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Everything posted by Laurens

  1. Read 'Climbing Mount Improbable' by Richard Dawkins, he explains how the eye could have evolved. It's really not much of a problem for evolution.
  2. I don't see how that relates directly to time travel.
  3. It's slightly unrelated, but if we had bright yellow plants would we get blue fruit? I understood that fruit and berries evolved colours that were a high contrast against the green background (reds and oranges etc) so that animals could see them more easily... I thought it would be cool to write a sci-fi book about a planet with yellow trees that produced blue fruit... EDIT: Obviously I need to work that into a story somehow first
  4. From what I hear the asteroid impact seems the most likely explanation - it explains the sudden extinction found at the K - T boundary, and the high levels of iridium. Plus we have the Chicxulub Crater... For me these all provide strong evidence for an asteroid impact. How does the predation hypothesis account for these observations?
  5. You might enjoy this documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MuNFZTQGXCs
  6. William Lane Craig has admitted that nothing you could show him would challenge his faith There is no reason why the faithful cling to God, it's completely irrational - that's exactly the problem with it!
  7. There are many explanations for this that do not involve the supernatural. He could have been using a similar technique to the one that Peter Popoff was exposed as using by James Randi - basically having an earpiece with a person on the other end giving information about audience members. Or he could have obtained some information about some of the things audience members were expecting to have healed, and where in the arena they would be sitting (if the tickets were given out with specific seats on them). Or it could have been a setup. Or he could have made a wild guess and got lucky. Whatever happened it wasn't a miracle, and the poor lady was not cured of cancer. Faith "healers" disgust me, making money off people's desires to be cured of their ailments. I'd have him thrown in jail if I had any authority...
  8. We went through it in class today, it turns out I didn't actually have to answer the question that I was struggling with! (Which might explain a lot) - I have got to grips with it now though. Thanks for the help people
  9. Birds can eat a lot of berries that we can't. Even if you don't eat the actual seed, you'd still be taking it away from the tree and discarding them somewhere!
  10. Plants don't have goals, natural selection has selected for advantageous traits. It's not as though a plant could think 'I know, I want to get my seeds transported further away, I will make some fruit so that animals can transport them in their stomachs' - although I'm sure you're aware of this. Questions of purpose, and goals in evolution don't really make sense. This is speculation on my part, so don't take it as fact, but it provides an example of how fruit might have evolved. If there was a plant that developed seeds, perhaps in a small juicy case (adapted for other purposes) that animals adapted to eat and subsequently poop out in a different area, inadvertently that plant would have created a means of spreading its seeds across a wider range - this would have an impact upon its success. The plants that provided the tastiest, most visible fruits would have an advantage over others, so there would be a trend towards sweeter, more nutritious fruit that was brightly coloured to stand out in high contrast against the green background. Over time fruit would get bigger and juicier because the bigger and juicier fruits would be more likely to get eaten, and thus have their seeds germinated (ensuring the survival of their genes into the next generation). Its not as though the goal of the plant is to have it's fruit eaten, its just an advantageous way of doing things therefore it was selected for by natural selection. It's similar to how some plants use insects to transport their pollen by bribing them with nectar or adapting to look like an insect (so that the insect will attempt to mate with it). They don't do so purposefully, it was just that natural selection blindly stumbled upon an advantageous way of doing things.
  11. I'm reading Guns, Germs and Steel by Jared Diamond at the moment. It's a very interesting read.
  12. Why I Became An Atheist - John W. Loftus This book is written by an ex student of William Lane Craig (or as I like to call him, the world's greatest example of the Dunning/Kruger effect) turned atheist - he knows all the apologist arguments, and dismantles them in this book. Jesus Interrupted - Bart D. Ehrman A decent account of exactly why the Gospels aren't reliable. I'd also recommend 'God's Problem' by the same author - in which he looks into the Bible and how it deals with the problem of suffering.
  13. If a tree were to drop its seeds directly on the ground below it this would mean that the parent would be in direct competition with its offspring (is offspring the right word when applied to plants? I dunno, but you get what I mean). Plants have developed ways of avoiding this, some seeds are adapted to be carried away by the wind - like sycamore seeds. Others use the help of animals in a kind of trade off. The tree/plant encases its seeds in a tasty berry or fruit so that an animal will eat it, carry it off in it's stomach and excrete the seeds out in a different location, away from direct competition with the parent. It's also worth noting that some fruits have been artificially selected by humans for greater size/better taste. The ancestral banana actually looked like this before humans started selectively adapting it for their purposes: So in short, fruit exists as a transport system to get the seeds as far away from the parent plant as possible, and some fruits have been enlarged etc by human intervention.
  14. I'm sorry if I'm being slow, or missing something really obvious. I know how I'd work out the magnification from the apparent size/actual size. The thing that is puzzling me is working out the actual size when the scale is larger than the apparent size of the image. If the scale is 31mm long, representing 0.01mm, yet the apparent size of the image is 24mm long - this is 5mm shorter than the length of the scale - I just can't work out how to work that translates to in terms of the actual size. I know the actual size must be shorter than 0.01mm I'm just having trouble working out how much shorter. Am I making sense?
  15. If it was smaller I would see how many times that scale would fit into the image. For example, if the scale for 0.01mm was 10mm long, and the cell in the image was 40mm long then it would be 0.04mm But I'm still not sure how it would work the other way around, especially not in this example...
  16. I have a bit of homework that is puzzling me. There is a sheet of illustrations of cells etc, and I have to try and work out the magnification from their apparent and actual size. I have been stumped a little bit, because in one image the scale at the bottom for 0.01mm is 31mm long, yet the apparent size of the cell is 24mm, my maths is terrible and I have no idea how to translate this into its actual size when the scale is bigger than the apparent size of the image... I hope that makes sense. I'll try to clarify if it's not clear. Much appreciated Laurens
  17. As an atheist I'm kinda opposed to the notion of a singular book 'to live by' as it were, to me that's part of the problem of theism... I'd much rather live by the knowledge gleaned from multiple books
  18. Earth, Portrait of a Planet - Stephen Marshak Life - Richard Fortey Tell Tale Brain - V.S. Ramachandran The Ancestors Tale - Richard Dawkins Cosmos - Carl Sagan Bad Science - Ben Goldacre The Origin of Life - Paul Davies
  19. I have some dinosaurs in my back garden, I often eat their eggs for breakfast
  20. People keep on sending me rapture jokes like there's no tomorrow
  21. Hello I'm Laurens I've been interested in science from a layman's perspective for some time now, and I have recently applied to go any study an 'access to natural sciences' course at my local college with the hope of eventually going on to study Zoology. Good to meet you all
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