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Aquila
4th August 2008, 01:18 PM
I just watched this video of Carl Sagan explaining the "Drake Equation" about possible life on other planets in the universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB_v99FSTYc&NR=1

But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.

Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused:

Parsman
4th August 2008, 01:25 PM
No. The idea is that given similar evolutionary conditions similar life forms will develop.

Third Eye Open
4th August 2008, 01:39 PM
But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.

I think I'll call you Streeeeeeeeeeeeetch Armstrong.

aggle-rithm
4th August 2008, 01:47 PM
But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.


Since a number of useful biological structures (such as the eye) have evolved independently in several different places in the animal kingdom, it's reasonable to assume that similar useful structures will appear on planets with similar conditions.

Skeptic Guy
4th August 2008, 02:07 PM
Not in the least. The Drake Equation is a convenient formula on which to base a discussion on the likelyhood of there being life elsewhere in the galaxy. It isn't a scientific formula and we may never know actual values for some of the variables, but it is useful in a limited way. But as Parsman writes, the formula is based on the same evolutionary assumptions we make for all carbon-based life.

Now, if there is silicon based life out there...well, that may be a different formula!

Wowbagger
4th August 2008, 02:20 PM
The presumption of life on other planets is NOT the same thing as assuming there is a "plan" in place. Why can't life pop up in a bunch of places with no planner, whatsoever?

Tubbythin
4th August 2008, 02:20 PM
Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused:

I'm not sure how exactly. EM radiation exists regardless of the existence of life or not. The ability to encode it as a means of transporting information on the other hand requires a reasonable degree of intelligence. I don't see where the design bit comes from though.

CapelDodger
4th August 2008, 02:29 PM
Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused:

You might as well say that looking for evidence of plate tectonics on other planets assumes "a sort of intelligent design".

The laws of physics will throw out similar results in similar circumstances.

Dr Adequate
4th August 2008, 02:33 PM
I just watched this video of Carl Sagan explaining the "Drake Equation" about possible life on other planets in the universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB_v99FSTYc&NR=1

But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.

Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused: No.

ConspiRaider
4th August 2008, 02:44 PM
The thread title is deceptive, because we all have an understanding of what is actually meant by the term, Intelligent Design. Seems quite a lot unfair to correlate that term with Carl Sagan.

Since we have no ironclad proof (yet) of life anywhere else in the Universe other than here on this one tiny planet, then obviously when making suppositions of life "out there" - we use our knowledge of Earth life as a referent. Which means, regardless of the collective skills and intelligence of the persons doing the speculating, we could be way off in left field somewhere. Projection and assumption and supposition are all we really have, at this point in time. And, for the foreseeable future. That is, unless we happen to discover life in our solar system, outside of Earth.

Presumption that life on another planet evolved along similar patterns to our own, is NO corollary to the religious term of Intelligent Design.

Undesired Walrus
4th August 2008, 02:54 PM
I miss Dr Sagan. I have a sense of longing watching that video.

CapelDodger
4th August 2008, 03:05 PM
I miss Dr Sagan. I have a sense of longing watching that video.

His was one of the voices of my adolescent years - very evocative. James Burke's was another. David Attenborough's (thank Providence) is still to be heard. Secular saints, all. And now we have Richard Dawkins's voice - another secular saint.

The human race is mostly crap, but it's not completely crap.

CapelDodger
4th August 2008, 03:11 PM
The thread title is deceptive, because we all have an understanding of what is actually meant by the term, Intelligent Design. Seems quite a lot unfair to correlate that term with Carl Sagan.

I think taking offence to it would be quite forgivable, but I doubt that's what Carl Sagan would have wanted. So we'll let this nitwit live.

Aquila
4th August 2008, 04:10 PM
Thanks for your replies everyone.

You might as well say that looking for evidence of plate tectonics on other planets assumes "a sort of intelligent design".

The laws of physics will throw out similar results in similar circumstances.

Well that's exactly what I mean!

Aren't the laws of physics constant, in our solar system anyway? They have been around since the "beginning of time" (right?) and hopefully will be for ever. They were around billions of years before humans evolved, so aren't they part of the "plan" for all life?

Quote from CapelDodger:The thread title is deceptive, because we all have an understanding of what is actually meant by the term, Intelligent Design. Seems quite a lot unfair to correlate that term with Carl Sagan.

I admit that it was a deceptive thread title, but I did explain that I didn't mean the I.D. of creationists in the first post.

Aquila
4th August 2008, 04:33 PM
The presumption of life on other planets is NOT the same thing as assuming there is a "plan" in place. Why can't life pop up in a bunch of places with no planner, whatsoever?

Scientists seem to think that intelligent life would only evolve on planets with the right conditions of light, water and food supply. I always thought that they are assuming that there is, or has been evolution on these planets, which follows the same method or "plan" (sexual or a-sexuual reproduction, chance genetic mutations, natural selection) that we see on earth.

But maybe you are right. Maybe there is life that has popped up in places that we would think were too hot or cold or dark to sustain life as we know it. And maybe there is no evolution on other planets, in other solar systems. Maybe time is completely different for any life there. Life and death could be on a much longer time-scale.

But philosophically, wouldn't it be true to say that the universe was one big intelligent organism? I don't have to believe in a separate creator of this organism, for it IS the whole thing. But maybe I'm in the wrong section. Caio!

CapelDodger
4th August 2008, 04:35 PM
Thanks for your replies everyone.

You're welcome.

Well that's exactly what I mean!

You didn't make that obvious.

Aren't the laws of physics constant, in our solar system anyway? They have been around since the "beginning of time" (right?) and hopefully will be for ever. They were around billions of years before humans evolved, so aren't they part of the "plan" for all life?

The laws of physics aren't a plan. They're what sensible plans are based on.

Quote from CapelDodger:The thread title is deceptive, because we all have an understanding of what is actually meant by the term, Intelligent Design. Seems quite a lot unfair to correlate that term with Carl Sagan.



That would be better put as "Quoted by CapelDodger". What we have here is a communication problem.

I admit that it was a deceptive thread title, but I did explain that I didn't mean the I.D. of creationists in the first post.

It's not the specific design (or plan) that matters, it's the concept of design being involved in the first place. Which it isn't.

Stars, planets, plate tectonics, chemistry, life - they all emerge from the laws of physics, entirely unplanned, undesigned, and unintended. In short, my philosophy is that s**t happens.

Civilized Worm
4th August 2008, 04:38 PM
But philosophically, wouldn't it be true to say that the universe was one big intelligent organism?


No.

Piggy
4th August 2008, 04:39 PM
His was one of the voices of my adolescent years - very evocative. James Burke's was another. David Attenborough's (thank Providence) is still to be heard.

Aye.

We must be of an age, CapelDodger.

Sagan's Cosmos series aired when I was 13, and it not only opened my eyes to the universe, it also let me know that I was not alone with my thoughts in the world, that other people, serious people, grown-ups, stopped and wondered about questions like "When I ride past a field of beans, for how long is a row of beans exactly perpendicular to where I am on the road?" (a question that had haunted me for years at that point, even if I couldn't have phrased it that way back then).

These men and women -- scientists, rational thinkers, skeptics -- became the DJ's of my intellect, beaming their pirate radio signals into my small room there on the dead-end road in a decaying milltown in the American Bible Belt.

I never met them, but because of them, my world was less lonely, less narrow, and more exciting than I had ever imagined it could be.

Comin' atcha from Cornell, Princeton, CalTech, it's the greatest hits of Einstein and Feynman tonight, boppers, relativity with a bullet, and stay tuned for some hot tracks from our expanding universe! Don't touch that dial, we're spinning all night, every night!

After reading their books, watching their broadcasts, I didn't just know something new. It wasn't anything as mundane as that.

No, after tuning in to their frequency, I would walk out into a different world, a world that had always been there, but that I never suspected had been waiting for me all along.

It was a world of wonder so profound that even the miracles of all the gods became a carnival sideshow by comparison, some cheap tent meeting fronted by faded pasteboard signs and worn-out banners.

"Listen, son," they whispered to me, "you are star-stuff and the world is a hall of jewels for your mind to explore -- but be quick about it, boy, cause there ain't no eternal mansions, no heavenly revelation. If you want the wonders of the world, they are yours. Go find them now!"

CapelDodger
4th August 2008, 05:29 PM
We must be of an age, CapelDodger.

And, I think, of a type :).

Comin' atcha from Cornell, Princeton, CalTech, it's the greatest hits of Einstein and Feynman tonight, boppers, relativity with a bullet, and stay tuned for some hot tracks from our expanding universe! Don't touch that dial, we're spinning all night, every night!

Comin' atcha with Leonard Cohen, Ten New Songs, on the CD player.

Feynman, another secular saint.

It was a world of wonder so profound that even the miracles of all the gods became a carnival sideshow by comparison, some cheap tent meeting fronted by faded pasteboard signs and worn-out banners.

"Listen, son," they whispered to me, "you are star-stuff and the world is a hall of jewels for your mind to explore -- but be quick about it, boy, cause there ain't no eternal mansions, no heavenly revelation. If you want the wonders of the world, they are yours. Go find them now!"


Believers live in such an impoverished environment, sad bastids. If I'd needed Billy Graham to give my life meaning I'd have topped myself in self-disgust.

I was born in '54, in a well-bombed multi-cultural city and a well-earned triumphant zeitgeist. A triumph that wasn't a gift from any god (or the US, for that matter) but was earned by determination and hard bloody effort. Decay was a thing of the despised 30's; we'd made our present, and were going to make our future. Screw any god's help; where were they when the chips were down? Absent WithOut Leave, that's where. Illusions.

My parents did make their future, and launched me on mine, bless 'em.

Hokulele
4th August 2008, 09:29 PM
Aren't the laws of physics constant, in our solar system anyway?


Yep.

They have been around since the "beginning of time" (right?) and hopefully will be for ever.


Nope. Things are postulated as being pretty weird during the inflationary period, compared to what we see today. I guess you could say there were laws of physics in that time period, but until the 4 forces separated, I don't think you could call them the same as the ones current life is adapted for.

They were around billions of years before humans evolved, so aren't they part of the "plan" for all life?


I don't know. How exactly do black holes, quasars, and other features of the known universe "plan" for life?

Ron_Tomkins
4th August 2008, 09:34 PM
I just watched this video of Carl Sagan explaining the "Drake Equation" about possible life on other planets in the universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB_v99FSTYc&NR=1

But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.

Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused:

No.

And he never did say "billions and billions" either... just in case.

Skeptic Ginger
4th August 2008, 10:44 PM
I just watched this video of Carl Sagan explaining the "Drake Equation" about possible life on other planets in the universe.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RB_v99FSTYc&NR=1

But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth. Isn't this subtly saying that he believes in a plan, not the ID of the religious Creationists, but an order nevertheless.

Similarly, all the people looking for beams from other planets with radio-receivers (the SETI project?) - don't they also assume a sort of intelligent design in the universe?

:confused:Typical ID believer distortions. Snow flakes are going to be similar if made of water and formed on a planet with similar atmosphere as Earth, does that mean they are designed? No, it means certain conditions produce predictable results.

CFLarsen
4th August 2008, 11:35 PM
Scientists seem to think that intelligent life would only evolve on planets with the right conditions of light, water and food supply. I always thought that they are assuming that there is, or has been evolution on these planets, which follows the same method or "plan" (sexual or a-sexuual reproduction, chance genetic mutations, natural selection) that we see on earth.

No, they don't think that. They are saying that, because intelligent life has evolved here on this planet, under these conditions, it makes sense to look for that kind of life elsewhere in the universe, if the same conditions are met.

They say nothing about intelligent life can only evolve on Earth like planets.

But maybe you are right. Maybe there is life that has popped up in places that we would think were too hot or cold or dark to sustain life as we know it. And maybe there is no evolution on other planets, in other solar systems. Maybe time is completely different for any life there. Life and death could be on a much longer time-scale.

Wait a second. Are you talking about how life began, or how life evolved?

Abiogenesis and evolution are two very different issues.

But philosophically, wouldn't it be true to say that the universe was one big intelligent organism? I don't have to believe in a separate creator of this organism, for it IS the whole thing. But maybe I'm in the wrong section. Caio!

That would render the word "intelligent" worthless. How is the sun "intelligent"? How is the rock on my desk "intelligent"?

Mashuna
5th August 2008, 12:49 AM
That would render the word "intelligent" worthless. How is the sun "intelligent"? How is the rock on my desk "intelligent"?

By comparison with Young Earth Creationists.

Undesired Walrus
5th August 2008, 01:03 AM
This is why people need tape recorders on their deathbed..

'No I do not believe in God'

'No I do not believe in ID'

'Yes Mother, I do hate that turtleneck shirt'

Tubbythin
5th August 2008, 01:28 AM
Nope. Things are postulated as being pretty weird during the inflationary period, compared to what we see today. I guess you could say there were laws of physics in that time period, but until the 4 forces separated, I don't think you could call them the same as the ones current life is adapted for.


Its probably semantics but I'm not sure I agree with this. The EM and weak forces are obviously different in everyday life. But above the electroweak unification energy (~100 GeV) they're essentially the same thing. This energy is easily acheivable in modern particle accelerators. If we could reach the unification energies for the other forces there's no reason to suspect the laws of physics be any different to when this occurred ~ 13.7 billion years ago. In that sense the laws of physics haven't changed, its just which bits of them that are applicable to the universe in which we live has changed.

Cuddles
5th August 2008, 07:15 AM
This energy is easily acheivable in modern particle accelerators.

For certain definitions of "easy".;)

Aquila
5th August 2008, 09:16 AM
Typical ID believer distortions. Snow flakes are going to be similar if made of water and formed on a planet with similar atmosphere as Earth, does that mean they are designed? No, it means certain conditions produce predictable results.

OK, but please don't assume I'm an IDer. I put the term in the title of this thread only for shock appeal.

So what, if anything, is a term, that science can use to explain its constant laws and principles, like the one you stated above "certain conditions produce predictable results". It is true that snow flakes are not "designed" by an external god, and that they are not inerently "intelligent", but how would you explain the principles of science to someone who wanted a "catch phrase".

ConspiRaider
5th August 2008, 10:02 AM
OK, but please don't assume I'm an IDer. I put the term in the title of this thread only for shock appeal.

So what, if anything, is a term, that science can use to explain its constant laws and principles, like the one you stated above "certain conditions produce predictable results". It is true that snow flakes are not "designed" by an external god, and that they are not inerently "intelligent", but how would you explain the principles of science to someone who wanted a "catch phrase".
That's the beauty of it - there IS no catch phrase. No sound bite. No tidy slogan to explain even the tiny, miniscule fraction of what we humans know about science and the state of the universe.

The study of science is a never-ending journey, so to that "someone"? Tell him or her to get on out there and add something to the woodpile. Everything helps. No contribution too small.

godless dave
5th August 2008, 10:14 AM
OK, but please don't assume I'm an IDer. I put the term in the title of this thread only for shock appeal.

Deception and shock appeal are not good tactics for starting a serious discussion.

NoisyAstronomer
5th August 2008, 10:50 AM
Aren't the laws of physics constant, in our solar system anyway? They have been around since the "beginning of time" (right?) and hopefully will be for ever.

They appear to be mostly constant wherever we look in the universe, not just in our solar system. I say "mostly" because evidence has been uncovered recently that the fundamental constants evolve slightly with time.


They were around billions of years before humans evolved, so aren't they part of the "plan" for all life?


To label it a plan does not mean that it has to have been planned.


But much of what he says seem to rely on the presumption that life would evolve like it has on earth.


Unfortunately, we have little other knowledge to go on! So in order to begin to even guess what numbers we could insert into that equation, we need to start with what we know. Today, we can make better educated guesses on the first two. But the equation itself is often called "quantifying our ignorance."

Sidenote: I just got the complete "Cosmos" series on DVD for my birthday... SQUEE!!

Skeptic Ginger
5th August 2008, 12:07 PM
OK, but please don't assume I'm an IDer. I put the term in the title of this thread only for shock appeal.Why don't you tell us your position and we won't have to draw less accurate inferred conclusions.

I can conclude one thing, if you were serious in asking the OP question, you are poorly informed on the issues of evolution theory and the attempts to change it into something more compatible with the Christian Bible version of Creation.

So what, if anything, is a term, that science can use to explain its constant laws and principles, like the one you stated above "certain conditions produce predictable results". It is true that snow flakes are not "designed" by an external god, and that they are not inerently "intelligent", but how would you explain the principles of science to someone who wanted a "catch phrase".Through an examination of the evidence using the scientific process, we have determined the natural universe follows certain laws of physics. In addition, we have ruled out magic and gods as a force operating in the Universe. We have evidence for how god and magic beliefs originated and the evidence overwhelmingly supports the conclusion people made that stuff up to explain things they couldn't otherwise explain.

So where does that leave us? While the mechanisms of abiogenesis are still being sorted out, it is clear that it occurred because we are here. Given the immense size of the Universe and the likelihood of conditions similar to those on Earth existing elsewhere in the Universe, it is extremely likely that abiogenesis was not a one time event. And evolution theory tells us once life forms, certain principles operate, namely random change and selection pressures, with the result that life evolves to use the resources in the environment in which life is growing. Locomotion, some sort of sensing of the environment be it vision or sonar or something else, greater intelligence, these themes are seen universally in evolution.

We have overwhelming evidence the theory of evolution is correct. Lots of uninformed people are not aware of the fact that genetic science has advanced on a logarithmic scale in the last few decades. Because of that lack of awareness of the state of the science, many people believe we are still basing evolution theory on the evidence contained in the fossil record. The world is passing those people by and they don't even know it.

Evolution theory is so well developed now that scientists can successfully exchange genetic code between developing offspring of various species and still get normal offspring. Not only do we know how species are related in the living organism kingdom, we know how one evolves from one organism to another. And while the specifics of every evolutionary step may not yet be worked out, if one looks for those specifics, we can find them. In other words the only reason we can't answer a specific question about each molecular change in genetic code to go from the first organisms to the current ones is merely because such analyses take time and energy to research and all the genomes have yet to be recorded.

As for the ID arguments, they have been completely discredited based on the evidence. The evolution of Michael Behe's bacterial flagella has been determined and it undermined his claim that there was such a thing as irreducible complexity. The argument things 'look designed' has been discredited. Ripples in a pond 'look designed'. That is not the basis of a theory. Understanding the genetic code and observation of the results of genetic changes and being able to test and manipulate genetic code and predict the results, that is the basis of a scientific theory.

CaveDave
5th August 2008, 12:44 PM
Aye.

We must be of an age, CapelDodger.

Sagan's Cosmos series aired when I was 13, and it not only opened my eyes to the universe, it also let me know that I was not alone with my thoughts in the world, that other people, serious people, grown-ups, stopped and wondered about questions like "When I ride past a field of beans, for how long is a row of beans exactly perpendicular to where I am on the road?" (a question that had haunted me for years at that point, even if I couldn't have phrased it that way back then).

These men and women -- scientists, rational thinkers, skeptics -- became the DJ's of my intellect, beaming their pirate radio signals into my small room there on the dead-end road in a decaying milltown in the American Bible Belt.

I never met them, but because of them, my world was less lonely, less narrow, and more exciting than I had ever imagined it could be.

Comin' atcha from Cornell, Princeton, CalTech, it's the greatest hits of Einstein and Feynman tonight, boppers, relativity with a bullet, and stay tuned for some hot tracks from our expanding universe! Don't touch that dial, we're spinning all night, every night!

After reading their books, watching their broadcasts, I didn't just know something new. It wasn't anything as mundane as that.

No, after tuning in to their frequency, I would walk out into a different world, a world that had always been there, but that I never suspected had been waiting for me all along.

It was a world of wonder so profound that even the miracles of all the gods became a carnival sideshow by comparison, some cheap tent meeting fronted by faded pasteboard signs and worn-out banners.

"Listen, son," they whispered to me, "you are star-stuff and the world is a hall of jewels for your mind to explore -- but be quick about it, boy, cause there ain't no eternal mansions, no heavenly revelation. If you want the wonders of the world, they are yours. Go find them now!"


Nominated.

It spoke to me.

Dave

Aquila
5th August 2008, 12:55 PM
Why don't you tell us your position and we won't have to draw less accurate inferred conclusions.


I have Biology, Physics and Chemistry "A-levels" (U.K) and a BSc. in Experimental Psychology.

But I also study the Qabalah, which is a combination of the Jewish mystical kabbalah and the more modern imagery of tarot (invented about 1200 A.D.). The tarot cards (keys) are placed on the paths between the spheres and correspond to the 22 letters of the Hebrew alphabet.

On the kabbalistic Tree of Life - copyright bota.org (below), empirical science would be ascribed to the orange sphere called "Splendor". The concept of cause and effect ("karma") would be ascribed to the red sphere called "Severity" or Justice, and the concept of physical matter is ascribed to the black sphere known as "Understanding". All 3 are on the left hand "pillar" of the tree, which is the "feminine" pillar, as opposed to the right had pillar which is "masculine", and represents things like energy, abundance and desire. The "godhead" is the white sphere at the top, and the physical universe is the 4-part sphere at the bottom (Kingdom).

Yes, all of this is a belief, a theory, a diagram, I know, and I do not confuse it with, or substitute it for empirical science. I love and support empiricism because I don't want to go back to the middle ages where belief had so much power over people. Science and rationality are the real thrust of human social evolution,and objectivity is the yardstick with which we measure not only science, but law too.

Just because I have a mystical leaning, does not mean that I de-value science. In fact, if you will let me borrow from the astrological concept of ages/aeons, the (so called) coming Aquarian Age has Saturn as its coruler, symbol for science and rationality. This is opposed to the past (roughly) 2500 year age of Pisces which was the age of belief.

But I do find that I still have a need for some sort of subjective belief, Kabbalah satisfies my need for a philosophical mechanism which would descibe the big picture - maybe. I'm still testing it.

Mashuna
5th August 2008, 01:02 PM
Just because I have a mystical leaning, does not mean that I de-value science. In fact, if you will let me borrow from the astrological concept of ages/aeons, the (so called) coming Aquarian Age has Saturn as its coruler, symbol for science and rationality. This is opposed to the past (roughly) 2500 year age of Pisces which was the age of belief.


:jaw-dropp

Aquila
5th August 2008, 01:14 PM
We have overwhelming evidence the theory of evolution is correct. ....
Evolution theory is so well developed now that scientists can successfully exchange genetic code between developing offspring of various species and still get normal offspring.

Yuck! This is where scientists get such a terrible reputation, and send people running back to Jesus!



Not only do we know how species are related in the living organism kingdom, we know how one evolves from one organism to another. And while the specifics of every evolutionary step may not yet be worked out, if one looks for those specifics, we can find them. In other words the only reason we can't answer a specific question about each molecular change in genetic code to go from the first organisms to the current ones is merely because such analyses take time and energy to research and all the genomes have yet to be recorded.



No argument here. I entirely support Darwinian Evolution. As mentioned above, I have a background in Biology and do understand natural selection and Mendelian genetics. I know it's probably a lot more complex than when I studied biology, but I think I get the basics. I think the problem in America with Intelligent Design, is that people have simply not had access to a good science education.



As for the ID arguments, they have been completely discredited based on the evidence. The evolution of Michael Behe's bacterial flagella has been determined and it undermined his claim that there was such a thing as irreducible complexity. The argument things 'look designed' has been discredited. Ripples in a pond 'look designed'. That is not the basis of a theory. Understanding the genetic code and observation of the results of genetic changes and being able to test and manipulate genetic code and predict the results, that is the basis of a scientific theory.

I have seen a baterial flagellum under a microscope at Caltech and must admit that it looked to me very much like the engine on my cousin's Harley bike. But that doesn't mean that I believe that someone from Harley Davidson designed it.

NoisyAstronomer
5th August 2008, 01:25 PM
Yuck! This is where scientists get such a terrible reputation, and send people running back to Jesus!


Of all the silly, rude, mean, terrible things that some scientifically minded people say to scare off people with religious leanings, that's the offensive one?

Or is it the act of combining genes in developing organisms that is scary, like how bacteria are used to produce human insulin?

Aquila
5th August 2008, 02:05 PM
Or is it the act of combining genes in developing organisms that is scary, like how bacteria are used to produce human insulin?

I'm not sure if I understood skeptigirl's original statement:
Evolution theory is so well developed now that scientists can successfully exchange genetic code between developing offspring of various species and still get normal offspring.

I thought she was talking about mixing up cow and human genes, or something diabolical like that.

CapelDodger
5th August 2008, 04:35 PM
Nominated.

It spoke to me.

Dave

Give me a knock on polling-day and I'll vote for it.

CapelDodger
5th August 2008, 04:40 PM
:jaw-dropp

'Nuff said.

CapelDodger
5th August 2008, 04:44 PM
I'm not sure if I understood skeptigirl's original statement:
Evolution theory is so well developed now that scientists can successfully exchange genetic code between developing offspring of various species and still get normal offspring.

I thought she was talking about mixing up cow and human genes, or something diabolical like that.

Diabolical?

Where exactly are you coming from?

Piggy
5th August 2008, 06:50 PM
Nominated.

It spoke to me.

Dave

Thank you. But it's not half the praise they deserve.

If they are my saviors, then I'm just their little drummer boy.

NoisyAstronomer
5th August 2008, 08:50 PM
I thought she was talking about mixing up cow and human genes, or something diabolical like that.

What is diabolical about that? Sure, if scientists were making weird animal hybrids for no other reason than "they look funny" there would be reason to be uneasy. However, I think that the "mad scientist" stereotype that I see in that is something that was created by entertainers and the media, not by scientists.

Mixing cow and human genes, if done, would have to be something useful or scientifically interesting, in order for it to ever get funded and published anyway. In any case, seems as though it's been done (http://seedmagazine.com/news/2006/04/human_animal.php). And it hardly seems diabolical.

sanguine
5th August 2008, 08:55 PM
I'm currently involved in putting genes from organism A into organism B, and I can say with some confidence that I neither cackle nor regularly attempt to take over the world.

Aquila
5th August 2008, 09:52 PM
Diabolical?

Where exactly are you coming from?

I'm coming from "eeeee-ew".

CaveDave
5th August 2008, 10:55 PM
Thank you. But it's not half the praise they deserve.
They and their ilk deserve great praise from us all.

If they are my saviors, then I'm just their little drummer boy.
But it was you who expressed it so poignantly.

That is what the nomination is for. Hope you win.:)

Dave

Cuddles
6th August 2008, 06:54 AM
I'm currently involved in putting genes from organism A into organism B, and I can say with some confidence that I neither cackle nor regularly attempt to take over the world.

Don't worry. I may not do the first part, but I've got the second part covered well enough for both of us.:)

Skeptic Ginger
6th August 2008, 03:59 PM
Yuck! This is where scientists get such a terrible reputation, and send people running back to Jesus!Your need for a refresher on the current state of biological science is the problem here. You are picturing some hybrid, but that is not what I said at all. I said a normal fetus resulted, not a healthy hybrid.

The goal of such research is to identify genes by their actions and make up, with the ultimate goal of deciphering the human genome we have now mapped. For example, the gene that triggers a fruit fly fetus to develop an insect eye is the same gene that tells a rabbit fetus to develop a mammal eye. It was first hypothesized to be the same then experimentally tested to confirm that it indeed was. So scientists can take that information and now find the human gene responsible for fetal eye development.

You can't exactly manipulate human embryo genes and wait and see what grows. So scientists are doing the same with the genes as they exist in other organisms. Yeast have many of the same genes as humans. That makes yeast a good candidate for testing gene function.

Skeptic Ginger
6th August 2008, 04:11 PM
I'm coming from "eeeee-ew".Skim this website (http://www.biodatabases.com/whitepaper01.html) for an outline of the data that is currently filling the coffers of genetic science. You may be surprised to see the level of detail of what is known about evolution and genetics. Be sure to glance through all three pages.

billydkid
6th August 2008, 04:23 PM
Since a number of useful biological structures (such as the eye) have evolved independently in several different places in the animal kingdom, it's reasonable to assume that similar useful structures will appear on planets with similar conditions.Not expose my ignorance (which I have proudly put on display more than once here) and not really knowing anything about evolution except the central principles - is that actually true. Did eyes really evolve - from scratch, so to speak - independently in different species? I can see how light sensing organs might evolve independently and I suppose any light sensing organ would be called an eye, but eyes with similar structures and components that we generally associate with an eye? I don't have an opinion about this. I am just asking. It seems to me there are a variety of ways in which an eye could work.

Aquila
6th August 2008, 06:11 PM
Your need for a refresher on the current state of biological science is the problem here. You are picturing some hybrid, but that is not what I said at all. I said a normal fetus resulted, not a healthy hybrid.


It still seems un-natural.
This is part of the reason why I chose to study psychology at college, not biology - and this was back in the 70s, before the human genome research had advanced to stage it is now. The other part of the reason was that I am also not half as clever as you real scientists, nor do I have the dedication to do research. But more power to you, just as long as you stick to yeast and fruit flies.


Skim this website for an outline of the data that is currently filling the coffers of genetic science. You may be surprised to see the level of detail of what is known about evolution and genetics. Be sure to glance through all three pages.


I did skim it, and understood about 1% of the words. Sorry, but like the poster above, I think I remember the basics about genetics (Mendel's pea plants), and natural selection (finches in the Galapagos Isles), but all this advanced stuff is a beyond me.

Piggy
6th August 2008, 07:00 PM
Did eyes really evolve - from scratch, so to speak - independently in different species?

They're not the only structure to do that. Wings are a classic example.

Hokulele
6th August 2008, 07:23 PM
Not expose my ignorance (which I have proudly put on display more than once here) and not really knowing anything about evolution except the central principles - is that actually true. Did eyes really evolve - from scratch, so to speak - independently in different species? I can see how light sensing organs might evolve independently and I suppose any light sensing organ would be called an eye, but eyes with similar structures and components that we generally associate with an eye? I don't have an opinion about this. I am just asking. It seems to me there are a variety of ways in which an eye could work.


Yup, check out information on the octopus.

http://www.daviddarling.info/encyclopedia/O/octopus_eye.html

JoeEllison
6th August 2008, 07:47 PM
The presumption of life on other planets is NOT the same thing as assuming there is a "plan" in place. Why can't life pop up in a bunch of places with no planner, whatsoever?It is similar to assuming that Vegas casinos may have more than one Craps table come up Snake Eyes at the same time. Snake Eyes may be rare, but there are a hell of a lot of casinos, a hell of a lot of craps tables, and a whole eff of a lot of rolls on each table. There's no need for a plan to make it happen, because blind chance and statistics says that this particular coincidence should occur every so often.

In the same way, while life like ours may be incredibly rare, the sheer number of galaxies out there means that the number of solar systems with planets with ecosystems with life like that on Earth may still be large enough that we might be able to communicate with at least one of them without any plan at all.

Skeptic Ginger
7th August 2008, 01:47 AM
Not expose my ignorance (which I have proudly put on display more than once here) and not really knowing anything about evolution except the central principles - is that actually true. Did eyes really evolve - from scratch, so to speak - independently in different species? I can see how light sensing organs might evolve independently and I suppose any light sensing organ would be called an eye, but eyes with similar structures and components that we generally associate with an eye? I don't have an opinion about this. I am just asking. It seems to me there are a variety of ways in which an eye could work.It's even more beautiful than that. We had the privilege of having PZ Myers give our local skeptics group a talk on the evolution of the eye. There are a number of components in the eye that come together. (Oversimplifying here) So some eyes have AB out of ABC and other eyes have BC out of ABC and so on. In addition, certain receptors are found in the eye and elsewhere in the body. That might explain why all one need do to treat SAD with light therapy is apply the light to the back of one's legs. In other words, there are light receptors in the eye and in other parts of the body.

Really fascinating how complex vision actually is. But as for the evolution part, the genetic pathway in eye evolution is becoming well understood.

Ivor the Engineer
7th August 2008, 01:51 AM
<snip>

That might explain why all one need do to treat SAD with light therapy is apply the light to the back of one's legs.

<snip>

Another nail in the coffin for intelligent design.:)

Skeptic Ginger
7th August 2008, 01:53 AM
It still seems un-natural....Forgive me for saying so, but this is ignorant. It only seems that way to you because you have some artificial notions about living organisms. There is fascinating scientific and medical breakthroughs coming out of this field. Your reaction is akin to a thousand years ago, people's reaction to autopsies and other means of studying anatomy by dissecting corpses.

Are you unnerved by bananas? They are genetic hybrids as are a large majority of the food crops we are familiar with and eat on a regular basis.

I did skim it, and understood about 1% of the words. Sorry, but like the poster above, I think I remember the basics about genetics (Mendel's pea plants), and natural selection (finches in the Galapagos Isles), but all this advanced stuff is a beyond me.I don't know many of the terms but I know even less of the terms when I read about the latest computer technology. I posted the link just to give you an idea of how advanced the field of genetics has become.

Skeptic Ginger
7th August 2008, 01:59 AM
Another nail in the coffin for intelligent design.:)I found this professor's take on it (http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=2513) sealed the coffin once and for all. The stuff we design is primitive compared to what evolves in the natural Universe.

Mashuna
7th August 2008, 05:29 AM
Forgive me for saying so, but this is ignorant. It only seems that way to you because you have some artificial notions about living organisms. There is fascinating scientific and medical breakthroughs coming out of this field. Your reaction is akin to a thousand years ago, people's reaction to autopsies and other means of studying anatomy by dissecting corpses.

Are you unnerved by bananas? They are genetic hybrids as are a large majority of the food crops we are familiar with and eat on a regular basis.



I'm just looking forward to the silk from the spider-goat milk. That's the kind of genetic engineering I want to see.

I'm just disappointed that the goats can't climb walls or make their own webs.

Ivor the Engineer
7th August 2008, 05:50 AM
<snip>

Are you unnerved by bananas?

<snip>

I know few men who are not.

Thanks for the link, BTW.

MG1962
7th August 2008, 06:04 AM
I found this professor's take on it (http://www.researchchannel.org/prog/displayevent.aspx?rID=2513) sealed the coffin once and for all. The stuff we design is primitive compared to what evolves in the natural Universe.

Which is one of my biggest beefs with creationism and ID - It cheapens the value of God. The journey of life on this planet is both amazing and complex. To break it down to six days of work then down to the pub seems to really take away from the infinate power and wisdom these same people claim God has.

And no I am not promoting ID - simply saying that while science presents the 'how', God is a potential reason for the 'why'

Cuddles
7th August 2008, 07:58 AM
Are you unnerved by bananas?

Who wouldn't be unnerved by the ultimate proof of God's existence?

I'm just looking forward to the silk from the spider-goat milk. That's the kind of genetic engineering I want to see.

I'm just disappointed that the goats can't climb walls or make their own webs.

Never underestimate goats.

Aquila
7th August 2008, 10:28 AM
Forgive me for saying so, but this is ignorant. It only seems that way to you because you have some artificial notions about living organisms. There is fascinating scientific and medical breakthroughs coming out of this field. Your reaction is akin to a thousand years ago, people's reaction to autopsies and other means of studying anatomy by dissecting corpses.


No apology neccessary; I perfectly understand why many people think that I am coming from an emotional reaction, based on some sort of quaint notion about biology. But actually, I'm coming from years of piecing my albeit simple knowledge of science together.

I have no sqeam factor to science's history of dissection, or many other techniques - for example, using leaches (coming back into vogue I hear) or blood letting. They are not what I define as "un natural". The only thing that I define as un-natural is genetic engineering (see below).


Are you unnerved by bananas? They are genetic hybrids as are a large majority of the food crops we are familiar with and eat on a regular basis.


Hybrids are not genetically engineered. Foods, dogs, horses and roses are selectively bred to produce traits that are advantagious in some way, but it is all done simply by selecting sexual partners, or in the case of plants, pollen (male) and stamens (female) carriers of genetic information. There is nothing "un-natural" about this, because we are not interfering with genetic information.

But once we get inside DNA, splicing genes, selecting chromosomes, we are interfering with a process which has taken thousands, maybe of millions of years to evolve. This is what I call "un-natural". I am wary of this technique for the future of our planet, not for some sort of spiritual, emotional or moral reason, but because it seems logical that if we disrupt a process that has taken so long to evolve, there will be consequences from the rest of nature - ecological damage, and in the case of genetically engineered food, a reaction from the human body, which has also taken millions of years to evolve.

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 11:51 AM
Hybrids are not genetically engineered.
Of course they are! Just because the "engineering" is done on a macro level instead of through direct manipulation of DNA doesn't mean that humans aren't engineering genetics.

For example, if a gene therapy (disclaimer: I'm a layman using this term to represent some fancy scientific thingie that alters DNA) is used to manipulate a poodle fetus (zygote?) into developing obvious bulldog traits, why is that "unnatural" (in the "eewww" sense) compared to breeding a poodle with a bulldog?

The only reason to have a visceral negative reaction to genetic engineering would seem, to me at least, to be based on some form of magical/spiritual thinking...that things are *meant* to be a certain way. Otherwise, we should be concerned primarily (if not only) with the end result (and pursuing useful results).

Now, there may be ethical considerations when it comes to genetic engineering applied to human beings since we, naturally (sorry), hold ourselves to have a greater value than other living organisms on this planet, but that's a tangent that would probably warrant its own thread.

Ivor the Engineer
7th August 2008, 12:10 PM
I think the increased fear of direct genetic manipulation is the size of change that can be brought about in only one or two generations.

The closest example I can think of is the problems which have been caused by humans transporting (sometime inadvertently) plants and animals to areas of the world they have never existed before. In some cases this has had disastrous consequences for the native inhabitants. Brown snakes (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/invasive/13treesn.html) and grey squirrels (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article615362.ece) spring to mind.

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 12:32 PM
The closest example I can think of is the problems which have been caused by humans transporting (sometime inadvertently) plants and animals to areas of the world they have never existed before. In some cases this has had disastrous consequences for the native inhabitants. Brown snakes (http://www.aphis.usda.gov/lpa/pubs/invasive/13treesn.html) and grey squirrels (http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article615362.ece) spring to mind.
Neither of those situations, as far as I can tell, have anything to do with genetic engineering.

I'd certainly agree that the variations resulting from genetic engineering should be kept under control and only released into the "wild" after sufficient study, if at all.

Of course, in your second case I can't say that I really care that much based on the information in the link and that in Wikipedia. If the grey squirrel supplants the red squirrel in the food chain, that's tough luck natural selection-style for the cute little bugger, regardless of how the battle for survival started. I don't see a lot of value in species protection for species protection's sake.

Aquila
7th August 2008, 12:40 PM
Of course they are! Just because the "engineering" is done on a macro level instead of through direct manipulation of DNA doesn't mean that humans aren't engineering genetics.


But the macro level is not called genetic engineering, it's called breeding.


For example, if a gene therapy (disclaimer: I'm a layman using this term to represent some fancy scientific thingie that alters DNA) is used to manipulate a poodle fetus (zygote?) into developing obvious bulldog traits, why is that "unnatural" (in the "eewww" sense) compared to breeding a poodle with a bulldog?

The only reason to have a visceral negative reaction to genetic engineering would seem, to me at least, to be based on some form of magical/spiritual thinking...that things are *meant* to be a certain way. Otherwise, we should be concerned primarily (if not only) with the end result (and pursuing useful results).


If my poodle and your bulldog choose to mate with each other, it is based on a complex mix of instinct, smell and fertility cycles. But all the above processes have evolved over thousands or millions of years - another way of saying that they are "natural".

Humans who manipulate the mixing of these two sets of genetic material are ignoring all the above factors which have taken so long to evolve. As mentioned in my previous post, my, and others' objection to this manipulation is not based on magical or spiritual concerns but more on evolution, which takes time. If we "cheat" evolution, it seems logical that there would be consequences.



Now, there may be ethical considerations when it comes to genetic engineering applied to human beings since we, naturally (sorry), hold ourselves to have a greater value than other living organisms on this planet, but that's a tangent that would probably warrant its own thread.

It's a good point. But again it is connected to time. We hold ourselves to have great value because we have taken longer to evolve.

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 01:17 PM
But the macro level is not called genetic engineering, it's called breeding.
And sending drugs from Colombia to the US isn't dealing, it's trafficking.

If I take a pool of 10 different breeds of dogs and mate them to select particular traits, I'm altering the genetic makeup of their progeny. If someone else uses a shortcut (such as the above-mentioned genetic therapy) and the resulting animal is genetically identical [enough] to my "naturally" selected animal, why is one method good and one method bad?
If my poodle and your bulldog choose to mate with each other, it is based on a complex mix of instinct, smell and fertility cycles. But all the above processes have evolved over thousands or millions of years - another way of saying that they are "natural".
Believe me, there is nothing terribly complex about getting two physically compatible (meaning mainly avoiding large size disparities) dogs to engage in coitus. I had a little poodle/terrier mix when I was a kid. She got out of the yard one day (only one) while in heat and managed to get "laid" by every sexually intact male dog in the neighborhood. When she gave birth, it was to 6 puppies of 3 very different looks.
Humans who manipulate the mixing of these two sets of genetic material are ignoring all the above factors which have taken so long to evolve. As mentioned in my previous post, my, and others' objection to this manipulation is not based on magical or spiritual concerns but more on evolution, which takes time. If we "cheat" evolution, it seems logical that there would be consequences.
You claim not to be basing this on nebulous spiritual concerns while simultaneously anthropomorphizing evolution into something that can be "cheated." We've "cheated" oceans, gravity, weather and any number of other environmental circumstances. Should I be afraid of dire consequences every time I get out of the rain?
It's a good point. But again it is connected to time. We hold ourselves to have great value because we have taken longer to evolve.
No, we hold ourselves to have greater value because a) "we are us" (e.g., I'm not a cat and therefore the life of a cat has far less value than that of another of my species) and b) we believe (with pretty good reason) that our mental faculties are the best on this planet and that this makes us valuable. That evolution is the process by which this came to pass isn't a large factor in that value. Again, it's about the end result.

I think all of this goes directly to your original [apparent] misunderstanding of Carl Sagan. You equated an equation intended to determine the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe with a belief that the universe operates according to a "design." Similarly, you apparently accept the scientific principle of evolution as a "design," or, the way things are meant to be. I see it as a kind of mental trap. Just because we can explain how things came to pass doesn't mean that the process is something to be held sacred. It just is.

Aquila
7th August 2008, 03:09 PM
If I take a pool of 10 different breeds of dogs and mate them to select particular traits, I'm altering the genetic makeup of their progeny. If someone else uses a shortcut (such as the above-mentioned genetic therapy) and the resulting animal is genetically identical [enough] to my "naturally" selected animal, why is one method good and one method bad?


Hormones.
I'm not sure about all animals, but in mammals, the sexual response is tied in with certain hormones being released, which in turn effect the environment (womb) in which the fetus develops. When a fetus is implanted after being manipulated in a test tube, or petri dish, it will not have the same conditions to grow as if it had been conceived in the mother's uterus.

It might sound "spiritual" or non-scientific to think that children produced by in-vitro fertilization are any different from children produced by a male and female who are "in love", but it has been scientifically proven (no citation at present) that the emotion of love alters brain chemistry (or maybe it's the other way round - the chemicals cause the emotion). Chemicals or hormones circulating in the blood will pass through the placenta into a developing fetus.

So it's not a case of one being "good" or "bad" but it is a case of one being more tied to the whole circumstance of sexual reproduction, which in mammals anyway, does involve more than simple impregnation.



Believe me, there is nothing terribly complex about getting two physically compatible (meaning mainly avoiding large size disparities) dogs to engage in coitus. I had a little poodle/terrier mix when I was a kid. She got out of the yard one day (only one) while in heat and managed to get "laid" by every sexually intact male dog in the neighborhood. When she gave birth, it was to 6 puppies of 3 very different looks.


But the puppies all had the same father. The different looks were not caused by the female dog having multiple sex partners - only one of the males managed to impregnate her. The different looks were caused by dominant and recessive genes combining from both parties.


You claim not to be basing this on nebulous spiritual concerns while simultaneously anthropomorphizing evolution into something that can be "cheated." We've "cheated" oceans, gravity, weather and any number of other environmental circumstances. Should I be afraid of dire consequences every time I get out of the rain?


It is true that everything we do has some effect somewhere else in the universe. For example, using an umbrella to get out the rain has consequences, because you've had to but down a tree to make the umbrella's handle, mine the steel to make the shaft and spokes, and use up fossil fuels to import it from China. The anthropomorphic term "cheating" was meant to convey the proportion that we alter natural circumstances.

I think that many people resort to spiritual or religious thinking when it comes to evolution, because the time involved just to see one small change in an organism adapting to its environment is so long. When he eliminate this time factor through genetic engineering we are taking a big chunk out of the evolution equation.


I think all of this goes directly to your original [apparent] misunderstanding of Carl Sagan. You equated an equation intended to determine the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe with a belief that the universe operates according to a "design." Similarly, you apparently accept the scientific principle of evolution as a "design," or, the way things are meant to be. I see it as a kind of mental trap.

Yes, I'm afraid I do see evolution as a design - a brilliant, sacred one.


Just because we can explain how things came to pass doesn't mean that the process is something to be held sacred. It just is.

And God is.

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 03:47 PM
Hormones.
I'm not sure about all animals, but in mammals, the sexual response is tied in with certain hormones being released, which in turn effect the environment (womb) in which the fetus develops. When a fetus is implanted after being manipulated in a test tube, or petri dish, it will not have the same conditions to grow as if it had been conceived in the mother's uterus.
It won't? Which conditions? What differences are observed?
It might sound "spiritual" or non-scientific to think that children produced by in-vitro fertilization are any different from children produced by a male and female who are "in love", but it has been scientifically proven (no citation at present) that the emotion of love alters brain chemistry (or maybe it's the other way round - the chemicals cause the emotion). Chemicals or hormones circulating in the blood will pass through the placenta into a developing fetus.
Yes, it might sound spiritual, indeed, especially since a) "(no citation at present)," b) the placenta is formed after conception (the fertilization of the ovum which [obviously] occurs after ejaculation; this is high school sex ed/biology at the latest), c) mammals don't have to be "in love" to have sex unless you define "love" as being fertile, and humans, in particular, can and do engage in sexual intercourse without regard to reproductive cycles, and d) "(no citation at present)."
So it's not a case of one being "good" or "bad" but it is a case of one being more tied to the whole circumstance of sexual reproduction, which in mammals anyway, does involve more than simple impregnation.
How much more? How do you quantify - scientifically - this "whole circumstance of sexual reproduction?" Exactly what differences are there between an implanted embryo and an embryo that develops entirely within the uterus from fertilization to birth (besides standard genetic variation and assuming the mother and father remain the same)?
But the puppies all had the same father. The different looks were not caused by the female dog having multiple sex partners - only one of the males managed to impregnate her. The different looks were caused by dominant and recessive genes combining from both parties.
Really? You are aware that a female dog can be impregnated by multiple males when in estrus, right? Admittedly, the only way to be absolutely certain either way would be genetic testing, but your certainty is misinformed.
It is true that everything we do has some effect somewhere else in the universe.
Yet another retreat to spirituality? Please provide observational data covering the universe. I'll anxiously await your results.
For example, using an umbrella to get out the rain has consequences, because you've had to but down a tree to make the umbrella's handle, mine the steel to make the shaft and spokes, and use up fossil fuels to import it from China. The anthropomorphic term "cheating" was meant to convey the proportion that we alter natural circumstances.
No, you've changed my question. My question was about dire consequences related to me getting "out of the rain." Standing under a tree could accomplish as much. Still, your example merely reinforces my point. We do all kinds of thing to alter the environment. Why would that cause us to avoid genetic engineering?
I think that many people resort to spiritual or religious thinking when it comes to evolution, because the time involved just to see one small change in an organism adapting to its environment is so long. When he eliminate this time factor through genetic engineering we are taking a big chunk out of the evolution equation.
Yes, but what are the dire consequences of doing so if we assume that the increase in speed ends up with the same result? This sounds like an anti-technology attitude: "If I was meant to be able to travel from Oregon to Florida and back within a week to visit with my family, God would have given me wings and a jet engine."
Yes, I'm afraid I do see evolution as a design - a brilliant, sacred one.
Why is it "sacred?" Is gravity sacred, too? If so, I suspect airline pilots are in deep trouble, both for flying and corrupting their passengers. But, I suspect you're about to reveal the real reason you're opposed to genetic engineering...
And God is.
Bingo. You can go ahead and disregard the rest of my post. That statement provides all your answers, quite succinctly. Perhaps this topic should have started in R&P?

Skeptic Ginger
7th August 2008, 04:02 PM
For those of you who think hybrid food crops are simply 'bred' by selection of seeds with desirable characteristics, I have news for you. There are hundreds if not thousands of actual genetically mixed hybrids. These are the result of some natural events and many human interventions to cross plant and animal species. The animal hybrids I know of such as mules and 'ligers' do not reproduce. However, in the food crop realm that is not the case. But even when it is, the crops are simply propagated such as bananas which are seedless.

boysenberry A boysenberry is a cross between a loganberry, a raspberry, and the Pacific blackberry

The list of examples are endless.

CapelDodger
7th August 2008, 04:31 PM
Who wouldn't be unnerved by the ultimate proof of God's existence?

Or of the Evil Monkey in your closet?

Never underestimate goats.

Not turning your back on them isn't enough; the buggers can climb trees. I've seem 'em do it. Most disconcerting.

Aquila
7th August 2008, 05:28 PM
It won't? Which conditions? What differences are observed?


I didn't say that I had observed them; I was just making a logical projection based on facts.



Yes, it might sound spiritual, indeed, especially since a) "(no citation at present)," b) the placenta is formed after conception (the fertilization of the ovum which [obviously] occurs after ejaculation; this is high school sex ed/biology at the latest), c) mammals don't have to be "in love" to have sex unless you define "love" as being fertile, and humans, in particular, can and do engage in sexual intercourse without regard to reproductive cycles, and d) "(no citation at present)."

OK, here's wikepedia's article on serotonin, which plays an important role in anger, aggression and sexuality among other things.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Serotonin

Also, from

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dopamine

"Dopamine is commonly associated with the pleasure system of the brain, providing feelings of enjoyment and reinforcement to motivate a person proactively to perform certain activities. Dopamine is released (particularly in areas such as the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area) by naturally rewarding experiences such as food, sex,..."


How much more? How do you quantify - scientifically - this "whole circumstance of sexual reproduction?" Exactly what differences are there between an implanted embryo and an embryo that develops entirely within the uterus from fertilization to birth (besides standard genetic variation and assuming the mother and father remain the same)?


I don't know if anyone has any data, but I think it would make an interesting area of research. I can't quantify it yet, but was making a feasible projection based on the knowledge that blood chemistry affects conscousness (hormones affecting the fetus via placenta)



Really? You are aware that a female dog can be impregnated by multiple males when in estrus, right? Admittedly, the only way to be absolutely certain either way would be genetic testing, but your certainty is misinformed.


I could not find any information on in this wikipedia article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_reproduction#Female_cycle

which would lead me to believe that female dogs can be impregnated by more than one male, and I assumed that canine reproduction was similar to other mammals. If you find any evidence to the contrary please let me know.


Yet another retreat to spirituality? Please provide observational data covering the universe. I'll anxiously await your results.


Why is it that everytime I make a logical projection of scientific principles (in this case Newton's Law # 3, "Every action has an equal and opposite reaction" you think I am retreating to spirituality? I don't need observational data.

[Edit]:I think this needs further explanation. If I hit a ball against a wall, it not only moves the ball, which bounces off the wall at a predictable angle, but I move the air molecules around the ball. Every air molecule bumps into the one next to it, and so on, so that logically, my action of hitting the ball effects air molecules thousands of miles away, even very slightly and in theory has an effect on the whole universe.


No, you've changed my question. My question was about dire consequences related to me getting "out of the rain." Standing under a tree could accomplish as much. Still, your example merely reinforces my point. We do all kinds of thing to alter the environment. Why would that cause us to avoid genetic engineering?


Because of the type of the alteration - whether it's "macro" (your term), like breeding or "micro"? - within the DNA.

An analogy would be nuclear physics. When we alter the inside of an atom, just by a tiny amount, we get an enormous release of energy! We also get radio-active waste which takes thousands of years to decay. I know it's a different process from genetic engineering, but the same sort of logic would apply; if humans try to "interfere" with processes which have taken millions of years to develop, we get serious consequences.


Yes, but what are the dire consequences of doing so if we assume that the increase in speed ends up with the same result? This sounds like an anti-technology attitude: "If I was meant to be able to travel from Oregon to Florida and back within a week to visit with my family, God would have given me wings and a jet engine."


"God" isn't the problem, it's us. The God that we talk about is the laws of physics and chemistry, but IT doesn't care what humans do with those laws - that's our problem. We have complete free will to use the laws how we wish, and possibly change our behavior when we see the negative consequences of misusing them. I am not anti-technology, but I am frightened of the possible misuse of genetic engineering and nuclear energy.


Why is it "sacred?" Is gravity sacred, too? If so, I suspect airline pilots are in deep trouble, both for flying and corrupting their passengers. But, I suspect you're about to reveal the real reason you're opposed to genetic engineering...

Bingo. You can go ahead and disregard the rest of my post. That statement provides all your answers, quite succinctly. Perhaps this topic should have started in R&P?

There seems to be a problem on all forums, that they are either a)too specialized - in the case of JREF, it is limited to skepticism or b)t he sections within the forum force people to limit their thinking to a certain mold eg. only verifiable data in the science sections but imagination permitted in the philosophy section. So where would you put string theory?

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 06:21 PM
I could not find any information on in this wikipedia article

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_reproduction#Female_cycle

which would lead me to believe that female dogs can be impregnated by more than one male, and I assumed that canine reproduction was similar to other mammals. If you find any evidence to the contrary please let me know.
Then you did not read far enough down in the article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_reproduction#Dog_breeding). You also misunderstand mammalian reproduction in general since even human females (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin#Unusual_twinnings) can be pregnant with children from multiple fathers at the same time (rare but possible).

I had a longer response prepared and then aborted it because this conversation has descended into silliness (and I accept some of the blame because I'm not that bright). You use the words "logical," "feasible" and "projection" like they're supposed to mean something when all you've got are guesses and imagination.

You also hugely misunderstand/misrepresent Newton's third law which had to do with measurable physical effects. He wasn't making a philosophical comment about the actions of humans.

Quoth the wiki (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Newton%27s_Laws):

Newton stated the third law within a world-view that assumed instantaneous action at a distance between material particles. However, he was prepared for philosophical criticism of this action at a distance, and it was in this context that he stated the famous phrase "I feign no hypotheses". In modern physics, action at a distance has been completely eliminated, except for subtle effects involving quantum entanglement.

Piggy
7th August 2008, 06:49 PM
But once we get inside DNA, splicing genes, selecting chromosomes, we are interfering with a process which has taken thousands, maybe of millions of years to evolve. This is what I call "un-natural". I am wary of this technique for the future of our planet, not for some sort of spiritual, emotional or moral reason, but because it seems logical that if we disrupt a process that has taken so long to evolve, there will be consequences from the rest of nature - ecological damage, and in the case of genetically engineered food, a reaction from the human body, which has also taken millions of years to evolve.

I'm actually with you on this.

When we go about splicing genes and releasing these into the ecosystem, we really don't know what might happen.

It's just the law of unintended consequences I'm worried about.

Same goes for nano-technology. We have no clue what might come from releasing nano-particles into the ecosystem.

Maybe nothing. Maybe something we'd rather not have happen. We just don't know.

It seems rash and unwise to me.

Aquila
7th August 2008, 07:50 PM
Then you did not read far enough down in the article (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canine_reproduction#Dog_breeding). You also misunderstand mammalian reproduction in general since even human females (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Twin#Unusual_twinnings) can be pregnant with children from multiple fathers at the same time (rare but possible).
]:

Are you referring to this paragraph:
"A female dog allowed to roam freely during estrus can end up producing puppies from multiple fathers. Breeders might occasionally breed a female to more than one desirable male for various reasons, in which case the only reliable way to determine parentage of the puppies is through DNA testing of the pups. "

If so, it doesn't state categorically that the female dog can be impregnated by multiple fathers during ONE estrus. She might have been allowed to roam during several estrus cycles. I've never owned a dog so don't know much about them, but the info above seems a bit vague.



You also hugely misunderstand/misrepresent Newton's third law which had to do with measurable physical effects. He wasn't making a philosophical comment about the actions of humans.


Nor was I. The ball could have been hit by a machine.
I do concede that the Newton's Laws do not hold up when we travel faster than the speed of light, so my bumper sticker proclaiming "I changed the universe today" would not be relevant in some conditions.

I had a longer response prepared and then aborted it because this conversation has descended into silliness ......In modern physics, action at a distance has been completely eliminated, except for subtle effects involving quantum entanglement

Effects nonetheless.
Quantum particles that wish to get entangled should see a qualified quantum therapist.

Babbylonian
7th August 2008, 07:58 PM
If so, it doesn't state categorically that the female dog can be impregnated by multiple fathers during ONE estrus. She might have been allowed to roam during several estrus cycles. I've never owned a dog so don't know much about them, but the info above seems a bit vague.
Wow, irony. :boxedin:

Aquila
7th August 2008, 08:02 PM
My next thread: "Did Einstein believe in Intelligent Design?"

Jeff Corey
7th August 2008, 08:10 PM
... In addition, certain receptors are found in the eye and elsewhere in the body. That might explain why all one need do to treat SAD with light therapy is apply the light to the back of one's legs. In other words, there are light receptors in the eye and in other parts of the body...
I would appreciate some references to light receptors on the back of the leg and light therapy being shown to being effective in treating SAD. I can see that it would be easier to do a double blind test on the back of the leg than on the face.

Piggy
7th August 2008, 08:10 PM
My next thread: "Did Einstein believe in Intelligent Design?"

Only when he played the violin.

Piggy
7th August 2008, 08:13 PM
I would appreciate some references to llight receptors on the back of the leg and light therapy being shown to being effective in treating SAD. I can see that it would be easier to do a double blind test on the back of the leg than on the face.

My understanding is that these results have not been replicated in further testing. At least, that's the last I read about it.

Jeff Corey
7th August 2008, 08:41 PM
My understanding is that these results have not been replicated in further testing. At least, that's the last I read about it.

I really would not be surprized. The early light therapy/SAD stuff was great material for a "What's wrong with this study?" question on a test on research design.

HghrSymmetry
8th September 2008, 08:26 PM
Aye.
Sagan's Cosmos series aired when I was 13, and it not only opened my eyes to the universe, it also let me know that I was not alone with my thoughts in the world, that other people, serious people, grown-ups, stopped and wondered about questions like "When I ride past a field of beans, for how long is a row of beans exactly perpendicular to where I am on the road?" (a question that had haunted me for years at that point, even if I couldn't have phrased it that way back then).

--snip!--

It was a world of wonder so profound that even the miracles of all the gods became a carnival sideshow by comparison, some cheap tent meeting fronted by faded pasteboard signs and worn-out banners.

"Listen, son," they whispered to me, "you are star-stuff and the world is a hall of jewels for your mind to explore -- but be quick about it, boy, cause there ain't no eternal mansions, no heavenly revelation. If you want the wonders of the world, they are yours. Go find them now!"
Agreed. I was blown away when it first began airing on the local public station.
I imagine an entire generation was moved by the series (and book).

UnrepentantSinner
10th September 2008, 01:08 AM
I miss Dr Sagan. I have a sense of longing watching that video.

Sidenote: I just got the complete "Cosmos" series on DVD for my birthday... SQUEE!!

I think I purchased mine in '04 as a Christmas present to myself.

And he never did say "billions and billions" either... just in case.

He did write it though. ;)