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areformedthinker
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Hi I have never debated evolution, and I am curious how you guys answer these questions. I am not saying these questions are insurmountable for the evolutionist, I just am genuinely curious.

 

1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

 

I am really just curious, and although I am a creationist, I think I will leave the debating to my fellow Christians who are more qualified to debate such a topic.

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I am not sufficiently qualified to discuss science with you either, but we answer some questions with the simplest and most honest answer we have at this time; we simply do not know. However, not being creationists, we don't feel compelled to have all the answers either.

 

I am not aware of the study of evolution specifically encompassing intangible metaphysical realities.

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1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

What do you mean by self awareness?

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

You mean how does it account for the development of DNA? It evolved from a simpler replicating mechanism (RNA). I can't give you a more developed answer at the moment, I'm sure MrSpooky or Neil could help.

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

That isn't part of evolution (read: biological evolution). That is more of a discussion for chemistry.

 

There are a few ideas in development about abiogenesis, a couple of which have produced simple protocells.

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Hi I have never debated evolution, and I am curious how you guys answer these questions. I am not saying these questions are insurmountable for the evolutionist, I just am genuinely curious.

 

1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

I am really just curious, and although I am a creationist, I think I will leave the debating to my fellow Christians who are more qualified to debate such a topic.

 

Areformedthinker,

 

1.) Evolution does not deal with self-awareness directly. Consciousness is and continues to be one the great mysteries of existence. For instance, we do not know that we are the only conscious life-forms on Earth, and modern research tands to suggest that other animals have levels of self-awareness. Particular studies and observations of cetaceans and chimps have shown evidence that only makes sense if they are self-aware.

 

2.) There are demonstrated methods for information increase, such as transposons, frame shifts and retro-viral/viral insertions. A case in point is the evolution of the "Nylon bug", http://www.nmsr.org/nylon.htm.

 

3.) Abiogenesis is not a part of evolutionary theory. Evolution theory(s) deal with the observed fact that life changes, both in real time and in the fossil record. Abiogenesis deals with how life arose from nonlife, and is not included in evolutionary theory.

 

You state you are a creationist, but that can mean many things. Are you a YEC, OEC, IDer, etc.? Evolution, like all science, does not address the existince of deities or any other supernaturalism in any way. I am Deist and I accept evolution as observed fact and a set of incomplete theories to explain the observation, which in no way even addresses the concept of God.

 

Let me ask a general question. A Young Earth Creationist claims that God specially created life as it is physiologically. For arguments sake, let's say I agree with this proposition. How did God specially create life? What methodology did God use to do so? There are two different creation accounts in Genesis. In Genesis 1: 26 - 28, God creates man, both male and female simultaneously. In Genesis 2, God creates Adam from dust then breathes the breath of life into him, then after no other creature is suitable for a helpmate, God takes a rib from Adam and forms woman. So which version of creation is the right one? Did God create male and female simultaneously, or is thr rib story the right one?

 

The larger issue that has become interesting to me is why some people try and force science which deals only with the natural universe, to address questions that are outside of its scope. Conversley, why do some people try and force religious beliefs to address issues that religion is not equipped to deal with, namely science. To clarify the above; Theology/philosophy deals with WHY, science deals with HOW. Science can never address the larger issues that are integrative in terms of morality or ethics and religion/philosophy is not equipped to deal with investigations of nature. Religion/philosophy however does take the nuetral scientific fact of nuclear power and then addresses the use of it in larger sense. Is nuclear medicine moral or ethical? Are nuclear weapons moral or ethical? Are the two the same? If so why, if not why?

 

Finally, from my perspective the rejection of evolution by the small segements of Christians, Jews and Muslims known as Creationists is more about a literalism that is historically, philosophically and literarily untennable. It is a problem of interpretation and extension of poetic WHY explanations into the realm of HOW, and is internally self-contradicting. Creationists claim science is atheistic and rally the army of believers to reject its findings, but only selectively. Science is not atheistic, is is rather non-theistic, as theism in any form is outside of nature (supernatural) and not within the realm that science addresses.

 

Werner Heisenberg, one of the giants of theoretical physics stated which I will paraphrase, "Some religious people get upset when science does not find God at work in the processes of nature such as physics, biology, astronomy, etc. and then turn around and boldly proclaim 'God is Spirit'..."

 

Bruce

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1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

What sucks is that there is no definitive answers. I hate not knowing but that is not my feild, computer science is. I know its sounds like cop-out.

 

But the way I see it, is this: What's the most probable causes? god, aliens, or something else that we can not fully figure out because we have not advanced to that point?

 

We got a bunch of speculation but that is all it is. The science people point here and there and relgious people keep pointing to the sky as they do for earth quakes. If you look into the 2000 years worth of history that christinity has been around, it does not have a very positive record. Take science's inception from Newton, Kepler and Galileo to the space age, that recored is more then convincing. I think I go with those guys.

 

I think we should at least give the scientific community some more funding so they can put in some effort into figureing it out. I also think that evolution should not be messed with in schools becuase it stimulates interest in science and it does make people think about how we came to be. Evolution is a core coponent to biology, take that away and say good by to vacinations and what ever medication there is that extends our life spans.

 

If they, the scientist can't advance or figure it out or jesus lands in my back yard in a flying saucer, then sure I'll jump in and grab some rattle snakes and sing gosples all night long...

 

aman

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1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

1.) What you are looking for is not evolution, but the theory of self-organizing systems. Or maybe 'evolution' of complexity. How systems become more complex by evolving is not difficult to see:
By defining complexity as the combination of distinction (variety) and connection (dependency) in at least the spatial, temporal and scale dimensions, we are able to redefine complexification as the combination of differentiation and integration in these dimensions.

The fundamental mechanisms of evolution are variation, which produces spatial differentiation of systems, and selection on the basis of (relative) fitness, which produces structural integration by creating more and stronger linkages between different systems. Together they produce the growth of structural complexity, characterized by the development of nested hierarchies of subsystems and supersystems.

2.) Read a bit about LSA (Latent Semantic Analysis) to understand how something like 'information' doesn't have to be very 'metaphysical' as it seems.

 

3.) See 1.) And again, what is 'living'? Self-reproducing? Read a bit about autopoietic systems.

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I'm a student of both Cognitive Science AND Genetics, so I'll try to best answer your questions later, probably in different threads. Each is a pretty large topic.

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Guest Slayer-2004

And I have a question for you :

 

Did you ever bother to look into the basic outline of what evolution covers before you posted this ?

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Well, I can help you pare some of this down real quick:

 

1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

Are you conscious of your own consciousness? Can you prove it? I think you need to define self-awareness for the scope of what you want to talk about. As it stands, my computer has a degree of self-awareness due to it's diagnostics (it can monitor its own condition, and can react in some cases, such as powering off before the core melts), or my car (shifting patterns change with response to the driver, self-adjusting instrumentation, etc). I don't think this is the form you are geting at, though.

 

Also, in general, our self-awareness is a poorly understood phenomena, and the structures, the how it works, is not clear, nor is what all is necessarially involved. The earlier responses may help elucidate this, but, it is hard to describe how something may be constructed, when one does not know what it is. As it stands, it is thought to be a by-product of our thread of evolution, but it is an open question and research is still being done in that area.

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

The short answer: it doesn't. Once again, the definitions are important here, but I'll take a stab at this.

 

By information, I'll assume protein coding, and what accounts for that is thermodynamics, and reaction kinetics, especially for protein folding, which is what much of the funciton is derived from. As for the information encoded in DNA, the information is which base is which, which is simply chemical, and the informatiion about which base is there (G,C,A or T) is a product of the molecule itself, and has nothing to do with evolution. Other fields concern themselves with this sort of information, but it is out of scope for evolution.

(now how the encoding arose, it is simply one of the thermodynamically most favorable, along with favorable kinetics, so, essentially, it is a matter of time, before this organization arises, not so much a question of if as it is of when.)

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

You may want to ask a virus, or even an archaebacteria, which are on both edges of life. Living should also be defined for this question, what constitutes living? This is more than a philosophical question, just what functions should something have to be considered alive, if we are too broad, there are some machines that could probably be considered alive, though they are clearly defined as not, so the definiton matters here.

 

The abiogenesis problem is quite difficult, and the usual counter to eveolution via this is the permutation argument, or that there are so many permutations of molecules (even restricted to the "allowed" ones, namely the molecules that make up DNA and proteins) that the odds are astronomical that life could arise. This argument forgets to take into acount a couple of details, however. First is that there are a hell of a lot of these molecules, and that the configurations we see in life are self-organizing (the first nanotech, as it were) so once a few are built more can arise pretty quickly, eg the Law of Large numbers (paraphrased: if you are one in a million, there are 17 just like you in NYC) takes care of the first part, though it may not be entirely good enough for this...that is when our friends thermodynamics and kinetics come to the rescue (seeing a pattern here?)

 

The probability argument works as long as the probabilites of each state arising are about equal, so there are no "favored" states. Thermodynamics and Kinetics changes this pretty damn fast, though, as, by these physical phenomena (easily observed I might add, if you want examples, I'll be happy to provide) serve to effectively forbid some states and favor others, so over time, things tend towards certain favored states. This makes the self-assemblers easier to get, and once we have them...well, it isn't too much of a stretch to see where the reaction will go.

 

These are admittedly very simplified explanations, and I am no expert in cognition, but I hold a degree in chemistry (and I focused in biochemistry) and have professional experience in biochemistry and molecular biology.

 

Really, when you get down to it, 90% of biology is chemistry, the rest is figuring out what to call it.

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1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

God of the Gaps™ alert! :fdevil:

 

I'm not a specialist on 1. and 2., but first, note that 3. has nothing to do with evolution but with abiogenesis, and second, no decent scientist claims that science already knows everything about everything. If science doesn't know an answer, this means that... science doesn't know an answer. Nothing more.

 

From what I read from you so far, you're one of the polite ones, so I'll be polite too. ;) Please ask yourself: If "science doesn't have an answer, so goddidit!" was a valid way of reasoning, would we ever have learned how to build gasoline engines, or airplanes, or computers, or... or...?

What we don't know (yet) today, we might know tomorrow. You're welcome to believe in a Divine origin of the things you asked about, but please note that God of the Gaps™ is not a valid way of debating. :yellow:

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1.) How does evolution explain our self awareness?

 

Evolutionary theory seeks to explain how different species have come to be. At its most basic level, it is the study of allele frequency changes over time within populations. Your question of self-awareness, or sentience, would be more appropriately directed toward neuroscience, not evolutionary biology.

 

2.) How does evolution account for information inside of DNA?

 

The genetic code has arisen through random mutation and selection.

 

3.) How does non-living substance become living?

 

I assume that your question addresses the concept of abiogenesis, but before one can adequately answer it, one must be clear on the definition of the word, "life." For example, by the current scientific definition of life, a virus is not alive. However, it contains genetic information (either as RNA or DNA) and is subject to the same evolutionary forces as humans. Thus, the distinction between life and non-life may not be as discrete as your question indicates.

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