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  1. #241  
    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    No, that's not what I meant. The use of different terms for god (God vs. LORD God in KJV) shows where different sources of the bible were put together. That is not a contradiction, just indication for different sources, in my view. The contradictions stem from the content.
    It appears to me...and believe I am not attacking, just observing....that you almost want or need to find a fault here.

    But to answer your concerns.....Because he is called by different names, because he calls himself different name, does not any way, shape, or form mean that is from a different source or referring to a different personage.

    For example if my name was Thomas.....I might go by Thomas, Tom, Tommy, or even a nickname like Dude, Kollin, or Spike, depending on who I was talking to and what the situation was....whether I wanted to be formal, casual, or relaxed. Does it mean I am a different source if three names are used in a single storyline, letter, or email? I also might add some titles to the list like Dad, Brother, Boss, Friend, Regional Manager, Son, Enemy, Co-Worker, Student, Sinner, Millionare, etc.... Again they are all referring to the same person.....me. Each has a different meaning to different people and I will use some when I need to enforce my authority or when I want to show someone I care.

    This is even more important in the culture at the time when names betray specific messages and meanings during a given time, emotion, lesson to be delivered, or point being made.

    Here is just a partial list of the names that God goes by in the Old Testament:

    El Shaddai
    El Elyon
    Adonai
    Yahweh or Jehovah
    Jehovah Nissi
    Jehovah-Raah
    Jehovah Rapha
    Jehovah Shammah
    Jehovah Tsidkenu
    Jehovah Mekoddishkem
    El Olam
    Elohim
    Qanna
    Jehovah Jireh
    Jehovah Shalom
    Jehovah Sabaoth

    If you look up the meaning of each name and study the situation it was given in, look at any insights to the message trying be told at that time.....then you might begin to understand why that name was used at the specific time in the Bible. If you are not interested in the message that the name offers, then suffice it to say that simply all the names mean God.


    Quote Originally Posted by clulup
    I just think there are two different versions of the story. That doesn't mean the story or the bible in general must be totally wrong, it just means that not all of it is meant to be taken literally. If the intention would have been that the bible is to be taken literally, I think such discrepancies would have been removed. I think the bible is more "open" and less "fundamentalistic" than many believe.
    Would you agree that my interpretation of the story in Genesis was taken literally and still made since with the possible natural order of things?

    And haven't we established that the our theories of the natural order of things are still evolving yet even today with new discoveries and new understandings of our world?

    Then there still the possibility that it does all work together. If in science because we don't know it now, does not make it false.

    Ask any lawyer....are you a lawyer BTW? ....any statement can be twisted out of context to mean or not to mean anything you want it be. The key is to understand the statement in the context meant. As I have stated several times before you have to understand the literature style and understanding of the culture at the time this was given and written. You have to ask, what is the purpose of sharing this now? The second account is simply a recap of what we have already learned. We have already gone to the 7th day and now we need to be brought back to the 6th day. It is used to bring back into that time frame and nothing more. As I said before you can think of it like "Previous during the last episode of....." recap before a weekly TV series. Again, the purpose of this telling in this chapter is simply to bring us up to speed with WHAT God did, not HOW he did it....with the single goal to set the stage for Adam. Again repeating events in generalizations and in detail for various reasons are both common in the literary culture of this time and all the way through the very end of the New Testament.
  2. #242  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    It appears to me...and believe I am not attacking, just observing....that you almost want or need to find a fault here.

    But to answer your concerns.....Because he is called by different names, because he calls himself different name, does not any way, shape, or form mean that is from a different source or referring to a different personage.
    It's not the different names, it's the different content. Was Noah to take two of each fowl or seven?
    Would you agree that my interpretation of the story in Genesis was taken literally and still made since with the possible natural order of things?
    No:
    Gen 1:16: And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night: he made the stars also.
    In my view, it is perfectly clear that the greater light ruling the day is the sun, and the lesser light ruling the night is the moon. Not for you? You may disagree, but then I think your interpretation is far-fetched. "He made the stars also" is clear, too: There were no stars when god had made earth, sea, plants... That does not fit to any remotely scientific description of how earth, plants, sun, moon, etc. started. Also, plants did not evolve earlier than animals, contrary to what the bible says.
    Ask any lawyer....are you a lawyer BTW?
    No.
    .....any statement can be twisted out of context to mean or not to mean anything you want it be.
    Who is twisting more, you or me? Did I twist anything when saying the greater light is the sun and the smaller light is the moon, and that therefore they came after plants according to the bible? Did I twist anything when saying that Noah had to take two of each kind in one chapter and seven of each kind in the next? What did he do, ultimately, take two or seven?
    The key is to understand the statement in the context meant.
    True. I think it is quite clear that it is not to be taken literally, because then it does not make much sense. E.g. beetles and grasshoppers don't have four legs, they have six, despite the bible saying they have four:
    Leviticus 11:
    21Yet these may ye eat of every flying creeping thing that goeth upon all four, which have legs above their feet, to leap withal upon the earth;
    22Even these of them ye may eat; the locust after his kind, and the bald locust after his kind, and the beetle after his kind, and the grasshopper after his kind.
    Does it change the meaning of the basic Christian messages that they got the number of feet beetles have wrong? No.

    Does it tell us we should not take the bible literally: I guess so.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  3. #243  
    Clulup.....I really do we are going in circles and no answer will ever satisfy your seemingly ongoing quest to find reasons to discredit the Bible and unwillingness to recognize other possibilities, whether you agree with them or not.

    As I stated in my post #222 and following posts I only wanted to point out the following:
    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.

    ========

    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.

    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.

    =======

    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).

    ===========

    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.
    Again given what we have and what we don't have on BOTH sides of the issue, I can see that we are still on our way to learning how they all work together.

    Now did Moses see every step in the evolution? I doubt it, it was not relevant to why he was being shown it and I think God didn't want to blow Moses' mind with too much. Are there gaps in this account? Sure. For the same reasons. But I also don't disregard the Theory of Evolution because it doesn't explain how everything happened and that it has gaps in it too.

    But, given the relative young field of evolution studies, God trying to explain such a complex process to, in essence, a scientific mind of a child that lived in 1500 BC in a totally different culture, understanding that we do not have the original scripts to verify exact wording after several translations had already taken place, could this possibly represent a 1500 BC representation of the evolutionary theory?
    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.
    I simply wanted to share a point of view from one who believes in the Bible and not hound every detail and explain every word. There are VOLUMES upon VOLUMES of all the questions you are asking on so many different levels between literal to spiritual to personal interpretation, to degrees of understanding between different sects, cultural relevance both at the time it was written...when it was translated...and now when it is attempted to be understood, etc.....

    The point is...(and these are rhetorical questions that you do not have to or expect you to answer, but simply ask yourself)....

    Are you willing to accept the Bible as the word of God on a spiritual level, which is what the SOLE intend of the collection of books that make up the Bible is all about?

    Even though the original transcripts no longer exist, to answer your questions are you willing to look at translations that were made from ancient manuscript copies of copies, of which there are today at least 24,000, whole or in-part, with which to compare?

    The KJV (or any of the hundreds of different versions for that matter) was using at anywhere from 3-20 generations old copies of translations of translations. God had made it clear not to throw out the truth of the scriptures because of the faults of man. Would you be willing to accept this as a natural course of such an ancient document and still accept the validity of the content?

    I only wanted to share my point of view, my beliefs, and why I feel the way I do. It is simply up to you to decide for yourself if you can accept it, reject it, or simply recognize there are valid points and not agree.

    See you bouncing around the Board!
    Last edited by HobbesIsReal; 07/14/2005 at 02:31 PM.
  4. #244  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    Even though the original transcripts no longer exist, to answer your questions are you willing to look at translations that were made from ancient manuscript copies of copies, of which there are today at least 24,000, whole or in-part, with which to compare?

    The KJV (or any of the hundreds of different versions for that matter) was using at anywhere from 3-20 generations old copies of translations of translations. God had made it clear not to throw out the truth of the scriptures because of the faults of man. Would you be willing to accept this as a natural course of such an ancient document and still accept the validity of the content?

    I only wanted to share my point of view, my beliefs, and why I feel the way I do. It is simply up to you to decide for yourself if you can accept it, reject it, or simply recognize there are valid points and not agree.

    See you bouncing around the Board!
    I appreciate your views and I don't have any problem with them. The discussion turned to the bible because of the claim that it is literally true, which it cannot be (in my view...) because in quite a few places one statement contradicts another one. I pointed out some contradictions (in my view...) to illustrate that notion. In addition, one might add that some parts of the bible contradict just about everything we know about history, archeology and biology (e.g. the story of Noah and the ark) when taken literally, but that's another topic.

    I know you do not think that all of the bible in literally true. You say that it is basically correct in Genesis. Also in that respect I don't think this is the case (sun/moon after plants, animals after plants, etc.), but I guess we will have to agree to disagree on that, no problem.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  5. #245  
    Quote Originally Posted by HobbesIsReal
    No apologizes necessary.....

    (sniff) I just love it when we come together on important issues like this. (wipe away tear)
    perhaps you would like a waterballoon instead??
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  6. #246  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    perhaps you would like a waterballoon instead??
    Man....does that bring back childhood memories!!!!!! We use to have neighborhood waterballoon fights with all the kids (mostly all teenagers and our friends) on one team and all the Dads on the other.....they may have been bigger, but they were outnumbered like 5 to 1.

    It was serious fun....all decked out in camo, attack plans made and executed, baited ambushes, etc.... at least until the Moms finally calls it quits at around 12:30 am!
  7.    #247  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    you know shopharim - that was really a cheap shot!

    Somebody provides you with links that answer your questions and and you accuse him of being dogmatic??? How low can you go?
    As a thread-crapper apprentice, I am not sure if you're pulling my leg here, or really felt that my comment was out of order.

    In case the latter is correct, I'll explain.

    In the post leading to my question, you had just lamented (my term) that
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    ...the one thing you can be guaranteed of is that you will not be able to have a truly rational, logical and fact-based discourse
    But, when I pose a question aimed at such a discourse, I get commentary (and links which I just begin reading).

    Perhaps the interactions scientists have had with other christians (lovingly referred to as fanatics, lunatics, or intellectually lazy) has made them jaded. I did not think I had presented myself in that fashion. And, as such, did not see why there was/has been a sharp edge in these exchanges.

    In the mean time, while I'm still reading the information on the links, what I am looking to learn about is the direct evidence, or a logical chain of related experiment results, that lead to the declaration of fact that elephants and cats (for example) have shared ancestry.
  8. #248  
    Ok
    Several folks on the creationist side have questions and a lot of opinions about evolution - but almost everyone admits being a "non-expert". Does that mean that evolution cannot be understood by non-scientists? Absolutely not - there are dozens of books out there which can help explain the evolution sciences for the layperson.
    While the web is a great source, if I truly wanted to understand, say Einstein's theory of relativity, I would at least try to read a book or two (Stephen Hawkins "Brief History of Time" is a good start!) before I try to discuss it with others, especially so if I was trying to fault it!

    A few popular books that explain evolution for the layperson:
    Stephen Jay Gould: either Panda's Thumb or Bully for Brontosaurus
    Jay Gould is one of the more controversial and flamboyant scientist who has challenged the mainstream evolutionary scientists in the 80's and 90's.

    Richard Dawkins: either Blind Watchmaker or Selfish Gene
    The problem with Dawkins is that he is little too passionate with his atheistic views and that can put off a lot of people - though he does explain evolution reasonable well.

    Carl Sagan: Garden of Eden
    Carl Sagan - enuff said! His books are a bit dated - but still very relevant.

    Max Delbruck: Mind from Matter?
    Nobel prize winner - but very approachable book (published in the 1970's) with panaromic view on scientific knowledge - and how much more we have to learn.

    Daniel Dennett: Darwin's Dangerous Idea
    Another strongly opinionated and militantly atheistic author - but does have very convincing arguments that he builds up systematically. Hard to disagree with him using logic and reasoning. If you're truly curious about "unknowable" areas such as our mind, then Conciousness Explained is a must-read.

    More academic and "heavier" reading:
    John Maynard Smith: The Theory of Evolution
    Not an easy read, and requires a refresher in undergrad biology. But this is one of the classics (twenty years old!) and is required reading for anyone in the field. Not polemic at all - just states the facts and experiments that back up evolution.

    Ernst Mayr: One Long Argument
    Was one of the leading evolutionary biologists of the last century and the father of the modern neo-Darwinian synthesis. Requires a background in biology to be able to appreciate his classic work. A more approachable book may be What Evolution Is

    Now on the other side of the fence, perhaps the only author to actually have any credibility is:

    Michael Behe: Darwin's Black Box
    I've read it - and it goes into mind-numbing technical detail about cellular systems (immune systems, blood clotting, cell movement etc.). He then uses the argument of "irreducible complexity" to simply state that current science cannot explain these mechanisms (a lot of scientists initially agreed with him) and therefore must be wrong (plenty of rebuttals here of those who disagree). Of course, apart from pointing out what is at yet unknown (which all scientists are aware of) he does not offer any solutions or ideas.

    Jeremy Rifkins: Algeny
    A bit out of date, but one of the earlier versions of the "irreducible complexity" argument, as well as rather well-reasoned tirade against biotechnology. One of the forerunners of the arguments against genetically modified anything.

    The question is - is there anyone willing to actually know what they're talking about before they palm off opinions as facts or whine about "dogmatic" supression?
    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. #249  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Perhaps the interactions scientists have had with other christians (lovingly referred to as fanatics, lunatics, or intellectually lazy) has made them jaded. I did not think I had presented myself in that fashion. And, as such, did not see why there was/has been a sharp edge in these exchanges.

    In the mean time, while I'm still reading the information on the links, what I am looking to learn about is the direct evidence, or a logical chain of related experiment results, that lead to the declaration of fact that elephants and cats (for example) have shared ancestry.
    As i've mentioned before, I consider myself a christian with a deep interest in theology. I've studied in a Jesuit school through most of my childhood. Some of the best teachers I've had have been the Jesuit priests - who also inspired me and gave me a love for science. They taught me to be critical (even about theology - not to accept it blindly), to keep an open mind and to be tolerant of other viewpoints.
    However the fanatical christians are just the opposite - they refuse to listen to anything that does not fit their worldview.
    As my priest and teacher wryly commented once: Even a monkey can see the light with their eyes open. Getting a blind man to see the light requires faith. But a fanatic would rather rip his eyes out, rather than see the light.

    I have taken the time and effort and read the serious arguments against evolution - but have independently come to same conclusions as everyone else that they're wrong.

    If you're truly interested in understanding the details of evolution biology, then as I've said in my post below, a few links from the web will not provide the detailed answers. You have to spend time and effort to understand. I can guarantee that you would have the same difficulty (if not more) in understanding Quantum Physics - unless you spend the time and effort to truly understand its priniciples.

    So, just because you, with a limited foray into the field (using only the web as your guide), cannot understand or make the connections, it does not mean that tens of thousands of scientists are wrong about evolution (or quantum physics for that matter)
    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."
  10.    #250  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    ... The question is - is there anyone willing to actually know what they're talking about before they palm off opinions as facts or whine about "dogmatic" supression?
    Yes. Perhaps many posts ago I should have said "thank you" to you and clulup for entertaining my inquiries. So.... Thank you, both!

    Also, thanx for the resource list. I do intend to spend some time with it.

    And, to reiterate, what I am particularly interested in learning is the thought on so called "macro-evolution." Of the various areas that I don't understand (though I do get and in many ways embrace the concepts the same way I do gravity), that is the one concept that presents the most intrigue to me.
  11.    #251  
    Quote Originally Posted by chillig35
    So, just because you, with a limited foray into the field (using only the web as your guide), cannot understand or make the connections, it does not mean that tens of thousands of scientists are wrong about evolution (or quantum physics for that matter)
    Agreed!
  12. #252  
    Quote Originally Posted by shopharim
    Yes. Perhaps many posts ago I should have said "thank you" to you and clulup for entertaining my inquiries. So.... Thank you, both!

    Also, thanx for the resource list. I do intend to spend some time with it.

    And, to reiterate, what I am particularly interested in learning is the thought on so called "macro-evolution." Of the various areas that I don't understand (though I do get and in many ways embrace the concepts the same way I do gravity), that is the one concept that presents the most intrigue to me.
    Good luck with your reading - and try not to get too put off by some of the atheistic viewpoints of some authors like Dawkins or Dennett. I've found that to be annoying myself - and not relevant to main points they're trying to make anyway.
    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."
  13. #253  
    Friend Chillig,

    You've made yourself very clear that fanatical Christians (I assume you've excluded me from that group ) are unable and unwilling to understand the precepts behind evolution. While I have met PLENTY of the above mentioned group, I have found folks here in this forum to be quite openminded.

    I am a huge fan of science and of Steven Hawking. His book was a great read and I understood it well. He took great pains to avoid equations (with the noted exception of E=mc2). I am well educated with advanced degrees and I understand evolution quite clearly. I can talk at length of the discoveries aboard the Beagle and the follow-on conclusions of Charles Darwin. I am not one to read verifiable observations, consult my Bible, and say that it can't possibly be true due to my own dogma.

    We all see the same things. We just put our belief in different things.

    After the continued reading of this thread and many other sources (Time magazine has this subject as the cover story), I believe I have found my one sticking point against my total acceptance of evolution in two phrases: "natural selection" and "random mutations".

    These two are used as the "why" to explain the observed and tested changes in our natural world. As was posted earlier by someone, scientists are not too proud to say "I don't know" while religious folks HAVE to assign the unknown to a supreme being. However, when the theory (or fact if you like) of evolution is asked "why", the assigned reasons are "natural" and "random". We don't seem to get any deeper than that.

    These two in a nutshell are where I leave evolution. They imply power outside the reach of God.

    To say God uses evolution I believe is still a misnomer. I believe His works are His and have been mis-labeled.

    I look forward to your reply.
    Recognizing that I volunteered...
  14. #254  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    Friend Chillig,

    You've made yourself very clear that fanatical Christians (I assume you've excluded me from that group ) are unable and unwilling to understand the precepts behind evolution. While I have met PLENTY of the above mentioned group, I have found folks here in this forum to be quite openminded.

    I am a huge fan of science and of Steven Hawking. His book was a great read and I understood it well. He took great pains to avoid equations (with the noted exception of E=mc2). I am well educated with advanced degrees and I understand evolution quite clearly. I can talk at length of the discoveries aboard the Beagle and the follow-on conclusions of Charles Darwin. I am not one to read verifiable observations, consult my Bible, and say that it can't possibly be true due to my own dogma.

    We all see the same things. We just put our belief in different things.

    After the continued reading of this thread and many other sources (Time magazine has this subject as the cover story), I believe I have found my one sticking point against my total acceptance of evolution in two phrases: "natural selection" and "random mutations".

    These two are used as the "why" to explain the observed and tested changes in our natural world. As was posted earlier by someone, scientists are not too proud to say "I don't know" while religious folks HAVE to assign the unknown to a supreme being. However, when the theory (or fact if you like) of evolution is asked "why", the assigned reasons are "natural" and "random". We don't seem to get any deeper than that.

    These two in a nutshell are where I leave evolution. They imply power outside the reach of God.

    To say God uses evolution I believe is still a misnomer. I believe His works are His and have been mis-labeled.

    I look forward to your reply.
    Am I allowed to give my version, too? If not, please skip and go to next post.

    Science explains how things happen, by which physical mechanism and by which physical forces things are driven. Science does not attempt to answer the question "why?" in a way that gives meaning in an emotional or religious sense.

    Science is not a substitute for religion, it does not attempt to replace religion. Science explains how things happen/happened, "why" in the sense of "driven by which physical mechanisms and forces", not "why" in the sense of "to what end, what is the deeper meaning behind all of this?".
    Last edited by clulup; 08/09/2005 at 03:24 PM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)
  15. #255  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    Friend Chillig,

    You've made yourself very clear that fanatical Christians (I assume you've excluded me from that group )
    definitely excluded! and that goes for others like Hobbes & Shopharim too

    After the continued reading of this thread and many other sources (Time magazine has this subject as the cover story), I believe I have found my one sticking point against my total acceptance of evolution in two phrases: "natural selection" and "random mutations".
    I don't think anyone uses natural selection or random mutations to explain "why" the natural changes in our world - these are used to explain "how". Is this what you're asking or am I reading you wrong?

    The best answer I can give is that evolution is like a mechanical process that obeys the laws of nature (physics, chemistry, biology). But as to why this process was set in motion, or by whom, that is a different question that we cannot answer by science alone.

    also - what is your sticking point with natural selection or random mutation? is it understanding how these mechanisms work? or is your question about how is it possible that these mechanisms produce advanced lifeforms?
    Last edited by chillig35; 08/09/2005 at 04:06 PM.
    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."
  16. #256  
    let me try and give a real life example of natural selection that has been recorded in recent history:

    Sickle-cell anemia is hereditary blood disorder that mostly affects people of African descent. It is caused by a single genetic mutation within the hemoglobin gene - and the red blood cells are deformed (or "sickle" shaped).
    One in 12 african descendants have the sickle-cell trait (meaning that they carry only one inherited copy of the disease-causing gene, but do not have the disease itself), whereas one in 400 african descendants have the disease (they carry two inherited copies of the gene). The disease (anemia) itself is not life-threatening, though it does cause the sufferer to tire easily and to feel weak in general.
    However, the interesting thing is that people with this disease are resistant to malaria - because the malaria parasite is unable to survive in the abnormal red blood cells. So one hypothesis is that since sickle-cell anemia offers a survival advantage (against malaria) this genetic trait is "selected" for and therefore passed on to future descendants. The side-effect of anemia is a worthwhile trade-off because it still allows the sufferers to survive the more deadly malaria. Normally it would be hard to find "hard evidence" to support this hypothesis since this trait has probably evolved over hundreds of generations. But in this case, there was a ready-made experiment (a rather gruesome one I must admit) that supported the hypothesis.
    In the late 1700's Dutch slave traders randomly relocated natives from West Africa (which had a history of malaria) into two new regions - Curaco (which did not have a prior history of malaria) and Surinam (which had a history of malaria). Today the descendants in Surinam have a higher sickle-cell frequency than those in Curaco. Malaria helped "select" the current-day Surinam population because those ancestors without the sickle-cell traits died out and therefore could not have descendants.
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  17. #257  
    Perhaps you can educate me on the mechanisms of random mutations. My understanding of the use of "random" is that "it just happens". There are no deeper reasons behind the mutations.

    From Webster's:
    Main Entry: 2random
    Function: adjective
    1 a : lacking a definite plan, purpose, or pattern b : made, done, or chosen at random <read random passages from the book>
    2 a : relating to, having, or being elements or events with definite probability of occurrence <random processes> b : being or relating to a set or to an element of a set each of whose elements has equal probability of occurrence <a random sample>; also : characterized by procedures designed to obtain such sets or elements <random sampling>
    It seems to me that "random" is the force that drives the change. Please tell me where I'm misunderstanding.
    Recognizing that I volunteered...
  18. #258  
    Excellent example of natural selection. It was very clear.

    However, it helps illustrate my personal misgivings with evolution. Again, it's not for a lack of understanding. I just do not accept "Malaria" as having the power to "select" populations just as I don't see hammers having the power to set nails.
    Recognizing that I volunteered...
  19. #259  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    Perhaps you can educate me on the mechanisms of random mutations. My understanding of the use of "random" is that "it just happens". There are no deeper reasons behind the mutations.

    From Webster's:

    It seems to me that "random" is the force that drives the change. Please tell me where I'm misunderstanding.
    Consider this - when you roll dice - you cannot predict the exact numbers that are going to show up. Is this a random event? For most practical purposes, yes. But it is theoretically possible to predict exactly what numbers would show up - if you could measure in incredibly minute detail all the motions of your wrist, the faint air currents in the room, and so forth - and then compute the trajectory of the dice. This would involve using technology that is not yet available and enormous computing power (that may not be available either).
    So, in one sense, nothing in nature is truly random - it is just that for all practical purposes we do not curently posses either the knowledge or technology to compute and predict the outcome of a particular event.

    Random mutation is actually not that simple. Our bodies are continuously under assault (UV radiation, chemicals in the air, or ingested in our bodies etc) and as a result the DNA molecules are constantly being bombarded and knocked out of whack (the DNA strings are broken up or the wrong DNA molecule is inserted in the wrong place and so forth). However our cells have very sophisticated proof-reading and correction mechanisms (like a spell-checker) that usually fix most of these problems. However sometimes the error-correction mechanism "slips" and lets a mutant DNA molecule through or under certain conditions (say extreme UV radiation exposure) the error-correction mechanism is not able to keep up as it gets swamped with too much "wrong" DNA and then lets the mutant DNA out. In almost 99.99% of the cases, the mutant DNA is either useless or lethal and it never survives. However, in those rare cases where it does not kill the host organism, this mutant DNA could (under the right circumstances) confer a survival or reproductive advantage and thus will be retained and passed on to future generations.

    Random mutation is just one of the mechanisms that drives change in evolution. Probably the bigger driving force for change in most organisms is sexual reproduction. During fertilization there is an exchange of genetic material between the male and female chromosomal sets (think of it as shuffling two different decks of cards). This shuffling of genes is random (in the sense I've outlined above) but it has several advantages:


    • Some genes "accidently" (or randomly) get shuffled into another gene - and so a new gene is formed as a result, that has either entirely new properties or a mixture of properties of the two original genes.
    • It protects against lethal random mutations (since you are guaranteed to have at least one unmutated "good" copy of every essential gene)
    • Allows resistance to infectious diseases because the gene shuffling produce novel varities of immune-defense gene
    • Produces greater variation among offspring.
    People who question evolution are right in that random mutation alone cannot easily explain the speed (and variety) with which life evolved. However when random DNA mutations is combined with the gene shuffling that takes place during sexual reproduction this speeds up the evolution process enormously.
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  20. #260  
    Quote Originally Posted by AlaskanDad
    It seems to me that "random" is the force that drives the change. Please tell me where I'm misunderstanding.
    Mutations in the DNA happen randomly. They happen - among other things - because the mechanism of DNA replication is not 100.0% error-free.

    Most of the mutations are bad for the carrier of those mutations, the carriers do not develop at all, die early, and/or have less offspring because of their disadvantages. A small fraction of the mutations are beneficial. The carriers of those mutations benefit, meaning they have more offspring due to the advantageous mutations. Since the mutations in the DNA are hereditary, the offspring will carry the beneficial mutations, too. This is the (non-random!) selection part of evolution.

    Evolution is NOT a random process. But it is a spontaneous process because carriers of advantageous mutations obviously have more offspring, leading to the spread of the advantageous mutation in the population. Over generations, advantageous mutations accumulate, leading to new traits, and eventually new species.
    Last edited by clulup; 08/09/2005 at 05:13 PM.
    “Reality is that which, when you stop believing in it, doesn't go away.” (Philip K. ****)

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