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Old 05-30-2004, 11:49 PM   #1
AresProphet
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Default The Evolution Thread

There is one purpose, and only one purpose to this thread. I don't want debates over evolution vs. religion. We can hammer that elsewhere, but we know we won't really get anywhere. If you really are itching to get a word in edgewise about your religion, fuck off and start your own thread.

Instead, I'd like to hear some posters' views on evolution. Are you a group selectionist, individual selectionist, or replicator selectionist? What books do you recommend (or want to criticize) on the subject? What fields do you see new discoveries in evolution coming from, and what fields do you think evolutionary theory has an impact on?

My limited understanding and reading so far convinces me that the gene-centric view holds the most water, when trying to explain complex phenomenon. I just finished reading The Extended Phenotype by Richard Dawkins, and highly recommend it to anyone serious about the subject.

I also have read some articles on evolutionary software that looks pretty exciting. Software that essentially writes itself, given a few parameters and an environment to evolve in. I'll dig one up but I think the primary one I'm thinking of was in Wired a few months back.

Thoughts? Criticisms?
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Old 05-31-2004, 12:05 AM   #2
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short version
I think evolution started in different parts of the world and met somewhere in the middle to make what we have today.
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Old 05-31-2004, 04:18 PM   #3
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I'm wondering Ares, if evolutionists agree on selection, then what is the practical point of debating the particulars (group, individual, replicator)?

Maybe you could narrow the topic matter down into a smaller chunk for discussion?

One point that interests me is the idea some philosphers have that morality is grounded upon the laws of nature. If that were the case, then what moral is derived from natural selection?
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Old 05-31-2004, 10:46 PM   #4
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Ah, Lurikeen the thread killer

Alright, fair enough. The question of the evolution of morality seems a conundrum, but isn't really. I'll give a short synopsis of one theory and if that doesn't satisfy, you're entitled to some hierarchal reductionism and can ask further.

Generally, there are some rules life all over will need to follow in order to survive in an environment consisting of other life. If, say, murder is not enforcably illegalized, anyone is equally likely to be killed. It benefits everyone to enter into a contract of sorts to outlaw murder. Theft works the same way.

So, morality is not really confusing at all, but rather an inevitable consequence whenever you have life interacting with other life.

What makes some people nervous about that, is that it seems to relieve anyone of some kind of moral responsibility when you talk about good of the species or something. For example, in such a 'moral' system, wouldn't you expect the strong to condone killing off the weak? A naive interpretation of a 'natural law' theory would seem that way.

But, what defines strong and weak? What if suddenly, those who were hunted suddenly were given an advantage when an environmental change occurred? A species that eliminated anyone categorically could easily end up extinct. Or, to make a more modern cultural connection, some would say we should just kill off the homeless and disabled. Anyone who naively asserts that obviously never considers he (or she) could by any unfortunate turn of events become one of those.

So morals become purely a matter of self-interest, but not in an objectivist, Ayn-Rand way. Altruism certainly exists, and I can easily explain why.

Natural selection effectively works by eliminating genes or groups or individuals that don't work, simply because they don't work. Far from beingtautological, it's really just a fundamental truth of the nature of the universe we live in (one with linear temporality, permanence of matter, deterministic physics, and so forth). So, if there is a group (or gene, or individual) that is not ideal, it may avoid the reaper of natural selection simply by not being bad. So, an act of altruism (defined a little less rigidly than Dawkins' definition of 'any act that makes the individual more likely, in whatever small increment, to die') might just duck under the radar, so to speak. Natural selection doesn't reach ideal states, either. Rather, it reaches stable states that resist change, even if another one might actually be more ideal fro the survival of the group involved.

Ironically, the best moral systems can be derived from the selfish gene theory. To anyone who takes the time to read The Selfish Gene, it is quickly realized that selfishness, while inherent to all life, is not what we expect on a higher level of interaction, merely because those organisms that do act purely selfish are often less successful.

That's about as brief as I can be, but feel free to ask questions.
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Old 06-01-2004, 12:35 AM   #5
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Next you'll be selling 5 grams of 'selfish' graded from tons of organic material spun through a centrifuge man. 'Selfish Gene' is a figure of speech, about as constant a physical state as whoopee doo. Ya can't inherit that.

Behaviour is either learned or instinctual (aka species specific) to a species not physically selected from among individual genetic variations in species. What social organisation works under a new survival condition doesn't exhibit a physical evolutionary property, like a genetic variation. It is ephemeral, spontaneous, a rule perhaps adopted from one living moment in time that the social adaption happened to apply to species survival and became a shared domestic trait. Communicated upon its discovery by an individual to the group. A new adaption to be passed on to succeeding generations by the social unit.

Hardly evolutionary in the clinical sense of physical sciences.

anyway there's my input, g'luck selling genes I'm all stocked up over here.

Last edited by Misty; 06-01-2004 at 10:17 PM. Reason: break sentences for punctuation and simplification
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:27 AM   #6
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The long and skinny of it is I think evolution is another pretty little theory that has huge gaps and makes wild unsubstantiated claims about the origin of species. It asks men of science to accept with little to no proof an unproven, untestable, and unreproducable "truth" before it can progress into it's supposed unravelling of the progress of life.

Evolution is the "religion of the atheist" and I think if Darwin were alive today he would be fuming mad to see what wild and baseless claims have been made on his behalf.

You have to take evolution on "faith" since it has zero reproducables...and therefore..it, at heart is no different from a deist centered religion.
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Old 06-01-2004, 09:44 AM   #7
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Trith are you flaunting your ignorance again? Shame on you. Stick to the subject that was posted. You are obviously too shallow to even understand the underlying pin of this thread that idiots like you would and could not post something about evolution if they have taken zero efforts to learn about it. Therefore are your thoughts on it qualified? No, they aren't. They are based upon your neglect to make efforts to fully understand the issue. In other words, you are ignorant on the issue.
I haven't a clue about the differentiation of evolutionary theories. I tend to believe that both genetic and environmental issues are supreme in evolution. I wouldn't know if each of the separate theories takes both factors into account or not. Anyone care to enlighten me?
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:00 AM   #8
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What if it wasn't Religion with Adam and Eve and it wasn't evolution, but... what if it was constant inbreeding of monkeys and cave men over time?
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:07 AM   #9
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Well let's see Bumble...4 years of pre-med and 3 Micro biology classes...nahhh you are right we didn't touch on zoology or evolution at all.. .

Again..evolution is in its own right, a baseless religion not unlike all other religions. It is nice to know there are some things that people like Bumble can except on faith though...I figured he was incapable of committing to anything..but I'm proven wrong.
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:22 AM   #10
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Evolution vs creation is not even a valid argument.
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:24 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by AresProphet
What makes some people nervous about that, is that it seems to relieve anyone of some kind of moral responsibility when you talk about good of the species or something. For example, in such a 'moral' system, wouldn't you expect the strong to condone killing off the weak? A naive interpretation of a 'natural law' theory would seem that way.

But, what defines strong and weak? What if suddenly, those who were hunted suddenly were given an advantage when an environmental change occurred? A species that eliminated anyone categorically could easily end up extinct. Or, to make a more modern cultural connection, some would say we should just kill off the homeless and disabled. Anyone who naively asserts that obviously never considers he (or she) could by any unfortunate turn of events become one of those.

So morals become purely a matter of self-interest, but not in an objectivist, Ayn-Rand way. Altruism certainly exists, and I can easily explain why.
Great posting, Ares. Glad to see I gave new life to your dead thread.

What I have in mind is the idea that moral laws are derived from the nature of human beings. What is "good" or "bad" is generally formed from what we percieve as pain (bad) and pleasure (good).

"Strong" and "weak" are viewed through our perceptions over pain and pleasure. Strength is sometimes bad when we are put into situations of recieving unwanted pain by something stronger than us.

I think our natural aversion towards pain affects our moral theory. (Gah! That is a sufficiently vague statement! I won't correct it for now. ) I think it is interesting that some might view natural selection as being bad on the basis that 'it' causes pain. Is that why some groups avoid evolution like the plague and embrace an object of 'good' as creator and sustainer?
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Old 06-01-2004, 10:49 AM   #12
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Learning X's and O's does not make one a coach Trith. Its a little more involved than that.
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Old 06-01-2004, 11:28 AM   #13
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I think evolution started in different parts of the world and met somewhere in the middle to make what we have today.
Actually, the opposite would be true if you accept the theory of Panagea. We all started in the same place then did our own things once the big daddy continent broke up and became the world as we know today
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Old 06-01-2004, 11:46 AM   #14
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Evolution = religion..not fact. It cannot be proven scientifically and if you or anyone you know does not admit that fact first and foremost then they/you are lieing to themselves.

Just like anyone who says "God exists" cannot prove that statement factually either. Unless we witness a frog turn into a monkey today we can never prove the tangeled mess that is Evolution THEORY..

I just get a laugh out of some of you nuts on the the left who get riled when your sacred cow of evolution gets called to the mat. Just like you spend time trying to debunk and disprove creationism I take pride in showing you the error of the "faith" in your ways too.

I'm still waiting on that frog...tell him I've got a bannana for him when he's ready to "poof" into a monkey...

Better yet...if evolution is survival of the fittest..and man evolved from monkeys and are therefore "the fittest" explain to me why monkeys are still here...oh yeah...you can't.
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Old 06-01-2004, 12:25 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Trith
Better yet...if evolution is survival of the fittest..and man evolved from monkeys and are therefore "the fittest" explain to me why monkeys are still here...oh yeah...you can't.
"Survival of the fittest" doesn't entail that species who aren't as far along on the evolution scale simply disappear.

Natural selection simply refers to a process the result of which is observed in nature. The result is the survival and success of species leading to the perpetuation of their genes.

Some species are selected for extinction only because their genetic traits aren't perpetuated. However, that doesn't mean we can't observe succesive species coexisting, i.e. overlapping.

For example, modern humans may have a distant common ancestor with modern day apes.
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:45 PM   #16
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Creationists are the true great apes of today. I keep waiting for you to evolve into humans. If you do, I win, if you don't, you lose. I like my chances...
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Old 06-01-2004, 05:50 PM   #17
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I just get a laugh out of some of you nuts on the the left who get riled when your sacred cow of evolution gets called to the mat. Just like you spend time trying to debunk and disprove creationism I take pride in showing you the error of the "faith" in your ways too.
See there is a fundamental problem with that (very modest I might add ) statement. Let us first agree that Evolution and Creationism are both theories . The difference is one is a far more robust theory, with a wealth of scientific evidence behind it which has been scrutinised, evaluated and verified as true. The evidence brought forward for the other theory has either been debunked shown to be false or is faith based and therefore cannot be proven true or false.

Evolution can be proven scientifically. Has it been proved conclusively? No, that is why it is still a theory. But so far all the evidence produced (and there has been a lot) has stood up to rigorous examination and thus the theory gains more weight.

You dont have to wait to see a frog turn into a monkey (you were looking at the hot chick during Zoology class eh Trith?) there are plenty of sound examples in the microbial world you can use for illustration.

Evolution most definitely does not = religion

Sorry for derail Ares
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:22 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Hormadrune
Creationists are the true great apes of today. I keep waiting for you to evolve into humans. If you do, I win, if you don't, you lose. I like my chances...
Creation vs evolution isnt an argument. Its like arguing gravity vs bananas. Given proof of evolution it still does not even have the capability of describing biogenesis, much less proving it.
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:24 PM   #19
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If I grow a Mario mustache and play a crank organ will you dance for me Trech?
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:25 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Hormadrune
If I grow a Mario mustache and play a crank organ will you dance for me Trech?
Only if you can prove me wrong
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Old 06-01-2004, 06:37 PM   #21
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Better yet...if evolution is survival of the fittest..and man evolved from monkeys and are therefore "the fittest" explain to me why monkeys are still here...oh yeah...you can't.
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45 And so it is written, The first man Adam was made a living soul; the last Adam was made a quickening spirit. 46 Howbeit that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural; and afterward that which is spiritual. 47 The first man is of the earth, earthy; the second man is the Lord from heaven. 48 As is the earthy, such are they also that are earthy: and as is the heavenly, such are they also that are heavenly. 49 And as we have borne the image of the earthy, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly.
Man came first. Man with spirit (image of God or created man) came second.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:16 PM   #22
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Alright, Trith.

If, as you state, you are so well-versed in microbiology and zoology, why do you demonstrate no understanding whatsoever of even the most basic evolutionary principles? Quite seriously, you are either a redneck lying through your tooth, or are purposefully ignoring basic common sense because it contradicts that childhood story about Adam and Eve.

Oh, and as for biogenesis, there is no problem whatsoever. I might use some big words, but with your expansive knowledge of microbiology and zoology you shouldn't ahve any trouble with them, right?

You have some molecules floating around in a sort of broth. Hydrogen, oxygen, carbon, nitrogen being the main four, with more or less trace amounts of other elements. These begin to naturally collect into more stable molecules (i.e., hydrogen and oxygen form into water, nitrogen and hydrogen into ammonia, carbon and oxygen into carbon dioxide), because those, by the laws of the universe, will collect geiven time. Nobody will acll these life yet.

The molecules bump into each other, even as there are still plentiful amounts of base elements left. You don't need every ingredient to react before a secondary reaction takes place, a basic fact you should know from chemistry (because you took that class too, right?). So, basic molecules form into complex molecules, floating around in a mixture of basic elements.

However, some elements do run out more quickly. Carbon, for example, might be sufficiently rare that it ends up in complex molecules long before all the nitrogen does. And while there may be tons and tons of H2O combining all over, eventually the soup becomes saturated and you end up with an ocean of water, with everything else a trace element. So far, there is no biogenesis, but you can experimentally produce an "ocean" with this principle.

As complex molecules interact, there will be a 'competition' for the less common elements. Unfortuantely this competition won't lead to anything, because complex molecules will still be short-lived. However, if a molecule arises that can replicate itself by manipulating less complex elements, then you will get evolution. It only has to happen once, because when it does, every other nonreplicating molecule will die out, and the only one left will be the replicator. The argument here is that it would produce identical results all over the world. Guess what: it did! It's called DNA (although it was probably something simpler, like RNA to begin with). Can we call this replicator life? Maybe, maybe not. The important point is that it doesn't matter. The fundamental difference between "life" and "nonlife" is nonexistent. We're a bunch of molecules heaped together. However, if you want to define "life" as any entity that manipulates it's own replication, then our farthest common ancestor, the "Molecular Adam" so to speak, is inevitably defined as life. In fact, "life" is defined only in the hindsiht that Molecular Adam managed to replicate. So asking about biogenesis at all is a totally bogus question.

From then on the logical progression is that various descendants of Molecular Adam will compete with each other, because there will be variation; initial replicators were likely not accurate, not compared to the 99.9999% error-free copying procedure DNA uses. In fact, that alone could account for the major divisions of phylogeny, with several descendants each have major mutations from the original Molecular Adam. Even if most major mutations are detrimental to an organisms survival, with the utter lack of competition in such an early phase of life, it wouldn't much matter.

So biogenesis is not a problem at all, and merely a demonstration that you know jack and shit about evolution. "The problem with evolution is that everyone thinks he understands it," and your outdated, backward, and ultimately retarded references to apes and "survival of the fittest" only shows you do not understand evolution. Whether it is willful ignorance because science disagrees with a story your parents brainwashed you with as a small child, or because you really are that stupid, is a question only you can answer.

Round 2 in a short while.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:19 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Usna
See there is a fundamental problem with that (very modest I might add ) statement. Let us first agree that Evolution and Creationism are both theories .
Why would anyone want to agree to that? Creationism can't possibly count as a scientific theory precisely because it ain't falsifiable. In order for creationism to go through, it must be possible that god doesn't exist and/or he isn't creator. That can't be decided through empirical methods.
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Old 06-01-2004, 07:26 PM   #24
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I meant to say assume not agree Lurikeen, and was also generously calling Creationism a theory based on some of the "scientific facts" that have been dragged up to back it up. I have absolutely no time for creationsim but was trying to be a little reasonable so as to compare both and show they do not even come close to being similar from neither a scientific nor religious perspective.
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Old 06-01-2004, 08:06 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Usna
and was also generously calling Creationism a theory based on some of the "scientific facts" that have been dragged up to back it up.
There is no need to be generous. If the existence of god and/or his alledged role in creation can't be falsified, then the hypothesis that god created can never be elevated to the status of scientific theory.
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