Login

Join for Free!
118247 members


Theories - Origin of Life

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

Moderator: BioTeam

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby zombiesagan » Wed Nov 16, 2011 10:16 pm

Gavin wrote:A leap to the potential belief in a nonmaterial designer is a rather large leap, given the amount of evidence supporting it. My leap, that the Darwinian process that occurs within species (that you say you accept) can be extrapolated to the origin of new species, is rather small by comparison.


I really like the way you put that. Exactly my thoughts as well.

@Scottie: And if you've ever listened in on the debate about where to draw the line between certain species (the debate on how to classify early hominid remains for example), you'd realize that 'species' is really an artificial concept constructed in the human mind. Believing in evolution within a species but not believing that evolution can create new species is a weird belief. Where do draw the line? If you believe that evolution can occur within a species, why can't that species experience enough change that we would call it a new species? I guess I'm just a little confused on your position.
"Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known." -Carl Sagan
User avatar
zombiesagan
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2011 5:33 pm
Location: Indiana University

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby Gavin » Wed Nov 16, 2011 11:03 pm

zombiesagan wrote:'species' is really an artificial concept constructed in the human mind. Believing in evolution within a species but not believing that evolution can create new species is a weird belief.

Also a very good point. The "accept micro- but reject macroevolution" camp might well ponder this.
Gavin
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:44 am

Postby aptitude » Thu Nov 17, 2011 1:39 am

scottie, you have consistently stated that you will not believe something because it is
"just a hypothesis". I don't think you realize that the first step of the scientific method is to make a hypothesis. So, according to your judgement, if every hypothesis is not worthy of consideration and false, the scientific method becomes useless?

From wikipedia:
A hypothesis (from Greek ὑπόθεσις; plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation for a phenomenon. The term derives from the Greek, ὑποτιθέναι – hypotithenai meaning "to put under" or "to suppose".[1] For a hypothesis to be put forward as a scientific hypothesis, the scientific method requires that one can test it. Scientists generally base scientific hypotheses on previous observations that cannot satisfactorily be explained with the available scientific theories. Even though the words "hypothesis" and "theory" are often used synonymously, a scientific hypothesis is not the same as a scientific theory. A working hypothesis is a provisionally accepted hypothesis proposed for further research.[1]

Every theory must initially be a hypothesis. If the theory matches all the criteria necessary to be a theory, such as evidence, predictability, and consistency, then it becomes a theory. Your belief that the organisms on Earth are designed is a hypothesis as well. If it matches sufficient criteria, we will consider it a theory.
aptitude
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 115
Joined: Sat Sep 10, 2011 12:58 am


Re:

Postby Crucible » Fri Nov 18, 2011 3:12 am

aptitude wrote:scottie, you have consistently stated that you will not believe something because it is
"just a hypothesis". I don't think you realize that the first step of the scientific method is to make a hypothesis. So, according to your judgement, if every hypothesis is not worthy of consideration and false, the scientific method becomes useless?
That's a bit confusing. Which did he say ?
a )Doesn't necessarily believe a hypothesis because it's only a hypothesis, or
b) Will not consider any and they are all false ?
Crucible
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:46 am

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby Crucible » Fri Nov 18, 2011 12:06 pm

zombiesagan wrote:
scottie wrote:So let me get this right
Evolutionary theory is now only a hypothesis. Is that what you are saying?

Well if that is case then I agree with you.


Evolution by natural selection was a hypothesis, but a hypothesis which accurately explains the observed data and phenomenon and makes predictions which come true becomes a theory. Evolutionary theory explains all the data and phenomenon we have so far observed and has even made predictions which have come true (both in the lab and in the fossil record).


Evolutionary theory explains all the data and phenomenon we have so far observed and has even made predictions which have come true (both in the lab and in the fossil record).
In your estimation, which of these is true, or synonymous in meaning, to your words ? That you think it has explained, can explain, would explain, does explain...?

I've had a "scientist" tell me (after rebuttal) , that he only said "would explain", not "did explain" or "does explain". Do you see any difference in intent in wording, between these ?

Are you saying everything observed has been explained ?
Crucible
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 187
Joined: Sat Sep 24, 2011 3:46 am

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Fri Nov 18, 2011 2:14 pm

Gavin
I am sorry for the delay but I have an illness in the family and I, at this moment cannot devote much time to this discussion.

I am a communications engineer (retired).

I hope, that probably will indicate I try to remain grounded in the world of what can happen or indeed is possible, in the light of our current understanding of the world around us.

My belief in the scientific method as I have explained is something I try and apply to all matters in life that require evidence to formulate opinions. I try not to have a preconceived bias when examining any matter.
That is why I am definitely not a philosopher :)

It is my belief in this scientific method, that has led me to accept the evidence that a only a mind can be responsible for the life processes we see all around us.

That is not to say that a mind in a material body cannot create a new species.
Craig Venter and his team have in a small way has done just that. It was his mind and that of his team that made what they accomplished possible. They did not create life itself but managed to create a new species.

What they did serves only to highlight my acceptance that a mind must be involved in the creation of species. I see no evidence that natural forces have that capability. That is why I have continued to refer to the peer reviewed papers of scientists.

I also accept that you can draw legitimate conclusions by way of circumstantial evidence.

So returning the question of Darwinism, is it a fact or is it a hypothesis.
Well it certainly is a hypothesis and indeed could reasonably be regarded as a scientific hypothesis. In fact in Darwin’s day it could have reasonably have been regarded as a null hypothesis.

I find however that the accumulating evidence opposes that hypothesis and I have tried to present that evidence.

Can I prove that a non material mind is responsible for life?
No I can’t, what I can do is to present the evidence that circumstantially draws me to that conclusion.

I did not grow up in a religious household and I don’t regard myself as a religiously inclined person. I have too much evidence around me to see the damage that organised religion has done. The same goes for organised atheism.

I don’t have any objection to organisations per se. I just always keep in mind that the evidence shows that we don’t have the capacity to successfully organise our own affairs. The thousand of years of human history demonstrates that so clearly that I regard it as a fact.

Yes I believe we are indeed partial allies.
scottie
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:41 pm

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby Gavin » Fri Nov 18, 2011 5:17 pm

Scottie. Thank you for making your position clear, at least to me. Amongst other labels, I consider myself an Occamist.

We mortals face two "Big Questions" - the origin of the universe (or multiverse, or whatever) and the origin of life. Evidence is totally lacking for both, so for us to have an opinion or belief about them, we have to make a leap of some magnitude or other.

For the origin of the universe, some physicists propose an extrapolation from the very small to the very large - the popping in and out of "existence" ("limits of detection" might be a better term) of virtual particles as a mechanism for the origin of the universe. I guess that's the best we can do at present without invoking a deity of some sort. As a fellow old fart, I doubt much progress will be made on this front within my lifetime. Occam is not much help here. For the scientific method to be a valid means of accumulating data, though, it has to assume that observations are not the result of "outside" influences. The creation of the universe by a mind or from nothing are both rather bold proposals. I only prefer the latter due my inability to entertain the former.

For the origin of life, various ideas have been proposed that are testable for the mechanisms involved but not for whether or not these mechanisms actually occurred (on Earth). I doubt that any test for what actually occurred is even possible, so we will probably never find sufficiently strong evidence to favour one idea over another, although I think that in order to avoid invoking an outside influence, it would have to involve an abiotic Darwinian process (selection) of some sort. For me, a materialistic process seems more likely than a supernatural one.

For the origin of species, I can only defer to my previous argument of the magnitude of any leap that may be required. The question is not of the scale as the above two. We have pretty solid evidence that evolution occurs. Here, the extrapolation from the small to the large seems far less troublesome than what the physicists have to deal with. Occam, I think, would agree. I doubt that this leap could be the origin of your belief in some sort of cosmic mind, considering the larger issues mentioned above. I personally cannot get my head around the concept of a cosmic mind (circumstantial evidence cannot justify such a large leap), but I would choose that option over any form of a theistic god if only two options were available. But I choose the third option, just because it makes the most sense to me. The thought of a purely naturalistic, purposeless origin for everything also seems to be very comforting to me. But then I'm quite irresponsible - if there's no cosmic purpose, then I'm off the hook for pulling my weight.

scottie wrote:I don’t have any objection to organisations per se. I just always keep in mind that the evidence shows that we don’t have the capacity to successfully organise our own affairs. The thousand of years of human history demonstrates that so clearly that I regard it as a fact.

I don't know about that. Without any speciation occurring, we have come a long way. You can't possibly believe that we are no more organised today than our hunter-gatherer ancestors were a hundred thousand years ago. Biologically we may not have changed much, but culturally? Sometimes I think that you just like pulling our chains.
Gavin
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 108
Joined: Sun Jun 14, 2009 10:44 am

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby Nick7 » Sat Nov 19, 2011 6:08 pm

I’ve read the entire thread (well, maybe about 80-ish% of it… skipping Russian translations, etc…) – that was one HELL of a ride. I have NO idea how Scottie managed to withstand the pressure for so long, but I want to sincerely thank him for very interesting links, ideas and reasoning. I was also impressed by Gavin’s elegant summary.

While I’m not in the position to judge the conclusions drawn by Scottie, it was interesting to see some arguments used against Scottie’s logic (or an absence of one, in case you are in the opposite camp). At the end, it frequently rolled down to:

- Who is the designer?

- Who designed the designer?

- Why majority of scientist do not share your views?

I still fail to comprehend why it is absolutely necessary to present a complete alternative to the dominant view to be even considered being a serious debater? For 29 pages people demanded the declarations of Scottie’s alternative. What the alternative can possibly be? A Flying Spaghetti Monster, obviously. But what would’ve happened if a Flying Spaghetti Monster appeared out of the shadow - Neo would’ve been unplugged from the Matrix and got flushed down the toilet without any need to spend any time on him (hence, on my opinion, Scotties reluctance to make any official declaration on the matter). So what's the big deal if no well shaped alternative is offered… How about denials of Dark Matter, for example? Do those scientists have to be stripped of their degrees and sent back to school for just disagreeing with the mainstream believes? They are still the scientists, right? They earned the right to have a voice.
There were a lot of legit links presented - I listened to a lot of Dawkins; let me listen to something different for a change.

And this thing – who designed the designer? According to my observations, this one is always used as a final Ace up one’s sleeve when the conversation hits the roadblock, because it supposed to send a poor Flying Spaghetti Monster into a rotating loop.
I saw a very good movie ones – Contact. There the humanity received a signal with 60,000 pages of complex data from ET life in the area of the star Vega. Nobody was able to crack it, until one guy realized what the problem was – we think like humans ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2kYRvABhHAY ). We are the products of the world that we live in, and all our understanding of reality is bound by the properties of this world – a son is supposed to have a father, just like a father is supposed to have a father of his own. But is that all there is out there? If we crystallize all the knowledge that exists out there, going beyond this universe, in terms of time, space and maybe even dimensions, wouldn’t Socrates’ "I only know that I know nothing" still hold? The state sponsored religion (materialism, being that) in the country where I grew up was based on the axiom that matter has always existed, and it precedes mind. What if somehow and somewhere this concept actually works the other way around… You see what I’m sliding into? But is it really necessary, relevant or even possible to answer this question at the moment? If the mind preceded life on the planet, there should be its fingerprints left in the life itself. That’s complex enough for now, as I see it. That’s what Scottie tried to concentrate on.
Nick7
Garter
Garter
 
Posts: 23
Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2011 10:21 pm

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Fri Dec 02, 2011 5:34 pm

Gavin and Nick 7

I appreciate both your comments, thanks very much

I am sorry for being out of the loop for so long but as I explained I have had to deal with family illness
Anyhow all seems to be well now so, if ( FSM willing) I am not barred again I will study both your posts and try to continue to bore everyone with some more of my observations unless of course you want me to shut up now.

Nick 7 --- all 29 pages read!!! Good grief you are a sucker for punishment. :)

Both your comments are deserving some thought.
scottie
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:41 pm

Postby JackBean » Fri Dec 02, 2011 6:26 pm

scottie, I'm sure you will first answer my very old question, right?

JackBean wrote:You have not again said, how did the humans appear on Earth. Try to read this carefully and pick one possibility (or come up with other, but do not start about lysosomes :roll:)
1) they were created when all the other life on Earth was created few billions of years ago
2) they were created few tens/hundreds thousands of years ago when the creator was bored again and had no forum to post on
3) they evolved from lower animals, no matter, whether these were created or arose spontanneously


you said, that 1 and 3 are wrong, so the creator "arrived" several times on Earth and worked on schifts, right? That would at least explain, why we don't find fossils of recent animals in say Mesozoic era.
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5678
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby JackBean » Sat Dec 03, 2011 8:46 pm

scottie wrote:Gavin
You raise a valid point regarding Stephen Gould’s view of Punctuated Equilibrium. There are of course several others with their own hypotheses as to how the process of macro evolution works.

Carl Woese with his hypothesis of an early era of considerable Horizontal gene transfer.
Simon Conway Morris with his idea of “front loaded” evolution
Lynn Margulis -- Endosymbiotic theory
James Shapiro -- Natural genetic Engineering
I could keep on with such leading names as, Allen Orr, Daniel Dennett, PZ Myers, Michael Ruse Coyne etc etc, All tearing lumps out of each other. Their email exchanges can be quite vitriolic at times.
Freeman Dyson and Richard Dawkins can’t even agree with each other as to what Darwin’s theory actually is.
These of course are all evolutionary scientists and philosophers.

So who is right?
They can’t all be right.

Right, they are all wrong, all the evolutionists, all IDers and all creators are wrong, but one retired engineer with no biological knowledge is right :lol:

I see, you are using another anti-evo trick. Just saying, that since evolutionists argue against each other, than the evolution is wrong. Hey, they do not argue, whether evolution is true or false, but how exactly it's occurring. With the same logic, IDers and creators are wrong, because they (with you) are arguing about the exact way, how we were created.

BTW what do you think about this video?
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO1a1Ek-HD0
I guess it's fine for you, as an engineer.
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
User avatar
JackBean
Inland Taipan
Inland Taipan
 
Posts: 5678
Joined: Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:12 pm

Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Sun Dec 04, 2011 12:27 pm

Jackbean

The No 2 option of yours is the nearest to my view without of course the rather silly appendage you have attached.

Right, they are all wrong, all the evolutionists, all IDers and all creators are wrong, but one retired engineer with no biological knowledge is right


My major point seems to have escaped your understanding.

If evolutionary theory (in all it’s various forms) is correct then there will be no disagreement between the theorists as to what the mechanism that drives macro evolution actually is.
The reality that different dissenting views not only exist but are actually competing for prominence demonstrates that the mechanism is not known.
The only common thread that unites the various adherents is that a naturalistic cause is the only one that is acceptable, regardless of where the evidence leads.

This makes any of these theories philosophically based. That is not a view I have any difficulty with, other than the point that it is regarded as a scientific fact and any dissension from that view is regarded as intolerable and therefore worthy of censorship, as you yourself have so plainly demonstrated.

The creationists also introduce their religion into their arguments and then present their views as fact.

And by the way the information I have posted comes from accredited scientific peer reviewed sources. They don’t come from a “retired engineer with no biological knowledge”. This retired engineer is only the messenger, which brings to mind the phrase “Please don’t shoot the messenger” :)

Gavin and Nick 7
I will respond to your posts asap.
scottie
Coral
Coral
 
Posts: 214
Joined: Tue Apr 12, 2011 9:41 pm

PreviousNext

Return to Evolution

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests