Letters to the Editor

Open to debate

October 13, 2008

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To the editor:

Bruce Springsteen's letter (Public Forum, Oct. 6) regarding evolution got my ire up. Springsteen labels those who do not agree with his evolution mindset as "fools."

The truth is that science cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life and how we or the world came to be. Evolution is not a closed issue. For instance, there is the glaring "missing link." Fossil evidence, on which science heavily relies, fails to show that any one kind of organism transformed itself into any other kind of organism. Darwin, himself, stated that the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record raised serious objections about his own hypothesis. There is no fossil evidence to support the theory of gradual change.

In fact, science shows just the opposite, that each form of life was always unique within genetic limits, staying within its own class. Science dictates that there are three main forms of life; human, animal and plant. Never has human, animal or plant been able to cross. Since science agrees that apes are animals and that man is human, how did apes cross over to become human? And if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes? Perhaps Springsteen could explain.

In spite of all the arrogant insults that have been hurled at those who believe in a Creator, including the Founding Fathers of this nation, scientists cannot prove that evolution is an absolute, yet, like Springsteen, would try to bully us into swallowing their opinion unquestioningly as fact.

Karyl Graves,
Lawrence

Comments

Logan5 6 years, 8 months ago

"It takes huge faith to believe that God created everything according to Genesis and huge faith that random, statistically-significant coincidences all happened in the right order to create organisms as complex as we see on Earth."If we all had 4 legs, 6 eyes, and one arm, I'm sure you would be saying the same thing. Your statement assumes that we have evolved in an exact way to reach our current state. What if it's all a mistake and that we should be much different?It is like saying that it's a miracle that our eyes are so perfectly adjusted to see the mid-range of wavelengths that our sun emitts.

abb3w 6 years, 8 months ago

"There is no fossil evidence to support the theory of gradual change."This quite simply is false. True, the weight of the evidence is merely insufficient to dissuade everyone preconditioned to an alternative world view. This is not a fault of the evidence, but the limitation of how difficult it is for a human mind to change a deeply held conviction."In fact, science shows just the opposite, that each form of life was always unique within genetic limits, staying within its own class."Once a species demarcation develops, there is no possibility to go back across. However, that new demarcations do develop indicates that such boundaries may not always have existed into the eternal past. What are now two species may have once been a single one, if evidence should support the possibility."Science dictates that there are three main forms of life; human, animal and plant."The three main branches of the tree of life as it is presently understood are the Archaea, Bacteria, and Eukaryota. (It is not clear whether viruses should be considered "alive" or not; one might extend the tree metaphor colorfully by comparing them as growth to one side, which may have the same root, be a different shrub, or simply some separate mistletoe-like growth rooted in the tree and not the ground.) Animals, plants, and humans are all within the eukaryote branch. Humans are not considered separate. Rather, humans are merely one of several primate eutherian mammalian amniotic tetrapodal vertebral chordate deuterostomal bilateral eumetazoic animal eukaryote species. "Never has human, animal or plant been able to cross."This indicates further misunderstanding of the nature of speciation. Once speciation has been achieved, crossing is no longer ordinarily possible (leaving aside viral and bacterial horizontal gene transfer). It also fails to realize that since it is shown that one species may become two very similar ones which thereafter continue to diverge, it is reasonable to infer to possibility of such divergences having occurred before. Thus, it may reasonably be inferred that the early fossils that have been found which show both bear-lie and dog-like characteristics, might have split into two groups which led to (among others) both bears and dogs. This is supported by comparisons of the genomes, which shows considerable overlap not readily explained by independent development."Since science agrees that apes are animals and that man is human, how did apes cross over to become human?"The question relies on the false distinction of life kinds, as noted earlier; humans and other apes are all considered primates (monkeys are more distantly related). The most obvious indicator of where we diverged is human Chromosome pair 2, which corresponds to a fusion of Chimpanzee chromosome pairs 2p and 2q (including the legacy telomere block in the middle of pair 2, normally only marking chromosome endpoints).

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Logan5: Your statement assumes that the statistically significant chances that are stacked against a simple single cell-organism ever spontaneously generating (let alone evolving into complex, divergent species) are irrelevant.My statement takes into account the myriad complexities in the universe, compounding those onto one another and the likelihood of processes being in a state of equilibrium where the needed chemical interactions can/were able to take place at the correct moment in time. When you look at the statistical probabilities for an ameoba forming, that's when it becomes faith.@Kansas778: I don't want to get into a urinating match about what is religion and what is not. You can look at a dog and call it a cat for all I care...it doesn't change the fact that there is a distinct arm of science that does require a huge amount of faith to believe in the theory. The processes that are needed for evolution fly in the face of established laws of thermodynamics and other observed physical laws in the universe --- and the last time I checked, the only place in the universe where established physical laws can be broken is near the event horizon of a black hole. I doubt much evolution happens there.

sci4all 6 years, 8 months ago

Karyl Graves would do well to find out what evolution really is instead of parroting what her minister tells her. This letter contains so many false statements that even Answers in Genesis would be embarrassed to have this person as their cheerleader.The most glaring of these is "And if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?" The answer is simple: humans and apes are related through a common ancestor, like you and your distant cousins are related through some long-dead great^n grandparents. Graves' question makes as much sense as "why do you still have cousins?"Be aware that Bob Meissner shares Graves' anti-science views. Meissner wants to represent part of Lawrence on the Kansas state board of education. Evolution wars III, here we go again.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason2007, why are you talking about things that you don't understand? The laws of thermodynamics? Are you bringing out the refuted claim that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics? Come on, don't come on here spouting off about things you don't know. If you seriously try and say that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics you need to go back to junior high. I'm warning you now, don't do it, I'll make you look like a fool. Go read up on why you are wrong before you come here and get shown to be a fool.

abb3w 6 years, 8 months ago

"The truth is that science cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life and how we or the world came to be."Technically correct. However, it may be mathematically proven that science is able to indicate based on evidence what the relative probability levels within a set of hypotheses are. The variants on "evolution" are overwhelmingly more likely, to the same degree that it is more likely that a person has a brain inside their skull and not a piece of cauliflower."Evolution is not a closed issue."Also, technically correct. No issue in science is ever completely closed, due to the probabilistic nature of scientific truth and the potential for new evidence to change the balance of probability. It is also not a closed political issue. However, from a scientific standpoint, the relative probabilities based on current evidence ARE a closed issue."For instance, there is the glaring 'missing link.'"No, there isn't. "Missing link" is simply a popular term for a transitional fossil."Fossil evidence, on which science heavily relies, fails to show that any one kind of organism transformed itself into any other kind of organism."This indicates a gross misunderstanding of the evolutionary process, highlighted by the use of the singular pronoun "itself" for an entire species ("kind"). The question is the properties associated with a particular species. Descendant organisms have slightly different properties than their ancestors, just as a child might have a different shade of hair than a parent. Some of these traits are the result of minor mutations, such as a bacteria mutating a new enzyme which allows digestion citrate. (See "Historical contingency and the evolution of a key innovation in an experimental population of Escherichia coli", DOI: 10.1073/pnas.0803151105 for details.) Such new traits diffuse within a population. When sufficient mutations have accumulated with one group with respect to another (either between ancestral and descendent forms, or with two separated subgroups descended from a single population), interbreeding is no longer possible, ending diffusion of mutations between the groups; one species may thus become two.While development to this threshold is relatively rare in terms of a single species (usually only once per megayear or less), the large number of species on earth means that it has been observed several dozen times since Darwin first published.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: Go for it. Wield your illustrious knowledge of science and put on a David Copperfield show for us all. Smoke and mirrors; idle threats.If you have such a deep founded scientific wisdom, let's just skip the chase and go back to where it all began: the Big Bang.The amount of matter and anti-matter created during this event were equal. If that were true, the collisions that happened just after the big bang should have annihilated all matter/anti-matter through canceling interactions. How did matter win out?Guys like you might shake your head at wild-eyed religious "Zealots" but I have to laugh at scientific types who turn into cornered dogs and attack those who question their suppositions. I thought that was the cornerstone of science: the question "Why?" Strange how you resort to attacks and threats when someone defaces your altar of evolution and the holy sacrament of Darwinism.

Brent Garner 6 years, 8 months ago

abb3w:Ah, you are so much more enlightened than myself. Yes, let us compare creationists and other believers in the divine to individuals with Down's Syndrome. Let us treat them as impaired little children who require the paternalistic state to take care of them. Let us relegate them to some obscure corner and sequester them away from civil society so that their taint cannot infect others.Any of that start sounding familiar? Same or similar kind of actions taken by every ideological totalitarian government that has ever and that now currently exists. Take those you deam undesireable and eliminate them. There is a short name for this kind of thinking and it starts with "N" and ends in "i". Zeig Heil!

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

bondmen,Please, learn more about the topic before jumping to tenuous conclusions. First of all, "non-coding" DNA does not mean "non-functioning" DNA. For quite some time scientists have known about RNA interference and other functions for DNA that does not code for proteins. Second, the presence of so much common DNA among mammals should suggest to you the common ancestry of mammals.Thirdly, sure there is a lot that science can not YET explain. That IS what makes it fun. It's not fixed like some 2000 year old dogma. The more one learns, the more there is to learn! And finding out something unexpected is even more exciting.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

jason2007--it doesn't take "huge faith" to accept evolution. Faith is believing without seeing, but you can see the evidence for evolution yourself. You can view the fossils, and do tests on DNA. You don't have to have faith, you can see it in action as bacteria and viruses evolve right before our eyes. And evolution is not a religion--religion claims to have certainty. Science never claims certainty, only probability. Every theory must be falsifiable to be considered science, so the point is that they can't be definitively proven "right." Religion is not falsifiable, you must blindly accept it on faith alone.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

I'm on Karyl's side of this debate but I have to admit, her letter did present the typical "well, what about that?!" points that most Creationists tend to bring to the debate. She gets extra credit for at least exercising her civil responsibility to be engaged in the public debate of important issues. Let's give her that.Personally, I believe both sides require leaps of faith to believe in their respective theories. It takes huge faith to believe that God created everything according to Genesis and huge faith that random, statistically-significant coincidences all happened in the right order to create organisms as complex as we see on Earth. Both are a "religion" in that neither will definitively prove their side right and, therefore, require faith.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

good boy Jason. You stay away from evolution and far far away from the second law of thermodynamics. I don't know about the big bang, and unlike you, I won't go spouting off about stuff that I don't know. But judging by your complete lack of knowledge in biology outside what your pastor tells you, I seriously doubt you are any better equipped to hold a conversation about physics.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: Stay away from it because it threatens you? Once again, you respond with a bunch of smoke and mirrors and completely devoid of any substance. I thought you were going to school me in your deep, scientific understanding of the 2nd law. You greatly disappoint.The Big Bang was the onus for what eventually became "evolution". Without that, there's no hope for higher organisms...that's why I jumped to the chase but if you insist on sticking with more elementary subjects, then I'm game.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

jason2007 (Anonymous) says: @Kansas778: Stay away from it because it threatens you? Once again, you respond with a bunch of smoke and mirrors and completely devoid of any substance. I thought you were going to school me in your deep, scientific understanding of the 2nd law. You greatly disappoint.******I can't refute an argument you haven't made yet. Your vague reference to the laws of thermodynamics prompted me to warn you, and so far you've been a good boy. As for the big bang, no explanation that doesn't comport with the principles of physics should be accepted. If you reject the big bang, then what is your explanation of the universe?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Logan5: #2, without the magic wand bit. But you stop too soon. I do believe in the big bang but not evolution.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

This LTE writer hurts her cause so much more than she helps it. By writing such an uninformed letter she only reinforces the image that Springsteen was projecting in his LTE.

Brent Garner 6 years, 8 months ago

Yes, let's round up all those wacky creationist, believers in the divine. Let us purge them from the public square. Let us make them wear a yellow cross on their clothing so that all will know who the kooks are. Let us gather them and send them for "further instruction." All hail the universality of evolution! Zeig Heil!

frazzled 6 years, 8 months ago

"Science dictates that there are three main forms of life; human, animal and plant."No, it doesn't. This statement is simplistic and wrong."Since science agrees that apes are animals and that man is human, how did apes cross over to become human?"The premise is tautological and the question doesn't make any sense."In spite of all the arrogant insults that have been hurled at those who believe in a Creator, including the Founding Fathers of this nation, scientists cannot prove that evolution is an absolute."1. Belief in some sort of creator is not incompatible with science.2. What the Founding Fathers thought is irrelevant.3. Science cannot prove that anything is an absolute. Scientists know this. Science is about constructing theories that best explain the available facts. Evolution is such a scientific theory.If you want to criticize the theory of evolution - or for that matter science itself - please learn what it is first.

kuhusker 6 years, 8 months ago

"Science dictates that there are three main forms of life; human, animal and plant."I read the same thing, in my copy of Malleus Malefactorum (the only science book a good Christian needs!)

bondmen 6 years, 8 months ago

Are We Getting Biased Science? "Much more scientific research is being done than ever gets reported, say three researchers in a story reported by Science Daily. High-impact journals tend to report selectively from a large field of medical and laboratory research. As a result, "only a small proportion of all research results are eventually chosen for publication, and these results are unrepresentative of scientists' repeated samplings of the real world." This gives a very distorted view of scientific research, they said. They feel it is a "moral imperative" to fix the way scientific research is judged and disseminated."http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081006202623.htmIt's Fun Seeing Evolution Falsified! ""Mysterious Snippets Of DNA Withstand Eons Of Evolution" is the strange title of an article on Science Daily. Gill Bejerano and Cory McLean from Stanford are wondering why large non-coding sections of DNA are very similar, or "ultraconserved," from mice to man. Evolutionary theory would expect that non-functional genetic material would mutate more rapidly than genes. Yet for unknown reasons, the ultraconserved segments stay the same throughout the mammal order. Experiments have shown that mice with these sections deleted do just fine. Why would natural selection purify these regions if they are not essential for survival? No one knows.Bejerano had a comment about this finding that goes against the expectations of evolutionary genetics:"Evolution is a lot of fun," said Bejerano, who plans to continue the investigation into what the ultraconserved segments might be doing. "You answer one question, and five others pop up. But one of the most rewarding things to me is the fact that we're developing a growing appreciation for how much these regions actually matter." He said it was "very surprising" that the ultraconserved elements showed no effect on the mice when deleted. "In some ways it just doesn't make sense."Would you count on an evolutionist to know what makes sense? Their pet theory can be falsified right before their eyes, and instead of weeping in remorse, they call it fun.Suppose van Helmont called it fun when Francesco Redi showed that mice do not spontaneously arise from straw. "Spontaneous generation is a lot of fun. You answer one question, and five others pop up." Nobody denies that Fantasyland is fun. It's just that we appreciate it for its escapism, not for how much it actually matters."http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081001181306.htm

Richard Heckler 6 years, 8 months ago

Creationism is a philosophy at best or perhaps a fairy tale.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 8 months ago

Brent: "Zeig Heil!"Whoa, dude, that chant is so inappropriate.

storm 6 years, 8 months ago

This is a very angry accusatory letter, people are hurling insults to a creator, probably hers, and she was bullyed by Springsteen. However this author agrees with Springsteen, and doesn't know it! "The truth is that science cannot fully explain the biological complexities of life and how we or the world came to be. Evolution is not a closed issue."

kidicarus 6 years, 8 months ago

Thank you Logan, beat me to the punch.

abb3w 6 years, 8 months ago

"Darwin, himself, stated that the lack of transitional forms in the fossil record raised serious objections about his own hypothesis."...which he addressed. While I am uncertain which specific passage is in mind here, one quote from Origin of Species commonly bandied by opponents of evolution is "But just in proportion as this process of extermination has acted on an enormous scale, so must the number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed, be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and serious objection which can be urged against the theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record."However, such quotes must be taken in context. For the former, it is worth noting that while the geologic record remains (as all finite data sets must be) incomplete, it is vastly more extensive than in Darwin's day. Also separate from the fossil record, there is also the genetic evidence indicating just how much of the information to making up a dog is similar to making up a cat.Another is quote oft used is "He who rejects this view of the imperfection of the geological record, will rightly reject the whole theory. For he may ask in vain where are the numberless transitional links which must formerly have connected the closely allied or representative species found in the successive stages of the same great formation?" In this case, Darwin immediately elaborates: "He may disbelieve in the immense intervals of time which must have elapsed between our consecutive formations; he may overlook how important a part migration has played, when the formations of any one great region, as those of Europe, are considered; he may urge the apparent, but often falsely apparent, sudden coming in of whole groups of species. He may ask where are the remains of those infinitely numerous organisms which must have existed long before the Cambrian system was deposited?" Since Darwin's first publication, dating via radiological isotopes (such as uranium-lead dating in zircon crystals) has clarified the immense intervals of time involved; there are (as noted above)far more numerous samples of the global fossil strata, no longer limited to those in any small region; we have discovered evidence of fossils showing transitions to the features of such groups of related species; and we even find microfossils from before the Cambrian, dating all the way back the edge of the biogenic transistion in the late Hadean.

abb3w 6 years, 8 months ago

Brent Garner says (sarcastically, I hope) "Yes, let's round up all those wacky creationist, believers in the divine. Let us purge them from the public square."Hardly. They should be treated with the courtesy given to small children, those with Down Syndrome, and others with severe intellectual disabilities.jasf notes "All scientific theories are good at explaining some things, and have flaws/holes as well."This doesn't quite convey the nature of theories accurately. First, there is a difference between "theory" and "hypothesis" in the formal use; only those hypotheses which have been "proven" more probable than all alternatives yet presented should be referred to as theories in the formal sense of science. Second, "holes" simply mean the data isn't complete. This is an inherent limitation of the universe: as finite beings, we never have all the data. The discipline of science is fundamentally a way of inferring what is most likely to be in holes. Third, a "flaw" indicates that some portion of the data must be described differently. This makes for a more complicated model, which results in a reduction of the a priori probability of the model. (See "Minimum Message Length and Kolmogorov Complexity" doi:10.1093/comjnl/42.4.270 for math.) Science is only able to test the relative probabilities of models that have been suggested. At present, evolution is the most probable model for describing biology.Very few people understand what assumptions are demanded for science, and what distinguishes them from the most common inferences of science.

Ragingbear 6 years, 8 months ago

Dear Fool, you are a foolish fool who only listens to fools who have successfully fooled you. I would advise that you stay away from me, as I may become more stupid by association.

abb3w 6 years, 8 months ago

"And if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"For the same reason that there are still Irish, despite my being an American descendant of the Irish. To wit, they haven't been uniformly unlucky enough to get themselves all killed. "In spite of all the arrogant insults that have been hurled at those who believe in a Creator, including the Founding Fathers of this nation"While there was a range of belief, attempting to imply that most were anything more than Deist is historically inaccurate."scientists cannot prove that evolution is an absolute"To an absolute standard of proof, it is impossible for any person to prove that they have a brain inside their skull and not a piece of cauliflower. To the practical standard where that anatomical distinction may be proven, the theory of evolution is also proven as vastly more likely than competing alternatives and to a roughly equivalent degree of certainty."yet, like Springsteen, would try to bully us into swallowing their opinion unquestioningly as fact."Scientists have no difficulty with questions. However, they would prefer to deal with those from people who have some potential for accepting answer when given.

Logan5 6 years, 8 months ago

So Jason, let's suppose for the sake of argument that the universe was created by some all powerful being. Which scenario is more intriguing? That this being 1) Waved it's "magic wand" and poof, there is the universe as it existed 6000 or so years ago, or 2) this being devised a set of constraints (physics) and then perhaps waved the "magic wand" and poof, there is the big bang.

Logan5 6 years, 8 months ago

That is interesting. So you believe in stellar evolution or "formation" if you prefer, but not biological. Does stellar formation not also violate the 2nd law? Or perhaps you were just trying to stir things up a bit?

scififreak13 6 years, 8 months ago

To quote the letter writer's own text:"Never has human, animal or plant been able to cross. Since science agrees that apes are animals and that man is human, how did apes cross over to become human? And if we evolved from apes, why are there still apes?"Are you talking about an animal cross-breeding with a plant, or an animal cross-breeding with a human? Or a plant cross-breeding with a plant and an animal cross-breeding with an animal? Or a human cross-breeding with a human? If you are talking about the former, then it is true there are no "valid" animal-plant or animal-human hybrids out there. However, there are plant-plant hybrids (think the Broccoflower, half broccoli half cauliflower) animal hybrids (think mule, half horse half donkey). And depending on the perspective, any blend of races or ethnicity could be considered a cross, due to minute differing DNA strands.Also there are such minute differences in the APE DNA kingdom, the only difference between them and us is the sheer fact that we speak an intelligible (to us) language. In all other ways, apes and humans are EXACTLY alike. We all have hair, eyes, opposable thumbs, use tools, communicate with sounds, nurse our young, raise families and live in groupings. There are males and females in both our groups, the simian and the homo sapien. There are also murderers and thieves in both our communities. So are we just apes in less hairy clothing? Personally, I would prefer to be related to an ape of great intelligence than a "creation" of a vengeful and bloodthirsty deity.

tunahelper 6 years, 8 months ago

springsteen knows almost as much as the freakin dixie chicks. same old leftist crap.

jafs 6 years, 8 months ago

All scientific theories are good at explaining some things, and have flaws/holes as well.Thomas Kuhn called these "anomalies" in his excellent book "The Strucure of Scientific Revolutions."Scientists should read this book to understand the limitations of scientific theories.Anti-scientists should read this book to understand the nature of scientific theories.Both sides often have a distorted view of science, in my experience.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

jason2007 said:"The entire universe is heading towards entropy which fits perfectly with the 2nd Law. Since that is an irrefutable fact, how can it be that random processes for billions of years has consistently "beat" the Laws of Thermodynamics?"You answer this question in your own post:"The earth, as a whole, is an open system absorbing energy from the sun "Since evolution does not occur in a closed system, it is not (locally) bound by the 2nd Law. If we had the time and space here I could explain to you how living systems actually generate more entropy by having more steps that process energy thus showing how the 2nd Law actually encourages the development of living systems and natural selection.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@LogicSound: Guess it's just me and you, like other times before.I don't see where I've made a mistake. I did not say evolution has an intentional direction but so many proponents of evolution like to cite the Monarch butterfly's intrinsic poison as an evolutionary defense mechanism, or the chameleon, or the woolly mammoth's thick fur, or the...well, the list could go on to infinitum.If the above evolutionary traits were true, then why have humans not evolved a defense for the most critical dangers to their well being? As stated, defense mechanisms evolved due to continuous stressors that were impressed on a species generation after generation. Why would the human body at the very least not come up with a defense mechanism for something as rudimentary as uncontrolled cell growth or a coating of the walls of arteries allowing plaque to build up?My point is that evolutionists cannot have it both ways: Say that evolution has produced X defense mechanism in species Y yet ignore the glaring inconsistency in the argument when you point out problems that have plagued a species (in this case, humans) since day one but evolutionary defenses have not evolved to address the ubiquitous threat.It's the same thing that agnostics use in ridiculing Christians when Christians say Genesis shows the world to be about 6,000 years old yet the light from stars which are millions of light years away are shining in the sky. You can't have it both ways.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Cappy: I'll bite on that. There are millions of children around this world right now with cancer ravaging their little bodies. This is not a new phenomenon and has been so since the dawn of humanity.What you say flies in the face of the demonstrable proofs that exist in nature. Why would a Monarch butterfly evolve the poison defense? 99% of butterflies were not eaten before being able to reproduce. I'd say that before the poison defense (if it has not always existed) only a fraction of the butterflies were eaten. Then why did it happen?Likewise only a fraction of children develop cancer or other life threatening disease. Even so, why hasn't the human race evolved a defense mechanism?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: You didn't read my response to Logan5 -- I do believe in the Big Bang.Then here's the argument (and I look forward to watching your contortions as your struggle to respond):Every closed system careens towards entropy. The earth, as a whole, is an open system absorbing energy from the sun but all complex organisms degenerate towards entropy and simpler structures when left alone.In order for evolution to be true, a powerful force must be at work in the universe to offset the 2nd Law which has enjoyed long-standing stability as a scientific proof when compared to many astronomy or physical theories over the years.The entire universe is heading towards entropy which fits perfectly with the 2nd Law. Since that is an irrefutable fact, how can it be that random processes for billions of years has consistently "beat" the Laws of Thermodynamics?If the species' evolve defense mechanisms and increasing survival mechanics through external stimuli over time then why is man still ravaged by cancer, the common cold, and plaque build up in the arteries -- just to name a few maladies which tend to hamper the survival of the species? I'm not talking about environmental cancers like tobacco or asbestos, I'm talking about natural tumors that have no discernible external trigger. If evolution were true and the 2nd Law was in check due to the "open" system (I have no doubt you'll use this as your defense) then wouldn't the body over eons have naturally devised a mechanism to prevent telemerase from being over-expressed in a cell and making the cell "immortal" = cancer?That's enough to chew on for now. Now I'm breathlessly waiting to be dazzled by your renown.

RedwoodCoast 6 years, 8 months ago

If people would actually read up about evolutionary theory, then they wouldn't have to send in calumny such as this LTE. The person who wrote it clearly has only read literature supporting their own preconditioned conclusions on the issue. I would bet the farm that this person extracted that Darwin quote not directly from one of Darwin's works, but from a Darwinian critic's tirade. The fact is that there are ample 'transitional forms' to suggest a chronological change in species in response to environment and whatever niches may have been available to fill.To me, one of the great beauties of life is its ability to adapt to changing ecological and climatological circumstances. I would be delighted to see a widespread and wholesale attack on essentialism in western thought. It would push the frontier of intellectual thought sooooo much further towards progress.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 8 months ago

logicso: "Asking these questions within the framework of evolution is similar to asking a random number generator why it produced "7" or why it didn't produce "10,143"."Why, just the other day, I flipped a Kansas state quarter and it came up "7." Pretty lucky, eh?( Now, I'm going for "10,143." Just got me a whole roll of quarters. )

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason, tsk tsk, you went and did it. Others have got the chance to school you, but I'll pile on. If order from disorder violates the 2nd law of thermodynamics, then how do you explain snowflakes, sand dunes, tornadoes, stalactites, graded river beds, and lightning? In any system with large amounts of energy flowing through it, you are certain to find order arising somewhere. Energy is all that's required, not some magical "powerful force." As for "why is man still ravaged by cancer, the common cold, and plaque build up in the arteries"1. the common cold is viral, hence it evolves as well, genius2. Cancer and atherosclerosis (and diabetes) are diseases of civilization that have only appeared with the onset of the modern diet which is high in refined carbohydrates. 150 years isn't exactly eons there, Jase.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason,What you don't get about cancer is that it usually hits people well after they have reached reproductive age. Evolution is not about individuals; it is about populations. Once you have done your reproducing it does not "care" (not that there is any intention in the process, anyway) about the individual. As for as evolution is concerned, we live long enough. Any extra years we get from medical science, good diet, exercise is just gravy!

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Logan5: I just realized I didn't respond to your 9:30pm post from yesterday. I'll take a stab...I believe in the Big Bang but not in evolution of any form, stellar or otherwise. I believe that God initiated the Big Bang and that is the vehicle that is described in Genesis. The formation of the universe was by Him, directly involved.I do not believe in the literal 6,000 interpretation of Genesis. Elsewhere in the Bible it says that to God, a day is like a thousand years. Again, if you read the original Hebrew there the intent in the passage is not to saw 1 day literally equals 1,000 years but rather a long passage of time...even eons of time. With that said, I believe the days as described in Genesis 1 are a way for God to express something big and beyond our comprehension in a way that we can apprehend.BTW: I appreciate those (and you) that engage in a healthy debate on issues. Internet forums has turned some people who would otherwise sit around a Starbuck's and talk to each other cordially into raging lunatics.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason,I'll bite back. Traits evolve from preexisting traits. The poison of Monarch butterflies comes from their eating milkweeds. So their evolution of the ability to eat a plant that is disagreeable to most other critters came first. Having a reliable food source is a reproductive advantage. The side effect of making the adults unpalatable to predators just adds to that advantage. They evolved their distinctive markings to advertise their bad taste. Are you aware of Viceroy butterflies? They evolved to look more like Monarchs to take advantage of predator distaste for Monarchs even though they don't have the same bad taste. It gives them a reproductive advantage. However, these aren't perfect adaptations. Some predators can eat Monarchs; some predators see through the Viceroys deception. What matters is if there is ENOUGH of an advantage to give them a statistical edge.Same thing with cancer. We are not evolved to be immortal and it doesn't matter in the big picture if some children die young. Those, unfortunately, are the breaks. What matters is having enough positive adaptation to make it to the next generation. Look into something called the Red Queen effect (from Through the Looking Glass): You have to run as fast as you can to stay in the same place.Have to get back to work now, I'll check back later.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

grEntropy is an outcome of chemical and physical reactions. So, created is a legitimate term.Sorry if my use of a rhetorical "we" damaged your sensibilities. I was only speaking for myself.I'm sure if you read your physics book definition of the 2nd Law carefully you will find a reference to isolated systems or quantity staying the same while quality changes or some other implication of the system in question being closed. Otherwise it would have no meaning. How does a fetus grow in violation of the 2nd Law? Because it is an open system with chemical energy being added to it through the umbilicus.Every system has its constraints. Animals are systems. You add energy to them through food. You can't utilize the sun's heat to create muscle tissue, can you? The dead animal is a closed system and therefore the matter that makes up that system will not become any more ordered.And yes, snowflakes have less entropy than liquid water. Think it through: isn't the random motion of liquid water more disordered than the regularity of a snowflake?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@LogicSound: Chipotle?! Now we have something to really debate about.I see where you're coming from on this argument and can appreciate the thought process behind it; however, I cannot think of one evolutionary documentary/article, whatever, that presents the defense mechanisms of animals and insects as "random occurrences" but rather as, how should I phrase it....instigated mutations. It's presented that over time the species in question was almost coerced into the mutations that we observe. Coerced is a strong word to use but that's the best way I can think to put it.Recently in an episode of Planet Earth, Sig Weaver was talking about cave dwelling fish and how they had evolved in the darkness to the point where their eyes were useless. That does not sound like scientists saying this was a random, throw-a-coin kind of mutation. The show was saying that because the fish's species had lived in the cave of eons, it's eyes evolved to opaque spheres. That, to me, denotes a sort of environmental instigation towards mutation -- not chance.I don't mean to come across as harsh here --- you're actually one of the guys on the forum I respect --- but the evolutionists need to get their stories straight. Is it random happenstance or is it environmental "input" into the development of a species?

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason,Think of evolution as a planet-wide lifecycle. Life arises, grows and changes, when its resources are exhausted it dies. Just like a star. It's a temporary thing in the Universe, just like a star. And like cg22165 above you said, it's a locallized bit of enthalpy (the sorta opposite of entropy), an eddy in the grander wider flow toward Universal entropy (nicely poetic, cg).

Brent Garner 6 years, 8 months ago

Cappy:So using your idea, if we start cutting the tails off dogs and continue to do so for, say, a million years, will we eventually get dogs that don't have tails? Am sorry, but your story about the cave fish requires that the cave fish seemingly conscientiously decide to not "waste energy" on growing eyes. Since when has any organism by sheer mental effort alone been able to alter its appearance? Further, according to my medical research, over 99% of mutations are either lethal or non-advantageous. Just how much time would be required for this probability to produce a beneficial mutation?

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

"But EVERY one of these that you mention immediately begin their march towards entropy. Some faster than others." - Jason2007And herein lies your flaw Jason: Your above statement is not known. We cannot know that we are observing the actions of a closed system when we look at the universe. You say "every" and I say really? Where's your proof Jason? You just made that up. In any case, I encourage you to keep up your studying though. Eventually you will understand there is a difference in making sense of the world without expecting everyone involved to make use of reason themselves as opposed to being accessible to everyone's reason.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

"If we had the time and space here I could explain to you how living systems actually generate more entropy by having more steps that process energy thus showing how the 2nd Law actually encourages the development of living systems and natural selection."Cappy, why do you think we don't have the time or space here? Surely within a couple hundred posts you could explain something that is so simple, right? Or are you saying it is too complex to explain?One suspects Cappy is making a false assumption and expecting everyone to go with it. Furthermore, does he expect the theory to have no practical applications? Are there any systems which are really "closed". Does he intend to make null the 2nd law as in relates to purposes on this earth?First, what says the 2nd law is not valid in an open system?When I see a dead animal along the road, lots of energy is applied to it in the form of vehicles running over it along with the summer sun beating down upon it. Energy is applied, but of all the times I've noticed, entropy increased. For entropy to decrease, not only must there be energy, there must also be information to direct it and a way to convert it. An outside energy source does not in itself create new information.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@gr Better be careful or Kansas778 is going to "school you" and "make you look like a fool" too!Sarcasm there, if you haven't read all the threads....

boltzmann 6 years, 8 months ago

Invictus says: "Have we ever witnessed an animal evolve into another species? Has this been documented? Science should document this and that would be the end of the discussion. Create a new species and that is all the proof you need."There have been a number of observations of speciation both in the laboratory and nature, mostly in plants, but in some cases, in animals (insects) as well. The following URL at talk origins has a few examples:http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/faq-speciation.html

webmocker 6 years, 8 months ago

Compelling evidence against an intelligent designer: our food travels through the same pathway that we use to breathe.I give evolution two opposable thumbs up!:-)

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: It's well known that Napolean died of Stomach cancer...many more years than 150 ago.Other well known historical accounts for cancer exist but they didn't know what to call it back then. Many times they called general cachexia (the result of cancer, TB, and other ailments) Consumption.I believe this "schooling" that you warned me about has turned into an education of Kansas778.

sci4all 6 years, 8 months ago

Fact 1:The overwhelming majority of scientists in the world accept evolution based on the evidence.Fact 2:Objections to teaching evolution in public schools have been shown over and over again to be religiously motivated.Fact 3:Challenges to teaching evolution in Kansas have been led by attorneys and politicians, not by scientists in the relevant fields.You're entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

Cappy, 14 October 2008 at 12:25 p.m, quoted jason: "The earth, as a whole, is an open system absorbing energy from the sun "then agreed (but not with his point), and then proceeded to imply the 2nd law doesn't apply to earth.Cappy, 15 October 2008 at 8:37 a.m.: "You can't utilize the sun's heat to create muscle tissue, can you?"Does the sun give energy or doesn't it? (though he appears to have hit on knowledge but may have not realized it)"The dead animal is a closed system"How can the dead animal be a shielded closed system but the earth is not?Do you realize what you sound like?"And yes, snowflakes have less entropy than liquid water."There's the problem, right there.Are you saying that when liquid water goes through a state change and becomes solid, there is less entropy? Less energy = less entropy? Would you also say when that ice approaches 0K, there is less entropy even yet? Are you saying that as ice forms and it gives up energy to the environment therefore containing less energy and then forming a stable equilibrium structure to meet the lowered energy level is experiencing reduced entropy? Simple patterns may appear ordered in a simple manner, but not organized as "functional complexity and carries information". Thanks for the laugh.What you are really trying to say is that amino acids, as they experience cooling will clump and group together exhibiting more information, more organization and complexity, and more energy levels as opposed to creating the most stable structure allowed.Does that happen with amino acids?Low energy stability of repeating patterns does not lead to high-energy growth processes. Why did you try to equate the two?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@boltzmann: You guys aren't getting it. There is not dispute that order does arise temporarily from chaos but it immediately begins decaying. You do not see stars working their way up to super stars that never die. Evolution works in just the opposite. Order from chaos with ever increasing order.I'm checking out now. 3 days spent on this forum and it all comes down to what it always does on LJW: a bunch of people who aren't going to change anyone's mind.

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

"The 2nd Law is not negated by temporary order in chaos. It has happened billions of times throughout the universe and continues even as I write. Stars explode, new elements are created, stars form from stellar nebula and it starts over." - Jason2007Now explain this statement to me Jason. As I understand it, your lead sentence implies you are saying that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamic still applies to the universe which could only mean that you think the universe is an isolated system. I apologize if I misunderstand what you are saying. If I am wrong then maybe you can elaborate a little further on what you are trying to say here.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason,On the cave dwelling fish: It's a hard adjustment to make since we are hardwired through our own evolution to seek out patterns even when they are not there, but you need to imagine the process over eons to see that it does not take "intent" or "purposefulness" to come to an evolutionary end that seems to have design or purpose. A fish wiggles its way down a crevice into a cave. It has young and due to a variety of factors (not just point mutations, as some would have you think) the young vary. Generations of this take place. Some may vary to have better eyesight and some to have worse. Better eyesight does not do these fish any good in a cave and the energy used in making these better eyes is wasted leading to less likely reproduction. The fish that get worse eyesight have not lost anything in their current surroundings. Having not wasted energy on eyes and everything else being equal with their supersighted bretheren, they have the reproductive advantage and what is called genetic drift occurs, i.e. their genes become more predominant in the population. A hundred thousand years or so later and all the fish descended from the first few are blind. The cave did not "make" them blind. Random mutations occurred and natural selection (which is not a random process) allowed for the survival of genotypes that were better suited to that particular environment. In a different environment, a different outcome would have ensued.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: That's it? That was like going to a riverfront to watch a rendition of the 1812 Overture on July 4th and seeing a BlackCat pop in the night while a guy spins a sparkler.You're exquisite knowledge of science has indeed made someone a fool, just like you promised, but it's not on this side of the monitor.The paltry supporting evidence that you give is straight off the "How to respond to Christians who invoke the 2nd Law" websites.The 2nd Law is not negated by temporary order in chaos. It has happened billions of times throughout the universe and continues even as I write. Stars explode, new elements are created, stars form from stellar nebula and it starts over. But EVERY one of these that you mention immediately begin their march towards entropy. Some faster than others.Sorry to break it to you but cancer is not new to the human condition as of 150 years ago. I just about rolled out of my chair laughing when I read that bit. You're a walking SNL skit.Ok, I have it out of my system now. I'm ready to have a civilized debate again. Care to try to setup another stash of fireworks and "dazzle me" or is the BlackCat and sparkler all you got?

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 8 months ago

invictus: "Have we ever witnessed an animal evolve into another species?" Have we ever seen a "constellation" change?http://www.space.com/php/multimedia/imagedisplay/img_display.php?pic=big_dip_future_020621_02.gif&cap=THE%20FUTURE:%20The%20Big%20Dipper%20of%20the%20far%20future%20will%20look%20much%20different%20from%20today's%20version.%20Alkaid%20and%20Dubhe%20will%20move%20away%20from%20the%20other%20stars,%20distorting%20the%20Dipper's%20shape.%20The%20famous%20double%20star%20of%20Mizar%20and%20Alcor%20can%20be%20seen%20in%20both%20of%20these%20views.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

grThe reference to time and space: I was on my lunch hour so time was limited (I work for a living and all). Space is a factor in that, while I have read brilliant authors who clearly spell out the confluence of evolution and the 2nd Law, I felt I could not do the discussion justice without going on and on. Simple explanation is this: entropy has a definition in chemistry and physics involving waste heat and a mathematical measure of disorder. Imagine a pinball machine with no bumpers or anything. The ball simply falls to the bottom. The ball represents a photon of energy delivered from the sun. It falls on the earth and comes to an end state and a certain amount of entropy is created. Now imagine the pinball machine is full of little wheels and bumpers and twirly thingies etc. This is a full blown ecosystem. The same photon falls down and at each dohickie the energy is converted/utilized and entropy is created. After being absorbed by a plant, eaten by an herbivore, eaten by a carnivore, eaten by a subsequent carnivore, rotted away by bacteria that same quantum of energy reaches the same bottom state as before, but MORE entropy will have been created. Since the 2nd Law, by definition (if you bother to read it) reads that the entropy of a CLOSED system (it does not apply to open systems) not at equilibrium will be maximized, then the application of the 2nd Law, rather than an argument against evolution, suggests that given circumstances necessary, life is MORE LIKELY to arise and evolve. I suspect if we find watery worlds around other stars, we will find (probably mostly simple) life.As to your dead animal on the road: once the animal is dead, energy is no longer being added to the system. It becomes closed and entropy alone is the destination.On a personal note, I take umbrage at your implication that I'm blowing smoke when your post suggests that you don't know very much about the subject.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

Brent GarnerYou obviously did not read what I wrote. There is no "mental effort" involved, no decision by the fish, no designer cutting off tails. In the case of the fish, what you might refer to as a detrimental mutation leads to an advantage, i.e. not wasting energy growing functional eyes in an environment where they don't need them. I read a SciAm article not long ago that found only a minor change in the genes of some of these fish quickly led to their cave-blindness. Re-read what I wrote and then quit looking for a designer/conscious cause. All that is required is variation in a population (which is the normal state of things) and selective pressure (the world around us).By the way, do you understand artificial selection? Say, if we selectively breed dogs for shorter and shorter tails, we eventually get dogs with no tails. No cutting required. Just substitute natural forces for human intervention and you've got evolution, baby!

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

Supertrampofkansas wrote:"Eventually you will understand there is a difference in making sense of the world without expecting everyone involved to make use of reason themselves as opposed to being accessible to everyone's reason"Huh? Is that like, "I favor change because of the hope that change can change"? Sorry, tonight's debate is on my mind.If you would please read my post in context, instead of hitting a word or phrase in my post that is incendiary in your mind and immediately typing your reply, you will see that the examples given to me by Kansas778 (snowflakes, tornadoes, lightning, etc.) were what I was responding to when I said, "EVERY one of these that you mention immediately begin their march towards entropy." I wasn't talking about the universe even though the phrase was in the paragraph referring to the universe. I'll do better next time to more properly delineate points for you.To respond to your point, I didn't make that up. Are you saying that snowflakes, tornadoes, and lightning do not immediately march to entropy?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: I'm still waiting for you to school me and make me look like a fool. By the way, I responded to your snowflake, tornado, junk but all you have to say in response is "try again (because I have no idea how to retort that)"Again, nothing but a sparkler and a single Black cat.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

JasonPer your 2:30 post. The rise and evolution of life on earth is a lot like the stars. It is temporary, fleeting in the sense of galactic time. It is in fact tied to the formation of our star since sunlight is the energy that drives our world ecosystem. But when the sun snuffs out, so too will life on earth barring our having moved it somewhere else. It does not violate the 2nd Law because it is power driven by the sun.

Chris Golledge 6 years, 8 months ago

I think of life as kind of an eddy in the downstream flow toward total entropy. It looks like it is bucking the law of entropy, but really it is adding to the entropy all around it and eventually it fades away.Kind of like a kid cleaning his room; it only looks like there is a reduction in entropy.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

Cappy: "but MORE entropy will have been created."Umm.....Created?Umm.........."The reference to time and space: I was on my lunch hour so time was limited"But you said WE: "If we had the time and space "Why would you project your lack of time and space on US?"Since the 2nd Law, by definition (if you bother to read it) reads that the entropy of a CLOSED system (it does not apply to open systems)"I looked in my Physics book, and could not find your definition. Perhaps you could show a peer-reviewed article stating such. Either way, provided the definition did say closed, it would not say anything about an open system.I think you do not understand the 2nd law. Or are making an attempt at being deceptive.Is there any "closed" system according to your definition? Is there any practical applications for the 2nd law on this earth, according to your defintion?" once the animal is dead, energy is no longer being added to the system."How so? You said the sun shining on the earth adds energy which creates an "open" system. But somehow it is shielded from the dead animal which becomes your "closed" system? Is this a smoke screen? ;-)Blind cave fish? Do you suggest they have a decreased amount of entropy? Do you also think snowflakes have lower entropy than liquid water?

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Cappy: Good try there...I believe you're mistaking entropy for a lifecycle. I'm talking evolution, not one organism here. The star is akin to one organism being born and heading towards death. Evolution says that random happenstance (or external instigation depending on who you talk to) results in ever more complex and structured mechanisms in life. That's not the same.From the moment a coalesced gas cloud collapses under its massive weight and Fusion begins at the core, a star moves toward death. Evolution says just the opposite happens over time, thus it flies in the face of the 2nd Law.This whole discussion has got to be thought about in terms that are bigger than the open system vs. closed system mentality. It has to be considered in light of the observations of the universe around us. There is not one other phenomenon in the cosmos that is continually become more organized and "useful" over time; death and decay surrounds us yet we are to believe amidst all of this decay out pops evolution with its ability to defy logic?It simply doesn't add up and I am amazed the scientific types cannot see it for what it is....a complete farce when compared to the empiric evidence that the universe functions in the just the opposite manner.

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

Jason, is that your response? Next time, just say "na-uh" and save yourself the time. I'm glad you believe that cancer has been prevelant for ages, but the evidence doesn't support that assumption. But EVERY one of these that you mention immediately begin their march towards entropy. ******And? AND? I hate it when people throw crap out there and hope it sounds like an argument. You are so afraid of looking foolish that you don't make any conclusions. Try again.

tangential_reasoners_anonymous 6 years, 8 months ago

So, are we then ultimately, effectively a perturbation induced by the rippling of energy from a highly active source through a complex environment over eons of time-the fluff of entropy, so to speak?

budwhysir 6 years, 8 months ago

While I do not completly agree with the argument that the birds and bees do no longer get along. However, with the rising of lake water in missouri, I find it interesting that this article was written. To completly understand the complexity of this vision, we must first look at establishing facts of times not seen by anyone on this earth. Times when the winters seperated fall and summer. When hot water was cold and cold water was primarily found in alsaska. This brings to mind the mustang team running for public election. This topic overshadows any information that could be debated during this political season

kansas778 6 years, 8 months ago

No, you didn't Jason. All you said was na-uh. Try again. And as for your anecdotal evidence about cancer, what are you, simple? Do you think some anecdotes prove the prevalence of cancer around the world? Because Napoleon had cancer then everyone else did? Do you know how silly you sound? Try something like this: in the book, Good Calories, Bad Calories, Challenging the Conventional Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control, and Disease, the author points out that cancer, diabetes, atherosclerosis, and Alzheimer's weren't prevalent prior to the 20th century. You simply don't know what you are talking about, quit relaying what your pastor tells you.

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

Just to add to the stirring pot here, there does seem to be a defined difference between an "isolated" and a "closed" system.From Wiki:Isolated Systems matter and energy may not cross the boundary Adiabatic Systems heat must not cross the boundary Diathermic Systems - heat may cross boundary Closed Systems matter may not cross the boundary Open Systems heat, work, and matter may cross the boundary (often called a control volume in this case). The Second law of thermodynamics is defined asthe total entropy of any "ISOLATED" (meaning no matter or energy inputs) thermodynamic system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value.

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Supertrampofkansas:There's been many conversations between me and quite a few folks over the past 3 days on this thread. In this particular context, I was saying that the Universe as a whole is heading towards entropy. There are many scientists who vigorously debate whether the Universe is a closed or open system but one thing they all agree on: eventually, all energy will have been spent in the Universe and darkness with absolute zero temperatures will be all there is.In the meantime, short bursts of order (stars forming) out of the chaos occurs but the universe as a whole is not evolving to a higher state. My overarching point was to say that evolution flies in the face of evidence that we see all around us -- the universe is dying, but yet we are still to believe that life is the only thing in the entire cosmos that marches in the opposite direction of entropy? If left alone, and the Universe never died + man doesn't destroy it first, evolution would have us believe that random mutations will eventually result in never ending cycles of progressive traits in a positive direction. That doesn't add up to what we see happening all around us.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

gr,I doubt you are as slow as you make yourself out to be. I suspect you are just trying to get my goat so to speak. I'll give your last response one more shot then I'm out of this thread. Some evolution-challenged people use the 2nd Law to suggest that evolution is not possible saying, "How can things get more organized, more complex when the 2nd Law says everything must become more disordered?". I say, "Good question. We see things around us getting more ordered and complex all the time. Is the 2nd Law only a suggestion?" Thing grow and become more complex when energy is added to them through the parameters and constraints of the systems of which they are a part. In the wider scheme of thing, entropy always increases, but in little local areas we can increase the order and complexity. You asked,"Does the sun give energy or doesn't it?" Sure it does, but if the sun shines on a pile of iron ore does it become a car? Of course not. But if the sun shone on some prehistoric swamp vegetation which underwent heat and pressure and became coal which was used to smelt the iron ore into steel which used in a factory to make a car...well, you see how the context of the system matters. The surface of our planet is one such system. Energy from the sun fuels generations of life that vary and are selected against. (It's like shampoo instructions: vary, select, repeat ad infinitum). That's in an open system where energy is added to keep (local) entropy at bay. Once you close the system, things fall apart and there's no energy to put them back together. Entropy rules. Let's say that dead animal is a possum. He's a system with parameters and constraints. He's not photosynthetic so the sun can't do anything but warm him up a bit. But let the sun shine on the broccoli in my garden and the little buggers get plenty of energy. Close the system, e.g. shut him up in a sealed box, he suffocates, the bacteria in and on his body start consuming him, eventually there is nothing in the box but some anaerobic organic schmutz. Entropy wins again. Once he's dead, more energy can't be added to stave off local entropy

Jason Bailey 6 years, 8 months ago

@Kansas778: Once again, you bring up points (cancer wasn't around prior to 150 years ago) which I have refuted with fact and you revert to simplistic attacks as your basis for your argument.I don't care what one author says about something. There are hundreds of authors who say that evolution is bunk. If every person who has ever published a book is to be treated as the gospel, then we've got real problems. I can find an author to support any point of view so you can stop pulling rabbits out of a hat now. The bottom line is backing evidence which is a foundation of science -- which brings me back to the 2nd law which you have failed to "school" me on. I'm still waiting on that and it's the only reason I'm hanging around on this thread. You said you'd make me look like a fool and not to even bring it up. I'm still waiting. So far your threats have been idle.Regarding your comment on regurgitating what my pastor is telling me: I know of very few pastors who are educated enough on this subject to speak to it at the level that I have thus far. I'm not going from a list I received on Sunday morning, I'm running off of my own study of the theories of evolution and current scientific knowledge and how those are not congruent. Bottom line, it does take faith to believe in evolution which was my original point.I'm now ready to read your vapid, sophomoric response now.

Kirk Larson 6 years, 8 months ago

grHad to split my post. It was too long for the system.On your discussion of the snowflake and amino acids, it might be fun to play with that some more but I think you're trying to obfuscate somewhat. The entropy of particular states of matter is a measurable quantity. Consider that the ordered structure of ice in a cube is higher than the water unfrozen, but what did it take to freeze the water. Fuel was burned to generate electricity which was transmitted through power lines throwing off electromagnetic waves then powering a refrigerator full of specialized chemical refrigerants whose production created lots of waste chemicals in order to freeze a little water into ice. Lots and lots of entropy was created to form this little pocket of order in your icebox. It's never so simple as is it or isn't it? There's always the context of the larger system to consider. Like I said, I'm out of here. This is an old argument and I prefer learning new stuff. Try it sometime. I think you'll like it.

boltzmann 6 years, 8 months ago

To jason2007: "@boltzmann: You guys aren't getting it. There is not dispute that order does arise temporarily from chaos but it immediately begins decaying. You do not see stars working their way up to super stars that never die. Evolution works in just the opposite. Order from chaos with ever increasing order."Wow. Somehow, I don't see how the timescale for solar system formation and evolution can be viewed as "temporary". This timescale is far longer than the current history of evolution on earth and will still probably be going on past the time that evolution runs its course on earth.This is the problem with dealing with creationists - they really don't seem to understand basic logic and the scientific process. It is really baffling.

sci4all 6 years, 8 months ago

Look at the bright side, boltzmann. If you're ever accused of a serious crime, no creationist on the jury could vote to convict you unless they happened to witness your crime themselves.

boltzmann 6 years, 8 months ago

jason2007 says "There is not one other phenomenon in the cosmos that is continually become more organized and "useful" over time; death and decay surrounds us yet we are to believe amidst all of this decay out pops evolution with its ability to defy logic?"Not true. As an example, consider the formation of stars and solar systems from disorganized gas clouds. There are many instances in science where spontaneous self assembly is observed. See, for example, http://www.sciencemag.org/cgi/content/full/295/5564/2418Also, what logic does evolution defy?

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

"I'm checking out now. 3 days spent on this forum and it all comes down to what it always does on LJW: a bunch of people who aren't going to change anyone's mind." JasonHmmm? Didn't realize we were trying to change each others minds? I look more for what can I learn and such exchanges force me to examine what I am saying and whether or not I really understand the concept. I don't think you have a good understanding of what you are talking about Jason when I read your comments. You use terms like order, disorder, "higher states", and chaos with the 2nd law of thermodynamics. Many publications indicate that ambiguities in the terms disorder and chaos, which usually have meanings directly opposed to equilibrium, contribute to widespread confusion and hamper comprehension of entropy for most people. You make statements such as " but one thing they all agree on: eventually, all energy will have been spent in the Universe and darkness with absolute zero temperatures will be all there is." which is simply not true. "All" scientists do not agree with this idea, in fact I think you will find this application of the 2nd law of thermodynamics to the universe to be a controversial subject among many scientists. Although entropy does increase in the model of an expanding universe, the maximum possible entropy rises much more rapidly - thus entropy density is decreasing with time. This results in an "entropy gap" pushing the system further away from equilibrium. Other complicating factors, such as the energy density of the vacuum and macroscopic quantum effects, are difficult to reconcile with thermodynamical models, making any predictions of large-scale thermodynamics extremely difficult. You argue that entropy rules out evolution, yet the 2nd law of thermodynamics can be written as an equation of motion to describe evolution. It shows how natural selection and the principle of least action can be connected by expressing natural selection in terms of chemical thermodynamics. When you talk about it Jason, you don't recognize these types of information that demonstrate our shortcomings, and how we apply concepts such as thermodynamics to our world. Instead, you are as you put it "trying to change someone's mind" regardless of whether it is actually true or you even understand what you are talking about. I am not a physicist, but I can certainly tell when someone is trying to manipulate ideas to "convince" someone of their position. This isn't science Jason. This is simply a political tactic. I too must check out. Thank-you for your comments Jason. I certainly appreciate the opportunity to learn more about our world and universe.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

Cappy, I think there's some confusion of the 2nd law of thermodynamics with the 3rd law. The universe tends towards disorder. But it's said that an object at absolute 0 has no entropy. Does the universe tend towards no entropy?The 2nd law relates to the potential for work. (Ignoring your global warming rant) if you put frozen water in contact with warm water, which way does the heat flow? If heat doesn't flow, there is no potential for work. How much potential for work is there at absolute 0?You say an Opossum does not grow when heat is applied, but plants do. Why? We are not saying that just because plants grow, the 2nd law is being violated. Consider your examples. Steel, factories, and cars don't form from just applying heat. An engine must convert that heat to work.Where does the engine come from?

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

Gr,I will admit that I am having trouble following your line of reasoning or understanding what it is you are trying to say. However I will say that the 2nd law of thermodynamics does not say "there is a tendency toward disorder". First it is incorrect to call entropy (of thermodynamics) disorder, for there are many examples of disorderly events becoming orderly when entropy increases. Entropy (of thermodynamics) is simply a measure of the unavailability of a system's energy to do work. Disorder has been used as a metaphor but as with all metaphors, it does not truly represent the actual definition of entropy. Second, there is no "tendency" here. The term tendency suggests that it happens more often than not. In other words, when you say tendency you are saying that entropy increases most of the time but could decrease some of the time. That is not what the 2nd law states. It isn't a suggestion, it is a requirement. In any change, there is an increase in entropy (or at least it remains constant as would be the case in a completely equilibrated system).The laws of thermodynamics apply to physical events and chemical reactions in an isolated system. A life form (dead or alive) is not an isolated system. So it is confusing to me when you start talking about lifeforms because you cannot apply the laws of thermodynamics to it. A lifeform takes in energy in order to function and grow whether it be a plant taking in sunlight or animals eating other animals. When you look at a lifeform, any decrease of entropy in that lifeform is a result of increase in entropy elsewhere. A plant may recieve a little energy from the sun, most of the sun's energy is lost to space. This is a net increase of entropy, not decrease.Sorry I must run Gr. More later.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

Cappy is either ignorant and does not know how to respond to questions which confront his statements or he is intentional deceptive in which case he leaves in search for those who do not think for themselves.However, a couple of statements he has made leads one to believe perhaps it is lack of knowledge. For example:" once the animal is dead, energy is no longer being added to the system."He makes the mistake in thinking energy is not being added. However, he contradicts it by saying:"You asked,"Does the sun give energy or doesn't it?" Sure it does, but if the sun shines on a pile of iron ore does it become a car? Of course not."He's close to understanding, but not quite grasping what is needed. The question does not concern that the 2nd law is being violated, but how it comes into play for work. Consider a refrigerator. It pumps uphill, if you will. Just like rolling a rock uphill. Things tend to disorder. Rocks don't spontaneously roll uphill. However, if you apply energy to it, it can. Shooting it with a gun supplies lots of energy. However, there is another requirement. That energy must be applied in a certain way. You get behind that rock and start pushing uphill on it, you can defy the tendency towards disorder. But, that comes at a cost. You must consume chemical energy, convert it to mechanical energy, then apply it in a constructive way. But, that chemical energy is not 100% converted.He continues close to grasping this, but not quite getting there:"Let's say that dead animal is a possum. He's a system with parameters and constraints. He's not photosynthetic so the sun can't do anything but warm him up a bit. "He admits the dead opossum isn't a closed system after all as it does heat up. He's in agreement that heat, energy input alone does not lead to a constructive benefit."But let the sun shine on the broccoli in my garden and the little buggers get plenty of energy."The sun is still hitting carbon molecules. However, the living plants take that energy and apply it in a certain way."Close the system, e.g. shut him up in a sealed box, he suffocates, the bacteria in and on his body start consuming him, eventually there is nothing in the box but some anaerobic organic schmutz. Entropy wins again. Once he's dead, more energy can't be added to stave off local entropy"Once he's dead. Living verses dead makes all the difference. When the opossum dies, the "engine" is still there, but it has atrophied. It is a non-working engine. It can no longer apply any inputs of energy in a meaningful way to "pump uphill". His molecules will eventually seek the most efficient pattern which can exist at that energy level. Nothing more will be constructed as the engine is no longer working to apply additional inputs of energy in a constructive way.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

" Entropy (of thermodynamics) is simply a measure of the unavailability of a system's energy to do work."Yes, thank you. That's what I've been trying to tell Cappy that an ice cube is less available to do work than liquid water."It isn't a suggestion, it is a requirement."Yes, you are right. I was using tendency as in the common phrase, "tend to run down". I also realize "run down" doesn't mean anything, but was hoping Cappy could understand that."So it is confusing to me when you start talking about lifeforms because you cannot apply the laws of thermodynamics to it."It is confusing to me that you are saying it doesn't apply to lifeforms. Maybe you are trying to say life forms use physical events and chemical reactions."A plant may recieve a little energy from the sun, most of the sun's energy is lost to space."I think Cappy and I were not looking at it from the sun's view but from the plant or animal's frame of reference.

supertrampofkansas 6 years, 8 months ago

Gr,Your statement that "an ice cube is less available to do work than liquid water" doesn't make any sense. You have to define the system and surroundings before you can make any thermodynamic statements. If the temperature of the surroundings drops below freezing, the probability of water becoming ice is very high. The change from water to ice is thermodynamically irreversible. If the surrounding temperature should happen to rise above the freezing point, the probability of water becoming ice, or remaining as ice, is zero. Under these conditions the reverse change of ice to liquid water which is also thermodynamically irreversible. Also the entropy of the cooler system always increases more as it is heated than the hot surroundings decrease in entropy.

gr 6 years, 8 months ago

"If the surrounding temperature should happen to rise above the freezing point, the probability of water becoming ice, or remaining as ice, is zero. Under these conditions the reverse change of ice to liquid water which is also thermodynamically irreversible."I'm not sure I followed that. Maybe you meant the reverse.My reference to the ice cube and liquid water was implying (though I see now, maybe not clear) that the surroundings were the liquid water. The ice cube relative to the liquid water.When you have one side of the heat engine as the ice cube and the other side as the liquid water, the ice cube has no availability for work. It's the liquid water which has availability as it's heat flows through the engine to the ice cube."Also the entropy of the cooler system always increases more as it is heated than the hot surroundings decrease in entropy."And that is one part I am having a problem with understanding. Regarding your statement of: "First it is incorrect to call entropy (of thermodynamics) disorder, for there are many examples of disorderly events becoming orderly when entropy increases."And making the assumption that the universe tends (there's that word again. I think I'm approaching it from a mathematical view of logarithmic equations. They "tend" or approach towards a point, but may never reach it or take an exaggerated amount of time in reaching them) towards 0 Kelvin, then saying a cooler system increases in entrophy more than the warmer surroundings decrease seems to suggest the universe tends towards heating up. But either way, it seems opposed to warmer systems having more availability to do work than cooler systems.

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