Debate and discussion of any biological questions not pertaining to a particular topic.
I recently saw the film Expelled by Ben Stein and found it to be particularly thought-provoking. I did a little more research, including reading through some rebuttals to Stein's claims on ID and also found them to be thought-provoking. I am interested in what people think about this issue. Please give OBJECTIVE explanations from both sides of the argument presented in the film (if it is possible to be objective on the subject). I find it interesting that both sides are so quick to defend themselves and I can see that both sides have flaws in their arguments. What is at the root of this issue...why it so controversial? Why are there so many different scientific theories on the origin of life, on that point from "inorganic to life"? With all the scientific advances that we have today, why hasn't this exact point been proved yet? I don't want to start a debate here...I am merely interested in people's objective thoughts as scientists.
Just a quick few words:
I don't think there are that many realistic scientific theories on the origins of life. It doesn't matter if the life came along meteors from, say, Mars, or evolved here on Earth - the basic principles that most scientists agree are pretty much similar: a gradual formation of self-replicating molecules that became more complex due to competition of free building blocks for their copies. There probably isn't even any single point when it can be said "this is life now, it's not inorganic anymore." Viruses even today blur the line between live and inanimate particles. Prions are also an interesting example of self-replicating molecules that aren't "alive".
Now we must remember that we're studying things that happened billions of years ago and it is extremely hard to tell the exact conditions that prevailed that day. Furthermore, even the theory of evolution is merely 150 years old (and our knowledge abot DNA and molecular biochemistry just about one third of that), so we have had very little time to study this, after all. They even have disputes with the origins of many of the Egyptian mummies, and on the evolutionary time scale the mummies were enbalmed just a blink of an eye ago :)
As to why there is so much controversy: probably primarily because there are two completely opposite lines of thought against one another and it's only natural it generates controversy. Creationists often blame theory of evolution of not being able to provide direct/sufficient evidence on evoltuion, or that scientists have failed to simulate it in laboratiories, but when you look at the theory as a whole, it is very consistent and logical. On the other hand, there is no single piece of evidence on behalf of ID that I'm aware of, so it's very peculiar that so many people believe in it nonetheless...
Now, what comes to the movie itself, unfortunately I haven't seen it and thus cannot comment on any possible points it has about the topic. Maybe someone else can do this on my behalf.
The movie was entirely for-profit and political. It ignored the fact that there was already a somewhat coherent Theory Of Intelligent Design in writing. Here it is today, coherently explaining the Cambrian Explosion and a good number of other things:
The Theory Of Intelligent Design already exists. The problem is there is more money in there NOT being one, and political slogans are a lot easier to learn and recite than a scientific theory.
It seems strange somehow to me...most proponents of ID seems to be the creationists and so attribute the role of designer to "God"...my thought is this: the purpose of science is the study and observation of the physical world, how could real science used be used as an evidence for something intangible?
If we can say that evolution is a theory that can logically explain the origins of life and likewise ID is also a theory that can also logically explain origins of life...it seems to me that there is potential on both sides for truth...but referring to my response above, can the invisible be proved? Or is the role of the scientist to dismiss any notions of "supernatural" on the basis that it is not tangible?
I agree with biohazard; there are no controversial theories on the origin of life. Nearly the entire scientific community is in agreement behind the theory of evolution. Ben Stein is not a scientist, and so I don't think his ideas should carry any more weight on a scientific topic than would anyone who has never seen an airplane have a right to tell an aircraft mechanic how to fix a jet engine. If you can present a legitimate scientific theory presented by a scientist who's convinced evolution is wrong, you might very well be onto something. As far as I know, no such alternative theory exists. Crack-pots like Ben Stein only like to pretend that such a theory exists because they don't like what science has discovered, and they think that gives them the right to tell the scientists who have earned the degrees and done the research that they're wrong and all their effort is for naught for no other reason than Ben Stein says so. That's hardly legitimate scientific evidence, if you ask me.
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Well, of course real science could support ID if, for example, someone managed to find the creator's initials and the date of creation from every living species' genome, or if we'd find another planet or place with advanced organisms, where clearly evoltuion couldn't have taken place (a very young planet with complex ecosystem maybe). However, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever to support ID. The supporters of ID happily rely on god, because that is extremely convenient: they don't have to prove anything and can concentrate on defaming any theories that do not fit into their holy books.
I'm getting tired of this nitpicking about the word "theory" each time someone tries to oppose evoltuion. For fcuk's sake, how come nobody keeps pointing out that there is a theory of gravity and there is a general theory of relativity as well, but those are taken for granted even though none of us can even understand the latter. (And not actually even the underlying mechanisms of the first one...). Just as well gravity and space-time phenomena could be mere tricks played by Jahve/Allah/Shiva/Perkele/Odin/Huitzilopochtli/[insert your favourite god here depending on where you happened to be born] and there is no gravity at all. Only this Intelligent Gravity Manipulator. Maybe let's rebuff gravity as well as evolution and switch to IGM, which is not a theory but a FACT, because it's caused by GOD. adhsghjgsafh...
The ID/creationism and their supporters piss me off because they have nothing solid to prove the existence of any creator or that all life was just suddenly created somehow, and because they try to disprove scientific support for evoltuion mostly by pointing out that there is a word "theory" in the theory of evolution.
Last edited by biohazard on Wed Apr 08, 2009 7:28 am, edited 4 times in total.
Uhh, sorry, my friend, but to me that looks far from coherent. There were many errors, non-scientific claims and terms, and undefined concepts in the text - I lost the track of them long before I got anywhere near the end of it. (Since when have trilobites been insects?)
On the first glance the text may look scientific with all it's chemical formulae, graphs and programming lines, but a closer look reveals that this has nothing to do with science or scientifically proving anything.
I surely hope nobody puts their money on supporting "ID research" or whatever you call it, if the results are like this. I decided to comment this link mostly in hope of making it clear to any random Internet user who may stumble upon this site that if they choose to check the text in question, that at least carefully think about the "facts" it tries to tell you.
This is a long text, but again I have to wonder: do the author(s) really believe in what they are writing??
Please show me one non-scientific claim.
To be as precise as possible I rephrased as "ancestor of insects" but it says the same thing.
Then what is the "scientific" definition of intelligence and how do scientists detect it? According to what you are saying, you already have a complete answer.
Considering I'm the primary author, you can be sure I believe in my work! I'm also a published author with very good reputation.
The only problem is the frequent dismissing of the theory before studying it. But not all have done so. Accomplished scientists still find it valuable. As well as educators who need the unique classroom ideas. They usually know good science when they see it.
Now show me some of these things you claim are unscientific.
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I watched a movie called Man From Earth. It is about a man who never dies. He lives since the stone age. He was mistaken for Jesus and he has seen many famous people from the ancient time. It is worth watching and thought-provoking.
James Chou, Ph.D.
Understanding Life One Protein at a time...
The Peptide Synthesis Service Company...
I think that LittleBeaver is asking people to consider the ID "theory" from a scientific stance without consideration or suggestion of the Judeo-Christian "God." In my opinion, scientists need to stop pulling out the "creationist" card at which point the discussion then becomes subjective. Likewise, creationists need to stop pulling out the "evolutionist" card at which point they become personally offended.
How then do you answer LittleBeaver's question as quoted above. If given consideration for one moment that the supernatural does exist, would science be able to explain it?
I origionally thought they went extinct with no descendents. After checking to make sure I was correct, I read otherwise. Now it looks like you are right, or at least there is a controversy the theory does not need to get involved in.
Anyhow, I stand corrected.
Is this better?
"Trilobites (extinct arthropods) are known to have had well developed crystal lens compound eyes of modern insects."
I have to thank you for pointing that out. The Cambrian Explosion section is the newest. It's less than a week old and has not yet been reviewed yet.
If the above correction looks OK to you, then do you see anything else non-scientific in the theory?
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