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The Eye: Evolution versus Creationism 1983

Posted by Hemos
from the this-should-be-a-pleasant-server-test dept.
Sox2 writes "SciScoop is running a story about researchers in Germany who claim to have solved the "mystery" surrounding the evolution of the mamalian eye. The work, published in Science, goes some way to answering the issues raised in the "intelligent design" debate that has become the mainstay of creationist thinking."
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The Eye: Evolution versus Creationism

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  • by Space cowboy (13680) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:29PM (#10686595) Journal

    The article is essentially saying 'we found the smoking gun'; that light-sensitive cells originated within the brain, and migrated slowly outwards to form eyes. Ergo, the famous Darwin reasoning 'any form of eye is an evolutionary advantage, and therefore given even a truly-awful eye you would expect it to develop over time into something useful' is at least plausible. Evolution at work within a large-enough population.

    I remember reading in 'PCW' back when I was at school (20 years or so ago :-) of a graphical demonstration (written in Mac Basic) of the evolution of an eye lens, using statistical population approximation to demonstrate that once even a slight advantage is gained, the population moves towards a better and better eye. It drew the lens on the screen as it was being calculated iteration by iteration - fascinating stuff. I ported it to my Atari XL/Turbo Basic - Macs were a little out of my price range :-)

    Simon

    • by NardofDoom (821951) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:33PM (#10686669)
      To paraphrase: "In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king."
    • by NotQuiteReal (608241) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:49PM (#10686940) Journal
      Have you seen the way some of those proto-humans looked?

      Their eyesight must have been bad!

    • by BWJones (18351) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:13PM (#10687372) Homepage Journal
      The other thing to remember is that the human eye is NOT the most advanced eye in the animal kingdom. We essentially have three channels of vision for perception of our world, red, green and blue, whereas other organisms such as many fish, turtles and birds have much more advanced retinas (and complex) that our own. For example, the turtle likely sees in at least seven channels of vision, perceiving a world we could never hope to imagine.

      Oh, and here is another fact: In the zebrafish, despite their retinas being much more complex and sophisticated than ours, can repair their retinas from damage whereas we are currently screwed if our retinas go bad.

      IAAVS (I am a vision scientist), and neuroscientist.

      • by tundog (445786) on Monday November 01, 2004 @02:23PM (#10688620) Homepage
        Now that you mention the three channels of vision, it reminds me on an article I read in Red Herring sometime back about a mutant gene that shows up in some women that that gives them 4 channels of vision. It allows the ones lucky enough to have it to have a much sharper perception of color tones - ironically, most that have it aren't even aware that they see the world any different than the rest of us. Do a google on tetrachromatic women.

        The Red Herring article is here [redherring.com] but you need to give up your first born to read it.

        • by alexo (9335) on Monday November 01, 2004 @03:47PM (#10690384) Journal

          > Now that you mention the three channels of vision, it reminds me on an
          > article I read in Red Herring sometime back about a mutant gene that shows up
          > in some women that that gives them 4 channels of vision. It allows the ones
          > lucky enough to have it to have a much sharper perception of color tones -
          > ironically, most that have it aren't even aware that they see the world any
          > different than the rest of us. Do a google on tetrachromatic women.
          >
          > The Red Herring article is here but you need to give up your first born to
          > read it.


          However, you also have to read the Green Herring and the Blue Herring to get the complete picture.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:29PM (#10686596)
    Since this story is just an invitation for a huge flamewar, I thought I'd ask a few follup questions:

    What's your favorite Linux distribution? Why?

    Does anyone you know still run Windows?

    What religion are you?

    Vi or emacs?

    Mac users: all gay?

    How do you feel about abortion?

    Which U.S. presidential candidate do you support?

    Was the war in Iraq justified?

    Just some food for thought.

  • by garcia (6573) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:30PM (#10686609) Homepage
    Scientist Kristin Tessmar-Raible provided the crucial evidence to support Arendt's hypothesis. With the help of EMBL researcher Heidi Snyman, she determined the molecular fingerprint of the cells in the worm's brain. She found an opsin, a light-sensitive molecule, in the worm that strikingly resembled the opsin in the vertebrate rods and cones. "When I saw this vertebrate-type molecule active in the cells of the Playtnereis brain - it was clear that these cells and the vertebrate rods and cones shared a molecular fingerprint. This was concrete evidence of common evolutionary origin. We had finally solved one of the big mysteries in human eye evolution."

    Well, I understand that for this article they probably spoke in very simplistic terms but the phrase "strikingly resembled" doesn't exactly equate to "concrete evidence". This certainly won't quell the arguments from the creationists either as there just isn't enough evidence to prove that the "supreme being" didn't plan this all along...
    • by Bearpaw (13080) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:38PM (#10686734)
      I picked up a copy of Wired the other day. (First time in years.) It had an interesting cover story [wired.com] on the people and strategies behind "intelligent design".
    • No, it won't (Score:4, Informative)

      by sonamchauhan (587356) <sonamc.gmail@com> on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:43PM (#10686847) Journal
      When facts like this keep popping up...
      Family trees share roots in 1415BC

      Everyone alive today is descended from one person who lived about 3500 years ago, probably in Asia, a study has found.
      American researchers created elaborate mathematical models
      ...
      The results are published in the journal Nature.
      [Link to article [smh.com.au]. (free subscription required]

      This article supports what the Bible says about all humans descending from Noah in Asia (i.e. Noah's ark settled in Armenia after a global flood about 4200 years ago.)

      • Re:No, it won't (Score:4, Insightful)

        by NardofDoom (821951) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:53PM (#10687001)
        If Jesus himself came back with Stephen J. Gould and told them all that they're idiots and evolution is the best theory, they wouldn't believe it.
        • Re:No, it won't (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hey! (33014) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:52PM (#10688033) Homepage Journal
          Dude, Jesus is the one political philosopher the findamentalists in the "Christian" right least listen to.


          Luke 6:27 - 6:29


          But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you,

          Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.

          And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also.

          Give to every man that asketh of thee; and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again.


          Haven't seen too much of the spirit of charity on display in the latest election, have we?
      • Re:No, it won't (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Gilgaron (575091) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:01PM (#10687148)
        Sure, but you get a different common ancestor depending on what gene cluster you pick, which is to be expected.

        It is an easy thing to misunderstand genetics and think that, say, Mitochondrial Eve could have been Eve of the Bible, but thinking so would betray a lack of understanding about what these mathematical common ancestors mean.

        Mathematically you can back-calculate that since you have two parents, and 4 grandparents and so on, that pretty soon you'd outnumber the past population, meaning everyone is inter-related. Picking different genes you can find out how long ago the common ancestor for that gene was, but it does not tell you that the common ancestor was the only human at that time.

        You and your siblings share common ancestry through your parents, but there are plenty of the rest of us around.
      • Re:No, it won't (Score:5, Informative)

        by zerblat (785) <`es.cibuks' `ta' `sanoj'> on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:03PM (#10687190) Homepage
        Heh, you didn't read the article you linked, did you? All this shows is that people have traveled and mixed their genes. It doesn't mean that all genes originate from the same individual, only that we all have some of that person's genes.

        Oh, and take another look at the Tasmania example at the end of the article.

      • Re:No, it won't (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Rikurzhen (751336) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:25PM (#10687572)
        Actually, the paper says that their mathematical model suggest that everyone alive today SHARES A SINGLE ANCESTOR who lived about 3500 years ago. Not that he's our only ancestor from that time.
    • by Nopal (219112) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:44PM (#10686848)
      And that's exactly why the whole creationism/evolution debate is pointless: You can never prove or disprove that one didn't precede the other. An argument can easily be made that God created all of it's creatures through evolution. To wit, that God created evolution.

      It's kind of like science proving that God is not real. The effort is meant to fail because science cannot deal with God because it isn't designed to. On the other side, religion cannot, for the most part, deal with science because religion rests on a premise of faith which is by definition, unprovable belief.

      When both sides are not even supposed to have common ground on which to argue, the creationist/evolutionist debate is a non-sequitur on both sides.

    • by jfengel (409917) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:57PM (#10687077) Homepage Journal
      Since the "God planned it all along" argument is non-falsifiable, those promoting it will never have reason to abandon it.

      Non-falsifiability means that it's useless from a scientific point of view. A useful scientific theory must make predictions; if those predictions turn out to be wrong, then you discard the theory. You almost never know anything 100% certainly in science, but falsifiability lets you know 100% for certain when something is wrong. Lack of falsifiability means that it makes no predictions and is therefore useless. I can assume that it's true, or that it's false, but that doesn't change what I expect to happen in the world.

      Intelligent design arguments are not necessarily non-falsifiable. They predict the existence of features which could not have evolved. The eye was one such feature, but this discovery tends to refute that. There are others, such as mitochondria, which are basically a challenge to evolutionary theory that says, "Show me how that could have evolved".

      (Not to mention that God himself could, someday, speak from the sky, cause plagues of locusts, and generally prove his existence in the scientific sense. His reasons for not doing so remain obscure to me, but then, by definition they would.)

      Personally, I believe that if there were an intelligent designer we wouldn't have to search so hard for evidence. An intelligent designer had many, many options; if we're not descended from ape-like species, then it was unnecessarily parsimonious of that designer to make us so extraordinarily similar, down the the levels of individual bones and individual nucleic acids. Those pieces of evidence that claim to falsify evolution are few and far between and it generally seems possible to find the refutations for them, given time either to piece out the genetics or the necessarily gap-ridden fossil record.

      But that won't change the minds of anybody who believes a non-falsifiable theory in the first place. They don't place the same priority that I do on predictive powers of theories. They're more interested in the moral implications, and will disregard any theory that denies their morality, no matter how much closer it comes to "truth" in the scientific sense. It's just not something they care about.

      It's not my cup of tea, and of course I'm upset when they try to force on me a version of truth that I can prove is wrong (using a version of "proof" that they don't accept but which has proven very useful for developing things like toaster ovens and rocket ships). Especially when that version of truth contradicts my moral beliefs. But without even a single point of overlap between us there appears to be no rational place to resolve that. It must be an article of faith. If you wish your faith to contradict perceived reaility, or to make no statements whatever about perceived reality, then I will certainly outcompete you in the building of toaster-ovens and rocket ships, but that may not matter.
  • by einhverfr (238914) <chris...travers@@@gmail...com> on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:30PM (#10686610) Homepage Journal
    What is this "Creationism" program? And will it run on Linux?

    BTW, I am not sure that evolution is incompatible with the idea of "intelligent design" as long as one is careful about defining intelligent design....
    • by bmj (230572) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:37PM (#10686724) Homepage

      BTW, I am not sure that evolution is incompatible with the idea of "intelligent design" as long as one is careful about defining intelligent design....

      I agree. Most molecular biologists who are in the intelligent design camp are not against "micro-evolution", but are instead against "macro-evolution" -- primodial soup-type theories of genesis of life.

      I think that unless you're a strict, seven day creationist, you at least have to have an open mind about evolution. And if you're still against micro-evolution, you're just a Luddite.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:32PM (#10686648)
    It's that creationism arguments will evolve as well
  • by Henry V .009 (518000) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:32PM (#10686658) Journal
    While the evolution of the eye has never been that much of a theoretical puzzle--there have been lots of plausible theories--this discovery moves us a little away from the realm of theory and into the realm of historical detail.

    What effect will it have on the creation/evolution debate? The same effect that all the other mounds of evidence in favor of evolution have so far had on the debate.
  • by Alaren (682568) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:35PM (#10686692)

    "...answering the issues raised in the 'intelligent design' debate that has become the mainstay of creationist thinking.'"

    [sarcasm]

    Oh, well that's a relief. Because, you know, rational discourse is all creationists are really after. I'm sure this study will show them the error of their ways even though a century of development in geology, biology, and physics has failed to do so. Now if we can just find Jesus' skeleton, we'll be all set.

    [/sarcasm]

    Seriously, it's an interesting theory and appears (to my non-biologist's eyes, at least) to be good work, but I'm not sure why creationism got dragged into it. The argument that "if you find a watch on a beach, you assume someone made it" isn't going to go away. For the most part, people decide what they want to believe, then go looking for evidence. Not the other way around.

  • by Traa (158207) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:37PM (#10686715) Homepage Journal
    Religion and science don't mix very well in my opinion. Beneath the typical flaming contests there lies a fundamental difference. I kind of look at it as the "outside-in" thinkers vs the "inside-out" thinkers. Religion is based on the Fact that God exists and that he/she is behind the way things happen. Non-religious thinkers (or those religious who keep religion out of their science) start with a meta science philosophy and build up their scientific knowledge based on observation, deduction and extrapolation. The meta science typically tells them not to predict things that can't be proven. The two philosophies are incompatible at the meta level. No matter how loud you scream, we will not settle the argument at the discussion level.

    DISCLAIMER: this is just my $0.02
    • by Black Parrot (19622) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10686787)


      The actual difference is that creationists take their personal beliefs as axiomatic and work from there, whereas scientists use observables to winnow out which beliefs are true and which aren't.

    • by Scrameustache (459504) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:28PM (#10687617) Homepage Journal
      Religion is based on the Fact that God exists

      Main Entry: fact
      Pronunciation: 'fakt
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Latin factum, from neuter of factus, past participle of facere

      4 a : something that has actual existence b : an actual occurrence
      5 : a piece of information presented as having objective reality
      or
      Main Entry: belief

      Pronunciation: b&-'lEf
      Function: noun
      Etymology: Middle English beleave, probably alteration of Old English gelEafa, from ge-, associative prefix + lEafa; akin to Old English lyfan
      1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing
      2 : something believed; especially : a tenet or body of tenets held by a group
      3 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence
      synonyms BELIEF, FAITH,

      "God exists" is a belief, not a fact.
      No matter how much you believe it, it doesn't make it a fact.
  • by brandonp (126) * <brandon.petersenNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:37PM (#10686727) Homepage
    I graduated from a Catholic High School a few year back and one of the Priests said it best,

    'Who are we to say how God created or didn't create the World. God could've could've chosen to create the creatures in 7 days or God could've chosen to create the creatures in the world with evolution'

    I really don't see the big fuss, whether God created the world one way or another, it doesn't affect the core basis of my beliefs. This has little to do with morality and my day to day life.

    It does turn out to be a lively debate that can go on for hours between two opinionated people. And my guess is that those two people usually care more about looking smarter than the other, than they care about their beliefs and Morality.

    Brandon Petersen
    Get Firefox! [spreadfirefox.com]
  • Um... (Score:4, Informative)

    by mitchus (797970) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10686742)
    I thought Dawkins basically pulverised the "intelligent design" thesis in his "Climbing mount improbable". Maybe I didn't read it right.
  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10686748) Homepage Journal

    From the story submission:

    evolution of the mamalian eye

    Did you mean mammalian [reference.com]?

    Honestly, if you're not going to edit, why call yourselves editors?

  • by Stephen Williams (23750) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:39PM (#10686757) Journal
    The article is an interesting report about a new biological discovery which provides evidence of the evolution of the eye. However, creationism is not mentioned at all; looks to me as if the submitter is trying to start an argument for no reason.

    -Stephen
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:40PM (#10686770)
    Creationists often point to the human eye as something so perfect that only a divine being could have planned it. However, the human eye is far from perfect. The detached retina model is a serious flaw which can oftentimes lead to total vision loss. Other animals, such as squid, have a significantly more advanced model completely impervious to these problems.

    If the human eye is evidence of creationism then it can only be evidence of a flawed creator.
    • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:26PM (#10687590)
      YES.

      Not to mention other flaws such as our esophagus, which shares an entry point with the windpipe, allowing for easy choking.

      Or our appendix, which is unused and causes all sorts of problems in modern man.

      Or our wisdom teeth, which don't fit anymore and need to be removed surgically in many people.

      Or our knees which fail way too easily.

      Or our backs which are too fragile and don't self repair well enough ( e.g., spinal cords ).

      All these things SCREAM to me of an evolutionary process which selected for beings which could get around in an energetically cheaply fashion, well enough to have a few children before the parts fail. This is good for evolution and population. This is terrible for the individual who suffers for it.

      This tells me that "god" is more interested in overpopulation than the success and happiness of the individual.
  • by Exmet Paff Daxx (535601) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10686784) Homepage Journal
    Displayed by both sides. Science is the quest to determine how our Universe operates. But if a God/Creator exists, and is all powerful, then our Universe could have been - actually, must have been - "intelligently designed". If science is currently discovering that evolution is the mechanism by which this occurs, discovering that mankind was created by putting a rock in play about a sun with just the right mixture of gasses and stability in it and letting the laws of Physics do their work, then so be it. Evolution is hardly a refutation of religion, and "Creationism" is the pathetic blithering of men who have read their Bible incorrectly.

    Einstein rejected more than one theory on the premise that no God would have designed the proposed system - and he was right more often than not. Religion and science are hardly incompatible, except to those of rigid thinking.
  • by DeepHurtn! (773713) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10686785)
    ...is that there is anyone who still takes Creationism seriously. Some of my American friends tell me it's still a big issue in education in some states, which I find mind-boggling...

    The evidence for evolution is overwhelming. This doesn't mean you need to become an athiest, though -- although I am one, I don't see the difficulty in conceiving evolution as merely a tool of your creator. If (a) god(s) wanted to create a planet with life on it, why couldn't they work through natural processes that they themselves set in motion? How does that challenge anyone's faith?

  • by xutopia (469129) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:41PM (#10686805) Homepage
    Climbing Mount Improbable. He explains the eye, differences in eyes in different species (not only mammals) and shows that the evidence "out there" points us rather towards a no design or random design rather than a creationist view.

    It's what made me go from agnostic to atheist. We just use the concept of God whenever we reach personal limits. Time and time again we use God to explain things and we're proven wrong. Me becoming an atheist came after seeing one too many arguments in favor of the God is a coping mecanism rather than truth.

    • by rjh (40933) <rjh@sixdemonbag.org> on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:37PM (#10687791)
      [Please don't view anything in this post as trying to show you the 'error of your ways' or any such nonsense. I'm just trying to show that even theologians are irritated by the same things.]

      What you're talking about is a well-known heresy: in theological circles it's called the God of the Gaps Fallacy. Priests, ministers, rabbis, imams and pretty much everyone else with formal theological training despises the God of the Gaps, with solid theological reasoning. If we use God to fill in the gaps in human understanding, then to advance in human knowledge is to diminish God's majesty--and that is simply not allowed to occur. That means we have only two choices: we can either not advance human knowledge and let God live in those gaps, or else we can not put God in those gaps in the first place.

      Of those two choices, we can't do the first: not just because it's the natural state of knowledge to progress, but because it's heretical to think that God should fit into the world where we want Him to fit. It turns God into a false idol, something we create for our own convenience, and that's major heresy.

      Unfortunately, for all the sincere and educated theologians out there, there's an Al Sharpton or another self-appointed minister without theological training who says "no, no! Science is the work of the Devil!"

      [sighs] God, you know I love you. But some of your followers are cause to make me doubt your existence, to say nothing of your wisdom.
  • by jamis (16403) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:42PM (#10686815) Homepage
    Ahh... natural selection at work...

    The creationism website has been slashdotted.

    That's all the proof *I* needed! Go Darwin!
  • by HeghmoH (13204) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:46PM (#10686887) Homepage Journal
    Both sides in this Evolution v Creationism flamefest have it totally wrong.

    The creationists are wrong because they misunderstand their own religion. The key factor in religion is faith. It is not necessary to prove that God exists. In fact, that's missing the entire point. A true religious person will take the existence of God on faith, and will neither need nor desire to prove His existence.

    The evolutionists are wrong because there is no reason to try to prove that creationists are wrong. Doing all of this work just to show that somebody's imaginary friend didn't create life seems a bit strange.
    • by raytracer (51035) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:52PM (#10686977)

      It would seem to be a bit presumptuous to tell someone else that they don't understand their religion. Their religion is just that: their religion. They do not misunderstand it: they define it.

      Additionally, there is a reason to show that creationists are wrong: they are wrong. Personally, I don't feel comfortable in allowing national policy to be set by those who feel that nature exists solely for the exploitation of humans and should be used up before the imminent second coming.

  • So what... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cmpalmer (234347) on Monday November 01, 2004 @12:50PM (#10686953) Homepage
    Personally, I love reading articles like this, but I always have the depressing thought that *nothing* researchers can do will change creationist thinking.

    If someone were to create a time machine or "past viewer" so we could watch the entire history of the planet at any accelerated rate we wanted and trace the evolution of all life, it might change the mind of 10% of the True Believers. The rest would consider it to be a deceiving tool of Satan.
  • by AxemRed (755470) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:10PM (#10687326)
    It seems like an aweful lot of people on here have a really low view of creationists. Many people are assuming that all Christian creationists believe that God created the world in 7 days, 10000 years ago. That's just as ignorant and uninformed as saying that all geeks are fat or all black Americans eat fried chicken. Almost all mainsteam Christian groups believe that the whole "7 days" thing is a metaphor. Only a small percentage of people take it to be literal.
    • by TomorrowPlusX (571956) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:36PM (#10687762)
      True. But those people are very loud about their credo. Plus, they tend to try make PUBLIC schools teach children their RELIGIOUS credo as if it were legitimate science, with legitimate science being sidelined as merely one of many opinions.

      I think many people here would have less problems with creationists if they weren't so damn evil about it.

      yes, you heard me: evil. I think it's evil to trick children into believing this stuff. If you want your kids to learn creationism, fine -- teach them: yourself. But it's not the public school system's business to do so. Schools should teach things outside of religion -- e.g. math, history, language, science.

      I'm not going to try to forcibly teach your kids and everybody's kids that the earth is flat, or that vampires are real, or that visual basic is the One True Language, just because I happen to believe it is the case. I will make my own children ignorant and incapable of critical thought, not yours.
  • by eutychus_awakes (607787) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:12PM (#10687363)
    When the Apostle Paul traveled to Corinth to spread the Gospel, he had just come from Athens where he attempted to "convince" the people that Jesus Christ is God's Son using reasoning, scripture, apologetics - you name it. The Bible goes on to tell us that maybe one or two people in all of Athens believed. You see, the place was the world center for reason, philosophy, science, etc., and we all know how difficult it is to argue with someone for whom the argument itself is more than half the fun. Paul changed his tactics in Corinth, however, which resulted in the founding of one of the great churches. This is documented below:

    1 Corinthians Chapter 2

    When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness and fear, and with much trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit's power, so that your faith might not rest on men's wisdom, but on God's power.

    We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we speak of God's secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written:

    "No eye has seen,
    no ear has heard,
    no mind has conceived
    what God has prepared for those who love him" -- but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

    The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. For who among men knows the thoughts of a man except the man's spirit within him? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God. We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words. The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man's judgment:

    "For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?" But we have the mind of Christ.

    Each must make up his own mind who Christ is, and what He's done for them. After that, we'll all sit around the throne in Heaven and talk with God like neighbors around the '67 Mustang --"So, THAT'S how you supercharged the intake." -- "So, THAT'S how you micro-mechanically sequenced the RNA to replicate the DNA so that the photo-sensitive proteins in the eye would transfer from one generation to the next."
  • by jmichaelg (148257) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:26PM (#10687581) Journal
    Dawkins described the likely evolution of the eye as a progression from a heat sensitive patch of skin to a pit as found on pit vipers to a camera obscura peephole to a rudimentary lens to keep the camera obscura clean. The final step in Dawkin's speculated path would have been the eye. When I read his path it made sense but at the time, I figured, without the creatures Dawkins was merely speculating.

    The pit viper was already known so that wasn't hard. However, about 5 years after I read Dawkin's speculation, some oceanographers brought up some blind shrimp that had heat sensitive patches on their topside. The shrimp apparently use the ability to "see" heat to find smokers which provide the energy basis of the food chain at the bottom of the ocean.

    Anyone know of a creature that uses a camera obscura for an eye?

  • by 5n3ak3rp1mp (305814) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:27PM (#10687597) Homepage
    My favorite creationist example of something that looks like it had to have been "by design" is the explosive defense of the bombardier beetle. It takes 3 simultaneous ingredients to make it work, and having all their production and injection systems arise simultaneously by chance seems to be highly unlikely.

    Meanwhile, I think it's pretty obvious to anyone who bothers to think about it that any eye (or photosensitive cell) is better than no eye, and that better eyes are more likely to survive. In other words, every feature we possess was advantageous in its lesser forms also.
  • Linux fork (Score:5, Funny)

    by hey (83763) on Monday November 01, 2004 @01:52PM (#10688029) Journal
    Cristian Widnows has CreateProcess() but scientific Linux's processes always evolve from other processes with fork().
  • Simple Thinking (Score:5, Insightful)

    by novakane007 (154885) on Monday November 01, 2004 @02:55PM (#10689231) Homepage Journal
    I was listening to NPR this morning and they were doing a spot on the Constitution candidate running for president. His speech to a 12th grade school class was borderline embarrassing. He was pushing for evolution to be banned from schools and said, "These people want you to believe that your great grand-daddy was a small drop of goop, your grand daddy was a fish and your daddy was a chimp."
    Creationism is simple thinking for complex problems. A lot of people are frightened by the idea that some things can't be explained. In ancient Rome they blamed floods and earthquakes on Poseidon. Science later told us that these are explainable natural events, not the work of Gods. Science has given us answers to many of the questions about our world that used to be associated to gods. There are a few really tough questions left that scientists are making some headway on like, "What are we made of?" Which is being understood through particle physics and quantum theory. "Why are we here?" That's a tough and fundamentally esoteric question that I don't think anyone could agree on... and here is where religion comes in. I don't have a problem with religion itself, but I'm uneasy with it because it breeds fundamentalism, hatred and mistrust. A great number of our wars in history have been about, "My god is better than your god." Again, a product of simple thinking. The funniest part is that at the most basic level all religions agree on the same things, love, trust and harmony between man. Often these values are upheld, but more and more people are straying from the basic ideas of what religion was indeed to teach us.
  • Ignore Creationism (Score:5, Insightful)

    by {tele}machus_*1 (117577) * on Monday November 01, 2004 @03:04PM (#10689382) Journal
    Scientists should not be spending their time attempting to discredit creationists. Any attempt to answer creationists on their own ground merely adds credence to their beliefs.

    Science is not a belief. Science follows the scientific method. Accepted principles in science can be independently verified by testing and re-testing hypotheses using the scientific method.

    Science is also not static, and it does not offer any guarantee that today's conclusions will match tomorrow's conclusions. While creationists attempt to cite this uncertainty as a weakness, it is one of science's greatest strengths. There is no place for dogma in science. Whereas, religion (and creationism as a sub-part of religion) is rife with dogma and the need to suppress intellectual curiousity.

    Creationists deliberately misconstrue statements by various scientists and scientific conclusions in order to paint those statement and conclusions as "beliefs" rather than the results of the scientific method. Except creationists are not true scientists, because they come to the table with a hypothesis, the truth of which they are highly invested in proving. That is not the scientific method, because they do not approach their hypothesis with neutrality. Therefore, they find exactly the answers they seek. That is not science.
  • by gillbates (106458) on Monday November 01, 2004 @03:17PM (#10689594) Homepage Journal

    Faith and science are not necessarily opposed to each other, though a lot of atheists would like to think they are.

    The problem I see is that atheists attempt to pervert science into "proving" that there is no God, as if the techniques of science are somehow suited to grappling with the metaphysical.

    The other problem I see is that fundamentalist Christians are denying their faith in God. God - not science - is supposed to be the truth, but if your arguments for faith rest on scientific proofs, then you've supplanted God with Science as the ultimate arbiter of truth. Which is just self-defeating. If God is truth, and He said He created the world in seven days, then He did. End of story. Chasing after "scientific" proofs of Biblical stories only shows one's faith to rest not in God, but in science.

    And then comes science. In the discovery of the marvels of our universe, we come to realize that it is ordered - the hallmark of a creative genius. No, it doesn't prove God exists - if it did, science (or logic), rather than God, would be the ultimate truth. It isn't. Not to say science doesn't serve a useful purpose - it does; but rather that it is a tentative explanation of nature. From a logical standpoint, science doesn't prove anything, but rather explains it.

    And those who try to base their religion on science only show themselves to be foolish - whether they are the atheists using evolution to bolster their naturalist beliefs, or fundamentals using flawed reasoning to bolster their creastionist ones. In fact, I'd say that both camps have done more damage to the reputation of science than all of the scientific scandals in history (cold fusion, California's fictitious elements, etc...)

    Faith is something that one discovers apart from science. And we all look like fools when we attempt to use the scientific method to "prove" what we suspect to be true about God. No amount of scientific proof will ever bring an atheist to salvation, nor will it convince a true believer that God doesn't exist.

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