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tesseract
2004-May-14, 07:11 PM
were we made by aliens who mixed there own dna with a primate on earth or did we evolve from something else?

Tiny
2004-May-14, 10:15 PM
There are 2 answer for your question :
1. God create us if you believe in religions
2. We were create by the heavier element from Dead high massive stars :
3 major sources
1. Water
2. Energy (light from the Sun)
3. Don&#39;t remeber what&#39;s the 3rd one ><

StarLab
2004-May-15, 03:46 AM
OK, if scientifically we are created from water, yet religion claims we were from dust, I think there is a little disagreement here... ;)

zrice03
2004-May-16, 10:37 PM
Well, not to sound arrogant, but science hardly cares what religion says.

DippyHippy
2004-May-17, 12:54 AM
Science says we go from ashes to ashes and dust to dust too... we are starstuff. Our Sun, our solar system, our Earth and our bodies were all formed from the gas and dust remnants of a supernova. When the Sun dies, the cycle will begin again.

zrice03
2004-May-17, 01:02 AM
Yes, DH, I suppose you are correct there.

StarLab
2004-May-17, 03:24 AM
True dat&#39;&#33; ;) :D :rolleyes: B)

geokker
2004-May-17, 10:55 AM
I think we and all life are the robotic, ever-changing products of natural selection i.e. genetic evolution.

The building blocks came from the death of a star.

Whilst I wholesale subscribe to the Theory of Evolution (so much so that I had to capitalize it there), God could still be sitting behind all the machinery of physics quietly sniggering up his sleeve.

No matter what science may (sometimes arrogantly) think, religion can always be factored in.

Guest
2004-May-17, 01:43 PM
definitely believe we have evolved from something small, just like all life. lucky us we are the most evolved creature on earth. does this make us any more special than other animals or plant life? i wonder. one question for people who know evolution well: why is it that if we evolved from apes that apes still exist? how did the species become seperate? just something i always was curious about.

as for religion, religion is the why and science is the how, depends on what you&#39;re more interested in. since there is no way of knowing why, i choose to see how it all works, and once we have a complete understanding of the universe, i think some of the why will be shown to us.

tesseract
2004-May-17, 02:22 PM
i finally got a book that i wanted that my english teacher told me about because he brought up this suject for me. anyways, it should have the answer and so far religion, aliens, and evolution is correct.

the reason is because the aliens are our gods and they did create all life on earth but i thing it evolved on its own.

so now everything agrees with each other .

StarLab
2004-May-17, 03:58 PM
And...what&#39;s the next step?
Are the aliens going to come back soon to stop us from wiping each other out?
Or do they expect us to develop the technology to get to them first?

...Or have they become extinct by now?

tesseract
2004-May-17, 07:48 PM
They are our gods, and they care about us not hate us, after all they did make us. :b

or are you suggesting that we formed on our own.

Tinaa
2004-May-17, 09:45 PM
I like the idea that was presented on an episode of Star Trek. An alien race seeded all the planets with DNA.

Nobody knows how we got started. That&#39;s like asking how many licks it takes to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.

The world may never know&#33;

DippyHippy
2004-May-17, 10:47 PM
Dear Guest

You&#39;ve raised an excellent point there... I never thought of that&#33; But aren&#39;t there other creatures who&#39;s evolutionary predecessors are still around?

I agree with you about the why and how though. Interesting points. :)

StarLab
2004-May-17, 11:07 PM
Here&#39;s what I think is interesting:

Around three billion years ago, DNA developes - into single-sell organisms
Then, a billion years after that, we have multicellular organisms.
All of a sudden, six million years ago, we have the first true invertebrates. That&#39;s a shocker: why did it have to be six million years ago? Why not before or after?
Then, live evolves gradually, at a good pace...
Then, barely six million years ago, one species - primates - begins to attain (gain) intelligence and imagination, leading to the technological advances we have today.
Why the sudden leaps six hundred million years ago, six million years ago, and sixty years ago?

StarLab
2004-May-17, 11:10 PM
They are our gods, and they care about us not hate us, after all they did make us. :b

or are you suggesting that we formed on our own.
Wow, Tesseract, you are starting to act like a premature, pre-scientific revolution Christian. Don&#39;t do that too much on a space/astronomy site (like this one). Kapish? :unsure: :rolleyes:

Tinaa
2004-May-17, 11:28 PM
65 million years ago is the estimated time that the dinosaurs died off. There were invertebrates back in the Permian age. We&#39;re talking almost 300 million years ago. I&#39;d like to know what caused 95% of life to die off 248 million years ago, or even 360 million years ago at the end of the Devonian period. And what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Mass glaciation? Asteroid strikes? Disease? How big of a role does plate tectonics play? If it were not for the massive die-offs, we wouldn&#39;t be here. Does competition really push evolution?

DippyHippy
2004-May-17, 11:56 PM
Wow, Tesseract, you are starting to act like a premature, pre-scientific revolution Christian. Don&#39;t do that too much on a space/astronomy site (like this one). Kapish?

Starlab, please don&#39;t say things like that about another member. It&#39;s disrespectful and bordering on insulting. Secondly, you&#39;re not yet a moderator - it&#39;s not your place to enforce the rules. If you have a problem with the someone&#39;s words, report it to a moderator.

Lastly, I&#39;m not above the law myself. If you wish to make a complaint about this reply to another moderator, you&#39;re free to do so.

StarLab
2004-May-18, 12:21 AM
Sorry, dh, it was just my opinion. And as you said, I&#39;m in no place to support my opinion. ;) :rolleyes:

Guest
2004-May-18, 02:28 PM
all im suggesting is that they are like gods to us, i dont personally believe they are gods but that they act like gods.

they are were religion originated.
and i do admit that that sounds kind of stupid but i didnt really have time to phrase it any better, and dont worry about disrespecting me because i get that all the time at my house so much that im just used to it by now&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;&#33;

i really dont think my parents care about me as much as they care about having there own way even if it hurts me&#33;&#33;&#33;
but i suppose it could be worse.

geokker
2004-May-19, 06:02 PM
Guest,

I&#39;d like to believe that there are &#39;Monolith Creators&#39; mincing about the cosmos &#39;seeding&#39; ripe, stable planets with DNA but the rationalist in me concludes that life on this planet literally did &#39;just happen&#39;.

With a planet sized Petri dish brimming with turbulent but consistent particles mixing together with varied but temperate weather systems, not to mention a nice dollop of radiation from the nearby star, complex, persistent systems are almost (but not necessarily) guaranteed to come about.

Sudden jumps in species sophistication could happen through &#39;assimilated&#39; evolution e.g. the first chemical-eating cell engulfing the first solar-powered cell creating a symbiotic super cell. Or a giant solar flare causing frame mutations in primates DNA resulting in a tool using inspiration leading quickly to a sloughing of the weak to ensure selection of larger neocortexes - ballooning of the brain.

Can&#39;t use a club to kill for meat coz you don&#39;t have the brain cells? Goodbye pal, you&#39;ll be looked over when it comes to the dating game&#33;

tesseract
2004-May-19, 06:22 PM
that was me, stupid&#33;
not a guest, i just forgot to log in&#33;

pguest
2004-May-20, 06:17 AM
Tesseract,

You are asking a question about life origins that everyone has questioned at one point. One quote in this thread about "dust to dust" only refers to the Bible which is a small slice (not the only idea on earth). There are many other explanations from different cultural beliefs which are more scientific. The whole concept of "aliens" coming here is still like the chicken and the egg conundrum - where did they come from? I used to believe god must have came and spliced with our DNA, but that still leaves the question of how our dna came about. There are a few sensible ideas on our planet besides the bible, which is the least scientifically-sophisticated religion on earth.

Both Buddhism and Hinduism have scientifically believeable answers to your question on where did humans spring from, and why.

Both Asia (buddhism) and India (hinduism) believe that god is actually all energy that exists lumped together, not an alien bipedal like we always picture. (the sun, the stars, and all life forms are one and the same). Its a very abstract concept. And that his energy is what causes atoms to spin the way they do, and can change one atom into a different atom simply by consciously desiring to do so thru rearrangement. If a living creature called man can rearrange atoms, then so could a stronger force than man called energy itself, which resides in man (good example, the sun, which they consider part of god). Yet, they didnt know thousands of years ago in Asia, that the sun indeed rearranges atoms. (??) God does this similar to how humans can control their own body molecules with their mind, biofeedback, simply thru desire. There is no explanation how the 7 elements found in star stuff of asteroids got to spread into 100 or so elements we see on earth. Carbon isnt one that&#39;s found in asteroids, yet all organic life contains carbon. *why* did it rearrange? We are carbon, water, (hydrogen, oxygen) and a bunch of elements, yet we arent inert like a pile of the same mixture in a glass electrified. They believe that the stars are all part of the same animal, and that animal is god. If we are made of starstuff, this is scientifically accurate. Kind of like how they discovered groves of certain trees (cedar?) are all actually connected in the roots, appearing as individuals in a forest, yet proved to be one single living animal.

In these other ideas, god would be the thinking part and the heat of us simultaneously, and god is comprised of all energy in every state - but a bit more than that.- that this energy is capable of thought and love, which is hard to picture for most. Our mind&#39;s energy is capable of thought and love, but we think of it as our own personal belonging & exclusive. That would mean that god purposefully sought for energy and atoms to rearrange into organic matter, and then organically develop in the presence of his varied energy forces nearby thru evolution, into all creatures here on earth by design, not accident. Interestingly enough, hindu believes life formed from the sea, not dust, which from a biology standpoint is believeable, because fetal humans at an early stage have both gills and a tail. Maybe it&#39;s just boring to exist as random energy without a physical presence, and maybe god gets a kick out of simultaneously existing in a few billion creatures, who are capable of doing just what he did - changing their environment and playing around with atoms-- waiting for us to realize we have his qualities and are not the only brains in the cosmos (yes, sniggering&#33;). Hindu believes god made man purposefully to give his energy a chance to play god independently, blinding our memories at birth to seem like we&#39;re doing it all ourselves, to discover itself, to finally realize he exists, and have physical fun in a body, believe it or not. They believe Ego, or Self perception, is an animal quality and not a part of god. And that reincarnation&#39;s purpose, is to learn how to live as a good energy force in an organic body, and conquer the animal instincts, thereby perfecting the energy half of ourselves, to whence we eventually return. And that his vast energy force is so broad (the entire universe) that he can focus on every creature at the same time, coherently, experiencing what we experience, and inspiring us at the same time in different directions when we wish it to happen. They dont believe in a god speaking from the clouds or using a voice/words-- they believe god uses inspiration, prompting thoughts, to communicate with us internally - but only when we seek to find those things of our own initiative. (that he responds to our thoughts, but never controls our thoughts unless we actively seek something).

Another interesting cosmic belief, is in Buddhism, which has the same basic philosophy, with a few additions: that our brains are merely tv or radio receptors, and that the mind lives outside the body, aka the universe. They know from studying nerve impulses with wiring and computers, that you can reproduce the feeling associated with an impulse, but not the actual "thoughts" of a person. And that, our minds, like a tv, pick up the energy of god, which is space, stars, radiation, etc. called "thought". Where do our thoughts "spring" from, when we have a new, original idea we havent "learned" in the traditional sense? Nowhere? They believe god is all goodness and inspiration, and that our mind doesnt reside in the brain, it resides in the cosmos as one large collective entity, tempered by individual perception of the body and its animal "ego" quality.

Both of the asian religions also believe that energy, as in our life force, never dies - it is recreated over and over again. Either repeatedly as humans, or finally perfected as returning energy back to its source, the stars. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, another scientific match. They believe that great humanitarians, are people who already perfected and returned to the source of energy, but choose to return to help humans - because helping and caring (love) is a god quality.

It takes more energy to believe in something you cannot prove than it does to believe only in what science can prove visibly. Science is limited in that respect at present, but certainly it doesnt rule out what it cant see yet as "impossible" (dark matter?). Trust is a quality of the inner god energy inside everyone, and mistrust is a quality of the animal part of us, or ego. Selfishness, greed and rudeness are animal qualities. The animal/god conflicting halfs are pictured in asia as the ying/yang symbol. So every man can listen to his inner voice and make a free decision to believe in a god, or to believe in an accident or bang+evolution, without the basic questions answered. According to both buddihism and hinduism, free will is the factor given to us, so that god doesnt end up merely a puppet master - so we can master our own destiny freely, and make what we want out of our lifetimes by desire.

Greg
2004-Jun-01, 06:59 AM
I am surprised the pan-spermia notion hasn&#39;t crept into this thread. There is a notion that asteroid collisions on worlds with life on them would eject matter into interstellar space. Some forms of life could remain dormant inside the debris until it lands by great fortune on something habitable. The bacteria or other life form then wakes up and begins the process of colonizing the new planet or joining life on other worlds where life is established. The notion that Mars rocks landed intact on Earth was used to support the notion that our origins could be traced back to Mars, or even Venus if it were habitable in the past. (Boy would I love to see a Venutian meterorite identified)
Personally I think this notion is alot of bunk, but some supercomputer models have been done that suggest it is possible to disseminate life this way in 100s of millions of years over a significant portion of the galaxy. Perhaps we will go to Alpha Centauri and find plants with identical dna to plants from Earth, arriving there from an old impact that wiped out nearly all life on Earth. Or maybe there are bacteria on a world around Sirius descended from Archea from Earth. I personally find the notion appealing but highly in doubt.
Aside from that we are all remmenants of a series of Supernovas as are all the bodies in the solar system. Organic molecules from the early solar system rained on Earth supplying it with the building blocks of life. Amino acids assembled int o RNA. RNA evolved into DNA. DNA clumped into chromosomes in the earliest organisms. Single cell organisms evolved into multi-cell organisms and then into animals and plants. Eventually animals evolved into their present day forms. One of them developed an abnormally large braincase and went on to dominate the world with it. The only place where pan-spermia would apply would be at the very earliest stages of the evolutionary cycle. Based on DNA dequencing, we clearly evolved from similar ancestors as our ape cousins. Chimps and our DNA are 98 percent alike. The mrna and protein products are vastly different due to those small DNA differences, however. The DNA similarity is also very alike between us and mice and even amphibians and insects there is a strong resemblence. There is no reason to think our dna was manipulated by aliens.
Could aliens have seeded the planet? Possibly. The only way to find out is to go out there and see if our DNA is commonplace in the galaxy.

funnigal
2005-Nov-07, 03:10 AM
Hi everyone. I am a new comer. I am searching for some information about Buddihism; therefore any1 has any information, plz tell me. Thnx a lot in advance.
Character + beliefs + diffusion + lanscape + date founded + scared text + membership of Buddihism!

Peter B
2005-Nov-07, 03:22 AM
Funnigal

Google or the Wikipedia will have all you need. But it will help if you spell it correctly.

Buddhism.

Joff
2005-Nov-07, 03:22 AM
Welcome to the board funnigal.

You are likely to become unwelcome quickly, I fear, if you dig up old threads on the basis of a search hit, although given your spelling of Buddhism you were lucky to get a hit. I think there are better boards around the internet to get the sort of answers you're looking for on religions, and I wish you the best of luck in your search. I would expect you to get more information if you showed that you had already done some basic research and were looking for more detail, even on a board which was both relevant and disposed to help.

TheBlackCat
2005-Nov-07, 03:31 AM
Considering the current layour of the board, it may be better to move this to General Science since it is now active.

I have done some research on Buddhism (for high school, although its been a while). However, I don't see much point telling you what I know about your questions until you at least have done a little research. It sounds like you may be doing a school project on Buddhism, in which case you really should go to the library and get a book. It will probably be far more help than the internet, honestly.

Ken G
2005-Nov-07, 09:24 AM
As this is now an active thread, it may be worth mentioning again the two space-faring elements of the origin of life on Earth that are mentioned, panspermia and alien interference. To me, each of these ideas are interesting possibilities, but at present completely lack not only direct evidence, but even indirect logical support. Pansperima is the idea that life may originate in one place and then be spread via asteroid chunks, if it originates on a planet, or by cometary (etc.) debris if it forms in space. But the basic flaw here, as I see it, is that the Earth environment seems perfectly amenable to life for at least 3 billion years. So much so, that we really can't imagine a more conducive place, so the panspermia idea at best gives you a factor-4 increase in the time available. That's precious little advantage, given the many hardships of that scenario. And if it is merely rudimentary forms of DNA sequences that are coming from space very early in the process, again I ask, where is the advantage of space over the Earthbound environment? In effect, if it had to originate somewhere, why not here.

As for alien interference, the flaw there has already been mentioned in the thread, which is that it really just passes to buck to somewhere else in the galaxy to explain the emergence of intelligent life. So again there is a need to argue that intelligence can't appear on Earth, or can't appear that rapidly,
to have any reason to conclude it appeared somewhere else and came here "artificially". Given the evidence for the process of evolution that led to the brink of advanced intelligence, I hardly think that case has been made. In the complete absence of evidence, any creation myth is as good as any other-- just because some have a scientific-sounding edge to them doesn't make them any more likely to be correct than religious creation beliefs, at least not until actual support, even in general terms, is brought forth.

Mars_Admirer
2005-Nov-08, 01:56 AM
"dust to dust"....Hinduism...Buddhism...brain being a receptor...mind being outside body...

You have captured the spirit of Oriental religions quite well. I am inclined to agree.

Hinduism also believes that this entire material creation (physical universe) is just one-fourth of the entire Creation, and rests on God, like a string of pearls is supported by the common thread running through each pearl.

The rest 75%, so to speak, is pure spiritual energy, the real abode of God.

And everything that happens in the physical universe actually happens for the pleasure of God. All these tensions, pleasures, pains, ups, downs, turmoil, peace, war, violence, disasters, life-death-life-death recycling, what have you, are a mere sport, a pastime, an illusion that looks real from our perspective -- the cosmic law of karma (which is automatic and impersonal) in action.

Having said that, I should add: the study of psychology offers interesting insights, that could potentially challenge the theories of soul, rebirth, reincarnation, karma, etc.

In a sense, every aspect, action, thought, behaviour, mindset and experience in one's life could be explained using phychological insights. Psychology could even explain the so-called intuition, clairvoyance, premonition, dreams, etc.

It's all a mixed-up play of the human brain, wherein reside multiple, cross-connected layers of consciousness.

It all boils down to two things: the family/environment/society into which one is born, and how educated, knowledgeable, spiritual, fair-minded, open-minded, level-headed, large-hearted and wise one's parents are.

But I also believe there are certain unexplainable phenomena....some sort of waves (brainwaves? mindwaves? that are not cosmic rays, gamma rays, x-rays and all kinds of known radiation in the spectrum we know of)....

It seems as though we are indeed controlled by some Remote Controller, and our brains are indeed receivers of such waves. From God's point of view, we are no more than mere puppets or robots, tricked into illusion that we are supreme. Hindus call this Maya.

Look at history. Our planet has been witnessing gradual growth on various planes (material, biological, spiritual, etc).

Perhaps, for God, Earth (solar system) is a small project, a small contract, in the universal scheme of things. What that project is, what are the terms of the contract, and with whom, we don't know yet.

Hence the confusion over what is the purpose of life. People and other life forms come and perish, generation after generation. They grow up, work, do their bit, die. But planet Earth survives. From a cosmic perspective, we human beings seem to be a mere insignificant detail, perhaps equivalent to labourers tasked to beautify the surface of the planet. This planet beautification project works on cosmic time-scale, it seems.

On a spiritual level, some say the purpose of life in human form is to transcend the baser / animal instincts (sex, violence, hatred, greed, etc) because it is possible for humans alone to do this.

It seems as though two equal but mutually opposing forces are at work, trying to remote control / manipulate human beings. And eventually, one force seems to defeat the other, at which time, the seemingly defeated force brings about cosmic dissolution, thoroughly disillusioned each time.

And this cosmic dissolution is nothing but creative destruction. Destruction that creates everything anew.

From a still higher perspective, all this non-stop creation and destruction is actually part of the game, played over and over again. This so-called fight between good-and-evil is itself an illusion, it seems. In reality though, it is a mere mechanism to ensure the cosmic cycle goes on and on.

Why should the cosmic cycle go on and on? What will happen if it ends once and for all? Well, I think it's a question of choice. As they say, something is better than nothing.

At another level, perhaps it is inevitable, unstoppable. That is how The Machine works perhaps. It's preprogrammed, hardwired, automatic, on auto-pilot. That is its nature.

Grand_Lunar
2005-Nov-28, 02:32 PM
65 million years ago is the estimated time that the dinosaurs died off. There were invertebrates back in the Permian age. We're talking almost 300 million years ago. I'd like to know what caused 95% of life to die off 248 million years ago, or even 360 million years ago at the end of the Devonian period. And what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Mass glaciation? Asteroid strikes? Disease? How big of a role does plate tectonics play? If it were not for the massive die-offs, we wouldn't be here. Does competition really push evolution?

I saw a program not too long ago about the Permian extinction. It is believed to have been a combonation of a massive basin eruption in the area of what is now Siberia (like a Yellowstone super-eruption, but much, MUCH larger) and the massive release of methane gases. The resulted in a 40 degree increase in global temperatures, and later a similar decrease, resulting in an Ice Age of sorts.

As for the extinction of dinosaurs, it's accepted that an asteroid impacted the Earth at that time.

And yes, competition does push evolution.

Peter B
2005-Dec-01, 02:03 AM
A guest asked this question some time ago, and I don't think anyone satisfactorily answered it:
one question for people who know evolution well: why is it that if we evolved from apes that apes still exist? how did the species become seperate? just something i always was curious about.

The first thing is that we didn't evolve from apes. Humans and apes are all descended from a common ancestor that wasn't an ape. In that sense, humans and apes are cousins.

How did the species separate? The most simple explanation is physical separation and genetic drift. After a number of generations, a population of organisms which is isolated from others of its species will experience enough change in its genes that members of the two populations are unable to successfully breed. At that point, you know have two species, and both species are descended from the one population.

It's worth noting that this separation isn't clean and clearcut. If the populations rejoin soon enough, they'll act as though they never separated, with successful mating across the groups. If they're separated for a bit longer, mating between the groups will still occur, but the offspring will be sterile. If the separation is a bit longer again, mating will produce no offspring at all. If the separation is even longer, the two populations won't see each other as organisms to mate with. And even within these examples, genetic chance may allow other results. For example, a horse-donkey hybrid, the mule, is normally sterile, but not always.

In the case of humans and chimps, I understand our last common ancestor lived about 5 million years ago. That's very roughly 250,000 generations. From what I've read, our ancestor population split into two main groups when Africa dried out at the time. Some remained in the shrinking forests and were the ancestors of chimps. Others headed out onto the emerging savannah and were our ancestors.

Richard Dawkins provides a touching illustration of how to view this at http://www.simonyi.ox.ac.uk/dawkins/WorldOfDawkins-archive/Dawkins/Work/Articles/1993gaps_in_the_mind.shtml:

"Happenings are sometimes organised at which thousands of people hold hands and form a human chain, say from coast to coast of the United States, in aid of some cause or charity. Let us imagine setting one up along the equator, across the width of our home continent of Africa. It is a special kind of chain, involving parents and children, and we will have to play tricks with time in order to imagine it. You stand on the shore of the Indian Ocean in southern Somalia, facing north, and in your left hand you hold the right hand of your mother. In turn she holds the hand of her mother, your grandmother. Your grandmother holds her mother's hand, and so on. The chain wends its way up the beach, into the arid scrubland and westwards on towards the Kenya border.

"How far do we have to go until we reach our common ancestor with the chimpanzees? It is a surprisingly short way. Allowing one yard per person, we arrive at the ancestor we share with chimpanzees in under 300 miles. We have hardly started to cross the continent; we are still not half way to the Great Rift Valley. The ancestor is standing well to the east of Mount Kenya, and holding in her hand an entire chain of her lineal descendants, culminating in you standing on the Somali beach.

"The daughter that she is holding in her right hand is the one from whom we are descended. Now the arch-ancestress turns eastward to face the coast, and with her left hand grasps her other daughter, the one from whom the chimpanzees are descended (or son, of course, but let's stick to females for convenience). The two sisters are facing one another, and each holding their mother by the hand. Now the second daughter, the chimpanzee ancestress, holds her daughter's hand, and a new chain is formed, proceeding back towards the coast. First cousin faces first cousin, second cousin faces second cousin, and so on. By the time the folded-back chain has reached the coast again, it consists of modern chimpanzees. You are face to face with your chimpanzee cousin, and you are joined to her by an unbroken chain of mothers holding hands with daughters. If you walked up the line like an inspecting general--past Homo erectus, Homo habilis, perhaps Australopithecus afarensis--and down again the other side (the intermediates on the chimpanzee side are unnamed because, as it happens, no fossils have been found), you would nowhere find any sharp discontinuity. Daughters would resemble mothers just as much (or as little) as they always do. Mothers would love daughters, and feel affinity with them, just as they always do. And this hand-in-hand continuum, joining us seamlessly to chimpanzees, is so short that it barely makes it past the hinterland of Africa, the mother continent."

TheBlackCat
2005-Dec-01, 02:15 AM
The first thing is that we didn't evolve from apes. Humans and apes are all descended from a common ancestor that wasn't an ape. In that sense, humans and apes are cousins.

That isn't true. We didn't evolve from modern apes, but the common ancestor that modern apes and humans both evolved from was also an ape. We are still technically a type of great ape, humans just don't seem to like to mention that fact.


We admit that we are like apes, but we seldom realise that we are apes. Our common ancestor with the chimpanzees and gorillas is much more recent than their common ancestor with the Asian apes--the gibbons and orangutans. There is no natural category that includes chimpanzees, gorillas and orangutans but excludes humans.

Arligoth
2006-Nov-03, 04:34 PM
Interesting discussion here. Has anyone heard of V.I. Verdansky? A Russian biologist, chemist and geologist. Look him up. Simply put, his thesis is that non-living matter cannot generate living matter. THere is a barrier between living and non-living which cannot be breeched. IF true, we are compelled to discover a resonable explanation for the process by which a combination of non-living (abiotic) material is "quickened" and becomes a living thing. According to Verdansky there is no continuum, no circumstance by which the transformation can take place without outside influence. Check out his theory about the Noosphere while you're at it--it's facinating.

R.A.F.
2006-Nov-03, 05:40 PM
Interesting discussion here. Has anyone heard of V.I. Verdansky? A Russian biologist, chemist and geologist. Look him up.

I did yet I can't find anything related.

Care to provide a linky.

...and welcome to the board.

GOURDHEAD
2006-Nov-04, 12:52 PM
Interesting discussion here. Has anyone heard of V.I. Verdansky? A Russian biologist, chemist and geologist. Look him up. Simply put, his thesis is that non-living matter cannot generate living matter. THere is a barrier between living and non-living which cannot be breeched. IF true, we are compelled to discover a resonable explanation for the process by which a combination of non-living (abiotic) material is "quickened" and becomes a living thing. According to Verdansky there is no continuum, no circumstance by which the transformation can take place without outside influence. Check out his theory about the Noosphere while you're at it--it's facinating. I do not agree. See:http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=47886, item 15, for musings along a different line. It's a question of excitation; living matter does not differ from non-living matter---just fermions behaving in different ways to accomplish different goals. See author Daniel Dennett: Darwin's Dangerous Idea.

tbm
2006-Nov-04, 03:56 PM
I think there is enough evidence that show we (humans) are the product of evolution. There is no need to invoke aliens or gods to explain our presence. I also believe gods are the product of the human imagination, not the other way around.

tbm

transreality
2006-Nov-05, 12:52 PM
or even panspermia, which again just dodges the issue that life can arise independently whether the necessary conditions exist, and that our particular manifestation is certainly unique.

Mellow
2006-Nov-06, 01:29 PM
I do not agree. See:http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=47886, item 15, for musings along a different line. It's a question of excitation; living matter does not differ from non-living matter---just fermions behaving in different ways to accomplish different goals. See author Daniel Dennett: Darwin's Dangerous Idea.

Agreed, also, if anyone checks out the book by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen called "Evolving the Alien" they talk at length about chemical processes that are very close to life. If I recall, Clay has a replication mechanism for example.

I suspect it is all a matter of a very long time and a combination of a large number of very small, almost infinitesimal changes.

greenfeather
2006-Nov-08, 12:59 AM
65 million years ago is the estimated time that the dinosaurs died off. There were invertebrates back in the Permian age. We're talking almost 300 million years ago. I'd like to know what caused 95% of life to die off 248 million years ago, or even 360 million years ago at the end of the Devonian period. And what caused the extinction of the dinosaurs? Mass glaciation? Asteroid strikes? Disease? How big of a role does plate tectonics play? If it were not for the massive die-offs, we wouldn't be here. Does competition really push evolution?

I have always wondered something: the creatures in the late Permian were "mammal-like reptiles". If they hadn't been wiped out by the extinction, I wonder how evolution would have gone. Might they have evolved into intelligent mammals a lot sooner? Was the 200 million or so years Mesozoic (dinosaur era) just a diversion?

Alternate-history writers want to know!

greenfeather
2006-Nov-08, 01:11 AM
Could aliens have seeded the planet? Possibly. The only way to find out is to go out there and see if our DNA is commonplace in the galaxy.

A question about Panspermia. Could a strand of DNA survive all that solar and stellar radiation? I have been imagining that there are other molecular shapes and structures which might do the same thing DNA does, only perhaps they are more stable. Maybe there is a kind of Super DNA that has many copies of the same "genes" so that it can repair itself and not be destroyed by all those ions in space. Perhaps this would enable life forms to survive on planets that we would regard as uninhabitable due to radiation.

I have been writing fiction about such a life form. Instead of having a double-helix string called a chromosome, it has a molecular lattice "as complex as a Celtic knotwork tapestry."

So I would imagine that every liveable solar system has its own variant of the "uber-DNA."

Also I just finished reading Stephen Baxter's TITAN. That's one depressing book which basically convinced me that manned spaceflight isn't feasible. But in the end (SPOILER) it turns out to be about Panspermia!! What a surprise!

Van Rijn
2006-Nov-08, 02:20 AM
A question about Panspermia. Could a strand of DNA survive all that solar and stellar radiation?


It's possible. The question is if some bacteria could survive all the rigors of being blasted off of one planet, a long time in space, hitting another one, and finding a place to prosper.



Also I just finished reading Stephen Baxter's TITAN. That's one depressing book which basically convinced me that manned spaceflight isn't feasible.


Because they went to Titan in a space shuttle? That is not a scenario that should be taken seriously. There is no inherent physical process stopping us from going to (for example) Mars. My impression of that book is that he tried to set out to make a gross, depressing novel.



But in the end (SPOILER) it turns out to be about Panspermia!! What a surprise!

(More spoiler)




It was intelligently directed panspermia.

greenfeather
2006-Nov-08, 01:18 PM
Because they went to Titan in a space shuttle? That is not a scenario that should be taken seriously. There is no inherent physical process stopping us from going to (for example) Mars. My impression of that book is that he tried to set out to make a gross, depressing novel..

Oh, you read it too?? Most depressing book I ever read. I was really hoping they'd find real Life on Titan. Why else go there?? I didn't want to know the details of their excretory problems on Titan. I also didn't believe the Earthlings would behave as stupidly as they did. I mean Earthlings are stupid, but come on.

The billion year future ending was the only part of the book I liked. It did what I want SF to do... awake that Sense of Wonder.

Baxter must be a depressed guy! Are all his books like this?

As to Mars Missions... what can we feasibly do right NOW as far as long distance space travel? I've read a few Mars books, like Bova's and Robinson's. Are they feasible?

eburacum45
2006-Nov-08, 04:23 PM
Baxter's books are generally full of the sense of wonder; but he does try to show just how uncomfortable an environment space is, and how regressive human nature can be. His vision is a long way from the fairy-tale worlds of Star Trek.
I recommend Time, and Space, for two different, but linked views of the way the future might turn out to be; these books are remarkable, in my opinion.

Van Rijn
2006-Nov-09, 09:33 AM
Oh, you read it too?? Most depressing book I ever read. I was really hoping they'd find real Life on Titan. Why else go there?? I didn't want to know the details of their excretory problems on Titan. I also didn't believe the Earthlings would behave as stupidly as they did. I mean Earthlings are stupid, but come on.

The billion year future ending was the only part of the book I liked. It did what I want SF to do... awake that Sense of Wonder.

Baxter must be a depressed guy! Are all his books like this?


Things often aren't great for humans in his stories, but not like this. I liked Raft which was set in another universe, and did have a lot of people die, but not with the feel of Titan. The Time Ships also had some nasty things on humans, and got a bit long, but humans were also very important in the story.




As to Mars Missions... what can we feasibly do right NOW as far as long distance space travel? I've read a few Mars books, like Bova's and Robinson's. Are they feasible?

We don't have a Mars rocket right this minute, obviously. But there isn't anything that makes it physically impossible, we could be doing it today if it had been a priority, and it is part of what NASA is working towards now. So, crewed interplanetary flight is feasible - it can be accomplished.

greenfeather
2006-Nov-10, 11:07 PM
Pansperima is the idea that life may originate in one place and then be spread via asteroid chunks, if it originates on a planet, or by cometary (etc.) debris if it forms in space.

Panspermia seemed like a dumb idea to me at first, but now I'm starting to wonder. Apparently everything in the Universe started as a single point. It expanded and all the elements we know were spread all around. Correct? The same elements and physical laws are thought to exist throughout the universe?

Then we have the fact that amino acids have been detected in space. At least I thought I read this somewhere. My understanding is that they actually drift about as part of interstellar clouds. Again, I don't recall where I saw this.

So could it be possible that a sort of uber-DNA or precursor molecule was created very early in the history of the universe? From there it spread out, and anytime it encounters a likely planet, life begins.

Although I think we need a new name, the word "Panspermia" evokes raucous Beavis & Butthead laughter. :razz:

transreality
2006-Nov-12, 11:41 PM
Firstly these amino acids and building blocks form rapidly in a simple environment that was present in the Early earth. Then directly after these conditions arise, life appears.

So either life arises rapidly on earth, Or the panspermic seeds survived the early formation of the solarsystem and were in adundance locally.

If the latter is the case, where are they now? If life takes so long to evolve that panspermic seeds are required, then how did these have time to evolve themselves on their original habitat, then to survive in space, then to proliferate through space on a timescale that places them with sufficient abundance to seed our environment successfully?

panspermia seems to require life to be spat of the big bang to make it consistant with other theories of the universe, and I don't think the survival of a complex precursor molecule is possible through much of the early history of the universe.

3rdvogon
2006-Nov-15, 11:33 AM
Whilst pan-spermia seems like an interesting idea and I am prepared to accept that it is feasible for basic life or some of its critical components to be scattered through space by natural processes I have to ask the question - Why do we have to assume it is the reason why life got going here that way?

Problem 1. If you accept pan-spermia then all you do is push the goalposts back in time and distance. If you are not religious and do not demand "divine intervention" in the "creation" process, then all pan-spermia does is mean that life had to get going somewhere else by natural processes. There would still have to be an origin world somewhere and life there would have needed to get started by processes that are similar to the ones mainstream science said happened on the early earth. Therefore pan-spermia just "passes the buck" to some other place it does not provide an alternative explanation to the origins of life.

Problem 2. If life was introduced to this planet from an outside source then one must assume that there must have been a lot of that source material thrown around our galaxy many hundreds of millions of years ago. Otherwise the chances of us getting any of it would have been pretty slim. Also pan-spermia seems to suggest that comets in our own solar system may contain a fair bit of this material which also suggests it was quite abundant. This means that life got going in other places a long time before it did here. Therefore we have to assume that quite a few other planets also benefitted from this input a long time ago and a number of them must have had environments that suited life evolving beyond the microbial level. Now of course the implications of that are pretty obvious it brings us straight back to the Fermi paradox. Somewhere out there life got a head start on life here in which case by the time T-Rex was stomping through the swamps of earth there would have been alien probes mapping our solar system.

This of course then brings us back to the old alien intervention idea - where all we can say is - where is the evidence.

I just think pan-spermia is a circular idea that really gets us nowhere and does not actually offer explanations of how life really got started.

Why do we have to introduce life from outside this planet?
Why should conditions on some long distant alien planet have been any better for being the start point for life emerging than conditions on the early earth?
What factors would such an alien planet need to have to make it a better place for life to get going than here?

GOURDHEAD
2006-Nov-15, 02:39 PM
I just think pan-spermia is a circular idea that really gets us nowhere and does not actually offer explanations of how life really got started.

Why do we have to introduce life from outside this planet?
Why should conditions on some long distant alien planet have been any better for being the start point for life emerging than conditions on the early earth?
What factors would such an alien planet need to have to make it a better place for life to get going than here?
Panspermia is not offered as an explanation of how life ultimately started, but rather as an option for how it may have started (or have been enriched) here on Earth.

We don't have to introduce life from outside the planet, again it's just one of the options.

We don't have sufficient information to know whether some other planet had better conditions for the starting of life.

The Earth has only been around for 4 or 5 billion years; life could have started on a planet that's been around a lot longer---say 10 billion years. Once having come into being, it may have been scattered around via panspermia. One objection (to which I do not subscribe) to life having arisen on Earth is that the smallness of the probability of its occurrence from abiotic sources is such that the Earth has not been around long enough.

One comforting thought (to me) is that panspermia allows life throughout the MW to expand our food chain; I hope we remain atop. Remember, the Earth could be the MW's source for panspermia. Did you read item 14 on page 2 of this thread? It may be the nature of CHONFe to produce DNA the same way, with or without panspermia throughout the universe---not just the MW. Or our type DNA may be the fittest form of life at the molecular level and it may wipe out all other attempts.

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-17, 09:27 PM
lucky us we are the most evolved creature on earth. does this make us any more special than other animals or plant life? i wonder. one question for people who know evolution well: why is it that if we evolved from apes that apes still exist? how did the species become seperate? just something i always was curious about.


This is a common misconception about evolution. We are just as evolved as chimpanzees, coelocanths, oak trees and bacteria, since all these organisms are the product of evolution operating over the same time span.

We did not evolve from modern apes - we share a common ancestor with the apes. Most recently, this is with chimpanzees. Further back, we and the chimpanzees both share a common ancestor with the gorillas and orang-utans, and so on.

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-17, 09:30 PM
They are our gods, and they care about us not hate us, after all they did make us. :b

or are you suggesting that we formed on our own.

All I have to say is this: show me the evidence.

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-17, 09:56 PM
This post was very interesting, but had a few errors in it:


Tesseract,

You are asking a question about life origins that everyone has questioned at one point. ...

Both Buddhism and Hinduism have scientifically believeable answers to your question on where did humans spring from, and why.

... There is no explanation how the 7 elements found in star stuff of asteroids got to spread into 100 or so elements we see on earth. Carbon isnt one that's found in asteroids, yet all organic life contains carbon.

Actually, many meteorites contain carbon. There is a class of them called carbonaceous chondrites. Also, the sun and many other stars contain carbon. Carbon is formed in the first chain of nuclear fusion reactions after H -> He (when a star's supply of H is becoming depleted and it contracts, heats up and starts to fuse He nuclei into heavier elements).



. Kind of like how they discovered groves of certain trees (cedar?) are all actually connected in the roots, appearing as individuals in a forest, yet proved to be one single living animal.

Well, ignoring for the moment how cedars might be considered animals, trees can grow together and become connected even though they are still separate organisms. This phenomenon, although unusual, is well documented and understood.


... Interestingly enough, hindu believes life formed from the sea, not dust, which from a biology standpoint is believeable, because fetal humans at an early stage have both gills and a tail.

Although human foetuses do have a tail, they do not have gills. What they possess are structures known as gill slits, named for their resemblance to the gill slits of certain fish, but human embryos do not, at any stage, possess actual gills.


... They know from studying nerve impulses with wiring and computers, that you can reproduce the feeling associated with an impulse, but not the actual "thoughts" of a person.

Bear in mind, of course, that these experiments are very crude and imprecise. Just because we cannot reproduce thoughts or conciousness does not mean it is impossible to do so.


Both of the asian religions also believe that energy, as in our life force, never dies - it is recreated over and over again. Either repeatedly as humans, or finally perfected as returning energy back to its source, the stars. Energy can neither be created nor destroyed, another scientific match.

This is not a match - the definitions of energy are incompatable. Also, what is this "life force" of which you speak?


...It takes more energy to believe in something you cannot prove than it does to believe only in what science can prove visibly. Science is limited in that respect at present, but certainly it doesnt rule out what it cant see yet as "impossible" (dark matter?). Trust is a quality of the inner god energy inside everyone, and mistrust is a quality of the animal part of us, or ego.

I disagree. You are talking about two different kinds of belief. One is faith (belief in the absence of evidence), while the other is based on experience (i.e. evidence). And science can infer a great many things in quite intricate and subtle ways, but the word "proof" should be reserved for mathematics. A scientist must accept that our explanations may one day be replaced by better ones - in fact, the gretest scientific achievement is to demonstrate that an existing model (or theory or hypothesis) is inadequate, and to replace it with a more accurate or more precise model (i.e. one which more closely matches reality). Dark matter is not seen, its presence is inferred from the motion of visible matter. Much of science progresses this way; there is nothing "impossible" about it.

Trust must be earned. Trust given blindly is credulousness. Do not mistake a healthy scepticism for mistrust.


Selfishness, greed and rudeness are animal qualities.

Au contraire, these are human qualities. Do not judge animals by our standards.


...So every man can listen to his inner voice and make a free decision to believe in a god, or to believe in an accident or bang+evolution, without the basic questions answered.

No. The choice is between faith on the one hand and recognition of the evidence on the other. Also, one can believe in both, for different reasons, and reconcile what science has found with what religion dictates as "we are examining God's tool kit" or something similar.

A.DIM
2006-Nov-18, 04:27 PM
Anyone see the BBC Horizons show to which Searching for "our alien origins" (http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/science/nature/6146292.stm) refers?

eburacum45
2006-Nov-18, 07:48 PM
Most of it, although my daughter switched over to CSI Miami halfway through, and I only saw part of the rest whenever the adverts came on...

Louis did not seem to be a particularly reliable biologist, even if his astrophysics credentials are impeccable. He failed to find the DNA which was present in the sample (if the labs in Sheffield and Cardiff are to believed).
Actually if Chandra Wickramasinge's theories are correct, DNA coming down from comets does not make very much of an impact on the theory of evolution. All this pathway represents is a source of new genetic material; this process could operate in parallel with mutation and genetic drift.
Once the new DNA from whatever source has entered into the genome of a species, that new DNA will be subject to natural selection.

Since Darwin didn't know about DNA, and didn't suggest a mechanism for the emergence of new hereditary traits, Wickramasinghe's idea that DNA comes from the skies does not impact his theories at all.

Personally I don't think DNA does come from the sky, but if quantities of genetic material are found in samples returned from comets, then this would become just another mechanism for the production of novel DNA. The concept of Natural Selection would still remain unchanged.

eburacum45
2006-Nov-18, 07:51 PM
As I have pointed out on another thread (http://www.bautforum.com/showpost.php?p=867150&postcount=4) there was a perfectly good explanation for the red rain available back in 2001...

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-18, 10:04 PM
Interesting discussion here. Has anyone heard of V.I. Verdansky? A Russian biologist, chemist and geologist. Look him up. Simply put, his thesis is that non-living matter cannot generate living matter. THere is a barrier between living and non-living which cannot be breeched. IF true, we are compelled to discover a resonable explanation for the process by which a combination of non-living (abiotic) material is "quickened" and becomes a living thing. According to Verdansky there is no continuum, no circumstance by which the transformation can take place without outside influence. Check out his theory about the Noosphere while you're at it--it's facinating.

Well, on the face of it, this theory looks very weak. Why are we to suppose that there is a barrier between living and non-living matter? And, surely, every day, plants across the world turn CO2 into living matter.

It is true that, about 100 or so years ago, it was believed that there was something special about organic compounds (i.e. chemical substances derived from living organisms as opposed to inorganic compounds such as metals and salts). Then the compound urea was chemically synthesised and the concept was overturned with that one act.

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-18, 10:13 PM
I have always wondered something: the creatures in the late Permian were "mammal-like reptiles".

Hmm ... I think the late Permian vertebrate fossil record has fish, primitive amphibians, primitive reptiles (including the ancestors of the dinosaurs) and some transitional specimens that represent the beginning of mammalian evolution. I think these last could be your "mammal-like reptiles". IIRC, mammals as a recognisable class existed by the end of the Triassic.

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-18, 10:24 PM
[snip]

This of course then brings us back to the old alien intervention idea - where all we can say is - where is the evidence.

I just think pan-spermia is a circular idea that really gets us nowhere and does not actually offer explanations of how life really got started.

Why do we have to introduce life from outside this planet?
Why should conditions on some long distant alien planet have been any better for being the start point for life emerging than conditions on the early earth?
What factors would such an alien planet need to have to make it a better place for life to get going than here?

Very good points, but I bet your poetry is terrible!

Dr Nigel
2006-Nov-18, 10:40 PM
Of the various explanations for the origin of life here on Earth (accidental seeding from space, deliberate seeding from space, abiogenesis by natural processes or abiogenesis by some entity or agency that does not work within natural laws), only one both provides a starting point for an explanation and satisfies the need for parsity. That one is abiogenesis here on Earth by natural processes.

The concept of life here having been seeded from space is possible, but it simply shifts the question of the origin of life from Earth to some other place. The concept of abiogenesis caused by (or guided by) some entity or agency that does not work within natural laws halts the search for an explanation before it can even begin. It is, literally, a non-starter in terms of explaining the origin of life.

Although some previous posts seem confident in the approximate chain of events involved in abiogenesis by natural processes here on Earth, I feel it must be emphasised that even the best scenarios are somewhat speculative. Several questions remain: Such as, if life started with autocatalytic RNA, how was it protected from UV and free-radical chemistry? How did the associations between RNA and amino acids give rise to proteins? When and how did DNA come onto the scene? And so on.

AK
2006-Dec-01, 11:50 PM
I have always wondered something: the creatures in the late Permian were "mammal-like reptiles". If they hadn't been wiped out by the extinction, I wonder how evolution would have gone. Might they have evolved into intelligent mammals a lot sooner? Was the 200 million or so years Mesozoic (dinosaur era) just a diversion?

Alternate-history writers want to know!

Well, not everything living in the late Permian was one. ;) I suspect you're referring to the Gorgonopsians, which my advisor has studied extensively in the Karoo. Not all of them were wiped out in the P/T event.

Regarding the P/T catastrophe itself, the Siberian Traps are certainly the best place to start looking. There's also the drastic drawdown of atmospheric oxygen, the stratification of Panthalassa and possible periodic venting of hydrogen sulfide to the surface from the euxinic layer, as well as subsequent ozone depletion and catastrophic methane release. I have lots of good references for anyone who wants em; I'm a Ph.D student and this is at the heart of my work.

As far as the course of evolution, conventional wisdom holds that the dominance of dinosaurs in the Mesozoic prevented the rapid evolution of mammals. They existed in the Cretaceous, but were almost exclusively small, shrew-like creatures. The eradication of the dominant carnivores and herbivores created the opportunity--in the form of suddenly available trophic niches--for rapid speciation and diversification. That had to happen first; the evolutionary pressures that drove the increase in size of the human brain to the point of sentience and what we regard as intelligence (at least in some individuals ;) ) are much more recent.

greenfeather
2006-Dec-02, 10:36 PM
Well, not everything living in the late Permian was one. ;) I suspect you're referring to the Gorgonopsians, which my advisor has studied extensively in the Karoo. Not all of them were wiped out in the P/T event.

I didn't know the Gorgons had survived.
To my knowledge, the main survivor was the "pig-like" Lystrosaurus, and possibly "dicynodon" or was it "cynodon"? And supposedly one of these was the ancestor of all mammals?

So, if the extinction hadn't happened, maybe this critter would have evolved into intelligence. Supposedly it was warm-blooded and might have had some fur? And did it give birth to live young?


Regarding the P/T catastrophe itself, the Siberian Traps are certainly the best place to start looking. There's also the drastic drawdown of atmospheric oxygen, the stratification of Panthalassa and possible periodic venting of hydrogen sulfide to the surface from the euxinic layer, as well as subsequent ozone depletion and catastrophic methane release.

These are effects; what started it all? What causes massive flood basalt volcanism?

What do you think about the giant crater under the ice in Antarctica? Supposedly it was 250 million years old and several times as big as the Chicxulub crater.

AK
2006-Dec-03, 07:14 AM
Hmmm, so I re-checked and I was wrong, the last Gorgonopsia, as well as the pareiasaurs they preyed on, were wiped out simultaneously at the end of the Permian. Dicynodonts and cynodonts are both valid taxa; the former came first, and the latter are nearly indistinguishable from mammals. And no, cynodonts would've been oviparous. I don't know enough about them to speculate on their potential to evolve intelligence; I'm mostly a marine guy.

The most common explanation for the Siberian Traps volcanism is that of a mantle plume. I haven't had a chance to read the Wilkes Land paper yet but my advisor Peter (who is the Permian expert, not me.. yet) is highly skeptical of all attempts, and there have been many, to explain P/T as the result of bolide impact.

I'll read the paper soon...

transreality
2006-Dec-04, 12:27 AM
I wonder if it possible to calculate an optimal impact rate that would fill and empty niches at the maximum rate, in order to predict whether, with a higher catastrophe flux, intelligence could have evolved faster.

Possibly, the tempo of evolution could occur at a much higher rate. Not to assume, of course, that intelligence is an outcome of evolution per se. Since evolution in the hothouse mesozoic instead lead to a bigger body size arms race, but still...

Dr Nigel
2006-Dec-17, 09:34 AM
I wonder if it possible to calculate an optimal impact rate that would fill and empty niches at the maximum rate, in order to predict whether, with a higher catastrophe flux, intelligence could have evolved faster.

Possibly, the tempo of evolution could occur at a much higher rate. Not to assume, of course, that intelligence is an outcome of evolution per se. Since evolution in the hothouse mesozoic instead lead to a bigger body size arms race, but still...

Well, since the impact on an ecosystem of an asteroid impact (please excuse the pun, I couldn't help myself) is not precisely understood, it would be very difficult to do such a thing, and any such calculation would need to be based on several assumptions in which we could not have a great deal of confidence.

However, on a related note, you may find this interesting. One approach for antiviral therapy research involves increasing the mutation rate of the virus. Many viruses evolve rapidly because their replication machinery allows for high mutation rates, up to a point. If you increase the mutation rate by dosing a patient with mild mutagens, you may tip the virus over the edge, to a point where it is no longer able to reproduce viably because its mutation rate is too high. The same substance would have little effect on the host because, at any one time, relatively few host cells are dividing (and hence making new DNA). Neat, huh?

transreality
2006-Dec-18, 03:51 AM
It is interesting but that is maybe about mutation rate interfering with the viability of a species, while cosmic impact rate will affect the rate of new species appearing, which may be a process with different dynamics.

I found this kind of paper (http://www.mso.anu.edu.au/~charley/papers/DaviesLineweaverOnline05.pdf), by davies and lineweaver which talks about how multiple biogenesis could have occurred and that our one may simply have been the first to survive sterilization by impact. That would imply that our genesis was at the very earlist possible time, and that since the bombardment was continuing that early life maybe just existed at the tolerable limit of impact flux.

In addition there is some data about the recovery rate of paleo-species after impacts which maybe be relevant to this question, yet to look at.

Ronald Brak
2006-Dec-18, 04:37 AM
It is interesting but that is maybe about mutation rate interfering with the viability of a species, while cosmic impact rate will affect the rate of new species appearing, which may be a process with different dynamics.

Cosmic ray impact rate will not have a real effect on mutation rates. Cells work to preserve their DNA (or presumably whatever) intact. If something acts to increase the rate of mutation their will be a tendency for life that is better at resisting mutation to survive. To be all anthropomorphic, DNA "wants" to be passed on intact. Any DNA that acts to reduce the rate of mutation also acts to help preserve that DNA.

eburacum45
2006-Dec-18, 10:15 AM
That is a very interesting paper; transreality. It seems to imply that abiogenesis is fairly common, but often the life which emerges is eradicated by impacts. That would be encouraging news, if true; the chances of life surviving in a universe where abiogenesis was common is surely greater than in a universe where abiogenesis is rare.

We would look to find surviving life in systems where impacts occur less frequently, and quite probably find it. But the paper is very speculative, as must be the case at our current level of knowledge.

transreality
2006-Dec-18, 10:39 AM
Sorry, ronald, I meant, by 'cosmic impact', large bolides from space.

They promote speciation by clearing out the previous niche holders and the relatively few surviving (<20%) species rapidly differentiate to make new species to occupy the vacant environment.

If this happens more frequently than it did on earth, could intelligence evolve faster, assuming that the more events, then the more likely that one will result in an intelligent critter?

Ronald Brak
2006-Dec-18, 01:45 PM
Sorry, ronald, I meant, by 'cosmic impact', large bolides from space.

Sorry, I should have been paying more attention.

Dr Nigel
2006-Dec-20, 04:25 PM
That could have been my fault, drifting slightly off topic.

Nebo
2006-Dec-20, 05:59 PM
Hello! I'm visiting this forum at first. Do anybody know when the COROT mission start.

Dr Nigel
2006-Dec-21, 04:35 PM
Hello! I'm visiting this forum at first. Do anybody know when the COROT mission start.

Welcome, Nebo.

Your best bet finding an answer to that one is probably to start a thread in the Questions and Answers forum.

Van Rijn
2006-Dec-22, 12:44 AM
Hello! I'm visiting this forum at first. Do anybody know when the COROT mission start.

Welcome to BAUT. There is a COROT thread in the Space Exploration section. And this post (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?p=889022#post889022) would seem to answer your question.

Pallimannorman
2007-Jan-05, 12:01 PM
They are our gods, and they care about us not hate us, after all they did make us. :b

or are you suggesting that we formed on our own.


if you subscribe to the ancient astronaut theory that entities came here and genetically engineered humans in to existence you should realise (or know) that they may well have liked us enough to create us (although the reasons for doing so were hardly for love), they also sought to destroy all of mankind with the flood. However they were (according to the texts and theories) very much like humans in that some were 'good' & others 'bad', one very important 'god' wanted to destroy humans for various reasons but another sought to save humanity and instructed someone to create a sealed boat, the biblical Noah. So i wouldnt make too much of the assertion that if they created us they must love us.

Bluestar4662
2007-Jan-23, 03:03 PM
Although I'd like to for the sake of my own psychological comfort, I don't believe in God. I believe that all the religions and myths in the world are man made and cannot be considered truth. I think that truth is infinite.

I also don't think that religion disproves or goes against science..its rediculous to try to prove anything based on religion as we are all aware that these are just stories from the past.

This takes care of religion whether it be christianity/hinduiism/bhuddism/Islam etc.

I could believe that God is all energy and that I am just a part of it, but to me that sounds redundant, irrelevant and pointless.

What I believe is what science has proven/presented. That life evolved on this planet and that it took billions of years. Why we are who we are today is due to that long time-span and the MANY events that took place to shape us.

Its rediculous to believe in the idea of an asteroid that carried DNA to this planet as that does not answer the question (although it is a very interesting idea for a Sci-Fi novel).

I think sentience is subjective. The more complex an organism, or a combination of atoms in a system, is the more intelligent and capable. Thus we call it life.

Dr Nigel
2007-Jan-24, 01:18 PM
Its rediculous to believe in the idea of an asteroid that carried DNA to this planet as that does not answer the question (although it is a very interesting idea for a Sci-Fi novel).


Well, it may be ridiculous to believe it, but there is no reason why we shouldn't consider it a possibility when we are speculating about how life on Earth may have started. But it simply shifts the origin of life on Earth from Earth itself to some other location, which does, indeed, not answer the big question.

Dr Nigel
2007-Jan-24, 01:25 PM
I could believe that God is all energy and that I am just a part of it, but to I think sentience is subjective.
I'm not sure what you are getting at here. If sentience is subjective, how do you view the people that you meet, and how do you define for your own purposes whether or not they are sentient?


The more complex an organism, or a combination of atoms in a system, is the more intelligent and capable. Thus we call it life.


Here, your meaning is very unclear. Are you saying that, the more complex an organism is, the more intelligent it is? In the which case, we would need to consider all mammals equally intelligent (and possibly all other vertebrates, too). What do you mean by "atoms in a system"? How can atoms in a system be intelligent?

Bluestar4662
2007-Jan-24, 06:14 PM
I am referring to the chemistry of life on this planet in general, and when I speak of complexity, I am referring to the complexity of the organism's brain or control centre.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine some time ago about the definition of evolutionary superiority and whether the human race is in fact on the right path. Are we evolving and caught in a difficult transitory state? Are we destroying ourselves and not aware? Or are we evolving?

These questions are of course invalid by themselves, but they are a very important part of a larger question, one with a more positive and constructive purpose.

IMO its worth noting and equally interesting to see that all human beings live within a certain set of rules and paths, just as animals do. The difference
is the complexity of our brains and the pretentiousness of our expressive abilities.

But that is what I mean by complexity, we are considered the most intelligent being on this planet because we have dominated it. Whether we are the most successful from an evolutionary perpective, that remains to be seen.

3rdvogon
2007-Jan-25, 04:13 PM
I am referring to the chemistry of life on this planet in general, and when I speak of complexity, I am referring to the complexity of the organism's brain or control centre.

I had a discussion with a friend of mine some time ago about the definition of evolutionary superiority and whether the human race is in fact on the right path. Are we evolving and caught in a difficult transitory state? Are we destroying ourselves and not aware? Or are we evolving?


Are you saying that you think there is some sort predetermined path in evolution towards intelligent life forms?

At one time many biologists would have agreed with that principle but it is perhaps less fashionable today. I think the common feeling is that evolution just occurrs to produce new forms which are better adapted to changing environmental conditions. In that respect information processing capabilities and memory are just other physical adaptations, like horns, fins, trunks and claws. If a change in a particular animal gives it an advantage in particular conditions which A. Increase its survivability or B. Increase its likelyhood of securing a breeding partner then that adaptation will flourish (usually at the expense of another).

Improved memory and processing power can confer and advantage upon an animal in certain conditions. For example if food sources are well spread out over a wide geographical area and/or certain foods only become available at certain times of year then an animal which can retain a sort of mental map and calendar will have an advantage over one that cannot. If however such an environmental pressure does not exist then such powers of memory are redundant and more than that the body cells needed for that information storage become a burden rather than a benefit as those cells will require nourishment whilst performing no real function. Therefore in such conditions increased mental capacity becomes liability.

Therefore it is possible to envisage many natural situations where processing and memory like ours would be almost pointless. We must be very wary of looking back at our own evolution through eyes of information age creatures. Evolution did not know that by giving us big brains we would develop agriculture let alone the internet. Just because our "stone age" brains allow us today to dominate our planet like no other creature that has ever lived before on earth could not be foreseen by natural selection. Evolution does not make long term capital investments. It does not say lets give these creatures the capacity to invent tractors and greenhouses in a few hundred generations. Such adaptations must confer real benefits as they evolve not gamble on future discoveries.

Our common ape-like ancestor developed a mental capacity that at the time it evolved must have provided it with an advantage at the time when it lived probably long before stone tools started to be made. If the environmental conditions had not been right and/or the animal did not have the means (a pair of hands) to exploite that capacity for investigation/discovery/memory/invention then you can be sure that evolutionary mutation would simply have died out.

At some point of course a threshold was crossed which was where our ever increasing tendancy to "think our way" out of a problem started to yield consistent benefits over our rivals. Once that happened then of course we were on our way to becoming the animals we are today. It is perfectly possible that the correct combination of factors that led to us - a diverse and changing environment, hands that could used for tool making and use, combined with a body form where sensory information was always routed through a central processing centre might not have beeh around. In which case there would have been no "feedback" incentive to breed an ever smarter animal.

It is for this reason that I think that although multicellular life may be quite common on planets with favourable environmental conditions. However the unusual combination of circumstances that produced an animal with the physical means to modify its own environment and the mental means control that may be quite rare. Therefore once we are able to discover other planets not unlike earth we will in most cases find them populated with diverse ecosystems and lots of animals but they will be like earth was perhaps 5 to 10 million years ago, lots of animals eating, breeding and dying but no large societies, no cities, not even tool using hunting tribes just wildlife. I see no reason why life on any planet could not continue evolving and adapting for billions of years without ever throwing up a creature that thinks a long stick with a piece of sharp stone on one end might be a smart idea.

Bluestar4662
2007-Jan-25, 09:29 PM
No I dont think or believe that there is a predetermined path for evolution. But I do agree, as you mentioned, that there is a particular method. I'm curious to know how different we are from animals. Animals dont exhibit the same social complexity and as a result they are not destroying rainforests or creating a hole in the ozone layer or blowing each other up with machinations of their making. They eat, sleep, fight to survive and mate. We do all these things as well as destroy rainforests, contribute to global warming and blow each other up with our own creations.

So my question is, taking only life on Earth into consideration, if any other animal evolved to our level, would they do the same things? And I guess you could extend this to beings on other planets as well.

Dr Nigel
2007-Jan-26, 10:55 AM
But that is what I mean by complexity, we are considered the most intelligent being on this planet because we have dominated it. Whether we are the most successful from an evolutionary perpective, that remains to be seen.

You remind me of a line from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy:
"Man had always thought he was more intelligent than the dolphins because he had achieved so much - the wheel, New York, wars, and so on - while all the dolphins ever did was muck about in the water having a good time. Curiously enough, the dolphins considered themselves more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons."

From an evolutionary perspective, we are certainly successful. Humans occupy more different parts of the world than any other organism (not counting our gut flora, of course).

Dr Nigel
2007-Jan-26, 10:57 AM
So my question is, taking only life on Earth into consideration, if any other animal evolved to our level, would they do the same things? And I guess you could extend this to beings on other planets as well.

Taking your hypothetical situation, I think that any other organism that learns to exploit its surroundings as we have done will almost certainly do so. The harder question is, are they as likely or more likely to destroy themselves before they learn to exploit sustainably?

3rdvogon
2007-Jan-26, 02:26 PM
I'm curious to know how different we are from animals. Animals dont exhibit the same social complexity and as a result they are not destroying rainforests or creating a hole in the ozone layer or blowing each other up with machinations of their making. They eat, sleep, fight to survive and mate.

I suggest you read a bit about wild Chimps in east Africa.

The have been seen to indulge in:

Baby snatching, Infanticide
Inter "tribal" warfare and genocide
Cannibalism.
Some of their actions against one another are clearly similar to the sadism and bullying practiced by humans.
They will even resort to using primitive weapons, such as sticks and stones.

I am perfectly sure that if Chimps knew what a cruise missile was and how to programme it then they would be more than willing to use it. Which puts them in a similar position to our Stone Age ancestors if you offered them the same weapon system.

Therefore what separates us from them is less about "humans being somehow special and evil" and more a case of we have the tools to wreck the planet and they don't.

Now that may sound a little simplistic but I was trying to make a fundamental point, that there is nothing so special about humans that separates us from the rest of nature, we are still just animals but with a few enhancements.

Now clearly there are radical differences from us and single cell organisms. Also we do demonstrate a degree of self awareness that most other mammals do not but we should not think of there being some major fault-line between ourselves and other mammals, instead this separation is more gradual. In that respect the Great Apes provide a useful bridge for us to study between ourselves and the rest of mammals.

For example show many other mammals their own reflection in a mirror and they will become confused and react to it like it is another animal and either run away or try to attack it. Chimps on the other hand have no such problems when they look in a mirror they know exactly who they are looking at. In fact some Chimps are so vain that they will hoard mirrors and spend hours looking at themselves pulling faces, checking their teeth and brushing their own hair. Humans had been looking at their own reflections long before Newton came along with his theories on optics. You do not need to understand all the science in order to make and use a tool. Further experiments have been carried out on Apes which prove that many of the features of self awareness we have they also possess. Their main limitation is a lack of ability to explain to others in their group any more complex thoughts that they may be having. So in that sense it is complex communication that marks us humans out from them but once again this is only another layer of evolutionary development.

So there is nothing special about us other than we are more numerous, can more rapidly spread an idea or discovery made by one human to many others and have the tools to do more good or evil. Just like us those apes too have problems of fear, mistrust, anxiety, jealosy, which can cause them to behave in a way which is unpleasant to one another, we just happen to have the means to hurt more of our own in larger numbers more quickly.

Bluestar4662
2007-Jan-26, 03:27 PM
I guess its Monkey see monkey do. You use chimps as your example and they are the closest animal to us in terms of physiology and image. Maybe this vanity you speak of is only related to a particular gene in our DNA.

Do you know any other animals or can you use any other animnals for examples?

How about when animals drink water? Surely they see their own reflection in it, why do they not attack it or why do chimps not sit in front of water for extended periods of time to admire themselves?

I'm more inclined to believe that when animals interact with humans they pick things up, just as pets do. I am implying that chimps are certainly more clever than other animals, but this again is a human judgement. Cleverness is not intelligence.

Why do we need to look in a mirror? Why have we created this whole system of vanity and made reproduction depend on it?

You can't discount the human influence on the rest of the world especially on the more receptive of animals, namely the chimps.

Yes its true we do things just because we can, but does that not imply that we are stupid considering the amount of damage we do to our world and hence diminish our chance of survival?

I'm wondering if our form of communication hinders us in some way.

A.DIM
2007-Jan-26, 03:44 PM
This is OT, I think, but the remarks on similarities between chimps and human behavior bring to mind a question I've had for some time:

Why do chimps not realize that where they drop their seeds or refuse from the things they eat, why do they not begin "farming" as humans allegedly did?

If, as is thought, environmental pressures are what led to human agriculture why do our nearest relatives not "evolve" in similar fashion since their habitats are rapidly being destroyed?
Are these not environnmental pressures that should lead to a sort "selection?"

SolusLupus
2007-Jan-26, 07:59 PM
This is OT, I think, but the remarks on similarities between chimps and human behavior bring to mind a question I've had for some time:

Why do chimps not realize that where they drop their seeds or refuse from the things they eat, why do they not begin "farming" as humans allegedly did?
If, as is thought, environmental pressures are what led to human agriculture why do our nearest relatives not "evolve" in similar fashion since their habitats are rapidly being destroyed?
Are these not environnmental pressures that should lead to a sort "selection?"

So... do you really believe that Rome was built in a day?

Or that animals spurned a large change in a few hundred years?

If so, I suggest you go open up a science textbook on Evolution and study, my friend. Study hard.

A.DIM
2007-Jan-26, 08:50 PM
So... do you really believe that Rome was built in a day?

Or that animals spurned a large change in a few hundred years?

If so, I suggest you go open up a science textbook on Evolution and study, my friend. Study hard.

:clap:
Ah yes, once again my understanding of things is "wrong" and I should study.

But I don't suggest it should happen "overnight" as it were, though punctuated eqillibrium should be expected to show up.

This is, of course, in my opinion.

3rdvogon
2007-Jan-31, 02:27 PM
:clap:
Ah yes, once again my understanding of things is "wrong" and I should study.

But I don't suggest it should happen "overnight" as it were, though punctuated eqillibrium should be expected to show up.

This is, of course, in my opinion.

I think I can answer your earlier question fairly easily.

Why have the apes not moved from fruit picking to agriculture just because their environment is under pressure?

For one very important reason our own ancestors did not move from being fruit/insect/carrion scavenging hominids to farmers in one leap either. Instead we spent tens of thousands of years as hunter gatherers first (most of human existence to be precise). Most importantly during that time they had learned/discovered some important itermediate steps.

A) How to make more sophisticated tools - which could could be adapted from hunting and skinning to new ideas such as ploughing.

B) Constructing shelters - even as nomadic hunters they had built temporary shelters as a base for their activities it was just a further step to move to permanent houses and graneries.

C) Language - this is probably the most important development as it allows much more complex ideas to be exchanged and passed down to younger generations. A young ape may learn learn from an older ape how to crack a nut with two stones but farming is a bit more complicated than that - finding the right ground, knowing the correct planting and harvesting seasons (a bit of astronomical knowledge can be useful there), irrigation, weeding and pest control, processing and storing the crop.

Some ideas, such as preserving foods would have been learned as hunter gatherers and those adapted to agriculture, a species that has not been through that "growing up" process could not be expected to make the leap that took us 100,000 years in just a few decades.

Bluestar4662
2007-Jan-31, 07:05 PM
I certainly agree that it would take apes thousands of years to evlove to the level of agriculture. The existence of humans in such large populations hinder or severely intefere with the evolultion of animals whose habitats overlap it. Having said that is there really a chance for any animal to evolve to any considerable level? Also are there any signs of evolution in animals today?

Can anyone refer me to a site that studies evolution in animals today.?

3rdvogon
2007-Jan-31, 09:40 PM
I certainly agree that it would take apes thousands of years to evlove to the level of agriculture. The existence of humans in such large populations hinder or severely intefere with the evolultion of animals whose habitats overlap it. Having said that is there really a chance for any animal to evolve to any considerable level? Also are there any signs of evolution in animals today?

Can anyone refer me to a site that studies evolution in animals today.?

Modern Zoology has only been in existence for a couple of centuries so there has not really been time to observe evolution at work in Mammals or Reptiles. The other problem already mentioned is that we humans tend to mess about with the natural order of such things over such a short time frame that it is difficult to see how most large organisms can really adapt to what we are doing. Large organisms evolve too slowly for most of us to notice because their breeding cycle is not a great deal faster than our own.

However evolution is governed by one key mechanism Genetics and we can see evolution at work at the microbial level with the emergence of AIDs and new Bird Flu strains. So the biological process is still there. In addition to that many animals have changed in size and shape during human recorded history the only difference has been we have interferred through selective breeding. Selective breeding is just another form of evolution the only difference being that the pressure put on a species is human demand not climatic change.

So evolution is a fact and if we manage to kill ourselves off then you can be sure there will be an explosion of new forms to fill the space we leave behind. Mind you if we do go there is no rule which says the dominant land species to evolve after us needs to be a smart as us. It could just be another species that eats, breeds and spreads more successfully than many others. I do not believe that our planet or any other life bearing planet of a similar age than ours has to produce an animal that builds rockets, technology producing species may well be the exception rather than the rule.

transreality
2007-Jan-31, 11:00 PM
Punctuated Equilibrium represents a modern development of evolutionary theory and supplies answers to these kinds of questions.

In general, a species is in evolutionary stasis. Individuals maybe capable of variation within the genetic range, but that genetic range is fixed. So a particular species can be recognised over many millions of years, hence biostratigraphy works!

A new species can evolve only when a particularly small representative sample of a species is reproductively isolated and subject to heavy selection. An example may be the offspring of a single migratory reproductive female, or perhaps a single family/community that survives the destruction of the rest of its species (a bottleneck). This little population undergoes rapid and self-reinforcing (interbreeding) selection, and soon becomes geneticually distinct from its progenitor species. Once it becomes populous enough then the new species enters stasis until its extinction. There are certainly current examples of recent allopatric speciation (eg; the red back spider in Australia, evolved from an imported US black widow).

With chimpanzees the species is in stasis and not going evolve the prerequesite brain to enable the complex agricultural behaviour.

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-04, 12:53 AM
In general, a species is in evolutionary stasis. Individuals maybe capable of variation within the genetic range, but that genetic range is fixed. So a particular species can be recognised over many millions of years, hence biostratigraphy works!



I think there's a bit more to it than this. Even if a population is not exposed to a significant selection pressure, random genetic drift can still occur, and this can lead to speciation.

I think the most important point about Punctuated Equilibria is that it contained the first proposal that the rate of evolutionary change can vary.

transreality
2007-Feb-04, 01:29 AM
I'm pretty sure that as a population increases in size that alleles are fixed faster than mutations replace them so that genetic variation decreases.

If you split the population completely then the two halves will slowly diverge in theoretical circumstances, since they are getting different mutations fixed.

However, in reality, the speciating population needs to have a very low size in order to diverge rapidly enough to differentiate before being subsumed back into the main populations gene pool.

PaleBlueDot
2007-Feb-04, 03:39 AM
were we made by aliens who mixed there own dna with a primate on earth or did we evolve from something else?

We evolved from primates by natural selection.

Bluestar4662
2007-Feb-05, 07:17 PM
Here's a question, however strange you may think it is:

What would happen if aids succeeded in killing the entire human species, would it continue evolving or would it terminate itself in the process?

What I mean to ask is: could all these microbes, that evolve and struggle to survive while killing us in the process, be considered a new species trying to evolve from nothingness as we did?

PaleBlueDot
2007-Feb-06, 12:29 AM
Aids is a virus. Viruses aren't microbes, per se, and rely on host cells in order to replicate. Without humans, the AIDS virus would either have to evolve quickly or it would die out.

Even if something somehow managed to wipe out the entire human race, there would still be other species left on earth. These would continue to evolve.

Delvo
2007-Feb-06, 07:12 AM
I think the most important point about Punctuated Equilibria is that it contained the first proposal that the rate of evolutionary change can vary.Darwin wrote in TOoS that it didn't need to be constant.


What would happen if aids succeeded in killing the entire human species, would it continue evolving or would it terminate itself in the process?That virus, like most or all of the serious "plagues" we've ever had in history, can live on more than one host species and actually came to our species from another. If one host species goes extinct, it could continue to exist in the others. To go extinct from "loss of habitat", it would need to lose all of its host species, not just one of them.

A strain of virus or bacteria that keeps its host alive and functioning has more opportunity to get spread around, so a pathogen that's particularly well adapted to us in particular as opposed to some other species (and thus might be subject to extinction if we were to go extinct) would normally not be very dangerous to us, with a low or nearly zero death rate, like colds and most flus. The really bad ones are the imports from other species because those are not so particularly adapted to us.


a new species trying to evolve from nothingness as we did?I don't know what that means.

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-06, 09:06 AM
Darwin wrote in TOoS that it didn't need to be constant.


Fair enough, but there was an assumption prior to Punctuated Equilibria that the rate was approximately constant and that change was generally gradual. PE challenged this, basically by saying that the rate of change can vary a lot more than people thought. It can be near zero for millions of years, and then increase dramatically in response to some environmental change.

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-06, 09:07 AM
... a new species trying to evolve from nothingness as we did?

We did not evolve from "nothingness". We evolved from an ancestor hominid, which evolved, through a series of intermediates, from the ancestor we share with the chimpanzees.

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-06, 09:17 AM
I know it's OT, but here's one more interesting thing about HIV and other viruses: they actually evolve pretty rapidly anyway. Each infected cell represents a new generation. Often, viral DNA replication lacks the stringent controls that our cells place on the accuracy of replication. Viral DNA polymerases are generally much faster than mammalian ones (which is why we use viral enzymes for PCR, the laboratory technique for amplifying DNA samples). This speed comes at the cost of reduced accuracy.

If your genome comprises several billion base pairs, accuracy is really important. But if your genome is only (say) 100 kilobases or even less (and this is the case for some viruses), accuracy becomes less important.

Additionally, rapid evolution gives viruses the ability to adapt very quickly to any change in the host organism (such as, for instance, the presence of compounds that block viral DNA replication). This is why HIV often persists in patients who are receiving anti-retroviral chemotherapy. The virus adapts to the drugs before the drugs have cleared it from the patient's system.

satori
2007-Feb-07, 08:20 PM
We evolved from primates by natural selection.

Now here comes a funny one :
anything which involves (hu-)man's doings is usual called artifical, nonnatural etc. Breeding sheep would not be termed "natural selection" (as it involves "us"). The selection process leading to the advent of us humans involved "human" choice the same way as in the example of the breeding of sheep. So to a certain degree "man created man according to her( am i PC enough) own (mental) image".................

???

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-08, 08:23 PM
Now here comes a funny one :
anything which involves (hu-)man's doings is usual called artifical, nonnatural etc. Breeding sheep would not be termed "natural selection" (as it involves "us"). The selection process leading to the advent of us humans involved "human" choice the same way as in the example of the breeding of sheep. So to a certain degree "man created man according to her( am i PC enough) own (mental) image".................

???

Interesting points. I think there are two components to this.

(1) There are two meanings of the word "natural". It can represent the opposite of artificial (i.e. thus implying the action of nature without human intervention, in which sheep breeding is a good example). It can also represent the opposite of supernatural (i.e. thus implying conformance to the laws of nature).

(2) There is an element of planning. In selective breeding programmes, there is a desired end result, and the selection choices are all made with this end result in mind. Thus, we can breed sheep that produce more meat, or cows that produce more milk, and so on. This usually (always?) involves human intervention. However, when we humans choose a mate, we generally do not make the choice based on what characteristics we wish to pass to our offspring. We make the choice based on what appeals to us personally and emotionally. We also do not take multiple generations and apply the same selection criteria to successive generations of a population (which is what tends to happen in selective breeding programmes).

mike alexander
2007-Feb-08, 11:14 PM
Darwin started with the example of human breeding of other species for desired traits as a prologue to natural selection, in order to show the concept had merit (i.e., something in the environment selecting for specific traits to contunue while culling others).

PaleBlueDot
2007-Feb-09, 04:45 AM
Now here comes a funny one :
anything which involves (hu-)man's doings is usual called artifical, nonnatural etc. Breeding sheep would not be termed "natural selection" (as it involves "us"). The selection process leading to the advent of us humans involved "human" choice the same way as in the example of the breeding of sheep. So to a certain degree "man created man according to her( am i PC enough) own (mental) image".................

???

That's an interesting point. However, I don't think that modern humans evolved based on a conscious breeding program. As far as I know, there were no ancient practitioners of eugenics who guided ours species' progress.

satori
2007-Feb-09, 04:27 PM
Dr Nigel,
it is interresting that you felt the need of putting in the adverb "generally" in your statement...

However, when we humans choose a mate, we generally do not make the choice based on what characteristics we wish to pass to our offspring. We make the choice based on what appeals to us personally and emotionally. We also do not take multiple generations and apply the same selection criteria to successive generations of a population (which is what tends to happen in selective breeding programmes).

Dr Nigel
2007-Feb-09, 08:09 PM
Dr Nigel,
it is interresting that you felt the need of putting in the adverb "generally" in your statement...

Interesting? I always try to be interesting.

In fact, it was simply that I did not wish to make a universal generalisation and claim it to be true. I meant only to imply that there may be exceptions, but that I was unaware of them.

Fisherman
2007-Mar-10, 10:42 PM
The Spirits created a unique Solar system in the Milky Way galaxy it would be a different system from all others in the universe. The sole purpose for the creation of this solar system was to conduct an experiment on Free Will through unique life forms that would only exist on one planet and the Earth was chosen for this purpose. The Earth had to be replenished with many necessary elements and as a result the planet was bombard with asteroids rich in elements. (For example an asteroid rich in nickel can be found in mines in Sudbury Ontario Canada.) The Earth had to contain all the necessary ingredients to support all life forms these elements were necessary for creating life forms on the planet Earth.

The Spirits decided to create man on the planet Earth who would have similar abilities to those of the Spirits. But the difference in this world would be the existence of Free Will. Man had to be created from ingredients taken from the Earth, which binds him permanently to the Earth. When the Spirits created man they chose him to be the custodian responsible for the Earth.

Man (physical body) had to live on the Earth and would never be able to leave the planet Earth, his permanent home. When the Spirits created man on the planet he has to live in isolation from the rest of intelligent life in space. At the same time the Spirits had to be sure that man would never interfere with others intelligent life in space. Man was also given the power to think and create, man has the power and ability to change anything he wants on the planet Earth.

After the Earth collision with asteroids life on the planet was totally different from the dinosaur’s time as the climate had changed and every living thing had to be redesigned. The second creation was completely different from the first creation as the animals were not bulky as they were in the first creation. Every life that was created on the planet is interconnected as each and every creature depends on one another. Every single creature was important as the creations of each individual Spirit were intended to work in harmony. The balance in nature existed within this physical world and was formed over a long period of time.

Similarly we find that man has grown in his knowledge, inventing the first radio, television and computer. Man first created the tubes, which were then replaced with the transistors, which are used today in computer chips. The first computer was so large and slow that one computer occupied an entire floor of a large building. Yet those mammoth machines were the foundation for today’s modern computer. These electronic devises (tubes, transistors and chips) did they evolve or did man create them?
A single drop was separated from each Spirit, including the Free Will Spirits, and added to every human being. This became his or her soul. The soul observes and experiences every thought, desire, difficulty, pleasure and pain in the human body. All of these observations are then collected and then sent back to the Spirit father, who receives the experiences of the soul. The Spirits in the last 10,000 years have made many improvements on Earth as is evident in history, when humans first started to develop self-awareness. A soul was added to the humans as part of this very important experiment to allow future children of the Light Spirits or the Free Will Spirits to express their own Free Will on earth. Learning opportunity about good or evil was given to all souls, allowing everyone the chance to express themselves as they wished.
Man is blinded by his own arrogance in his belief that he is the most intelligent life form in all creation. Man should be reminded of his genetic roots and that he is only smarter than animals.
Scientists know that DNA share similarities in all life forms on Earth. Even a cabbage has about 40% of human genes. The Spirits used genetic material by adding or removing DNA to make every life form unique. The Creators just added only 2% different DNA to a primate and modern man was created to be responsible custodian on the planet Earth.. http://thelastmessenger.com

01101001
2007-Mar-10, 11:44 PM
The Spirits created a unique Solar system

This is a discussion forum for space and astronomy science.

Fisherman
2007-Mar-11, 06:38 AM
This is a discussion forum for space and astronomy science.

I believe question was “human’s origin.”
The answer is human are made from Earthly ingredients.
The second question should be for what purpose humans was created.

3rdvogon
2007-Mar-11, 11:28 AM
Interesting points. However, when we humans choose a mate, we generally do not make the choice based on what characteristics we wish to pass to our offspring. We make the choice based on what appeals to us personally and emotionally. We also do not take multiple generations and apply the same selection criteria to successive generations of a population (which is what tends to happen in selective breeding programmes).

Yes that has certainly been true for nearly all of human history. Of course earlier in the 20th century the idea that we should take some active decisions about which humans should breed and with whom. H G Wells and others supported this idea and of course it was becoming increasingly accepted by many thinkers in the 1920s an 1930s. It was only in the aftermath of what happened later in Germany that the whole scheme became largely discredited.

Of course today we view the idea of selectively breeding humans in order to improve them as a very crude solution. It is largely assumed that in future we will improve ourselves artificially down at the design level.

However that said I often wonder if earlier societies may have practised similar exercises. So many human societies in the past have tried to "keep women firmly in their place". Was this just simple selfish posession enshrined into law or was it a deliberate policy to control access to females and how they would breed.

01101001
2007-Mar-11, 10:25 PM
The Spirits created a unique Solar system
This is a discussion forum for space and astronomy science.


I believe question was “human’s origin.”
The answer is human are made from Earthly ingredients.
The second question should be for what purpose humans was created.

You've totally lost me.

Are "spirits" something other than supernatural beings in your usage? What do you mean?

Do you have any scientific evidence for the existence of these spirits that "created a unique solar system"?

Science, please.

Fisherman
2007-Mar-11, 11:40 PM
You've totally lost me.

Are "spirits" something other than supernatural beings in your usage? What do you mean?

Do you have any scientific evidence for the existence of these spirits that "created a unique solar system"?

Science, please.

Example;
When I decide to buy a car I will ask questions?
1) The maker of a car?
2) Quality of a car?
3) And why I need a car?
I believe we should ask the same questions about human’s origin, the world is too perfect to believe, “Evolution everything is made by themselves” and created universe, galaxies and humans without any plan and purpose, I do not believe in this kind theory. In my own life I have to plan even before commence any kind work and for what kind purpose will be, so ET’s or the Spirits also have to plan and have a purpose of their creations. (Science believes existence of an intelligent life exist in universe and calls it Extraterrestrials (ET) the same intelligent life spiritual people call it Spirits.)

01101001
2007-Mar-12, 12:05 AM
(Science believes existence of an intelligent life exist in universe and calls it Extraterrestrials (ET) the same intelligent life spiritual people call it Spirits.)

So when you say "The Spirits", are you referring to supernatural spirits? If so, please take your supernatural explanations elsewhere. The BAUT Forum is about astronomy and space science. This is not the place to push religious explanations.

Fisherman
2007-Mar-12, 02:48 AM
So when you say "The Spirits", are you referring to supernatural spirits? If so, please take your supernatural explanations elsewhere. The BAUT Forum is about astronomy and space science. This is not the place to push religious explanations.


You are wrong I do not refer to supernatural the spirits. Probably you believe that ET’s exist, the same intelligent life I call them the Spirits. How you call bread in English I will call the same bread in Italian but is always meant the same thing. I do not have problem what you believe, why you have problem what I believe. Why people have to fight and pushing own idea upon other people it is wrong. I like to be myself as I am and I do not follow anyone. If you like to share your ideas it’s OK if I can learn something I will be grateful.

01101001
2007-Mar-12, 04:05 AM
You are wrong I do not refer to supernatural the spirits. Probably you believe that ET’s exist, the same intelligent life I call them the Spirits. How you call bread in English I will call the same bread in Italian but is always meant the same thing. I do not have problem what you believe, why you have problem what I believe. Why people have to fight and pushing own idea upon other people it is wrong. I like to be myself as I am and I do not follow anyone. If you like to share your ideas it’s OK if I can learn something I will be grateful.

I'm asking you a question. You referred to "spirits". When you did, did you mean supernatural beings? Or did you mean extraterrestrial beings? I don't care about what you believe. I care about what you mean -- so that we can have a conversation without using words that mean different things to different people. Give me a straight answer, please.

Van Rijn
2007-Mar-12, 04:57 AM
I believe question was “human’s origin.”
The answer is human are made from Earthly ingredients.
The second question should be for what purpose humans was created.

In a discussion of science, the question should be: What is the scientific evidence that humans were created?

If you are also going to suggest an agency for that creation, then you would be expected to show the scientific evidence for that agency.

I'll note that the web page you linked to used the word "god" five places in four paragraphs. This certainly doesn't sound like a scientific argument.

Van Rijn
2007-Mar-12, 05:11 AM
You are wrong I do not refer to supernatural the spirits. Probably you believe that ET’s exist, the same intelligent life I call them the Spirits. How you call bread in English I will call the same bread in Italian but is always meant the same thing. I do not have problem what you believe, why you have problem what I believe.


I don't have a problem with what you do or don't believe. The issue is that, as I noted in another thread and 01101001 noted here, this is a board for discussions of science, not belief. Your arguments, however, appear to be based on belief, not science.

Fisherman
2007-Mar-12, 11:29 PM
I don't have a problem with what you do or don't believe. The issue is that, as I noted in another thread and 01101001 noted here, this is a board for discussions of science, not belief. Your arguments, however, appear to be based on belief, not science.

Science can’t write the truth in stone, because science is constantly in search to make better, and better the world, today’ the truth and tomorrow will be different the truth. I approach untraditional way to explains creation and use my own words and I do not repeat words of great minds. Science one day will recognize my visions and it is only way to solve mystery of the universe. My writings were in simple words yet you are not able to understand, because you still live and use principle from Darwinians time I think you should wake up and we will welcome you to 21st century.

Dr Nigel
2007-Mar-13, 09:02 AM
Science can’t write the truth in stone,

No-one ever claimed it did, except some who erect a "straw man" of science in order to demolish it.


because science is constantly in search to make better, and better the world, today’ the truth and tomorrow will be different the truth.

Of course. Everything in science is (in principle) provisional, because scientists all know that someone may come up with a better explanation one day. What point were you trying to make?


I approach untraditional way to explains creation

On the contrary, your "explanation" appears to be very, very traditional. To explain creation, you must first establish that "creation" actually happened. As far as I am aware, there is no evidence for a "creator" of humans (this thread concerns human origins, so I will limit myself to this topic). If you know of some evidence of which the rest of us are unaware, please share this evidence. If you cannot present evidence to support this view, then the view is not a scientific one.

Your point seems to be either faith-based or extremely speculative. What are your reasons for rejecting the preceding posts? And why do you feel that "spirits" represent a more convincing explanation than what has been presented previously in this thread?


...Science one day will recognize my visions

Only if you support your viewpoint with evidence.


and it is only way to solve mystery of the universe.

Actually, science seems to be doing a far better job than any previous attempt. What is the basis for this claim?


My writings were in simple words yet you are not able to understand,

Perhaps this is because you have refused to define your terms. "Spirits" sounds very supernatural, unless you are talking about alcohol. Why did you choose this word? Why do you insist it is equivalent to "extraterrestrial"? And why did you not simply use the term "extraterrestrial"?


because you still live and use principle from Darwinians time I think you should wake up and we will welcome you to 21st century.

There is so much wrong in this statement.

First, while Darwin was one of the greatest scientists ever to have put pen to paper, science has moved forward immensely since the 1850s. No modern scientist uses "principle from Darwinians time" as a basis for research.

Second, the old "wake up and join the 21st century" chestnut is (a) patronising and offensive, and (b) fundamentally meaningless. We are all in the 21st century. Some of us are aware of modern scientific techniques, which are able to provide incredibly detailed information about all sorts of aspects of the world in which we live. Why don't you do a bit of research on the web about modern science before you criticise it? For example, go to PubMed (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/entrez/query.fcgi?DB=pubmed) and search "DNA", or "sequence", or "signalling". Then spend a few weeks reading through the hits you will get (respectively, 900,000, 840,000 and a mere 29,000).

Dr Nigel
2007-Mar-13, 09:15 AM
Example;
When I decide to buy a car I will ask questions?
1) The maker of a car?
2) Quality of a car?
3) And why I need a car?

Well, since we already know that cars are built by people, how is this analogy relevant?


I believe we should ask the same questions about human’s origin,

Scientists have been asking questions about human origins for 200 years*. There is a convincing explanation that is supported by a huge amount of physical evidence (that we evolved from an ape-like ancestor). There is no physical evidence that contradicts this explanation.


the world is too perfect to believe, “Evolution everything is made by themselves” and created universe, galaxies and humans without any plan and purpose, I do not believe in this kind theory.

What makes you think the world is, in any way, perfect?

What evidence is there to support the idea of a plan or purpose?

And if there is a plan or purpose, why is there so much jury-rigged design in nature? And why is everything so clearly related? And yet how is there so much diversity?

ETA: The essence of good planning is simplicity. Why then is it that so much of nature appears to be complicated?

Evolution explains the origin of species, it is not a cosmological theory. Perhaps you refer to the Big Bang?

Again, if you propose that the universe was brought into being with a plan or purpose, on what evidence do you base this supposition?


In my own life I have to plan even before commence any kind work and for what kind purpose will be, so ET’s or the Spirits also have to plan and have a purpose of their creations.

Not a valid analogy. Some people start work without any kind of plan. Many people work without any great interest in the purpose of what they are doing.

You assume the existence of "ETs" or "spirits". What is the basis for this assumption?


(Science believes existence of an intelligent life exist in universe and calls it Extraterrestrials (ET)

Not so. There is no evidence to support the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. Science does not "believe" anything without evidence. Show us the evidence!


the same intelligent life spiritual people call it Spirits.)

Do they? I'm sure there are many people who consider themselves to be spiritual but who do not believe in multiple intelligent "spirits", nor consider any extraterrestrial intelligent agents to be necessary. Have you ever read anything about Buddhism?

* But note that scientists do not generally ask "how many miles has it done?".

Van Rijn
2007-Mar-13, 08:50 PM
Nicely said, Dr Nigel.

Fisherman, let us know if and when you have a scientific argument.

Dr Nigel
2007-Mar-14, 08:01 PM
Nicely said, Dr Nigel.



:)

Thank-you.

transreality
2007-Mar-14, 10:22 PM
I think the most important point about Punctuated Equilibria is that it contained the first proposal that the rate of evolutionary change can vary.

Another important point of PE is that it explains away the 'transitional forms' missing from the fossil record, that creationists and the like are always wondering about.

This is important particularly in the 'descent of man' type questions.

The rate of evolution is so fast during speciation events that transitional forms do not create stable species, and are merely individuals exibiting some variation. The numbers of these individuals is very low and their existance fleeting so statistically the chance of their recovery is effectively nil.

Dr Nigel
2007-Mar-15, 11:01 PM
Another important point of PE is that it explains away the 'transitional forms' missing from the fossil record, that creationists and the like are always wondering about.



Good point.

greenfeather
2007-Mar-24, 03:42 AM
In a discussion of science, the question should be: What is the scientific evidence that humans were created?


I think it's hilarious how everytime someone comes in spouting creationism, spiritism, Velikovskiism or anything else mystical or nonscientific.... a bunch of folks start demanding scientific proof.

You're not going to get it. I have long since given up on arguments of this type. it is like trying to argue which color is better, red or blue. Never the twain shall meet.

Dr Nigel
2007-Mar-24, 11:01 PM
I think it's hilarious how everytime someone comes in spouting creationism, spiritism, Velikovskiism or anything else mystical or nonscientific.... a bunch of folks start demanding scientific proof.

You're not going to get it. I have long since given up on arguments of this type. it is like trying to argue which color is better, red or blue. Never the twain shall meet.

Greenfeather, you may be right.

However, to those of us that have seen how powerful an investigative tool modern science can be, reality is always the ultimate arbiter of truth. Whenever someone makes a claim, or proposes an explanation for a phenomenon, the rest of us (especially on this scientific discussion board) will ask for a means by which to confirm that claim, or to test that explanation. The only universally-applicable means is to test it against reality. This is the process of science.

When it comes to questions about how the universe works, there is only one right answer. And, out of the many ways available to us of answering questions, science will always give us the closest approximation of that right answer.

This is why, whenever someone on BAUT forum makes an extraordinary claim, someone else will always say, "what is the evidence to support that?".

Noclevername
2007-Apr-11, 04:36 AM
I think we and all life are the robotic, ever-changing products of natural selection i.e. genetic evolution.


I agree with everything but the word "robotic". We humans have a little something extra in the interaction of all these blindly-evolved brain parts which allows us to generate ideas, something that doesn't fit with the clockwork view of life. We are creative; maybe that's what religion means when it says we are "made in the image" of the creator. Our unique (as far as we know) ability to do this, to add something new to the world that never before existed, may be a watershed in the development of life.

Dr Nigel
2007-Apr-11, 08:29 AM
We are not unique in being creative. Bonobos, chimps and Caledonian crows have also been observed to carry out activites that show creativity.

Noclevername
2007-May-10, 12:28 AM
Good point. Maybe the difference is one of degree, or perhaps we really do have something new. Are we just a form of super-ape, or is human sapience a thing unto itself? Unless anyone learns to read the mind of an animal, we may never truly know.

Dr Nigel
2007-May-10, 07:47 PM
If my understanding is correct, the scientific consensus is that we differ from other animals by degree rather than in any special way. We are more intelligent*, we are more adaptible, we make use of a wider range of tools, we use simple tools to make better tools.


*Although, note the wisdom of the sage and philosopher Douglas Adams: "Man had always considered hiself to be more intelligent than the dolphins because he had achieved so much: the wheel, New York, wars, and so on; while all the dolphins ever did was muck about in the water having a good time. Curiously enough, the dolphins considered themselves to be more intelligent than man for precisely the same reasons."