OPEN DISCUSSION NOVEMBER 2019

Nov 1, 2019

This thread has been created for discussion on themes relevant to Reason and Science for which there are not currently any dedicated threads.

Please note it is NOT for general chat, and that our Comment Policy applies as usual. There is a link to this at the foot of the page.

If you would like to refer back to previous open discussion threads, the three most recent ones can be accessed via the links below (but please continue any discussions from them here rather than on the original threads):

OPEN DISCUSSION AUGUST 2019

OPEN DISCUSSION SEPTEMBER 2019

OPEN DISCUSSION OCTOBER 2019

26 comments on “OPEN DISCUSSION NOVEMBER 2019

  • The November open discussion thread is now open.

    If you wish to continue any of the discussions from earlier Open Discussion threads, please do so here rather than there.

    Thank you.

    The mods Report abuse

  • I’m perplexed by the increasing number of dental practitioners who cite a 1970’s American anthropologist called Cirrucini. He wrote in am American orthodontic journal where he described his anthropological observations of villagers, over 2-3 generations of aboriginal Indians, living in rural poverty, but with normal dental occlusions… his observations were to compare established villagers to those that had migrated to Indian cities (being in India and not the Americas). He noted those who left for cities would develop malocclusions, similar to the multi-generational citizens of the same cities, and within a short number of generations.

    His view was that malocclusions occurred due to small jaws… and he proposed that it was a soft diet, and smaller muscles, that was inducing in people the nature of small jaws and the resultant malocclusion. 

    There is an idea in orthodontics that dental crowding was not seen in Australian aborigines as they ate tough meat, like kangaroos. This idea was first proposed by Percy Raymond Begg (an Australian orthodontist) in the 1950’s as a reason for impacted wisdom teeth and geberal dental crowding. It also supposed that Australian aborigines were an ancient or primitive form of humans, and that modern civilised humans had naturally smaller jaws due to our modern soft diets.

    Both Cirrucini and Begg’s mixed explanations support that it is “recent” evolution that has caused the modern prevalence of small jaws.

    Theirs is a very frustrating argument to refute… especially as there are many peer reviewed writings that support the idea that “modern soft diets make jaws smaller or weaker or less developed”, and which leads to crowded teeth and small jaws, and the “western look” and this dental press seems to rationalise this belief of recent evolution as an argument towards supporting a vaguely defined science called “epigenetics”.

    But to me, these arguments are little more than Lamarkism… and are not Darwinian at all… not in the sense that Darwin discriminated between modern unnatural selection, being breeding… vs natural selection, being what I interpret to be the true meaning of natural genetics-based evolution.

    But these people scream they are not promoting Lamarkism… or effectively “adaptive design”.  They call their arguments “epigenetics”… whatever that means. Meaning there is no fixed scientific consensus or meaning to this word.

    I wonder if Professor Dawkins has any considered point of view on the debate of soft diet, supported by some mysterious scientific idea of epigenetics, as causal for small jaws… or if he considers that there is a more rational view of the incidence or evolutionary purpose or presence of small jaws…

    I propose that small jaws are caused by neoteny… which is more a paleo anthropological explanation… meaning that post agriculture human husbandry for traits of sexual neoteny leads to small jaws in western civilisation…

    I think anthropology and paleo-anthropology are two distinct fields. Paleo-anthropology being exceedingly scientific and true.

    Why I ask this mostly… is that dentistry, and particularly orthodontics, is dominated by conservative people who seem in the majority to be conservative religious folk… and it amazes me that a large number of dentists believe not only in Jesus and religion… but have a fundamental belief in creation… and modern anthropology seems bewitched or touched by a sense of Christian missionary to it.

    I note that a large number of dentists and orthodontists, suggest that epigenetics is a rational science that supports that recent human evolution is possible… in that genetics can be modified and inherited in a couple or few generations, of fundamental anatomical traits… viz soft diet induces chemical changes, that affects genetic transcription that can be inherited in one or two generations, therefore being a scientifically sound explanation for small jaws arising in post industrial western society. 

    I note that there are also many universities in the US that are proud of their conservative and religious origins… and I wonder if a number of dental schools there do not themselves promote epigenetics research as an alternative to pure genetics or evolution research… and that these fringe sciences essentially “publish” a revised form of Lamarkism and recent evolution as a means of further supporting their belief that earth is only 6000 years old or so.

    But there is increasingly so much of this… pseudoscience… creeping in… and replacing logic, or good sense.

    It is stealing the idea of Darwin away from university science… into areas of areas of  fringe science such as dentistry or orthodontic research.

    It seems… almost… conspiratorial… and I apologise for writing these views if it so appears.

  • His view was that malocclusions occurred due to small jaws… and he proposed that it was a soft diet, and smaller muscles, that was inducing in people the nature of small jaws and the resultant malocclusion.
    There is an idea in orthodontics that dental crowding was not seen in Australian aborigines as they ate tough meat, like kangaroos. This idea was first proposed by Percy Raymond Begg (an Australian orthodontist) in the 1950’s as a reason for impacted wisdom teeth and geberal dental crowding. It also supposed that Australian aborigines were an ancient or primitive form of humans, and that modern civilised humans had naturally smaller jaws due to our modern soft diets.
    Both Cirrucini and Begg’s mixed explanations support that it is “recent” evolution that has caused the modern prevalence of small jaws.

     

    So you are thinking that their migration being quickly followed by smaller jaws in the subsequent generations is to do with breeding with the new native small-jaw population (unnatural selection), and NOT diet-adaptive lamarkian epigenetics or short-term fast evolution.

    I had always previously thought that the people exploring or researching this topic were claiming that not-exercising the jaw or facial muscles lead to stunted muscle and bone development, like a failure to reach full potential/failure to reach full (epigenetic) expression of developmental and growth genes. But from what you are saying this is a bigger story about (i) people confusing lamarkism with epigenetics, (ii) a common (and probably self-propagating) culture of conservative religiousness in dentists who operate at some interface of science and practical implementation, and finally (iii) of researchers seeing a phenomenon happen in human populations and then assuming the causes for it and leaving it at that. Like you said- one can’t propose any valuable conclusions or theories until there are cause-effect studies! That is a running theme in nutrition science as well. Much theory, a lot of personal bias-driven dogma, and a lack of hard causal proof, or even reliable data/data processing. But when a relatively small community of professionals are discussing and publishing ideas within their given area (one which might have already evolved into a value-based echochamber), it’s rare that ideas are challenged appropriately.
     

  • I think the ideas and persuasions surrounding how a soft diet leads to small jaws are very elaborate.

    The first difficulty with the ideas they propose is in understanding when a small jaw starts.

    Children naturally have small jaws of course… in a practical sense,  small jaws only become apparent as crowded adult teeth erupt. So the soft diet, or lack of jaw exercise must be existing for some time prior to adult or paediatric dental development; in order to eventually express as a small adult or adolescent jaw…

    This means the soft diet event occurred before the baby teeth even erupted … the implication being that the small jaws develop from a soft diet during the neonatal period… which of course is entirely & naturally a milk based or purée period anyway.

    The second major problem… is that the Ciruccuni or Begg argument that a normally tough or paleolithic diet would have lead to a normal sized jaw… means, if true, that if you had Shitzu puppies (which are bred to have undersized jaws), and fed them bones and tough meat from birth… then they would develop normal jaws… which is I think… very hard to believe.

    it also means that all you need to do is to rub your poodle puppy ragged… and all that exercise will turn it into a Great Dane.

    The counter argument by the supporters of Cirrucini is that it is a soft diet in the adult… that epigenetically induces a change in the ovum DNA that then expresses itself as small jaws in the direct and third generation offspring…  but there is no scientific epigenetic studies that support that idea… just extrapolative statements from vague sources… and just an approximately1980 paper by Cirrucini that documents the anthropological observations he made in rural-to-city Indian people of small jaw transition.

    Anyway… these issues I raise seem academic or benign anyway… unless you consider that there are innumerable small children and naive parents… who may find themselves being dentally treated by those who believe this nonsense… and have teeth removed, and wear growth inducing splints, or have treatments that are based on these ideas. All without any fundamental scientifically sound therapeutic effect.

    And the worst thing is… the “echochamber” phenomenon you so eloquently coined… means that there is both suppression of real investigative science as to discovery of real epidemiology or causation of small jaws… or crowded teeth or bad bites…

    and worse of all

    There is a seeming entrenchment of legitimacy, at least in dental or orthodontic science, in this absolutely spurious notion of anti-Darwin epigenetic BS… little better than a reinvented Lamarckism.

     

  • After reading the above thread, I think we place too much value on primary research. There are two basic issues with evolution, that stunts sciences ability to use objective reason and progress: 1. Evolution is treated as scientific law, even though it is still only a theory. 2. People who call themselves scientists have turned this argument into a religious dogma for atheism. Just these two observations create a bias built into the system. Until people can acknowledge that the theory itself may flawed, or incorrect, you will never be able to see beyond the limits of your own biases.  Any intellectual or philosophical debate about human development is moot. To consolidate my point, an interesting study about how research becomes flawed, as is published below: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1182327/

  • DrWilliam # 5:  First of all, I urge you to realize that when scientists use the word “theory,” the meaning of the word is not “hypothesis.”  A simple search of “Scientific theory” yields the following:  “A scientific theory is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaulation of results.  … Established scientific theories have withstood rigorous scrutiny and embody scientific knowledge.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scientific_theory).

    Secondly, atheism is not a religion.  I consider myself an atheist because I find no evidence – none whatsoever – that anything supernatural exists.  There are no gods, angles, ghosts, Santa Claus, Easter bunny, et. cet.    

    Thirdly, the theory of evolution is not flawed or incorrect.  Although it may be refined from time to time, it is the best scientific explanation for life.  In support of this statement, I would refer you to a discussion between Professor Dawkins and George Coyne, S.J. (https://video.search.yahoo.com/yhs/search?fr=yhs-itm-001&hsimp=yhs-001&hspart=itm&p=Dawkins+Coyne#id=1&vid=72cde02c2bb498e4d82fc2effae673ef&action=click),  Professor Coyne had recently retired as director of the Vatican Observatory and head of the observatory’s research group (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Coyne).  In my opinion, for what it’s worth, both Professor Dawkins, and Professor Coyne, are knowledgeable experts from whom we can learn and on whose opinions we can rely.       

  • You start by saying there are 2, 2! basic, basic! issues with evolution, and then go on to say nothing at all about evolution.

    Perhaps you’d like to take issue with something specific from the actual theory of evolution.  You might consider finding fault with at least 1 of the evidences used to support the theory.

    We know there are problems with research.  Everyone starts with that assumption.  All sciences have research issues.  I have a professor who claims that when he ran the experiments of a prominent scientist –Nobel winner– the results were different, his mentor made similar claims and has been feuding with the leading scientist for years.  Science is messy.  It is not the cute little method we were taught as youngsters.

    So, to be taken seriously after claiming evolution has issues, you need to demonstrate that you know more than that science in general has issues, and instead define problems with some specific research from evolution.

    Give us the issues!

     

     

     

      Report abuse

  •  I think we place too much value on primary research. There are two basic issues with evolution, that stunts sciences ability to use objective reason and progress: 1. Evolution is treated as scientific law, even though it is still only a theory. 2. People who call themselves scientists have turned this argument into a religious dogma for atheism.

    Dear Dr William. Respectfully.

    My post was to elucidate that some university faculties… use the emperium and general world community expectation… that science, and peer review… is scientific, and without a personal bias that is neither atheistic or religious.

    My view… my opinion… is that these University faculties, and supported by specifically religiously-aligned  segments of professional groups as a whole, are very deliberately skewing a promotion of science… and calling it science… even publishing as science… to push a religious fundamentalism of alternate-Darwin rhetoric.

    There are medical professionals who fundamentally do not believe in evolution. Who do not believe in the very fundamentals of Darwin’s ideas… and this lack of fundamental scientific belief, stunts their capacity to practice or research the effective science of medicine. And these beliefs define treatments, and dangerously expose the broad community base to the release of irrational treatments that are given currency by creation-leaning pseudo-scientific publication…

    In dentistry, a different profession, there is also this very real widespread belief that all modern human evolution… that traits that exists between human races, is all due to recent human evolution… underpinned by epigenetics… and that it has all occurred within 8,000 years since god created Adam and Eve. This belief exists popularly amongst dentists, and in particular orthodontics…

    but not all orthodontists… and not all dentists.

    i say this because I exist in both professions… I am both a medical doctor and a dentist…  and I meet doctors who say they do not believe in evolution… and I meet dentists who say they do not fundamentally believe in Darwinian evolution…

    and I meet orthodontists who do not believe in evolution… and I am personally amazed that many more orthodontists do not believe in Darwinian evolution at all.

    I am saying that many orthodontists believe in recent evolution… and they believe in an idea of epigenetics… and they believe a version of how life can differentiate in just a few thousand years… which was also once called Lamarckism. although they have never heard of Lamarck.

    I am saying that two prominent university based professional groups (modern anthropology and orthodontics) are thus divided into evolutionists… based on a Watson & Crick idea of DNA… and epigeneticists… which is based on… nothing that I can find… and both equally publish these alternate doctrines in scientific press…

    they are orthodontic … and modern anthropological publications.

    Not all orthodontists or anthropologists think in terms of epigeneticists… but the viewpoint of these alternate non-Darwin groups influence how the more Darwinian evolutionary models are interpreted… These people are all in the same room… they are all arguing simultaneously.

    the echochamber effect.

    thus epigenetics is somehow believed to actually exist… or there is such a variety of descriptions of the term, that one may use the word one way… for instance legitimately to describe cellular activities that acts outside of or secondary to the primary genomic activity… and then to use this fundamental term and twist it to support modern evolution… for instance saying  “epigenetics” is inheritable and defined by recent ancestral behaviours and thus explanatory of how humans can quickly and fundamentally evolve differences.

    so in this echochamber… a peculiar symbiotic and undefinable cohesion of ideas occurs…

    An interesting reflection of what I am saying of this widespread conflict of professional ideas, is found in this review by Proffit and Ackerman (who are very reputable American orthodontists) reviewing a book by an orthodontist and modern anthropologist.

    https://www.toportho.org/think-pieces/jaws-dr-proffit-and-dr-ackerman-review-a-sensationalist-book

    epigenticists believe that small jaws are due to an epigenrically inherited trait defined by eating soft foods since civilisation… and they promote eating heavy grains to promote jaw growth and using orthodontic splints to grow epigentically acquired small jaws.

    evolutionisrs believe that small jaws are primarily genetic and it supports removing teeth and placing braces or performing corrective jaw surgery. being that the genetics cannot be influenced at all by behavioural or therapeutic change.

    the difference of ideas affects how neonates with small jaws may eventually develop life threatening sleep apnoea.

    So Dr William. Respectfully. What is your background and what is your point of view?

    Is a fundamental belief in creation, fundamentally defining how professional university based science… is being defined?

    and do you think this fundamental error creep of creationist ideals into university based professional science may negatively affect the health of all of us?

     

     

  • 1) DrWilliam: The theory of evolution as proposed by Charles Darwin emerged as a theory and he had some clues about: how does it work?, now science has answered that question, it has uncovered the hidden mechanisms inside our bodies that can explain astonishing transformations and the origin of all species. Evolution is a fact, more reading and studying is needed to understand it, I recommend you to do so.

    2) Going back to the topic of this month, I agree with Paul Coceancig that world-wide in all dental schools, and Orthodontic post-graduate courses it is taught that the jaws of Homo Sapiens have suffered a decrease in their size due to the industrialization, softening of foods or even the invention of fire or cooking, based in some “research” and some ideas made by some antrhopologists like Corruccini, and even the paleoantrhopologist Daniel Lieberman who sees a direct relationship in between the cooking of food, the invention of fire and the decrease in our Jaw Size. I am going to say a fact: The ancestors of all of the 7.6 Billion of Homo Sapiens who inhabit Earth invented fire, this means that 100% of the 7.6 Billion of our species were exposed to the invention of fire… this would mean that 100% of us should have some kind of decrease in our jaw size…. and this is not true, otherwise 100% of the world-population would have wisdom teeth impacted, dental crowding and malocclusions, so fire is not the cause of the decrease in size of our jaws, the only fact about fire is that it helped Homo Sapiens 200,000 years ago to chew easier and digest better raw meat irrespectively of their jaw size period.

    Direct evidence of genetic control can be seen in the remarkable similarity of the facial proportions and jaws of identical twins, in whom minor deviations in jaw width appear in a mirror image. It also is seen in the large but internally-consistent differences between aboriginal groups. Examples are the large and protrusive mandibles of Melanesian islanders, which have not changed although their diet has; the same is true for the X-occlusion (buccal crossbite) of Australian aboriginals. In short, even if you conclude that dental crowding is largely due to environmental influences, there is good evidence of genetic influence on both jaw size and jaw relationships.

    We have to understand that breeding also has occurred in Homo Sapiens and this breeding has made a mixed of genes, and traits. And if this particular trait (small jaw) is sexually successful enough will be passed to future generations irrespectively of the toughness of the food they eat.

      Report abuse

  • DrWilliam says:
    After reading the above thread, I think we place too much value on primary research. There are two basic issues with evolution, that stunts sciences ability to use objective reason and progress:

    The primary research on evolution is, and has been,  published in tens of thousands of peer-reviewed science papers in numerous scientific journals during the last 150 years!

    https://www.omicsonline.org/evolutionary-biology-journals-conferences-list.php

    As per available reports about 148 journals, 86 Conferences, 42 workshops are presently dedicated exclusively to Evolutionary Biology and about 21,876 articles are being published on the current trends in Evolutionary Biology.

    The people publishing in scientific journals are certainly NOT amateur ideologists or some internet clique, “calling themselves scientists”!  They are high-level working biologists and geneticists!

    1. Evolution is treated as scientific law, even though it is still only a theory.

    That on-going evolution happens as an observable fact, is established beyond all reasonable doubt, and is the central feature of modern biology and genetics.

    https://www.livescience.com/21491-what-is-a-scientific-theory-definition-of-theory.html

    If enough evidence accumulates to support a hypothesis, it moves to the next step — known as a theory — in the scientific method and becomes accepted as a valid explanation of a phenomenon. . . . .  . . . a scientific theory is the framework for observations and facts. Theories may change, or the way that they are interpreted may change, but the facts themselves don’t change.

    The claim that scientific theories “are only a theory”, makes no statement on the subject, other than to show that the claimant is using the vernacular definition of “theory”, does not know what as scientific theory is!

    2. People who call themselves scientists have turned this argument into a religious dogma for atheism.

    If science debunks religious claims, that simply shows that the religious claims are not consistent with reality.

    The people publishing in scientific journals are certainly NOT amateur ideologists “calling themselves scientists”!  They are high-level working biologists and geneticists who use rigorous scientific methods!

    ” Objective reasoning” from evidence, is a PROCESS of scientific methodology.

    It is not a self awarded badge which can be stuck as a label on to self-deluding personal opinions, based on indoctrinated preconceptions.

    Claims that science is some sort of atheist conspiracy, or that science which debunks someone’s personal religions  notions, is some sort of “religious dogma”, is simply a psychological projection of their own unevidenced religious thinking from doctrinaire preconceptions, on to scientists.

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Psychological_projection

    Projection is the psychological phenomenon where someone denies some aspect of their behavior or attitudes and assumes instead that others are doing or thinking so.

    Another common forum for projection is in internet arguments, where it is usually pathetically obvious to everyone except the projector.[2] In that context, the phenomenon may be called mirror-imaging.

    Science follows the evidence to rational conclusions, whereas religion starts from dogmatic preconceptions,  thinking in circles asserting “faith” in those preconceptions and concocting apologetics, –  mentally blocking out, disparaging,  or disputing, the  evidence which challenges them.

  • What annoys me with the religious “evolution is wrong” is that they don’t offer an alternative explanation (besides “god did it”). Sure, current evolutionary science could be wrong (spoiler: it’s not) but it is the best explanation we have. IF you figure out a better explanation, that answers all the questions that the current science answers AND other un-solved problems as well, THEN we can talk about replacing the current theory. Until then, go away. Report abuse

  • Hi Team,

    I do see repeatedly said that only a creator could produce a protein because the probability of the correct chain of amino acids forming a protein is something like 10^164. And there are many proteins. The probability is so ridiculously low that it makes such an occurrence virtually impossible.

    Its been likened the likelyhood of a car being assembled as a tornado passes through a junk yard.

    What is the probability of a a protein being created in the lifetime of the earth? And how does science explain the creation of a protein if it is so improbable?

    Or do we just have to accept it is as it is?

    Thank for any insight.

    JD Report abuse

  • JayDee #12. “What is the probability of a a protein being created in the lifetime of the earth? And how does science explain the creation of a protein if it is so improbable? … Or do we just have to accept it is as it is?”

     
    My understanding is that one of the mysteries left to be solved is how organic matter arose from inorganic matter. I’m willing to bet a dollar to a hole in a donut that when the answer is discovered, it will be a natural solution.  We will have no need of a god of the gaps hypothesis. I think it’s a safe prediction that a supernatural wizard will never be found. Report abuse

  • Centauri says:

    Just because something is unlikely, it doesn’t mean that a highly, highly, highly unlikely supernatural fairy in the sky made it happen.

    It does not even seem unlikely!

    Just because some incredulous people have discovered that geological timescales and marine biology involve big numbers, that does not entitle them to cherry pick one side of an equation, make up some numbers for it, and ignore all the other factors involved in the calculations which they are too incompetent to even recognise or measure.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_microorganism
    . . . . microorganisms in the oceans include viruses, prokaryotes (Bacteria and Archaea), and protists.
    Bacteria and viruses are the most abundant, with a teaspoon (~5 mL) of seawater containing between about 1 million to 5 million bacteria, and 5 and 50 million viruses.

    I think that anyone competent in marine biology would question the ability of evolution denying creationists to

    a.) calculate the number of micro-organisms in the global oceans at various times.
    b.) calculate the number of generations of replication copying in those global oceans during  2 to 3 billion years of single cell and virus evolution.
    c.) calculate the number of mutations or horizontal exchanges of genetic material, during those 2 to 3 billion years before multicellular life evolved!

    BTW. Once land was colonised, there are similarly high levels of bacteria density in soils.

    Once the early stages following abiogenesis progress as far as LUCA, the evidence is even clearer!

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marine_microorganism
    Microorganisms are very diverse. They can be single-celled[1] or multicellular and include all bacteria and archaea and most protozoa, as well as some species of fungi, algae, and certain microscopic animals, such as rotifers
    In July 2016, scientists reported identifying a set of 355 genes from the last universal common ancestor (LUCA) of all life, including microorganisms, living on Earth.

  • Jay Dee

     

    We have not understood the protein solution space at all well until the recent research work of Professor Andreas Wagner and his team in Switzerland. We used to think proteins were unique in their capacities. Rhodopsin is the photosensitive protein in retinas, say. But because we now understand that microbiology at this level is better explained in terms of nanomachinery, that proteins comprise holding plates and sockets, chopper blades on springs powered by heat, we can see that there are millions of similar physical arrangements in proteins that may serve the same function, sometimes better, sometimes worse. Further this richness of the solution space is spread across its entirety and because of the laws of physical chemistry are organised in crossing paths. This greatly increases the chances of a fruitful encounter from where an existing  protein happens to be. Further still these pathways explain why pleiotropic (multifunction) genes can evolve with low risk, preserving functions whilst improving or creating others.

    “Arrival of the Fittest” Andreas Wagner, for more details.

    The other thing to understand is how proteins seem to have evolved in an hypothesis called RNA World. In this RNA is both the recipe for itself but also the functional material like the protein, unlike the later DNA/protein teamwork.

    RNA can exist in tiny fragments dependent on other sometimes bigger fragments for its reproduction. The size of these fragments (quite unlike the cells packing DNA) is not well defined at all and the viability because of this poorly governed entity was marginal. Mutations were orders of magnitude higher and viability much lower. Simulations show that they developed a trick, using the tiny fragments to help enhance the viability of the bigger raggedy entities. Evolving simple functional elements, the survivors of which can co-opt different survivors transforms the ease with which complexity can rapidly accrue.

    The model of the junkyard random assembly of a functional protein is false in very many ways. Even if it happened what would it do and why? How would it do it again? The evolution of the precursor fabricating machinery and need is what this image fails to address. Report abuse

  • My pleasure, Michael. I really do think his team’s work is profound.

    If Intelligent Designers had any sense they would switch tack from Irreducible Complexity and instead double down on the designed-ness of physics for life…. puddles fit the holes they are in. But they never will.

    What is often forgotten is that there is s period linking abiogenesis (that may well involve an emergent chemical evolution of sorts) to LUCA , the last (identifiable) universal common ancestor. “Identifiable” is an important understanding here. Only once there is the neat and defined lipid package carrying that fixed recipe of DNA, can we even talk about a specific evolutionary heritage. But that doesn’t mean evolutionary processes didn’t occur in that transition.

    There are few good popular books in this area yet. I’m about to read/review “Life from an RNA World,” by Professor Michael Yarus. It is now 8 years old and possibly in need of an update. The simulation work on RNA I described was from various papers from around that time .I’ll keep you posted. Report abuse

  • There was an interesting item in the Apple news application this morning, from Daily Mail about the Pope of Rome. The story, written by Amelia Wynne, claims:

    “Eugenio Scalfari, 95, a frequent papal interviewer, said his long-term friend Pope Francis does not believe a key Catholic doctrine that Jesus returned in the flesh after his crucifixion. … The bombshell claims were on the front page of Italy’s La Repubblica this week, which Scalfari founded, as well as the introduction of his new book.”

    When I read the  story, my thought was that if it’s true (the Vatican issued a denial), than it’s a significant and welcome indication of secularization.  If the Pope himself can’t accept a core doctrine of the religion, why should people continue their membership?  If that portion of the creed can be taken cum grano salis, what other doctrines are open to question?  It’s time that the articles of faith are finally be seen for what they really are — prescientific myth!

     
    Maybe his holiness should be introduced to the clergy project. Report abuse

  • Michael 100 says:

    from Daily Mail about the Pope of Rome. (the Vatican issued a denial),

    I would not take ANYTHING seriously which is claimed to be news in the Daily mail Michael!

    https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Daily_Mail

    The Daily Mail is to the UK what the New York Post is to the United States, and what the Drudge Report is to the Internet: to wit, gossipy tabloid “journalism” for those who cannot digest serious news, with a flippantly wingnut editorial stance.

      Report abuse

  • Thanks Alan. I mentioned the source specifically so that if it was not credible, someone would say something. I see the Daily Mail from time to time on Apple News, but this is the first headline that caught my eye.  I won’t make the same mistake twice!! Report abuse

  • There’s something I’d very much like an answer from Dr. Dawkins as he’s a scientist and an atheist. I’m IRreligious and consider ALL religion as nonsense. However, I dobelieve that Jesus was the wisest man and scientist that ever lived in the history of the world and the definition of God attributed to him in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, verse 24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in tr Report abuse

  • There’s something I’d very much like an answer from Dr. Dawkins as he’s a scientist and an atheist. I’m IRreligious and consider ALL religion as nonsense. However, I dobelieve that Jesus was the wisest man and scientist that ever lived in the history of the world and the definition of God attributed to him in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, verse 24: God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must….. Some devotees to science and reason you lot are! And I’m IRreligious! Bah! Report abuse

  • Hi, Lloyd. Welcome.

     

    “God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”

    John 4:24 KJV

    What do you take this to mean? Particularly “worship him” “in spirit” and “in truth”?

    Assume I am a scientist also. How am I like Jesus in this regard? Report abuse

  • Lloyd Dettering says:

    I’m IRreligious and consider ALL religion as nonsense.

    So why would you believe a book of mythology written decades or centuries after the supposed events it claims to narrate?

    However, I do believe that Jesus was the wisest man and scientist that ever lived in the history of the world and the definition of God attributed to him in the Gospel of John, Chapter 4, verse 24: God is a Spirit:

    Bear in mind that apart from stories from the mythology of the New Testaments, as edited by the Roman bishops in the 4th. century, there is barely any evidence of a character by the name of Jesus even existing! –  Let alone any accounts of anything he supposedly said or did.

    The various dogmas, doctrines, and versions of the gospels,  were decided by Roman bishops at  Nicaea in 325 AD and 339 or 340 AD.

    There is an article on this link in “US Catholic” magazine, on ” Who decided which books made it into the Bible!.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Athanasius_of_Alexandria

    Athanasius’ career. In 325, at the age of 27, Athanasius began his leading role against the Arians as a deacon and assistant to Bishop Alexander of Alexandria during the First Council of Nicaea. Roman emperor Constantine the Great had convened the council in May–August 325 to address the Arian position that the Son of God, Jesus of Nazareth, is of a distinct substance from the Father.

    While there are many misconceptions which have been circulated by wishful thinking preachers, most competent  theologians do not dispute the history.

    https://www.uscatholic.org/church/2012/03/who-decided-which-books-made-it-bible

    For all of these reasons, Athanasius was invested in settling the canon of scripture: which books might be counted as the “Word of God”—and which, at best, were just good words.
    It would have been helpful to him if the apostles had sat down one dull night in the first century and decided this themselves: “Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are in. Gospels of Thomas and Judas—out!”
    It would also have been impossible, since many New Testament texts weren’t written until after that first generation of church leaders had died.

    http://gnosis.org/library/marygosp.htm

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_of_Judas

    https://www.livescience.com/28506-gospel-judas-ink-authenticity.html

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_Dead_Sea_Scrolls

    http://gnosis.org/naghamm/nhl.html

    I hopes this helps to clear up any misunderstandings.

  • Lloyd Dettering # 23.  You write that you “… believe that Jesus was the wisest man and scientist that ever lived in the history of the world…”  You are certainly entitled to believe what you want, but, since you stated it here, would you be so kind as to explain the basis of that belief. 

    Assuming for the sake of argument that Jesus was a real person, how does he qualify as a wise scientist?  Can you point to a single scientific pronouncement made by him, or attributed to him?  Did he explain that the sun is the center of the solar system, and the solar system is a part of a galaxy, and our galaxy is a part of a vast cosmos?  Did Jesus explain the origin of species, or the process of evolution?  Did Jesus explain that disease is caused by germs and viruses, or was it his opinion that disease could be cured by casting out demons and the laying on of hands – is that scientific?  Did Jesus propound one mathematical theorem?
     

    I don’t mean to be insulting to you, but if you have some reason to believe that Jesus was a wise scientist – the wisest in the history of the world, please share it with us because up to now it has escaped my notice. Report abuse

Leave a Reply

View our comment policy.