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The Commie Donating Member (94 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 08:20 PM
Original message
Creationists annoy me.
Why do people beleive this crap? It is like they only beleive science that fits their religious views. I also think some people can't admit we are not special in the grand scheme of things, we are just one of, prehaps, 50 million species on this planet, each adapted to it's enviroment. Evolution has no goal, it is just adaptations to the enviroment, we are not the center of creation, we share a common ancestor with every other living thing if we go back far enough. Why is this so hard for people to admit?
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hlthe2b Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
1. because, Creationists haven't evolved...
:evilgrin:
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cavebat2000 Donating Member (347 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 08:23 PM
Response to Original message
2. Hey man
I feel ya. Creationists just believe whatever they want to believe. Proof of this.... just look at all the different sects. I guess there are just too many to kill ;)
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LibertyorDeath Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 08:46 PM
Response to Original message
3. It comforts them psychologically to pretend that we are more than just


food for the worms.

They can have there little fantasy if thats what it takes for them to get thru the day but don't try teaching it to my kid as fact.

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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 09:10 PM
Response to Original message
4. Well...I think you're special.
Whether you believe it or not, human beings (you and me included) are special in a spiritual way. Think about it. Is it more sad and meaningful if a person dies than if a cat dies? If so, why is that? I'm not saying that the earth was created on January 1, 4000 B.C., but, maybe it's more complex than you might think. People who believe in a higher power may have thought about it just as much as you have and come to a different conclusion.
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GAspnes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Nov-09-03 10:08 PM
Response to Reply #4
5. prove it
You can think about a 'higher power' all you want, but without experimentation and proof, it's just a belief.

As for Creationists -- they make me cringe. I think religion should be kept far, far away from public policy decisions.
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 06:21 PM
Response to Reply #5
10. Proof
Prove the existence of a higher power? No problem. You can do this at home. However, the procedure must be followed EXACTLY, or you may get erroneous result. First, you need to set up a clean room environment at -10 degrees Celsius. Then you need to collect the following items:

1. a hollow titanium sphere, approximately one meter in diameter
2. 20 nine volt batteries
3. a bible
4. a cross made of solid molybdenum, exactly 21.328 cm tall
5. a neutron detector

Got them? Good. Now first, you take the titanium sphere and...

Just kidding! The existence of God is not something you can measure in a lab. You have to experience it in your heart and mind. Here are some things that might make help prove it for you.

1. The existence of love - If were the outcome of a survival-of-the-fittest process, isnt love an unnecessary feature? Love is a very powerful force. Does it come from a source or is it just the product of a weird, self-sustaining chemical reaction thats been running for millions of years?

2. The sense of moral history We know we started somewhere, we know were on the way now and we know the human race is going somewhere. We have a sense at the human story is profoundly important and that we have a say in how it turns out. Thats why were all here discussing issues! Because we sense that human history has a profound meaning. If we were just one mundane species out of a bunch of species on earth, that hardly has any meaning; lets give up all this political stuff and just eat and reproduce.

3. The existence of the human conscience Even though not everyone uses it, weve all got a conscience. Not all animals have it.

I cant force you to believe it. If youre forced, it does not count. Its up to you to think about it. I know you have thought about it, but you have to go back every few years and think about it again.

Just for the record, Im not a literal creationist. Lots of Christian beliefs (including mine) maintain that the biblical description of creation is very metaphorical and that creation by God and evolution are not necessarily contradictory. God made human beings, but the exact process is not described in detail. Those six-day creation people annoy me, too, but so do people who think humans are talking monkeys.

--------------

On another note, you said that without experimentation and proof, its just a belief. Not exactly. Take, for example, the planet Pluto. Until it was proven to exist, was it just a belief? No, it was there just waiting for us to find it understand it. There are people alive today who dont know about or believe in germ theory. Does that mean germs dont exist for them? Nope. If God exists, He does not depend on our belief in Him to exist.
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GAspnes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 11:33 PM
Response to Reply #10
13. can't debate those points!
Edited on Mon Nov-10-03 11:39 PM by GAspnes
Well, maybe just a little, for the exercise. (hang on while I get my titanium sphere. <G> )

Faith just is, as I'm sure you know.

1. The existence of love. I don't have to look far to find the evolutionary benefit to a sense of love. If you didn't love your kids, they wouldn't get past age 15. If you didn't love a partner, you wouldn't hang around long enough to see the kids get born. Love helps us mate and reproduce.

2. A sense of moral history. This one is a bit more problematic. I personally don't have a sense of the human race 'going' anywhere. Our intelligence lets us build on prior human accomplishments, and most of our efforts until the very recent past have been devoted to ensuring a stable food supply, extending our lifespan and having a warm and safe place to sleep. Those are evolutionary drives. I don't think anyone wakes up in the morning considering their place in the grand evolutionary plan. Don't mistake motion for progress.

3. The human conscience. Evidence indicates that conscience is learned, not inherent. Different cultures learn different things (slavery being acceptable, even to the slaves, is one such variation). There are numerous cultural exceptions to the 'thou shalt not kill' dictum, and that one is basically an evolutionary implementation of a rule to ensure that we're all more likely to wake up in the morning.

Since I do think people are talking monkeys, I'm afraid I may have annoyed you. Not my intent, but an unfortunate result of my rationalism. Sorry.

On your 'another note', though, you've hit on one of the interesting problems in scientific philosophy -- phenomenology.

Did Pluto exist before it was discovered? Yup, it did. Did I have a right to believe in Pluto before there was evidence for it? Nope, I did not.

More interesting is the question: do mathematical concepts exist before they are realized by human thought? That is, do we discover math, or invent it?

on edit: espllngi
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 05:00 AM
Response to Reply #13
14. Math is discovered.
The universe works according to mathematical principles and we discover them over time. The universe also has a spiritual structure that we also discover.
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Fall_No_Further Donating Member (32 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-03 08:09 AM
Response to Reply #13
26. My little side-note.
Pretty mucn any and every religious philisophy I've encountered has said that we must take the existence of (insert your deity here) on faith. Complete lack of evidence, complete lack of any data, and they say that we should actually hold the topic up for serious discussion. There is no way to rationally discuss a topic for which there is absolutely no evidence, no data. If the only way to discuss the viability of religion is to say "Hey, unbeliever, you have to ignore the requirements of intelligence and a volitional consciousness that there must be observable data for there to be a rational discussion, and you have to accept our assertions blindly as Truth," then I'm fairly certain the person speaking is spouting shit.

IMHO, not trying to offend anyone, but religion does not compute.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 06:29 AM
Response to Reply #10
17. Morris Goodman must annoy you - look what he proposes:
Edited on Tue Nov-11-03 06:30 AM by treepig
DNA Demands Chimps Be Grouped in the Human Genus, Say Wayne State Researchers

Proposed changes in the primate order are stirring up evolutionary debate. Humans and chimpanzees should be grouped in the same genus, Homo, according to WSU researchers in a May 19 article (#2172) published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Although WSU's Morris Goodman, PhD, has already proven with non-coding DNA sequences that chimpanzees are closest in kinship to humans rather than to gorillas, evolutionary traditionalists say chimps and humans are functionally markedly different and therefore belong on different branches of the family tree.

New analyses show humans and chimpanzees to be 99.4 percent identical in the functionally-important DNA, which codes for proteins and is shaped by natural selection. This provides further evidence for revisions in our genus classification. Dr. Goodman proposes that all living apes should occupy the family Hominidae (which currently contains only humans), and that both humans and chimpanzees should occupy the genus Homo.


http://www.media.wayne.edu/news.releases/03May/chimps.h...
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 04:55 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. Does not annoy me at all. Wonderful 0.6%!
The difference between a working computer program and a non-working computer program is just a few characters.

Scientific research just continues to show us that the universe is endlessly complex and fascinating.
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LeahMira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 09:02 AM
Response to Reply #10
20. My problem with creationists...
Lots of Christian beliefs (including mine) maintain that the biblical description of creation is very metaphorical and that creation by God and evolution are not necessarily contradictory.


... is that generally they cite the biblical account and stop.

No one knows if there was a beginning or what went on at the beginning. Other peoples have creation stories that are very different: the Egyptians believed that a dung beetle gathered mud around itself and from the mud earth came into being while some Indian groups believed that the earth was created when animals brought mud up from the bottom of the seas and placed it on the back of a turtle. I imagine that all of these stories have some truth, metaphorical or otherwise.

As long as some people shut the book after they read the biblical creation story and insist that there's nothing more to know, they do a disservice to the very quality that they claim makes human beings different from all other forms of life on earth... as you note, our self-reflexive quality or the fact that we seem to have a say in how human history turns out. We humans have a passion to learn and to acquire and transmit information.

Truly, I don't think that humans are more profoundly important than all the other species. We are born, we live, we die. In that we are no different from the animals. Our difference lies in the fact that we can accumulate information and build on that from generation to generation. The creationists would apparently prefer that we simply stop and just take the word of the bible, written down several thousand years ago, for everything.

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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-19-03 02:02 AM
Response to Reply #10
37. Mr. Kirk, not to poke too many holes in your theory, but all of those
can be explained evolutionarily. This is my field, in fact.

While at one point I practiced psychology in a clinical setting, my emphasis is Evolutionary Psychology, which is admittedly very speculative and offers only hypotheses until we get the time travel machine functioning. (That is a joke.) Ev. Psych. is the intersection of psychology, sociology and anthropology and as such, we can draw some pretty tight conclusions (and test about 70% of them). I'm going to over-simplify to an extent because I don't know what your background is so I'm giving you the High School Senior schpiel I give on Career Day..... forgive me if I over-simplify too much, okay? I'll gladly give you citations in peer reviewed journals of international merit if you request them but footnoting in this format is ... difficult.

Love exists because a tightly knit community will survive better than a loose, every man out for himself community. We also know that social behaviours such as "grooming", stroking, petting and other physical contacts that a community engages in stimulate growth in children, a sense of well being in adults, and re-inforce the common bond. When the "tribe" is made up of 2 dozen individuals all pretty closely related, every institution that helps the tribe survive as a whole helps the individual genes survive. Just as human children will die, even when properly fed and kept clean if not stroked and touched (called "failure to thrive") so will other primates, adults who are kept in isolation. We can literally die of loneliness. Love, and the outward behaviours of it, are social bonding behaviours that ensure the survival of the group and of the species.

We can "see" love in the brain if we examine the endorphins and hormones present - people who self-report that they are "in love" have higher levels of dopamine, seratonin and norepinephrine (trade name: adreneline) than people who do not self-report that they are in requited love. People in unrequited love have lower levels of these same chemicals, thus telling us that love is a pro-survival behaviour.


2. The sense of history. This one is tough because there is no evidence that early humans (we'll just talk Cro-Magnon, since you seem to have difficulties realizing that we, too, are primates and had earlier "releases") had a sense of history, and it has been argued that even the early Greeks were kind of pushing that envelope. While I will accept that each individual can have a sense of *personal* history, a sense of group history or cultural history is not necessarily a given. Group and Cultural histories are a cultural artifact, not an intrinsic piece of development. Were group and cultural histories intrinsic to development outside of a cultural frame of reference, then children adopted in infancy in other cultures and brought to the US and raised as Americans would have a dual sense of cultural history, or a conflicting sense. This is stretching the cognitive dissonance that many adopted children feel far too far into the cellular memory argument for logic and reason. Also, children raised in isolation who manage to acquire language at the critical stage have a sense of personal history but not necessarily cultural history; children who do not manage to acquire language in the critical stage (1.5 years to 5 years) do not have either a sense of personal or cultural history. Language acquisition is a key component in any of the things that you believe set us apart - it "formats" our brains almost like formatting a hard drive in a computer.

The fact is that separating culture from hardwired behaviors is very difficult and any experiments we could design to test for such would be unethical in the extreme. (This is why we rely on primate studies and the few, sadly unfortunate "feral" children we occasionally find. Given a choice, we'd rather not know and have the children healthy and whole than study them, but better to learn a little from a tragedy than nothing at all.) Most of what most people consider "instinctive" or "natural" is, as far as we can tell, cultural in basis. Even such "givens" as mother love are questionable - pre-revolutionary New England children appear to have bonded much more closely with their fathers than their mothers. The Mathers are a case in point - none of them mention their mothers in any significant way in their writings while writing very affectionately of their fathers. This contradicts conventional wisdom of today that mothers are the primary parent.

3. A human conscience. Like the sense of history, I think we have to look at this as a cultural artifact because each culture has significant differences in what is acceptable and what is taboo. In the New Guinea Highlands, when strangers meet, the first thing they do is compare bloodlines and kinship ties looking for commonality so they don't have to kill each other because their cultures are very aggressive. In the same areas, the way to show the greatest respect for the dead was to consume him or her until the Westerners who colonized the region put a stop to it. Compare these two examples to Western American-European culture. We would never even consider murdering a stranger just because s/he was a stranger. While we might compare kinship ties, it is neither necessary nor critical to making small talk. Further, we doll up and go deep into debt to show respect for our dead and would abhor someone who attempted to snack on the dead and put them away where they can't do any one any harm.

What is a cultural norm in one place is a cultural abberation in another, and what is right and virtuous can be abhorrent elsewhere. Another example of this is the conflicts Native Americans of the plains had when encountering Euro-American missionaries. Under Native American practice in this area (I'm in Colorado, so I'm most familiar with the Arapaho, Shoshone, Lakota, and Dine (Navajo) peoples) men hunted and women did everything else. However, this wasn't a patriarchal, men enslaving the women culture - the women did everything because it made them economically independent. Men married into women's families, not vice versa, and children were part of their mother's lineage.

When missionaries encountered what they considered to be the intolerable sloth of the Native American men, they pushed the men into farming and leather prep and other jobs that were traditionally the women's economic basis, thus stripping the women not only of their independence, but of their rights in the society. What was right and proper in one society was unabashed hedonism in another. The key is that all cultures are geared toward the survival of the tribe/society/group, and the conscience, the social construct of right and wrong, is an outgrowth of that survival push.

Do I think that humans are talking monkeys? That's a tough question. I know we are closely related - DNA at 94-99.6% Common to all primates (CoTAP) (Depends on species) makes it hard to deny that we're not related. (Common to all Mammals - CoTAM - DNA is about 85%) But just as a bonobo is not a chimpanzee and a baboon is not a gorilla, a human is not a chimp or a bonobo or a gorilla. But then again, a coyote is not a wolf is not a poodle, but they are closely related. I also think that we've only been studying this for 100+/- years and we have a lot to learn.

I am agnostic. I don't know if a deity or deities exist and because I see no evidence either way, the question is irrelevant to me. Therefore, this is the world that concerns me and I can only work on evidence.

Your arguments on Pluto and germs are what is called a logical fallacy. Before Pluto was sighted at Lowell Observatory in 1930, the only arguments for its existence were *flawed* mathematics that were disproven with the mass measurements of Neptune made by Voyager. There was no "belief" in Pluto and if Pluto had not been seen, it would not have "existed" as far as the planetary knowledge goes. At best, it would have remained an unproven hypothesis, and unproven hypotheses are a dime a dozen. Every university cranks out a couple thousand every year. Most fail. Alternately, people say there is a 10th, Planet X and there are little grey space aliens. But saying so doesn't make it so. The theory of creationism is, as far as evidence goes, as sound as Erich von Daniken's Chariots of the Gods and panspermia. It's possible aliens or gods created or guided our evolution, but no one has found the evidence. You'd think they'd have left a test tube or something. *grin*

I don't know if you've ever been anywhere outside of the US (or where ever you happen to live). Ignorance of germ theory does not deny the existence of germs, true. But just because a person doesn't believe in the bacteria that cause cholera doesn't mean that that person can't get cholera. That's not true of evolution. Just because one doesn't believe in evolution doesn't mean that one isn't evolved. You might want to be careful using these arguments in the future, by the way. They can be used to argue evolution just as easily.

Best,

Politicat (who is saving up for her expenses for her doctoral research even as we speak...)
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 08:21 AM
Response to Reply #4
7. i suppose that depends on whether you're a cat or a person!
isn't it just a tad speciest to ascribe attribute to yourself and deny them to perfectly deserving non-human animals.

do you also believe that non-human do not have intelligence, cannot feel pain, and so on?

in any event, i'd be interested in learning from you what the biological basis of the purported uniquely-human spirituality is.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 02:41 PM
Response to Reply #7
9. egad, was that my most incomprehenible post ever?
due to missing words, mis-pluralizations etc.

anyhow, i have my own ideas on the biological basis of "humanness"

(and will post them presently, when i have time to proof-read the rambling discourse i'm not working on).
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 06:30 PM
Response to Reply #7
11. Yep! I'm a species-ist!
Yes, I recognize that animals have intelligence and feel pain, but I believe that all humans are more important, in a spiritual sense, than all animals. This belief of mine has no biological basis, but it's not a biological question. It's like asking my biological basis for my favorite song. It has none. It's all intellectual.

I do like cats, though! I think they're a lot of fun to have around.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 06:26 AM
Response to Reply #11
16. i agree, it's all intellectual
so basically, the question becomes

why do humans (for better or worse) have a significantly superior intellect to any other type of animal?

i submit that there must be a biological basis for human intelligence.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 07:28 AM
Response to Reply #16
18. the biological basis of humanness?
OK, is there any particular biological basis that makes human especially intelligent (and thereby endows them with uniquely human characteristics, such as the ability to elucidate abstract concepts such as spirituality)?

And if so, what is it?

Well, current thinking is that an unusual sugar known as neuraminic acid (also known as sialic acid) plays a major role. The major form of this sugar found in humans (attached to the surfaces of cells) is the N-acetyl form of neuraminic acid, generally called NeuAc




In all non-human animals, another form of neuraminic acid is also present the N-glycolyl form, which is generally called NeuGc note the very subtle chemical difference in structure (the extra OH group shown in the lower left portion of the molecule):






The hypothesis is that the lack of NeuGc expression in humans may be the single specific biological basis for the development of human intelligence. This hypothesis is based on the following evidence:


Fact #1. There is an enzyme called CMP-N-acetylneuraminic acid hydroxylase (called hydroxylase hereafter) that converts NeuAc to NeuGc.

THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Volume 270, Number 27, Issue of July 07, pp. 16458-16463, 1995


Fact #2. Expression of the hydroxylase gene is down-regulated in the brains of animals (as compared to their other organs) suggesting that the NeuAc form of neuraminic acid is preferable for brain development or activity.

THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Volume 270, Number 27, Issue of July 07, pp. 16458-16463, 1995


Fact #3. In humans, this enzyme is not active because it the gene coding for it is missing exon 6 therefore the NeuAc form of neuraminic acid cannot be converted to the NeuGc form.

THE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGICAL CHEMISTRY Vol. 273, No. 25, Issue of June 19, pp. 1586615871, 1998


Fact #4. The inactivation of the hydroxylase gene occurred about 2.8 million years ago, after modern humans split from the common ancestor they shared with chimpanzees. Furthermore, loss of the NeuGc form of sialic acid occurred shortly before significant increases in brain size relative to body size happened.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA Volume 99: pp. 11736-11741, 2002


Hypothesis Unlike most primate brains that stop growing relatively soon after birth, human brains continue to grow for some time postnatally, at a rate similar to the body growth rate. A potentially testable hypothesis is that the low levels of residual brain NeuGc in other mammals somehow limited brain expansion and that the human hydroxylase mutation that stopped production of NeuGc in humans released our ancestors from such a constraint.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci USA Volume 99: pp. 11736-11741, 2002


and now for my editorial comments its perhaps ironic that one of the talking points for creationists the development of more complex biological life forms just cannot happen (perhaps because of the second law of thermodynamics badly mis-applied) is nicely avoided in the above discussion because it appears that the crucial biological event that made humans distinctly human was the loss of complexity. specifically, most animals have two major forms of sialic acid (NeuAc and NeuGc) and could therefore be considered to be more complex than humans who only have one predominant form (NeuAc).


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enki23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 02:21 PM
Response to Reply #4
8. you don't need to invent a god to be irrational
though to tell the truth there are perfectly rational reasons to be more upset about the death of a human (assuming this is a human you know and give a damn about, as i'd be *much* more unhappy if my cat died than i would to learn some random stranger has died.)

*you are more closely related to the human
*you are better able to imagine what death was like for the human
*the human would have been able to communicate its distress more effectively
*the human had a much more fully developed sense of self than the cat.

etc.
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 06:34 PM
Response to Reply #8
12. I'm irrational.
I admit it, not all my beliefs are rational. But as I'm always reminding my good friend Spock, humans are not always rational. It's our nature.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-10-03 08:13 AM
Response to Original message
6. Maybe because it is too good of a manipulation to let it die
Obviously, theological creationism is a powerful theory that many people can be talked into believing. If these faux theologans actually admitted that creationism is specious, they would lose a great tool for manipulating their flock. That would mean the end of their gold-plated homes and vacations. That would mean the end of their political manipulations that are the real goal of the conservative religious leaders.
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 05:53 AM
Response to Original message
15. Talking monkeys unite! (creation and elections)
On a political note, not related to whether you believe in creation or not, the American public wants national leaders who do believe in God and the public wants leaders who believe in a human race made by a creator. They want a president who goes to church more often than they do and who feels comfortable saying God bless America.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 07:40 AM
Response to Reply #15
19. the american public
also (apparently) wants a president who's a complete idiot and also a stooge of imperialistic warmongers.


that doesn't make it right!!


it sounds like you're advocating that we acquiese to the prevailing ignorance - i'm a bit hopeful that the american public can be educated (or at least 5-10% in the middle who might tip the scales in favor of somewhat progressive, enlightened ideals and policies instead of those based on prejudice and superstition).
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 04:45 PM
Response to Reply #19
22. Take a look at recent history.
Bush, G. W. (R) - Believes in God.
Clinton (D) - Believes in God.
Bush, G. H. W. (R) - Believes in God.
Reagan (R) - Believes in God.
Carter (D) - Believes in God.
I can't think of any president from any party in recent history who was a non-believer. Telling the voting population that they are superstitious and need to be educated ain't going to win any national elections. If we asked all of the current Democratic candidates if they believed in God, most or all would say yes. If any said no, I'll bet they don't even win the nomination. Heck, one of the declared candidates, Sharpton, is a reverend! Is he going to be the one to break the news to Americans that they don't have souls?The American public is not prevailingly ignorant on this issue(although they can occasionally get pretty dumb on election day).
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 05:28 PM
Response to Reply #22
24. Bill Bradley told the press not to ask him about his religious beliefs
It was a one on one interview when he was running for president. He just cut the line of questioning off quickly.

I think Bill Clinton was an atheist. If I wanted to become President or Governor, I think I would have to lie and invent a religious affiliation--probably Unitarian, maybe Quaker.
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #24
25. Interesting!
I did not know that about Bradley.

It would be interesting to know which presidents were faking it and which ones really beleived what they said they believed. With some presidents, God only knows what they're thinking!
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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-19-03 02:11 AM
Response to Reply #22
38. In the dark of the night, in the depths of their thinking....
I won't presume to state ANYONE's beliefs for them, including Mr. Politicat's.

Can you PROVE that our more secular presidents were truly believers or did they just use it to make those who are uncomfortable with the idea of a secular society more comfortable.

I don't care what someone believes as long as we all realize that belief is personal. Your belief and my mother's (strong Quaker) beliefs may have similarities, but they're not alike because ALL beliefs are personal.

Thus, bringing belief into the greater society as anything but a personal opinion is treading on very dangerous ground.

Thus, were I elected, my agnosticism would have to take second place to the laws of the land. And so should the above mentioned leaders.

Pcat
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James T. Kirk Donating Member (916 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-25-03 07:08 PM
Response to Reply #38
41. Religion and U.S. Presidents
I cant PROVE what our presidents believed. I tend to take what people say about their own religious beliefs at face value unless I have reason to believe otherwise. From what Ive heard from the Presidents themselves and read, Id venture to say all of the presidents I listed would fall into the believing-in-God category. Some, like Jimmy Carter and George W. Bush, just talk about it more than others.

As you said, bringing religious motivation into society can be a dangerous thing, but it can be and often is a powerful force for good. There was religious motivation for the foundation of our democratic country, the abolition of slavery, womens suffrage and 20th century civil rights advancements. Religious persecution is sad fact of human history, but religious liberation and reconciliation are also driving forces. For example, Abraham Lincoln and Reverend King brought their beliefs into public life and the world is better off for it.

The excessive encroachment of religion into political and social affairs is a danger, but beliefs such The Commies (the one who started this discussion) can also be dangerous. If our national leaders didnt believe that all people were created equal and have God-given rights that the government cant take away, that would be just as scary as the establishment of a Church of America.

O8)
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LeahMira Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-11-03 09:17 AM
Response to Reply #15
21. Too bad...
On a political note, not related to whether you believe in creation or not, the American public wants national leaders who do believe in God and the public wants leaders who believe in a human race made by a creator. They want a president who goes to church more often than they do and who feels comfortable saying God bless America.

Sadly, the American people also want a leader who believes that America has been given a special divine mission to bring its unique form of civilization to the rest of the world.

Amazing, isn't it, how civilizations managed to develop throughout the world without America there to guide them?

I think America is the least civilized of all the world's nations. Somewhere along the line we have lost the ability to feel a radical amazement at the harmony and complexity and beauty of the world and the people around us. Instead, we have managed to commodify everything... even the air and water! ... even one another!

All the churchgoing means nothing, and the force that creates and sustains harmony throughout the universe (G-d for short) will permit the natural consequences of such callous and unhuman behavior to come to pass in the U.S. no matter how many songs anyone sings. 'Bout time people got smart about that!

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Polemonium Donating Member (660 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-03 10:52 AM
Response to Original message
27. Creationists annoy me too, but so do devout Darwinists
I continue to study science because of the inherent mystery in the universe yet to be explained or discovered, because many theories are just waiting to be expanded, refuted etc., and because the history of science has been evolution itself. Many theories have come and gone during the history of the scientific method. Evolution has stood for a long time, but it is rare to see a paper that would challenge the theory, or better question its completeness. More frequently everything is simply attributed to evolution post results. This is how my paper conveniently fits into the existing theory.

I am not stating that I refute the theory of evolution, natural selection etc. I am stating, however, that it does not explain everything, and resting with hubris on prior discoveries is simply the best way to kill the essence of good science.

Krutch wrote an essay along time ago entitled the Evolution of Awareness. A nature writing exercise done a long time ago, yet many of his points still ring true (or are at least worth looking into). His Premise was something like; the current theory failed to explain how the driving force of evolution, survival, could be solely responsible for the progression of evolution ending ultimately in humans. Survival if it had been the sole driving force of evolution would not have needed to progress in the way in which it did. Love is not a prerequisite to survival. Sure love can be rationalized, by stating that it was required to keep slowly developing young alive (or whatever). But Krutch argued that it would have been an unnecessary step if survival was the only goal. One could have stopped several times along the evolutionary path, and arguably ensured the survival of the species and allowed individuals to maximize their ability to pass genes through the generations. Krutch then argued that the real guiding force of evolution would be awareness, which would not equate to better survival skills. A chimp is more aware of its surroundings than a dog, which is more aware than a lizard, which is more aware than an ant. As evolution progressed so did awareness, and with awareness comes a greater capacity for love. I'm not sure Krutch got it right, but I welcome the mystery he brings into the argument. Perhaps awareness is survival driven in that you need to become increasingly aware of your surroundings and the interrelationships that you depend on in order to assure survival. Either way there is no clear evidence as to how awareness fits into evolution theory, or why species that have less awareness continue to propagate and survive. A growing body of work is simply suggesting their results fit into evolution theory with no evidence. Evidence would require a result to show a demonstrated decrease in recruitment or survival, or an increase in mortality to have any real weight.

Some of the things the theory of evolution does not completely explain.
1. Love - prove it, don't just give the same clich
2. the complexities of ecological relationships (interdependence)
3. Art and its appreciation
4. The recent failure of many long-term studies to equate unique social animal behaviors into increasing offspring survival, or ensuring individual reproduction.
5. The diversity of behaviors that operate outside individual or group fitness
6. Irrational behaviors and the complex emotional baggage that put many in the shrinks office
7. Self sacrifice, witnessed now in some non-human vertebrates - again with no apparent fitness gain
Anyone claiming they understand the universe and can explain it all annoys me simply because I take selfish enjoyment in embracing the mystery of science, of spirituality, and of why I was motivated to spend so much time on a frivolous rant.



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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-03 01:02 PM
Response to Reply #27
28. in a similar vein,
Edited on Wed Nov-12-03 01:31 PM by treepig
i used to believe in the "theory of gravity"

but i'm not so sure anymore after making a list of things it just does seem capable of explaining:

1. the popularity or reality tv shows
2. the ozone hole
3. why cream cheese has so many calories even though it is white
4. the lower energy content of oxygenated fuels used in the winter-time
5. elephants
6. why there is only one electron in the universe and, more importantly, why it is green

oh well, i'll keeping looking for a suitable scientific theory to provide me with a unified view of the universe . . .

on edit, i'm not (entirely) just trying to be a smartass, but to point out that you are under the impression that the purpose of theory of evolution is to explain love, you have a profound misunderstanding of the theory. the theory of evolution provides the (incredibly well established) biological basis for explaining how life changes and adapts to its environment - the outcome of the process, whether it be "love" or an elephant is completely irrelevant to the theory itself
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Polemonium Donating Member (660 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-12-03 11:22 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. lol, there may be hope for you
Your right the theory of evolution succeeds in explaining many of the differences in the biological world. Someone else brought love into this thread, and I only hoped to point out that love is not under current theory explained by evolution. Many things for that matter are not explained by the theory of evolution. Yet this has not kept many from grabbing on to it with more blind faith than some religious zealots. It does according to some explain everything biological, and is certainly the only proof offered to explain away all things spiritual. A creationist saying the world was created in seven days is as annoying to me as a Darwinist stating all things are related to natural selection.

The Theory of Gravity -- well it's the law of Gravity actually, and there is no law of evolution it's still a theory. I'm sure I don't have to remind you of what requirements are needed to advance a theory to a law but so far we have not been able to back up the theory with enough experimental tests. Interestingly Physics researchers have no problem questioning the theories and laws on which there understanding is pinned. They even have suggested loopholes in the law of gravity, just suggestions mind you but their minds are not closed. I am continually mystified as to why so many of my peers are unable to approach biological theory with the same open mindedness and incredibly inventive experimentation. This is starting to change, friends that have been working on long-term life table studies, are beginning to see that the neat little theories of natural selection are not so neat. An Ornithologist friend after 7 years of intensive study has found no clear genetic benefit to explain why Acorn Woodpeckers behave the way they do. It seemed so obvious when he started. The polyandry, and polygamy would be explained by the increased fitness of a given family or individual (a brother would help raise young because it increased his or his families fitness). Results, however, showed some males outside the genetic group did not breed, were outside the group genetically and yet they helped feed and care for someone else's young. The picture he paints gets more and more messy the more you look at it, and while the strange social behaviors of Acorn Woodpeckers may well have a basis in Natural Selection. His results do cast serious doubt on the suggestions made by other papers. I can not tell you how many papers I have read that suggest their findings are evidence of how this behavior or whatever was an adaptation brought on by natural selection, yet recent studies like the Acorn Woodpecker study are putting those vague suggestions into question.

I have no doubt that my ancestors looked more like a chimp than some chimps. I have no doubt that evolution explains most of the diversity found in the biological world. I have worked in and been a student of Biology for 18 years. To suggest that I have no understanding of the theory of evolution is to jump to conclusions with little evidence (a problem not uncommon in biological research due in part to poor or inadequate study design). It is possible that forces besides natural selection are at work in evolution. It is possible that some biological traits exist outside natural selection. There is nothing wrong with interesting possibilities, but it makes me laugh when I dare to question things and my questioning is met with near religious zealotry defending some existing theory. Sure my own research will stay within existing accepted methodologies and natural selection theory, but that doesn't stop me from daydreaming about funding and experimental design capable of challenging existing theories.

Finally, religion and spirituality exist outside of science. Scientific discovery cannot be used to dismantle spiritual beliefs any more than religion can dismantle scientific ones. Faith is blind, a leap etc. Get over it, form your opinions about the mysteries of the universe, and yes there still are many. And above all respect those who leap to different conclusions. If we failed to respect different beliefs in the grand experiment of the USA, well religious zealotry would likely leave half of us dead.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-13-03 07:25 AM
Response to Reply #29
32. you're basically pointing out the existence of complex biological systems
that are not currently understood - and then using this current lack of knowledge to attempt to undermine the "theory of evolution."

consider something that surely has an exact biological basis - the conversion of sound waves into sounds that we hear. what is now known is that there are thousands of neurons involved in complex signal processing events that allow sounds to be heard. what is not known is exactly (or even approximately) how they all work together to do so. does this lack of knowledge mean that there is no biological basis for hearing - well, no more than saying my lack of understanding of how, when i hit a key on my keyboard and a representation of a letter magically appears on the screen, means that there is no electronic/mechanical basis for these correlated events. similarly, just because we currently lack an understanding of the biological basis of love and spirituality doesn't mean that there isn't one.

getting back to the "theory" of evolution, surely you're aware that in this context the work "theory" doesn't imply any doubt as to the veracity of the concept. perhaps a refresher from http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?articleID=000D4FEC-7D5... would help?

"Many people learned in elementary school that a theory falls in the middle of a hierarchy of certainty--above a mere hypothesis but below a law. Scientists do not use the terms that way, however. According to the National Academy of Sciences (NAS), a scientific theory is "a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world that can incorporate facts, laws, inferences, and tested hypotheses." No amount of validation changes a theory into a law, which is a descriptive generalization about nature. So when scientists talk about the theory of evolution--or the atomic theory or the theory of relativity, for that matter--they are not expressing reservations about its truth."

and the example of woodpeckers acting in a manner that is difficult to explain based on the principles of natural selection seems to miss a major point of the "theory" of evolution. integral to evolution is the fact that Nature has provided a ready means (DNA damage) to bring about genetic diversity (DNA mutations) as a prelude to where natural selection kicks in. therefore whenever a population is observed over a short period of time, there are bound to be some (or many) individuals with recently derived mutations that lead to traits that will not stand the test of time. in fact, almost all newly-arising genetic diversity is deleterious and will be eliminated from the population in the long term. however this diversity is absolutely required for the rare instances when the environment demands change - an example is the light colored moths that used to live on light colored english trees before the industrial revolution. any dark colored moths were quickly spotted by birds an eaten - in fact the existence of such "unfit" moths provided a nice example to dispute darwin's theories. however, after soot from factories during the industrial revolution darkened all the trees, suddenly the dark colored moths were the ones that came to dominate the population because the light colored suddenly became "unfit" thereby clearly illustrating the usefulness (or rather, the necessity) of seemingly worthless genetic diversity.
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Polemonium Donating Member (660 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-18-03 11:19 PM
Response to Reply #32
36. There are many possibilities - you raise a few
"just because we currently lack an understanding of the biological basis of love and spirituality doesn't mean that there isn't one." No it certainly doesn't, nor does it mean that there is one. I am only suggesting that there are processes other than natural selection that might influence evolution, and that there may be some things that exist outside evolutionary theory. Both of us have made unsubstantiated suggestions. Proving or disproving those suggestions is the fun of science.

Nothing I have said would undermine evolution, as I have presented no evidence to disprove evolution. Recent works throughout Ethology suggest we are missing part of the picture. It does not suggest Evolution is bunk and I am not implying that.

Theory / Law ok your right, mine an error of semantics. Evolution is less validated than say gravity, which does not imply evolution is not correct but does suggest more work done in validation would be welcome.


Woodpeckers - interesting ideas, so far the abnormal males in this study do not appear to share a common genetic marker or flaw, so there is no evidence that their behavior is tied to a common gene. Further, other similar studies are coming up with more confounding results especially in behavioral studies (many behaviors are not being successfully identified with genes, and those behaviors seem to exist outside current evolutionary understanding).
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Overkil Donating Member (134 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-13-03 01:09 AM
Response to Original message
30. Evolutionists annoy me..........
when they take humans out of the darwin argument. I'm tired of being told that humans have to fix the world's problems (ya I know we caused most of them, but)......if what we have done is harming another spoecies to the point of their own extinction (meaning the can't adapt), maybe their not fit enough to survive. I don't know of any other species that cares that other species may be disappearing. The crocs in africa don't take a census of how many wildabeast they kill to make sure their not killing too many. Any what if they did wipe out the wildabeast? How would that be any different than us wiping out another species through deforrestation, etc? Comes back to survival of the fittest in my opinion.........And you're right - evolution has no goal, no dog in that fight. It doesn't care who wins or loses. Impartial, the way it should be.
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Kolesar Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-13-03 06:09 AM
Response to Reply #30
31. Which leads to the logical conclusion--cannibalism
When we have played out all of the world's resources, we will have to resort to whatever it takes to survive at any level.
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enki23 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-14-03 04:05 AM
Response to Reply #30
33. when you put out the grease fire in your kitchen
Edited on Fri Nov-14-03 04:17 AM by enki23
you aren't fixing the kitchen's problems.
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politicat Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Nov-19-03 02:21 AM
Response to Reply #30
39. And just who is supposed to clean up our frimpin' mess, Overkil?
you said " I'm tired of being told that humans have to fix the world's problems (ya I know we caused most of them, but)."

Okay, I don't know how it was in your house growing up, but in my house and in all of the houses I ever visited, the rule was, you make the mess, you clean it up.

We've made a big mess. But this isn't survival of the fittest because the other competitors aren't even in the same arena, much less starting from the same starting line.

Used to be that a lion could take one of us down because we don't run as fast or have teeth as big. Now, we have long metal tubes use the principle of exploding gases to propel small bits of metal into the lions to kill them. Rats used to kill us regularly with plague, typhoid, and Hanta. Now we have anti-biotics. The playing field needs a little grading.... it's not very level any more.

We have the conscience, the ability to reason and plan, the ability to think. We should use them. Because if we don't, we might just be slitting our own throats and destroying the plant that will enable us to do something grand....

Hedging our bets is in our best interest.

Pcat
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Overkil Donating Member (134 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Nov-20-03 01:32 PM
Response to Reply #39
40. And just who is supposed to clean up our frimpin' mess, Overkil?
Okay, I don't know how it was in your house growing up, but in my house and in all of the houses I ever visited, the rule was, you make the mess, you clean it up.

I grew up in the same environment.


But this isn't survival of the fittest because the other competitors aren't even in the same arena, much less starting from the same starting line.

Actually, it's still survival for the fittest, and we all started from the same place (big bang), we just have a huge lead.


Used to be that a lion could take one of us down because we don't run as fast or have teeth as big.

You're right, we evolved. We were the fittest, mentally.


The playing field needs a little grading.... it's not very level any more.

If they're destin to survive, they'll find a way. re-leveling the field because one species got too far ahead only tampers with the formula. A scientist wouldn't change the experiment mid way through because he didn't like where the outcome was headed.


We have the conscience, the ability to reason and plan, the ability to think. We should use them. Because if we don't, we might just be slitting our own throats and destroying the plant that will enable us to do something grand....

If our acts of self-preservation happen to benefit other species, I have no problem, but I don't think should be the goal.


Looking forward to your comments.......

Overkil







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GAspnes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 09:54 AM
Response to Original message
34. another reason
Science standards committee taken aback by creationist's e-mail

<snip>

He wrote that if members were willing to include only evolution in the science standards, "then I must reiterate to you all once again Scripture's stern warning of grave peril for your offense: 'But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged around his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea; woe to that man by whom the offence cometh! (Matthew 18:6-7).' "

<snip>

I haven't seen many threating emails from evolution supporters.
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treepig Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Nov-17-03 10:30 AM
Response to Reply #34
35. tit for tat
i suppose that if creationist's want equal time in science class at school, they must be willing to provide equal time for the teaching of evolution at their church? that would only seem fair to me, after all, doesn't it say somewhere else in the bible Come now, let us reason together," says the LORD

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