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Old 02-23-2018, 01:31 AM   #8116
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LOL still "here" in concrete land are we? We can't see air either sundial ol' buddy but it is hardly speculation that it exists. We can't see bacteria and viruses either but while it took centuries we did get evidence that makes that just a wee bit more than speculation, don't you think?. As for Higgs I have to ask if you could manage to throw dice over 6,000,000 times and 5,999,900 times they came up Snake Eyes, would it be speculation to conclude the dice were weighted, magnetized or really sticky?

Incidentally regarding the all too human tendency to have biased expectations for experimental results, thankfully the Scientific Method has evolved to where that is quite self-correcting. It started perhaps when one of Noah's family said "That doesn't look like exactly 30 cubits to me, Dad" and the only way to settle it was to measure it with a standardized measuring device.

On a much more demonstrative (and more serious) scale is the fairly recent event wherin a number of astronomers did a major (and cross-checked) study for a really accurate measurement of the exact speed at which the Universe is expanding. Because of Big Bang it was universally expected (no pun intended) that they would see how much the expansion is slowing down after nearly 14,000,000,000 years. To their complete shock, which caused a flurry of additional testing and widespread efforts to "poison the data" before long it was necessary to drop the preconceived notion and accept that it is speeding up which required a completely hitherto unknown force to make that happen. That resulted in precise measurements of how much there would have to be of whatever it was to produce the observed results and take the humbling slap in the face that we can currently perceive only about 10% of what energy and matter populate our Universe. It is worthy of note that such a devastating discovery nobody wanted to accept was finally accepted nevertheless. Science views mistakes and failure as part of the learning process. It is not feared nor avoided just because it's inconvenient to human sensibilities.

Last edited by enorbet; 02-23-2018 at 01:48 AM.
Old 04-16-2018, 01:04 PM   #8117
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The Myths of Evolution

When Charles Darwin penned his Origin of Species, he was engaging in an academic exercise well-known to his audience: "scientific philosophy." He was speculatively exploring what could not be observed, based on what could be observed and readily verified. One of the principles of this exercise is to see how far one can go without "apparent contradiction," and to explore why you think so.

Observing the natural phenomenon of evolution, he (I think, quite rightly ...) fingered as the "Origin of Species." He first reiterated what was already observable (and many times observed), and asserted that this was sufficient to explain "species."

Next, he ventured onto purely philosophical grounds, carefully observing the established protocols for doing so. He continued to explore what else this principle might also explain. "How far might this go without any apparent-to-the-philosopher contradiction?" He, and others, speculated that it might in fact account for all of the diversity of life on Earth. He observed that many creatures are very similar to others, which of course is the entire basis of the taxonomy from "Kingdom" to "Species." Humans are remarkably similar to apes and monkeys.

(Arrogant creatures that we are, we inevitably conclude that we have "advantages" over them. Apes and monkeys, however, might disagree: they don't have inflation, income taxes, cell phones, or CNN.)

It was implicitly understood that this cannot say, "this is true." Rather, it can only say, "it is not apparent to me why this is necessarily false," while exploring the boundaries of why such a statement could (or could not) be made and in the opinion of the philosopher.

In this, however, I think that he went too far. I think that there is an "apparent contradiction" with what we observe in nature. Here's why.

When we observe the reproduction of sexual forms of life, we quickly notice that not everything can successfully mate with ... well, most things. Pandas can only mate with pandas, and when a panda gives birth, a rabbit never pops out. On the very rare occasion when different forms of life can mate, and with very few exceptions, their offspring – such as mules – are sterile. We also observe that sometimes pregnancy is spontaneously aborted – miscarriage. From this I conclude that there are in fact many biological mechanisms that are designed to prevent animals from reproducing except "after their own kind," and for detecting and destroying life-forms that have gone wrong.

(Asexual forms of life, such as bacteria – and non-life such as viruses – do exhibit many variations and produce many offspring that are not viable. Even so, there are fairly-stable species here, too. We don't know why.)

We know that many strange things happen in utero. Humans, for example, grow a tail and then reabsorb it. At one point they appear to have gills. But the final baby is almost always "normal," if it survives to full-term. We realize that this crying baby has passed a veritable gantlet of error-correcting mechanisms to get here.

This, to me, is a compelling argument against the notion that "evolution" is the origin of anything other than "species." In that capacity it serves a very valuable "self-tuning" function. But it is obviously very-tightly constrained. Not only do I think that it is not the true source of life's diversity, but I think that it is equipped with constraints that expressly prevent it from being so.

We know that biologic processes are based on chemistry and we know that errors happen all the time. The processes are filled with error-detection and error-correction mechanisms of all sorts, some of which we know about and some of which we don't yet. This is why the world is filled with viable, surviving, life-forms ... not dead or dying mistakes. Without these mechanisms, errors would accumulate and life would cease.

I think that the hypothesis of "evolution explains everything" overlooks the reality that such a world would be littered with these mistakes for every millionth creature that was somehow a new, novel, and viable form of life ... "both male and female versions, if you please." Bacteria would have a field day eating those mistakes that never could have survived in the first place, but nothing else would benefit from this stupendous waste of perfectly good proteins.

We have a name for a process that produces a valuable result from random chance. We call it, "a lottery." It gives me a reason to pick up the trash at the foot of my driveway every week, since I live a few blocks down the street from a convenience store.

So, what is the origin of the stunning diversity of life on this planet? I don't know. Some say that it's the work of deity; some say, completed in six days or maybe two. I think that it's the product of an unknown mechanism that we have never observed. Since we have never observed it, and have never yet made it happen, we don't know that it exists. We don't know if it is a thing of the past or if it continues to happen on this planet today.

Last edited by sundialsvcs; 04-17-2018 at 06:56 PM.
Old 04-16-2018, 04:14 PM   #8118
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Thank you Sundial. That was a very well thought out and worded post both clear and concise. Your post does tell the story quite well because self-correction is an important part of the "reins' on evolution that keep it on a fairly tight leash. However it does miss a few tiny details... details that take more than a single lifetime to resolve so not necessarily easy for a layman, like you and I in this field, to spot. We have to rely on others who find this question(s) so compelling they make it their life's work, spending large sums of money on equipment and samples to collect enough long term data to get some answers. Thankfully, like all actually scientific evidence, it has already been subjected to extreme peer review, often by individuals who 'have a dog in that race" and would prefer any other "dog" lose. It is still a contender despite those equally well-funded and brained efforts.

Although it might be interesting to discover how mules came about, whether the first few were from natural cross-breeding or from human intervention, but the facts most recently uncovered seem to say the the Family Tree we were all taught in High School and College is actually far more likely to be akin to a trellis, branching out and then back, remixing, and branching out again possibly to recombine, and evolve, later. Given the broad fundamental drive that is sexuality among all such species this sort of sexually opportunistic mixing makes sense but that so few viable hybrids result also makes sense and confirms your general observation.... but for the tiny details.

Yes, mules and many, possibly even most, hybrids are sterile but not ALL of them. One example of this has been mentioned before in the form of the Texas Red wolf, a hybrid between wolves and coyotes. Recently discovered and already so solid it has caused predictions that have been fortified by actual hard evidence, there is a vast amount, and mounting, evidence that modern humans mixed with neanderthals as well other precursor hybrids.

This makes sense in a much larger context as well considering there have been many mass extinctions and a few with losses well above 80% of all life on Earth. Most of the longest surviving creatures have been either underground or underwater like crocodiles, horseshoe crabs, ants and cockroaches. We know that the odds for our existence as we are today were extremely small until an asteroid wiped out the dinosaurs and most large land bound animals. Thankfully for us, our mouse-like ancestors lived mostly underground and found themselves lucky to no longer be hunted by so many smart, large, fast and deadly predators, but we were not alone.

In the last 550 Million years there have been at least 20 mass extinctions in which over 50% of all species were no more. A few approached 90% total extinction. Each time diversity returned powered by a new environment created by that which at first, destroyed.

It is difficult for a human being to embrace the totality of even a single human lifetime, even of a few decades which is why our childhoods can seem like "just yesterday" in one moment and a whole other lifetime in another. To attempt to deal with even 100 years in any kind of concrete manner is a huge stretch, maybe impossible at least in concrete terms. We can deal with 1,000 years in an abstract way but even with our massive reserves of historical doumentation and study, it still remains quite abstract. 10,000? 100,000? 1,000,000? 1,000.000,000? 4,000,000,000? These are completely outside anything concrete to our puny POV so they are impossible to just feel. It makes no immediate sense. It is only our ability to think in the abstract that makes it even remotely possible to even contemplate, but doing that it at least becomes obvious that this is an immense block of time, time for even tiny details to add up and, well, multiply.

I am proving a few links here that I suspect you will at the very least find interesting.

--- Neanderthals and the Trellis of Life ---

--- MacroEvolution ---

--- Mass Extinctions Good for Evolution ---

This last one I hope you will find particularly fascinating since it speaks to a subject you brought up, namely are viruses alive? It not only speaks to that question but demonstrates just how blurry that line is becoming as we learn ever more about our fascinating world and what Life is and how it is different from the so-called non-living. It is quite possible that we are still a conceited species that still assumes we are "The Crown of Creation" when the jury is far from in on that one.

--- Are Viruses Alive? ---

I hope you thoroughly enjoy having your not inconsiderable mind tickled.

Last edited by enorbet; 04-16-2018 at 04:17 PM.
Old 04-16-2018, 04:39 PM   #8119
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nice post from both of you, now this is how "debates" should be conducted.

I would like to add that we should not reduce the possible answers to unlimited questions just to a "western" mindset/philosophy/science and also not to just a "modern" viewpoint. Regarding enorbets last link/question for example, Taoists have long stated that there are 4 Kingdoms/categories of life on this planet (others could have more, and obviously different categories all together), and they are:
  • Kingdom of Minerals (includes all mineral formations from the tiniest grain of sand to the largest planet and galaxy in the universe, category has life cycles generation-maturation-degeneration)
  • Kingdom of Vegetation (includes viruses and bacteria, this category has physical forms and physical senses)
  • Kingdom of Animals (in addition to physical bodies with physical senses, mental bodies, first expressions of thought, will and emotion, stuck living within timetables since they lack a spiritual body)
  • Kingdom of Humankind (in addition to physical bodies and mental bodies they also have spiritual bodies)

The purpose of all life is to live and in order to live, life will evolve. The kingdoms of Minerals and Vegetation are both alive just on different frequencies/wavelengths then the kingdoms of Animals and Humans. So yes viruses and bacteria are alive. Under a microscope some look like elephants others reproduce in a manner uncannily similar to humans even with undulations and "rhythmic movements".

These Kingdoms were observed over 5,000 years ago by the Taoists who were/are scientists/philosophers/physicians etc...
Old 04-16-2018, 08:23 PM   #8120
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Thank you for your additional observations and insights, Enorbet. One thing that can certainly be said about this life is that it is a bottomless well of genuine mysteries. May we never stop exploring.

But also and I now purposely include religion in this let us also be careful not to condemn, judge, or shut-off any "form of exploration or consideration." Science is an important one, but not the only one. Philosophy is another. Religion in all its many forms is a third. Our lives are made rich, and maybe, our eyes and minds are kept open, when we embrace all of these aspects of our collective humanity. They have each served us well.
Old 04-17-2018, 03:36 PM   #8121
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Though you may find this hard to believe, Sundial, I actually support your post above and also include spirituality in a broad definition of that term as a valid form of exploration and understanding. At the very least it provides many of the Big Kahuna Questions, to borrow your moniker of the field. I know there is more going on than we can explain or even interpret, and that Logic is only one tool of many. I am a trained scientist but I am also a trained and experienced artist and musician. What may seem odd, given my allegiance to evidence and critical Logic, is that the Art and Music I love most does not conform to Logic. In Music I most revere Improvisation and rebel against the strict rules of Western Classical Music.

I know from both study and experience that "The Sheet Music" is not "The Song". It is only a skeleton of the fundamentals that can be accurately communicated between people but at the cost of how it sounds and feels, and subject to each "musician's" interpretation. In fact, the "sheet music" and long term reliance on it can inhibit if not prevent many musicians from the art of improv, of being able to create and express in the moment what is only hinted at on the page. That said, the only way I know of for a song/composition to have any unique identity, to even deserve a song title, is if key elements don't drift too far away from those fundamentals or it becomes a new, or at least different, song.

This is the juggling act we are all engaged in here on this caterwauling thread. In many ways it is the philosophical equivalent of Unfinished Symphonies. The debates will likely go on for as long as sentient beings exist. Hopefully we all consult The Sheet Music from time to time.
Old 04-18-2018, 10:11 AM   #8122
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There's no debate here, only evolving imaginations and reality).(

Once again I'm out!
Old 05-08-2018, 11:51 AM   #8123
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@enorbet: There is no debate! There is only truth! We just don't know it yet @ 100% - question for debate should be WHY we do not know. Some hide or we forgot over time or because of some past event? And BOTH sides have to provide evidence for either existance or non existance claims of God. Until then we all can and will have opinions about origins whether they are about Evolution Aliens or God(s) and they ARE valid. Point of View until truth details be confirmed 100% not 90%(for example) is normal.

However those who study stuff around them including body will clearly see complex yet simple clues from creation..Ancient Astronaut theory supports article about religion. And other already mentioned stuff..debating is pointless here cause only few actually seek truth through chat. Most just want to argue. Even if opposition in debate brings valid points.

Last edited by Arcane; 05-08-2018 at 11:53 AM. Reason: typo
Old 05-08-2018, 03:48 PM   #8124
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On one level, Arcane, of course there is a debate. 542 pages of this thread is proof of that. What isn't a debate is the existence of any Supreme Being, at least among or including most scientists since there not only is no evidence, it is extremely likely there CAN BE no evidence from outside our Universe considering a Creator by definition exists outside of our Universe. It must be by nature an article of Faith since evidence is apparently impossible.

I imagine that rubs you wrongly since you appear to want Absolutes - "confirmed 100% not 90%" - which is doubtful can even exist for human understanding on complex, open-ended issues. I will bet all day long at 9 to 1 odds while apparently you think you require certainty all the while you seem to believe in things nowhere near 50% let alone 90%. So I don't know where you really stand.

I also don't get what connection you see between Creation, Ancient Astronauts, and the article you linked nor any evidence in either at any percentage level. More to the point I don't get at all why you suppose a question even exists as to why we don't know everything. Are you saying you expect a priori knowledge?

Regarding the nature of Knowledge and the Scientific Method as a means to gaining knowledge perhaps you would enjoy this to tickle your brain

--- The Relativity of Wrong ---


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