Thursday, April 17, 2008

Evolutionary Fesh

"Evolution is a theory. It is also a fact. And facts and theories are different things, not rungs in a hierarchy of increasing certainty. Facts are the world's data. Theories are structures of ideas that explain and interpret facts. Facts do not go away when scientists debate rival theories to explain them. Einstein's theory of gravitation replaced Newton's, but apples did not suspend themselves in mid-air, pending the outcome. And humans evolved from ape-like ancestors whether they did so by Darwin's proposed mechanism or by some other yet to be discovered"

I'm a fanatic evolutionist, I believe life, intelligent or not, exists elsewhere in the universe. So it's no surprise that I usually get into hot debates with people, educated people, about evolution and sadly they almost always voice pathetic objections to the theory of evolution, here are the top two:

1. Evolution is at odds with religion.
I respect people choosing to believe that the world was created as explained in the Holy Books: in 7 days with humans created directly by God. What I don't respect is people claiming that the theory of evolution is wrong because it claims that we evolved without having God in the picture. Evolution is just the tip of our understanding of how we got here. Our current scientific understanding begins with a single moment, the moment of the Big Bang. There's no time before it and there is no explanation of how this moment came to be, sounds familiar? Yes, that's the creation moment according to science. Science and Religion do not disagree on whether there was a creation moment or not, they simply differ on when it was! Agree with whichever version you like, but don't dismiss science as Godless.

2. If it is true, why are we not evolving anymore?
The short answer is that we are evolving, just slowly. You need to factor in that based on fossil evidence humans started evolving from chimpanzees around 5-8 million years ago. Mind you that currently the difference in DNA sequence between a chimpanzee and a human is ONLY 5%. Think about that, it took 5 million years for 5% change in DNA. So of course you can't spot OUR evolution because our total documented history is little less than 10,000 years. But to answer your question in insects like the fruit fly, where the average generation lifetime is a lot shorter, evolution has been spotted in various lab experiments. Google it.

16 comments:

MechanicalCrowds said...

Science is godless. The existence of god is not a premise or an assumption to any scientific theory. Evolution is at odds with many religions and religious people acknowledge that themselves and hence deny evolution altogether.

And just a note about the 5% DNA difference between humans and chimps: you should look up "junk DNA". It kinda makes the 5% comparison unfair. But I do agree with the point you were trying to make there though.

And another note about extraterrestrial life, look up the drake equation :D.

Feshfesh said...

Well yeah, this is the mainstream view, but not mine :) For me the Big Bang theory is a creation moment because science never ventured to explain how this super-dense body came to be or how it was created and how there was no time before it. Maybe science doesn't 'prove' God is there but to have the leading theory of our existence admit that time and matter "happened" out of nothing, you must admit is strangely religion-like.

I'm not aware of junk DNA, but I'm aware of the various experiments done on fruit flies and proved evolution. And yeah I'm well aware of Drake's equation and even blogged about it before. And although Darke's equation tries to quantify the possibility of intelligent life, I believe that life is out there whether intelligent or simple.

that guy said...

check this out:

http://youtube.com/watch?v=bsPlFTOX1OY

Feshfesh said...

Hehehehehe I like the part where Mr. Garrison actually threw crap at him :D

MechanicalCrowds said...

Feshfesh,

The big bang theory does NOT say the things happened out of nothing. Science simply says "we don't know yet" with regards to pre-singularity or pre-bigbang events. Nothing is religion-like here.

My point regarding junk DNA is that you can't really use DNA as an indicator for organism complexity. For example, the blowfish has the same genome size as humans!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Junk_dna
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C-value_enigma

MechanicalCrowds said...

Ah, you weren't talking about a 5% SIZE difference were you? Makes my point less relevant, you can ignore it...

Munqy said...

Actually, a few theories have been debated regarding the creation of the big bang, nothing very solid and all a bit out there (brane theory and bubble universes colliding to form the big bang for example). However, I think that the more we get closer to understanding the universe, the more layers we'll find. God has a sense of humour, and is making us run after the carrot.

The strictest scientific practices may have no room for religion, but I personally see much that displays that a higher power is behind everything. The big bang theory has always been heavily linked to religion, and in fact was originally discarded because it was too "theological": http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophical_and_religious_interpretations_of_the_Big_Bang_theory

I believe in evolution, but I believe that it was a tool to create mankind. Say, for example, that the scientific community could find no proof to go against the creation theory - that would basically prove the existence of God. If the existence of God was proved without doubt, that would negate belief - you would not believe in the existence of God, you would KNOW the existence of God. It would be a downright idiot who would refuse to believe in god in the face of overwhelming scientific evidence, and belief would count for nothing. It's because of this that so many people out there seeking to "prove" God and religion piss me off; religion is about belief not proof.

As for the 5% DNA difference and Junk DNA, well no one really knows what junk DNA does yet. It might do something we're not aware of, it might be a remenant of our evolution or it might simply be empty space. I would say that in any of those cases that it is just as relevant to evolution. Although they might serve no purpose, they can only be transmitted through generations (or mutation, which is based on evolution anyway) so even if they are useless, they still must have come from from the same original source, thus evolution.

Oh yeah, and we've had the alien debate before :)

Feshfesh said...

MC, as Munqy mentioned there are interpretations to the Big Bang theory that indeed link it to religion. On the link Munqy shared there are some comments on how people have linked it to Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

On the other hand, even if science finds something before the Big Band, as Munqy mentioned, I’m sure that there is an end to this chain. Once we reach the ‘quark’ of the universe that, in my view, is the creation moment and I’m very confident we’ll find it, maybe in a 100 years or a million.

And Munqy, what the hell?! This is supposed to be a "comment" not a freaken 113 paper?!

DailyAntics said...

very intelligent input, munqy, why dont you just have another beer then?

Munqy said...

*BURP*

mmmmmmmmm, beeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeer

Oh yeah, Fesh wasn't able to come with us for the sun/pool/beer day was he? Poor Feshfesh.

Feshfesh said...

You would think that drinking an ice-cold Saqqara in elCairo’s uberly sunny weather while in the pool of The Club would make me drool. But I’ll have you know that yesterday I journeyed across the Wastelands in the freaken torrential rain and huddled with a group of friends to watch a movie and drink beer.

And yes the movie sucked, yes the beer was warm and yes I almost got rapped coming back as I took the wrong night bus and ended up in a ghetto... where am I going with this, you ask? I don't know.

Munqy said...

Hey I dunno man, getting raped in a Polish ghetto sounds like the sort of thing you might be in to, you know?

Feshfesh said...

Your deep understanding of the inner workings of my sick sick mind amazes me....


....so how you dddddddddoooooooooiiiiiiiiinnnnnnn?

Munqy said...

Interesting shit, thinks for Sandmonkey for providing it:

http://www.newscientist.com/channel/life/dn13620?DCMP=NLC-nletter&nsref=dn13620

zoss (in the role of the devil's advocate) said...

re point 1, I think you're mudding the waters a bit here..

The statement you mention, as far as I understand, is argued for using one of:

a. Some scriptures do describe a particular methodology for the creation of human beings (Clay and breathing and so forth,) which appears to be quite different from the story told by evolution by natural selection.

b. Based on some literal interpretation of the scripture, both the ages of our planet, and of our species, are vastly different from those measured by scientific methods, and required by evolution, respectively. The latter being supported by the explanation you give for point 2.

So, even though I do agree with your position--that science (evolution theory in particular) doesn't invalidate the idea of a creator--I don't believe you've properly addressed the alleged points of contention.

I also don't understand what science being godless means.

Feshfesh said...

Zoss, I'm not talking about literal interpretation of any scriptures or any "studies" that try to estimate the times in any of the Holy Books.

For me it's simple, the story in any of the Holy Books is symbolic, if we still have people in the 21st century who dismiss Evolution as stupid and unproven, although there's a ton of evidence out there that proves it, then I'm sure God was wise enough not to explain that theory to the earliest prophets thousands of years ago.