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Posted: 20 November 2012 11:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 46 ]
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It’s amazing how difficult it is for humans to communicate precisely or even accurately.  I answered George, gave my response, then asked if I had understood your statements.  You then wrote, Quoting D.S.-62:

You partly misunderstood my thinking. I too accept physical, real world phenomena as my basis for understanding everything that is going on in our physical world. I don’t accept metaphysical ideas as absolute truth. I don’t reject or ignore conclusions drawn from physical world phenomena. As I’m not a fundamentalist I see no need to proselytize.

  But. . .  but. . . but that’s precisely how I thought I was describing you.  I thought I clearly differentiated you from a prosletyzing fundamentalist.  What did I misunderstand?

Occam

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Posted: 20 November 2012 11:46 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 47 ]
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One problem, even with scientists in other fields, is that they do not really have an understanding of the chemistry involved in life, especially the mathematics of it.  Once self-replicating chemical compounds occurred and filled the ocean with more of the compound, there were somewhere between 10 to the seventh and 10 to the thirtieth of them.  That’s a huge amount of molecules, some of which were being hit by cosmic rays, lightning, sunlight, volcanic heat, etc.  A great number of them would be decomposed, but over time one would react from that energy so that it could be a tiny bit more efficient at duplicating itself.  Aha - first step in evolution.  It didn’t do it, because it was aiming do be more efficient. 

Similarly, later when two cells happened to merge, and the result was more efficent, that result multiplied.  Voila - sexual reproduction.  They didn’t do it, because they were aiming do be more efficient.

Evolution doesn’t occur because there’s a need for it.  Random mutations occur at a huge rate among the even larger number of chemical compounds that make up the organism’s genome.  Very occasionally one is more efficient at dealing with an environmental stress that is happening at the time.  Again - evolution but without guidance. 
===
There are a great many concepts and ideas that one could postulate, however, if I see no evidence for them and they don’t affect my life or behavior, at best I judge them to be meaningless and non-existent and at worst, using Occam’s Razor, not worth adding to my ontology.  As such, I don’t bother with the concept of god or the metaphysical and consider myself a non-theist (not really an atheist or anti-theist).  Although I’m quite willing to argue from the atheist viewpoint when someone challenges me.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 12:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 48 ]
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George - 15 November 2012 09:21 AM

Yes, the wasps are fascinating, as are evolution and everything else in the universe. But all the stuff hardly seems to be a gift from a perfect and loving Father, does it?

Have you stopped to consider that our Omniscient, Omnipotent, Supreme God, may, in fact be… Dead Monky, himself?...
Yes, it’s all starting to make sense now…

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 01:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 49 ]
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TimB - 20 November 2012 12:43 PM
George - 15 November 2012 09:21 AM

Yes, the wasps are fascinating, as are evolution and everything else in the universe. But all the stuff hardly seems to be a gift from a perfect and loving Father, does it?

Have you stopped to consider that our Omniscient, Omnipotent, Supreme God, may, in fact be… Dead Monky, himself?...
Yes, it’s all starting to make sense now…

Could be. As the agnostics say: you can never know for sure.  wink

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Posted: 20 November 2012 03:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 50 ]
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dansmith62 - 20 November 2012 05:03 AM
mid atlantic - 19 November 2012 04:19 AM
dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 06:36 AM

Well, if I’m not welcome here, I should probably leave. Mid-Atlantic’s comment reminds me of totalitarian countries embracing one worldview and rejecting all others (or calling them stupid). If that’s the spirit here, I’m probably in the wrong forum.

My response was very far from the overall spirit here.

However, I think your above comments about “cancer being a challenge to learn more” are hard to take seriously.

Numerous theologists have tried to deal with the question of why God allows misery in the world. I’m a computer scientist not a theologian, but I’ve asked myself this question many times. It’s difficult to make sense of the cruelties of cancer. And many explanations do seem to sound strange. I’ll give you an example. Many historians think that one key driving factors for the Renaissance and beginning of the Age of Enlightenment was the Black Death in Europe. About a third of the population died. There was a huge shortage of labor. The old system of feudalism didn’t work anymore. People were forced to look for new ways.

We can also look at evolution. New species arise in times of hardship. It is a fundamental principle. Without changes in the environment the genetic changes of species are very slow. Sexual reproduction evolved about 1.2 billion years ago because it offered better protection against diseases and new environmental conditions. So in a way, without the diseases of the past you and I would not be able to enjoy sex. Life seems to have built-in mechanisms to deal with challenges.

What is your answer why cancer exists?

Isn’t this basically teleology?

Cancer exists because organisms cannot last forever, it’s just one of many things that can kill us.  Asking “why does cancer exist?” is an attempt to find emotionally satisfying answers where there are none.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 04:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 51 ]
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George - 20 November 2012 07:02 AM

Cancer is as successful as is the oxidation of metal. I am not sure what else to add here. And I already told you why our bodies haven’t found a way to fight it. Yes, it does happen in childhood but it’s rare—presumably, because those who were likely to get cancer in childhood didn’t get to reproduce. That’s the beauty of God’s natural selection: you are a screw up and you’ll die along with your genes.

If good God existed I doubt cancer would exist. But there is no God and evolition doesn’t give a flying hoot about our well being—at least not about our well being past our reproductive stage. Why would it? It’s aim is reproduction, not happiness.

Right, organisms that are successful in surviving to reproduction, pass on their genes.  Those same genes could well include a tendency toward cancer in post reproductive periods.

That childhood cancer is as prevalent as it is, suggests to me that it may be a often be a result of exposure to new environmental contaminants or biological exposures that our forebearers did not routinely experience.

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As a fabrication of our own consciousness, our assignations of meaning are no less “real”, but since humans and the fabrications of our consciousness are routinely fraught with error, it makes sense, to me, to, sometimes, question such fabrications.

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Posted: 20 November 2012 06:25 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 52 ]
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From what I read the relationship between aging and cancer is not well understood. They also suspect that some species of animals age (no all of them do! as mind boggling as it may seem) to actually prevent cancer. But we know that as far as our species goes, the longer we live the better chance we have to accumulate the necessary mutations for cells to turn cancerous.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 03:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 53 ]
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DarronS - 20 November 2012 07:14 AM
dansmith62 - 20 November 2012 07:11 AM

Are you sure there is no God? Absolutely sure?

Speaking for myself I cannot answer that question until you define god.

To me, God is a good ultimate answer to the question where the natural laws come from and this includes the ones that might go beyond our universe such as super-laws for multiverses. This is pretty much the deist view. Religions go beyond that and also include purpose and ethics and rituals, but let’s leave that out for the moment. I’m a skeptic like Michael Shermer, so I got a “questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, and doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere”.

So are you absolutely sure God doesn’t exist?

[ Edited: 23 November 2012 04:11 AM by dansmith62 ]
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Posted: 23 November 2012 04:13 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 54 ]
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Occam. - 20 November 2012 11:10 AM

It’s amazing how difficult it is for humans to communicate precisely or even accurately.  I answered George, gave my response, then asked if I had understood your statements.  You then wrote, Quoting D.S.-62:

You partly misunderstood my thinking. I too accept physical, real world phenomena as my basis for understanding everything that is going on in our physical world. I don’t accept metaphysical ideas as absolute truth. I don’t reject or ignore conclusions drawn from physical world phenomena. As I’m not a fundamentalist I see no need to proselytize.

  But. . .  but. . . but that’s precisely how I thought I was describing you.  I thought I clearly differentiated you from a prosletyzing fundamentalist.  What did I misunderstand?

Occam

Sorry, it was me who misunderstood. You did differentiate me from a prosletyzing fundamentalist.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 04:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 55 ]
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Occam. - 20 November 2012 11:46 AM

One problem, even with scientists in other fields, is that they do not really have an understanding of the chemistry involved in life, especially the mathematics of it.  Once self-replicating chemical compounds occurred and filled the ocean with more of the compound, there were somewhere between 10 to the seventh and 10 to the thirtieth of them.  That’s a huge amount of molecules, some of which were being hit by cosmic rays, lightning, sunlight, volcanic heat, etc.  A great number of them would be decomposed, but over time one would react from that energy so that it could be a tiny bit more efficient at duplicating itself.  Aha - first step in evolution.  It didn’t do it, because it was aiming do be more efficient. 

Similarly, later when two cells happened to merge, and the result was more efficient, that result multiplied.  Voila - sexual reproduction.  They didn’t do it, because they were aiming do be more efficient.

Evolution doesn’t occur because there’s a need for it.  Random mutations occur at a huge rate among the even larger number of chemical compounds that make up the organism’s genome.  Very occasionally one is more efficient at dealing with an environmental stress that is happening at the time.  Again - evolution but without guidance. 
===
There are a great many concepts and ideas that one could postulate, however, if I see no evidence for them and they don’t affect my life or behavior, at best I judge them to be meaningless and non-existent and at worst, using Occam’s Razor, not worth adding to my ontology.  As such, I don’t bother with the concept of god or the metaphysical and consider myself a non-theist (not really an atheist or anti-theist).  Although I’m quite willing to argue from the atheist viewpoint when someone challenges me.

Occam

Yes, evolution happens without guidance. But in a universe with plenty of free energy to “invest”, part of this energy gets “absorbed” by increasing complexity. This fundamental principle seems to drive both chemical and biological evolution. The molecule cyanodecapentayne managed to evolve in space. And then there’s the issue of amino acids in meteorites. Here’s a quite recent article about it

http://www.nasa.gov/topics/solarsystem/features/life-components.html

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Posted: 23 November 2012 04:34 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 56 ]
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mid atlantic - 20 November 2012 03:14 PM

Cancer exists because organisms cannot last forever, it’s just one of many things that can kill us.  Asking “why does cancer exist?” is an attempt to find emotionally satisfying answers where there are none.

Organisms cannot last forever? Why? As long as there’s free energy available in our universe an organism can survive. No natural law makes a 100-billion-year-old organism impossible. Yet, death and cancer is part of our rich biosphere on Earth. This debate isn’t about emotionally satisfying answers.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 04:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 57 ]
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George - 20 November 2012 06:25 PM

From what I read the relationship between aging and cancer is not well understood. They also suspect that some species of animals age (no all of them do! as mind boggling as it may seem) to actually prevent cancer. But we know that as far as our species goes, the longer we live the better chance we have to accumulate the necessary mutations for cells to turn cancerous.

Yes, it isn’t. But we found out that the HeLa cancer cells found a way to halt aging.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 09:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 58 ]
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dansmith62 - 18 November 2012 03:58 AM

Vyazma, Dein Deutsch klingt doch noch ziemlich gut !

Ja, glaub ich nit. Aber danke.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 11:57 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 59 ]
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George - 15 November 2012 08:14 AM
dansmith62 - 15 November 2012 07:59 AM

But some atheist fundamentalists are also hard to convince. They have a hard time grasping the idea that theists can both believe in God and embrace science.

Sure it’s hard to convince us. Why would a good and omnipotent God come up with something as cruel as evolution?

What’s up with the parasitic wasp larvae eating through an alive caterpillar?

537341266_48014f0210_o.img_assist_custom-600x438.jpg


Maybe the caterpillar has refused to believe in god.

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Posted: 23 November 2012 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 60 ]
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dansmith62 - 23 November 2012 04:34 AM

Organisms cannot last forever? Why? As long as there’s free energy available in our universe an organism can survive. No natural law makes a 100-billion-year-old organism impossible. Yet, death and cancer is part of our rich biosphere on Earth. This debate isn’t about emotionally satisfying answers.

Well, I think the universe is less than 100 billion years old.

At this point, research shows that the stuff of life (as we know it), has inherently limiting properties - although there are organisms with very long lifespans.

Obviously, the only life we know of is here, so we don’t have anything else to measure it against.

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