To: Ron Stringfellow Oct2393 09:24:38 Subject: evolution/faith = Quoting Ron Stringfellow

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From: Rob Fargher To: Ron Stringfellow Oct-23-93 09:24:38 Subject: evolution/faith -=> Quoting Ron Stringfellow to All <=- RS> been to ascertain from the bulk of you slgh's is that after you cut RS> through the smoke and mirrors you cannot tell us how life began. You RS> accept by FAITH effect your god is evolution. Good RS> luck. Ron, I have a Ph.D. in Zoology. I am currently employed at a college where I teach courses in biology and human physiology. I have a professional and personal lifetime interest in trying to understand life (not just my own but all of life). Now you may reject these credentials as they don't represent the revealed knowledge that you cherish. That's OK, my purpose is not to awe you but rather to make you aware that what I'm about to say comes from one who knows what he's talking about. In my courses, a couple of the themes I emphasize are: emergent properties, evolution (no surprise there, I'm sure, but specifically that we are the result of our evolutionary history) and the commonality of life. The concept of emergent properties has to do with levels of organisation in a organism, viz: organism, organ system, organ, tissue, cells, molecule. Roughly stated, properties of a certain level emerge from characteristics of levels underneath it: the special characteristics of epithelial tissue derive from cellular physiology at the molecular level. Similarly, organs such as the kidney derive their properties from the epithelial tissue that composes its functional parts of the organ. Overwhelmingly massive amounts of our understanding about how biochemistry, cellular physiology, cells, tissues, organs, and organ systems work the way they do relies on an understanding of our evolutionary history. All of life has far, far more in common than individual species have in unique features. It is _utterly impossible_ to make sense out of most of our anatomy/physiology without reference to our evolutionary history. Dobzhansky (1973) said it succinctly and accurately "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution." Any other interpretation fails (or has so far) unify biology into a coherent whole. The body of evidence demonstrating that evolution has occurred is uncontestable, no matter what agenda one is trying to promote (the _mechanisms_ by which evolution occurs are another matter and the subject of much fruitful research). Biological evolution is one of the most strongly established and verified theories in the pantheon of science. It is so well established, by means other than self-verification, that to deny it means denying _all_ of science. To bury ones head in the intellectual sand and dogmatically assert that evolution did not occur is at best wishful thinking and at worst outright malicious; in either case it is a medieval reversion to alchemy and Holy Grails. Now, here's a little secret, Ron. Evolution does not deny God! There is absolutely nothing in evolutionary theory that in any way contradicts suppositions that God started the whole shebang and set evolution off on it's course. This, in caricature, is the position of the Catholic church! Not only that but many of the researchers who work in the field of evolutionary theory attend church! Although many do not hold such a position, it is not a logical inconsistency to hold a belief in God as the creator of ultimate origins and to have confidence in science as a means of discovering how life, the universe, and everything works. Here's another little secret, Ron. Just as science doesn't deal with gods, evolution DOES NOT DEAL WITH ULTIMATE ORIGINS. In no way is it necessary to understand how life arose on Earth. Evolutionary mechanisms only come into play once life arose. Theories about the origin of life ARE NOT A PART OF EVOLUTION. Theories about the origin of life are just that, theories about the origin of life not theories about evolution. We collectively have far more confidence in evolution as the explanation for the development and diversification of life once it arose than we have in theories about abiogenic origins of life. However, evolution and abiogenic origins are two completely separate issues. If you insist on faulting evolution because it doesn't provide an explanation for the ultimate origin of life then you are committing a severe logical fallacy. You are also erecting a strawman, trying to saddle inappropriate baggage on to evolutionary theory; this is intellectual dishonesty. As such, you are acting as an anti-intellectual saboteur, fortunately an ineffective one - your intellectual gun is loaded with blanks. RS> If man is in a constant state of evolution...where is he going to RS> evolve when the sun burns out ? Will he become cold blooded blind RS> white salamanders ? No, Ron, we won't. If we haven't killed ourselves off by then the death of the sun, some billion years hence, will do the job. You see, one of the characteristic features of all life is that it is a dynamic equilibrium of sustained local decrease in entropy. This local entropy decrease is _obligatorially_ coupled to the much greater entropy increase represented by the sun; the sun is the power plant that drives all life on earth. Once the sun is no longer supplying energy to the earth, all life will die out. But it won't come to that. Part of our suns evolution (there's that word again) will be to pass through a red giant stage. At that stage the outer circumference of the sun will be past the orbit of Jupiter. Earth itself will no longer exist. ... Canada: a country where smokes are $7 but heart transplants are free. --- Blue Wave/Max v2.12 * Origin: The BandMaster, Vancouver, BC (604-266-7754) (1:153/7715)


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