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lucaspa

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About lucaspa

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    New York
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    U of Minn. Biochemistry, Ph.D.
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    Tissue Engineering
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    Director of Orthopaedic Research

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  1. I suggest you read Kitty Ferguson's Fire in the Equations. Technically, we don't. Existence could be The Matrix. Or it could be a computer program like the Sherlock Holmes hologram program was placed within in Star Trek the Next Generation. Or it could all take place in the imagination of another being. ydoaPs, in any search for truth we must accept some statements to be true even tho we may never be able to prove they are true. The seminal statements seem to be: 1. I exist. 2. I am sane. You need the first for objective existence (it's not a dream) and you need the second so that you can trust your sense impressions. All evidence is what we sense (personal experience): what we see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or feel emotionally. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged I must have missed the data for these "many more universes". Can you please post references to data showing these "many more universes" exist? I think you need to make a distinction between hypotheses/theories and reality. Yes, we have many hypotheses concerning the existence of multiple universes, but none of them has any supporting data. Without that, you can't say they are "realities". BTW, 50 years ago we did not have biblical creationism. The corpse was only exhumed in 1962 with The Genesis Flood by Whitcomb and Morris.
  2. Genesis 2 is an allegory. This becomes clear when you realize that Adam and Eve in Hebrew are not names like "Paul", "Mary", "Joe", "Sue", etc. That is, words that are only used as names. Instead we have a story of Dirt and Hearth. What is the "Fall"? It's disobedience of God, and thus being emotionally cut off from God. Adam and Eve are meant to stand for each and every one of us. At some point in our lives we all disobey God. YEC makes a theological mistake because it misinterprets parts of some letters of Paul. It takes those letters out of the social and historical context and has them mean something Paul never meant. Paul was never trying to make a coherent theology. He thought the end of the world was coming in his generation and his task was to spread the gospel to as many Gentiles as he could. But Paul was also a Jew and wanted those Gentiles to accept parts of Judaism. However, Paul had already told them the Laws did not apply to them, and the Torah does not mention Jesus. So Paul tried to make a connection between Jesus and Adam. So now Biblical literalists (and YECs are all literalists) have the idea that if Adam and Eve were not real and there was no Fall, then there is no need of Jesus and salvation. However, in many other places Paul emphasizes that Jesus died for our sins, not Adam and Eve's. Ironically, evolution by natural selection gives an explanation why humans tend to disobey God. As Darwin and others have pointed out, natural selection is incapable of absolute altruism. "If it could be proved that any part of the structure of any one species had been formed for the exclusive good of another species, it would annihilate my theory, for such could not have been produced through natural selection." Origin, pg 501. Natural selection always has a selfish component for the individual. Disobedience is based on selfishness: it is placing our interests (whether eating a forbidden fruit or taking a cookie from the cookie jar) over what our parents or God tell us. We need salvation because of the very process God used to create us. The Genesis 2 authors did not about evolution and natural selection, but they could see the inherent selfishness in humans. So they made the allegory. Now, the consequences of the "Fall" turn out to be naive but touching explanations for some puzzling aspects of the natural world: why women have pain in childbirth but still want sex later, why farming is so difficult, and why humans hate snakes.
  3. I think you are using the Strong Anthropic Principle. The problem is that the SAP has an error in logic. You are saying that the universe must have the values for the neutron and everything else just as it is. But it doesn't. You have made an error in logic. Here, read this carefully: "According to the Anthropic Principle, we are entitled to infer facts about the universe and its laws from the undisputed fact that we (we anthropoi, human beings) are here to do the inferring and observing. The Anthropic Principle comes in several flavors. In the "weak form" it is a sound, harmless, and on occasion useful application of elementary logic: if x is a necessary condition for the existence of y, and y exists, then x exists. If consciousness depends on complex physical structures, and complex physical structures depend on large molecules composed of elements heavier than hydrogen and helium, then, since we are conscious, the world must contain such elements. "But notice that there is a loose cannon on the deck in the previous sentence: the wandering "must". I have followed the common practice in English of couching a claim of necessity in a technically incorrect way. As any student in logic class soon learns, what I really should have written is: *It must be the case that*: if consciousness depends ... then, since we are conscious, the world *contains* such elements. The conclusion that can be validly drawn is only that the world *does* contain such elements, not that it *had* to contain such elements. It *has* to contain such elements *for us to exist*, we may grant, but it might not have contained such elements, and if that had been the case, we wouldn't be here to be dismayed. It's as simple as that. Take a simpler example. Suppose John is a bachelor. Then he *must* be single, right? (That's a truth of logic.) Poor John -- he can never get married! The fallacy is obvious in this example, and it is worth keeping it in the back of your mind as a template to compare other arguments with." Daniel Dennett, Darwin's Dangerous Ideas, pp. 165-166. BTW, I did not vote in the poll because you did not state "I believe God exists." "I believe God does not exist." You also did not put the third alternative: "I do not know if God exists or not." That third alternative is the position of science.
  4. I think this is not a forum that is most appropriate for Science Forums. You are not going to get a detailed theological discussion here. I suggest www.christianforums.com or www.beliefnet.com. I would say that there is an inherent difficulty in basing any theological argument solely on Matthew. Matthew is specifically addressed to the Jews. The birth narrative, for instance, is tailored to make Jesus seem as much like Moses as possible, to make Jesus more palatable to the Jews as Messiah. I would say that it is very possible that Matthew deliberately made works part of salvation because Judaism placed such an emphasis on "works" in the form of the Laws. Thus, Matthew again would be making Christianity more palatable to the Jews than Paul's theology (which came before the gospel of Matthew was written).
  5. Some may be. But you have not shown that theists are captives. This is especially true in the West. It has been 200-300 years since a person's belief in a different religion would result in abuse and capture. People today routinely change churches or even drop theism without any ill effects from any "captor". It's been stock atheistic dogma for a long time that theists are theists simply out of fear. This is just the latest twist on that theme. As Pioneer points out, we as a society are exercising much stricter control of what he calls "political correctness" or decent treatment of ethnic, gender, and social groups. We have far more punishments available that affect a person now than any religion, who can now only call upon some future and undocumented "eternal punishment". Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged I haven't. The only discord I find myself in is not being able to live up to what is "Right". That is, I feel that some things need to be done -- such as fighting and killing in war -- but I don't delude myself that they are "Right". I also often find myself in conflict between what parts of society think is right and what I was taught is Right. I am facing that right now with respect to the immigration and gay rights issue.
  6. As someone noted, this is not an original idea. Several atheistic scientists are playing around with it. Your time frame is way off. H. sapiens appeared at least 100,000 years ago. Species as modified apes go back at least 3.6 million years (A. afarensis). By 10,000 years ago people were starting agriculture and having societies larger than the extended family tribe. So your selective advantage has to go back at least 100,000 years. You need to develop this and show how "something extra" would be added. Basically what you have is that the religious person would miss the material cause and effect because he would be looking for a divine cause and effect. This would be a selective disadvantage. Anything that interferes with correctly perceiving the objective physical world is going to be, in the long run, disadvantageous. For instance, if you have a religious person thinking gods set fires, then that person is going to miss the correlation between lightning and fires, thus exposing himself to being caught in a prairie fire after a thunderstorm. Let me throw out an alternative evolutionary scenario: This one is based on the existence of deity. It relies upon the fact that any supernatural being is going to have to communicate with humans thru their material brains. So, a new variation appears with a new set of neural pathways such that they can receive communication from deity. Call it a "deity detecting module" in the brain, and it is genetically based. This module has immediate selective advantages: 1. A source of information not available to the senses of the individual: "there's a large predator in the tall grass over there; unless you change your direction it will see you and eat you." 2. A source of support in the face of mental anguish such as grief, depression, loss, etc. Instead of being incapacitated by these emotions, and thus less able to cope with new problems, a person with the module is more functional. 3. There may be other selective advantages, but let's work with these two. So now the module spreads by normal natural selection. Because of the social nature of humans, people without the module can also reap the benefits of those with the module, thus slowing penetration. There may also be linked benefits to not having the module. At any rate, the module today is not fixed in the population, but has 90% penetrance. That explains the 10% of people who are atheists.
  7. You are going to have to document that "main stream school of thought". As far as I know, the "main stream" is that 1) dino populations were declining in numbers of individuals and species but 2) the meteor killed the rest. As an example: http://www.unmuseum.org/deaddino.htm Notice that Horner is one of those documenting the decline; I doubt he and others are going to fail to rule out sampling bias. There perhaps were fires set around the world, but that is not the same as "fire storm". Probably, but a comet comes in many smaller pieces spread out in space. Remember, most of a comet is ice and other non-rock materials. They don't have high levels of iridium. So the high levels of iridium in the K-T boundary strata, the shocked quartz crystals in the Atlantic, and the Chicxulub crator all refute the comet and support the meteor. But the ancestors were the same size as shrews, right? And your argument was based on size. You are correct; elephants eat 300 - 750 pounds per day. But they do need to eat nearly every day. http://science.jrank.org/pages/2425/Elephant-Habitat-food.html http://www.mce.k12tn.net/animals/elephant.htm They also need considerable amounts of water. Elephants do not have a "slow" metabolism. Nor are they very well insulated. In these regards they would be similar to the large dinos with their warm-blooded metabolism but no insulating feathers or fur. The point is that, altho smaller warm-blooded animals need more food per body weight than larger animals, the absolute amount of that food is much smaller. A shrew ancestor weighing 20 grams may require 40 grams of food per day, 200% of its body weight. But an elephant requires 159 kg or 159,000 grams per day. The same amount of food that an elephant eats in a day will keep a shrew ancestor alive for 3,975 days. But all things are not equal. Leaving out the "dormant", smaller animals can find shelter easier than larger animals. Shrews today dig burrows, and the ancestors probably did as well. That provides shelter. They are often better insulated -- compare elephants to shrews. While larger animals can go a few days without food, their overall requirements for food are much are larger. A shrew can scavenge the 40 gm of food it needs per day and not miss a day, while that 40 gm is literally nothing to the requirement of an elephant. A fire that sweeps over the landscape will still leave small amounts of untouched vegetation. Of course, since shrews live on insects and worms, many of which are underground, it's even better for the shrew. Are you sure they would have been "protected"? How long would the winter have lasted? Not just a few days, but years. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/03/100304142242.htm " In both cases, new climate model simulations show that the effects would last for more than a decade." http://www.eoearth.org/article/Nuclear_winter Is the trigger only conditions, or is it tied to seasons? For hibernation, much of the trigger is the length of the day, which causes the production of a protein Hibernation Induction Trigger. Is estivation similar? Also, if estivation happens when the animal is not prepared for it with adequate fat reserves, won't it die if kept in estivation too long? The Cretaceous up until about 400 ky prior to the KT impact was mild instead of hot: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science?_ob=ArticleURL&_udi=B6WD3-4SYTC4S-1&_user=10&_coverDate=12%2F31%2F2008&_rdoc=1&_fmt=high&_orig=search&_sort=d&_docanchor=&view=c&_searchStrId=1390334380&_rerunOrigin=google&_acct=C000050221&_version=1&_urlVersion=0&_userid=10&md5=93e72baf9854ecb34c6967ca7e80dcb3 What I am reading is that the KT event caused the widespread death of plants in both the ocean and the land. The food chain collapsed. Larger herbivores would have died without enough plant material. The carnivores followed. Since most dinos and large aquatic reptiles were close to the top of the food chain, they starved. Smaller animals that had a more diverse diet, including a few species of birds, were able to survive.
  8. That isn't what we are talking about. People make stuff up in science, too. Actually, come to think of it, every hypothesis is initially made up. And some of them do indeed explain things. No, what we are talking about are the limitations of science. Science is a limited form of knowing. It restricts itself to part of the total of human experience and knowledge. By doing that, science is very reliable in its area, but the price is that science doesn't cover everything. Because science is so reliable in its limited area, there is always the temptation to extend science beyond its limitations.
  9. We seem to be talking about 2 different things. The layers of sediment are undisturbed up until the layer at the KT boundary. Above that boundary there are no dino fossils. However, below that boundary several paleontologists have done biostratigraphic studies on the numbers of dinos of various species. This is a common practice in paleontology. What they found is that the absolute numbers of individuals in dino species was declining for up to 10 million years before the impact. What is more, the number of species was also declining as several species went extinct before the impact. Most commentary of the impact has a fireball that incinerated the biosphere in most of what is now North and South America. However, the biosphere in Asia was not touched by the fireball. Instead, there would have been global winter from all the dust, smoke, and ash kicked up by the impact. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Actually, the KT event was a meteor. There is considerable evidence -- including the crator at Chixulub in Mexico -- to refute this claim. Again, nearly every genera of birds went extinct at the KT boundary. The birds we have today are the descendents of the few surviving genera. This is very off topic. Way back a billion years ago the earch was indeed covered by ice. However, there have been several continents now for over 200 million years and we have had much colder climates no more than 12,000 years ago. Are you thinking of the Ice Age? You put out more CO2 in your car a day than you can ever breathe out of your body. The idea of putting out more CO2 to feed the trees doesn't work. There is only so much CO2 that each tree can absorb. If we put out more CO2 than that, then it goes into the atmosphere and acts as an agent to trap heat on the planet -- which is what is causing global warming. It is too much CO2 already that is causing global warming. But again, that is off topic, so let's stick to why the birds survived the KT extinction, OK? Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged We need to look at this more carefully. Obviously, shrews did survive the KT event, as did other small mammals. Instead, it was the larger dinos that died. Your premise seems to be "no shelter". But smaller animals have a much better chance of finding shelter. They are smaller and the shelter is thus smaller. And, altho they eat more per body weight, the absolute amount of food they need per day is much smaller. Compare what an elephant and shrew needs per day. An elephant needs tons, a shrew an ounce. So no, in the type of global winter envisioned after the KT impact, the larger animals are more vulnerable: less likely to find shelter, more surface area to radiate body heat, more food required. That is why the larger species died out at the KT and the smaller species survived. A very small number of species survived; that's why it is a mass extinction. I would agree that it seems the burrowers had an advantage; that seems to be what happened with birds. Also species that could go into hibernation -- such as some species of turtles -- also had an advantage. However, estivation would not have helped since that takes heat, and the events after the KT were global winter. Not the right signals to put the animal into estivation. BTW, it's not really "pre-adaption" as evolutionists use the term. It's luck.
  10. lucaspa

    Veteran's Day

    "The battalion had come back from Blanc-Mont ridge. No, the battalion was still up there. But anyway, oh hell, let me get this straight. A hundred and thirty-four of us had come back from Blanc-Mont ridge. We had gone up a full-strength battalion, a thousand strong." Sgt. Elton E. Mackin, 1st Battalion, 5th Marines. The attack was Nov. 1, 1918
  11. You are speaking about altruism. This has been extensively studied because it does, on the surface, present a problem for natural selection. However, this was first solved for social insects and the solution is general enough to apply to other altruistic situations. As Sisyphus has pointed out, it is a about alleles (forms of genes). Every diploid organism has 2 alleles for each gene -- one from the father and one from the mother. But this means that you share alleles with your parents, your siblings, and your offspring. In fact, you share half your alleles with each. So, if your sacrifice allows 2 of any of these -- parents, siblings, or offspring -- to survive, then the number of your alleles stays the same in the population. If you save more, then the number of your alleles actually increases. So, if you have an allele for self-sacrifice, that allele can increase in the population as long as the possessors of the allele save more individuals with that allele than is lost when the possessors die. This works best when the population is a small clan, tribe, or group where all the members are some form of relative. That means you have many copies of your alleles in the population. Saving members of the population ensures the propagation of that allele. Now, like many evolutionary traits, humans have extrapolated altruism that works for relatives to a larger group of people who are not related. Thus we have military personnel sacrificing themselves for a nation -- most of whom are not their relatives. Or people sacrificing themselves for a religious group or some other ideal.
  12. iNow, could a "mathematically modeling of the universe" cause photons to travel a different path? Remember Eddington's experiment with the path of light during the solar eclipse in 1919? The photons were on one path until they entered the spacetime around the sun and that curved them to a different path. Could "just a word" result in clocks keeping different time in high earth orbit from those on the ground? These data show that spacetime does indeed have physical and temporal properties. As just another example, the expansion of spacetime stretches the wavelength of light. That is a physical property. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged See above. I am talking data, not semantics. What you are doing with the references is trying to use philosophy to argue against data. Not very scientific. Notice that both references are older than the one I provided. In science, data changes our ideas. We are still faced with the problem that all the "something from nothing" that has been observed has occurred in an existing spacetime. Something that is real and exerts real physical and temporal effects. Can you get a spacetime from "nothing" (the absence of a spacetime)? So far, no one knows.
  13. You didn't go on to read the articles in the special edition, did you? No, you cherry-picked. Here is the first paragraph of the first article: "Traditionally, space was merely a threedimensional (3D) static stage where the cosmic drama played out over time. Einstein’s theory of general relativity (1) replaced this concept with 4D spacetime, a dynamic geometric entity with a life of its own, capable of expanding, fluctuating, and even curving into black holes." Measuring Spacetime: From the Big Bang to Black Holes Now, iNow, would you like to tell us how you measure something that is not tangible? Einstein's equations allowed us to to describe mathematically that tangible substance that is spacetime. From the second article: "More than 80 years later, the strange fabric that makes up our universe is more important than ever. Scientists have been devising test after test in attempts to trip up Einstein’s description of the nature of space and time, and so far, all have confirmed the strange picture. The fabric of spacetime is real, and scientists can see it ripple and twist." The Intelligent Noncosmologist’s Guide to Spacetime Do you still want to claim that the series of articles supports your position that spacetime is intangible?
  14. That part of the definition does not apply. Altho, come to think of it, Darwinian selection has invented, and evolutionary biologists do refer to evolution as "inventing" structures. No, I am not saying that evolution has a "specific function or end". I am saying that natural selection has a short term goal: designing the population to fit the current environment. Don't put words into my mouth. Evolution and natural selection are not synonymous. Nor is there an specific short term goal as getting a specific design. I am asking you to shed your implications; they are erroneous. Design does not mandate an intelligence. Look at what natural selection IS. As you noted, it is an algorithm. That is, it is a series of steps that, if followed by a servile dunce, is guaranteed to yield a result. In this case the guaranteed result of natural selection is design. And you are seriously going to try to tell people that an eye is a structure and not a design? Riiiiggghht. Are you then going to try to sell them a bridge? Perhaps you will try Dawkins' approach and try to use the word "designoid". Instead I am asking you to do what Darwin did: face the problem squarely. Living organisms have designs in them. How did those designs get there? Are they the result of being manufactured by an intelligent entity? Or are they the result of an algorithm? They are the result of an algorithm. Then shed your preconceptions. That is what you are supposed to do when doing science. Is that "necessarily" really necessary. NO! You seem intent on insisting otherwise, and I am baffled as to why. You are conflating "design" with structure. Sorry, but the algorithm DOES design. When an intelligence designs, he knows exactly what each part is for in the overall design, does he not? Whoever heard of a watchmaker who doesn't know how the watch works? But when humans use Darwinian selection to design (and natural and artificial selection are just aspects of Darwinian selection), they don't know how the design works. What's more, structures are not all that result. Instead, one result is a program that can beat the human checkers champ at checkers. The program has whole sections of code that the human who set up the Darwinian selection cannot figure out what it does. Or in another example there is a circuit that can discriminate between verbal commands. What's more, the people using Darwinian selection speak of the algorithm as doing the designing: "So it's not told anything about what's good and what's bad or how it achieves the behavior. Evolution just plays around making changes, and if the changes produce an improvement, then fine. It doesn't matter whether it's chang-ing the circuit design or using just about any weird, subtle bit of physics that might be going on. The only thing that matters to evolution is the overall behavior. This means you can explore all kinds of ways of building things that are completely be-yond the scope of conventional methods. I allow evolution to write all the design rules." Brian Thompson in Evolving A Conscious Machine BY Gary Taubes Discover 19: 72-79, July 1998 I am not saying "ignore them". Listen carefully: I am saying do not let them define the terms or the debate. It is the IDers that have changed the meaning. You are letting IDers adopt the terms scientists use and give them different meanings. Why is it OK for IDers to do that but we must not insist on the correct meanings? As I said, and you agree: "design" has an implicit prepositional phrase after it: "by an intelligent entity". You have gone so far as to say this prepositional phrase is "necessary". But it is not. Darwin didn't think it was necessary. Neither do I. You can have design without an intelligent entity. You can have design by an algorithm. Now who is changing definitions? You say sedimentary rock has structure. But that is not at all the same as an eye, is it? Or an ear, or a placenta, or any of the other thousands of designs that make up living organisms. Then it is time to face reality and realize that this is not the case. Isn't that what science is supposed to do: reality? Here you want to cling to an error: design requires intelligence. LOL! Not at all. I told you to read Dennett's Darwin's Dangerous Idea. Dennett will introduce you to others that have looked at NS this way. I have quoted other scientific articles where Darwinian selection is viewed as a designer. Then, of course, there is always Darwin. And, of course, there is Dawkins who also sees this as design. He coined the term "designoid" because he makes the same mistake you do: design must mean an intelligence. So he used "designoid" for those designs in living organisms that are made by natural selection and not an intelligence. That's the point: they are not the accepted definitions. You have added an unspoken prepositional phrase and then you try to tell us it is part of the definition. Sure I did. You just used another common definition of "design". But that doesn't negate 2c. Kind of sidestepped my argument, didn't you? First you start out claiming that "fitness is the degree of relative reproductive success". I point out to you that this is not the case, that reproductive success is just a means of measuring fitness. Fitness is not reproductive success, but can be measured by reproductive success. Then you try to come back and say the same thing in a different way, ignoring my arguments. The phenotype is "fit" as the phenotype. Reproductive success is one way of identifying what phenotypes are fit. But notice that identifying fitness is not always retroactive. The reason it is difficult to predict fitness in advance is because the environment is usually too complex. But when we do know the environment well, what designs are going to be "fit" can be predicted in advance. This was done in this study: Evaluation of the rate of evolution in natural populations of guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Reznick, DN, Shaw, FH, Rodd, FH, and Shaw, RG. Science 275:1934-1937, 1997. The lay article is Predatory-free guppies take an evolutionary leap forward, pg 1880. The researchers predicted -- in advance -- what phenotype the population would evolve by natural selection. Now who is stretching definitions? Remember, the examples I gave have a purpose/function. The examples of structure you gave me -- such as layers in sedimentary rock -- do not. If we are looking at the definintions of "design" as a noun, we come to this: "5 a : an underlying scheme that governs functioning" Doesn't an eye, ear, legs, blood clotting system fit this? If not, why not? Here you are confusing the verb of "design" with the noun. If the entity does not result from the verb -- with your addition of an intelligent agent -- then the noun doesn't apply. You are obfuscating the language. LOL! Which means that such a process will not give you eyes, ears, etc. These cannot arise from chance! You were trying to claim that designs could arise this way. You keep ducking that they cannot. LOL! Do you realize that "descent with modification" is natural selection? Remember that natural selection is a two-step process? Remember that natural selection requires inheritance? "descent with variation" is natural selection, not something different. LOL! Nice try. Remember, I am saying that design arises from an unintelligent process. ID doesn't say that. It is you that is using the standard ID argument: design requires intelligence; natural selection cannot produce design. Let's remember what you said and the context: "I have no problem with the quote: it means only that where there is a "useful" variation, individuals with that variation benefit -- which is what "useful" means in this context. It is a tautology." Now, what quote are you referring to? A quote from Darwin describing natural selection. So what did Darwin say again? "If, during the long course of ages and under varying conditions of life, organic beings vary at all in the several parts of their organization, and I think this cannot be disputed; if there be, owing to the high geometric powers of increase of each species, at some age, season, or year, a severe struggle for life, and this certainly cannot be disputed; then, considering the infinite complexity of the relations of all organic beings to each other and to their conditions of existence, causing an infinite diversity in structure, constitution, and habits, to be advantageous to them, I think it would be a most extraordinary fact if no variation ever had occurred useful to each beings welfare, in the same way as so many variations have occured useful to man. But if variations useful to any organic being do occur, assuredly individuals thus characterized will have the best chance of being preserved in the struggle for life; and from the strong principle of inheritance they will will tend to produce offspring similarly characterized. This principle of preservation, I have called, for the sake of brevity, Natural Selection." [Origin, p 127 6th ed.] Nowhere did Darwin state "individuals with a useful variation benefit". You made up that tautology. Again, the result of selection is an effect on reproductive success. It's not that a variation has an effect on reproductive success. Rather, as Darwin pointed out, the effect is on the performance of the individual in the competition for scarce resources. The result of doing better in the competition is increased reproductive success. The selection comes first, then the reproductive success. You are having the reverse: reproductive success then selection. Look at all the equations in population genetics: first you have selection, then changes in allele frequency due to differential reproduction. As I pointed out, in many, many studies the "benefit" is determined without reference to reproductive success. The Grants determined the benefit of larger beaks in a drought in the Galapagos to the ability to crack larger seeds for food. In the peppered moth studies, Kettering determined the benefit of coloration to different predation rates. And again, I say discard the connotations. The term is fine; we just need to get rid of the connotations. The problem isn't the terms, but your insistence on tacking the action of an intelligence to them. Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Can you give me some examples in evolutionary history where this happened? I can't think of one. Remember, "environment" to an evolutionary biologist means everything that interacts with the organism. That is so complex that I can't see one happening again. Most people, and I think you here, use "environment" to mean "climate". But even here I don't see too many examples. How many times did the last series of Ice Ages oscillate? Yet we don't see the major mammals oscillating as the climate grew warmer and colder. Instead, we see species of mammoths either 1) going extinct in the warm periods or 2) tracking the environment by moving north or south. In the new glaciations we see new species of mammoths evolve, not a species evolving to warm weather and then evolving back again.
  15. I'm afraid it is you making the common mistake that spacetime is not tangible. It is. See: http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/summary/296/5572/1417 Science May 14, 2002 Merged post follows: Consecutive posts merged Not exactly. Remember, virtual particles do come from "something": spacetime. The reason the "Nothing can come from nothing, therefore god did it" is specious is because the First Law of Thermodynamics (matter and energy can neither be created nor destroyed) applies within the universe. It says nothing about getting a universe to begin with. Therefore you can't use the argument because it does not apply.
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