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Old 01-19-2005, 08:41 PM   #106
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DNA is made up of amino acids called adenine (A), guanine (G), thymine (T) and cytosine (C). Now you have triplets of nucleotides that encode for a particular one of the 20 amino acids used in protein synthesis. So you have all this information on coding locked up in the DNA to keep it all running. It is indeed an immensely complex system but its processes can be explained scientifically as can its origins.

The issue is that you have selection occuring all the time and that is the factor that effects that drives evolution. You are right that if you simply had variation then you would wind up with a lot of junk. The selective pressures placed upon life that determine how effectively it can reproduce is what makes the difference.

It doesn't write itself perfectly, there are a lot more mistakes than sucesses but it is only the sucesses that count in the long run because they are the only variations that have a chance of becoming more prevailant.

I myself find it hard to fully argue these specific aspects about how genetic information is generated through evolution because I simply don't have a complete understanding of molecular biology (yet) and I don't want to just drag out an essay by somebody else. When I say random chance I mean that fluke events like mutation that occur often and sometimes can be beneficial.
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Old 01-20-2005, 05:34 AM   #107
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I have a question for all athiests:

Do you guys not believe in ANYTHING, I mean what about:

*afterlife
*ghosts
*destiny/fate/luck
*good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals
*reincarnation
*other dimensions
*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all?
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Old 01-20-2005, 06:19 AM   #108
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Hmm, not sure if I can take a stab at this on qualification as I dont even know if I'm an atheiest or agnostic anymore - I mean I dont know if what I believe in is even necessarily a God, but:

*afterlife
yes, quite probably
*ghosts
ghosts, not sure. spirits or the 'essence' of something is more accurate - yes.
*destiny/fate/luck
for sure
*good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals
vibes yes, positive energy yes, crystals...i know nothing about them though many swear by them
*reincarnation
hmmm. unless this is the first life and who knows what is to come for sure, i dont per se believe that anything has necessarily come before this so i am not sure
*other dimensions
hmm. no
*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all?
i think a mystery doesn't necessarily have to mean the answer is illogical. it just means we cant see it.
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Old 01-20-2005, 06:54 AM   #109
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
I have a question for all athiests:

Do you guys not believe in ANYTHING, I mean what about:

*afterlife
*ghosts
*destiny/fate/luck
*good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals
*reincarnation
*other dimensions
*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all?

firstly, HOT bono pic. and i'm not an atheist, i'm an agnostic, but i want to answer anyway.

afterlife -- maybe. impossible to say one way or the other.
ghosts -- no.
destiny/fate/luck -- no/no/yes.
good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals -- yes/yes/no
reincarnation -- no.
other dimensions -- scientifically possible, but i do not believe there are other dimensions beyond our own that we are unconsciously interacting with
mysteries -- well, yes, there are still mysteries, but there are pretty much explanations for everything. i believe there's life in the universe; i don't believe in alien abductions. i don't believe there's a supernatural force at work in the Bermuda triangle. i don't believe in Bigfoot. etc.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:03 AM   #110
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What about psychics? Deja Vu? Mediums?
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:13 AM   #111
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
What about psychics? Deja Vu? Mediums?

no.

deja vu is a misfire in the brain, can be explained biologically.

no.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:17 AM   #112
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I don't know, I've known some weird things to happen with Deja Vu, such as seeing things in dreams as a child that I later saw in real life many years later that gave me the chills. It happened, whatever you call it.

I don't think Bigfoot or UFO's have anything to do with belief in God, they are something else.

What about the Marfa lights in Texas? That could be supernatural or earthly, but it's not car headlights- Cowboys and Indians saw them years before there were cars.
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Old 01-20-2005, 07:24 AM   #113
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Well at least we agree the Bono pic IS hot
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Old 01-20-2005, 10:14 AM   #114
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And just when I thought I had met a person whose views were totally opposite of me in every possible way
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:39 AM   #115
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
I have a question for all athiests:

Do you guys not believe in ANYTHING, I mean what about:

*afterlife//
*ghosts//
*destiny/fate/luck//
*good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals//
*reincarnation//
*other dimensions//
*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all?
//

Afterlife//No.
Ghosts//No.
Destiny/fate/luck//No. No. No.
Good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals//No. Maybe. No. Positive energy is fairly interpretive...there's evidence that a positive person is a healthier person.
reincarnation//No in the classical sense...maybe in a "recycling" sense...it's hard to say everything's broken down and nullified into nothingness. The universe is probably very good at recycling. So, no, not soul reincarnation, but maybe a physical recycling...reinvention in U2 speak).

other dimensions//Possible...especially if quantum physicists start getting some good experimental results from string theory.

*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all?//Of course. The whole universe is full of mysteries. Some mysteries we've answered. Others remain.
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Old 01-20-2005, 11:53 AM   #116
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Quote:
Originally posted by U2Kitten
And just when I thought I had met a person whose views were totally opposite of me in every possible way

chances are we agree on more than we think -- but FYM is about differences, and nothing is to be taken personally.

and, yes, that pic of bono is totally hot.
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Old 01-20-2005, 04:31 PM   #117
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*afterlife - I doubt it.
*ghosts - Not unless there is some sort of imprint left in the universe that repeats.
*destiny/fate/luck - Not unless the universe is predetermined but our understanding of quantum physics suggests its not.
*good vibes/positive energy/quartz crystals - Absolute waste of money, Silicon Dioxide has no healing powers. Positive energy exists in that it is what effects normal matter and makes it hotter.
*reincarnation - I doubt it
*other dimensions - I absolutely believe in other dimensions. 3 regular and 1 time then alongside you can have compactified dimensions with Kaluza-Klein Compactification. Of course this is all in the context of physics.
*any mysteries or unexplained possibilites at all? Yes there are innumerable mysteries out there in the universe and things that are unexplained but that does not mean they don't have an explaination it just means that we havent found it yet.
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Old 01-21-2005, 02:51 PM   #118
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Not only is the argument from design a relative, arbitrary opinion about the properties of life and events on earth, but it is also subject to the criticism that it is strife with reasoning fallacies. Here are some examples in formal terms.


1) The 'Bruden of proof' fallacy, also known as the 'argument from ignorance'. This happens when person 1 makes a claim and subsequently lays the burden of proof on person 2. In other words, the burden of proof is effetively transferred to an opposing party. It is often the case that proponents of the argument from design assume the existence of a creator and expect that their position be given the benefit of the doubt until it can be 100% disproven. This is problematic because it abandons the responsibility of the original arguer to justify his/her point. The burden of proof rests always on the person who makes the original assertion. A classic example of the fallacy:

p1) God exists
p2) You can't prove god exists.
p1) You cannot prove God does not exist so I am justified in believing he does.

p1 is relieving himself of the need to prove his point by placing the responsibility on p2 to disprove it. This type of responsibility outsourcing is considered intellectually lazy.


2) False Dilemma. There is little doubt that the argument from design is built upon a false dilemma. A false dilemma is usually a situation in which the arguer proceeds to narrow a large number of possibilities down to a much smaller number without adequate justification. For example, Christians, as a general rule, are monotheists (believe in only one God). These Christians will inevitably argue that the universe is comparable to a house, in that if you stumble upon a house, it suggests an intelligent designer. Even if we were to ignore the fact that this is a hasty conclusion (the perception of intelligent design does not necessarily mandate an intelligent designer), this position arbitrarily ignores a multitude of other possibilities. The concepts involved in designing a house, for instance, are not NECESSARILY the product of one individual. In fact designs can also be accomplished in groups and this is why Christians and other monotheists run into trouble here. They omit the possibility that the universe has been constructed by several intelligent designers, instead of just one. The idea that it's either no designer or one designer is a false dilemma.


3) Fallacy of composition. This was partially addressed above, but it's basically a fallacy that results when one assumes that 'Xwhole' has the same properties as 'xparts' because 'xwhole is made up of 'xparts'. A wonderful example:

"Each player on the team is great, therefore the team must be great."

This is unsound logic because it lacks a solid inference connecting the part and the whole. Not all teams with great players are great. For our purpose, this pertains to the assumption that because the universe implies intelligent design, that it must have a designer with similar qualities. (Forget again the false dilemma). Ontological arguments, ie. those of Descartes and Anselm both commit this fallacy.


4) Often I have found that after a good debate there is an attitude that God is not provable but that there are still mystical, unexplainable reasons that we believe and that this lack of an explanation is sufficient reason to believe. Besides also arguing from ignorance, this is called the fallacy of "special pleading". It occurs when people believe that they are exempt from the same standards as everyone else in a given situation.


5) "Who is to say?" Finally, proponents of the argument from design often attempt a final defense with questions like "who is to say?" While not a simple question, this is still a fallacy. In postmodern schools of thought, relative truth is a major consideration, but simply asking "who is to say" dodges the issue at hand and excuses the arguer from making his/her argument. It's hard to argue against relativity and I would not do so, but validating my arguments by saying "you can't prove I'm wrong because who are you to say" is a dismissal of my reponsibility to justify anything I say.


True and false are often at least somewhat contentious, but there is good and bad arguing.

Hope that clears up some issues...or at least adds to the discussion.

Jon
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