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Biotech Science

Bacteria Make Major Evolutionary Shift In the Lab 1185

Auxbuss sends us to New Scientist for news sure to perplex and confound creationists: scientists have watched a new, complex evolutionary trait develop in the lab. "A major evolutionary innovation has unfurled right in front of researchers' eyes. It's the first time evolution has been caught in the act of making such a rare and complex new trait. And because the species in question is a bacterium, scientists have been able to replay history to show how this evolutionary novelty grew from the accumulation of unpredictable, chance events."
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Bacteria Make Major Evolutionary Shift In the Lab

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  • Remember... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fuzzyfuzzyfungus ( 1223518 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:55PM (#23733649) Journal
    "One in a billion odds" means very, very different things for bacteria than it does for humans.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:57PM (#23733709)
    someone posting on /. confuses the origin of life with Evolution.

    Auxbuss sends us to New Scientist for news sure to perplex and confound creationists: scientists have watched a new, complex evolutionary trait develop in the lab.

  • Never Be Enough (Score:4, Insightful)

    by dontPanik ( 1296779 ) <{moc.liamg} {ta} {smlesedn}> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @03:58PM (#23733741)
    Too bad this evidence still won't be enough to make creationists change their minds.
  • by tiedyejeremy ( 559815 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:00PM (#23733807) Homepage Journal
    Keep it up and it won't be a "just" a theory any more! I'm so sick of my neighbor saying "evolution is just a theory" with a scornful attitude that implies evolution is a whimsical idea kids will have and common sense will later dispel.
  • Re:This is why ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by slashname3 ( 739398 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:06PM (#23733983)
    I always figured this would be how we kill ourselves off. Over use of antibacterial soaps and cleaners in homes. At some point in the next few decades we will have an outbreak of a supper bug that can not be defeated with any antibiotics that are available. As more and more people die off civilization collapses.

    Of course the good news is that we can then ride around in big honking SUVs made of all kinds of different parts searching for gas and shooting arrows at each other. I wonder where we will get the hair dye for the mohawks that will be in fashion at that time or the leather for the jackets and straps?
  • Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by SatanicPuppy ( 611928 ) * <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:07PM (#23734011) Journal
    Not at all! They'll just say, "That's micro evolution. Evolve me a giraffe in a petri dish and I'll be impressed."

    It's funny how they are completely non-skeptical when it comes to their book, and how intensely skeptical they are toward things like evolution.
  • Grow up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:10PM (#23734077)
    For fuck's sake people, grow up. Can't we discuss a cool scientific discovery without dragging religion-bashing into it? If this changes their minds, it will do so without our mockery. If it doesn't change their minds, it will do so without our mockery. In the meantime, we will have wasted our time, and ceded any moral high ground, by lowering ourselves to the level of 5-year-old "ha ha told you so ha ha ha!" nonsense.

    Anyway, it's an interesting find, but I wonder, why did they not wait until they finished their investigation of the event? It says that they're still figuring out if the change was a random, incredibly rare mutation, or the result of many small changes. Why not wait until you get the whole story to announce your discovery?

  • Evolutionist (Score:2, Insightful)

    by BigDumbAnimal ( 532071 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:10PM (#23734079)
    If Creationist are just a bunch of crack pot fundamentalist nuts, why do these scientist frequently seem preoccupied with creationist. FTFA:

    Lenski's experiment is also yet another poke in the eye for anti-evolutionists, notes Jerry Coyne, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Chicago. "The thing I like most is it says you can get these complex traits evolving by a combination of unlikely events," he says. "That's just what creationists say can't happen."
  • by weirdcrashingnoises ( 1151951 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:10PM (#23734085) Journal
    it's still just bacteria, just now a little better. we already knew that this kind of micro evolution happens. it's not the kind of evolution that proves anything significant. at least not yet.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fastest fascist ( 1086001 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:11PM (#23734107)
    More insightful than funny. Creationism has nothing to do with a balanced look at the facts, and everything to do with strong personal beliefs. No amount of proof will turn the head of a devout creationist, since God, via the Bible (or the creationist's interpretation of it) is the ultimate authority.
  • amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by fish_in_the_c ( 577259 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:13PM (#23734171)
    I often find it amazing how people are stereotyped. Not all people who believe God is responsible for creation of the universe have a problem with evolutionary theory. Roman Catholics believe God is responsible for everything. Including random chance ( which everyone knows is seldom all the random.)

    So assuming all science were in and we could prove from end to end the entire evolution of the human species , you would have made no progress in proving or disproving either the existence of God or weather or not He was ultimately responsible for the creation of human beings.

    The only group that holds 'evolution can't happen because the bible says' is a very small minority of Christians. Specifically biblical literalists.

    Evolution also poses no particular threat to Hindu or Buddhist belief system.
  • by Sponge Bath ( 413667 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:15PM (#23734241)

    Or: "It may be a theory, but your religion isn't even that."

  • Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by timster ( 32400 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:21PM (#23734387)
    Well of course. It doesn't even require them to change their position. The whole "micro-evolution versus macro-evolution" argument has always been about accepting that 1+1=2 while denying that 1 * 1000000 = 1000000 because it "hasn't been observed and can never be observed". Now that somebody managed to get to a million, they'll claim we have to count up to a billion to prove anything. Same argument, different scale.
  • Re:Grow up. (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Maestro485 ( 1166937 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:21PM (#23734407)
    It's not religion bashing so much as it's creationism-bashing. They can be mutually exclusive, and creationists deserve all the bashing they get for propagating such useless ideas while simultaneously wasting everyone's time. Just because most creationists are religious doesn't mean attacking them is attacking their religion.
  • Re:Never Be Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by spun ( 1352 ) <loverevolutionar ... m ['oo.' in gap]> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:22PM (#23734413) Journal
    Of course not, because nothing can refute creationism. That's the precise reason it isn't a scientific theory at all. It can't be falsified. There is simply no way to disprove the hypothesis that an all powerful being willed it to happen that way.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by omeomi ( 675045 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:22PM (#23734431) Homepage
    Which is fine with me. People can believe what they want. Where I start to have problems is when they want to start forcing others to teach their personal beliefs in Science class.
  • Re:amusing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by NMerriam ( 15122 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:25PM (#23734511) Homepage

    I often find it amazing how people are stereotyped. Not all people who believe God is responsible for creation of the universe have a problem with evolutionary theory

    Nor are such people called Creationists, so I'm not sure why you think they're being stereotyped in the message you're responding to. Creationists believe God created life (or at least Man) from whole cloth. Believing in Guided Evolution (which is what Catholics and many/most contemporary Protestants believe) isn't remotely controversial except to the most staunch anti-religionists, since the presence or absence of a guiding intelligence to evolution is a matter of philosophy/religion rather than one of science.
  • Re:amusing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:25PM (#23734531)
    "I often find it amazing how people are stereotyped."

    I often find it amazing how (some) people lacks the slightest ability to understand a context.

    On the other hand, you point only makes the parent's one truer. It's only Catholic Church is more clever that others about finding the slipery way to "retain their truth".

    Catholic Church: The world was made in just six days
    Science: err... no.
    CC: OK then. But Earth is flat.
    S: err... no.
    CC: OK then. But it's only about 6000 year old.
    S: err... no.
    CC: OK then. But it's the centre of the Universe.
    S: err... no.
    CC: OK then. But there's no evolution.
    S: err... no.
    CC: OK then. But God itself inspires us and gives us a soul at conception.
    S: well, there's no proof of that
    CC: But you won't say "err... no" this time, do you?
    S: err... no.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:26PM (#23734557) Journal
    Regardless of any other premise, why should I accept your authority that God exists and Jesus is real?
  • Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Weaselmancer ( 533834 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:27PM (#23734583)

    That's because God wrote their book, and faith is the exact opposite of skepticism.

    In a way you have to admire people with faith. They want so badly to be good people that they're willing to even discount things their own eyes show them, because seeing these things would break their faith.

    It's amazing, really.

    That's why no argument can ever be enough. It would screw up their relationship with God. They're understandably grouchy when scientists come up with stuff like this. It requires another round of mental gymnastics to keep their faith in order. Each round getting harder and harder to do as science keeps raising the bar.

    Find some microbes on Mars, for instance. Watch what happens next.

  • Re:NOOOOOOOOO! (Score:4, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:29PM (#23734655) Journal
    Just ask a Creationist if they've seen an electron. When they try to explain how we can tell they exist from how they influence things that we can directly observe, they've just admitted that inference/indirect observation are in fact useful ways of gathering knowledge. At that point, their whole "you can't see it happening" nonsense evaporates. They'll likely fall back on epistemological nihilism at that point, but since that position trashes their beliefs just as thoroughly as science, I always take that as a tacit admission on their part that they're argument is utterly fucked.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by morgan_greywolf ( 835522 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:30PM (#23734697) Homepage Journal

    I know that God exists, Jesus is real.
    If no one ever told you God exists, how would you know?
  • Re:Nylon Bug (Score:3, Insightful)

    by frankie ( 91710 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:31PM (#23734739) Journal
    Sure we've seen "before" and "after" bugs that evolved new traits, but this guy mapped out 40000 generations of "during". No more worries about "Then a miracle occurs" [], now it's all on film.

    Documentation of the random mutations piling up over time until a beneficial combination hits. This fills in the question mark from Step 2 [].
  • by bberens ( 965711 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:31PM (#23734745)
    I don't think the question should be "How does evolution fit within my God hypothesis?" I think the question should be, "What conclusion does my evolutionary data support?" The answer to that question may lead you to create a God hypothesis, which you would then invariably need to test more directly. However, looking at the situation from the perspective you described is like trying to decipher the revolution of the stars and planets about the Earth, because the Earth is in the center of the universe.
  • Re:amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tebriel ( 192168 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:32PM (#23734755)

    Roman Catholics believe God is responsible for everything. Including random chance ( which everyone knows is seldom all the random.)
    I am a Roman Catholic and that's not true. There's no doctrine stating that God controls every single thing in the universe and there never will be. While you can safely say that God is the ultimate cause of all creation, there's nothing that theologically indicates that God actively controls everything. That's not to say that He couldn't influence anything, but He's certainly not guiding every single atom at every time. He created perfectly good laws of nature to do that for Him.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:33PM (#23734795) Journal
    I'm willing to concede that there was likely a historical Jesus. But so what? There's more evidence for Mohammed and Joseph Smith, but their mere existence nor their claims or the claims of those who claimed to know them (or claimed to know people who knew them) would convince me that any of these individuals were linked in some way to the Divine.
  • by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:35PM (#23734861) Homepage Journal

    Show me how how the leafy sea dragon developed its leafiness and I might just start to believe in Evolution (with a big E), othewise, you are just seeing persistent change from generation to generation that eventually produces something useful.

    The Good News (for the world, not so much for you) is that by the time enough time has passed to prove such a thing, you will be dead. I cannot conceive of the horror if someone as stupid as you were to be immortal.

    Or, maybe if the bacterium suddenly developed the ability to feed on their glass petri dishes.

    Right. If the bacterium does some new thing that there's really no reason for it to be able to do (lots of petri dishes are plastic now, BTW) then THAT will invalidate your belief? Of course not, because it would take a fucking miracle.

    The simple truth is that as a rational individual it is safest to assume that any religious fundamentalist is wrong, because there are so many competing claims, and absolutely zero of them have been shown to have any grounding in reality. This is not the same thing as proving them wrong, of course. It's simply proving that there is no rational reason to believe them. If you choose to be irrational, that's your decision, but you shouldn't complain when people choose to label you as such.

  • Re:Grow up. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Abcd1234 ( 188840 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:37PM (#23734887) Homepage
    You're technically correct, but that doesn't make the action acceptable.

    I couldn't disagree more. See, these creationist believers are fighting tooth and nail to get their ideas included in school curriculae, etc, in order to make themselves appear legitimate. They're feeding on, and also fostering, rampant anti-intellectualism, particularly in the United States, and historically, people have just sat back and let it happen. "It's their right to believe what they want", they'd say. "Gotta respect their beliefs!"

    Luckily, scientists and the educated public have finally started to realize that they can't just sit back and let the anti-intellectuals foster an environment of anti-science. They *must* be challenged. And so, when stories like this come up, you can damn well be sure that those fighting on the side of science will hold up those results and say, "See, we were right!". Otherwise, the anti-intellectuals will continue to dominate the debate, by virtue of simply yelling louder, and things will never improve.
  • by MightyMartian ( 840721 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:37PM (#23734905) Journal
    It must be rough for them, because speciation has been observed []. Besides, not all Christians reject evolution. Don't equate your Fundie friends for all of Christianity. Biblical Literalism is a very new feature, and damned near any Church that still holds Augustine as any kind of theological figure does not advocate it.
  • Re:amusing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by JaWiB ( 963739 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:40PM (#23735005)
    Regardless, there was no reason to bring creationism into this article in the first place. Mentioning it only annoys people and masks any actual scientific discussion of the article. But I guess this is slashdot and we don't have any insightful comments that are actually relevant to the posted articles.
  • Re:amusing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by mea37 ( 1201159 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:45PM (#23735153)
    TFA itself quoted one of the scientists involved as saying that his favorite thing about the discovery, is that it contradicts creationists.

    You are correct that it's inflamatory and hurts the discussion. You are incorrect to blame slashdot (in this particular instance).
  • Easy... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by kjkeefe ( 581605 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:45PM (#23735165)
    Humans made up god...
  • Re:amusing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by nojomofo ( 123944 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:46PM (#23735193) Homepage

    Including random chance ( which everyone knows is seldom all the random.)

    Do you have some great new quantum mechanical breakthrough to share with us? Or was the parenthetical statement above just pulled out of thin air because it sounded good?

  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:47PM (#23735227)
    Which is fine with me. People can believe what they want.

    Because every good science article needs a religious debate....For simplicity's sake, let's say there's evolutionists (evos) and creationists (godists). When evos make the mistake of saying "People can believe what the want" they are making the assumption that beliefs have nothing to do with actions. This, in general, is not the case.

    If I'm a godist, I might believe that God cures all ills, and never take my pneumonia-ridden son to the hospital. Bummer for my son but it was God's choice if he died. If I'm a godist, I might believe that evolution is a myth meant to defeat my faith. I ignore science, I lobby to create laws that ignore science, and I preach to other people to ignore science. I believe science is wrong and I want to convince other people of this truth.

    So you can have personal beliefs that very much affect your public actions. Putting your money where your mouth is, so to speak.

    The answer to ignorance of science or ignorance of faith is always going to be education - school, word of mouth, whatever. We need to talk it out, show why science is useful, and why the community of religion and other aspects can also be useful, and why either can be detrimental (sure the A-bomb was neat, but geez...).
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:48PM (#23735255)
    I can understand that "wikipedia isin't a source" if there is no source material linked within the wikipedia article, however you my precious troll are wrong. []

    If there were no references to the wikipedia article you would be correct, but there are plenty of references. In general most wikipedia articles are referenced with relyable sources. Have a nice day.
  • Science explains HOW, not WHY. Imagine a little child.

    - Daddy why do things fall down?
    - Because they're attracted to earth.
    - Why?
    - Because the law discovered by newton states... blablablah, 9.8m/s^2, blablablah
    - Why?
    - Because the law of universal gravitation... blablablah... equation... blah...
    - Why?
    - According to quantum physics and Einstein's relativity theory, the curvature in the space-time continuum... blablablablabla...
    - Why?

    The why's never end. Science try to explain HOW things work. But why they work that way, it's a problem impossible to solve - we'd need a way to measure them that is superior to the things being explained. In other words, we'd need a power greater than the whole universe to explain WHY.

    Ah, but HOW... that's a very different thing.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by exp(pi*sqrt(163)) ( 613870 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:53PM (#23735379) Journal
    > it's pretty well established that Jesus was a real, historical figure.

    That certainly isn't the case. The evidence for a historical Jesus is very scant, far less than the amount of evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar and Alexander say, and the majority proponents of the existence of a historical Jesus who are described as Biblical scholars are, by and large, religious believers seeking to justify their faith. While we still need to take seriously and reply to the arguments of religious believers, the number of scholars who claim the historicity of Jesus has been swelled by the number of religious believers in their ranks. The term "pretty well established" is a a claim based on counting such numbers.

  • Re:Never Be Enough (Score:5, Insightful)

    by vtscott ( 1089271 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:54PM (#23735415)
    Unfortunately, like any article that mentions evolution or something that happened in the universe over 6000 years ago, this has turned into a flamewar against creationists and Christians. However, this article is actually news if you are looking for more than just something to throw in the face of people who don't believe in evolution. The reason this is really interesting is that these scientists can go back through the generations of bacteria they stored and pinpoint exactly where the bacteria started to evolve this new trait and how it came about. This will be kind of like stepping through code in a debugger vs. just giving it some input and seeing what the output is. We will actually get to see step by step how a very useful trait evolved uniquely in one population.
  • Re:amusing (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hatta ( 162192 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @04:59PM (#23735545) Journal
    He's certainly not guiding every single atom at every time. He created perfectly good laws of nature to do that for Him.

    What's the difference?
  • Re:Grow up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by bigstrat2003 ( 1058574 ) * on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:00PM (#23735561)

    You mean like the way religionists and creationists bash scientists and science?
    So, the proper response to douchebaggery is... more douchebaggery? Wow, what a great atmosphere of mutual respect that's gonna foster in our society.

    Stones and glass houses and all that.
    That implies that I'm a) religious, b) bashing science, neither of which is true.
  • Re:Evolutionist (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Bombula ( 670389 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:03PM (#23735629)
    Because in the incredibly sad state of affairs that is the US educational and political system, science - and with it the future of our nation - is genuinely threatened by religious lunacy and the moronic beliefs and ravings of dysfunctional schizoid-delusional sociopaths. Science IS modernity. That's all there is to it. The only thing we have that cultures didn't have 500, or 1000, or 2000 years ago, is science - and scientifically-derrived knowledge. We HAD religion. Only science has fostered new insights into the nature of reality. And as a result of those insights, we now have the modern world and the wonders of technology - from dentistry to antibiotics to cheap clothing to the internet and cell phones. Science gave us EVERYTHING that makes us different from the middle-eastern tribesman and shepherds of the 1st Century.

    Scientists are preoccupied with Creationism because modern American Christianity has degenerated into a freakish, extremist cult that is substantively no different that Wahabism or Scientology - the only difference is that these people are in charge of our government. If that's not a threat you should be concerned about for the sake of your children grandchildren, then I don't know what is.

  • by Scrameustache ( 459504 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:05PM (#23735671) Homepage Journal

    Keep it up and it won't be a "just" a theory any more!

    I'm so sick of my neighbor saying "evolution is just a theory" with a scornful attitude
    It will ALWAYS be a theory.

    Just like the theory of electricity. No matter how many high-voltage cables we lay, the theory remains a theory.
  • Terrible argument (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Woundweavr ( 37873 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:05PM (#23735685)
    First, the unlikely happens. If I flip a coin 1,000,000 times, the odds of that exact sequence of results is astronomically small (1/2^1,000,000). If something happened against the odds, that isn't magic its happenstance.

    Second, this argument is terrible.

    The article is a good read. It basically covers how incredibly narrow the limits are concerning the laws of nature. If any one of them was just an astronomically small amount different, then the Universe would not exist as we know it, and certainly life would not form. Which leads your budding C/ID believer to ask, "what are the odds of this happening by chance?"

    Why would life not form? Because the laws of nature say so? But we just established the laws of nature are not the same in this alternate universe. Its a variation on the first fallacy. "Life" has the characteristics of this universe because it exists in this universe. If there was another set of rules, life might be much more likely, much less likely, extremely different or very similar.
  • by Mentorix ( 620009 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:09PM (#23735773)
    In spite of what any of you say, I'm betting the resulting organism is a Escherichia coli bacterium. Wake me when it becomes a two celled organism

    I am not interested in counterarguments, so I'll just repeat another old canard that works great in my church community and run away to safety.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cheater512 ( 783349 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:11PM (#23735813) Homepage
    So you were raised in to 'knowing' that God is real?

    The same way if you were born in the middle east you'd 'know' that Allah is real.

    And if you were born a few thousand years ago in Mexico you'd 'know' that Quetzalcoatl is real.

    See my point?

    Sure the community is great but basing it all on a really old book which has been edited and mis-translated isnt really smart.
  • Re:Two words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by hobbit ( 5915 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:12PM (#23735841)
    Of course "the Universe would not exist as we know it". After all, we are the ones doing the knowing of it. If the constants were different, others would have to be the ones doing the knowing of it. Maybe that knowledge would not be borne by creatures of carbon and water, but to say "life would not form"? That's just an extension of the anthropomorphism we have come to expect from religious grandeur-delusional thinking.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by rgmoore ( 133276 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:15PM (#23735889) Homepage

    But adding God doesn't really simplify things. Saying "God willed it" is easy because it doesn't require you to think or learn about science, but it isn't simple because it requires you to assume the existence of an omnipotent God with all the philosophical and theological baggage that implies. Unless you substitute the belief in God for everything we know about science (e.g. that objects fall because of God's will, not because of universal gravity) then believing in God only adds another thing to think about. That's the exact opposite of Occam's maxim that "entities must not be multiplied beyond necessity".

  • Re:Two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by hobbit ( 5915 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:18PM (#23735953)

    That certainly isn't the case. The evidence for a historical Jesus is very scant, far less than the amount of evidence for the existence of Julius Caesar and Alexander say,
    Well, yes. The historical evidence for Princess Diana far outstrips the historical evidence for my uncle, but that doesn't mean he didn't exist.
    Anyway, a debate about whether or not some chap called Jesus existed is a waste of time. He probably even believed he was the son of god; you can find dozens of such people in every city in the world. The question is: was he really the son of god? And the answer is: if you have to ask, you'll never know.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:19PM (#23735983)
    Out of necessity.

    Humans are pack animals. We work well in groups of 10, maybe 20 individuals. Anything beyond that isn't in our genes. You cannot easily make more than 20 people work together on a given project. And even those 20 people have to have something in common, most commonly their genes. It is likely that the first "packs" of humans were actually what we'd now call "extended family". Cousins, brothers, sisters and their mates.

    If you want to create larger groups, you have to create a reason why they don't go to each other's throat to increase their own pack's strength. It gets worse as soon as a division of work (and the difference in status that comes along with it) sets in, which is another necessity for an efficient group. There's no use when you have 100 farmers but nobody to build you a new plough. And if everyone can do everything, nobody can do anything really well.

    With the agricultural revolution you run into a new problem: You need to know when to sow and when to reap. You need an astronomer (the reason why astronomy is one of the oldest sciences). Now try to explain to your people why they should feed someone who doesn't do anything but look at the stars.

    All those problems can be solved with religion. Religion is a tool to create order, to make people work together and to keep large groups of people from fighting each other for resources. Every single religion (at least the successful ones) made it an important point that God (or whoever) doesn't like it when you kill your fellow man or steal from him. And since they had no surveillance cams back then, God was usually allmighty, omnipresent and omniscient, so you could rest assured that you'll get your punishment, if not in life then in death.

    Check any religion. All of them contain such or similar parts.
  • Re:amusing (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Woundweavr ( 37873 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:20PM (#23735989)
    The existence or non-existence of Free Will. But then, that debate makes the evolution/Creationism debate look like a polite 1 minute conversation on whether to have Coke or Pepsi with lunch.
  • Re:Grow up. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by FleaPlus ( 6935 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#23736031) Journal
    Anyway, it's an interesting find, but I wonder, why did they not wait until they finished their investigation of the event? It says that they're still figuring out if the change was a random, incredibly rare mutation, or the result of many small changes. Why not wait until you get the whole story to announce your discovery?

    It's science -- there's pretty much always going to be open questions, and you can be rest assured that seeking the answer to the questions they listed will only result in more questions. If you wait until you get the whole story before publishing, your field will be long dead before you publish anything. Science works by having people publish interesting results as they get bits of pieces of the whole story, allowing others to explore the story as well.
  • Re:amusing (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Woundweavr ( 37873 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#23736043)
    Most of what people call chance is not chance. If two guys bump into each other, and one falls into traffic, his street pizzaness wasn't a result of any thing related to quantum mechanics, but simple mechanical physics and the seeming chaos of the extreme complexity of life. The result of flipping a coin can be determined by sufficiently thorough standard physics without ever involving quantum mechanics.
  • Re:This is why ... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Roger W Moore ( 538166 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:23PM (#23736051) Journal

    I always figured this would be how we kill ourselves off.

    Hang on a minute! Anti-biotics were not invented until the 1930's. While I agree that abuse of them should certainly stop (especially including abuse by farmers feeding them to livestock needlessly) it will not be the end of the world. More people will die, live expectancy will drop but we are not going to end up in a post-apocalyptic world with only a handful of survivors.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:24PM (#23736067)
    Perhaps it should be revised to:

    People can believe what they want to believe so long as they don't believe it strongly.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by CrazyJim1 ( 809850 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:26PM (#23736105) Journal
    Regardless of any other premise, why should I accept your authority that God exists and Jesus is real?

    I don't have a good answer for that. My authority isn't the kind that dictates stuff to others. I just know God is real, so I'm able to tell people with complete confidence that he is real. I don't have a lot more to offer. Sure you can read the Bible and learn about God yourself, but for me going past knowing God exists is a stretch.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by im_thatoneguy ( 819432 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:27PM (#23736131)

    But let's sweep those under the rug in favour of pointing out what a hypothetical group of people (who you invented) might do their hypothetical children (who you also invented).

    I think members of The Church of Christ, Scientist might be offended by being called imaginary.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Drakonik ( 1193977 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:29PM (#23736181) Homepage
    But the quoted text assumes that ALL life MUST be carbon-based with four base DNA proteins that process oxygen and so on.

    The problem with the "Everything is so perfect for life that a supreme being did it on purpose" argument is that it makes the assumption that life cannot exist in any form but ours.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Blue Stone ( 582566 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:32PM (#23736225) Homepage Journal
    A good point and one I'm sympathetic with, but it would seem that religion and a belief in something greater than oneself, whether God or Gods, a Great Spirit or Father or something else entirely - but a source of everything - seems to spontaneously arise in humanity all over the planet and is widespread in acceptance.

    So maybe people only need to be told the specifics.

  • Re:Two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by KDR_11k ( 778916 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:37PM (#23736345)
    A lightning strikes and scares the primitive men. They wonder where the lightning might come from and think some powerful creature in the skies must be throwing it. They start worshipping that creature in the hope that the lightning will spare them and smite the people they don't like instead. Over the years that faith evolves into the many religions you see today.
  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Metasquares ( 555685 ) <slashdot@metasquared. c o m> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:43PM (#23736465) Homepage

    On the other hand, evolutionary biology, when misapplied to the social (pretend) sciences, produced a whole range of crimes against humanity whose shock waves have turned the Western mind inside out.

    That is not the fault of the evolutionary biologists, but those who applied the theories in all sorts of inhuman ways. Since we're already skirting around Godwin's Law anyway, I'll just out and say it: Neither Darwin nor Nietzsche were responsible for Hitler's actions; Hitler was responsible for Hitler's actions.

    To use a more contemporary analogy, if I teach someone how to drive a car and he uses that knowledge to deliberately run people over, it isn't my fault; it's his.

    (And who cares whether social sciences are truly sciences? They provide us with useful tools, and that is sufficient for me to respect them as areas of study. Computer Science isn't really a "proper" science either, and yet here you are on the Internet...)

  • Re:Two words (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:44PM (#23736479)
    Look, I agree with you in a lot of ways, but the fact remains that I, like the grandparent, am fine with people believing whatever damn fool thing they want -- just as I have a right to do so.

    I'll oppose certain actions derived from that belief, such as trying to teach it as science in public science classes; or to use your example, using their beliefs to deny demonstrably effective medical treatment to minors; or to justify murder "In God's name" or some such silliness. But I really do believe they are entitled to believe what they want and I will defend that right.

    See, here's the deal: I'll defend their right to believe what they like, and I'll use my equivalent right to critique their ideas. It's a fair trade. It doesn't mean I'm going to sit by passively and let people spout whatever nonsense they like without challenging it -- quite the contrary.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Maxo-Texas ( 864189 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:45PM (#23736515)
    Amazingly.. everyone who graduated from my computer science program got a bachelor's degree in computer science.

    Can you imagine the odds of that? Who would have expected it!?!?

    And I hear most of the people in Japan are Japanese!

    And humans are most likely only found on earth!

    And we use oil and coal for energy instead of atomic elements that don't exist or uncommon in nature!


    Life fits this universe because it arose in this universe.
    A different universe would have different life or be sterile.

    By the way... I just flipped a coin 20 times and it came up h,h,h,t,t,h,t,h,h,t,t,t,t,h,t,h,h,t,t,t.

    The odds of that EXACT sequence coming up is over 1 in a million!!! I should buy a lottery ticket now!
  • Re:Two words (Score:1, Insightful)

    by jasonmanley ( 921037 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:54PM (#23736659) Homepage Journal
    That was a well thought out response. I am a believer but I came at that decision by a very hard fought intellectual battle so I totally know where you are coming from and wouldn't assume for a second to tell you what to believe. One thing that you might find interesting from an archaeological point of view is this exersize ... Type something like this into Google .... real mt sinai ... or a variation on that theme. Basically the idea is this. Moses and the Hebrews fled Egypt and arrived at mt Sinai. While there, a lot of things happened. God decended on the mountain as a burning fire, Moses set up pillars around the mountain, the israelites built a golden calf, Moses split the rock and water came out of it and so on and so on - you know the story. Also centuries later the Bible tells us that Elijah visited the mountain and stayed in a cave. Well the big question is where is this place? If it existed surely there would be archaeologocal evidence for it. I mean, some 2 million people (depending on your interpretation) spending a few years in an area with all this supernatural stuff going on must have left an historical footprint of some kind. Well the commonly accepted site is in the plains of the Sinai paninsula - so named by the mother of Constantine who believed that she knew where this place was. Unfotunately there is no evidence at this 'accepted' site. However some - non archaeologists - have found another site in Saudi Arabia. They have dubbed it the 'Real' Mt Sinai. Look it up on Google there is a hugely suggestive historical footprint - I say suggestive because as far as I know - no aerchaeologist has visited the site to make any studies. The Saudi's have fenced the mountain off and blocked all access to it. Some people have sneaked in however and there are pics and stuff on the net. Here is a list of some of the things that they have found: 1] The entire top of the mountain is burned black. Only this one peak. And the rocks are normal inside - suggesting being burnt from the outside. (The Bible says that God decended like a fire onto the mountain summit) 2] There is a huge cleaved rock standing on a hill, with water erosion at its base. (There is no flowing water for miles) 3] there is a cave on the opposite hill. 4] There are pillare remnants around the base. (and their number exactly matches the number that God told Moses to put down) And numerous others. It is interesting if nothing else. Now I know that 99.9% of people that read this will start an immediate intellectual defense to defend their ingrained POV - I did that too, but your post seems to suggest that you are able to process information neutrally and without bias. Letting the evidence produce a decision rather than a pre convceied notion inform your interpretation. - Hmmm is didn't articulate that too well but I hope you know what I mean :)
  • Re:First! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Timothy Brownawell ( 627747 ) <> on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @05:57PM (#23736743) Homepage Journal

    Don't the researchers find it strange that of all the substances it could synthesize it chose one that was already there?
    I doubt it.

    Either the experiment is flawed or the bacteria have some sort o Lamarkian evolution mechanism working inside.
    They probably did develop the ability to metabolize a number of other substances. And since none of those other substances were available, nobody noticed and the ability probably just randomly disappeared again a while later.
  • Re:Two words (Score:1, Insightful)

    by harley3k ( 1109381 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:02PM (#23736851)
    "If I'm a godist, I might believe that God cures all ills..." But s/he doesn't cure all ills. In fact only the ones that leave no evidence. That's why he never cures amputees. Just check out: He did help my college roommate kick his $500/day cocaine habit. Those 250,000 tsunami victims should have been drug addicts instead. -heretic
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:06PM (#23736921)
    All right since this is so evolutionary, let's do the math and take the data from the research paper and compare to humans:

    - 12 kids each generation (we leave that out of the equation, bacteria have more kids, but there should be less in humans)
    - 31500 generations to get the one new evolutionary shift
    - one generation equals approximately 23 years in humans (chimpanzee 19.6, humans 26.6 at the history of hunter/gatherer)
    - ca. 20000000 years since primates rule, and maybe 5 mio since they walk, and 100.000 since we have Homo sapiens

    = 20000000/(31500*23)=27,6

    So, only 28 meaningful new evolutionary treats for the human ancestors since the start of the primates. That's a drop in the ocean for all the changes we need genetically.
    Short essence: the necessary number of generations is ridiculously high!!

    The main question still is, what did really change. I cannot open the article from here, only the supplement. But if the citrate synthesis is converted from another gene with only a few mutations necessary, that's not exactly news, and it seems they don't know exactly what happened to which genes exactly.
    Another point is, they don't seem to have genetically checked (only with markers) the whole genome for foreign DNA in their new Cit+ bacterial cultures. And with that many generations that is easily possible. There are bacteria in the air/on the hand, and bacteria can take up DNA of their own, for example on that is already Cit+.

  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by johnlcallaway ( 165670 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @06:37PM (#23737477)
    Or take a real look at your faith and realize that the natural world around doesn't need a god to exist if one simply agrees that there are somethings that just can't be explained yet, there is no soul, your life has no purpose except to breed (and what you want to make of it), and everything dies.

    Then you have nothing to reconcile, and life becomes a lot simplier. If that scares you, work on reconciling that.

    Plus, you'll be able to sleep in on Sundays for a change and not have to give part of your income to something that sucks the life out of society and produces nations of sheep.

    Christians sure do work hard to believe in something that doesn't exist, when it's a lot less work to just live your life like you are doing now without all that crap.
  • Re:Two words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ignavus ( 213578 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @07:38PM (#23738335)
    One would have thought that Stalin was the more obvious reference here than Hitler. He had more people killed, and (mis)ruled for a longer time, and was more obviously opposed to religious belief and more obviously pro-evolution.

    I could even imagine Hitler supporting creationism provided it was a blond Nordic Adam that was created in the Garden of Eden. And belief in God would be fine if his name was Woden or Thor. Stalin's Communism was strictly atheistic and pro-science (even if it was sometimes junk science, like Lysenko).

    Soviet Communism was based on some kind of scientific rationalism. Nazism was based on crude nationalistic sentiment (irrationalism). Both were quite content to destroy millions of lives in pursuit of their respective ideals. But Stalin was more "efficient", or at least more successful in holding onto power and killing more people.

    Hilter was the amateur. Stalin was the professional. But when you are looking from the West, you see Hitler first.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Stickerboy ( 61554 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:04PM (#23738731) Homepage
    >> But the quoted text assumes that ALL life MUST be carbon-based

    What else would it be based on? Carbon as a basis of organic molecules provides superior stability and diversity in its flexibility of arrangement. Silicon-based life has been posited but lacks the stability of carbon (as well as real-life examples). Pretty much everything else is a Star Trek pipedream.

    >> with four base DNA

    There's good evidence that early life on Earth was RNA-based, and DNA (mostly) won out as a source of genetic information due to stability in replication.

    >> proteins that process oxygen and so on.

    Plenty of anaerobic life on Earth would beg to differ with that assessment... if they had sentience to beg with.

    >> The problem with the "Everything is so perfect for life that a supreme being did it on purpose" argument is that it makes the assumption that life cannot exist in any form but ours.

    Except that from a physics standpoint, "life" is most easily obtained and created through the carbon-based system like that of Earth. Believing that there is another system out there completely unlike our own without evidence or observation or even conjecture that stands up to scrutiny sounds suspiciously like....

  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by lymond01 ( 314120 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:11PM (#23738855)
    It's a multiplayer game. Anyone who thinks compromising isn't vital to the survival of humanity is kidding themselves. You can believe strongly, but not to the detriment of others.

    "I'm really upset that those people won't listen because they're going straight to Hell when they die. I guess I'll just have to accept that." -- The Way It Should Be In My Opinion

    Another example:

    "America needs to be strong, and stay strong. We can do that by keeping our military well-funded and well distributed, and keeping our allies close. However, we could also try to relate more to other cultures, utilize resources more efficiently, and bring everyone up, instead of staying stronger by keeping everyone down."
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:13PM (#23738907)
    To expand ... demonstrate a closed system with life beginning where there was no life previously and you will have dealt creationists a blow. This article and this evidence merely illustrates that existing life adapts, mutates and changes, not that life spontaneously begins from non-life. THAT not modification of species is the focal point of creationism.
  • Re:Two words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:34PM (#23739297)
    "just as I can't prove that God *does* exists, so you cannot prove that God *doesn't*" Do you have any idea how that comment has made you look? Lets see here... The Tooth Fairy exists because you cant prove that the tooth fairy doesnt exist The Jaberwocky exists because you cannot prove that it doesnt exist Santa exists because you cant prove that he doesnt exist... shall i continue?
  • Re:Two words (Score:4, Insightful)

    by CrimsonAvenger ( 580665 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @08:37PM (#23739369)

    Perhaps it should be revised to:

    People can believe what they want to believe so long as they don't believe it strongly.

    Better yet, it seems that most people (on both sides of any debate) hold with:

    People can believe what they want to believe so long as they believe what I believe.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Cairnarvon ( 901868 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @10:59PM (#23741411) Homepage
    Hitler's Holocaust had more to do with animal husbandry (which predates Darwin by millenia) than with the scientific theory of evolution.

    Even if you could demonstrate a direct causal link between evolutionary biology and mass murder, though, the fact remains that evolutionary theory is true while things like Christian Science are not, and a billion social Darwinists buying into the naturalistic fallacy wouldn't change that.

    Though even if argumentum ad consequentiam weren't a logical fallacy, you'd still be wrong. Considering how much of modern medicine and agriculture, for instance, is based on evolutionary theory, it's safe to say Darwin has saved a lot more lives than Hitler ever could have snuffed out.
  • Souls (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @11:33PM (#23741783) Homepage Journal
    If a soul exists, when does it come into being? At conception, formation of a brain, or...?

    The reason I ask is because if it's at the formation of a brain, that would imply that the "meat" has importance independent of some immaterial artifact.

    If it's at conception, what about identical twins where the zygote splits in two? Does the soul split in two as well? If what about when two young embryos (fraternal twins) merge to make a single embryo, a chimera? Do the two souls merge or does one simply go away?

    If you look at the natural world in and of itself, these questions don't need to be asked. Zygotes sometimes split and young embryos sometimes merge. Done.

    If however you fixate on the lessons of the Bible, you are stuck with an awkward sort of soul arithmetic; one soul divided by two equals two souls (or one half a soul), and one soul plus one soul equals one soul (or two souls in one body).

    Citing Occam's Razor, which is more likely? That one zygote into two is simply that or that an immaterial and unproven concept known as a soul inhabits each of us and must under a special arithmetic to follow natural processes?
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MadMartigan2001 ( 766552 ) on Tuesday June 10, 2008 @11:46PM (#23741933)

    Or you could be like me: a godist (in your terms) who really wants to reconcile science and faith.

    At first glance that sounds good, but say it different..."I'm a tooth-fairy-ist who really wants to reconcile science and tooth-fairy-ism". It just does not have the same ring.

    More to the point, to be viewed as an objective person with no bias towards the evidence, you must first show your objectivity and/or scepticism by stating that the observed evidence can influence your opinion in either direction. Ie, god may not exist and/or evolution may not exist.

    Just as any real scientist would say - "I believe what the evidence shows me and I'm willing to throw out all my current beliefs if new evidence arises that contradicts my current beliefs". granted it would most certainly be really really good evidence, but a real objective person who seeks truth has to be able to say such things.

    So my point is, your kidding yourself if you think you are trying to "reconcile" anything. What you are doing is trying to find bits and pieces of evidence to support your pre-conceived belief that god exists.

    You cannot be objective unless you are willing to admit that all you now believe may be completely wrong. If you cannot, then all you observe in the world will be filtered through your belief system in support of your manufactured reality.

    I'm willing to say it. Evolution may be a complete crock of &*^% and totally wrong. God may exist and created everything we see. That was not to hard, it feels good.

    Now, can you say that God may not exist and evolution may be completely correct? Hmmm?

  • Re:Souls (Score:4, Insightful)

    by TheNucleon ( 865817 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:02AM (#23742113)
    Citing Occam's Razor implies that Occam's Razor is an axiom.

    No matter how you slice it, everyone I've met ascribes value and meaning to human life. Why is this, if we are all just destined to die anyhow, and be dust, and our heirs to be wiped out by the heat death of the universe? Does that picture look stark just because we are frightened, or because our intuition tells us otherwise? We are sentient and curious beings who have the audacity to ask not just how to live, but why. I don't find it remarkably persuasive that all this happened as a result of some quintillion random quarks that conveniently arranged themselves just so I could enjoy my life. Given the depth of philosophical inquiry, the mystery of dreams, the allure of art and music, the love of family, the beauty of nature, and the wonder we feel at our lives, I don't think I'm going with William of Ockham on this one. The most simple solution may not, in fact, be the best. I have thought about this a lot, and I believe I have a soul.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:04AM (#23742147) Homepage Journal
    You're tap dancing around the question. Our perception of the Sun and the Moon in the sky are dependent upon how they interact with the Earth.

    For the Sun to stand still, the Earth could have stopped rotating or other similar feat of astronomical proportions. The Moon would have had to stop its revolutions around the Earth to be perceived as staying or the Earth would have had to rotate at the same rate as the Moon's revolutions.

    For both to occur at the same time, the Moon would have had to stop its revolutions and the Earth would have had to stop rotating.

    Things would have become quite toasty on one side of the planet while the other side became quite a bit cooler -- depending on the length of staying put, of course. The Moon would have crashed into the Earth due to the force of gravity and the ceasing of a stable orbit.

    So my question to you is what other alternatives are there? The next question is whether you have a better alternative than "God did it?"

    "Joshua is told in a way that made sense to the people witnessed the event..."(!?)
    C'mon! God did not pick up a quill pen and some parchment and write Joshua. At best, he inspired someone to write it. I thought the point of the Bible was that it was originally written by the people who were there, presuming that God told Adam what happened before he was created. But wait! Adam never wrote any of the books of the OT. Adam's great grandson perhaps? And perhaps he needed a better copy editor, because God wasn't doing his job in that capacity.

    "Then the LORD put a mark on Cain so that no one who found him would kill him."

    "No one?" It's just him and Adam and Eve, right?

    "Cain lay with his wife, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Enoch."

    Cain's wife? If Adam and Eve were the first humans, does that make Cain's wife Cain and Abel's sister? Or did Cain and Eve do the nasty to make Cain's wife? (Isn't it convenient that the Bible never mentions this woman or many others by name? God was kind of a chauvinist, wasn't He?)

    "Adam lay with his wife again, and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, 'God has granted me another child in place of Abel, since Cain killed him.'"

    So... umm... so I guess God created other women in the background so that the... umm... fratricidal maniac could get his groove on and procreate to make an entire line of damned souls.

    Or do you not take a strict, literal interpretation of Genesis either? If all of these are allegorical and not literal, why base your life on it? Why does it hold special meaning over your life while Aesop's Fables do not?

    Because you feel it? Muslims feel Allah's presence and the holiness of Muhammad. Tibetan Buddhists feel that the earthworms are possibly reincarnated loved ones. Why does your feeling trump what you know of the orbits of the planets and stars and moons? Why does it hold a great truth unto you when you do not see it as literal truth?

    I'm honestly curious.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Repossessed ( 1117929 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:24AM (#23742377)
    I will accept that a supreme being exists, if you can defend why you believe that said supreme being matches, or even comes close, to what you think of as God.
  • Re:Souls (Score:4, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @12:45AM (#23742527) Homepage Journal
    And many people have thought a lot about it and think their children are the smartest, most beautiful creatures ever to grace this planet.

    Thinking and believing do not make a thing so. That's why we make observations, make predictions based upon those observations, and then have others independently verify those predictions.

    Humans are faulty. We need help with objectivity. That's what the Scientific Method does; it helps us to be more objective.

    Belief is not objective nor is it always right.
  • Re:First! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by UltraAyla ( 828879 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @01:24AM (#23742853) Homepage

    Ok, I'll bite, given that this is the third post of yours that I've seen adamantly opposing this as proof of evolution.

    Is it possible to discern that this "newly found" ability of these bacteria to thrive on a different nutrient was NOT already latent in the original ones they started with?

    Yes, it is. First, RTFA, please. If you already did, I ask that you read it again with an open mind because I think you'll see that you missed something. You have continually asserted that maybe they always possessed this ability, but never expressed it until they needed to. However, in the experiment, somewhere around generation 20,000 is when this was enabled. Bacterial lines before generation 20,000 do not develop the gene, but lineages derived from that set do when "replayed." This, along with the fact that none of the other lines of bacteria show it under the same conditions (despite all originating in the same place) shows that this was not simply a case of a dormant gene becoming active. Only bacteria after a certain point in a certain genetic line were able to perform this function. That is adaptation and evolution since it outcompeted the other bacteria which lacked the trait.

    Applying the word "evolution" to such adaptation doesn't justify the leap to claiming that birds came from reptiles or monkeys are the ancestors of people.

    Sure it does. Give me one good reason why over the course of generations genes in monkeys couldn't slowly be mutated to stand upright and gain benefits from it. Remember, these bacteria took 35,000 generations to achieve this minor mutation. If we assume that the monkeys had 15 year generations (which I believe is quite long, maybe someone else can chime in who knows more on primate generational times), that is 500,000 years to make 35,000 generations for this beneficial mutation. Current science and anthropology think spines straightened over the course of millions of years, which means that it took even longer. It really is no leap. It just takes longer time scales and more generations than you seem to be able to comprehend (and most of us can't) at one time.

    I think you ought to rethink your concept of "evolution" to mean more of the generation of random traits through mutation where beneficial results sometimes arise. Sometimes cancer or miscarriage results, and sometimes it's the difference between blue and brown eyes. But what you need to keep in mind is that all of these complex adaptations are not one single mutation. They are chained mutations that just happened to be beneficial with numerous, uncountable numbers of failures (eg:miscarriages and pre-reproductive deaths) over generational timescales. Your eyes didn't develop from one mutation. Nor did the lens in your eye or even the membrane on the lens. It is all the result of MANY mutations. That's why it's reasonable to make the "leap."

  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Eivind Eklund ( 5161 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @02:59AM (#23743583) Journal

    I'm not quite ready to embrace evolution as the origin of species (as opposed to evolution within species, which I do accept)
    I come across this viewpoint a lot among what I otherwise perceive as wise, open-minded Christians, so I'd be curious if you'd answer a question for me: What would it take for you to accept evolution as the origin of the species?

    I'll note that to me, evolution as the origin of the species is the obvious conclusion - I've seen scores of types and hundreds of pieces of evidence for it, and no evidence that goes in the opposite direction. But, for you, there's obviously things that you feel hard to reconcile - and I'd like to know what they are.


  • Re:Two words (Score:5, Insightful)

    by barius ( 1224526 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @04:44AM (#23744195)

    I'm an atheist, but I do have to take issue with the following comment:

    Plus, you'll be able to sleep in on Sundays for a change and not have to give part of your income to something that sucks the life out of society and produces nations of sheep.

    Even as an atheist I still volunteer to help at the local Presbyterian church. Why? Because the church provides community services that are not offered anywhere else. The church where I volunteer provides baby-sitting, computer education classes, yard-sales, book readings, community meeting space, discussion groups, and much more. There are so many good things that church groups do that I find it foolish and irrational that so many Atheists automatically discount the very real and tangible benefits of their presence.

    I suggest you at least try to respect the good things done by your local church, even if you disagree with the beliefs. It wouldn't hurt to show them up a bit and actually leave your computer for a few hours a week to join a local charity or community group either.

  • Re:Two words (Score:2, Insightful)

    by rprins ( 1083641 ) on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @05:13AM (#23744387)
    Well see, that's a mistake. Religious people tend to equate realizing there is no God with believing there is no God.

    However, the two are fundamentally different. One view is based on unassuming, open and critical thinking. When you 'believe' there is no God, you assume it to be true and bend your interpretation of reality towards it. Just like people do when they believe there is a God.

    No-one who is truly unassuming and is capable of accepting something as "not yet completely explicable" will arrive at the notion of a God. Some self-conscious entity pulling invisible strings in a world completely defined by laws he apparently set himself. Retarded.
  • Re:Two words (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Entropy2016 ( 751922 ) <entropy2016@yahoo . c om> on Wednesday June 11, 2008 @06:03AM (#23744645)

    Stalin supporting evolution? Oh boy, were you misled. I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that whoever told you of the views on evolution in the USSR under Stalin was a creationist, who wanted to villify evolution.
    Wether Stalin supported evolution isn't known unless you can get some quotes of him commenting on the topic. Without citing that, the most you should be able to argue against is what the Stalinist regime's official stance on evolution was.

    And in fact, they did support the evolution of species. Lysenkoism was not an attempt to replace evolution, but rather it tried to serve as a mechanic for how evolution worked.

    I suggest reading up on Lysenkoism and the effect it had on science in the Soviet Union: [] []
    I read the article. Lysenkoism doesn't involve any such evolution vs creationism, or Lysenkoism vs evolution. You've misrepresented the entire subject, and I hope people do read the article you linked so they can see why.

    Quoting the article:

    Lysenkoism, or Lysenko-Michurinism, may also denote the biological inheritance principles Lysenko subscribed to which derive from theories of the heritability of acquired characteristics, a body of biological inheritance theory which departs from Mendelism and that Lysenko himself named "Michurinism".
    Notice, it departs from "mendelism", not evolution as a whole.

    When Darwin stumbled upon evolution, he was able to come up with all sorts of examples of things that must had evolved adaptations, but he didn't have a clue about the exact mechanisms involved other than there must be one.

    Lysenkoism wasn't an alternative to evolution (as you said). It was merely trying to define the mechanism behind how evolution works. Of course it's not the evolution we know to be correct today, but it was still a branch of evolutionary theory (just a bad branch of evolutionary theory).

    You've framed the context to be some sort of issue that attempts to be tangental to creationism, when in fact it was only a Mendelism (genetic heritability) vs Lysenkoism (inheritance of acquired characteristics). They were still both evolution.

    Why are people so many people constantly desperate to try and distance the Soviet communists from being advocates of evolution? If it is for some sort of religion-vs-atheism impulse, leave it out of a science discussion, otherwise it's no better than creationists trying to get their stuff in our science classes.

Always leave room to add an explanation if it doesn't work out.