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Old 01-19-2005, 04:31 PM   #91
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Originally posted by coemgen
A.W., you're right on man. Monkeys, dogs, rats and frogs have brains, hearts and lungs!! As a Christian, I'm with you on this one. : ) (I'm just teasing you by the way, not attempting to urinate you off. I honestly respect your opinion and can tell that you're an intelligent person.)
If you want to play the evolution card, consider this: all these parts, the brain, heart, lungs, circulatory system, etc., had to have been in the first "humans" or animals or whatever anyway. So really, you don't have much of an argument in bringing up evolution. The first beings on Earth still had to have food and it just so happens, it was right there on Earth for them to eat and enjoy! If there was no creator behind all of this, even with evolution in place, there still would've had to have been a proverbial jigsaw puzzle thrown up in the air and it still would've had to land perfectly in place. In fact, if you want to include evolution, I would argue that puzzle would have even more pieces in it than the one without evolution.

As far as the morality thing, you didn't really answer the question. Why is it there? Why do we seek to be moral beings? If there's a basic right and wrong that humans agree on, it must be there for a reason too.
The first "beings" were single celled organisms. They are a set of metabolic reactions and constuction tools in a cell. Their "food" or more specifically energy was obtained by the splitting of hydrogen sulphide to generate ATP - a chemical which stores energy that can be used in the cell.

They had no hearts, lungs or brain - they were prokaryotic organisms that lacked even internal membrane stucture. All of these attributes are created by slight variation, the heart for instance may have formed in early sea worms as a piece of tissue inside the worm that helped move around blood in its cavity, of course there were no cappilaries or such at this point. Eventually this strip of tissue would show slight differences in different worms because of mutation and sexual variation, if the variant strip benefitted the worm then it may have a greater chance of survival therefore it will have more of a chance to breed and its offspring with that same variant strip of tissue would have an advantage over their compeditors without the tissue until the entire population of sea worms have variant strips of tissue which by this point give maximum advantage, the tissue strip has been varied in so many permutations the best one resembles a pump, the first heart. That is just an example off the top of my head but I am just trying to show that it is not impossible for these things to happen without God.

This is not an instantaneous world as we know it, the atmosphere was vastly different to what we know now, there was no free oxygen, blankets of volcanic gasses prevailed; hadean earth, literally hellish earth.

It was not like some fully formed generic organism just popped into existence bones and all. It was a process of trillions of chemical reactions taking place and of those a very small fraction would produce the seeds from which life could form and as those seeds were arranged in various permutations eventually the right ones were reached. The life that may have formed through this process would just be very basic compared to life we see today.

The first forms of life were sets of organic chemicals that were able to relicate themselves and undergo reactions with the inorganic chemicals around them to obtain energy ~ very, very basic.

The best idea of what these life forms were like can be found around volcanic vents were you can find "extreme thermophile" microorganisms.

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Old 01-19-2005, 04:50 PM   #92
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Well Ok then A.W. We'll go back that far if you want. But do you see how the "puzzle" keeps gaining pieces? Where did the organisms come from? The fact that they were able to sustain the "Hellish Earth" you talked about and then evolve into us over time cries out for intelligence behind the design too! You must have quite a bit of faith to believe we evolved to who we are now from these basic organisms simply by chance! Also, have you ever considered that science could in fact be the study of God's creation? They don't have to contradict each other as many people think. To me, science is the study of God's work.
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:51 PM   #93
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Cool pic by the way.
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Old 01-19-2005, 04:58 PM   #94
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But what if there is no design? what if it is variation, you have an organism and its offspring are slightly different than it? What if these variations can be a negative for the offsprine - then that offspring will not have as much chance to reproduce and neither will its offspring with the negative variation. What about a positive variation that offers a better chance at survival and reproduction? In that case the variation will become more prevailant in the entire population. That is why when you look at an animal it works so well - because it is the end of 3 billion years of positive variations, you are never able to look at the dead ends of this process, the other 99% of species that have at some point been on this planet but simply died out.

Understanding the universe could be considered studying God's work however I would not say that I am studying God's work because I do not have unequivocal evidence one way or the other for the existence of God ~ an unfalsifiable element does not a scientific theory make.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:04 PM   #95
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I'm just putting this out for discussion. It was reported on by the AP.


NEW YORK*Dec 9, 2004 —*A British philosophy professor who has been a leading champion of atheism for more than a half-century has changed his mind. He now believes in God more or less based on scientific evidence, and says so on a video released Thursday.

At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe. A super-intelligence is the only good explanation for the origin of life and the complexity of nature, Flew said in a telephone interview from England.

Flew said he's best labeled a deist like Thomas Jefferson, whose God was not actively involved in people's lives.

"I'm thinking of a God very different from the God of the Christian and far and away from the God of Islam, because both are depicted as omnipotent Oriental despots, cosmic Saddam Husseins," he said. "It could be a person in the sense of a being that has intelligence and a purpose, I suppose."

Flew first made his mark with the 1950 article "Theology and Falsification," based on a paper for the Socratic Club, a weekly Oxford religious forum led by writer and Christian thinker C.S. Lewis.

Over the years, Flew proclaimed the lack of evidence for God while teaching at Oxford, Aberdeen, Keele, and Reading universities in Britain, in visits to numerous U.S. and Canadian campuses and in books, articles, lectures and debates.

There was no one moment of change but a gradual conclusion over recent months for Flew, a spry man who still does not believe in an afterlife.

Yet biologists' investigation of DNA "has shown, by the almost unbelievable complexity of the arrangements which are needed to produce (life), that intelligence must have been involved," Flew says in the new video, "Has Science Discovered God?"

The video draws from a New York discussion last May organized by author Roy Abraham Varghese's Institute for Metascientific Research in Garland, Texas. Participants were Flew; Varghese; Israeli physicist Gerald Schroeder, an Orthodox Jew; and Roman Catholic philosopher John Haldane of Scotland's University of St. Andrews.

The first hint of Flew's turn was a letter to the August-September issue of Britain's Philosophy Now magazine. "It has become inordinately difficult even to begin to think about constructing a naturalistic theory of the evolution of that first reproducing organism," he wrote.

The letter commended arguments in Schroeder's "The Hidden Face of God" and "The Wonder of the World" by Varghese, an Eastern Rite Catholic layman.

This week, Flew finished writing the first formal account of his new outlook for the introduction to a new edition of his "God and Philosophy," scheduled for release next year by Prometheus Press.

Prometheus specializes in skeptical thought, but if his belief upsets people, well "that's too bad," Flew said. "My whole life has been guided by the principle of Plato's Socrates: Follow the evidence, wherever it leads."

Last week, Richard Carrier, a writer and Columbia University graduate student, posted new material based on correspondence with Flew on the atheistic www.infidels.org Web page. Carrier assured atheists that Flew accepts only a "minimal God" and believes in no afterlife.

Flew's "name and stature are big. Whenever you hear people talk about atheists, Flew always comes up," Carrier said. Still, when it comes to Flew's reversal, "apart from curiosity, I don't think it's like a big deal."

Flew told The Associated Press his current ideas have some similarity with American "intelligent design" theorists, who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe. He accepts Darwinian evolution but doubts it can explain the ultimate origins of life.

A Methodist minister's son, Flew became an atheist at 15.

Early in his career, he argued that no conceivable events could constitute proof against God for believers, so skeptics were right to wonder whether the concept of God meant anything at all.

Another landmark was his 1984 "The Presumption of Atheism," playing off the presumption of innocence in criminal law. Flew said the debate over God must begin by presuming atheism, putting the burden of proof on those arguing that God exists.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:07 PM   #96
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
Well Ok then A.W. We'll go back that far if you want. But do you see how the "puzzle" keeps gaining pieces? Where did the organisms come from? To me, science is the study of God's work.
If you're going to go back and back, where did God come from? For some reason, for God believers, the answer that God is infinite and does not need a creator or designer for himself seems to be a good enough answer. But if one says the same thing about the universe, somehow people still want a creator for the universe. I ask, "why, God, why"? (Damn, now i'm talking to God. coemgen, you're very persuasive!)
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:25 PM   #97
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First off, let me say that I'm enjoying our little discussion here. I can see you're very well read and intelligent and I have great respect for you. (I mean that.) And the fact that we can joke at the same time is pretty cool too. I too believe God has always existed. That's in the Bible and frankly, if I'm going to believe in a God, it would make sense that he's always existed, you know? The reason the universe has a creator and God doesn't is simply becasue God is God, and has always existed, and is a much more complex being than even the universe. I know the scientist in you wants to know why and have more of an answer from me. However, is it possible that there's something out there that science can't explain? That's too big and complex for the human mind to try to comprehend? In the end A.W., it's a matter of faith for all of us. And my point in talking to you isn't to win an argument. So what if that's the case? My hope and prayer is that you too will come to know God. And let me tell you, he welcomes the intellectual types too. He calls us to "seek him with all our heart, MIND, soul and strength." That was placed in the Bible for you to read as much as it was for me.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:27 PM   #98
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I agree there no argument to be had, merely a discussion. I see random chance and in that you see the divine in that.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:52 PM   #99
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Quote:
Originally posted by coemgen
The reason the universe has a creator and God doesn't is simply becasue God is God, and has always existed, and is a much more complex being than even the universe. I know the scientist in you wants to know why and have more of an answer from me. However, is it possible that there's something out there that science can't explain? That's too big and complex for the human mind to try to comprehend? I

this does make sense, and it is why i cling to agnosticism. you can't disprove god, because almost by definition, he exists beyond human comprehension. just like we cannot know what happens after we die, we cannot really know/understand God. i can accept that, but i can't live my life by that.

you said something about morals, and i pretty much agree with A_W on that. i would also add that it isn't hard to work out an ethical life -- you watch how others relate to your actions, you use your powers of empathy, and you pretty much can come back to the "jesus message" of "do unto others ..." still, i don't think jesus thought that up. it seems pretty basic, sort of like stating the obvious.

i am very happy that members of your family and your friends have used faith to heal themselves. that's very powerful, and it clearly worked for them. but i would also imagine that one can arrive at healing from smoking, rape, molestation, etc., through methods other than prayer.

it really comes down to how you explain things that have no easy explanations, and God is as much of a theory as anything else. this is where your faith comes in, and this is why faith should be an empowering thing -- you are *choosing* to believe. but it is a choice, it is one you make, and doesn't it also follow that the God you find is one that you created when you made that choice?

i guess i'm saying there's no there there beyond what we put there. i don't doubt your faith or relationship with God, but i do doubt the universal, emprical existence of the God you speak to. i don't think he's a man with a white beard smiting people at will (not that you've suggested this), and if he were, as i mentioned in the tsunami thread, i wouldn't want to throw my faith in him for fear of what would happen if i didn't.

as for my life being one of survival ... this is way too much to get into here, and i'd swing way more personal that i'm comfortable with, but what i see everyday (i live in a semi-poor neighborhood with crack addicts, migrant workers, and many others who have been utterly failed by society) combined with my always increasing understanding of history and current events and multiplied with some of my own experiences, and i can't see much more than trying to survive. the existentialist response to that is the Sisyphus myth -- where is condemned to push the stone up the hill for eternity because it gets to the top and rolls down the other side, and he learns to live with it because he let's go of the "goal," as it were, and learns to find meaning in the struggle.

i suppose it comes down to the fact that i think we create meaning, but i do not see any meaning beyond what we create. i do not see any evidence, either empircal evidence or anecdotal or experiential, for the existence of God as independent of our own personal creations. i could call out to God tonight, as i'm falling asleep, as you mentioned, but i think that only i would answer my call. and maybe that's enough, and maybe that is God, but that doesn't seem enough for me right now.

this would make me, then, probably the opposite of a diest. that God could exist, but he exists in human fibers and cells and thoughts and emotions, and therefore we have 6.5 billion gods operating in each and every person on earth.

i'm probably not expessing myself well (seem to be coming down with a head cold), but those are some thoughts.

i won't even proofread, i'll just post.
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Old 01-19-2005, 05:54 PM   #100
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I'm going to go home for the night, but I'll leave you with this: Do you see our discussion as random chance?
One of my favorite Bible verses states that "Where to or three gather in my name, there I am with them." Just a point to ponder tonight. God bless you and thanks for the stimulating conversation.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:06 PM   #101
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Irvine, as I said, I'm on my way home to the wife and kids, so I can't give you a full out response, but I respect you enough to tell you this: What if God loves you more than you can even fathom. More than you think you even deserve. What if he IS a real being outside our thoughts, emotions and personal creations and he wants a relationship with you? God isn't relative. He's not one thing to one person and another to another. Although our relationships with him may be different, he is everlasting. I know some of your personal background from other discussions we have had. I won't bring all that up out of respect for you, but I will tell you that I know he loves you and his love is perfect. I would challenge you to call out to him and not answer yourself. You said you believe in him, why not talk to him too? It's one thing for me to believe you exist on the otherside of cyberspace, but it's another for me to talk to you. You know? Whether you like it or not, you're in my prayers too. Good night all.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:10 PM   #102
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Why can't every FYM thread be like this one?
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:14 PM   #103
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Why can't every FYM thread be like this one?

you should have been around earlier in the day ... i was much less nice, but then i felt i had a very good reason to be ... and such is the nature of FYM.
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Old 01-19-2005, 06:37 PM   #104
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Glad to see things have been going positive here as well. It was getting a little rawdy earlier. I think you guys would like this thread too: http://forum.interference.com/showth...readid=109697. It would take a while to read, but I found it rather interesting.
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Old 01-19-2005, 08:18 PM   #105
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A_Wanderer,
I posed this same question earlier, but much has gone on since then. I'll come back to it though, since I think that it's something you'd like to discuss. My primary field of study is computer science, and because of that, DNA is of great interest to me when studying biology. I find it fascinating that the instructions on how to recreate the entire human body are contained within a single cell.
When I read about the chain of DNA being built by 4 different base pairs being repeated over and over for a total length of over 3 billion pairings, it reminds me of what I do for a living (create software). Basically, I take simple (and not-so-simple) commands and arrange them into a sequence that performs a useful task. I am not being arrogant by saying this, but it has been said that writing software is the most complex task that the human mind has ever undertaken. Whether it is or not, we can at least assume that statement is close to being the truth. Well, if the human genome is looked at as a piece of software, then it would be considered a very complex program. And I can testify to the fact that software does not write itself! That's part of the reason I have serious doubts that mutation, variation, and time alone could be the 'programmer' behind the observable DNA structure. You stated that you believe in random chance, so I assume that mutation, variation, and time are the only forces you believe were necessary to create the human genome. Well, based on the amount of information encoded within DNA, and the highly specified complexity of that information, I find it extremely hard to believe that mutation and variation are responsible for all of the life forms on this planet.

On a more personal note, I am pleased by the overall mood of this thread. So often Christians get uncomfortable when the topic of evolution comes up, and atheists can be disturbed by the very mentioning of the word 'God', but there's been a nice of exchange
of viewpoints for the most part. I personally feel that even if someone is an atheist, they shouldn't ever feel like a stranger to God. Sure, you may not believe he exists, but if he does, then you're just as much his creation as anyone:

"Like the time I ran away
And turned around
And you were standing close to me."
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