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Christian Churches Celebrate Darwin's Birthday 1225

Posted by Zonk
from the we-love-you-unca-darwin dept.
kthejoker writes "Today is the 197th anniversary of the great biologist Charles Darwin's birth. In response, some 450 Christian churches are celebrating Darwin's birth, saying, 'Darwin`s theory of biological evolution is compatible with faith and that Christians have no need to choose between religion and science.' There's also an interesting perspective on Darwinism and Christianity in the San Jose Mercury News."
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Christian Churches Celebrate Darwin's Birthday

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  • Totally wrong (Score:3, Informative)

    by user9918277462 (834092) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @06:34PM (#14701888) Journal
    This claim by religious moderates that so-called "faith" and rational biological science are compatible is total nonsense. As neuroscientist and author Sam Harris [samharris.org] argues in his excellent book The End of Faith, this kind of claim can only be made when you selectively disregard large portions of biblical text while arbitrarily interpreting others in a "metaphorical" sense.

    Christian (and Islamic and Judaeic) dogma inevitably and logically results in fundamentalism and rejection of all secular (ie, rational) thought and belief. To think otherwise is to ignore the very scripture one claims to believe in.

    (Long Now [longnow.org] has a great talk given by Harris available for free download in Ogg Vorbis or MP3)

  • by plunge (27239) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @06:44PM (#14701955)
    In fact, Kenneth Miller has advanced a very plausible religious view in his book "Finding Darwin's God" that reconciles the two. It's based on several ideas:

    1) If God knows all causality, then he could have brought about everything into being originally AND have it, from science's view BE random and undetermined. The two are not mutally exclusive when God is the best pool player of all time, setting up the most elaborate shot of all time.
    2) God could act via influencing things in ways that, due to quantum outcomes, would indeed be like magic to us, and undetectable or testable (hence we can still believe in a God that does miracles)
    3) Evolution itself has plenty of room for a valid new theology based on the idea that God would WANT life to be free of God's direct design. This is known as "liberation theology" and though many Catholics disdain it, it's perfectly plausible.

    If the above is true, then both atheists and theists can agree on everything concerning the physical world, without conflict. The atheists certainly wont agree with the faith theology above, but the theists can believe it without having to make any claims that have consequences which rule out the legitimacy of atheism (i.e. the not believing because there is no good evidence kind)
  • Re:Doonesbury? (Score:5, Informative)

    by tomee (792877) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @07:02PM (#14702028)
    Here's the link [doonesbury.com]. I loved that one.
  • by Eightyford (893696) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @07:26PM (#14702164) Homepage
    You have to realize that there is a large percentage of christians who are unwittingly pushing towards another dark age.

    Those christians (and radical muslims etc) will be in their own dark age. The rest of us will do alright.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12, 2006 @07:47PM (#14702269)
    Uh, no. The Bible has changed over the centuries. If you want proof look at the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Samaritan versions of the Torah. As well, look at the differences between the Catholic version of the Old Testament, the Hebrew Bible (not just the Torah), the Orthodox Bible (which includes an additional psalm), and the Protestant Bible's version of the Old Testament. There are books that are in certain versions but not others, there are verses that have been changed in order, punctuation which is not consistent (which is important as can be seen in the concept of purgatory), and other inconsistencies. So, like every other story the Old Testament, and the New (or Greek) Testament has changed over time. Sorry to burst your bubble. And another thing, how do fundamentalists deal with the contradictions between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2, which contradict themselves in the order of creation? The Bible like everything else is a human creation that does have contradictions.
  • This is Idolatry (Score:4, Informative)

    by Eli Gottlieb (917758) <eligottlieb@gBAL ... com minus author> on Sunday February 12, 2006 @07:53PM (#14702295) Homepage Journal
    I would just like to remind those out there who still believe in an Abrahamic faith that having your church/synagogue/mosque celebrate the birthday of a human being not associated in any way with God is idolatry. Darwin is not a religious figure, he is a scientific one. You can believe in evolution and be religious, however.

    I would also like to remind the people who wrote my Biology textbook, a Miller and Levine of Prentice Hall, that their treatment of Darwin and evolution is rather idolotrous. Details of earlier theories (inheritance of learned traits, geological theories that led to "Earth is billions of years old" in the first place, Darwin's actual evidence) are left out, and the authors practically declare Undying Love for Charles Darwin. Declaring Undying Love for anything is unscientific.

    This has been a public service announcement because idolizing people causes problems, such as reading the National Enquirer, stupidity and electing the stupid "National Enquirer" readers you idolize to high political office.
  • by superflyguy (910550) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @08:18PM (#14702427)
    The best arguments for against darwin don't primarily argue against science, but against scientists. While upholding scientific principals, they basically say that somewhere along the line scientists started testing whether their results were valid based on darwinism instead of considering whether darwinism was valid in light of those experiments. They basically pick out every counter-example to everything scientists use to support Darwin, look at how the counter-examples were explained away, and explain them away in the opposite direction. And when you look at those arguments in their entirety, their alternate is prety feasable, decently supported (especially relative to the small number of people who came up with it), and compatible with itself.

    That said, I personally think most of it is junk. We're never going to have empirical proof, and the only way this could ever be resolved would be to find a way to get a bunch of unbiased observers and start the process over putting both explainations up for debate at the same time, which isn't going to happen. Otherwise, nobody's going to be able to reconstruct what was based on what, and it'll probably be a bunch of bickering until the world ends. And I don't see what the point of that is either when there are explanations that reconcile religion and science. If scientists didn't go out of their way to exclude creationists and acknowledged that everyone has some ammount of bias, analyzing things experiment by experiment, they could both wax and wane as evidence was discovered, not as courts were involved. Religion and science would both survive either way.

    And now students who take the innitiative to learn about science, religion, or current events are much more likely to learn about it than if there were three sentences in a textbook that everybody ignored.
  • by linuxfanatic1024 (876800) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @08:24PM (#14702449) Homepage
    Define Christian. If you mean "Protestant Radical" (many non-Catholics), you are right. However, if you include Catholics, then I must say you're wrong.

    I am a Catholic. My church believes that the Bible is not a historical record. We believe that the Bible teaches lessons; it does not detail history accurately. In fact, the New Testament is just a PR job for Jesus. Unfortunately, those who say Christian and mean Protestants are giving Christianity a bad name. In fact, I believe that God set the rules for the universe and then performed the "Big Bang" (or something like that). The creation story makes no sense to most other Catholics I've met.

    Yes, I am a real Catholic, and this is what my religious ed ("Sunday school") teachers and clergy believe. Science does not undermine God.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday February 12, 2006 @08:35PM (#14702537)
    Huh? Comparison deals with "comparable" traits (i.e. traits that are in some way comensurable) - it does not care whether the result is "similar" or "dissimilar". As such, the result of a comparison can be "they resemble each other" or "they are different." Contrast is the emphasizing of differences.

    Whoever modded you insightful needs to share the dictionary that you should buy.
  • by rumblin'rabbit (711865) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @08:36PM (#14702543) Journal

    You seem to confuse testability with repeatability. Testability here is the ability for observation to support or refute a theory, not the ability to reproduce experiments in a laboratory. That is to say, a proper scientific hypothesis must be answerable to the facts. Repeatability is not, however, a requirement of all the sciences.

    By your argument, astronomy and the rest of biology are not science either. And yet patently they are.

    Darwin did not therorize about the origins of life, only the origin of species. The origins of life is not normally considered part of evolutionary theory.

    Regarding the other two examples, evolutionly theory does not claim to be able to explain how every evolutionary occurence throughout time took place in minute detail. You state that it is nonscientific because we have an incomplete understanding of what happened two billion years ago? Ridiculous.

  • Re:WTF? (Score:5, Informative)

    by CrankyOldBastard (945508) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @08:37PM (#14702548)
    Even today, Darwin's attempt to explain the origins of man aren't very accurate with his book, Origins_of_Species. I assume you've never actually read the book, because Darwin doesnt address the origins of Man in The Origin of Species. He does point out the morphological similarities between Man and the higher apes.

    If you want to read Darwin's ideas about Human Evolution then you should read "The Descent of Man" where he demonstrates that sexual selectiona nd the competition that entials are sufficient to account for Human diversity as observed 2 centuries ago.

    I have to stress that at no pont in Darwin's writings did he address the question of the Origin of Life. 1. Everywhere in nature, the double helix DNA works the same way. To mate, animals must have the same number of 'rungs'. But man has 46, and ape has 48; humans have #2 & #3 bonded together. Nowhere else in nature are rungs "bonded" like this. We're just not the same, but we appear similar, visually.

    No, there is no such requirement in order to mate. There are any number of websites that demonstrate mating between different species. To mate and have functional and fertile progeny, that's another thing however. I'd like to point out that as you said, Humans have 2 chromosomes from apes bonded together, which is simply a transcription modification.... I assume that God can allow the telomeres to unfold differently if He wishes?

    And regarding your points about ID, well, in the opinion of myself, and many of the memebrs of our Church, ID is one of the greatest threats to Christianity in many many years. ID requires that God be an imperfect being, that creation be imperfect and that he makes mistakes. My God does not make mistakes, therefore ID did not happen.

    Finally I'd like to refer you to St Augustine, who made the point that when experience and scripture seem to be in conflict, it's always that we have mis-interpreted scripture.

  • by As_I_Please (471684) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:12PM (#14702731)
    I'd like an answer to such things as to how inorganic matter became living or even how matter came to exist in the first place. I'm pretty sure evolution can't answer these questions. And if it can't, it really is not a general theory of the origins of life but just a way to explain specific biological processes.

    This is absolutely correct. Evolution is a theory of speciation (the emergence of species from other species), not of origins.

    Theories of Abiogenesis (life emerging from non-life) I've heard are within a decade or two of being experimentally tested. I'm a physicist by training and don't know the details, but from what I've read in popular science magazines, biologists are optimistic.
  • by Chris Z. Wintrowski (442269) <wintrowski@@@yahoo...com> on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:29PM (#14702832) Homepage
    "... This is known as "liberation theology" and though many Catholics disdain
    it, it's perfectly plausible."


    Except that's not what Liberation Theology [wikipedia.org]
    actually refers to.

    Geez, can't anyone get anything right these days?

  • by femto (459605) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @09:57PM (#14702959) Homepage
    People may be interested in the following opinion piece:

    How design supporters insult God's intelligence [smh.com.au]

    and the following documentary about some priests who are also hard core scientists:

    Galileo's Sons [bullfrogfilms.com]

    A few days ago the Pope came out and reinforced the Catholic Church's view that Science and religion are compatible. [msn.com] In other words even the Pope thinks evolution is valid. Here is the original speech in Italian. [vatican.va]

    All in all the proponents of intelligent design are looking more and more like the snake oil salesmen they are.

  • by As_I_Please (471684) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:12PM (#14703031)
    Two rebuttals:

    bacterial flagellum [talkorigins.org]

    blood clotting [talkorigins.org]

    However, rebutting each claim of irreducible complexity is rather pointless since irreducible complexity can arise from evolution! [talkorigins.org]
  • Re:Totally wrong (Score:4, Informative)

    by Arker (91948) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @10:40PM (#14703155) Homepage
    Actually, Sam Harris' argument only makes sense if you first define most religion out of the picture.

    His argument, specifically, pretends that fundamentalist-literalist theology is the sum of all religion. In fact it's not, it's a minority.

    The interesting thing is, there are two groups that like to pretend that this fundamentalist-literalist theology is the only form of valid religion - the fundamentalists themselves, for obvious reasons, and the doctrinaire atheists - because that form of religion is so very easy to criticise. It's utter nonsense, and can be quickly and conclusively shown to be utter nonsense to anyone not already commited to it. But it's far from the only form of religion.

    It's perfectly possible for non-literalists to have faith in G_d without that contradicting scientific knowledge of evolution in any way.
  • by LordLucless (582312) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:30PM (#14703390)
    He didn't tell him off. He let him touch the hole in his side, and the scars on his hands and feet. He did tell the disciples "You have believed because you have seen. Blessed are those that believe but have not seen". I'm not sure if that counts as a telling off or not. I imagine Jesus was a bit disappointed with Thomas - I mean, Thomas had spent years following Jesus around, watching Jesus' mircales. Jesus even told his disciples that he would die and rise again. If anyone had had faith in Jesus it should have been his disciples. But the story in scripture doesn't really show much of that, if there was any. All it shows is Jesus walking into a locked room (scaring the hell out of people in the process) and giving Thomas the proof he wanted. Granted, Thomas is generally remembered as "Doubting Thomas", and probably is less respected than the other disciples, but that is generally due more to human retellings and moralising than the scriptural story.
  • by davidbofinger (703269) on Sunday February 12, 2006 @11:52PM (#14703496) Homepage
    Darwin spent EIGHT YEARS studying BARNACLES.

    That's not surprising: plenty of people make careers out of fields that size. What's amazing is that he did that with the theory of evolution worked out and sitting in his top drawer.

    In fact, he seems to have wanted to do some good, if not earth-shattering, biology that nobody could argue with before he published evolution. He actually did show what barnacles were (until then, IIRC, nobody had even realised they were animals) which is important work though obviously not in the theory of evolution class. He thought if he had no reputation in biology then evolution would get dismissed out of hand.

    Which is not to say he wasn't already well-known. He was well-known as a geologist, though, having shown where coral reefs came from. Which would be an achievement justifying respect even if it was all he ever did, though again overshadowed. He was afraid biologists would look at his theory as a geologist muscling in on their territory.

    He was neither an exceptional genius

    I disagree. One great achievement might be luck. One great achievement, one good, and one very good, all by the same person, sounds more like genius.

    nor was he arrogant, careless about jumping to conclusions, or an atheist

    I've never encountered these attributes as part of the Darwin myth.

    I never knew, until recently, that the Darwin family of scientists continued after Charles. Erasumus (Charles' grandfather) is well-known, but he also had several sons. George Darwin did important work on understanding the moon, for instance.

  • "genetic" (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:10AM (#14703563)
    I would just like to point out that just because somebody coined your technique as "genetic" does not mean it closely emulates biological genetics per se. That is like calling "artificial intelligence," such as the techniques used today, the same as human intelligence.

    There are countless factors in reality that are all interrelated and reflecting on each other's properties. Your simplistic computer simulation exists in an artificial abstract environment with rules that are infintesimally incomplete if not outright incorrect.

    So I would point out you shouldn't put much faith in those numbers to correlate with meat space evolution. Real evolution probably does not even behave exactly like your simulated evolution.
  • by jschottm (317343) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:32AM (#14703634)
    Comparison deals with similar traits.

    Dictionary.com's definitions [reference.com]

    Note the second definition:

    To examine in order to note the similarities or differences of.

    Note the usage notes, which state that the preposition "to" is generally indicates that compare is being used to highlight differences between the two (or more) things, while "with" is usually used to indicate similar traits. Note that the origional post stated:

    How about the idiots who, for example, think Bush is comparable to Hitler?

    Also, recall that a rather famous playwright and poet once asked,

    Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?

    Clearly, the intent is to compare a human being with a temporal event, things that don't share precisely similar traits.
  • by phlipped (954058) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:13AM (#14704030)

    There is plenty of stuff on the web, but to get you started, here are some things to get you thinking about how abiogenesis may have occurred, or at least suggest the workings of some steps along the way.

    1) In 1953, Stanley Miller, working under Harold Urey, showed [duke.edu] that amino acids are able to form spontaneously in the conditions which may have existed in earth's primordial atmosphere. In three months, his experiment produced at least 7 amino acids, which included 3 of the 20 found in modern (and probably ancient) organisms. (Amino acids are the 'building blocks' of all proteins).

    2) Certain lipid molecules, including phospholipids (the main type of molecule that makes up cell membranes), will spontaneously form a number of structures [umn.edu] when placed in water, eg "micelles" and "bi-layers".

    Micelles [umn.edu] are tiny spherical structures made of relatively few molecules, and can 'carry' other molecules inside them, although I'm am not aware of the significance of this.

    Bi-layers are often much larger structures capable of forming large sheets, or "membranes" which can be quite bendy and stretchy [uic.edu]. They can even bend around on themselves to form massive. spherical "containers" which separate their contents from the outside world and thus allows the contents to become significantly chemically different. This is exactly the structure used by all living cells to contain the vast array of chemical reactions that need to be carried out under special chemical conditions.

    The significance of spontaneous organisation of certain lipids is that it is thermodynamically favourable for these structures to occur and therefore plausible that they played an important part in containing the first biochemical interactions that occurred during abiogenesis.

    3) It has also been suggested that certain clay substrates [talkorigins.org] may have formed a biochemical "staging ground" for collecting and organising biologically significant molecules. I remember reading (possibly in a Richard Dawkins book) about one theory which suggested the idea that the clay substrates themselves could have been self-reproducing. The premise of this particular theory is that imperfections in some crystal structures are often repeated throughout the crystal as it grows. Therefore crystal structures with certain imperfections may have encouraged more of themselves to exist. Furthermore, the theory says, if particular "self-replicating" crystal structures gave rise to large scale properties that further encouraged the production of these crystals, then they would become even more prolific. For example, if a certain "self-replicating" crystal was usually generated in still water, but also had the property that, when washed into slow-moving water, sediments of the crystal caused that slow-moving water to "dam up", then the water would become still again, thus creating an environment suitable for creating more of the crystal.

    Far-fetched? Perhaps, But I am always wary of criticising a theory simply because of my own incredulity.

    Anyway. The upshot is that we are a number of theories of abiogenesis out there, none of them at all complete. I guess that any theories will remain speculative until we are able to satisfactorily string together a series of observeda and reproducible reactions and interactions that would be able to explain abiogenesis.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Monday February 13, 2006 @03:43AM (#14704351)
    Al Qaeda is a world-wide organization with a presence in Iraq.

    What evidence do you have of their presence in Iraq?

    They hide among the population which is turning against them. Ordinary people are turning them in.

    So, why are ordinary Iraqis being imprisoned and tortured, even if they have nothing to do with Al Qaeda or terrorism? If we are at war with Al Qaeda, saying that we should imprison Iraqis (without rights or trial) is like saying that the French should be imprisoned in WWII, because we were at war with the Nazis.

    War on Terror is shorthand, not misnomer.

    We also have a War on Drugs. Does that mean that drug users should be denied constitutional or international law rights? If it counts as war, why aren't they treated as POWs?

    In order to qualify for the protections of a Prisoner of War under the Geneva Conventions you must meet certain standards. Al Qaeda and company violate the standards and therefore don't qualify for the protections and priviledges.

    Please explain this. If they are not enemies in a war, then they are civilians, and deserve civilian protections. If they are enemies in a war, then they should be treated as POWs. There is no third category recognized under US or international law.

    War on Al Qaeda is about the same as war on pirates in centuries past, or various guerilla groups. Nothing silly about it at all.

    Well, under US law and international law, pirates, guerillas, and war criminals are granted criminal trials if captured.

    Faulty logic, and quite silly.

    Why is it silly?

    Might I suggest that you actually read the Geneva Conventions?

    Yes, I have. Might I suggest you actually explain what you mean? Where is it in the Geneva convention that allows anyone to be treated the way the US is treating prisoners? You don't actually present a logical argument. You just say "this is silly" and don't explain why.

    Aside from the Geneva conventions, what about the conventions against torture? What about George Bush saying "The US does not torture"?

  • by williamhb (758070) on Monday February 13, 2006 @04:17AM (#14704446) Journal
    Why do you go to church on Sunday instead of the Sabbath, or Saturday?
    Church services traditionally occur on Sunday mornings not because of the sabbath, but to celebrate Christ's resurrection which is the centre of Christian faith. In this way, every Sunday morning church service reminds us of Easter Sunday.
  • by Politburo (640618) on Monday February 13, 2006 @09:43AM (#14705658)
    Might I suggest that you actually read the Geneva Conventions?

    That would only prove you even more wrong. Geneva says that signatories should follow the rules, even if the enemy isn't. In fact, it's Article I, "The High Contracting Parties undertake to respect and to ensure respect for the present Convention in all circumstances." Emph. mine.

    And Article II: "Although one of the Powers in conflict may not be a party to the present Convention, the Powers who are parties thereto shall remain bound by it in their mutual relations."

    And let's look at Article V: "Should any doubt arise as to whether persons, having committed a belligerent act and having fallen into the hands of the enemy, belong to any of the categories enumerated in Article 4 [POWs], such persons shall enjoy the protection of the present Convention until such time as their status has been determined by a competent tribunal."

    While you can use slippery lawyer talk to try and get al qaeda members out of the POW definitions in Article 4, it simply isn't a logical argument, and it is completely bereft of any moral standing. You want so badly for this to be a "WAR", but then you want to throw away the protections that we've agreed to for the treatment of prisoners of war, because.. oh.. uh.. they're not prisoners.. or something.
  • by radtea (464814) on Monday February 13, 2006 @12:25PM (#14707868)
    This attitude is a religion in itself - and your generalizations are basically based on observations of religion based purely on the media or by listening to others like yourself.

    Fascinating--you apparently know all about me, my religious upbringing, my studies in ancient Christianity and the history of the English church, and my broad reading in non-Christian religions. This is a fine example of religious thinking: when faced with something that challenged an article of your faith, you made something up that protected your faith.

    I grant you that many minor Christian sects have at one time or the other questioned the divinity of Christ. The Gnostics were at it pretty much from the off. But no major Christian denomination would even consider recognizing such sects as Christian until the latter half of the twentieth century, and the Christian denominations to which the majority of Christians have been subject since the Middle Ages have spent far more time killing people for questioning Christ's divinity than encouraging them.

    You need to look at Christianity beyond what a few atypical modern sects believe. I've known UU's who call themselves "Christians", but that does not make them so. Based on my deep and extensive knowledge of Christianity across the last two thousand years and across the world today, including many years of personal experience as a Christian I am comfortable standing by my assessment of Christ's divinity as central to Christianity's mythos (in saying "divinity" I intend to be agnostic regarding person/body distinctions.) If you take away the divinity of Christ you are left with just another Jewish preacher, a footnote to history whose sacrifice on the cross was simply an unfortunate turn of political events, no different from any other Jewish prophet who came to a bad end at the hands of secular or religious authority.

    You and people like you may want to call yourself Christians, but I am willing to bet you are in fact Christian-inspired humanists, and that you do not believe anything that the majority of Christian thinkers or followers at any time in the past two thousand years would recognize as being doctrinally close to the teachings of Jesus or the Pauline church. You cannot simply believe whatever you damn well please and claim on that basis that you are a Christian. The Nicen Creed, the 39 Articles, something has to be held in common between Christians, or the word means nothing.

    Finally, if being willing to question everything is in your view a religion, then what in your view is not a religion? Or by "religion" do you simply mean "any set of foundational beliefs whatsoever, however tentative, however open to revision, however empirical"? If so, then I can only say,
    "that word you keep using, I do not think it means what you think it means." It is certainly nothing like what most people mean by it, as most people have no difficulty at all distinguishing religious beliefs from empirical, scientific, or humanist ones.
  • by NeutronCowboy (896098) on Monday February 13, 2006 @02:16PM (#14709354)
    My dad designed paper mills for a living. I was lucky enough to peer over his shoulder and have him explain to me how a tree gets turned into nice, white paper. The process is far dirtier and expensive than you'd ever believe.

    Problem #1: cellulose. Trees have lots of it, and it makes for terrible paper. Generally, it needs to be dissolved with some rather nasty chemicals.
    Problem #2: tree soup is dirty. Lots of resin, minerals and all kinds of particles. It needs to be washed out. You need water - lots of it. Paper is actually one of the most water-intensive processes known to man.
    Problem #3: tree soup is... well, soup. You need to make it sticky. So you add glue. Glue is nasty, and full of ugly chemicals.
    Problem #4: Basic paper is pretty grey. To turn it the pretty bright white, you need more chemicals. Lots of them. One major breakthrough in the 80s was the use of hydrogen peroxide instead of some of the nastier stuff (think clorox).

    And this is just of the top of my head, after about 15 years of not having looked at it. Paper processing is an ugly, dirty job that sucks up a ton of energy. Oh, and trees are generally not close to the processing plant. Processing plants are huge beasts, and you need only a few per country. There is no such thing as a "local" paper mill. Considering the amount of stuff you take out of a tree before you get to paper, it is a lot more expensive to carry trees (not to mention less efficient) around then it is to move used paper around.

    In short, you have no clue what you're talking about. Instead of remembering that one study you might have read, you might want to read up on how paper is actually made. Or work for Kimberley-Clark as paper plant designer. Either which way, get some real knowledge, not just some information snippets.
  • by Alsee (515537) on Tuesday February 14, 2006 @06:09PM (#14720322) Homepage
    The majority of your post stands and falls on one single piont - the idea that information cannot be added/increase, or the lesser claim that information has not been proven to be added/increase.

    Information addition/increase is a known fact:

    Mathemeticians have proven through pure math theory that a replicating system (with inheritance and variation) will create or increase information when subject to any selection skew on that replication process. I know enough math to have read and understood papers and results in this area. I can point you so some interesting links in this area if you are a math geek.

    Programers have proven and and actively demonstrated that a replicating system (with inheritance and variation) will create or increase information when subject to any selection skew on that replication process. I am a programmer and I have done signifigant exploration in this area. I have personally witnessed the creation/increase in information. I can point you to interesting links in this area if you are a programmer and are interested in testing and exploring this for yourself.

    Biologists have observed many examples and thus proven that information creation/increase does in fact occurr in real species. Wild bacteria were discovered to have created entirely new genes for digesting nylon - an entirely synthetic substance that does not exist in nature. Nylon has an entirely novel chemical bond structure that appears in nowhere in the natural enviornment, and no species had any enzymes capable of touching it at all, much less digesting it. Yet some 30 years after we started making nylon, a bacteria was discovered in the wastewater output of a nylon manufacturing plant, and that bacteria had an entirely novel kind of gene for digesting it. In fact the evolution of that new ability to digest nylon was replicated in a laboratory. Ordinary bacteria with no genes for digesting nylon were placed in a growth culture with almost no food, but plenty of nylon and nylon fragments. Under near stravation pressure most of the bacteria died - but in a matter of days one of the bacteria developed a very crude ability to attack the smallest nylon fragments, and that individual multipled and took over the entire culture. Over the next days and weeks it impoved in a series of steps, gaining the ability to digest larget nulon fragments and complexes, and to digest it more efficiently. After a mere three months the bacteria developed the full ability to efficently digest raw bulk nylon. I can get you links for it if you like.

    But even aside from mathemeticians and programmers and biologists, it is easy to give simple explanations that should make it blatantly obvious to anyone. One of the simplest and most powerful kinds of mutation is the simple duplication of a gene. That duplicate copy can get mutated without damaging the original gene and without harming the function of that gene and without losing any of the information and function of that gene. The mutated duplict copy can then vary and lock on to doing something different. One example - an example that not only *happens* but which is in fact the basis of an entire industry - is that a bacteria gene for digesting one kind of sugar can mutate and instead function to digest a different kind of sugar. The industry that tests chemicals for carcinogenic risk is based on this. They put bacteria with the gene for digesting one sugar onto a growth plate with only the wrong kind of sugar that it can't eat, along with the chemical they want to test. Most of the bacteria will starve and die, but a very very few will mutate their gene to target the new sugare and multiply. What they do is count the how many separate colonies appear, each independantly evolving the gene for the new sugar. Normally this would be a very low number. If the chemical they are testing is a mutagenic cancer causing chemical, it will increase the mutation rate in the bacteria. If it is a hazardous mutagenic chemical lots of the bacteria will mutate a lot more than n

"It's ten o'clock... Do you know where your AI programs are?" -- Peter Oakley

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