That darned science

13 Responses

  1. Yes, because science was invented in 1543 and no one suspected the earth went around the sun and science has disproved both God and unicorns.

  2. 1543 is when Copernicus made public his major work. And science hasn’t disproved anything. That isn’t its nature. However, it has made belief in gods and unicorns untenable. I only regret the latter.

  3. Because the Arabs hadn’t already supposed the sun at the middle…

    And science hasn’t made belief in God(s) untenable.

  4. They didn’t show their work well enough.

    Belief in God is equally tenable to belief in unicorns.

  5. Ha! Some of the Copernican diagrams are almost identical, right down to the letters used to note various features. Damn those arabs.

    Apparently belief in the commerce clause’s unlimited power is more untenable than either of those things. (neither of which, as I have said, have been made untenable by science)

  6. You necessarily believe in the inevitability of humans. Science has fully shown that nothing in evolution is inevitable. All you can do is merely declare that your god is superfluous. Or, just as correctly, you can declare that unicorns had a superfluous hand in evolution.

  7. This would be interesting if I wasn’t reading the Obamacare decision (193 pages, don’t these bastards know how to summarize?).

    I don’t maintain the inevitability of humans, I maintain it of complex creatures such as ourselves. I assume a creator, right or wrong, and give him responsibility for all the results. I’ve also always maintained that I am wrong about creation, just as everyone else is, including you.

    God, no God, big bang, string theory, the ass end of a black whole in a parallel universe, the only thing that is certain is that we have no idea.

  8. Okay, so you’re taking the Ken Miller route here. That’s especially fitting since you’re both Catholic. But you’re both still wrong. You are positing that intelligence is inevitable. It isn’t. Some things can be common in evolution, but nothing is a sure bet. So far the eye has been reproduced independently over 40 times. The same can’t be said of intelligence.

  9. It hasn’t? How, pray tell, do you know that? If life in as common in the universe as it is thought to likely be, and if the creation of life is as easy as it is thought to be, than why would you assume that intelligence is rare or singular? I have to assume, that intelligence, or consciousness more to the point, must be very common indeed, I go so far to say, inevitable.

    I don’t know what to call the route you take. Perhaps the “humans aren’t special but humans are special” route, which is completely devoid of any kind of logic.

    We are either special, or not so, you can’t have it both ways. I for one, kind of doubt we are, but feel free to presume otherwise.

  10. I’m going to expand on this tomorrow when I don’t need many hours of sleep, but my response is going to be this:

  11. I’m glad to have piqued your interest, but my argument is simply that with 13 billion years and change, plus all the requisite materials available for life (if life can even be fully defined) I find it hard to believe that much isn’t ultimately, if not previously inevitable.

    While I’m sure you have a close personal and romantic relationship with E. Coli, they pale in comparison to the statistical near inevitability of intelligent life arising (not once but over and over). Not to mention all of the other “higher” possibilities – life forms that would put us in the same order of magnitude with your germ friends.

    All that without even invoking a God or gods, add those in to your world- rather, universe view, and you take that next step above mere statistical inevitability.

    I never cared for biology, I found it boring, but I was/am pretty good at maths. It isn’t a rejection of biology, just my personal taste. I realize you have a significant edge on me then when it comes to biology, but I don’t know if we can argue much over numbers. Perhaps we are crossing wires on the definition of “inevitable”, though I can’t imagine but one definition for the word.

  12. The (ongoing) Lenski study linked above shows natural selection in action. A number of strains of E. coli have been reproducing for over 20 years now. A few of them have evolved the ability to utilize citrate+ as a food source while others have not. That’s interesting and all, but there’s bacteria that dines on toxic waste and modern nylon, so that isn’t all that amazing. The catch is that Lenski freezes each lineage after ~500 generations. That means he has the ability to go back and rerun the lines that evolved a new ability. What he has found is that three mutations were required for them to get where they are. However, the first mutation was neutral. It just happened to be there and happened to be maintained in some individuals. The second was essentially the same, though it may have had some very minor benefits. The third was the one that really mattered. That’s the one that gave the direct ability to digest citrate+. It was contingent on the other two, though. And given the parameters of natural selection and what it does, we know that there is no reason to expect that first, necessary mutation to remain in the population. In fact, in many of the reruns, Lenksi found that the mutation disappeared from the lineage. It was anything but inevitable. How could it be? What would maintain its inevitability?

    Your argument that there could be uncountable forms of life on uncountable planets does not mean any one thing is inevitable. It means the odds are simply higher for intelligent life to evolve. It also means the odds are simply higher for elephant trunks to evolve. But that doesn’t mean it has happened more than once, much less that it is inevitable.

  13. It means statistical inevitability even without God(s). One in a billion isn’t a big issue with quadrillions of chances.

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