Junior Member (Idle past 1387 days)
Wouldn't I be God's advocate? Wouldn't you be the one playing devil's advocate?
Well first this whole topic is based on an argument made by Richard Dawkins that the path the recurrent laryngeal nerve takes is somehow an argument against intelligent design. Even if a body part currently has a bad design does not mean that it was originally made that way. Honestly I thought evolution was all about survival of the fittest. Why would evolution choose for a design that was harmful to the host. Wouldn't have it been selected against since the recurrent laryngeal nerve does not provide adequate survival benefit to its host? Couldn't the argument of bad design of the recurrent laryngeal nerve be used as an argument against evolution? And if you don't consider it an argument evolution, then is it because you have faith in evolution or is because evolution as commonly presented incorrect or is it because recurrent laryngeal nerve has never been proven to be bad design in the first point and thus this whole topic is mute. You could explain the recurrent laryngeal nerve to be a vestigial component of another organism that had a purpose for this detour in the wiring, but what organism? Evolution has been a kinda fits-all explanation for biology and behavior and when it fails to explain something or makes incorrect predictions - you just repeat the mantra: Evolution makes sense, it explains everything, creationists are idiots, so evolution by random mutations and natural selection is right. Where is the peer viewed article proving that the recurrent laryngeal nerve is in fact a bad design.
Perfectionist argument - Why does the creation of life on earth had to be performed by God itself? It could have been done by beings it delegated to perform that function. Though knowledgeable, these beings don't necessarily have to possess infinite knowledge and get everything just right to be intelligent designers. In a universe as vast as ours, it would make sense for certain aspects of creation to be delegated. The bible does make reference to angels. A single angel or group of angels could be responsible for the creation of lifeforms on earth. Can there be such a thing as perfect in a world where things are constantly changing? The sickle cell trait in Africa, where malaria is rampant, is a pointed example of how in one area a design could be perfect, yet that same trait where malaria not not common would be a bad design. The very fact that two sexes exist suggest that they were created/exist due to a need for organism to change even in spite of having of one form or genetic type(limited genetic pool), otherwise we would reproduce via asexual reproduction, which more closely preserves the original genetic form.
Creationism and evolution are not necessarily mutually exclusive. If you get past what is normally touted as creationism, the idea that at some times things could have been created is not too far fetched. The evolution spikes where one species experiences dramatic changes in its genetic code and turns into another very different species, could also be explained by new species being created at specific periods in earth's history. Even if some parts of a lifeform are dysfunctional does not mean that were made dysfunctional. Things could have been made with good design, but gradually deteriorated over time.
Why does God have to poof things into existence in order to have created them? When a human creates an object, a watch for example, he doesn't create that object in 0 time, and humans are considered intelligent, therefore why can't God still be considered intelligent and be able to create our world in some non-zero time, maybe involving a very long time span. Our interpretation of creation is a very limited one indeed. Why can't the universe have been created via a divinely guided evolution of both matter and life, where the word of God speaks to its creation, inspiring it in subtly ways to move forward, to become more aware, to become more divine? Punctuated evolution, where one organism/species are seen to change rapidly into another type of organism/species could be explained by the idea of evolution being in some way divinely influenced. Even if you find that idea a bit hard to swallow, is it any more difficult an idea to accept than Darwin's natural selection, survival of the fittest argument. In many chances survival of the fittest clearly to no significant degree happens in species with large stable populations. Human beings are a poignant example. Our lame, our sick, our elderly, our ignorant masses continue to propagate in spite of the supposed hand of Darwin natural selection. Are we any worse off because of this? Do we really want to live in a world where survival of the fittest is the dominant reality? Darwinian evolution has no clear preferred evolutionary direction, but actual evolution shows all the signs that it does have a direction. Unguided evolution should produce small deviations from the mean from equilibrium point, but in reality we see small randoms drifts in genetic drift separated by rather large non-random additions of biological complexity(which is seen in things like increase in the percentage of introns to exons), like new organs, specization, dramatic rises in intelligence, etc.
Ok, now onto your post:
"A hypothetical creationist? Not what you think? You know, it might be a better idea to argue from your own point of view for a while, rather than playing devil's advocate."
Everyone deserves equal representation. And to be honest creationists aren't popular among intellectuals. For a evolutionist vs creationist forum, it is surprising one-sided. I like to understand all points of views. Besides isn't the discussion more interesting, more engaging, more entertaining, more thought provoking when multiple points of view are contrasted against each other.
Sorry, Granny Magda, I actually have no real point of view in regards to this topic. I take a what if creationism was true kinda stance. It would be dishonest to say that I have a point of view on something I just got exposed to. If the requirement for this forum is that I actually write my own point of view, you wouldn't get any posts from me. I thought this was a debate forum to contrast creationist and evolutionist arguments, not not a scientific institution trying to develop new science. It is only a "better idea" for you, maybe you enjoy converting creationists to your own POV. It is much easier to argue something if you have no personal attachment to a particular point of view. Playing the skeptic is actually a much easier stance to take - you don't have to know as much if you take a purely skeptical stance that has only the interest of disproving others' arguments. I have not taken that easy stance though, mainly because all the creationists seem to have been scared away, so I have offered myself unto the evolutionist sharks. This is just an argument I think a creationist who believed that each part of the body had to be purposefully designed(and perfectly designed according to an evolutionary biologist's criteria), so I've tried to imagine what that purpose might be. Could the laryngeal nerve be in a different kind of circuit arrangement? It could and still have a similar function. The vocal cords could potentially also be in one's chest right next to the heart and one still have the ability to speak. If the recurrent laryngeal nerve is in any sense purposefully designed with efficiency and intelligence in mind, then logically its descent into the chest should serve a function for the vocal cords and thus speech. If not you are left with it just being a vestigial component of evolution or some random mutation in evolution never actually serving any real function or it could be should artifact of the way in which a growing embryo develops. If I was taking an evolutionist stance, I would present a different argument.
First this is a very technical issue and without years of study I couldn't be able to come up with my own point of view of which I could firmly hold to. Without this site existing, I would have likely never even thought about the recurrent laryngeal nerve and it having anything to do with intelligent design or evolution for that matter. And without conducting experiments, I couldn't know to what degree I am right or wrong as far as the argument presented. It was merely my first impressions(taken from my imagination) looking at pics of the recurrent laryngeal nerve at the late hours of the night. And since I haven't studied in detail how each piece of the human body is labeled, I could get confused on how something is labeled even looking at a diagram.
"Easy to claim, hard to prove. Do you have any evidence for this, by which I mean credible evidence, published by appropriate professionals in reputable journals and subject to peer review? You would need to demonstrate that your claim is true, that these benefits outweigh the risk of injury associated with the RLN and that any benefits demonstrated would disappear if the RLN was up in the neck.
Basically, I'm saying that if you can't prove this, then as far as I am concerned, it's not true.
It is easy to play the skeptic too. It is much harder to have an original thought. I'm not trying to prove, I'm trying to argue. Proofs require either experimentation or mathematical logic, neither of which Richard Dawkins does when he presents the recurrent laryngeal nerve is bad design, therefore intelligent designers are wrong argument. Expecting me to live up to higher standards than someone educated in the biological sciences is a bit much, don't you think? I cannot refute Dawkin's proof of bad design, because he never actually proved it in the first place. Dawkins makes an argument based on his own agenda-ridden criteria(which is based in him making money and converting the world to atheism) on what is bad or good design. And people just take him at his word, but he is well-known and outspoken and most people don't like thinking for themselves, theist or atheist. I should hope biologists who have no stake in the intelligent design movement can see Dawkin's argument for what it is, personal opinion, not scientific reality.
You are free to look up any of a number of studies showing a connection with pranayama mediation and brain wave measurements. In order to prove what I am arguing is true you would have to simultaneously measure the actual current passing through the recurrent laryngeal nerve fibers and measure brain activity as well. I am not sure if this specifically has been done.
Sorry, if it were my intent to prove such to a degree that would change how the scientific community views such, I wouldn't be posting here. If you are expecting such high standards, expect to be disappointed. I was presenting an argument as a mental exercise, not a scientific proof, there is a difference. Not everything in the scientific community is peer-reviewed in a scientific journal/magazine. All ideas start somewhere. Scientists exchange thoughts, presenting arguments, without often going through official channels. Publishing in a peer-reviewed journal is the final step in a long drawn out process. Also I find the reference to having published in a peer-reviewed journal a bit clique response to a creationist argument, attempting to argue truth by an appeal to authority rather than addressing the inherent truth something has. Try something more original perhaps? This forum is to a degree informal, no self-respecting scientist intent on bettering their career is going to be posting here in the intent of convincing others to their point of view. Basically whether one believes in intelligent design or not, in order to prove the argument presented herein one would have to conduct experiments, thus collecting data, which could be used as evidence for one's point of view. Having not studied in the biological sciences(at least in a collegial sense), I couldn't hope to do that. I didn't think I was ever making the claim that I had. In order to prove with a high degree of certainty, my argument I would need both a medical license and funding or someone with a medical license and funding to do the necessary experiments.
Also I am not asking you to believe that it is true, but assuming it is not is a bit presumptuous, don't you think? It is like saying you are positively certain that God does not exist and that you have no doubts in your mind. I am not even saying I believe that this is the case. I am making an argument that it is the case. Or have you never taken debate or written an argumentative English paper?
Looking into Ortner's syndrome, it might be necessary for the recurrent laryngeal nerve to makes its detour to the aorta in order to be able to function at all. In order for the vocal cords to correctly and loudly vibrate there maybe a high energy cost evolved that the brain cannot supply and thus the aorta could serve an amplitory function for the initial current that descends from the Vagus nerve to the aorta and then to its final destination at the vocal cords.
"Assuming that this is true, why must it go through the chest to do this? How can you show that this would not be possible in a laryngeal nerve that remained in the neck?"
One of the first things a child, I should say an infant learns to do, in their journey of learning how to speak, is to just produce noise( controlling amplitude and to an extent pitch as well) by expelling varying volumes of air from their lungs at a given moment.
In order to speak, one needs to be able to control one's air flow, vocal cords and mouth all at once or do you disagree with this? People control all these factors naturally often without realizing it.
"I think you need to top up on your medication. This is nonsense."
I should have been more precise. The act of breathing can stimulate the hearing of words(stimulation of the auditory cortex) in one's head. Here is an article to make you happy: http://www.aolresearch.org/pdf/other/Richard_Brown.pdf, it deals with pranayama mediation and mentions the effect on the auditory cortex for one conducted by Richard P. Brown, M.D. and Patricia L. Gerbarg, M.D.
Umm, top up on my mediation? Maybe you should top up on the medical studies concerning mediation. What do you mean by that? Really, I didn't think I was so out of touch with the current knowledge on mediation. I've tried various forms of mediation(also having read numerous books), and this has seemed to be my experience or at least one interpretation of it by observing what happens when I do such and such things. If the purpose of mediation is not to have some effect on one's state of mind and what one thinks, then what purpose does it even serve? Why do people continue to do it if mediation doesn't to some extent do what it purports. As far as risk of injury to RLN, honestly I don't really hear about people damaging their RLN. During surgery one has to be careful if one is working in that area, but any number of organs are also very susceptible to injury. I don't see how the risk of injury to RLN is any greater than risk of other body parts, which have known functions.
"As far as I can tell, this sentence is meaningless."
Let me explain then. Well first, I could have perhaps been more careful in my word choice. Before you build an electronics circuit for example, you have a particular goal in mind. You then proceed to construct your circuit accordingly, to optimally perform your intended function.
"Again, no it doesn't. It connects the brain to the larynx and the larynx to the brain. It has nothing to do with the tongue or breath control. Disagree? Evidence please..."
To an extent you are correct, it is all how you divide the connected pieces(nerves). At least from the diagrams I looked at the nerves in the mouth are connected with those of the recurrent laryngeal nerve via the Vagus nerve. Also according to here: http://www.ganfyd.org/index.php?title=Recurrent_laryngeal... , during the embryonic stage of development the recurrent laryngeal nerve is located in the mouth, only later moving to where it place in the neck.
"How would the laryngeal nerve be unable to do this if it were in the neck? Please be specific."
You mean solely in the neck, since it is in the neck either way, whether or not it makes its detour. Actually without doing tests, I cannot say for sure how exactly it effects the natural resonance, though each person has their own voice patterns, which another person cannot completely replicate no matter how hard they try. My impression was that the aorta through its own activities like beating for example, generates electrical activity or modifies the electrical current in some way(that passes in the recurrent laryngeal nerve) by using/subtracting(or maybe creating/adding) some of the electrical current that was following in the circuit, which then gets transmitted to the vocal cords.
"Again, no it doesn't. It connects the brain to the larynx and the larynx to the brain. It has nothing to do with the tongue or breath control. Disagree? Evidence please..."
Well it connects to it via the Vagus nerve.
"Utter nonsense. The route of the nerve is not the reason fish can't talk. Also, not all animals have a direct route for this nerve. Besides, many animals can communicate in complex and meaningful ways."
Sorry, until an animal can explain quantum physics to me, you cannot in good faith argue that animals, even ones as intelligent as monkeys, "can communicate in complex and meaningful ways", not even remotely close to the degree which humans can do. So what if you can take a chimpanzee and over the course of its lifetime teach it to identify maybe a few hundred symbols. It takes a lot more effort to do that than trying to do the same with humans. And humans could take those same hundred or so symbols and use them with a complexity and with a meaningfulness that a chimp could never hope to get close in replicating. And besides I was referencing the ability of humans to produce distinct sounds like na, fa, da, ha, ba, ne fe, de, he, be, etc, which chimps cannot do or at least I have never heard a chimp sound remotely human. Although the ability of parrots to produce human-like sounds would be an interesting corollary to this discussion. They also able to produce a number of non-human like sound with great fidelity as well.
For parrots see, http://jeb.biologists.org/cgi/content/full/205/1/25?maxto...
airsac near the lungs
"Unlike the human larynx, the bird syrinx is positioned inside an air sac close to the lungs, where the windpipe, the trachea, bifurcates into the two primary bronchi"
Parrots also use their tongues to a similar degree as humans. The article I mentioned above demonstrates, parrots are able to get around that "detour" by having their lower down in their system.
Well obviously, a lot of things come into play that give humans the ability to speak. The recurrent laryngeal nerve is just one piece of the puzzle. The descended larynx is also another piece of the puzzle. Brain structure is also an important piece. Awareness of what your vocal cords are doing, what your diaphragm, your heart, your mouth, your tongue and being able to precisely control them all at the same time is important. Although we tend to associate the tongue with the sense of taste, it is also sensitive to thermal exchanges(heat) and applied pressures (touch), and vibrations (sound).
My whole computer analogy was simple that the length of something or lack there of in biology systems shouldn't be used to argue whether something is of intelligent or unintelligent design.
"I suggest that you take a look at the explanations that have already been presented for the RLN's detour and address those. At least then, you might be within a stone's throw of reality."
You have taken the skeptic's viewpoint throughout your post, relying more on asking questions than presenting a counter argument to why what I said is incorrect. I was hoping for more. As far as explanations, which ones do you mean? Are you referencing the path that the recurrent laryngeal nerve takes is due to it having evolved via an evolutionary process and retaining certain vestigial components from the organism with which it evolved from? Otherwise I don't remember seeing anything else in these posts to indicate that its detour had anything to do with anything other than evolution (creationists couldn't even come up with any kind of explanation was the impression I got). However how exactly evolution created that detour, I don't remember being explained in this topic. Though I looked it up and supposedly had something to do with fish??
What does being "within a stone's throw of reality" even mean? How can you be sure of what is reality? If you were to be honest you should at least say "within a stone's throw" of a model "of reality". All anyone's reality is is a model for the observations that register on their brain. I don't think science has gotten to the point to where it can say what reality, really is. At best all you have is some approximation of reality. If you think otherwise, you are either deluded or lieing. At least if you are going to use an analogy to negatively characterize my argument, you could come up with something more fitting, more imaginative, that directly addresses what was stated in my argument. You could have said your argument showed little signs of intelligent design. Or your argument only serves to prove you have a common ancestral link with chimpanzees. Or your argument even gives legitimate creationists a bad name. Or your argument was so far from any reasonable depiction of reality, that your erroneous logic is even clear to creationists. Or are you sure you aren't a creationist because you sure argue like one - lack of evidence(citation), lack of understanding in science, and a lack of any ability to logically argue from proven facts.