cold blooded and live at least partially in water. Have you seen a croc or a shark feeding. easy to imagine why such an efficient killing machine would be difficult to extinguish. although man seems to be giving it a fair go.

  27. says

    @EdwardI would say mostly that without evidence based reasoning, which is what science is, how can someone tell the difference between what is real and what is completely made up? If the science community is honest about their ignorance about the formation of life, it is not an open invitation to make up any explanation you like. The honest answer has to remain "I don't know" until evidence backs up a working theory.Is the mind not capable of imagining things that have no basis in reality? How can knowledge gained solely from meditation be distinguishable from ideas completely made up and wrong? How can any claim at all be made about the correctness of such knowledge?I think you will find that for most of the people on this blog, if the evidence = 0 then the belief = 0. I hope this is helpful to you.

  28. says

    Edward, Meditation is fine to 'discover' more about yourself but you need your intellect to analyze what you have discovered. All your thoughts and feelings come from your brain so I don't know what other tool you could use. You have a large number of assumptions made from a lack of knowledge of the subject. You don't seem to know much about how evolution works. Life doesn't spontaneously appear from some chemicals but probably did once under the right conditions. However, you need more than just the right conditions and the right chemicals. It is like baking a fancy pastry. You can throw all the ingredients together and put them in the oven but you won't get a fancy pastry without following very exacting methods of assembling the ingredients- and pastry is easy. You also appear to lack knowledge about the latest studies of the brain. There is a region of the brain that gives you the feeling of where you feel your consciousness is. You can have out of body experiences with a drug that changes that part of the brain. Just because we haven't discovered how something works YET, doesn't mean you should shoehorn something into that gap. This is referred to 'the god of the gaps' argument. I don't know where you got your basic schooling but it was probably lacking in many scientific subjects and methods (most are so don't worry- you can catch up). I would suggest you find some basic information on these subjects and learn. If you can catch some videos of NOVA and COSMOS, (HULU online) it is any easy way to start. Have fun and I hope you continue your search for answers.

  29. says

    but I also know that there is more to our existence than what we can see, hear, taste, smell, and touchHow do you know this? If you're simply referring to things like UV-light etc, as your next sentence suggests, then I'd point out that we can in fact sense them. Not directly, but through mechanical augmentation.I don't want to give you the impression that I'm charging at you like a rhino (in that I'm jumping on the very first thing you said), but I think this is important and potentially has repercussions on the whole rest of your world view.If we can't (in any way, naturally or by augmentation) sense something (directly or through its effects), then we have no reason to think it exists. By Occam's Razor we should assume that it does not until evidence is suggests otherwise.By illusion I mean to say that the states of matter are only the frequencies that we are able to perceive but are not the actual reality of said matter.Not sure this is a meaningful distinction. Maybe I'm not quite catching your meaning, but…True, at the subatomic level, nothing is truly solid, but that's irrelevant. Solidity is a property of matter above the atomic level and since we don't interact with subatomic particles anyway, it doesn't much matter. Solidity is a part of the "actual reality" of matter. Matter factually acts in different ways depending on temperature and pressure. Ice falls down. Steam rises up. There's nothing illusory about that. The fact that these qualities are not present in subatomic particles is no more to the point than saying that the rules of football can't be found in a field of grass.By the way, I do remeber that … These questions fill my scientific mind to the brim. If you can enlighten me, please do.I can see that russell_666 has already answered these points, but I'd like to make one comment: These questions are pretty basic, once you know what you're talking about. The fact that you ask them implies that you do not.I don't say this to be rude, but simply to be honest. If you want to know about evolution, don't sit around wondering and don't ask random atheists on a blog. Ask an evolutionary biologist. E.g. read "The Greatest Show on Earth" by Richard Dawkins. It's quite accessible and will give you a foundation to build on.

  30. says

    It appears my previous comment got caught in the spam filter, probably on account of its length. If a mod could rescue it, I'd be very happy.

  31. says

    @everyone,Thank you all for the constructive comments and sorry for my lapse in communication. I wasn't aware that there was a number and a show, I definitely plan on calling in. My concerns about a point of view solely based on science are the same that most of you would have about a point of view completely based on belief. When I speak about the WHY aspect of existence, I'm not referring to a mythical entity sitting on a throne in 'heaven'. I think we can all agree that this idea makes no logical sense.What I am referring to with the WHY is why so many seemingly random occurrences display such perfect order and purpose. I agree that we should be able to say "I don't know" instead of inserting ideas, this is what's wrong with religion.Scientists know more about 'creation' than the average human being. They understand the laws of physics, electromagnetism, and every other discription of the forces that governs existence. As human beings though, their lives are no better than any other.They are subject to the same stresses of paying bills, achieving success, maintaining relationships, and seeking happiness as any other. What I'm saying is that their knowledge benefits the collective understanding of existence but none of us are any better on an individual basis.Look at all of the scientific solutions that we could put into action to solve world hunger and poverty. We have the answers but we are still too selfish to use them. Even scientist are compeeting to be the 'first' to discover something for the purpose of personal gain.This is why we have so many different groups of scientists working on the same discoveries seperately. The logical scientific mind would tell us that we'd achieve a common goal faster if we worked together, but ambition and elitism keeps us from doing that.These are problems that science cannot solve because intellect and logic will not allow us to rise above our basic need to arrive first.I'm definitely not judging anyone because we all posses this drive, but I'm just saying that to me this is the proof that science (alone) is not the answer. I know that religion is a dying ideology and it should be because it lacks power, logic, and truth.Science has logic and truth and should be the basis of discovery, but it alone lacks the power to change the human consciousness. We have grown much as a species, but we have been unable to break away from that innate impulse that causes us to create the inimical conditions that encircle our current condition.

  32. says

    I know that when I inhale smoke, thousands of chemicals are entering my blood stream through the process of gas exchange in my respiratory system. I know this because of science. Science also tells me that these chemicals are poison and causing a series of reactions that 'trick' my brain into releasing uphoria inducing chemicals. Therefore I know that the feeling I get when smoking is artificial and that the process that produces this feeling is harmful. Yet I still smoke. That's an individual problem that will take more than intellectual knowledge to correct. Science cannot teach me to care about myself. There is no mathematical formula for loving you all as I love myself or treating everyone with respect. There is data out there that will tell us why it is a good reason to do this, but that data will not begin the process of making that state of being our reality.Am I saying that Atheists lack compassion and 'morals'? Absolutely not. Human beings lack this generally. Not all of us, but too many. Those of us who treat others the way we'd wan't to be treated do it because we believe that it's the right thing to do. Did science give us this belief?Have you not cared about the wellbeing of others as long as you can remember? Does 'the right thing to do' not feel like it's naturally inbuilt in you? Math and science do not care about the feelings and wellbeing of other people but we do. We do because we are more than math and science. They are only tools that we are to use to understand our world. What I am hoping to find are the tools to understand myself. To change myself that I may change my environment.

  33. says

    What I am referring to with the WHY is why so many seemingly random occurrences display such perfect order and purpose.Because if they didn't, they wouldn't. I bet you there are thousands of "seemingly random occurrences" that don't display perfect order and purpose. You just don't notice them.Furthermore, if the world wasn't arranged as it is now, but in some other way, we (or whatever being existed in that other world) would simply be arguing why things were arranged in that manner and not like it is in our world. It's a fruitless discussion.This is why we have so many different groups of scientists working on the same discoveries seperately. The logical scientific mind would tell us that we'd achieve a common goal faster if we worked together, but ambition and elitism keeps us from doing that.There a benefit to it too, though. By having multiple groups working independently of each other, they can check up on each other's work. Since we tend to view the work of other people more objectively than our own (since we are attached to our own work) this allows a better error-check mechanism than if all scientists worked in one group.Beyond that, what's your point? That we're not perfect? Any human endeavor will suffer from these same faults, no matter which method we use. It seems to me that you've hit on certain points that are fundamental to human beings and then decided to connect them to science specifically.We aren't perfect. That's exactly why we need science, or at least something very much like it. Any method we use must have the error-correcting mechanisms that science has. Thinking that we can just jump over our flaws is hopelessly naive.If you have a method for producing perfect human beings, I'd love to hear it. I've never come across any such thing and until we have such a method, science is our best bet.

  34. says

    They are only tools that we are to use to understand our world. What I am hoping to find are the tools to understand myself.Are you not part of the world?

  35. says

    "Therefore I know that the feeling I get when smoking is artificial and that the process that produces this feeling is harmful. Yet I still smoke. That's an individual problem that will take more than intellectual knowledge to correct." -EdwardAddiction is not just a personality flaw. It's your body not coping without the drug it wants. I'm under the impression that you're advocating for some kind of soul here, the way you describe this scene. But addiction can also be a psychological problem. You are an amalgamation of your past, your memories, your genetics etc. Memories that create your personality, your individual self, can be damaged by damaging the physical body so "you", what you think you are, yourself, is physical and there's no reason to believe in dualism, that when the physical body dies some entity that is you will rise up and go some place.So your addiction is part psychological and part physical. But you can beat it. Others have.Who'd want to produce "perfect" human beings? They're boring. And besides perfect by what standard? The theistic Abrahamic religions call their mass-murdering mob boss in the sky "perfect", "divine". What is a perfect human being? "We do because we are more than math and science."-EdwardThat's just a straw man you yourself then knock down. More than science? Come on. People do good because it feels good to do good and it feels bad to be treated badly. Our emotions are not outside of this world. They're inside our physical bodies and products of our mind based on effects in reality. We can even be trained to feel good through association etc.Yes, science, our tool, our reasoning skill, our critical thinking tell us that if we anger someone, he'll be mad at you. If you're nice he'll be nice back. It's as simple as that. Why do you assume there has to be 'something more' purely because humans know good or bad? We learn, through evolution, through education, through copying our parents and experiencing firsthand that 'what comes around goes around'. We don't need some external force from beyond time and space to tell us that.And as for the 'perfection' of this world? In what way is this perfect? Perfect for life? Perfect for us? Perfect specifically for humans? And somehow that can't be chance, is that your line of thinking?The odds of me getting a royal flush in a game of poker are 649,739 : 1, so does that automatically mean that if I do get it, the game MUST be rigged? No. It can happen. And we know for a fact that it did happen, so screw the odds. Throw 25 dice. It doesn't matter what the odds are for the dice to have landed this way. They did. Don't sacrifice past realities for future probabilities. Just because the dice landed as they did doesn't mean there must've been some magical hand in them. That has to be demonstated first. Not assumed through incredulity.

  36. says

    @Lukas, farmboyThe point of living is to work towards perfection, or at least being better than you are. This drive is what sets humans apart from 'lesser' animals. There can be no process for producing a perfect human being because we are not produced, we evolve. So evolution is that process. We become better versions of ourselves as we go along. This is scientific and I agree completely with evolution. The very thing I am talking about is the evolution of the human consciousness and the central point of human awareness: the 'I'.As I have stated, though, evolution is not random. Genetic mutation (which is the vehicle for evolution)is described as a random occurrence that is constant. A random occurrence that is constant. A random occurrence that is constant and consistently producing effects that improve existence for the entity that undergoes said mutation. Our highly intelligent brain which has given us mathematic equations to define relationships between subatomic particles and the forces that bind/repel them. Mutations that allow an animal to change color in order to blend in with its surrounding increading its survivability. Fur that keeps the animal warm, bones, ligaments, tendons, muscles, etc… All products of completely random and constant occurrences. This makes as much sense as the Devil in hell and God in heaven.Yes you can run a set of numbers at random and eventually you will come up with a specific order that makes total sense and displays purpose, but do it again, and again, and again. It's not possible. You can't get a royal flush every hand or even most hands if you leave the deck alone and let the cards fall where they may.As far as odds go, it's all about the odds. Every (good) poker player is well aware of the odds when they play and bet, it's what determines how they play the hand.One person may hit the lottery and that same person may even hit more than once. Anything is possible. One thing is for certain though, millions of people will lose. Why? Because those are the odds, and the odds is the science. To say that there is absolutely nothing other than what we see because you cannot verify it is the exact same as saying there's something because you cannot verify that there isn't.What I am talking about here is the first cause, our source of being. We know that there is a source because everything has a source. As far as duality, there is a good reason to believe in duality because everything in life displays duality. Positive and negative charges of subatomic particles.Attraction and repulsion of electromagnetism.Male and female of every species. (Or male and female organs within an individual displaying characteristics of both)Or whole universe is the product of duality. Where it not for the positive and negative charges displayed in subatomic particles as well as the attraction/repulsion of electromagnetic forces, nothing would have taken shape. The true question is why should we believe that do not posses this same duslity that EVERYTHING exhibits on every level of being?

  37. says

    Can we not scientifically study meditation? Can we not measure the frequency negative and positive thougths and how they effect the energy levels and vitality of the organs? We have logical minds so can we not study anything? If we are purely physical and the combination of chemical reactions, and electrical activity we should be able to measure every level of our being. Is it not possible? (Serious questions not sarcasm)

  38. says

    "There can be no process for producing a perfect human being because we are not produced, we evolve. So evolution is that process. We become better versions of ourselves as we go along."-EdwardNo. Evolution is not a ladder. We are not becoming more perfect. We are just becoming different. And it is not "we" who are evolving (not this generation, not even us as individuals). An entire species is changing to become better at surviving and better at being able to pass on these surviving traits to their offspring. We adapt to our environment and our environment is constantly changing as well, like an eternal arms race for survival and when we start changing the environment to fit us the human body will no longer need to evolve to survive and will essentially become lazy.The mutation of evolution may be random but through natural selection and adaptation the entire process is not. Only the ones who are better at surviving will be able to pass on their genes."To say that there is absolutely nothing other than what we see because you cannot verify it is the exact same as saying there's something because you cannot verify that there isn't."No, it is not. Firstly, we being atheists and all, let's talk about belief, not absolute knowledge. We can never know absolutely everything for sure, but that doesn't mean that because we can't know you can insert any random conclusion you come up with into the equation, call it an answer and call it a day. I'm going to base my beliefs on what we know, not on what we might know or what we might discover to be true. That's dishonest. Faith is dishonest.You'd have to provide some reason to actually believe there is something.You can't know whether there is a firebreathing invisible dragon in my backyard. Does that mean he MUST therefore be real? Do you have any reason to believe there is a dragon in my backyard? No. Because firebreathing invisible dragons don't exist. I can positively say that, because I just made that dragon up!You talk of duality, Edward, but why assume a non-physical soul exists because there is a physical man and woman? You're making assumptions. You're still going to have to provide some evidence to back up this theory. Just because I have a laptop doesn't mean there must be some spiritual laptop residing within my laptop and every time I shut off my laptop it goes to heaven!You speak of an highly intelligent brain but it literally malfunctions when it sees an optical illusion. It's a brain fart, and it happens because the brain is wired to expect certain things out of reality. It has adapted to notice patterns and when it sees an optical illusion it compensates for it. It's stupid.Just because we have a brain or that we are the only ones to have it doesn't mean that we are supposed to have it. All we can tell is that we gained it. Because the primates in the past who were smarter tended to survive more than the stupid ones, they passed on their genes and we inherited their smarter brains. It's because of our ancestor's tenacity to live that we have these capabilties today. We are always standing on the shoulders of giants."You can't get a royal flush every hand or even most hands if you leave the deck alone and let the cards fall where they may."-EdwardYet it's clear we did get a Royal Flush. And you say, the odds of that happening are astronomical! But it did happen. Just because the odds are small doesn't mean it can't happen on its own. WE are proof it did happen and yet you insist the game must've been rigged.Those would be some extreme accusations in a game of poker and therefore we would have to ask you for some proof and evidence that it was rigged or else we're just going to accept it happened, because it can happen naturally.

  39. says

    Again, one's incredulity does not prove a God or a First Cause. Everything still points to a naturalistic material universe without some first mover or alien influencer.I would still like to see some kind of definition of a soul and some extraordinary evidence for its existence. As for dualism of the mind, I think you're missing the point Edward. In fact, the human brain does have two halves. The left and right brain. But that's not what dualism is about. It's about the belief that who we are can somehow lift from our bodies at the point of death and then start haunting insane asylums, somehow fully clothed and with a full body.And what is perfect, anyway?

  40. says

    What would it take to convince you the invisible firebreathing dragon in my backyard is real?Do animals have souls? Why stick to humans? Why do you want to be more than what you are? Why are you not content with being you? Do you consider yourself imperfect? It's one thing to say you are striving to perfect yourself but it's wholly another to actually live up to it.Or is it an excuse to keep being imperfect, because you've now convinced yourself that it is in your nature and soul to be imperfect and evolution will make you 'better'.Why haven't you stopped smoking yet? What standards of perfection you've made for yourself can't you reach?This is psychology. Not soul.Everything you are is determined by physical factors, so logically if I have a soul–it is not me. For before I was born I did not have this personality and after I die I won't either because my memories die with my body. So it's just some energy ball that happens to do what? It does not sustain me, because I have to eat to live and my organs keep me alive. So what does it do? A soul is useless. And there's no reason to think we even have one, so I'm not missing it either.This wasn't personal. I'm trying to make a point.

  41. says

    Damn, the entire first part of my reply seems to have gone out the window. Let me see if I can remember it.Evolution is not a ladder. Species evolve, not individuals. We're not becoming better, we're becoming different. Natural selection is not random.You can debate the improbability of a Royal Flush all you want but it is a fact that we got one yet you keep insisting the game is rigged. In a game of poker that's a huge accusation so I'm going to have to ask for some proof it was, and until you do we're going to assume it happened naturally without a rigged game because it CAN happen.

  42. says

    "To say that there is absolutely nothing other than what we see because you cannot verify it is the exact same as saying there's something because you cannot verify that there isn't."-EdwardWe're not saying there absolutely can't be. Atheism is never about absolute knowledge. I wish people would just get that!It's about belief. What we are justified in believing. And just because we can't really know is no reason to just accept things as true without evidence. Again, full circle to the God of the Gaps.Just because you don't know (any other way it could've happened) doesn't mean therefore we are justified in believing any extraordinary claim about some sort of cause of the universe (if it even needs one) 'My hair caught fire. It couldn't have been anything natural (why not?), therefore a dragon did it!' No, it doesn't work that way.

  43. says

    @EdwardPardon me for being direct, but I'm not convinced that you really understand evolution and I would encourage you to educate yourself on the subject before drawing any more conclusions from this foundation. E.g.A random occurrence that is constant and consistently producing effects that improve existence for the entity that undergoes said mutationMutations are not the mechanism for improvement. Mutations are just changes. It's selection that weeds out the many detrimental mutations and leaves only the beneficial ones. This is Evolution 101.All products of completely random and constant occurrences. This makes as much sense as the Devil in hell and God in heaven.I guess it's lucky that that's not what evolution says, then. Please take this as I mean it, in the spirit of brotherly honesty: you don't know what you're talking about.Beyond the links I posted earlier, I recommend "The Greatest Show On Earth" by Richard Dawkins. It's written with a layman in mind and is very accessible.

  44. says

    Continued:To say that there is absolutely nothing other than what we see because you cannot verify it… is NOT what anyone here is saying. We're saying that we shouldn't assume the existence of any such thing UNTIL we can verify it. It's not an absolute conclusion, it's a provisional conclusion, open to revision if new evidence is found.That would be Scientific Method 101.We know that there is a source because everything has a sourceThe obvious question: what's the source of that source, then? This is a useless line of thought. It just sets up either an infinite regress (of unverified and unverifiable "sources") or a case of special pleading (for the specific "final source" you pick).I hope I'm not being to harsh if I call this Philosophy 101.Can we not measure the frequency negative and positive thougthsPossibly, but we would have to start by defining what the hell you mean by the frequency of a thought. Until we have that squared way, we can't even begin the investigation.

  45. says

    Edward, on the one hand you say "the universe has too much order in it, it's too perfect [for something] to have come about through purely natural means and on the other end you say "humans are imperfect". This is a contradiction fueled by the inherent desire of the religious to feel "special". The theists of the Abrahamic faiths would say "look at the trees!" as proof their God exists, but then they would credit the actions of the cuckoo bird who lays its eggs into another bird's nest to our human original sin. They cherry pick the parts of nature that look designed and say it is designed and when they encounter a part of nature that doesn't correspond to their implied design than they say that's "corrupted". Somehow the actions of the very first mudman and ribwoman were so important that it corrupted everything in the animal kingdom above which all humans naturally stand.But you say you don't believe that crap. You say you understand evolution. Well, evolution also says we humans are part of the animal kingdom, not above it. We are animals, primates. We are part of this world. So when you say 'we' are imperfect, than the world must be imperfect, which clearly contradicts your previous statement that it is too perfect. So if it's imperfect, surely it could've come about through solely (imperfect?) natural means and not supernatural means.Why not be content with the awesomness of nature and the world around us? Why insist on some supernatural force? We don't need it. Hell, I don't want it. I'm not so desperate to feel special and above everything else that I would insist on some supernatural force that created us all imperfect with imperfect souls. As for the supposed perfection of our brain: watch any optical illusion and see the brain malfunction then and there.Who needs a crappy designer?

  46. says

    Ok. So I've been reading up on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution as suggested so that I may better understand what I am ignorant of regarding this theory.I am not claiming that evolution does not exist, or that Darwin's theory is inaccurate. What I am saying is that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations (or adaptive strategies) exist. The question I'm posing is why those 'adaptive strategies' were develped by the organism to begin with? Every organism displays characteristics that make them 'typically adapted to different ecological niches.' These characteristics display an intelligent response to the needs imposed on the organism by its environment. If there were no such intelligent response to the environment, the species would not survive.Even when the environment changes and a particular species dies off, another is there having previously developed the necessary characteristics (adaptive strategy) to allow it to survive.On the cellular level, cells take in nutrients and excrete waste. Did the cell develope the ability to take in nutrients first or the ability to excrete waste? It needs nutrients to live so how could have ever been alive without the ability to take in nutrients? It also has an equal need to eliminate waste, but how would it have 'learned' that the build up of waste is toxic (and passed on this learned knowledge) since the build up of toxic waste would have surely killed it?@Farmboy, I know that species evolve, but evolution is a process. That process begins with the first organism that displayed the characteristic that will eventually be passed on. Every change displayed by an entire species had its origin in an individual.

  47. says

    A praying mantis in the jungle developes a characteristic that makes it look like the leaves it feeds and rests on. This characteristic hides it from would-be predators increasing the probability that its characteristic will be passed on and eventually displayed in the species. Natural selection discribes the process that perpetuates characteristics across a species. Evolution is the end result of this successful perpetuation. What I do not get is how the mantis gained this very beneficial characteristic from a random numerical constant.Why didn't this random mutation give the mantis fur, or scales? Why not white wings or some other totally random and useless characteristic?If it was truly random, species would go extinct for no reason what so ever, but this is not so.

  48. says

    Maybe natural selection is WHY an inimical mutation would not be perpetuated across an entire species and is isolated within the 'broken' individual organism, but truly random generation of characteristics would lead to many unexplainable deaths of individual animals. This isn't even the case.Nature works in perfect order and science prooves this to us. In our lives, consistent order is the result of the excercise of intellligence. Moving back to the point of duality. What are we at are most basic level of being if not duality given form? Everything (all matter) is finite particles existing in infinte space. Physically were are more space than matter, more infinite than finite. We have access to one part of our being (the particles) and forsake the other (the infinite space). We think of the particles as the only reality, but were it not for the 'invisible' connections between the particles there would be no form. It is the 'invisible' connections between particles that is the true reality.Personality is a result of duality, a combination of likes and dislikes; what you cling to and what you push away. Everything physical and visible is the result of invisible activity. I don't understand why it's hard to believe in this concept. All that we are was produced by an immaterial intention. A concept of love (or lust) leading to the action of sexual union which set a physical process in motion. What of your father/mother's intention? Does not the intention (which is an act of consciousness) preceed and motivate the action. Is the intention of action more the reality of it than the actual action itself?

  49. says

    GEORGE WALD, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology: WALD – THE STAUNCH ATHEIST 1. ¨ In 1954 Prof. George Wald (who was still an atheist at that time) wrote in Scientific American: 2. ¨ “The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. …Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.” (Wald 1954, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 45-46). WALD’S SCIENTIFIC DEISM 3. ¨ Nevertheless, George Wald underwent an astonishing change of mind during the early 1980s, and he came very close to religious mentality. In 1984 Prof. Wald wrote: “In my life as scientist I have come upon two major problems which, though rooted in science, though they would occur in this form only to a scientist, project beyond science, and are I think ultimately insoluble as science. That is hardly to be wondered at, since one involves consciousness and the other, cosmology. 1) The consciousness problem was hardly avoidable by one who has spent most of his life studying mechanisms of vision. We have learned a lot, we hope to learn much more; but none of it touches or even points, however tentatively, in the direction of what it means to see. Our observations in human eyes and nervous systems and in those of frogs are basically much alike. I know that I see; but does a frog see? It reacts to light; so do cameras, garage doors, any number of photoelectric devices. But does it see? Is it aware that it is reacting? There is nothing I can do as a scientist to answer that question, no way that I can identify either the presence or absence of consciousness. I believe consciousness to be a permanent condition that involves all sensation and perception. Consciousness seems to me to be wholly impervious to science. 2) The second problem involves the special properties of our universe. Life seems increasingly to be part of the order of nature. We have good reason to believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical properties of our universe otherwise – some of them basic, others seemingly trivial, almost accidental – that life, which seems now to be so prevalent, would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself, yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds life? It has occurred to me lately – I must confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities – that both questions might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the assumption that Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and condition of physical reality – that the stuff of which physical reality is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures that know and create.” _____________________________________________________________________Wald, George. 1954. “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 44-53, August.

  50. says

    Ok. So I've been reading up on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution…Maybe I wasn't clear. I didn't mean for you to skim a few pages. I meant spend a month or two on it. I intended to recommend it as a serious project of self-education.If you want to talk about a subject, I don't think it's unreasonable for me to expect you to know at least the basics. And you still don't.I am not claiming that evolution does not exist, or that Darwin's theory is inaccurate.And I am not claiming you do. I am claiming that your opinion on the matter is irrelevant. You are not in a position to express an opinion because you don't have a proper understanding of the subject.What I am saying is that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations (or adaptive strategies) exist. The question I'm posing is why those 'adaptive strategies' were develped by the organism to begin with?These appear to be identical questions. The answer to one is the answer to the other.These characteristics display an intelligent response to the needs imposed on the organism by its environment.No. It may seem like it, but no. That's the whole point of evolution. Very complex systems can develop from the interactions of random variation and non-random selection. There's no need for intelligence for this to occur.On the cellular level, cells take in nutrients and excrete waste. Did the cell develope the ability to take in nutrients first or the ability to excrete waste?Your question is nonsense, pure and simple. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and give a serious answer to your question nonetheless. Don't make me regret it.I would think the most likely case is that the first proto-cells developed a simple semipermeable membrane with no particular transport or sorting mechanisms. Nutrients entered and waste exited through simple diffusion. Later, transport proteins developed and since these would drastically increase the nutrient intake and/or waste removal, it increased the replication speed of the cells that had these functions. Note that waste build-up need not be lethal. As long as diffusion of waste out of the cells prevented a massive build-up, it would at most cause a reduction in reproductive speed; a reduction which could later be mitigated by protein channels, as they developed.but truly random generation of characteristics would lead to many unexplainable deaths of individual animals. This isn't even the case.Yes, it is. About 25% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage by the sixth week of pregnancy (wiki).

  51. says

    Ok. So I've been reading up on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution…Maybe I wasn't clear. I didn't mean for you to skim a few pages. I meant spend a month or two on it. I intended to recommend it as a serious project of self-education.I you want to talk about a subject,I don't think it's unreasonable for me to expect you to know at least the basics. And you still don't.I am not claiming that evolution does not exist, or that Darwin's theory is inaccurate.And I am not claiming you do. I am claiming that your opinion on the matter is irrelevant. You are not in a position to express an opinion because you don't have a proper understanding of the subject.What I am saying is that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations (or adaptive strategies) exist. The question I'm posing is why those 'adaptive strategies' were develped by the organism to begin with?These appear to be identical questions. The answer to one is the answer to the other.These characteristics display an intelligent response to the needs imposed on the organism by its environment.No. It may seem like it, but no. That's the whole point of evolution. Very complex systems can develop from the interactions of random variation and non-random selection. There's no need for intelligence for this to occur.

  52. says

    On the cellular level, cells take in nutrients and excrete waste. Did the cell develope the ability to take in nutrients first or the ability to excrete waste?Your question is nonsense, pure and simple. I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and give a serious answer to your question nonetheless. Don't make me regret it.I would think the most likely case is that the first proto-cells developed a simple semipermeable membrane with no particular transport or sorting mechanisms. Nutrients entered and waste exited through simple diffusion. Later, transport proteins developed and since these would drastically increase the nutrient intake and/or waste removal, it increased the replication speed of the cells that had these functions. Note that waste build-up need not be lethal. As long as diffusion of waste out of the cells prevented a massive build-up, it would at most cause a reduction in reproductive speed; a reduction which could later be mitigated by protein channels, as they developed.but truly random generation of characteristics would lead to many unexplainable deaths of individual animals. This isn't even the case.Yes, it is. About 25% of all pregnancies result in miscarriage by the sixth week of pregnancy (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage#Epidemiolog)Also, generation of characteristics isn't "truly random". First, most genes are inherited without change. Second, any gene which is mutated is not scrambled to a new, completely random sequence, but will have only minor changes. This allows for a gradual change of characteristics. "Truly random" large scale changes are exceedingly rare.

  53. says

    Ok. So I've been reading up on Charles Darwin's theory of evolution…Maybe I wasn't clear. I didn't mean for you to skim a few pages. I meant spend a month or two on it. I intended to recommend it as a serious project of self-education.I you want to talk about a subject,I don't think it's unreasonable for me to expect you to know at least the basics. And you still don't.I am not claiming that evolution does not exist, or that Darwin's theory is inaccurate.And I am not claiming you do. I am claiming that your opinion on the matter is irrelevant. You are not in a position to express an opinion because you don't have a proper understanding of the subject.What I am saying is that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations (or adaptive strategies) exist. The question I'm posing is why those 'adaptive strategies' were develped by the organism to begin with?These appear to be identical questions. The answer to one is the answer to the other.These characteristics display an intelligent response to the needs imposed on the organism by its environment.No. It may seem like it, but no. That's the whole point of evolution. Very complex systems can develop from the interactions of random variation and non-random selection. There's no need for intelligence for this to occur.

  54. says

    Lucas, first of all, how the hell do you type letters in bold print on this page? Secondly, I know what you meant when you suggested I do some research into evolution. What I don't understand is the distinct principle of evolution that I don't comprehend. Why do you assume that I do not understand Darwin's theory of evolution? What specifically am I supposed to take away from studying it?The textbook defintion of intelligence is 'the ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations.' And you are right when you say "It may seem like it." This is why so many people believe it. It would appear that organism 'learn' how to survive over evolutionary time. Evolution would appear to be that learning. The mechanical process(s) by which that learning takes place does not explain away the appearance of intelligence.Of course, belief does not make something truth but what does? Even varifiable evidence is limited by the amount of factors you are able to perceive and take into account. As one becomes aware of said factors, everything changes and what was truth becomes irrelevant.You quoted a comment of mine and said that "these appear to be identical questions. The answer to one is the answer to the other." There was only one question in the quote unless I misses something. The question was "Why those adaptive strategies develope in the organism to begin with?" Before that I said that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations exist. This was a statement and does not answer the question of why the adaptation developes to begin with. The statement tells us how the adaptation becomes spread across a species over evollutionary time.As far as the miscarriage statistic, I would be unscientific of me to respond to a statistic from wiki as ALL college professors of any subject teach us NEVER to use that as a source of information. (shame on you) ;-)Also, you said that my opinion on the matter is irrelevant and that I am not in a position to have an opinion. I would like to know what qualifies a person to have an opinion? Who is in a position to judge the validity of one what anyone believes or thinks? I have stated my opinions on scientific theories based on the fact that they discount the obvious cohesive collective intelligence displayed by all things. This is a logical discussion.I have quoted no scripures, no 'religous' arguements, and no dogma. I haven't judged you or anyone else on this forum nor have I insinuated that anyone is inferior directly or indirectly by using condescending language, I appreciate being shown the same courtesy.In a few hundred years we will all be laughed at and viewed as silly for the things we 'believe' in so no one is in any position to judge anyone else. Memorized theories, quotations, and statistics do not make you intelligent. In fact, it makes you no different than those who memorize scriptures to 'proove' the basis of their arguements. It's what you do with that knowledge that will determine how intelligent you are 'seen' to be.

  55. says

    I would think the most likely case is that the first proto-cells developed a simple semipermeable membrane with no particular transport or sorting mechanisms. Nutrients entered and waste exited through simple diffusion. Later, transport proteins developed and since these would drastically increase the nutrient intake and/or waste removal, it increased the replication speed of the cells that had these functions. This seems like a completely plausible scenario. My same question would still ring true though. Why would a proto cell develope a membrane at all? Also, why would that membrane be semipermiable? Are these not important questions? Should we not be busily at work trying to answer these questions. (There are scientific studies going on by the way to attempt to figure out why cells developed the spherical shape that their membranes take on)But the semipermeable membrane has a very simple, effecient, and intelligent design. (Not a design in the sense that it was prefabricated or thought out but a design exhibting sense and sensibility) This membrane protects the cell while allowing beneficial nutrients to come in and inimical toxins to 'leave'. And this was just what the cell needed to survive, grow, and evolve.Every step of the way organisms 'develop' these super benficial characteristics. What prompts this develpement? This is where we need to focuse our attention, the why.

  56. says

    "2. ¨ “The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. …Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing.” (Wald 1954, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American, 191 [2]: 45-46)."Wow, that is one big argument from authority there. From 50 years ago. So up to date?I sense a false dichotomy here. And another God of the Gaps. It's getting quite annoying having to repeat myself. Evolution does not explain how life arose. But not knowing how life arose does not give one the option of inserting their particular superstition into the gap of their knowledge.Asserting the cause isn't spontaneous generation does not automatically prove some mythical deity did it. It's a false dichotomy.Limited knowledge does not equal "God did it". God is not the default. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.How many more topics are you gonna throw at us, Edward? We've been from the First Cause, through random chance, design, souls, evolution and now abiogenesis, and every time the focus of your argument is…"science can't explain it…therefore…"It's becoming silly, real fast.

  57. says

    Why would a proto cell develope a membrane at all?Because if they didn't they wouldn't be cells. In order for an organism to exist, it must have a boundary between the inside and the outside. The question amounts to asking why a house has walls and a roof.why would that membrane be semipermiable?All membranes we know of are. Why would the early cells have membranes fundamentally different from every cell that came after? Besides, if it was impermeable, the cell would never survive and if it was fully permeable, it wouldn't be much of a membrane, would it?Your question is trivial to anyone who knows what they're talking about.Are these not important questions?No. They're childish questions, coming from a person that hasn't bothered to study the subject.There are scientific studies going on by the way to attempt to figure out why cells developed the spherical shape that their membranes take onI find that hard to believe. I suspect that you're pulling shit out of your ass. A sphere is the default shape. It has to do with uniformity of pressure and the fluidity of the membrane. We don't need to explain a spherical cell. We need to explain why cells are ever anything else (which we have, so don't even try). Besides, you did know that they aren't all spherical right?Every step of the way organisms 'develop' these super benficial characteristics. What prompts this develpement? This is where we need to focuse our attention, the why.Why? BECAUSE ALL THE ONES THAT DIDN'T ARE FUCKING DEAD!Please stop pretending you know what you're talking about. It's painfully obvious that you don't. Sorry that I have to ask, but what education do you have?

  58. says

    Edward, evolution is not a process started by the organism. The organism didn't just decided to start evolving. It's just something life does.Just like when you let go of something, it falls down. "Why would it do that?" is an irrelevant question. But why does it fall down? No reason. It just does – that's the nature of mass; it has gravity.

  59. says

    @EdwardI can see that there's one of your responses that didn't show up one the page. I did show up in the email update, though. I guess I'm not the only one having problems here. I'll quote extensively, so the flow of conversation remains clear.Lucas, first of all, how the hell do you type letters in bold print on this page?You do bold text with the tags [b] and [/b] surrounding the text to be bolded, only use 'greater than' and 'lesser' than signs instead of square brackets.It would appear that organism 'learn' how to survive over evolutionary time. Evolution would appear to be that learning. The mechanical process(s) by which that learning takes place does not explain away the appearance of intelligence.Using the term "learning" to describe evolutionary development is misleading at best. Organisms don't learn. Some deal and some don't. Those that do reproduce. Those that don't die. I would reserve "learning" to describe the type of thing we do, having brains capable of it. Evolutionary change is not learning, it's just change. For simple organisms, there is no learning during the life-time. The "learning" occurs only on a population level.Of course, belief does not make something truth but what does? Even varifiable evidence is limited by the amount of factors you are able to perceive and take into account. As one becomes aware of said factors, everything changes and what was truth becomes irrelevant.Which is why scientific conclusions are always provisional. This fact does not justify making shit up with no supporting evidence. What you say is true, but trivially so. Back to Science 101.

  60. says

    Continued:Before that I said that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations exist. This was a statement and does not answer the question of why the adaptation developes to begin with.Yes, it does. That's my point. The statement tells us how the adaptation becomes spread across a species over evollutionary time.These are not separate subjects. Both are part of evolutionary theory.As far as the miscarriage statistic, I would be unscientific of me to respond to a statistic from wiki as ALL college professors of any subject teach us NEVER to use that as a source of information. (shame on you) ;-) In that case, you could check the reference; an article from the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm sure your professors also taught you about references, right?I would like to know what qualifies a person to have an opinion?How about, do you have a high school knowledge of the subject. I think that would be fair as a rough criterion. I have quoted no scripures, no 'religous' arguements, and no dogma. I haven't judged you or anyone else on this forum nor have I insinuated that anyone is inferior directly or indirectly by using condescending language, I appreciate being shown the same courtesy.Not gonna happen. Sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. This is abundantly clear by know. I'm not going to pet your ego by pretending this isn't so.Why do you assume that I do not understand Darwin's theory of evolution? What specifically am I supposed to take away from studying it?The answers to each and every question you've asked so far in this thread. If you understood evolution, you wouldn't have asked them. You'd already know. It's not like this is highly advanced, cutting-edge science. It's Evolution 101, as I said.I think most of your concerns would be readily cleared up by a bit of study.

  61. says

    Before that I said that science focuses on the process of natural selection as the reason beneficial adaptations exist. This was a statement and does not answer the question of why the adaptation developes to begin with.Yes, it does. That's my point. The statement tells us how the adaptation becomes spread across a species over evollutionary time.These are not separate subjects. Both are part of evolutionary theory.As far as the miscarriage statistic, I would be unscientific of me to respond to a statistic from wiki as ALL college professors of any subject teach us NEVER to use that as a source of information. (shame on you) ;-) In that case, you could check the reference; an article from the New England Journal of Medicine. I'm sure your professors also taught you about references, right?I would like to know what qualifies a person to have an opinion?How about, do you have a high school knowledge of the subject. I think that would be fair as a rough criterion.

  62. says

    I have quoted no scripures, no 'religous' arguements, and no dogma. I haven't judged you or anyone else on this forum nor have I insinuated that anyone is inferior directly or indirectly by using condescending language, I appreciate being shown the same courtesy.Not gonna happen. Sorry, but you don't know what you're talking about. This is abundantly clear by know. I'm not going to pet your ego by pretending this isn't so.Why do you assume that I do not understand Darwin's theory of evolution? What specifically am I supposed to take away from studying it?The answers to each and every question you've asked so far in this thread. If you understood evolution, you wouldn't have asked them. You'd already know. It's not like this is highly advanced, cutting-edge science. It's Evolution 101, as I said.I think most of your concerns would be readily cleared up by a bit of study.

  63. says

    Lucas,What's amazing to me is that you keep mentioning 'God' even though I have yet to utter that term. 'God' is only an idea. The attempt of the human mind to understand what it cannot phathom. Science is the physical excercise of that same impulse.Your arguements are just as emotional and illogical as a Christian's ascertions. You claim, as an Atheist, to be an advocate of critical thinking yet you fail to veiw your science with the same objectivity because you don't want your ideas to be associated in any way with religion.Being that your deepest ideas are contradicted (by my childish arguements) you resort to the truly childish behavior of insulting me and attempting to debase me with condescending language and sarcasm. Both of these actions are psychological signs that you have some deep anger that you havn't dealt with.Maybe your Christian parents didn't love and nurture you during your critical development stage of life. Maybe they imposed standards on you that were impossible for you to live up to. I'm here for you brother if you need a nurturing friend and a hug, and I'm sorry if the religious world has wounded your sense of self value.I can assure you that I meet your professional criterion on a level that would surprise you, but it is irrelevant. So I won't bother listing my qualifications. This alone would be the excercise of MY ego impulse to assert some form of dominance over you to strengthen my self esteem but I feel no such need. I feel compassion for you and your position. I respect and value your opinion.Not because you are intelligent or your positions are enlightened, but because you are a human being and every one of us is equally valuable and important. If you do not feel this way towards everyone, you will on day.All of my childish questions about evolution 101 are about sciences ascertion that we are derivatives of some random and chance activity. Each question and arguement is from this point and how the very definition of the word random (lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern {merriam-webster.com my source}) Is defied on every level of creation.Every level of creation exhibits a specific plan, purpose, and pattern. If they did not science would be useless as its rigorous system would not work. The reason science claims this position is because it has had to present its ideas in front of religious commitees for centuries and face having its work thrown out the window if it didn't allign with popular theistic beliefs.Science is influenced by religion on every level. And many scientists believe in intelligent design (not necessarily Abraham's God) and they know and practice all of the principles that you claim to know so well.They know the absurdity of the claim that all of this order came from a completely random occurrence. The odds are just stacked against this idea. What it points to is irrelevant because THAT would still need to be proven and tested, but to say that the order of nature which consistently produces and reproduces more order is not likely.Maybe when we all can say 'we don't know' instead of arrogantly claiming to understand Nature and Creation in their entirety we can get to the bottom of it all together. That's what we need. That's why I am here. By the way, thank you for the tip on bolding text

  64. says

    CHARLES TOWNES, Nobel Laureate in Physics.1. ¨ On May 24, 2002, Charles Townes wrote a letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov. To the inquiry, “What do you think about the existence of God?” Prof. Townes gave the following answer: “I strongly believe in the existence of God, based on intuition, observations, logic, and also scientific knowledge.” (Townes 2002a). _______________________________________________________________________Townes, Charles H. 2002a. A letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov. May 24. Reprinted by permission of Charles H. Townes. Maybe this is a little more recent

  65. says

    EagleDan It's just something life does This explanation exhibits the point I am trying to make. You discount something as logical as life displaying an underlying intelligence evidenced by an intelligent response to environmental pressure and counter it with, "It's just something life does." Are we that determined to rage against the machine of religious dogma that we will say that it just is. Hamsters and mice learn and exhibit a degree of intelligence. Even plants lean toward the sun and have roots that will find their way into tiny cracks in pipes underground to access the water it needs.The ability to learn or understand or to deal with new or trying situations. – Intelligence Viruses adapt and change to become antibiotic resistant thereby dealing with new or trying situations. Organisms at every level do the same thing. Lose a kidney and the remaining one will work harder until it fails. Everything is hardwired to adapt in order to survive. We view our intellects as the highest point of intelligent referrence yet we cannot consciously make our cells perform any of the mundane functions that they regularly perform on a second by second basis. We cannot make our hair grow or replicate any of the processes with our superior minds of the most insignificant organism here. Get cancer and all that intelligence means nothing. Lose a child and formulas cannot give you the healing that the anguish inside demands. There is more to life than equations, formulas, and theories. Wake up people. The evidence is all around you. Close your books and go outside.Look at the intelligent and magical occurrences happening all around you in Nature. Darwin didn't get his theory from a book. There was nothing to quote, no point of referrence on the subject. And there is no information on our source of being, we have to find it. We have to experience it. How can we ever know if sit and pretend that it all is random? This arguement will go on as long as there are people too arrogant and closed minded to investigate the source of their being.The truth will set you free, and you think you are free because you think you have the ultimate truth. All you really have are more questions. More questions because you are looking in the wrong place.There is a reason particles appear to move in and out of space. There is a reason that electromagnetism gave form to the formless. There is a reason that you feel indignantly angry at anyones 'spiritual' arguements against your scientific theories. It's the same reason that a Christian gets angry when you explain the council of nicene and the theory of evolution. Deep down inside you know that there is a piece missing from the puzzle. Admit or not, you know it. All I'm suggesting is that we look for that piece, together. Truth is Universal and neutral, not bipolar. Opinions and beliefs are bipolar. And bipolar either attracts or repels. Good thing for particles, bad thing for humanity.

  66. says

    @EdwardAgain, one of your responses failed to post. I suspect because of its length. I've had this problem too and solved it by breaking the post into smaller bits.Lucas, What's amazing to me is that you keep mentioning 'God' even though I have yet to utter that term.I have not mentioned the word 'God' except when quoting your posts. You, on the other hand, have used the word since the very beginning of your involvement in this thread. I can assure you that I meet your professional criterion on a level that would surprise you, but it is irrelevant. So I won't bother listing my qualifications. This alone would be the excercise of MY ego impulse to assert some form of dominance over you to strengthen my self esteem but I feel no such need. Really?Viruses adapt and change to become antibiotic resistant…No, they don't. I see that it's not just evolution you're ignorant of; it's biology in general.I was preparing a larger response, but I've lost faith in this discussion. For your own sake, stop now. This is only going to get worse. That's the thing about science; you really can't fake it. Either you know, or you don't. And those who don't can't fake out those who do.You can yell about me being insulting, if you wish, but it's not going to change the fundamental, inescapable fact that haunts this discussion: you don't know what you're talking about.Until that changes, I don't think you'll like it here.

  67. says

    "Maybe this is a little more recent"-EdwardStill an argument from authority though and only proves Lukas that you don't know what you're talking about without quoting another man's article."Are we that determined to rage against the machine of religious dogma that we will say that it just is."-EdwardIt's Occam's Razor really. Either life evolved and acts naturally, like all the things we've discovered in nature to do because we've never found a single supernatural cause to any natural occurrence…or some underlying alien intelligence did it that somehow connects everything telepathically or is present everywhere yet observable nowhere…Please. We all know what you mean by 'underlying intelligence' except we don't feel the need to stick a concept of God into every gap of our knowledge."We view our intellects as the highest point of intelligent referrence yet we cannot consciously make our cells perform any of the mundane functions that they regularly perform on a second by second basis."-EdwardI see you're still bogged down in this dualistic concept of the mind, still pretending that mind and body are two different things."Get cancer and all that intelligence means nothing."-EdwardIt would mean something if someone actually would create a cure to cancer WITH their intelligent mind, or found a way to regrow hair or stop old age. You don't get to dismiss reason just because it can't help you obtain what YOU want."Lose a child and formulas cannot give you the healing that the anguish inside demands."-EdwardThe anguish inside? I see you're also still bogged down in this concept of a soul. You do know our hearts have nothing to do with our emotions, yes? You have to get rid of these superstitions. They won't help you find truth, if that's what you are actually after."This arguement will go on as long as there are people too arrogant and closed minded to investigate the source of their being."-EdwardDon't project your own flaws on to us. I know you are, because in fact your very next line reads:"The truth will set you free, and you think you are free because you think you have the ultimate truth."-EdwardNo. YOU think you have the ultimate truth. You've failed to convince any of us of this so-called ultimate truth so you've reverted to the downright basics of your belief system by just asserting it out right and calling us wrong– based on absolutely no evidence whatsoever.It's clear you're out of ammo and all you're left with is childish: "Nu-uh, you're wrong!""There is a reason that you feel indignantly angry at anyones 'spiritual' arguements against your scientific theories."(…) "Deep down inside you know that there is a piece missing from the puzzle. Admit or not, you know it. "-EdwardYou just proved my point. You're desperate and you're left empty-handed. "A piece missing from the puzzle" Yes, as I called from the beginning over and over again, all you have is God of the Gaps. Admit it or not, you know it.Claims asserted without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. Goodbye, Edward.

  68. says

    "Wake up people. The evidence is all around you. Close your books and go outside.Look at the intelligent and magical occurrences happening all around you in Nature."-EdwardAnd he ends with a "Look at the trees!" argument from design. It's sad.

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