Human Evolution

Discussion in 'Human Science' started by Robert_js, Feb 20, 2004.

  1. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Several points on this: 1) Modern man, not some forerunner, moved out of Africa about 80,000 years ago. 2) We remain a single species because humans have continually interacted and interbred throughout the last 80,000 years; while interbreeding slowed down in some cases due to geographical obstacles and distances it never stopped. For speciation to occur populations must be genetically isolated from one another. 3) Despite the continual interbreeding variations did develop. This is all perfectly in accordance with Evolution and exactly what one would expect; no surprises here.

    And what then is the obvious conclusion from an Evolutionary standpoint? The eye evolved more than once. Another example where Evolution makes a correct prediction.

    You will note that not once have they ever claimed to have found evidence that life evolved elsewhere. Thus far it remains an unproven hypothesis. Re-read your source material.

    The quickest to adapt to a changing environment is not the only arena of natural selection, Robert. Production of offspring, competition for food, hunting and defense strategies, etc. all play various roles. Single celled organisms are very good at adaptation and breeding but they also make a wonderful food-source for multicellular creatures. There are benefits to being large and hardy as well as being small and adaptable. Many single-celled creatures, even groups of different species, make good use of colonial strategies, where they have strength in numbers and benefit from the proximity of one another. Multicellular creatures simply took this advantage another step further. It’s rather simple logic.

    Then you do not understand P.E. Robert. P.E. and gradualism are not in opposition.

    This is called an argument from ignorance. Just because you don’t understand doesn’t mean it’s not true. The 2nd law is about energy. The energy in a closed system always moves towards equilibrium or to put it another way, it dissipates. The Earth, however, is not a closed system. It receives massive amounts of energy from the Sun. One would therefore expect a local increase in energy. It remains, however, irrelevant to the origin of life. Order is an expected consequence of the second law as energy will naturally tend towards the most efficient path of increasing entropy. One will note, for instance, the spontaneous formation of convection cells (also called Benard cells) in a cup of coffee. Boltzmann’s interpretation of the second law as the law of ‘disorder’ has been soundly falsified. Once again, your argument relies on outdated hypotheses.

    The order we perceive is a result of the laws of physics. Now if you want to argue that God is responsible for the laws of physics you’re perfectly free to do so but the order we perceive in the evolution of life, the movement of objects in space, etc. are all accounted for in the fundamental laws of physics.

    This sounds to me more like an argument against special creation than against Evolution. To understand how Evolution works you have to think in very small, incremental changes. But you cannot think of Evolution as one unbroken series of steps, species split off from one another at various points many of which were either before eyes evolved or very early in their evolution, each branch that has eyes then proceeded to evolve eyes in their own independent fashion. Thus we find many different types of eyes. Once again, what we find is exactly what Evolution predicts. The more recent the species split from one another, the more closely related they are, the more alike their eyes are.

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  3. nirakar ( i ^ i ) Registered Senior Member

    The eye in all probability evolved from heat recepters like the ones we have in our skin.

    Once you are transmitting electrical signals through nerve cells, then it is not that big of a jump to have a heat recepter. Once you have heat recepters it is not that big of a jump to have infared recepters and then visible light recepters.
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  5. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member


    That is correct. Natural selection is not a random process.

    That is incorrect. The evidence indicates that the ancestor species of modern Homo sapiens evolved in one place only - Africa.

    Actually, most mutations are neutral. Some are harmful; a few are beneficial.

    Mr Ford has it wrong. The standard conclusion of evolution is, in fact, that eyes have evolved over 40 types, independently.

    Yes. All these statements are backed up by suitable evidence, except for a couple which are fairly obviously flagged as reasonable conjectures.

    Absolutely. All of these statements have been tested. Each one of them could have been falsified by appropriate observational or other evidence. None of them has been yet, though it is always possible that future discoveries may alter our present understandings.

    That is incorrect. Quickest to adapt is only one possible measure of "fitness". There are many other factors which are at least equally, or more important.

    Both Dawkins and Gould have written explicitly and eloquently that they do not dispute the fact of natural selection or Darwinian evolution. In fact, both men have been among the theory's strongest advocates. Dawkins, recently, has written that he does not view the argument over punctuated equilibrium as one which is even fundamentally opposed to gradualism. Unfortunately, Gould died not very long ago, and can no longer continue the debate.

    Plants convert solar energy to food by photosynthesis to build themselves up. Animals eat plants, giving them energy to run their bodies, produce offspring etc. But surely you know that?

    I can only repeat again that natural selection is not a random process.

    Evolution requires two, and only two things:

    1. Production of variation.
    2. Selection of "fitter" individuals.

    (1) is essentially a random process. (2) is determined by the environment of the individual (which includes members of the same and other species). That is far from random. And yes, something is doing the ordering - environmental influences, and the genes themselves.

    Evolution is incremental. Complex eyes did not evolve spontaneously from nothing to full functionality. They evolved in a series of small steps over many generations. The required genes did not spontaneously pop into existence, but were selected, again over many generations of breeding.

    This is simply evidence of the branching nature of evolutionary progress. Evolution is not a ladder, but a tree.

    Why don't you summarise the important points for me? I can always look there if I need more detail. Just give me the basics which you think support your arguments.

    If life on Earth came from space, that would just push the question one step back. Where did the space life come from? Space life would not prove God, or other "intelligent" intervention.
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  7. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    I have an idea.

    I was just reading that the human people went to rather severe genetic bottleneck. Our genetic material is so uniform that it suprises most people. Their argument: Surely there must be a huge difference between a 'black and 'white person, because they seem so different!

    That something seems to be is the mother of all fucked up scientific arguments. Hardly anything in nature is what it seems to be.

    Now, what is my idea. It is somehow related to my introduction. Why do people appear so diverse, although their genetic material really isn't.

    Let us list some relevant things (or maybe they aren't).

    A. we went through a genetic bottleneck and all people are genetically incredibly similar.

    B. we are a social species with complex social interactions.

    My wild theory is therefore

    1. that the human species is dependent on complex social interactions. This requires the recognition of individuals. That is why we same to have a great variation in faces with rather distinct features, even within smaller related groups.

    2. Our genome has 'specialized' in making great variety of type with a small set of genetic information.

    3. Statement 2 might have already arisen before the genetic bottleneck, or has established itself as an evolutionary trend after the genetic bottleneck to cope with the loss of genetic material.

    (I could be spewing out someone else's theory here, but I thought about this on my way home in the bus looking at people).
  8. Robert_js Registered Senior Member

    Darwinists tell me it was natural selection that designed it so I will address this point. It is true that natural selection in some respects is non random and not “designed” and not “an accident”. For example the giraffe with the longer neck that can reach the leaves is chosen by natural selection. This is the selection of a genetic code for a longer neck and (as Darwinists correctly point out) it is how the more environmentally adaptable species are chosen and this type of selection is non random. Most sensible people agree with the above but this does not address the question. The question we need to ask is how was the genetic code for the long neck (or the eye) originally found. For if the design was not there then it could not be selected by “natural selection”. In other words there would be no complex design from which natural selection could choose and hence no complex creatures.

    This is where the Darwinists argument comes unstuck as it relates to random and non random. Sure, natural selection is non random but the selection of the genetic code for building complex body parts (according to Darwinism) must be RANDOM and an “accident”. If it is not random then something must be finding the design for complexity and Darwinists can not accept that. Gradualists like Richard Dawkins (in his book The Blind Watchmaker) attempts to argue purely random selection could design complex systems given enough time and he wrote a computer program to demonstrate this point. His arguments however are fallacious and to this date Darwinists (of either the Gradualist or PI schools) have been unable to explain how complex design can come about by accident.

    If you saw the word “FRED WAS HERE” carved into the trunk of a tree and someone told you it got there by accident would you believe it? Have you looked at the probability of lining up just a few characters that are not randomly chosen? So how many eons would it take for the genetic code for a complex design like the eye to come about by accident? And if such a miraculous design should fall into place by accident then all you have is a complex design. Would this explain life, and how living creatures can reproduce, where the matter came from, the heat in all the stars or where the gravitational force that holds our universe together came from?

    Sorry John I do not agree with this. Darwinism is a “simple” concept but it is not “perfectly viable” and not the most “likely” explanation. When you say; “ … the majority of life would still (most likely) have been from earth!” I would agree that if life came from space then most species would adapt to earth’s environment where they need to survive. But this assumes that life is a property that will some how come into existence if the correct environment (or correct DNA sequence) is found. Scientists have now known the structure of DNA for many decades and have the complete genome for many creatures (including our own species) but they still can not create life. God Gametes argues that life is a universal entity and living creatures on earth merely express the property of life.
  9. Robert_js Registered Senior Member

    The selection of the genetic code for building complex design must be random. See the above post to John Connellan.

    I agree; but the point I was making is that Charles Darwin himself believed in the inheritance of acquired traits. Maybe he also had difficulty believing that complex design could come about purely by accident.

    Okay, I have done some reading on this so lets have another look at it. I think it would be fair to say that this would be another point on which there is considerable disagreement within the scientific community. There are the “multi-regionalism” and “out of Africa” theories which take contradictory views on how modern man evolved.

    Multi-regionalism is the traditional view that argues an ancestral species (homo erectus) moved out of Africa one million years ago and spread throughout Europe, Asia and Java. The problem with this theory (from the Darwinian point of view) is that an earlier ancestor of modern man migrated to different parts of the world, in different environmental and climatic conditions, but rather than diversifying finished up as one species. As I have pointed out in earlier posts this is opposite to what would be predicted by Darwinism. If an earlier ancestor of our species migrated from Africa to different parts of the world then the different environments in which he lived would have driven greater diversity.

    Darwinists counter this argument by suggesting that at no time were these populations isolated and that interbreeding occurred. This however is difficult to believe for travel between the different pockets where homo erectus has been found to have lived would have been extremely difficult. For example, travel from Africa and Europe to China (where Peking Man was found) involved crossing either the Himalayas or the Gobi Desert. And even when migratory species such as fish and birds can easily travel from continent to continent they still tend to evolve new and more diverse species.

    The other theory is the “out of Africa” theory. This argues that modern man evolved in Africa some 100,000 years ago and migrated throughout the world some 40,000 to 80,000 years ago. Based on mitochondrial DNA it is suggested that this modern man swept aside all the earlier emigrants from Africa. The out of Africa theory argues that this modern man did not interbreed with the homo erectus (or Neanderthal) that had migrated earlier and that all homo sapiens throughout the world are direct descendents from this one genetic line.

    But again the 40,000 to 80,000 years is plenty of time for new species to evolve; especially given the vast diversity of climatic conditions into which modern man has migrated. There may well have been some interbreeding but many pockets would have been isolated. But everywhere we go around the world there is but one species of modern man. And according to this DNA map on which the out of Africa theory is based the Australian Aborigine has descended from Peking Man. So modern man moved out of Africa some 40,000 to 80,000 years ago. He either crossed the Himalayas or the Gobi Desert and moved into China. After spending enough time in China to acquire the distinctive genetic marker of Peking Man some unfortunate individuals were washed out of a river on a bamboo raft and finished up in Australia (about 60,000 years ago) where they became the Australian Aborigines. Are we really meant to believe this story? It makes Moses’s journey to the land of milk and honey seem like a cake walk.

    Darwinists say that convergent evolution is an argument for natural selection but again their reasoning is flawed. Their reasoning is that the same environment will drive the same outcome. But when for example a “plains grazer” like the kangaroo is so different from other plains grazers they argue it is natural selection driving the differences?

    Paul, I have on many occasions stressed the point that I do not support any religious concept. I do not know where you get the idea that I have been reading Creationist Literature because there is nothing in my posts (or my book) that would suggest I am a believer in any religious doctrine. I do believe that something must have created life and the universe and that there is likely a purpose for our being here and this is what I am struggling to understand. But to suggest I am advocating a Christian (or Creationist) position is totally incorrect.

    I do however have an objective in writing my book. It is to use the tremendous growth in scientific knowledge for a better understanding of our purpose in life. I can not see how this is a bad thing to do.

    It seems however that as soon as I (or anyone else) suggests that something might have created life and the universe we are treated with scorn by the scientific community. Worse still we are labelled as Creationists and accused of deliberately trying to mislead the reader. Please Paul, there must be some middle ground. Do not label as Creationists everyone that disagrees with the Darwinian paradigm. Especially when our knowledge of how the universe came into existence and how our own species evolved is so speculative. So much of what the scientific community expect us to believe makes little more sense than the Creationists rubbish that is put forward as the “Word of God”.
  10. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    You're thinking in terms of final outcomes when you should be thinking in terms of small increments. A neck that's just an inch or two longer still provides an advantage (the animal can reach a few more leaves on each tree than slightly shorter animals), an eye spot that just a little more concave still provides an advantage (just a little more focus than flatter eyespots).

    Not only are there good explanations of how complexity can arise there are many examples. There are living examples of many stages of sight development for instance. From light sensitive patches of skin to concave eyespots, deeper eyespots, pinhole eyes, eyes with static lenses, and eyes with flexible lenses. Though belonging at present to different species the progression is easily discernable. Each step along the way can be accomplished by rather small changes.

    You have to understand that Natural Selection operates as a filter. If you have a random letter generator (mutation) alone you will get random nonsense. But if you filtered that random generation, selecting for letter combinations that formed words and grammar for instance, you would find that very quickly this random generation passing through a filter would produce intelligible sentences. Natural Selection is just such a filter except that it filters for functionality.

    You're thinking of life as separate and somehow distinct from natural processes. It isn't. It's really just a chemical reaction. If you put a catalyst in solution it propagates a reaction that spreads throughout the solution. If you put replicating molecules into solution they will replicate according to natural laws. If you allow for occasional random changes in the mechanism of replication and eventually one of these changes will result in a more prolific replicator. Given time the more prolific replicator will become more numerous than the less prolific once. The cycle continues and evolution occurs.

    Define life. What is the 'property of life' that you are speaking about and how do you distinguish it from non-life?

  11. Robert_js Registered Senior Member


    Thanks for your post dated Aug 14th 2004. I will respond to this latest one and also to the issues you raised in an earlier post (dated July 16th 2004).

    It seems I missed a point here. From my recent reading it is clear that the “Out of Africa” (or "Mitochondrial Eve") hypothesis argues that modern man evolved some 100,000 years ago and moved out of Africa about 80,000 years ago. It is thought that this later wave of migrants replaced (and did not interbreed with) the earlier homo erectus that also migrated from Africa some 1,000,000 years ago.

    “Genetic research unveiled today provides compelling support for the theory that anatomically, modern humans rose out of Africa in the past 100,000 years and swept aside populations of archaic humans, with no inter-breeding.
    A team of Chinese and American geneticists obtained blood samples from more than 12,000 men from across east Asia and examined characteristic DNA sequences called "markers" on the Y-chromosome (the male chromosome).
    The Y-chromosome is considered one of the most powerful molecular tools for tracing human evolutionary history because it remains unchanged over eons when passed from father to son.
    Researchers found every one of the men could trace his ancestry to forefathers who lived in Africa over the past 35,000 to 89,000 years.
    They also found absolutely no genetic evidence that the modern people (homosapiens) mated with archaic humans (homoerectus) that already lived in Asia, having migrated from Africa about one million years ago.”

    “The "Eve" theory makes five predictions that the fossil evidence should prove. The first and major assumption is that modern humans from Africa must have completely replaced all other human groups. Second, implicit within this idea is that the earliest modern humans appeared in Africa. Third, it also follows that the earliest modern humans in other areas should have African features. Fourth, modern humans and the people they replaced should never have mixed or interbred. Fifth, an anatomic discontinuity should be evident between the human fossils before and after the replacement.”

    As mentioned in my posts to John Connellan and Paul Samuel yesterday I have some problems with the “Out of Africa” hypothesis. First is that 40,000 years is enough time to speciate. Fish and birds that migrate around the world (and have the opportunity to interbreed) still branch off new species. While you say that interbreeding still occurred with modern man I do not accept that this could be the reason he did not speciate. For example the Australian Aborigine has been in Australia for 60,000 (some say 40,000) years so how much interbreeding would have been possible with other isolated pockets of homo sapiens in China and northern Europe? We are suppose to believe that (with tiny populations) this modern man found it necessary to embark on suicidal missions of discovery that took him to all the major continents, across the Himalayas, Australia (including Tasmania), New Zealand and most of the Pacific Islands. It also sounds very convenient that the earlier waves of homo erectus did not interbreed and all died out. Presumably they also hid the bones of the intermediate species before going extinct. Very helpful? The other problem I have is this. The out of Africa theory is based on mitochondrial DNA which is presumed to have been stable during all of this time. But sometimes DNA is not stable. As I have pointed out in earlier posts there are jumping genes and in some places DNA will mutate (and then rearrange itself to code for antibodies) at 1,000,000 times the background mutation rate.

    I do not agree with this. Neither does Brian J. Ford who I quoted in an earlier post. Your argument (like that of Richard Dawkins in The Blind Watchmaker) assumes the eye could have been evolved in gradual steps. But the genetic code for even a simple protein needs hundreds of nucleotides to be in exactly the right place. If only one nucleotide is missing (or in the incorrect place) then nothing will work. This theory relies on “no guiding hand” and the occasional mutation being beneficial. The probability of designing something complex this way is ZERO. So if a miracle occurred and a piece of light sensitive skin did evolve into an eye then it would make far more sense to copy the same design over and over again; not scrap a perfectly good design and wait eons for the next design for sight to fall into place by accident.

    Their claim (unproven) is that life on earth was seeded from space. Where life originated is still a mystery to all but Darwinists who claim emphatically that it happened right here.

    Again I do not agree. There are likely some advantages in being large but these are more than offset by the overwhelming disadvantages. Grouping together, being hardy, strength in numbers are all strategies better utilised by single cell organisms. Every species that evolved past the single cell organism has dramatically reduced its chance of survival.

    Have you got a reference here? Darwin Himself said his theory would “completely breakdown” if it could be shown that species did not evolve in gradual steps. I have read a lot of the PE literature and I am yet to see how they reconcile the evolutionary “big steps” with Darwinism. As mentioned above it is impossible to believe that the genetic formulae could be found in gradual steps and with unlimited time; how then can this happen in big steps and in an evolutionary blink of the eye?

    Robert wrote:
    “I do not know how getting energy from the sun helps life get more complex.”
    You might say that I am arguing from ignorance but I have read your post (and the reference you gave me) several times and I still do not get it. It seems to me that your argument (and the argument put by your reference) is that the entropy of a system does not always increase so Boltzmann’s interpretation of the second law of thermodynamics is wrong. This is crazy. Entropy in a closed system will always increase. The only system (thought to be closed) where entropy does not increase is the one referred to as “life on planet earth”. It appears that rather than calling into question whether “life on planet earth” is really a closed system you have thrown out the second law of thermodynamics.

    I agree with this. I have no problems with this statement.

    Raithere; I will close this off and have a break. Hopefully get back later in the day and respond to your (Aug. 14th 2004) post.
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  12. Robert_js Registered Senior Member

    Life (Webster’s)
    that property or quality of plants and animals that distinguishes them from inorganic matter or dead organisms; specif., the cellular biochemical activity or processes of an organism, characterized by the ingestion of nutrients, the storage and use of energy, the excretion of wastes, growth, reproduction, etc.

    Life (Collins)
    Life is the quality of being able to grow and develop, which is present in people, plants and animals.​
    Above are examples of how life is defined but these definitions still miss something. Life has a property that is difficult (some would say impossible) to define. I spent a lot of time contemplating a definition for life when writing my book and settled for the following -:

    Life is the operational function of organisms that cannot be attributed to their design or physical properties. Living creatures do not ‘express life’ but are ‘the expressions of life’.​

    This however is not a very satisfactory definition for it only defines life in terms of what it is not. But we all know what life is even if we can not define it. Even your question indicates you know what life is because you asked me to distinguish between “life” and “non-life”.

    I addressed the subject of defining life in terms of a chemical reaction in my book which can be downloaded free at Chapter 14 of God Gametes looks at the Graham Cairns-Smith model as outlined in the Seven Clues on the Origin of Life. This theory argues there may have been some selective process from which life emerged out of a chemical reaction in clay. Below I have pasted my conclusion to this section.

    In the nineteenth century Darwinists decided there was no God and humans were simply the next evolutionary step-up from apes. It was then discovered that all creatures have the same genetic code and because more than 60% of life on earth is comprised of single-cell organisms, human beings should learn to take their proper place in the order of things.

    We are now to learn that the ‘power’ that drives the ‘machinery of self-replication’ has lumped us into the same category as clay. We are not even a beautiful stone-like crystal or opal. Are we to believe it is simply the throws of dice that will evolve a piece of clay into a living creature that can write a symphony, a poem or solve a mathematical problem? Preservation of life was central to the Darwinian theory of evolution because it provided a reason for our being here.

    There is something fundamentally wrong with removing properties of life and consciousness from any model attempting to explain the creation of beings on earth. This ‘inorganic mineral theory’ would have us place no value on humanity. It is totally devoid of any reason for life, measuring it in terms of a chemical reaction in lifeless matter. There is a denial of purpose. The history of mankind, our art and literature, every expression of love, every emotion, every kind gesture is not a struggle for survival, not an attempt to preserve our genes, certainly not the work of a deity but a simple chemical process.

    Human ancestry is now being traced back to inorganic matter. Our families, homes, cities, cultures and traditions are reduced to a chemical process by which inorganic matter self-replicates. It is saying there is no point to anything, not the preservation of our genes or appreciation of life or purpose for being. It is impossible to read into this theory a quality to life or a human value that cannot be found in the properties of clay.

    It is.​
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2004
  13. Robert_js Registered Senior Member


    Robert_js wrote:

    I agree 100%. It is totally impossible for a random process to design anything.

    Finding the genetic code for adaptive and more complex body parts (according to the Darwinian paradigm) has no guiding hand, relies on the occasional beneficial mutation, and must be 100% RANDOM. Natural selection (which is not random) can only select the more adaptive design once it exists. But the design, whether it evolves in small or large steps, must (according to Darwinism) be found by a random process.

    The mutations that could accidentally confer a benefit and lead to the design of a more adaptive and more complex body part are very rare indeed. But mutations to the immune system (so called hot spots) frequently occur at 1,000,000 times the background mutation rate. Once mutated the DNA in these hot spots then rearranges itself to code for antibodies, to fight off antigens, that in some cases have never existed on planet earth before. Very strange!

    Maybe you should qualify this statement. “I think Mr. Ford has it wrong” sounds a little better. Brian J. Ford has written many books on evolutionary biology and is well qualified to make his case. Many people (including myself) admire his courage for putting forward his somewhat controversial views. It is well to remember that much of what is now accepted as scientific fact was initially scoffed at by the scientific establishment.

    “Suitable evidence” and “reasonable conjectures” but not proven fact. Like my God Gametes theory and Darwinism your hypothesis (on how matter, heat, the gravitation, life and consciousness came into existence) is merely a theory.


    Are you saying “the argument over PE” is not opposed to gradualism or that PE is not opposed to gradualism? If Dawkins is now saying that PE is not opposed to gradualism then he has shifted his ground somewhat. In The Blind Watchmaker he is very critical of the PE concept.

    Robert wrote:

    “I do not know how getting energy from the sun helps life get more complex.”

    Yes I know that but the question was about how life gets “more complex”. The point I was addressing here related to the second law of thermodynamics and I am still at a loss to understand how energy from the sun assists the evolution of greater complexity. Sure we receive energy from the sun and in this respect earth is not a closed system. But the second law of thermodynamics also refers to “logical entropy”. This second meaning of the second law of thermodynamics holds that order in a closed system will always run down; (in other words the entropy of a closed system will always increase). There are two points here. First is that the order (life on earth) is supposed by Darwinists to be a closed system. The second point is that most people would concede that life has not got less complex and all but Darwinists would observe that in fact life has evolved greater complexity. This is what is meant when it is argued that life on earth is in violation of the second law of thermodynamics. It is about the complexity of life on earth not running down as would be expected if life and complexity originated here. It has nothing to do with earth receiving heat from the sun.

    I will probably not do it justice but the Panspermia concept is based on the James Lovelock “Gaian” concept that argues earth is a living system. Lovelock was hounded by the scientific community who labelled his theory as teleological and he retracted much of his original concept. But Panspermia has embraced the original Gaian concept and extended it to argue that not only earth, but the universe is likely to be a living system. Some of the evidence for earth being a living (and regulated) system is the oxygen level in earth’s atmosphere, the constant temperature of earth, the fact that the salt level of the sea has remain constant and the gradual turning of the earth’s crust by plate tectonics.

    The Panspermia web site also looks at evidence for life in space. There is considerable discussion about Sir Fred Hoyle’s claim that he found bacterial spores in the tails of comets. They claim there is evidence of fossilised bacteria found in meteorites that have fallen to earth and that the complexity we observe in living creatures was likely seeded from space.

    A lot of the information I have posted to this forum that relates to the second law of thermodynamics and the processes necessary for evolving greater complexity have been sourced from this web site. The Panspermia concept is purely scientific and does not advocate the existence of a God. It does not claim to know how life was created only that it did not happen hear on earth.

  14. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    40,000 years (2000 generations) really isn't much time on an Evolutionary scale. Speciation will depend upon the rate of mutation (which varies) and upon the selective pressures. Mankind is somewhat original in that respect in that our ability to predict and change our environment lessens the effect of the selective pressures upon our species. Add to this man's primarily nomadic existence until the last 10,000 years or so, the anthropological evidence of various migrations, and continual long distance as well as local trade and the rate at which speciation would occur drops further.

    There's no need for unfounded belief, the evidence is there in both the genetic heritage and anthropological evidence. People have rarely been isolated for long periods of time.

    There is some anthropological evidence that they did not just die out but had some level of interaction with more modern humans. mtDNA just indicates that their genetic heritage has died out by this point in time. Most of the evidence for 'intermediate' human species remains in Africa where it has indeed been discovered so I'm not sure what your referring to there.

    Indeed not all portions of DNA mutate at the same rate but from what I understand mtDNA is relatively stable.

    Not quite true. There are many protein variants that will work to a greater or lesser efficacy. And the evidence, once again, supports the theory of evolution as older species are found to have 'simpler' proteins, demonstrating that not only the physiology but biochemistry of life has evolved.

    Seeing as we have observed instances of beneficial mutations you need to recalculate your odds.

    You can only inherit what your ancestors evolved. It is unlikely that the eye evolved from its earliest origin to modern descendant entirely independently. Most likely the earliest 'eye' was the beginning for most or all modern eyes (phototropic sensitivity of some bacteria for instance). But as speciation occurred the eye continued to develop independently in various species.

    Again, this is not quite correct. Fossil evidence indicates that the earliest life on Earth consisted of single celled origins and life on Earth evolved from there. But beyond that point there is a large degree of speculation. That life might have been seeded by Alien intelligences is not a supported scientific theory but the idea that life might have originated in space (within comets for instance) is.

    Obviously not. The simplest factor here is that it's much easier to eat what is smaller than you. We see the evidence in the fossil record and we have live examples to study as well. There are organisms in many stages of this transition, from undifferentiated colonies to differentiated colonies where different types of cells perform different functions, to entirely dependent colonies where the single cells can no longer live on their own. Some even share a single genetic heritage even though they develop into specialized cells and even tissues.

    A single cell can only grow so large or develop so many independent faculties. Colonial and multicellular organisms can have specialized cells that perform certain functions better than any single 'generic' cell.

    Not in an evolutionary blink of an eye but in a geological blink of an eye. The process of mutation and selection is the same in PE except that PE indicates that while large populations change slowly and tend to remain relatively stable, small populations change relatively quickly. PE indicates that speciation tends to occur in small 'daughter' populations in isolation which is why we don't find as many of the 'intermediary' examples in the fossil record as the gradualist model would suggest. PE does not propose a change in the mechanism at all, just how it is displayed in populations.

    Not at all. I was making two points. One is that Earth is not a closed system. Two is that the second law does not prohibit the formation of order from disorder even in a closed system. In fact, it can be responsible for the formation of order as energy will 'seek' the most efficient path towards entropy.

    Please give us an example of an operational function that cannot be attributed to an organism's design or physical properties.

    Nope I think there is a huge gray area between the two. Is a virus alive? Is a prion alive? How about a self replicating molecule or fire? There are various properties that something must have to be considered alive but none of these properties are exclusive to life.

    All I see there is an appeal to emotion. You don't want life to be a chemical reaction because it doesn't make you feel good about yourself. Your conclusion has nothing to do with logic or analysis of the theory. Don't worry you have lots of company. Many people felt the same way when Galileo told them that the Earth was not the center of the Universe.

    Then please show us your evidence, because under observation everything appears to be happening according to natural laws.

  15. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    You can probably speciate several times in 40.000 years.
  16. Raithere plagued by infinities Valued Senior Member

    Can doesn't mean will or must.
  17. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    Indeed, it means can.
  18. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Is it not obvious that those arguing against mainstream evolutionary concepts are basing their opinion on faith rather than evidence? It might not be faith in some standard religion, but it is faith rather than evidence which motivates them.

    It is a waste of time to argue with faith based theories if you expect to change the view of the believer in such theories. It is always interesting to present an opposing point of view and see the response. Presenting an opposing point of view might also be worthwhile if it has an effect on somebody who has not yet formed a hardened opinion.

    Note that some do not even understand (or choose to ignore) what is meant by a closed thermodynamic system. It is so obvious that Earth is not a closed system that I find it hard to believe that anyone does not understand this concept.

    The belief in Earth being seeded with life from an external source is certainly possible, but there is little (if any) evidence to support this belief. Furthermore, it does nothing to refute standard evolutionary theory. Even if life came from elsewhere to Earth, the evidence in favor of evolution would support the concept of evolution being the source of the life from space.

    BTW: The following is the best answer to the classic question: Why do intelligent people often believe in silly concepts?
    • Because they use their intelligence to defend opinions formed at a time when they were not using their intelligence.
  19. Robert_js Registered Senior Member

    Thankyou Raithere for responding to my latest post. I have read the answers you gave several times and will now give my considered reply. I will not however respond to every point you made. This should not be taken to mean I agree or disagree (and am stuck for an answer) but only that I am focusing on the more critical issues. You have raised a number of very interesting points which I would like to focus on and I do not want to clutter this thread with topics that we have already dealt with in some detail.

    Some DNA is stable and some very unstable. It is stable where it needs to be and unstable where it does not matter (or needs to be unstable). We could say that is purely an accident but I think we would be missing the point. Living creatures are incredibly complex systems. Imagine if you would that someone tried to build a system as complex as a bird or a fish for example. And imagine that the blue print (the DNA equivalent) was mostly stable but unstable in places. Now imagine that once the manufacturing process commenced it was fully automated; (i.e. there was no means of stopping and fixing anything if something started to go wrong). What chance would there be of a workable system being successfully manufactured? If the blue print was written out like DNA then one character inserted (or one deleted) would cause a frame shift error and thereby render all that follows unreadable.

    The point I am making here is that we would have virtually zero chance of successfully building a system of this complexity. But nature does it all the time. We have been told that when DNA mutates it is a mistake. The only conclusion I can draw is that in nature not all the mistakes are really mistakes. If it doesn’t work then it is a mistake. But if it works, or if it designs a new and more complex species, then it is not a mistake.

    Most will not agree with the above. Conventional scientific dogma will have us believe that the accidental stitching up of DNA has lead to the design of complex systems we can neither design or build. But if you do not believe this then tracking the evolution of species from DNA is a pointless exercise. The DNA map is a road map for the future; it tells us little about our past.

    I am not an expert but I do not think this is correct. As I understand it the eye is thought to have evolved from many different starting points.

    Shouldn’t this read; “Fossil evidence indicates that the earliest life on Earth consisted of single celled (organisms) and (more complex) life on Earth evolved from there.” But neither your original statement or my revised one explains where life “originated”.

    This is certainly not correct. I have just eaten a steak but I am certainly not bigger than a cow. My original argument was that all life will eventually fall victim to the more resilient single cell organisms but there are millions of other examples; (i.e. white ants eating a tree etc. etc. etc.)

    Earth is not a closed system so I agree with this. In fact I would say that the universe is not a closed system. God Gametes argues for a parallel universe and a multiverse. But if life on earth evolved its complexity right here (from the process of natural selection as Darwinists argue) then we are not talking about thermodynamic entropy but logical entropy.

    Entropy (Websters): “a process of degeneration marked variously by increasing degrees of uncertainty, disorder, fragmentation, chaos, etc.; specif., such a process regarded as the inevitable, terminal stage in the life of a … system or structure …“
    Your quote above; “ … that the second law does not prohibit the formation of order from disorder even in a closed system.” is obviously correct. However I would not say that the second law does not “prohibit” because it in fact “proscribes” the formation of order from disorder even in a closed system. But the second part of this quote I do not get. You write that the second law of thermodynamics can be responsible for “order”. That is saying the law that specifies “disorder” can be responsible for “order”. And it is apparently bringing about this “order” because energy seeks the most efficient path towards entropy (disorder).

    Robert wrote:

    “Life is the operational function of organisms that cannot be attributed to their design or physical properties.”
    You only quoted part of my definition of life. My definition continues by saying that living creatures on earth express life, they are not its source.

    But you ask for an example of “an operational function that can not be attributed to an organisms design or physical properties.” This is a good question and one that is difficult to answer. I will however give it a go.

    Imagine you are watching an opera (or rock concert if that is your preferred type of music) on the T.V.. Let us say the musicians are the living organisms and their operational function is to create some appreciation of their music in the viewer. You will obviously say the music created was the result of the operational function of the musicians. But what about the T.V. cameras, the broadcasting of the signal and the T.V. set in your home? Was the operational function of your T.V. also responsible for your enjoyment of the concert? Your T.V. was responsible for bringing the music into your home but it is only the medium through which the message was delivered. My view (and I am aware that it can not be proven) is that the musicians are also the medium through which the message is delivered. Like all other living creatures they only express life; they are not its source.

    In my book I argue very definitely that viruses and prions are alive. I know it is argued by many that they do not constitute life because they are not responsible for their own reproduction. I however would be loath to deny them the property of life merely because they are smart enough to delegate the difficult task of reproduction to other organisms.

    As for fire it does not appear to have the same complex structure of other living organisms and it does not reproduce in the same generational way. Even crystals and snowflakes (which do have complex structures) are not generally considered to have the property of life.

    Consciousness is exclusive to life. Not all living creatures appear to have it but it is a property that is only present in living creatures; and is therefore exclusive to life. Consciousness is not a property that “something must have to be considered alive” but the God Gametes theory argues that all life is part of a single system with the sole objective of evolving a complex species on earth capable of hosting our human consciousness.

    Yes; the statement I posted was an appeal to emotion but I try logic and it does not appear to work. You refer to Galileo but I was not aware that he believed in natural selection and that all the energy and matter in the universe could pop out of nowhere. Galileo is a prime example of how the establishment closes rank on anyone who dares to think differently and challenges authority. It still happens today.
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  20. Robert_js Registered Senior Member

    Dinosaur, I do not know if you have read the posts I made to this forum. There is no reason for saying that anything I have written is based on faith. There are however numerous denials for you are one of many people who assume anyone who disagrees with Darwinism must automatically be a “Jesus freak”. If you disagree with my posts then say why. If you merely try to label me as some sort of Christian fundamentalist then you are avoiding the subject and claiming priority for your opinions.

    I do not know who or what BTW is but I disagree. An opinion (Christianity, Darwinism, etc. etc.) becomes standard theory. People go to university to study it and get a job advocating it. They may even get a title like “Father” or “Professor” and gain a lot of financial security and prestige from being associated with a particular opinion or view of the world. Then someone comes along and challenges the concept. The people who have built their careers on advocating a particular point of view feel threatened and will ostracise anyone who challenges their opinions. This however will seldom prevent the growth of knowledge so we are left with institutions like the Christian movement and Darwinists who cling to out dated ideas despite their being “silly concepts”. People use their intelligence to opt for security.

    What is your job Dinosaur? I am 56 years old and work as a labourer in a meat works where I earn AU$13-50 an hour. Do you want to try being a little different?
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2004
  21. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Robert_JS: You asked about my background. I refer to myself as Dinosaur because I am older than you, and studied mathematics, physics, philosophy, history, linguistics, and various other disciplines prior to the existence of computers. I worked most of my life as a programmer and specialist in the use of computers to solve problems. For a while I ran an auction gallery and also had a business which rented space to dealers in antiques and collectible items. I have been retired for some time now. From very early in life, I was suspicious of organized religion, and realized in my twenties that I had been an atheist since my teens.

    BTW is short had for By The Way.

    Faith based belief need not be religious in nature, and I certainly never accused you of being Jesus Freak, which BTW is a mean nasty derogatory term. Although I am an atheist, I have respect for those who believe in god. Unless provoked by an evangelist or challenged by somebody claiming to have proof for the existence of a deity, I do not argue with believers.

    I did not read all of the posts in this thread in detail, but have read enough to understand the basic point of view.

    There is a lot of verbiage devoted to knocking evolutionary theory in particular and main stream science in general. This approach is commonly used by quacks and/or those who have faith based beliefs. Due to lack of evidence for their view, they attack opposing points of view. Such people seem to consider arguments against the mainstream view to be arguments in favor of their own pet theory.

    Note that those espousing relativity and quantum theory in the early 20th century primaryily discussed arguments and evidence favoring their theories. They wrote very little on the errors of classical physics outside the context of comparing experimental results and predictions of classical physics with results and predictions of their own theories.

    The following are some comments posted by you with my thoughts in bold.

    While your views might not be those of a fundamentalist theology, they seem to me to be faith based rather than evidence based.

    Again, I chide you for the derogatory term “Jesus freak” which I did not use. I am sure that you have been accused of creationist beliefs due to the tone rather than the content of your arguments
  22. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    The genes for a long neck were not "found" but rather created, spontaneously by mutation. I am sure u have seen children from the Chernobyl area being born with one eye. The body plan can be changed quite easy by mutation.
  23. spuriousmonkey Banned Banned

    There is no gene for a long neck.

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