quote:Originally posted by thestickman: Ok, i'm new to this [i'm only 16] but if John Paul is a religious person, isn't the whole nature of his beliefs that they are based on faith rather than evidence? If he asks for scientific proof of evolution isn't it odd that he needs no proof for his religious beliefs, rather the opposite. He believes they are true then it is a unbelievers role to disprove them. 'Bottom line is the Theory of Evolution is a philosophy and should be discussed in that venue. That is until it can be objectively tested.', then shouldn't he do the same for religion? I know this is a hotly debated issue, the nature of burden of proof but it seems quite odd to me. Maybe i'm wrong, as i said i'm only new, but it seems to me that there are different criteria of proof for evolution and religion. As in, religion assumes there to be a God, while they then demand evolutionists treat evolution as a theory while they treat the presence of a God as a fact. Any feedback would be a help cheers ryan
Hi ryan, Welcome aboard. One of the main problems is that religion cannot be objectively tested. For example, what is the testable hypothesis of creation? How can it be falsified? How do you distinguish a natural phenomenon which we do not have an answer for yet from something that is divine? Which god created everything i.e. Vishnu? What created god? It goes on and on.
A major problem with creationists is that they are almost universally uninformed about the scientific method and the tentative nature of science i.e. hypotheses, theories that adapt over time with increase in knowledge and data and fall back on faith based absolutes. My experience is that many also have never actually read anything about the theory of evolution much less abiogenesis.
You will also find that many creationists on this board either willfully or out of ignorance claim that abiogenesis and evolution are the same i.e. origin of life versus origin of species etc etc. It is a debating tactic i.e. a strawman argument.
You will find active discussion on most if not all the topics you are interested in by reading the exchanges in the various forums. I would suggest the Faith and Belief and Evolution forums to begin with.
I think 2 and 3 on your list are the same in principle. Would we even recognize the origins of life? I think any molecule that can replicate itself, not even well but can produce copies of itself could over time generate what we would recognize as life. That is why I think catalytic RNA's are interesting. The problem is, even the most simple virus has evolved for millions if not billions of years so trying to deconstruct it back to an original replicating molecule would be extremely difficult if not impossible to replot its evolutionary trajectory.
I think it would still be very difficult. Say you find short (30 base long) chains of RNA (for the sake of argument), in a pool on mars that are able to replicate themselves...would this be recognized as life? As pre-life? Potential life? Viruses are not defined as alive mostly because they require a host to replicate. I find that a bit of an artificial distinction like saying humans are not alive because we need to eat and do not generate ATP without input from nutrition...the fact is, after a system has evolved for billions of years, I think it would be very difficult to reconstruct anything even resembling the initial replicator molecules that began life. One could perhaps one day find conditions where such replicators arise from a mixture of elements and conditions that could not self replicate i.e. potential abiogenesis....however, this would not necessarily tell us how abiogenesis occurred prior to our most remote common ancestor...it would only demonstrate the feasability of abiogenesis (no small achievement regardless)....of course then creationists would say...evolution is false because that self replicator did not become a dog in a week
I would agree that the ultimate goal of scientists studying abiogenesis is to demonstrate conditions and elements that could lead to a system that self replicates using combinations of elements and conditions found in nature. Then that ends the discussion of whether or not and how it can happen which would be a nice Nobel Prize winning result. However, determining the exact nature of the replicators that resulted in the beginning of life on Earth is probably impossible (was it RNA? DNA? what were the exact conditions?)....but that is my own personal feeling since billions of years of subsequent evolution would have probably erased any meaningful signals...much like the way phylogenetic reconstruction (at a molecular level) gets much much harder the farther back in time you go.