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  1. #201  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    AlaskanDad, in a previous post I wrote it seems stange to me that there is - according to you - only one literally true bible, the King James Version, because that would mean god excluded everybody who does not speak English from the "real" truth.

    You claimed there are translations of the KJV into every language and you presented the link above which is about the "Louis Second" bible. However, Louis Segond (1810-1885) was a Swiss thelogian who translated the Bible into French from the original texts in Hebrew and Greek. So contrary to your claim, this is not a translation of the King James Version into French.

    I still couldn't find a link to translations of the KJV into another language, let alone translations "from English into every language on the globe".
    Mea culpa (translation: I suck when I try to do stuff on my own without God's help!)

    If it makes your weekend (it made mine), let me publicly announce how I was dead wrong and you were correct.

    Now, let me thank you for the opportunity to research this more thoroughly. Proving that the KJV could be found in French (for example) had never been vital to my spiritual well-being. As such, I just grabbed a link and posted it. Likewise, I was reckless with my claim that the KJV has been translated into every language. It hasn't.

    Following the chain of the KJV (which is the only true translation for ENGLISH-speaking people), we go back through six previous translations to the original texts. From the original Aramaic and Hebrew, they were translated into Greek. From the Greek, the word of God has been faithfully translated into the world's languages (e.g.: Martin Luther's German, Louis Segond's French).

    Thank you again for pointing out my error. While I tolerate everyone's different opinions, I absolutely HATE sloppy arguments (even mine ).

    Have a great weekend!
    Recognizing that I volunteered...
  2. #202  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    Have a great weekend!
    Same to you! Mine starts now actually...
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  3. #203  
    Interesting article from NY times where they compare the challenges that evolutionary biologists face today with those faced by physicists at the turn of the 20th century (when quantum mechanics started to challenge and overturn the principles of classical physics).
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  4. #204  
    I am not Catholic, but I thought this article might be of interest to some on this thread:

    Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/09/sc...&partner=MYWAY

    .
  5. #205  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    I am not Catholic, but I thought this article might be of interest to some on this thread:

    Leading Cardinal Redefines Church's View on Evolution

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/09/sc...&partner=MYWAY

    .
    Thanks for the article. As a former Catholic, I am still interested in how they develop, and the past years certainly were not positive. I guess soon they will consider taking back the pardon for Galileo Galilei and start claiming the sun revolves around earth again.

    I had a quick look at what other religions say about evolution and found this: "Rabbi Gurkow: the torah clearly tells us that the world was created in six days and that these days took place 5765 years ago. .... However, though the theory of evolution as darwin first envisioned is now widely rejected in the scientific world".

    It does not seem to be a mainstream view, though.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  6. #206  
    awwww c'mon - it took the Catholic church only 500 years to finally admit that they were wrong about Galileo. So give them some more time - after all, it is still less than 150 years since Origin of Species has been published!

    It is interesting though, as the article points out, that Cardinal Schonborn arbitarily dismisses the late Pope John Paul II's statement that the theory of evolution was "more than a hypothesis" as vague and unimportant! Wonder what kind of stand the current Pope Benedict XVI will take on evolution?

    It is also interesting to note that Cardinal Schonborn (as does the International Theological Commission) does accept that "evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true". So the Church does agree that evolution (as a fact) does occur, and that it possibly explains the interconnectedness of all life on earth - but still refuses accept the explanation for the process of evolution.

    That is not surprising since it is difficult for an anthropocentric species such as ourselves to accept the fact an "unguided" process consisting of "random" mutations and "natural" selection could lead to the creation of a species as wonderfully brilliant and special as us.
    And when an idea goes against our personal philosophy of how the universe should work, even geniuses can stumble - Einstein is a good example of that. He could never accept the underlying concepts of quantum mechanics, especially Heisenberg's Uncertainity Principle. That led to the famous quote "God does not play dice with the universe". And even though he labored for the next 30 years (till the end of his life) to find an alternative and more basic theory than quantum mechanics, at least he did not cop out and attribute the wave function to the "divine intervention" or "intelligent guidance".
    The attempts to explain evolution in terms of "intelligent design" are more pathetic than those of primitive tribes that try to explain all natural phenomenon (such as thunderstorms, floods, disease) as acts of terrible gods. At least the primitives are honest in admitting that do not understand how the world works and can only attribute everything to the "gods".

    But the Creationists and Intelligent Designers are hypocrites - they pick and choose when and where to "believe" in God. They have no problem accepting the underlying principles of biological science when it comes to taking a life-saving antibiotic. If God was directly involved in guiding the intricate and minute details of guiding evolution over the past 3 billion years, then why wouldn't they put their trust in Him to cure them of that strep throat, instead of taking an antibiotic? And why do they trust the newer generation of antibiotics designed by pharmaceutical scientists that are meant to combat the resistant-bacteria that have evolved thru "natural selection" as a result of "random mutations"? If these antibiotic-resistant bacteria are a result of Intelligent Design, then aren't they thwarting God's purpose by taking the newer antibiotics? Perhaps their faith is not strong enough that they have to pick these battles to prove themselves?

    Many scientists find it quite easy to believe in evolution and God at the same time:
    Dr. Francis Collins, who headed the official American effort to decipher the human genome, and who describes himself as a Christian, though not a Catholic, said Cardinal Schönborn's essay looked like "a step in the wrong direction" and said he feared that it "may represent some backpedaling from what scientifically is a very compelling conclusion, especially now that we have the ability to study DNA."
    Dr. Collins and other scientists said they could understand why a cleric might want to make the case that, as Dr. Collins put it, "evolution is the mechanism by which human beings came into existence, but God had something to do with that, too." Dr. Collins said that view, theistic evolution, "is shared with a very large number of biologists who also believe in God, including me." But it does not encompass the idea that the workings of evolution required the direct intervention of a supernatural agent, as intelligent design would have it.
    .....
    "Unguided," "unplanned," "random" and "natural" are all adjectives that biologists might apply to the process of evolution, said Dr. Kenneth R. Miller, a professor of biology at Brown and a Catholic. But even so, he said, evolution "can fall within God's providential plan." He added: "Science cannot rule it out. Science cannot speak on this." Dr. Miller, whose book "Finding Darwin's God" describes his reconciliation of evolutionary theory with Christian faith, said the essay seemed to equate belief in evolution with disbelief in God. That is alarming, he said. "It may have the effect of convincing Catholics that evolution is something they should reject."
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  7. #207  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    Many scientists find it quite easy to believe in evolution and God at the same time:
    Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
    One of World's Leading Atheists Now Believes in God, More or Less, Based on Scientific Evidence


    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976
  8. #208  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
    One of World's Leading Atheists Now Believes in God, More or Less, Based on Scientific Evidence


    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976
    Having difficulty getting that article - link seems to be dead?
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  9. #209  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
    One of World's Leading Atheists Now Believes in God, More or Less, Based on Scientific Evidence


    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976
    I think you cannot link directly to the article, or does this work for you:
    http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory?id=315976 ?

    When you type "Famous Atheist Now Believes in God" in Google you get the article right away.

    Being the great treasure of wisdom Treocentral actally is, this article has already been discussed here. However, as it turned out, the article proved to be outdated, the "famous atheist" found out he was mistaught...

    "Update (January 2005)

    Antony Flew has retracted one of his recent assertions. In a letter to me dated 29 December 2004, Flew concedes:

    I now realize that I have made a fool of myself by believing that there were no presentable theories of the development of inanimate matter up to the first living creature capable of reproduction.


    He blames his error on being "misled" by Richard Dawkins because Dawkins "has never been reported as referring to any promising work on the production of a theory of the development of living matter," even though this is false (e.g., Richard Dawkins and L. D. Hurst, "Evolutionary Chemistry: Life in a Test Tube," Nature 357: pp. 198-199, 21 May 1992) and hardly relevant: it was Flew's responsibility to check the state of the field (there are several books by actual protobiologists published in just the last five years), rather than wait for the chance possibility that one particular evolutionist would write on the subject. Now that he has done what he was supposed to do in the first place, he has retracted his false statement about the current state of protobiological science.

    Flew also makes another admission: "I have been mistaught by Gerald Schroeder." He says "it was precisely because he appeared to be so well qualified as a physicist (which I am not) that I was never inclined to question what he said about physics." Apart from his unreasonable plan of trusting a physicist on the subject of biochemistry (after all, the relevant field is biochemistry, not physics--yet it would seem Flew does not recognize the difference), this attitude seems to pervade Flew's method of truthseeking, of looking to a single author for authoritative information and never checking their claims (or, as in the case of Dawkins, presumed lack of claims)." (from http://www.secweb.org/asset.asp?AssetID=369)
    http://discuss.treocentral.com/showp...7&postcount=27
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  10. #210  
    Sorry about double posting....Just saw the article for the first time today and thought it might of been of interest with your last post.
  11. #211  
    amazing somebody who could actually admit (in public) that he was wrong - twice!!
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  12. #212  
    I wanted to post my view (and I know this will be long so please feel free to skip it if it does not interest you). I am a Christian (and not a Catholic). I do believe in science. I am not one to push my views on someone else to accept. I have several friends and close co-workers who are either atheists, who are from different faiths (from other Christian sects to Muslims) and/or have jobs that are driven deep within science, i.e. biology professor, medical research, etc... We have had many discussions on various science & religion topics and often times how the two meet and co-exist.

    I do not pretend that my views represent anyone else in the Christian community and have no intention of persuading anyone to my way of thinking. I am simply sharing my point of view from a single person. If nothing else, it might prove useful for those who do not believe a divine creator to get a glimpse of my mind that does believe in Him AND in the world of science. I have not problem if you don’t agree, but maybe it might help you to be able to relate why I believe the way I do.......again even if you don’t agree with it. Truthfully I am not likely to be drug into a long debate about every detail. This is simply my opinion, my personal point of view, a single frame of reference on a complex topic with volumes written and published on all sides. Take it or leave it for what it is worth.

    I started writing my point of view when I remembered a box I had in college it has a lot of references from text books, published works, magazine articles, etc....a lot them are photo copied without references but explained how I think better that I was able to explain it. So below, I will reference when possible. It will be a mix of a lot of my own personal words and those of others mixed in.

    First of all I believe that Science and religion can and do co-exist. Discrepancies are not to demean one or the other, but can actually give us guidance in new ways to look and discover the truth of the reality. There are several examples of highly acclaimed scientists that have both a firm Christian belief that works and fits in well with their successful careers, whether they are chemist, biologists, geologists, etc.....

    Conceptions of scientific knowledge have changed many times since Greek antiquity. For example, modern understanding of the nature of the cosmos has changed radically from Aristotle in early Greece; to Galileo, Descartes, and Newton in the seventeenth century; to Lyell and Darwin in the nineteenth century; and in the twentieth century to Einstein, Hubble, and Hawking. Science itself continues in a state of constant flux, so that the total collection of scientific ideas at any point in time could never be considered final truth. Consequently, scientific theories are forever tentative and are not likely to be fully compatible with revealed religion at any particular time.

    The scientific spirit is a spirit of inquiry, a spirit of teaching out for truth. In the final analysis, this spirit is the essence of religion. The Savior said, “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you.” (Matthew 7:7.) The scientist has, in effect, reaffirmed this great fundamental laid down by the Master, and in doing so has given a new impetus to religion.

    I also believe that so many questions simply have not been answered by God. I believe he has told us many truths in a way that could be related to the understanding of the man or people the knowledge was originally intended for, but often times without the details of those truths (i.e. that he created the world, but did not tell us how, by what means, minacious or methods of nature). There was a time when many people thought that the pure understanding of the scriptures required the acceptance of a flat earth. The Bible speaks of the four corners of the earth and of the stars in the firmament, conjuring up the image of lights on the inside of a giant dome covering the earth. In the time of Columbus, many people thought a flat earth was a religious necessity. When it turned out to be round, Christ’s teachings were found to be just as consistent with the new view as with the old.

    I posted this earlier, but still think it is a perfect example of how I believe as well. I had a biology teacher in college say something pretty interesting. He had a strong faith in God and in creation, and a very strong and solid grounding in science. He once said something like this:
    "By law I have to teach the theories of Darwin. By faith I believe without a doubt there was a creation by God. I have no doubt that aspects of Darwins theory are true, i.e. adapting to one's environment for survival. But there are several huge wholes in the theory and many still unanswered questions with it. All I can say is that when I die I cannot wait to see how it all fits together!"

    Can the evolution of species (or their apparent gradual development over millions of years) jive with the existence of a supreme Creator?

    Obviously I do believe that the there is a Divine guidance in the development of our world. I also believe that God does often use the laws of nature to achieve his goals. So, yes I believe that God created the earth, and I also believe that it is virtually undeniable that many principles of evolution and natural selection played an important role in that creation, though I may disagree on some small and vital points of the theory. Just how much is truth and how much is still developing scientific knowledge is just as an important of a question in my answer.

    The cumulative thickness of rocks laid down as sediment is about four hundred fifty thousand feet [128 000 m] or about 80 miles [130 km]. The rate of deposition varies enormously with the time and the place, but a not unreasonable average rate is one foot [30 cm] every 250 years. This leads to a very rough estimate of 112 million years for the time required to deposit all the known sediments.

    The scriptures record God's dealing with his children back to a "beginning" some six thousand years ago, but dismiss the long prologue in a few short paragraphs. The scriptures tell us of six creative periods followed by a period of rest. During these periods the earth was organized and took essentially its present form. In the King James Version of the Bible, the phrase "creative periods" is rendered as "days." The use of this term has led to at least three interpretations. In the first, the "days" are construed to mean the usual day of twenty-four hours. In the second, the days of creation are interpreted as thousand-year periods following such statements as occur in 2 Peter 3:8: "One day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day." The third interpretation accepts "creative periods" as times of unspecified length and looks to a study of the earth itself to give added meaning to the exceedingly brief scriptural accounts.

    In earlier times some variation of the first two interpretations was all but universally held by the Christian world. I personally hold the third view. Meaning, there distinct periods of the earths development without a specified period of time for each time frame of development.

    The sequence in the occurrence of fossils repeats itself in sedimentary rocks throughout the world. Whether, they were in Australia, Africa, the Americas, or elsewhere, the various forms of life on earth appeared and disappeared at the same time. To the faithful student of the scriptures, this precision reflects the ordered processes of God, the divine Creator. The sequence of the creation of life on earth as recorded in Genesis--first plants (Gen. 1:11-12), then animals (Gen. 1:20-23)--is duplicated in the fossil record: plant fossils precede the appearance of animal fossils.

    This agreement shouldn't be surprising because the God who created this earth is the same God who inspired the prophets. A conflict arises only when we assume that God has revealed all he did do or knew on the subject or forget that scientific theories change as new discoveries are made. We also need to remember both the purposes for which the scriptures were given and the objectives of the scientific method.

    Also remember, the scriptures testify of Jesus Christ and how we may receive the blessings of salvation and exaltation through his atonement. They reveal why (not necessarily how) the earth was created, and what laws and principles a person must follow to obtain eternal life. The goal of science, on the other hand, is to learn how (not why) the world was made and to understand the laws and principles governing the physical world. . . .

    The relationship between scripture and what is currently understood in science is ever changing. Science continually learns more about the history of life on earth, and we have every reason to believe that much more will be learned as research continues.

    The struggle to correlate a passage in scripture with a specific portion of scientific research has been a challenge for centuries. But experience has shown that what a person understands today will be modified by tomorrow's discoveries. Patience and humility on all sides may eventually resolve a lot of these questions.

    The Lord made the world in some wonderful way that I can at best only dimly comprehend. It seems to me sacrilegious to presume that I can really understand him and know just how he did it. He can only tell me in figurative speech that I dimly understand, but that I expect to more completely comprehend in the eternities to come. He created the world, and my faith does not hinge on the detailed procedures he used.

    Finally, perhaps a believer never does more disservice to religion than to support the truth with bad arguments, as obviously hopefully I have not done today. The listener spots the obvious errors, becomes impatient, often "throws out the baby with the bath," and turns away, even from true religion. I do not pretend to have the answer to all the questions. If I take everything I know from the scriptures and my religion, and everything I know from science, and reconcile them, I still have as many unanswered questions as I have ones with answers. No intellectual approach nails down everything. In this life, there will always be unanswered questions. In fact, often times in religion, each answer seems to raise more questions. That's the way it is in science, too, and I don't apostatize from science for that reason either. Actually, that's what makes science, and religion, fun. Faith is feeling good about myself, feeling good about God, and muddling along after truth as best I can.


    .
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 07/11/2005 at 09:40 PM.
  13. #213  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    amazing somebody who could actually admit (in public) that he was wrong - twice!!
    Debates are for learning....not ego trips for who is more right than the other.

    IMHO, I often find it hard to believe a person on face value when they are never able to admit when they might be wrong or even when someone else has a good point.

    As I stated HERE, I am secure enough in debates to admit when I am wrong, made a mistake, misquoted, misunderstood, etc....it is human nature. Those who never recognize that they made a mistake and are willing to own up to it, and are on such an ego trip to not being able to listen and learn from another's point view, IMHO are destined to be clueless in many realities of our world, whether politics, science, religion, personal relationships, becoming the best in your favorite video game, etc.....
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 07/11/2005 at 06:03 PM.
  14. #214  
    really nice layout of your philosophy Hobbes!

    and I agree on your premise - science attempts to explain how the universe works (including how we came into existence in the physical sense), whereas religion provides a moral compass as to how we should live our lives and gives us a meaning to our lives.

    Unfortunately Hobbes, if only most others were as perceptive as you - many still believe in the first two literal interpretations of Genesis and actively try to force this version on the rest of the community. While scientists sometimes do try to scientifically rationalize certain immoral behaviors, they would be rightly condemned if they tried to actively tried to preach this as a way of life (e.g. preaching eugenics - where the weak and genetically infirm are eliminated from the gene pool).

    A couple of my own thoughts ....

    I agree that scientific inquiry is in a continuous flux - without dogma, but just paradigms. And it attempts to give us the best possible answers (or guesstimates) with the knowledge available at that time.

    I imagine science as a giant sprawling building that does not get torn down every time a new idea comes up or a paradigm shift occurs. Instead a new addition or wing is added to the existing structure. The problem is that these new additions are not the same architectural style as the original building and sometimes may not be aesthetically pleasing. But the foundations of the structure are still strong after the millenia since Aristotle and Archimides, and the structure still adequately houses all the knowledge accumulated to date without leaving facts out in the cold.

    I'm not an expert in paleontology - but I have read that the deposition of fossil matter is anything but uniform and it is difficult to project an average rate. And remember that until 225 million years ago, all the continents were fused together as a single land mass (Pangea) until they started to drift apart. So the occurence of similar fossils in Africa or Australia is not such a big mystery. However after the start of the continental drift (the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods) many of the fossilized species appeared to diverge and the rates of appearance and disappearance of these species were not synchronized on other continents.

    In fact for most species it is less than one in a million chance that it will get fossilized. So most fossils that we view today are a sampling of only probably anywhere from one millionth to one billionth of all the species that walked (or swam) the earth. But nowadays with the powerful tools of molecular genetics, scientists are able to make the ancestral connections even without the use of the fossil records.

    I doubt that there are many "holes" in the theory of evolution. Most of the framework is pretty robust and though we may not know exact details of any particular species (short of building a time machine), what we do know is pretty contiguous without leaving out any facts. There is obviously much speculation and debate on the origin of life itself - but that is an entirely different topic.

    Here some questions though - is God an experimenter or is he a micromanager? In other words, did he create a set of conditions (natural laws or rules) and threw life into the mix and watched for the emergence of human souls or did he "guide" or manage every step of the way - through the last 3 billion years. Were the dinosaurs a failed experiment? And are we any better? After all the dinosaurs lasted a 100 million years and were wiped out by a cosmic event like an asteroid (divine intervention perhaps?) We homo sapeins have been around for barely a million years and an asteroid could as easily wipe us out as it did the dinosaurs.
    Palm m505 -> Treo600 (GSM ATT) -> Treo650 (Cingular) -> BB8700g -> BB Pearl
    "The point of living and of being an optimist, is to be foolish enough to believe the best is yet to come."
  15. #215  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    Here some questions though - is God an experimenter or is he a micromanager? In other words, did he create a set of conditions (natural laws or rules) and threw life into the mix and watched for the emergence of human souls or did he "guide" or manage every step of the way - through the last 3 billion years. Were the dinosaurs a failed experiment? And are we any better? After all the dinosaurs lasted a 100 million years and were wiped out by a cosmic event like an asteroid (divine intervention perhaps?) We homo sapeins have been around for barely a million years and an asteroid could as easily wipe us out as it did the dinosaurs.
    Now, again.....just some of my thoughts rambling onto the screen.....

    I would have to say both....in as much as he created the conditions, but with a plan for us. There is an element of free agency in his plan, along with controlled elements in the environment.

    Let me try to see I can do justice to explain that.

    If we look at the history of our earth's environment and climate. We will see that we are in an extremely small period of what we would call an ideal climate and environment. In eras gone by, the earth has been extremely geologically active, severe ice ages, times of massive global warming, etc.... Is it by coincidence that we are here now after all those changes took place to make the earth what she is today? I personally do not believe so. So all the ages past were still part of the building blocks of making this world...including dinosaurs. Just one example, if you look at the world today what is oil? It has been a major force in shaping the human world into what it is today. We could not have had it without the previous life forms, both plants and animals from eons ago.

    To clarify the statement I made above with controlled elements in the environment. God has given us our free will to honor our stewardship of the gifts he has given us, including the earth and the enviroment. But he has also used natural means to do his will. I believe that God is able to direct the evolution of the world through natural means....like an asteroid to end one era and usher the next in the plan.
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 07/11/2005 at 09:47 PM.
  16. #216  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    I doubt that there are many "holes" in the theory of evolution. Most of the framework is pretty robust and though we may not know exact details of any particular species (short of building a time machine), what we do know is pretty contiguous without leaving out any facts. There is obviously much speculation and debate on the origin of life itself - but that is an entirely different topic.
    Actually, looking at it from a scientific point of view there are some observastion in the evolutionary chain that is still trying to be understood in how it fis into the theory of evolution. This not to put down evolution, but simply looking at the situations that evolution, as we understand today, just cannot answer.....yet. Even though I believe that the theory of evolution does hold truths, it just may not be as close to a fact yet as say the theory of gravity. But that is the nature of science, and without it science would be dead.

    Many theories are works in progress, and evolution is one of them. There are several big questions that the theory of evolution cannot answer right now. This is not unusual. Newtonian physics worked really well for hundreds of years, and it still works well today for many types of problems. However, it does not explain lots of things that were eventually answered by Einstein and his theories of relativity. People create new theories and modify existing ones to explain the unexplained.

    65 million years ago, mammals were much simpler than they are today. A representative mammal of the time was the species Didelphodon, a smallish, four-legged creature similar to today's opossum.

    In 65 million years, according to the theory of evolution, every mammal that we see today (over 4,000 species) evolved from small, four-legged creatures like Didelphodon. Through random mutations and natural selection, evolution has produced mammals of striking diversity from that humble starting point:

    Humans, Dogs, Moles, Bats, Whales, Elephants, Giraffes, Panda bears , Horses, etc...

    Evolution has created thousands of different species that range in size and shape from a small brown bat that weighs a few grams to a blue whale that is nearly 100 feet (30.5 m) long.

    In answering the open questions that still remain unsolved, the theory of evolution will either become complete or it will be replaced by a new theory that better explains the phenomena we see in nature. That is how the scientific process works.

    Carl Sagan, in "The Dragons of Eden," put it this way:

    The time scale for evolutionary or genetic change is very long. A characteristic period for the emergence of one advanced species from another is perhaps a hundred thousand years; and very often the difference in behavior between closely related species -- say, lions and tigers -- does not seem very great. An example of recent evolution of organ systems in humans is our toes. The big toe plays an important function in balance while walking; the other toes have much less obvious utility. They are clearly evolved from fingerlike appendages for grasping and swinging, like those of arboreal apes and monkeys. This evolution constitutes a respecialization -- the adaptation of an organ system originally evolved for one function to another and quite different function -- which required about ten million years to emerge.

    The fact that it takes evolution 100,000 or 10 million years to make relatively minor changes in existing structures shows just how slow evolution really is. The creation of a new species is time consuming.

    Let's take Carl Sagan's statement that "A characteristic period for the emergence of one advanced species from another is perhaps a hundred thousand years, and very often the difference in behavior between closely related species -- say, lions and tigers -- does not seem very great." In 65 million years, there are only 650 periods of 100,000 years -- that's 650 "ticks" of the evolutionary clock.

    Imagine trying to start with an opossum and get to an elephant in 650 increments or less, even if every increment were perfect. An elephant's brain is hundreds of times bigger than an opossum's, containing hundreds of times more neurons, all perfectly wired. An elephant's trunk is a perfectly formed prehensile appendage containing 150,000 muscle elements . Starting with a snout like that of an opossum, evolution used random mutations to design the elephant's snout in only 650 ticks. Imagine trying to get from an opossum to a brown bat in 650 increments. Or from an opossum to a whale. Whales have no pelvis, have flukes, have very weird skulls (especially the sperm whale), have blow holes up top, have temperature control that allows them to swim in arctic waters and they consume salt water rather than fresh. It is difficult for many people to imagine that sort of speed given the current theory.

    Here is another example of the speed problem. Current fossil evidence indicates that modern humans evolved from a species called Homo erectus. Homo erectus appeared about 2 million years ago. Looking at the skull of Homo erectus, we know that its brain size was on the order of 800 or 900 cubic centimeters (CCs).

    Modern human brain size averages about 1,500 CCs or so. In other words, in about 2 million years, evolution roughly doubled the size of the Homo erectus brain to create the human brain that we have today. Our brains contain approximately 100 billion neurons today, so in 2 million years, evolution added 50 billion neurons to the Homo erectus brain (while at the same time redesigning the skull to accommodate all of those neurons and redesigning the female pelvis to let the larger skull through during birth, etc.).



    Let's assume that Homo erectus was able to reproduce every 10 years. That means that, in 2 million years, there were 200,000 generations of Homo erectus possible. There are four possible explanations for where the 50 billion new neurons came from in 200,000 generations:

    1. Every generation, 250,000 new neurons were added to the Homo erectus brain (250,000 * 200,000 = 50 billion).

    2. Every 100,000 years, 2.5 billion new neurons were added to the Homo erectus brain (2,500,000,000 * 20 = 50 billion).

    3. Perhaps 500,000 years ago, there was a spurt of 20 or so closely-spaced generations that added 2.5 billion neurons per generation.

    4. One day, spontaneously, 50 billion new neurons were added to the Homo erectus brain to create the Homo sapiens brain.

    None of these scenarios is particularly comfortable. We see no evidence that evolution is randomly adding 250,000 neurons to each child born today, so that explanation is hard to swallow. The thought of adding a large package of something like 2.5 billion neurons in one step is difficult to imagine, because there is no way to explain how the neurons would wire themselves in. What sort of point mutation would occur in a DNA molecule that would suddenly create billions of new neurons and wire them correctly? The current theory of evolution does not predict how this could happen.

    But as science does, it has brought forth some experiments to offer a beginning of understanding this occurance. In an absolutely facinating experiment first reported in July 2002, scientists modified a single mouse gene and created mice with brains 50% larger than normal. This experiment shows that a point mutation can, in fact, have an immense effect on brain size. It is still unknown whether the larger brains make the mice smarter or not, but it is easy to imagine later mutations refining the wiring of these millions of new neurons. But again this is still far from answering the question yet.

    One line of current research is also looking at the effect of very small changes in DNA patterns during embryonic development. Any new animal, be it a mouse or a human, starts life as a single cell. That cell differentiates and develops into the complete animal. A tremendous amount of signaling happens between cells during the development process to ensure that everything ends up in the right place. Tiny changes in these signaling processes can have very large effects on the resulting animal. This is how the human genome, with at most 60,000 or so genes, is able to specify the creation of a human body containing trillions of cells, billions of carefully wired neurons and hundreds of different cell types all brilliantly sculpted into organs as diverse as the heart and the eyes. The book "Molecular Biology of the Cell" puts it this way:

    Humans, as a genus distinct from the great apes, have existed for only a few million years. Each human gene has therefore had the chance to accumulate relatively few nucleotide changes since our inception, and most of these have been eliminated by natural selection. A comparison of humans and monkeys, for example, shows that their cytochrome-c molecules differ in about 1 percent and their hemoglobins in about 4 percent of their amino acid positions. Clearly, a great deal of our genetic heritage must have been formed long before Homo sapiens appeared, during the evolution of mammals (which started about 300 million years ago) and even earlier. Because the proteins of mammals as different as whales and humans are very similar, the evolutionary changes that have produced such striking morphological differences must involve relatively few changes in molecules from which we are made. Instead, it is thought that the morphological differences arise from differences in the temporal and spatial pattern of gene expression during embryonic development, which then determine the size, shape and other characteristics of the adult.

    In other words, there just are not that many differences in the DNA of a human and a whale, yet humans and whales look totally different. Small collections of DNA mutations can have a very big effect on the final result.

    Right now, the signaling mechanisms that wire up the 100 billion cells in the human brain are something of a mystery. How can the mere 60,000 genes in the human genome tell 100 billion neurons how to precisely wire themselves in the human brain? No one right now has a clear understanding of how so few genes can meticulously wire so many neurons. In a developing fetus in the womb, DNA is correctly creating and wiring up millions of cells per minute. Given that DNA does wire up a working human brain every time a baby is born, it may be the case that DNA has special properties that make evolution work more efficiently. As the mechanisms become better understood, the effects of DNA mutations during development will become better understood as well.

    Another example is the eye. example is given by Jennifer Ackerman in the book, Chance in the House of Fate: A Natural History of Heredity (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 2001, pp. 89-90):

    When Charles Darwin first presented his theory of evolution, the human eye was used as a favorite example to point out the weakness of the theory. How could this complex system of perfectly synchronized and integrated parts have come about little by little? How could cornea, lens, retina -- not to mention the three sets of muscles that move the eyes back and forth, up and down, several times a second, and the fine circuit of nerves that links all of these components and controls their actions -- how could these multiple parts, arranged in perfect geometry, have been spontaneously assembled over time by the blind force of natural selection? Wasn't it far more likely that the fabulous eye popped into existence all at once, a creative act of God? The riddle of how such an exquisite organ could have arisen by chance gave Darwin himself a cold shudder. In a chapter of Origin of Species entitled "Difficulties of the Theory," he wrote:
    To suppose that the eye, with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest possible degree.

    But in the end he found he could accommodate even this miracle within his theory:

    If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find no such case.

    Step by step, through the accumulation of small changes over time, a simple, imperfect eye is transformed into a complex one.
    Just what was the scientific evidence that allowed Darwin to gloss over the conundrum of the eye? How, after admitting the absurdity of its creation by natural selection, did he resolve the eye with his theory? From my point of view, it appears to have been a matter of faith for him. Ackerman also, like many other scientists, treats the accumulation of numerous small, accidental changes to gradually but blindly create and perfect the eye as a given, as an unproven article of faith, a faith premised on the unprovable assumption that there are no miracles and that there is no Creator.

    These points are in no way brought up to disprove evolution, to put it down in any way, but to simply show that as with any theory there are still many unanswered questions that science cannot yet answer with how we currently understand evolution. As I stated in my post above, I do believe that evolution had a large part in the plan. There is no doubt that some form of evolution and natural selection has helped in the development our world. Just as with religion, science is full of questions and a quest to seek the answers of how they all fit together.

    Instead of retyping some of my text book stuff I took some similiar arguments from some websites like science.howstuffworks.com.
  17. #217  
    A couple of points, HobbesIsReal...

    First, an important fact to note is that the brain is NOT only composed of neurons; glial cells are about 40-50 times more abundant than neurons and therefore it is very wrong to make a direct correlation with brain size and neuron cell count.

    Second, you write that "In other words, there just are not that many differences in the DNA of a human and a whale, yet humans and whales look totally different. Small collections of DNA mutations can have a very big effect on the final result."
    As described in the quote from Mol. Bio of the Cell, "morphological differences arise from differences in the temporal and spatial pattern of gene expression during embryonic development". That's the crux of how gene expression controls development and even homeostasis and cell metabolism & functions, and is completely unrelated to mutation. When DNA is transcribed to RNA and subsequently translated to protein, there are MANY different types of regulative processes that, ultimately, control gene expression: post-translational modification, RNA-silencing, etc.

    As for brain development...that's definitely an insanely complicated topic, but consider this: during the various developmental stages there are many, many different genes which turn on and off, regulating different processes and resulting in morphological, intracellular, and other types of changes. An example of this is a gene for Hypoxia inducible factor alpha (HIF-1a). This is a gene that is upregulated during periods of hypoxia (low oxygen), which you can imagine occurs if a large number of cells begin to grow around or on top of each other. I don't have much of a background in HIF-1a, but I do seem to recall reading a few articles which showed how the gene would turn on for the cells in the center of the mass (as they would be receiving far less, if any, oxygen than the ones on the outside), and ultimately would trigger an enzymatic cascade that results in a developmental direction. Sorry for being vague, it's just what I remember offhand...but the point is that DNA expression can provide the scaffolding from which a very complex and intricate organism can arise WITH environmental cues and interaction. Pluripotent and stem cells are another great example of this.

    Another point I wanted to bring up just in case anyone cites it in the future is that genome size is NOT indicative of organism complexity. Case in point, the onion genome is roughly 20 times larger than ours. Redundant genes, pseudogenes, and exons are contributors to a larger genome, and alternative splicing is a mechanism from which fewer genes can (potentially) lead to larger functionality, so to speak.
  18. #218  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    The sequence in the occurrence of fossils repeats itself in sedimentary rocks throughout the world. Whether, they were in Australia, Africa, the Americas, or elsewhere, the various forms of life on earth appeared and disappeared at the same time. To the faithful student of the scriptures, this precision reflects the ordered processes of God, the divine Creator. The sequence of the creation of life on earth as recorded in Genesis--first plants (Gen. 1:11-12), then animals (Gen. 1:20-23)--is duplicated in the fossil record: plant fossils precede the appearance of animal fossils.
    I really appreciate your view and I totally agree with you that believing in god does not mean one cannot accept science. However, the sequence of creation in Genesis is extremly far from correct. E.g. in Genesis 1, plants are created before the sun and the moon. This is hardly a detail, and it is totally impossible according to just about any scientific data in cosmology, biology, physics, whatever.

    Also the rest of the sequence is wrong. It is understandable that most people (including those who wrote Genesis 1) believe that plants developed before animals, but it was not so. A key component of animal cells are mitochondria (the center of energy conversion). Plants do not only have mitochondria, they also have chloroplasts, which enable them to use sunlight as a source of energy. So from a biochemical and cellular point of view, plant cells are more complex than animal cells.
    Also remember, the scriptures testify of Jesus Christ and how we may receive the blessings of salvation and exaltation through his atonement. They reveal why (not necessarily how) the earth was created, and what laws and principles a person must follow to obtain eternal life. The goal of science, on the other hand, is to learn how (not why) the world was made and to understand the laws and principles governing the physical world. . . .
    True
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  19. #219  
    Quote Originally Posted by Sherv
    A couple of points, HobbesIsReal....
    These were just some points (and maybe not the best examples, though I think some are very valid....like the eye and evolving within only 650 ticks of evolution) to ponder that the theory of evolution is still evolving. I am not in the profession of biology or any science, so I personally cannot answer all questions about questions about evolution. But the fact is that we are still learning. There are questions that it has yet to be fully explain or answer. Science is always suppose to question itself, and that is what science has been doing. When people question the theory in this manner, in an effort to understand...not demean, then we grow and learn. Please don't take offense if there are questions that scientist are posing about evolution, that is what they are suppose to do.

    IMHO, it would be arrogant and counter productive to claim that the theory of evolution, as it stands now with ONLY the knowledge we have today is complete and can fully answer all questions of how life began and actually accounted for all steps of theory of evolution. We are still learning. And who knows, when we find the answers to some of these yet to be answered questions, we may have to rethink, redefine, or even replace the theory of evolution.

    Do you or any scientist that you know about really believe we know all there is to know about evolution? Do you really think it can answer every scenario that evidence is showing us today?


    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I really appreciate your view and I totally agree with you that believing in god does not mean one cannot accept science. However, the sequence of creation in Genesis is extremely far from correct. E.g. in Genesis 1, plants are created before the sun and the moon. This is hardly a detail, and it is totally impossible according to just about any scientific data in cosmology, biology, physics, whatever.

    Also the rest of the sequence is wrong. It is understandable that most people (including those who wrote Genesis 1) believe that plants developed before animals, but it was not so. A key component of animal cells are mitochondria (the center of energy conversion). Plants do not only have mitochondria, they also have chloroplasts, which enable them to use sunlight as a source of energy. So from a biochemical and cellular point of view, plant cells are more complex than animal cells.
    First of all I do believe the Bible is the accurate word of God pertaining to the gospel and the truths to returning to living with him again someday.

    But science is not the purpose of the Bible. There were times when science was needed to be explained for various reasons in the Bible, but as a reference, not a lesson. I stated in my post above:

    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    I also believe that so many questions simply have not been answered by God. I believe he has told us many truths in a way that could be related to the understanding of the man or people the knowledge was originally intended for, but often times without the details of those truths (i.e. that he created the world, but did not tell us how, by what means, minacious or methods of nature).
    Here is a further explanation for the two points I referenced above:

    First of all, You need to look at the intent of God sharing this information. Was it to teach them about microbiology? Was it to teach the details of the powers of nature he used to create the world and how they individually interacted? Was it to show that he had the power to control those forces in accordance to his plan? The number one goal of the story of genius is to show that God is in control of the plan.

    The second point I made earlier is that you have to look at who he is talking to when. If you were talking to someone from 1500 BC, how would you explain the process of taking a SLR picture of him, developing it, scanning it so it can become a digitized virtual picture stored on a disc drive, transmitted on the internet through your corp network, how it is able to be displayed on the screen on the other side of the world within 3 seconds, sent wirelessly to a printer, and how the printer understood what to print and coordinated the data to move the heads so it could print that picture.

    You would have to dumb it down to some type of level that he could even begin to comprehend. I don't think you are going to bring Binary into it, IP address translations, standardizing file formats so it can be read by any OS, the chemical make up of the film negative liquid chemicals used in developing or the process of creating the paper you print the pictures on, how the programs that scanned it displayed it or printed it were written and debugged, how a hard drive is actually able to read and write data, the process of scanning a physical picture into a digitized file, how a picture can actually sent over a metal wire, the basics of a corp network infrastructure including the OSI model, the security measures when sending the picture through the air (invisible to naked eye) to the printer, or process of how packets find another computer anywhere in the world.

    I don't know if you have children, but have you ever tried to explain an extremely complex answer to your 3yr old while he is going through his "Why" phase? You have to bring the answer down to a level of his understanding at that time in his life. You only share what he can understand, what relates to him, and in terms he can understand......even if those terms are not totally true in the since you are only able to explain a small portion of the total truth. What scientific reference did the people 1500 BC have? God showed them and explained just enough and in a way that they would be able to understand that he is in control.

    Think about it......after billions of years of the earths existence it has only been in the last 150 yrs or so (a fraction of a second on the geological clock) that we have really made any continual significant advances in the understanding of how our world was created. We have a lot more to learn. At what point in the scientific process are we confident enough to say...that's it we cannot learn anymore, we will never be able to learn anything at anytime to change our current theory of evolution. Then hold that against what God has said he did. And say that's it, God lied. That is why I said above:

    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    The relationship between scripture and what is currently understood in science is ever changing. Science continually learns more about the history of life on earth, and we have every reason to believe that much more will be learned as research continues.

    The struggle to correlate a passage in scripture with a specific portion of scientific research has been a challenge for centuries. But experience has shown that what a person understands today will be modified by tomorrow's discoveries. Patience and humility on all sides may eventually resolve a lot of these questions.
    If he revealed the same revelation today, he might do just the same because his goal was to simply show who was in charge from the beginning, or he might give a lot more details because we now have a basic understanding of how the world works, down to the subatomic level.
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 07/12/2005 at 02:04 PM.
  20. #220  
    Huh?
    I wasn't even addressing your points on evolution, I was just providing some feedback and corrections to some of the statements you made. I definitely do not claim that evolution is a watertight theory and I certainly agree that there is still much to be learned.



    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    These were just some points (and maybe not the best examples, though I think some are very valid....like the eye and evolving within only 650 ticks of evolution) to ponder that the theory of evolution is still evolving. I am not in the profession of biology or any science, so I personally cannot answer all questions about questions about evolution. But the fact is that we are still learning. There are questions that it has yet to be fully explain or answer. Science is always suppose to question itself, and that is what science has been doing. When people question the theory in this manner, in an effort to understand...not demean, then we grow and learn. Please don't take offense if there are questions that scientist are posing about evolution, that is what they are suppose to do.

    IMHO, it would be arrogant and counter productive to claim that the theory of evolution, as it stands now with ONLY the knowledge we have today is complete and can fully answer all questions of how life began and actually accounted for all steps of theory of evolution. We are still learning. And who knows, when we find the answers to some of these yet to be answered questions, we may have to rethink, redefine, or even replace the theory of evolution.

    Do you or any scientist that you know about really believe we know all there is to know about evolution? Do you really think it can answer every scenario that evidence is showing us today?

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