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Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Postby mith » Tue Feb 07, 2006 4:41 am

biotchr wrote:Another quick thought. In the case of other scientific topics of study like gravity, we study mechanisms with no connection to a greater (or lesser) power as their possible existence is meanlingless in these cases. This is not so with the theory of evolution. Any origins possibility always hinges on the force behind the mechanism, what he/she/it is, which is unacceptable within the boundaries of any scientific method. Basically our perception of the "creator" disallows this study as scientific. Unless one thinks there is no "creator" which is nothing less than humerous.

I don't understand, doesn't the existence of a gravity hinge on the laws of gravity and the hypothetical existence of a graviton?
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Postby Linn » Tue Feb 07, 2006 5:08 am

hey every one! :D
cant sleep...had to sneak a peek
you guys r still going. :lol:
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Postby biotchr » Tue Feb 07, 2006 6:05 am

mithrilhack wrote:
biotchr wrote:Another quick thought. In the case of other scientific topics of study like gravity, we study mechanisms with no connection to a greater (or lesser) power as their possible existence is meanlingless in these cases. This is not so with the theory of evolution. Any origins possibility always hinges on the force behind the mechanism, what he/she/it is, which is unacceptable within the boundaries of any scientific method. Basically our perception of the "creator" disallows this study as scientific. Unless one thinks there is no "creator" which is nothing less than humerous.

I don't understand, doesn't the existence of a gravity hinge on the laws of gravity and the hypothetical existence of a graviton?


Yes, the existence of the theories regarding gravity hinge on the laws of gravity and that is ALL. The particular data with this phenomenon can be interpreted without any danger of involving a "creator", which, in turn, is void of bias.
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Feb 08, 2006 12:58 am

No offense, but you're dead wrong. You seem like an intelligent, but confused person. Nowhere in the theory of evolution is there a supernatural or "stupidnatural" force directing events.
Evolution does not state that there is "purpose" for anything. The reason we exist is because of natural selection, but the purpose of our existence is not addressed by the theory, nor could it ever be.
Every hypothesis of evolution, including abiogenesis is limited within the parameters of the laws of science as we know them.
I think you've confused the arguments for evolution as containing a purpose or an agenda. Unfortunately, some people do try to use evolution as a "weapon" against religion. It can't logically be done, though, as religion is metaphysical. Evolution cannot disprove God or creation (depending on how creation is defined).
In short:
Evolution IS scientific and does not rely on metaphysical assumptions or hypotheses.

If YOU want to believe that a supernatural or "stupidnatural" force started life, then go for it, but that will be your personal belief, not the theory of evolution.
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Postby alextemplet » Wed Feb 08, 2006 1:42 am

Wow, this debate has taken such a crazy turn I'm barely able to fit it in my head anymore!
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Postby biotchr » Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:03 am

AstusAleator wrote:No offense, but you're dead wrong. You seem like an intelligent, but confused person. Nowhere in the theory of evolution is there a supernatural or "stupidnatural" force directing events.
Evolution does not state that there is "purpose" for anything. The reason we exist is because of natural selection, but the purpose of our existence is not addressed by the theory, nor could it ever be.
Every hypothesis of evolution, including abiogenesis is limited within the parameters of the laws of science as we know them.
I think you've confused the arguments for evolution as containing a purpose or an agenda. Unfortunately, some people do try to use evolution as a "weapon" against religion. It can't logically be done, though, as religion is metaphysical. Evolution cannot disprove God or creation (depending on how creation is defined).
In short:
Evolution IS scientific and does not rely on metaphysical assumptions or hypotheses.

If YOU want to believe that a supernatural or "stupidnatural" force started life, then go for it, but that will be your personal belief, not the theory of evolution.


Your post is tragic! This is why I like to refer to the TOE as the "ghetto" story of our past. No purpose, no reason, and a driving force that "breeds" life forms. Then I have to turn around and teach this to my kids, BY MANDATED LAW!!!!! This outlook has produced a very morally relative, humanistic atmosphere in our public classrooms and it is ruining them (has ruined them).

The theory of evolution offers the "stupidnatural" force behind evolution, not me. The stupidnatural is always present within the TOE you just have to wade through the word games. For example:

Please describe the force that drives evolution please (the force behind natural selection).
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Feb 08, 2006 7:07 am

Ok, I'll take your challenge (please answer mine in the other thread). This is a topic for a PhD thesis, but I'll rise to the occasion. My peers, and definitely those with a higher education will most likely be able to poke holes in what I say, but that's fine. That's science.

So lets start with the key phrases "natural selection" and "survival of the fittest". I think right off the bat, people started getting the wrong impression because the word "selection" could imply purposeful design. Furthermore "fittest" could imply that one organism is "better" than another and that evolution is working towards achieving the "best" organism or as you put it "a driving force that "breeds" life forms". I could talk for hours on how people latch onto key phrases and attach myriads of feelings and meanings to them. They're just words.

Now, down to the nitty gritty.
Fitness is multi-faceted. Not only does it pertain to fecundity, but also survivability. Both are directly linked to competition, predation, etc. Any organism that can survive long enough to produce viable healthy offspring that will survive and also produce offspring, is fit. That's the basic principle of fitness. Without reproduction, there is no evolution.
Now lets go deeper, to what I think is the "driving force" of evolution as you like to put it.
Lets go to our beloved primordial soup. hypothetically, amino-acid polymers would form and then break apart again. The ones that, together, would form catalytic or autocatalytic properties would "survive" by decreasing the energy needed to form bonds and increasing the required energy to break those bonds beyond the average kinetic energy of the system they're in. Keep in mind that statistically that for every kind of molecule formed like I just mentioned, millions if not billions of chemical bonds were randomly formed and broken. Despite it's ability to "survive," the molecule is still not evolutionarily "fit" as it can't reproduce. What it CAN do though is catalyze the addition of amino acids to itself, and the combination of other amino acid chains forming polymer chains.
These catalytic properties could make it statistically possible for the eventual formation of a self-replicating amino acid chain. At this point you can begin measuring fitness. A molecule that could maintain it's chemical integrity and successfully reproduce itself would be fit. What kind of conditions would be necessary for that to happen are debatable and very complicated. But I think having said all that, we can begin to look for this "force"

In order for these molecules to form in the first place, certain conditions are necessary. precursor molecules such as NH3, CO2, CO, CH4, H20 and others need to be present, and their needs to be an input of energy. The actual energy that is theorized to have caused this is electricity. Electricity could have occured in the primordial soup via lightning, or possibly localized concentrations of acids. So where did that energy come from? Lightning is a biproduct of the static electricity and electron gradient between the earth's atmosphere and clouds. Clouds are formed by evaporated water. Water is evaporated by heat. In the ancient earth heat came from 2 possible sources. The remaining core-heat of the earth (ambient crust temperature, hotsprings, and contact of lava and water), and the sun.

Now we're getting closer.
The simple self-replicating molecules didn't require any sort of large input of energy, as the ambient energy was sufficient for them to continue catalyzing chemical reactions. The source of ambient energy was, you guessed it, heat from the earth and the sun.

Now lets fast-forward to very simple (yet so very very complicated) single-celled organisms. To maintain their structural integrity and produce offspring, these organisms couldn't simply rely on the ambient energy anymore. They need additional energy, which could be attained by breaking down the bonds formerly catalyzed by similar or more primitive proto-organisms, essentially eating. Some organisms, as in the case of some archeobacteria, stayed in areas of high ambient energy like deep-sea hot water vents.
Regardless, they needed a source of energy in order to fuel the development of intact, healthy offspring, and to continue the pursuit of "food". Also, at this point, these organisms needed energy to compete successfully with eachother.
So this energy came from the chemical bonds in organic molecules, and from ambient kinetic energy, which both in turn come from the earth's ambient energy and the sun.
With the evolution of photosynthesis, life on earth was finally able to harness the "driving force" of evolution and begin evolving more and more complicated forms.

Throughout this model, you may have noticed that the environment the molecules, proto-organisms, or organisms are in is a key factor in their survivability. If there is any kind of "direction" in evolution, it is a function of the changing environment. As the environment changes, it changes the fitness of the organisms within it. Notice how I said that, fitness is not a genetically defined constant. Populations must adapt to their environments or go extinct. This is NOT directional in the sense that it is leading to something though. It is simply the result of gradual environmental change, and corresponding adaptation. It is demonstrable that if environments change too rapidly, no species can survive. Similarly, if you were to take the most "fit" organism in one environment and place it in a completely different one, it would likely be very unfit or even die. And, on the other side of that coin, you could take an organism of very average or even low fitness in one environment, and it could outcompete and become the most fit organism in a new environment (ie invasive species).
So what causes environmental changes? In early earth, the "cooling of the earth" may have played a factor, and it may still. Changes in the eliptical rotation of the earth around the sun could cause environmental changes, as could the tilt of the earth's axis in regard to the sun. Changes in concentrations of atmospheric gasses, meteorite and/or asteroid impacts, the list goes on. The fact is that the earth was a dynamic system long before life ever existed on it.
As species developed, "environment" took on many new meanings, including competition, predation, behavioral patterns, etc.

So, assuming you actually read through all of that, I hope that I've showed that according to the TOE, abiotic factors account for every stage in evolution. The "stupidnatural" force you're looking for doesn't exist in the TOE. There is no force mandating the formation of catalytic polymer precursors, it just happened that the environment was right to sustain that sort of molecular structure and that over enough time, it formed and was not destroyed.

I think that people assume that evolution occured out of complete chaos and fail to recognize one very important constant environmental factor:

The sun.
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Postby biotchr » Wed Feb 08, 2006 4:11 pm

AstusAleator wrote:Ok, I'll take your challenge (please answer mine in the other thread). This is a topic for a PhD thesis, but I'll rise to the occasion. My peers, and definitely those with a higher education will most likely be able to poke holes in what I say, but that's fine. That's science.

[...Edit note(canalon): please do not cite a long and complete article if it is not essential for understanding. Hey, it's still here just above your post...]

I think that people assume that evolution occured out of complete chaos and fail to recognize one very important constant environmental factor:

The sun.



Your reply was as good as any I've read. But I asked you to describe the force BEHIND natural selection. You described natural selection. Please respond appropriately.

Also, your "enviornment" serves as your breeder and is connected to SOMETHING that has put us, and everything we see around us, here. You are simply inquiring into the nature of SOMETHING that has put us here. For some reason you desire to have this "SOMETHING" use evolution as his/her/it's mechanism of choice. I dont and, furthermore, this subject matter is out of the scope of science. Remember, your personal, preferable fancy about whatever has created us and everything around us dictates what mechanism you believe he/she/it has used to put us here. This is unable to pass through any scientific method.

Again, respond to the force that DRIVES natural selection not what natural selection entails.
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Postby mith » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:15 pm

Again, respond to the force that DRIVES natural selection not what natural selection entails.


I have no idea what you're driving at. There's variety in a population and the fittest survive. That's natural selection...there's no particular entity which says which organism shall live or die. The ones that die are the ones who could not cope as well as the others. I supposed you could say it's the drive for survival, although none of the organism get to decide what genes they are born with.
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Postby alextemplet » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:36 pm

The force that drives natural selection is genetic variation. Varieties that increase fitness survive and are passed on more often than varieties that do not. That's all there is to it. Why do you keep insisting that there's more?
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Postby AstusAleator » Wed Feb 08, 2006 11:56 pm

biotchr, please define exactly what you mean by "breeder" and "driving force" in very precise terms, otherwise I think I'll be incapable of addressing anything you say.

I thought that I made a fairly clear case as to how the "cause" of evolution is purely abiotic and lacking any sort of directional sentient will or purpose.

You're getting at something else though, I suppose.

*edit*
Also please explain in precise language, where in the TOE you believe that this creative or directional force exerts its influence.
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Postby biotchr » Thu Feb 09, 2006 1:21 am

mithrilhack, alextemplet, astusaleator: All three of you are commenting, precisely by the way, about possible mechanisms of evolution. I am inquiring about the force that drives evolution. I know what natural selection is, I am asking about the driving force. Now I may be wrong, correct me if I am, but from what I have come to understand about evolution is that it is essentially a force. Kind of like gravity, and its always at work. So I would like you to describe the force.

By the way can we just post on this thread so we dont have to jump around. One of you proposed that idea and it would probably more ideal.
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