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Old 06-25-2004, 06:39 AM   #16
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Also I don't see God is a cop-out idea (I can't believe I'm the one defending God!), as at this point we just don't know. I've watched countless documentaries on the topic of the universe's origins, and even the cockiest of physicists have to admit they just don't know. How could they?

One day, maybe.
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Old 06-25-2004, 06:42 AM   #17
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Rhetorical eh?

8!
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Old 06-25-2004, 07:32 AM   #18
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Originally posted by Klaus
And, if homosexuality is a genetic thing, how was it possible that homosexuality "survived" evolution?
I have this answer down to a science; so much, in fact, that I'm cutting and pasting my response to this from the last time this was asked.

Quote:
In terms of homosexuality being a genetic trait, I believe that researchers need to look more into fetal development. It is already known that all embryos are both male and female, with a predisposition to being female in looks. What makes a single-sex child, though? It is, in fact, quite a complicated process. A series of genes in both the child and the mother must be coordinated exactly and released at the same time. The window of time is so narrow that if one or more hormones are not secreted or received at the right time, it is too late and one's sex is fixed. As such, there are documented intersexuals (people with male and female anatomy, just like embryos) and even XY females (genetic males who look exactly like women). To say that being gay is merely a choice and is impossible to be genetic is, frankly, to be completely ignorant of how genetics works. In fact, if it weren't for religious intolerance, we would likely have declared this a genetic trait decades ago, based on the logic.

In terms of finding definitive genetic proof, I believe it will be very difficult, if not impossible, because we are not talking simple Mendellian genetics here. If it is a matter of hormone secretion, it may be a one-time fluke with the mother, with her body, for some reason or another, not coordinating the appropriate hormone during the correct window of time during fetal development. Thus, if it is an absence of a hormone, there will be no genetic marker to ever determine whether or not being gay is genetic, but, nonetheless, it still isn't a "choice." It may also be similar to how "little people" (think the actor who played "Mini Me" in Austin Powers 2) are genetically tiny. It is actually a dominant genetic trait, meaning that, under simple Mendellian genetics, the trait should show up in every child of a "little person." But it doesn't, and, in fact, a family can go several generations of having normal-size children, and then, suddenly, have another "little person." Science still does not know exactly what causes this genetic trait to be expressed so selectively, and if homosexuality is expressed similarly, then it will also be very difficult to find.

But, speaking of science, in all this quest to find out what makes people gay, science still doesn't know what makes people straight. The origin of sexuality is still a mystery, and the brain, itself, is so complex that most of it is still a mystery even today.
You cannot lump genetics into some overly simplistic explanation, where all traits are dominant, and, hence, the illogic that only gay people can generate other gay people. Thus, the fact that they don't have biological children means that it cannot be genetic. Wrong. Very wrong.

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Old 06-25-2004, 07:37 AM   #19
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Originally posted by A_Wanderer
I just have a problem with God, it seems like a cheat - an easy answer for a glorious and dificult mathematical problem. Big Bang theory has advantages and disadvantages but that is what science is all about, finding a theory that explains your evidence then finding new evidence that can disprove your theory and continuing until you have the answer.
The likely problem is that not even the "Big Bang" is the likely absolute beginning. There are theories about multiple universes and we may be one of many, and likely not the first nor the last.

Of course, a lot of people ask "evidence." There isn't anything beyond the evidence that quantum theory generates, and it tends to be interestingly accurate.

Needless to say, I'm one of those who isn't bothered by the simultaneous existence of science and God. If we discovered that we were just in a chain of successive universes, I'd be one to say that God did it all. But I would never support anything but scientific theory being taught in public schools.

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Old 06-25-2004, 08:15 AM   #20
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Fundamentally we have the problem that we are part of the universe so it is very difficult to measure anything outside in some sort of higher dimension. Having said that I also think the progression of theories has given us some very powerful mathematical tools that allow us to understand the universe that may in future yield insight into the true nature of reality. Consider that there was no before the big bang because there was no time at all. It just happened or is part of a cyclical closed cycle of repeating permutations of quantum fluctuations that we see in the form of matter and will keep repeating itself as it occilates forward and backwards which to us is percieved as time.l

We have a major problem between QM and general relativity in that they cannot be reconciled, this means that each approximates the universe and each does so very well but they cannot explain it all. Multiverses are an interesting explaination for QM as opposed to the copenhagen interperatation. Very mind blowing stuff even when you just start out to understand how time is a dimension.

The universe itself is more wonderful and miraculous than any creator could possibly be, why cant we all just accept its inherent beauty and dedicate ourselves to unlocking it's secrets rather than get tied down by religious dogma and other pointless superstition. Ah now I remember, that is the type of evil thoughts that would come from a secular humanist and that is the type of thought that makes all good moral societies crumble into vice.
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:18 AM   #21
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Intelligent Design is a hypothesis that the complexity that we see in living creatures cannot have arisen naturally hence there must be a supernatural interference to create it. It is an ignorant and unscientific hypothesis because it is not falsifiable and it uses evidence selectively and is a political tool to bring religion into the science classroom.
Even if you do believe that intelligent design is being used as a political tool (and I think it can be--don't get me wrong), it's hardly an invention of the contemporary "religious right" or ultraconservatives as a ploy to insert God into science class. Intelligent design is at least as old as 13th century philosopher and theologian St. Thomas Aquinas, and is, I believe, the official line of the Catholic Church on creation; that is, God is indeed responsible for the creation of the Universe, but God may have chosen evolution or other scientifically-theorized methods to create it, rather than the literal seven days of Genesis.

I suppose that intelligent design would be falsifiable if someone could prove conclusively that God either did not exist or was not an intelligent being. So I guess it is hard to falsify. But so are most well-founded scientific theories. I mean, has anyone tried falsify the law of gravity lately?
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Old 06-25-2004, 09:52 AM   #22
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It is funny that you note the law of gravity here, Newtons law of universal gravitation has been falsified because the speed of gravity is not infinite once this was realized Einstein came up with the theory of general relativity which takes this into account and manages to explain observations better than the previous theory. This in term has problems because it cannot explain interactions on a subatomic level or the wave/particle duality that we see hence you have Quantum Mechanics. Reconciling the two theories will be key to uncovering how the universe works on both large and small scales with a single theory. You had an observation in regards to bodies in motion, from that Newton derived laws from a new type of mathematics to describe it. When inconsistencies were found at the extremes new explainations were introduced and then they were accepted, when they begin to be unable to explain the extreme observations new laws can be discovered to explain and predict future observations. That is science, it is always falsifiable unlike religion, it changes as more knoweldge is accumulated again unlike religion, it describes the world as we see it again unlike relgion. They are seperate concepts, one is an invention and the other is a discovery.

There is a common thread here that the theories are based on observations and may be explained through natural processes. Intelligent design is not a natural process it is inherently supernatural and hence relies on an undetectable, unprovable all powerful being which makes it unscientific. Even though the philisophical principles that intelligent design is based off existed long before modern science Intelligent Design as an movement with proponents and lobbies began in the 20th century and it is designed to bring creationism into the science classroom by simply not stating who the creator or designer was thus seperating it from theology. It is unscientific and the arguments and examples for it can be better explained within the context of evolutionary biology.

It is not my place to tell people that God doesn't exist however if God did create the universe he would have created it with laws and set every particle in the universe and every element of uncertainty to proceed to create intelligent life, then again maybe not. It is inconcequential if god exists or not for ID because in the end an unprovable creator does not belong in a science classroom.

"The theory of evolution is quite rightly called the greatest unifying theory in biology. The diversity of organisms, similarities and differences between kinds of organisms, patterns of distribution and behavior, adaptation and interaction, all this was merely a bewildering chaos of facts until given meaning by the evolutionary theory." - Ernst Mayr
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Old 06-27-2004, 01:22 PM   #23
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
unlike animals human beings will have sex purely for pleasure.
Dolphins also have sex for pleasure.

This is the thing that confuses me most about the whole "something from nothing" argument. Creationists are having such a hard time understanding how the universe can just come from nothing (and in some evolution vs. creation debates I've been a part of, someone has brought up this vacuum fluctuation theory that states that something can come from nothing), so they believe that God was the creator. But then if that's the case...who created God? And if they can believe that God was always there, or believe that he just came out of nowhere, or whatever, why couldn't they believe the same about the universe sans god?

Angela
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Old 06-27-2004, 01:32 PM   #24
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Originally posted by DrTeeth
. Any basic one hour course on genetics will teach you that an organism carries genes that are expressed and genes that aren't expressed. It's really very very simple. You can carry the dorment gay gene (if there is one), be heterosexual and give the gay gene to your kids where it might be expressed but it also might not be.
Yes, and that's why right now some of the hottest research is based on screening for unexpressed genes. Essentially you sequence DNA and then screen using computer programs. Because of the common usage of transgenics, we're able to often times express these non-expressed genes by manipulating DNA, and it is possible that this is a promising area of research when it comes to arguing for or against a "gay gene."
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Old 06-27-2004, 10:59 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by A_Wanderer
Intelligent Design is a hypothesis that the complexity that we see in living creatures cannot have arisen naturally hence there must be a supernatural interference to create it. It is an ignorant and unscientific hypothesis because it is not falsifiable and it uses evidence selectively and is a political tool to bring religion into the science classroom.
I just wanted to add that I pretty much agree with everything you say in this thread, but wanted to make a comment on this. "Intelligent design" is probably more towards where I lean on a personal level; however, as I mentioned before, this hypothesis has no place in science classrooms or anywhere in academia. As the Catholic Church does officially advocate this, for example, it should stay and remain solely within the realm of religious teachings.

In other words, while I might tend to agree more in line with "intelligent design," I agree that it has absolutely no place in science.

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Old 06-27-2004, 11:10 PM   #26
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Quote:
Originally posted by Moonlit_Angel
This is the thing that confuses me most about the whole "something from nothing" argument. Creationists are having such a hard time understanding how the universe can just come from nothing (and in some evolution vs. creation debates I've been a part of, someone has brought up this vacuum fluctuation theory that states that something can come from nothing), so they believe that God was the creator. But then if that's the case...who created God? And if they can believe that God was always there, or believe that he just came out of nowhere, or whatever, why couldn't they believe the same about the universe sans god?
Obviously, nothing I say here is in the realm of science, but what we are talking about here is less about science and more about what one puts their faith in.

The difference here we are talking about is between a sentient Being and an inanimate object--the universe. Even if it were proved as to where the Big Bang came from--and, ultimately, I believe it possible--then I would continue to ask what came before. Like I said, it is theorized that this universe may be just one of many, and, who knows...maybe the "superuniverse" of universes is just one of many objects in itself. Frankly, I have a hard time believing, as a matter of faith, that all of this came from nothing, "vacuum fluctuation" theory or not, because then I'd ask who or what created the "vacuum fluctuation" to create the universe and why it can exist out of nothing.

In terms of creationism, however, I find that it is more detrimental to Christianity, because it paints Christians as inherently delusional to more rational thinkers, and, really, it is my opinion that creationism versus evolution is actually less about trying to find the origin of creation, and more about reasserting one's cultural identity. As we have seen, many seem to view the battle between creationism and evolution to be a battle between Christianity and atheism, respectively; and as someone who can reconcile faith with science, as I believe that science is the representation of God (not so different from St. Thomas Aquinas, even if we come up with different conclusions regarding that philosophy), I tend to find the whole argument to be a bit ridiculous. One should not have to abandon one's faith in pursuit of scientific truth and vice versa.

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Old 06-28-2004, 02:14 AM   #27
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I'm tempted to rehash the old joke about the woman who wouldn't be dissuaded from her vision of the universe.

"The earth is supported by a giant turtle."

"But what's holding up the turtle?"

"You can't fool me that easily - it's turtles all the way down!"
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:28 AM   #28
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Wasn't that one a Bertrand Russell anecdote?
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Old 06-28-2004, 03:58 AM   #29
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Maybe it was. I don't know.
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Old 06-28-2004, 06:59 AM   #30
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We should remember that there are no "Scientific facts" Science is reflecting current knowledge. A revision of this can be expected as soon as scientists have a fuller understanding of the world and the universe.

So most things mentioned above are theories. There are lots of interesting theories floating around but unless they can be proven (which is really difficult when you speak about the origin of the universe and life) they are theories, not facts.

Don't get me wrong mutation and the survival of the fittest is a fact but to expand this knowledge to explain the beginning of the universe is a theory, a plausible theory but not a proven theory yet.

melon:
So, being Male/Female is a thing of chromosomes, looking Male/Female a thing of hormones - i guess we knew that part.

And sexual attraction? We don't know yet.
So we can't even say if it's free choice, genetic, hormonal or whatever.
Well i don't think it's important (it wouldn't make any difference to me if it's free choice or genetic) but it would be scientifically interesting.

A_Wanderer:
Thanks a lot for quoting the original statement of darwin. I just knew the out of context quote yet.
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