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In discussions related to religion, the topic of evolution often arises, and theists sometimes state that they do not "believe in" evolution. It is curious how often the topic arises considering it does nothing to support a religious position (even if evolution were a load of made up nonsense it would not imply the existence of God or gods). But so much disinformation is spread by religions to discredit evolution that a worrying number of people seem content to be ignorant of it. I despair every time someone claims not to have been "descended from monkeys". Humans are not descended from monkeys, though we have a common ancestor. Comments like that betray a deep level of ignorance, and a desire to view humans as being essentially different to other animals, motivated by pride and flying in the face of all evidence.

There is no excuse for ignorance. Education is only a threat to your beliefs if your beliefs are wrong, in which case you'd be better off without them. So I'd like to offer a starting point to get people thinking about evolution. I doubt that I can do justice to the topic, but anything's better than nothing.

Is evolution mere hypothesis, or is it proven? The answer to that depends on how much evidence you want to consider something proven. Consider the force of gravity. Do we have complete proof that it exists? Every time I drop an object it falls to the floor, but what does that prove?

It could be, for example, that objects are moved by random forces, which have given the impression of the existence of gravity by an incredibly unlikely chance. Being random, they may not necessarily continue to do so, so don't be surprised if things start flying around the room. However, the huge improbability of this makes it a poor explanation.

Or it could be that whenever I drop an object, God pulls it to the floor because He wants to. In which case, similarly, there is no reason to assume that he should continue to do so. He may change his mind at any moment. Likewise, this is a highly unlikely explanation because if God was merely exercising free will to move objects around it is unlikely that this would manifest itself in a behaviour so consistent as to appear to be a universal force with clear mathematically defined magnitude and direction. The other problem with that hypothesis is that it requires the existence of a god, which makes it a very complicated hypothesis indeed, and raises all sorts of awkward questions about how such a god could come to exist, why such a god would be doing what he is doing, the mechanisms by which he operates and so on.

So, the existence of gravity is not the only explanation for what we observe, but it is astronomically more likely than either of the above ones.

Evolution is supported in the same way, in that our observations are completely consistent with the theory. It's a tall order to give reasons why evolution is consistent with observation. The problem is knowing where to begin (and the other problem is knowing when to stop as this could be a very long post). We could start with the fact that our DNA structure is incredibly similar to that of all animals on this planet, as are larger structures like cells. Our skeletal formation, bodily functions and internal organs are incredibly similar to that of all mammals, allowing for deformation. Either that's one heck of a coincidence, or there's a suggestion of a common origin there. Based on this much alone, to suggest that human beings are not animals (since we have more developed brains) makes no more sense than a claim that a peacock cannot be a bird because it has such elaborate tail feathers.

And then there is the grouping of species at various levels which have differing degrees of commonality. All birds, for example, share common traits that differ from all mammals. But both share sets of common traits with, for example, all vertebrates. This is a clear indication of lineage, but we can look a lot deeper. We can trace lineage at the level of individual genes, and throughout the entire spectrum of living species the family tree is consistent.

Like the force of gravity, we can infer the process of evolution from the consistency of its results. But, unlike gravity, we can also observe and even interact with the underlying mechanisms that cause the process.

The process of mutation and genetic inheritance is undeniable. Humans have manipulated it successfully over millennia with selective breeding of plants and animals (including human beings). Nowadays we understand the mechanisms that cause this, in minute detail. We have also studied natural selection in the wild and how species adapt to change, and even branch off into new species. Evolution is happening, right now, all around us. That much is fact, proven to the greatest extent that anything can be. Unless our whole experience of life is some kind of fake illusion, or the whole thing is a big conspiracy, evolution happens.

Ah, but how do we know that evolution happened in the past as well? Nobody has yet envisaged a reasonable explanation of how we could have come to this point otherwise. Then there is the aforementioned commonality of physical traits and genes that caused them, the huge, well-established genetic map of species, which corresponds both geographically and chronologically with an extensive fossil record, which in itself gives us an amazingly complete picture, enabling us to trace our ancestry back millions of years. It all ties in together. There is a huge amount of data and it all fits.

Darwin understood evolution from observing the process and its effects on a medium scale. In Darwin's time, the theory was accepted by the scientific community despite flying in the face of religious belief (no small feat in those days). It was elegant, simple, and self-evident. Almost a hundred and fifty years later nobody has been able to pick a hole in it, and not for lack of trying. In that time we have come to understand so much more, far more information has been unearthed about present species, fossils, and the mechanisms of genetics (which are now understood on a molecular level). A vast amount of new information has come to light. And it all still fits.

But does that prove that we came to be this way by means of evolution? Of course not! God could have planted all the fossil evidence, arranged every living thing so as to look like it evolved, and even put all the processes in place so that evolution would have gotten us to this point, were it not for the fact that God actually put us here instead. He may be trying to fool us, just as he may be pulling objects to the floor to make us think gravity exists. The complete consistency of the data may all be just a big trick. But it's not very likely, is it?

Here I'll appeal for help from other braindenners, to provide links to websites or books for those who wish to find out how evolution works.

Here's one which seems to do a good job of taking it from first principles.

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Posted · Report post

If it is survival of the fittest - how comes many of the weak are still around ??

Fit doesn't necessarily mean strong. And i

m sure you didn't think of it as that either. however some animals that may appear to be weak, may in fact have some other attribute that allows them to still survive.

An analogy, albeit a poor one, could be the jokester in human society. he may not be the biggest, strongest or the smartest. but typically he can get out of most situations by use of his with and sense of humor alone.

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Impervious:

I agree with what SomeGuy is saying on the short sighted issue. The genes carried by your friend come from many generations, with recessive genes, genetic shuffling, and mutation affecting everybody in the chain. No child is a carbon copy of their parents.

It is a common misconception that evolution necessarily involves a progressive improvement of a species over time, and you appear to be making that mistake here. You seem to be suggesting some natural force for improvement. This kind of value judgement does not exist in nature. Natural selection is impartial. The gene combinations that are most likely to survive are, self-evidently, the ones most likely to be passed on. If it works, it continues. If it fails, it does not continue. Because this incredibly simple principle tends to create better adaptation and has the potential to create great complexity, there is the illusion that evolution somehow "wants" us to improve. But evolution is merely the name we give to the large scale changes that occur naturally, without direction or purpose. It is not some external force which cares about what is better or worse. Survival is not difficult for humans in the developed world, so in that setting, short sighted people are as likely to pass on their genes as anyone else. Better healthcare, education, nutrition and living environments may create a younger generation that seem superior to the last, but they are just better nurtured.

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Posted · Report post

Your right it's not a good on impervious -

But that is regarding the human race

The sloth family and anteaters are not extinct and many species that are not at the top of the food chain - we breed our meet and grow our crops butr animals have to satisfy there belly. I can see that lions keep there numbers down by killing a complete generation after grabbing the throne. I know there are other species too that kick out the old guard/s but it's not done and left to chance - or is it? Still why so many variations - millions n millions??? Many flies and many ants. I know some may have been separated but not all have been. So did they evolve separately - they are holes still.

I think we are still making the pieces fit the puzzle too often. But I have no better solution.

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Posted · Report post

Still why so many variations - millions n millions??? Many flies and many ants. I know some may have been separated but not all have been. So did they evolve separately - they are holes still.
If I understand you correctly, you're wondering whether each species of fly developed independently. The answer is no, to a very large extent. All flies have common ancestors that they do not share with, say, ants. Hence the fact that all flies are similar in ways that ants are not. Both flies and ants are insects and have a last common ancestor probably over 200 million years ago in the Triassic period. But even at that stage their common ancestor was quite well developed, as there is a lot of complexity in the insect body, and flies and ants are relatively closely related as insects (more so than cockroaches, for example). Anyway, back to the flies. The last common ancestor of all flies would be very much recognisable as a fly, so basically most of the work was already done.

And why so many variations? A fly which is particularly well adapted to a certain way of living (say, feeding in a particular way) will always do better in that field than a generic fly which is not. Specialisation creates an advantage, and each species of fly is specialised in some way or other. A classic example of specialisation is Galapagos finches, which have adapted into 13 or 14 very closed related species, with different beak shapes specialised for different food sources. While searching for an article on those I came across an interesting National Geographic article about how one of these species adapted extremely quickly to a change in competition, adapting their niche to the new conditions.

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If I understand you correctly, you're wondering whether each species of fly developed independently. The answer is no, to a very large extent. All flies have common ancestors that they do not share with, say, ants. Hence the fact that all flies are similar in ways that ants are not. Both flies and ants are insects and have a last common ancestor probably over 200 million years ago in the Triassic period. But even at that stage their common ancestor was quite well developed, as there is a lot of complexity in the insect body, and flies and ants are relatively closely related as insects (more so than cockroaches, for example). Anyway, back to the flies. The last common ancestor of all flies would be very much recognisable as a fly, so basically most of the work was already done.

And why so many variations? A fly which is particularly well adapted to a certain way of living (say, feeding in a particular way) will always do better in that field than a generic fly which is not. Specialisation creates an advantage, and each species of fly is specialised in some way or other. A classic example of specialisation is Galapagos finches, which have adapted into 13 or 14 very closed related species, with different beak shapes specialised for different food sources. While searching for an article on those I came across an interesting National Geographic article about how one of these species adapted extremely quickly to a change in competition, adapting their niche to the new conditions.

I am only half in with the Darwin theory and the evolution theory in general, based on the fact that I have not seen how this selection and mutation works - I know there may be more info out there but I haven't found it yet - what causes/ed the adaption/mutation? I need more than everybody else's acceptance.

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Posted · Report post

I am only half in with the Darwin theory and the evolution theory in general, based on the fact that I have not seen how this selection and mutation works - I know there may be more info out there but I haven't found it yet - what causes/ed the adaption/mutation? I need more than everybody else's acceptance.
I fear I have taken on the role of world's-greatest-expert-on-evolutionary-biology here. Whoops! I'm not really qualified to explain all this stuff, and I'd appreciate it if someone who is took a hand in answering questions. But I don't like to leave questions unanswered so if no-one else will, I'll do my best.

On a simple level, adaptation is not so much a process as the result of one. The process is one of creating small genetic variations within a population (more or less randomly), then natural selection determines that the more successful variations are the ones that prevail. Natural selection is self-evident, it's just a name for the obvious fact that individuals best adapted for survival and reproduction will be the ones most likely to survive and reproduce, thereby passing on their genes. It is most evident when times are hard (which is why I have questioned its relevance to humans in the developed world). The creation of genetic variations is a little more complicated, but I'll try to give an outline of the processes.

Gene shuffling is a major factor. Because a child's genetic code is derived from the genetic code of two parents, half the information must be lost. To say that you inherit a gene randomly from either your father or mother, would be simplifying it to the point of inaccuracy. Rather each gene (in each parent) has two halves (not necessarily matching) and you inherit one half from each parent. So every gene you have comes from both parents but contains only one half of each parent's gene. Each half has an allele (a DNA sequence), and the combination of the two alleles determines the phenotype (the resulting physical trait). Hence the fact that you can have recessive alleles, which may not affect the phenotype in a non-matching allele pair, but can still be passed on to offspring, who may end up with a matching pair and thereby display the corresponding phenotype. As you can see, this is all a big game of chance, which is complicated by the fact that a lot of characteristics come down to combinations of genes rather than just one.

That's how we shuffle the cards, but in order to add new cards we need mutation. This is caused by errors in the copying of genetic material during cell division, and by damage caused by radiation, chemical or biological agents. I use the words "error" and "damage" somewhat reservedly, since the process is actually very important to the development of species. In many cases such change will result in the cells not functioning or malfunctioning (as in cancer). But every now and then a change will occur which persists and results in some benefit to the individual, then being passed on to the successful individual's offspring. It is also thought that a lot of mutations have no effect but remain within the DNA sequence, creating variations which by themselves do nothing but provide potential for future mutations to create something new.

The mutation process is quite finely tuned and is itself the result of natural selection, having been refined over many generations in the most early stages of life on earth. It's all a big numbers game, and due to its random nature, requires really big numbers of events to have a chance of doing anything useful. But really big numbers of such events are exactly what we have, and the wonderful thing about the process is that when it does do something useful, the usefulness is preserved and built upon.

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I fear I have taken on the role of world's-greatest-expert-on-evolutionary-biology here. Whoops! I'm not really qualified to explain all this stuff, and I'd appreciate it if someone who is took a hand in answering questions. But I don't like to leave questions unanswered so if no-one else will, I'll do my best.

On a simple level, adaptation is not so much a process as the result of one. The process is one of creating small genetic variations within a population (more or less randomly), then natural selection determines that the more successful variations are the ones that prevail. Natural selection is self-evident, it's just a name for the obvious fact that individuals best adapted for survival and reproduction will be the ones most likely to survive and reproduce, thereby passing on their genes. It is most evident when times are hard (which is why I have questioned its relevance to humans in the developed world). The creation of genetic variations is a little more complicated, but I'll try to give an outline of the processes.

Gene shuffling is a major factor. Because a child's genetic code is derived from the genetic code of two parents, half the information must be lost. To say that you inherit a gene randomly from either your father or mother, would be simplifying it to the point of inaccuracy. Rather each gene (in each parent) has two halves (not necessarily matching) and you inherit one half from each parent. So every gene you have comes from both parents but contains only one half of each parent's gene. Each half has an allele (a DNA sequence), and the combination of the two alleles determines the phenotype (the resulting physical trait). Hence the fact that you can have recessive alleles, which may not affect the phenotype in a non-matching allele pair, but can still be passed on to offspring, who may end up with a matching pair and thereby display the corresponding phenotype. As you can see, this is all a big game of chance, which is complicated by the fact that a lot of characteristics come down to combinations of genes rather than just one.

That's how we shuffle the cards, but in order to add new cards we need mutation. This is caused by errors in the copying of genetic material during cell division, and by damage caused by radiation, chemical or biological agents. I use the words "error" and "damage" somewhat reservedly, since the process is actually very important to the development of species. In many cases such change will result in the cells not functioning or malfunctioning (as in cancer). But every now and then a change will occur which persists and results in some benefit to the individual, then being passed on to the successful individual's offspring. It is also thought that a lot of mutations have no effect but remain within the DNA sequence, creating variations which by themselves do nothing but provide potential for future mutations to create something new.

The mutation process is quite finely tuned and is itself the result of natural selection, having been refined over many generations in the most early stages of life on earth. It's all a big numbers game, and due to its random nature, requires really big numbers of events to have a chance of doing anything useful. But really big numbers of such events are exactly what we have, and the wonderful thing about the process is that when it does do something useful, the usefulness is preserved and built upon.

Wow... nicely put! The problem with me is that I can explain everything nicely in Serbian, but when it comes down to English it's more difficult for me ;)

Your post is the most simplified explanation of evolution and you did good. :)

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Posted · Report post

Yes great explanation, mutation = cancer or improvement or nil? But why have none loke the crocodile changed

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Yes great explanation, mutation = cancer or improvement or nil? But why have none loke the crocodile changed

I think that this can be explained by the quote: If it ain't broke - don't fix it! :D

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I think that this can be explained by the quote: If it ain't broke - don't fix it! :D
Funny but why ? Others have! they only muate weakly and dont survive each generation - not one??

edit - spelled weekly ha ha

Edited by Lost in space
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Yes great explanation, mutation = cancer or improvement or nil? But why have none loke the crocodile changed

Part of the thing that I think is missing from the picture that has been outlined quite expertly by Octopuppy( B)) ) is what it means to have survival of the fittest. The variations and mutations allow species to change slightly to the point where they may diverge from the main body, but to do this, they need a new niche to fit into. One argument that many people who oppose the idea of evolution use is if we evolved from apes, then why aren't other apes (or even other animals) evolving to have developed intelligence and sentience? The thing that they are missing is that the sentient niche is already taken on this planet. Since we already depend on our sentience and intelligence more than most other traits, there's no room for another ape to grow into the role.

The same is true for other animals. To take your crocodile for instance (though like Octopuppy, I'm no expert in this field), fossils indicate that the crocodile hasn't really changed much over the 10,000 years or so, but it did shrink in size. This would make sense to me because 10,000 years ago there were a lot of large mammals, such as mammoths, mastodons and giant sloths to name a few, so there was plenty of opportunity for crocs to be large and still survive. As most of the large mammals died out, the smaller crocs were more likely to survive than the larger ones since they could survive on smaller meals. However, I would say that since the niche for large aquatic reptile with lots of large pointy teeth was already taken, variations that would have changed the species entirely probably didn't survive, but it could have led to a lot of the different varieties of crocodile that live today (saltwater, freshwater, dwarf, etc.).

Octopuppy mentioned the finches of the Galapagos and I mentioned the book, The Beak of the Finch by Jonathan Weiner and one really stark example of niches that he mentions in the book deals with some of the small ground finches living on one of the islands (I can't remember which one, but that's not important.). On this island, the ground finches were smaller than average and this seemed to be because instead of surviving on seeds like many of their brethren on neighboring islands, they drank the nectar from the cactus flowers and other plants. This provided them with suffiecent energy to survive, but kept them smaller than average since it probably didn't provide as much nourishment as seeds might. But since there were no other creatures living in the nectar-drinking niche, the finches were able to fill the gap. However, more recently, bees have arrived on many of the islands, brought by humans (either by accident or to provide honey) and the finches on this island have returned to eating seeds and they have grown bigger (it I remember correctly) since the bees are more specialized for collecting nectar than the finches were. Once the niche was retaken by the bees, the finches, which were diverging from neighbors, were forced back onto their old path. For a species to actually diverge, it takes a lot of different conditions to be met simultaneously and they need a niche to diverge into that hasn't already been taken.

So for a new species to develop, it either requires a completely new idea (eg. learning to use tools) or a large change in the environment to allow for new niches (eg. the death of the dinosaurs and the rise of mammals). Species either need to find a way of doing things that no other creature is already doing, or they need to move to a place that no one else is already (and this is possible through migration or catastrophe.) The finches of the Galapagos probably migrated from the mainland centuries ago while mammals were able to develop once something happened to cause the mass extinction of the dinosaurs. I hope that this explanation makes some things clearer, but if anyone has any more questions, I'm sure that Octopuppy, I or others will be happy to try to answer them.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

For a species to actually diverge, it takes a lot of different conditions to be met simultaneously and they need a niche to diverge into that hasn't already been taken.

You are absolutely right and as you mentioned with bees and birds... some species might bully out some other species out of their niche and then the native population has to find a new one or die out. Species that live in extreme conditions nowadays are the ones that were pushed out, bullied out by some other species, but they have had enough genetic potential to overcome that and adapt on other conditions! For a species to survive bulling they need to be wast in numbers and the interesting thing is in the new environment those on the periphery of the bell curve are the most likely to have the most potential to adapt on new conditions because they weren't perfectly adapted in their original niche. Populations need these underachievers because they have some gens that the majority doesn't have and those genes are making them less viable but in the new environment they just might blossom, saving the population from extinction. Populations need the weak!

And nicely explained dawh! :D

And another thing:

For species to diverge (for a fraction of the population to diverge from the other living in the same area and inhabiting the same niche) they need to be isolated from the main population (during Earths history a lot of geological changes took place as well) whether by uprising mountains, gaps created by earthquakes, small groups of animals arriving on islands... Isolation (which means that there's no reproduction, no mixing genes) is necessary for a new species to develop. Also populations can diverge if some members prefer reproducing with members of the same population that have a certain characteristic and if this continues over a vast period of time those two subpopulations might diverge to the point where reproduction between the members of the two subpopulations is no longer possible.

Some species simply change so much in time without diverging that the recent population has little in common with the population they have developed from.

And I think that this is the most that I have ever written in a post! :D

Edited by andromeda
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First of all, Sorry for not responding for so long, and because of that, I don't have time to go back over all the posts and respond to all of them, but here are a few more cents from me.

First, whether or not all possible things will happen, given enough time. At any given time for any given thing that is neither impossible nor impossible for it not to happen, there are two possibilities, either it happens, or it doesn't. So, each of those two things are possible, and one of them must happen and both of them cannot happen. Imminently following this moment in time, no matter what increment of time you are considering, you have the same situation, (unless this is a situation where when either it happening or not happening excludes it from happening again) but, since "all possible things will happen, given enough time," both of those things must, at some time, be happen.

But I still don't see how this could really work, I think part of the problem is my perception of time. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine trillions of years. But then, since I think it is possible to comprehend vast amounts of time, maybe even a trillion years, given enough time, I guess I will.

But there is are a few problems. Let's consider whether evolution is possible. Let's look at the first two lays of Thermodynamics. The first law states basically says that matter is neither made nor destroyed, but that some is rendered unusable by transferring it to a different kind of energy. So Entropy is happening. Now, according to my knowledge of what evolutionist think, they believe that as a whole, the universe is losing energy, but this subset of the universe is not, at this time, doing so. However, If evolution took billions of years, and this process has been continually happening that whole time, I am not sure that the universe could support this process going on on many different planets, as you assume. So that drastically reduces the amount planets that life could evolve on, thus making the chances of it happening much smaller.

Another thing. Spontaneous generation is proved totally false at this time. I know of nobody who supports it, except evolutionists. I don't think any of you would say that it is going on know, but that is the only life could have evolved.

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Posted (edited) · Report post

sorry, double post.

Edited by bociniki
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Posted · Report post

First, whether or not all possible things will happen, given enough time. At any given time for any given thing that is neither impossible nor impossible for it not to happen, there are two possibilities, either it happens, or it doesn't. So, each of those two things are possible, and one of them must happen and both of them cannot happen. Imminently following this moment in time, no matter what increment of time you are considering, you have the same situation, (unless this is a situation where when either it happening or not happening excludes it from happening again) but, since "all possible things will happen, given enough time," both of those things must, at some time, be happen.

For the part bolded - Not if you take the multiple-worlds/parallel universe approach to things. Because in this theory all possible realities co-exist, something can happen and cannot at the same time. Kind of like Schrodinger's cat; We can only see one outcome, yet several happened.

Which two things are you talking about btw? You didn't mention evolution...

But there is are a few problems. Let's consider whether evolution is possible.

Not only is it possible, it's fact. ;)

Let's look at the first two lays of Thermodynamics. The first law states basically says that matter is neither made nor destroyed, but that some is rendered unusable by transferring it to a different kind of energy. So Entropy is happening. Now, according to my knowledge of what evolutionist think, they believe that as a whole, the universe is losing energy, but this subset of the universe is not, at this time, doing so. However, If evolution took billions of years, and this process has been continually happening that whole time, I am not sure that the universe could support this process going on on many different planets, as you assume. So that drastically reduces the amount planets that life could evolve on, thus making the chances of it happening much smaller.

Energy, not matter, is neither created nor destroyed. Matter can be made out of nothing, thanks to Entanglement. Now, that aside, the universe is not "losing energy". In fact, the total amount of energy the universe has is 0. That's because all the positive energy, or observable energy we have is balanced out with all our negative energy (a bit like antimatter). As long as the rules of thermodynamics are not being broken, we can technically have an infinite amount of energy, as long as our amount of negative-energy increases at the same rate. Let me assure you that that is a sufficient amount of energy to support life on other planets.

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Posted · Report post

You're right, I meant energy not matter :o. I have never heard of "Anti-energy" before. Could you please explain a little more clearly what this is and give some evidence for it's existence?

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Uhh, I read it somewhere once. I *think* in Universe on a T-Shirt: The Quest For The Theory of Everything. It was a borrowed book, so let me see what I can find online.

Here's a Wikipedia article with the search terms highlighted: http://74.125.45.132/search?q=cache:tXPKVi...;cd=3&gl=us

From my understanding, worm holes and black holes work as negative energy, and as the rips in space increase, so does our amount of energy-energy. IE, when a star explodes becoming a black hole, all that energy has to go somewhere. Not all of it is "wasted" by transferring into sound/heat/whatever, so for the rest of it to be able to scatter, the black hole works as negative energy allowing it to. Don't quote me on this btw, I'm not 100% sure I'm right, but it makes sense to me.

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First, whether or not all possible things will happen, given enough time. At any given time for any given thing that is neither impossible nor impossible for it not to happen, there are two possibilities, either it happens, or it doesn't. So, each of those two things are possible, and one of them must happen and both of them cannot happen. Imminently following this moment in time, no matter what increment of time you are considering, you have the same situation, (unless this is a situation where when either it happening or not happening excludes it from happening again) but, since "all possible things will happen, given enough time," both of those things must, at some time, be happen.
Izzy's mentioned parallel universes which, while I consider it to be a very likely prospect, may lack intuitive appeal. So while it's a relevant answer, we don't need to resort to that. If an event has non-zero probability the probability of it not happening reduces geometrically for every possible chance it has. As the number of chances tends toward infinity, the probability of it not happening tends toward zero. Although it never actually becomes zero, it does become less than any number which is greater than zero, so you could say it is infinitely improbable that it will never happen, as opposed to impossible, but in practical terms that amounts to the same thing. Our universe may well be infinite in scope, in which case you have certainty of all possible events happening in our universe, regardless or whether other universes exist.

But I still don't see how this could really work, I think part of the problem is my perception of time. I don't know about you, but I can't imagine trillions of years. But then, since I think it is possible to comprehend vast amounts of time, maybe even a trillion years, given enough time, I guess I will.
Or even given enough space

Another thing. Spontaneous generation is proved totally false at this time. I know of nobody who supports it, except evolutionists. I don't think any of you would say that it is going on know, but that is the only life could have evolved.
What's an "evolutionist"? If it's someone who accepts evolution as established fact, that would include virtually all the scientific community. The current state and past history of evolution leave no room for doubt. There is a question as to how it all started, but it must have started in order to exist now. I do not know for sure how gravity came to exist either, but that is not sufficient reason to doubt its existence. The evidence for its existence is too complete to doubt, and so it is with evolution. "Spontaneous generation" suggests something rather magical, and the processes which led to the formation of DNA were probably a lot more mundane and possibly took a very long time. Perhaps it was an unlikely event requiring specific conditions. Many good theories exist and there is no clear reason to think them all impossible. We just don't know, and it is not a question that interests me much because I suspect we will never know, and it doesn't matter anyway. If the generation of DNA were impossible then impossible things happen and all logic is false. If it were possible then it would inevitably happen, and evidently has done in this case. Since pretty much everything is possible at the quantum level, it is in fact possible that organisms might have simply popped out of thin air (but incredibly unlikely). It's much more likely to happen by other mechanisms, but all these explanations do is give us a higher value for that probability. The main thing that would be affected by this is the distribution of life on other planets (how far away are our nearest alien neighbours). But as a means of validating or invalidating evolution it is irrelevant. If you've won the lottery, you've won. And if you then find out that the odds of winning are larger or smaller than you thought they were, it still doesn't change the fact that you won. Our planet won the life lottery, evidently.
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actually, Izzy, matter and energy are intrinsically the same thing... thanks to the famous equation E = mc2. Thank you Einstein :P

Both energy and matter behave in odd ways... such that energy (such as light) can be characterized as "matter" (the dual behavior of light as both a wavelength and a photon particle) and matter can also be characterized as energy, made up of a wavelength, which can be calculated with some equations. If you hold two ends of a taut string and pluck it, the number of half-wavelengths at any time MUST be a whole number, thus explaining the occurence of whole numbers in Chemistry

This does relate to the matter at hand because antimatter is thus, in a way, antienergy as well.

In a balanced universe, Izzy is correct that everything totals to 0. Entropy changes, as bociniki said, but energy/matter are conserved. The total amount is always the same. I think that total amount is 0, due to antimatter, but I could be wrong. This is just my understanding, someone please correct me if I'm wrong ;D

The tougher question... how the hell does this relate to evolution? :P

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actually, Izzy, matter and energy are intrinsically the same thing... thanks to the famous equation E = mc2. Thank you Einstein :P

Haha, I know. Earlier when I said matter can be created, I was applying the same rules that are administrated to energy. I feel like stressing that matter can't be made out of nothing, in case bociniki is thinking that now.

*edit* Well, matter can be made out of nothing, but an antimatter particle that the matter particle is now forever entangled too is created as well. If I didn't make that clear.

In a balanced universe, Izzy is correct that everything totals to 0. Entropy changes, as bociniki said, but energy/matter are conserved. The total amount is always the same. I think that total amount is 0, due to antimatter, but I could be wrong. This is just my understanding, someone please correct me if I'm wrong ;D

That's what I'm thinking. It's the only thing that makes sense if I put together all the scientific things I know. Unless there's some weird (awesome weird :P) math law that makes everything total to nil, I don't see what besides antimatter/anti-energy could do it.

Also, I'm going to answer it before it's brought up. The reason we don't live in a completely chaotic universe (although entropy is increasing and is much more than it was at the start of Planck time) is because as the universe expands, the maximum amount of entropy the universe can have (there is a limit, depending on the size of the universe :P) expands as well, but at a faster rate than the amount of entropy the universe actually has. So there's way more room for order now than there was ages ago. Which is why, as time goes on, the universe becomes more and more orderly. ...And this is related to evolution because, as time goes on, better and better species evolve! Yeah. Word.

Edited by Izzy
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First of all, Sorry for not responding for so long, and because of that, I don't have time to go back over all the posts and respond to all of them, but here are a few more cents from me.

You should find the time to read the posts cause if we were kind enough to answer some of your questions you may as well read them.

Evolution is still happening, it didn't end. Read my posts.

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edit DMS - we can always say that God designed man to think a particular way - it just does not hold up without the evidence, please do not use the he does not want us to se him or we are not worthy to see him, we should not doubt him etc

i was looking through and was just wondering y i saw my name here,

but sense it is

i wouldn't say he does not want us to see him or we are not worthy to see him, we should not doubt him. i would say you don't want to see him and that's why you might not have seen him.

Edited by dms172
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i wouldn't say he does not want us to see him or we are not worthy to see him, we should not doubt him. i would say you don't want to see him and that's why you might not have seen him.

So you're saying that anyone who honestly wants to see God, can? 'Cos that's what it sounds like, and that definitely isn't true.

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Okay, many things.

QUOTE (bociniki @ Dec 19 2008, 11:18 PM) *

First of all, Sorry for not responding for so long, and because of that, I don't have time to go back over all the posts and respond to all of them, but here are a few more cents from me.

You should find the time to read the posts cause if we were kind enough to answer some of your questions you may as well read them.

Evolution is still happening, it didn't end. Read my posts.

I did read all the posts and I was merely stating that I didn't have the time to answer every single comment made. I did read your posts (which by the way proves nothing). All of you are assuming that evolution is happening and discrediting my arguments because of that assumption, which could be false (which, for those of you who are somewhat slow is what I think :) )

In a balanced universe, Izzy is correct that everything totals to 0. Entropy changes, as bociniki said, but energy/matter are conserved. The total amount is always the same. I think that total amount is 0, due to antimatter, but I could be wrong. This is just my understanding, someone please correct me if I'm wrong ;D

Okay, so according to the second law of thermodynamics, the entropy, or unusable energy, of the universe is always increasing. So it would follow that the usable amount of energy is decreasing.

What's an "evolutionist"? If it's someone who accepts evolution as established fact, that would include virtually all the scientific community. The current state and past history of evolution leave no room for doubt. There is a question as to how it all started, but it must have started in order to exist now. I do not know for sure how gravity came to exist either, but that is not sufficient reason to doubt its existence. The evidence for its existence is too complete to doubt, and so it is with evolution. "Spontaneous generation" suggests something rather magical, and the processes which led to the formation of DNA were probably a lot more mundane and possibly took a very long time. Perhaps it was an unlikely event requiring specific conditions. Many good theories exist and there is no clear reason to think them all impossible. We just don't know, and it is not a question that interests me much because I suspect we will never know, and it doesn't matter anyway. If the generation of DNA were impossible then impossible things happen and all logic is false. If it were possible then it would inevitably happen, and evidently has done in this case. Since pretty much everything is possible at the quantum level, it is in fact possible that organisms might have simply popped out of thin air (but incredibly unlikely). It's much more likely to happen by other mechanisms, but all these explanations do is give us a higher value for that probability. The main thing that would be affected by this is the distribution of life on other planets (how far away are our nearest alien neighbours). But as a means of validating or invalidating evolution it is irrelevant. If you've won the lottery, you've won. And if you then find out that the odds of winning are larger or smaller than you thought they were, it still doesn't change the fact that you won. Our planet won the life lottery, evidently.

Once again, you are assuming that evolution is the cause of life on this earth and discrediting my argument. Spontaneous generation does not directly have to do with DNA, but with actual life. There have been many experiments on Spontaneous generation and it used to be thought true, but has been considered false for a long time. Even under highly favoriable circumstances, life has never just happened. But that is exactly what evolutionist (and yes I mean people who believe in the theory of evolution) believe. that, given a bunch of time and some super favorable conditions, life happened.

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I just thought I'd chime in on evolution. As some of you may already know, my wife and I recently had children. This experience has given me a front row seat to witness the evolutionary stages that we as humans have gome through going back 1.5 billion years. It's not just the fact that toddlers tend to act like cavemen, I'm talking about the whole scale of human evolution. There is a law called Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny, which sounds confusing but simply means child developement (Ontogeny) mirrors (recapitulates) the step-by-step process of our evolution begining 1.5 billion years ago (phylogeny). Our children, as fertilized eggs, looked a bit like the first single cell creatures that appeared on Earth over a billion years ago then quickly multiples into clumps of cells and then into a worm-like embryo. Soon these embryos went through the "fish" stage, developing little flipper type limbs and gill-like slits on their necks (400 million years ago). The embryos then undergo an "early mammal" stage with two lines of nipples and little tails (180 million years ago). These embryos keep developing until we are gifted with newborn babies who are able tightly grasp objects and breathe and swallow at the same time and also maybe even have some extra hair on their backs, ears, and foreheads. Characteristics common with newborn monkeys (30 million years ago). It doesn't stop there. The process continues until our babies take their first steps teetering chimp-like steps (5 million years ago). Our kids have moved beyond communicating with grunts and gestures (2 million) and advancing toward singing, drawing, and weilding a fork handily. I thought I would share what I have expeienced through the birth of my children. If our single cell could do it in nine months, why not others over 1.5 billion years?

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