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How would atheists respond to this?

    Phizzy posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 08:05:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 12/17/2011

    Aren't there some people who style themselves Christian Atheists ?

    They would sing from any old hymn sheet I guess.

    bohm posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 08:35:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 4106 of 5474
    Joined 5/12/2009

    BTS:

    "Junk DNA" is a bad argument. The more time goes by, the more evidence emerges that noncoding DNA isn't junk. Organisms move towards greater energy efficiency when possible--that is why we see cave fish, otherwise the same as their above ground cousins, lose their eyes. It improves survival fitness. Why maintain a system you don't need?

    There is a high evolutionary price in terms of energy to pay for data storage and calculation, and these noncoding regions contain libraries' worth of information that must be maintained and replicated.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Landauer's_principle

    If it is truly junk, it isn't neutral, it is a hindrance. Evolution would presumably select against it.

    Who says evolution does not select against it?

    If you want to argue against "junk dna" you need to argue against what the term actually mean and not how creationists like to define it. It was introduced in the early 70s by dr. Ohno, who observed that a calculation in population genetics showed that there was an upper bound on how much of the DNAs function could be dependent on its sequence at some mutation rate. The size of the human genomen far exeeded that limit and thus dr. Ohno concluded that the exact sequence of amino acids is irrelevant in a large part of our genomen. full stop, that is junk dna: a part of the DNA where the exact code is not relevant.

    That does not mean it is irrelevant (it may have a structural or other function), but it does not alter the conclusion: the sequence cannot matter because the sequence cannot be conserved, and that is called junk dna.

    Nature, ofcourse, select against junk DNA but it does so very inefficiently because of the low cost. Your application of Landaus principle seem irrelevant once you realize that boltzmanns constant is in the order of 10E-23 J/K(IIRC), assuming T =10^2, you get a cost of 10^-21 -- exactly how is this biologically relevant?

    For bacteria the cost is not neglible because replication is about the only thing they do and they select harder for a lower genomen size, incidently they also have a smaller genomen than humans.

    cofty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 10:27:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 3019 of 11681
    Joined 12/19/2009

    BTS - If non-coding DNA is functional why do organisms much simpler than ourselves have larger genomes?

    The onion Alium altyncolicum has double the DNA we do and a very similar species of onion Alium ursinum has TEN times as much.

    Why do these two species of onion require such different amounts of DNA from each other and why do they both need more DNA than a human?

    We actually know exactly what 60% of our DNA is for.

    1.5% codes for proteins

    4% is regulatory DNA

    10% is structural DNA - centromeres and telomers which compensate for a substandard copying mechanism

    21% are LINEs Long Interspersed Nuclear Elements (parasitic)

    13% are SINEs Short Interspersed Nuclear Elements (parasitic)

    8% are ERVs Endogenous RetroViruses (parasitic)

    3% are DNA Transposons (jumping genes, also parasitic)

    That gives us 45% of our genome that we know for certain is parasitic - it is JUNK. The remaining 40% is currently unknown.

    There is no mechanism to remove junk DNA from our genome although one species of fish, the Fugu sesm to have learned how. It has the leanest meanest genome we know of, just 390 mb (mega bases) compared to our 3300 mb. It appears to have learned the trick of removing junk DNA from its genome.

    Don't be shy about using the term "Junk DNA" it is an accurate description of at least 45% of our genome with a further 40% up for grabs.

    M OnTheWayOut posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 13:32:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 15217 of 17800
    Joined 9/8/2006

    Best answers are from Qcmbr and Bohm on page 1.

    NewChapter posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 13:35:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 7288 of 11880
    Joined 1/25/2011

    Chit! It was a competition? That's okay. When it comes to gentics, I know what I know, but I'm still new to it, and so expressing it is a real problem. I'll go about my crushed way now---a little battered---but ever wiser.

    cofty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 13:42:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 12/19/2009

    Yeah I thought I did quite well too.

    NewChapter posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 13:44:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 1/25/2011

    LOL----and you did. I'm watching and learning----no pressure.

    cofty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 13:47:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 12/19/2009

    phew thanks - ego recovering gradually

    Knowsnothing posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:48:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 3/2/2011

    Something being awesome does not prove the existence of a designer. Such a designer would have to be billions of times more complex than their design---yet where did the designer come from? - NC

    I see this argument used many times. The only thing complexity in nature proves is that nature, most likely, could not have come either by chance, or by gradual complexity. Therefore, when one get's to that position and realises someone or something must have interfered in order for things to work (a designer), then it only get's you to that point. A designer. No one is saying where the designer came from. Perhaps the designer is self-contained.

    As one continues to analyze natural properties, there is a basis or axiom from which one derives all hypothesis and observations. At some point, we all say, "that's just the way it is." Maybe, with the designer, that's just the way it is. Maybe he need no one to create him. But the universe, as observed, needed someone to put in all the laws. The universe, as we know, could not simply come about on its own.

    So, DNA contains 3 billion pieces of information. "Junk DNA" aside, why is there even information to begin with? And honestly, are you arguing that DNA does not need "decoding"?

    M besty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:50:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    sometimes I observe the choice of username to be unwittingly apt

    Knowsnothing posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:55:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Well betsy, no one can really claim to KNOW anything. We are always learning and I am certainly open to learn more. If you easily knock down my arguments, fine. It benefits all. It benefits me in that I can start to see the flaws in my logic. It is placed on an open forum where others can see my flaws as well and perhaps learn from them. It benefits the arguer in sharpening their rhetoric.

    Believe me, my username was chosen with all the unwitting wit available.

    cofty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 14:56:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 3027 of 11681
    Joined 12/19/2009
    someone or something must have interfered in order for things to work (a designer), then it only get's you to that point.

    Why?

    the universe, as observed, needed someone to put in all the laws. The universe, as we know, could not simply come about on its own.

    Why not?

    Knowsnothing posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:01:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 3/2/2011
    someone or something must have interfered in order for things to work (a designer), then it only get's you to that point.
    Why?

    Why the exact laws of physics, for example? Perhaps for me it is difficult to see that the universe simply has these laws? Especially from a random explosion.

    the universe, as observed, needed someone to put in all the laws. The universe, as we know, could not simply come about on its own.

    Why not?

    Because, as far as we know, there was nothing and then there was something. Unless you want to get into m-theory, which is really theoretical, abstract, and so far has no concrete evidence. So, matter simply came with these properties (point of melting, chemical reactions, gravitational pull, etc.?)

    cofty posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:08:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    You are arguing from personal incredulity. You can't imagine how these things happened therfore they didn't.

    Newton couldn't work out how all the planets revolve around the sun on the same plane so he declared that this part was the work of god.

    We still refer to Newton for a lot of things but not for this particular insight.

    Beware "god of the gaps", its ok to say we don't know some stuff yet, we don't need to inject a supernatural designer.

    bohm posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:24:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    KN: As one continues to analyze natural properties, there is a basis or axiom from which one derives all hypothesis and observations. At some point, we all say, "that's just the way it is." Maybe, with the designer, that's just the way it is. Maybe he need no one to create him. But the universe, as observed, needed someone to put in all the laws. The universe, as we know, could not simply come about on its own.

    Suppose your argument is correct. You can replace "designer" with "the fundamental law of the universe" and your speculation applies equally well. On the other hand, a "fundamental law of the universe" need not have (for instance) a son or emotions like God has (and which is rather strange, how can God have emotions without a brain? How can God have a son without a body?), so it is a simpler hypothesis. Why should i then choose God?

    "Junk DNA" aside, why is there even information to begin with?

    Precisely because the universe contain matter in a non-trivial (ie. non-equilibrium) configuration. You can ask why that is so, and modern cosmology can give you the answer: the universe underwent inflation some 13.7 billion years ago. You can argue that God pulled in the universe and caused it to inflate, but that is another mystery -- why there is information is an answered question.

    And honestly, are you arguing that DNA does not need "decoding"?

    I dont think anyone argue that...

    Because, as far as we know, there was nothing and then there was something. Unless you want to get into m-theory, which is really theoretical, abstract, and so far has no concrete evidence. So, matter simply came with these properties (point of melting, chemical reactions, gravitational pull, etc.?)

    The big bang theory is not the theory that there once was nothing and then something. It is a theory which describe the very early stages of the universe, nothing else.

    If you assume "absolutely nothing", our language simply stop working in terms of making any explanations. To me your argument boil down to this:

    • Atheists cannot explain why the universe exist without assuming something. Assuming something allways existed is "bad" or "unacceptable" when atheists do it.
    • I can explain why something exist if i assume something allways existed. It is not "bad" or "unacceptable" when i assume something allways existed.

    If your argument is more sophisticated, please make it more concrete.

    yourmomma posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 15:32:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 11/26/2007

    imo, there is a huge difference between an atheist/agnostic stating that he doesnt know or cant prove with 100% certainity there is no god, and that meaning that god is the christian god of the bible.

    one of the things that i liked about Richard Dawkins is his honest and frankly wise admission that he doesnt know for a certainity if there is a god or not. now, some christians have taken that comment and run with it. but when you read what dawkins said in context, he says that also he cannot disprove there being a teapot flying around in space.

    now, i dont fall into the atheist catagory, i guess i would consider myself agnoistic, of course everyone has their own definition of what that means. i believe that god very well may exist, however if he does he sure as hell is not the god of the bible.

    in my research one of the things that made me realize that christianity wasent for me was just like JW's, when it comes to debates and discussions about evolution, or bible problems, the vast majority of christian apologists use dishonest debate tactics as well as logical fallacies. once i learned about logical fallacies and started to apply them to what read and the debates i watch, that is one of the things that struck me. also many of them outright refuse to even learn what evolution is and how it works.

    imo, if your position requires that the only way to defend it is to use those kind of tactics, that should tell you something.

    so while i agree with the majority of the stuff dawkins says about religion, and accept evolution as a fact, i at this point cannot dismiss the possibility of some kind of intellgence/force/god behind the whole thing.

    i feel like since humans have worshipped dietys for amost their entire existance there are 1 of 2 things going on. 1. their is a god, and all the holy books, writings, religions, etc are mans way of documenting and showing their belief in god. and just like humans, there is good and bad in all of that. or 2. our minds have evolved with something in it that gives us a desire to worship god, and perhaps if there is not a god, whatever that is, in our brain is a defense/survival thing.

    and the bottom line is that we are going to find out when we die.

    NewChapter posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 16:01:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 7297 of 11880
    Joined 1/25/2011

    2. our minds have evolved with something in it that gives us a desire to worship god, and perhaps if there is not a god, whatever that is, in our brain is a defense/survival thing.

    I completely agree with this statement. This was a trait that would have bound together little foraging bands, and given them some confidence in a mysterious world. But as our environment changes, some traits can become maladaptive. Those that reject science, are not adapting to our new environment. I suppose it is okay if it only affects them, but when they try to manipulate education and keep young people in ignorance, I get kinda---uhm---enraged. But I haven't seen much of that on JWN.

    At some point, we all say, "that's just the way it is."

    Really? Who are these 'all' you speak of? Generally the real end is the idea that this is just the way god made it. As Cofty already pointed out, a brilliant mind like Newton's was stopped and simply decided this was just the way god did it. Had he pushed passed such a notion, perhaps he would have come up with something valuable there too. So much knowledge stops when the god factor goes up. But does a scientist today say 'that's just the way it is'? I hope not.

    NC

    SweetBabyCheezits posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 17:13:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 2312 of 2503
    Joined 5/11/2010
    How would atheists respond to this?

    First, I cried. Then I wept. Near the end, I sneezed and pooted at the same time. (I believe it was providence.)

    I'm not sure how Flew's position late in life could be considered a threat to atheism, as if atheistic views are cherished beliefs like those of theists. After all, atheists don't have the fear that crossing over may cost them an eternal prize, redeemable at death. Of course, I'm not a hardcore atheist and I don't mean to speak for those who are. It's just odd to me how Christians were excited by Flew's move from atheism to deism. From where I sit, nontheism is still nontheism. That hardly bolsters Christianity or other theistic views of an intervening, personal deity. Those who hold nontheistic views reject traditional self-refuting descriptions of a creator.

    Of course, that doesn't stop Christians from invoking Flew as a near-convert for their brand of theism. I remember when Flew was quoted in the WT propaganda: "If I wanted any sort of future life I should become a Jehovah’s Witness." Of course, that was a fancy bit of quote-mining. Here's the context:

    HABERMAS: C. S. Lewis explained in his autobiography that he moved first from atheism
    to theism and only later from theism to Christianity. Given your great respect for Christianity, do
    you think that there is any chance that you might in the end move from theism to Christianity?

    FLEW: I think it’s very unlikely, due to the problem of evil. But, if it did happen, I think it
    would be in some eccentric fit and doubtfully orthodox form: regular religious practice perhaps
    but without belief. If I wanted any sort of future life I should become a Jehovah’s Witness. But
    some things I am completely confident about. I would never regard Islam with anything but
    horror and fear because it is fundamentally committed to conquering the world for Islam. It was
    because the whole of Palestine was part of the land of Islam that Muslim Arab armies moved in
    to try to destroy Israel at birth, and why the struggle for the return of the still surviving refugees
    and their numerous descendents continue to this day.

    So there you have it - Flew giving whole-hearted support to the doctrine of Jehovah's Witnesses.

    ziddina posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 19:18:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

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    Joined 4/8/2009
    "i feel like since humans have worshipped dietys for amost their entire existance there are 1 of 2 things going on. 1. their is a god, and all the holy books, writings, religions, etc are mans way of documenting and showing their belief in god. ..." YourMomma

    Ironically, it was my research into religion - ALL religions, especially the earliest forms - that convinced me that there cannot be a "god" - or the MUCH earlier forms of worship, "goddess" - more accurately, "goddessES"....

    I am constantly astounded at the total lack of knowledge regarding the earliest forms of worship - which were [as far as I've learned, at this point] ALL goddesses.....

    There weren't any Middle-Eastern male gods around, for almost all of the hundred thousand years or several hundred thousand years of human evolution.

    And that rules them out, right there.

    M AK - Jeff posted Mon, 02 Apr 2012 20:42:00 GMT(4/2/2012)

    Post 11419 of 10727
    Joined 11/19/2004

    If you boil it down - attempts to make scientific awareness into god-magic are still just opinions.

    Seems to me those who seek to find 'god' in detail are inverting the pyramid. As we dig deeper into genetics, we find reason to marvel - but no one can conclude without exception that we should marvel at 'god', as opposed to marvelling at the wonder of time and circumstance.

    The movement by believers away from pure fundamental acceptance of their holy writ is evidence that science moves our perception toward more correct viewpoints, and that over time those viewpoints will continue to move toward science, not toward religious tales.

    If you don't accept the above, take a look at your Christian religions 200 years ago. Many of the 'stories', that today are viewed by those same sects as 'allegory' or 'figurative' or 'metaphor', were viewed as absolute truth and detail. Without the light of science, Christians would still believe the silly tales as absolute.

    On the other hand, cite where/when/how Christian dogma/religious writ has acted to correct science? Though perhaps someone could state factual areas within the historical portions of some texts as giving science a 'direction' to investigate and confirm or deny - I know of no example where science has had to admit that 'the holy book' was paramount in explaining a problem and solution.

    So, put your 'faith' in invisible people in invisible places doing their work invisibly if you like. Me? I would rather watch and learn from science, though I admit that likely we are just in the infant stages of that discipline as a species.

    Jeff

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