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  • kopykock kopykock Mar 1, 2004 10:48 PM Flag

    OT- Got Clues?

     
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    • I found a really interesting website, http://www.quackgrass.com where they make the following claims:

      <Some concepts are implicit in every perception, and are the base of all other concepts. These are the axiomatic concepts: existence, identity, consciousness. To perceive a thing is to perceive that it exists. To perceive a thing is to perceive that it is something. To perceive a thing is to perceive that one is conscious. Axiomatic concepts cannot be defined in terms of other concepts because they are logically prior to all other concepts.

      These axiomatic concepts can be combined into formal axioms. Existence exists: there are things. Existence identity: to be is to be something: things are what they are. (which is the law of identity) Consciousness is identification: to be conscious is to be conscious of existence.

      No proof can be offered for these, nor is any needed: it is self contradictory to deny them, for they must be accepted and used in every such denial. I.e., they are self-evident. (see Ayn Rand, Introduction to Objectivist Epistemology, Ch. 6)>

      I agree with Ayn Rand's statements even though they seem to contradict my initial premise about whether one could ever know if he/she is in a coma or not. Ayn admits that there is no proof, and she is right. She is also right about us not needing any proof, within the context of the things she wanted to discuss. If we don't accept this foundation, then we really don't exist and we aren't having this discussion, so everything beyond that is pointless. For her purposes, this is a perfectly reasonable foundation.

      I want to apply cold hard scientific theory, like the law of causality, to the concept of the big bang. The things I call "cold hard scientific theory" are those theories that have been validated with overwhelming evidence that nobody could possibly question. We don't question the laws of conservation nor causality. Not only do they appear to be self-evident, but they correlate perfectly with every experiement we can perform (neglecting relativity). We see them in our everyday lives, and we don't have to imagine what might happen. Likewise, we don't have to rely on completely unreasonable extrapolation to produce datapoints that support cold hard theory.

      So when I look at the world, I see causes and effects. Where there was matter, matter still exists. Where there was energy, we can account for every single micro-Joule. So why should things be any different yesterday, or the day before, or a trillion days before that? All these laws applied yesterday and the week before. Wouldn't it be pretty foolish to accept that there was a time in the past where they didn't ring true? One has to wonder why there might have been a special day where things were temporarily different and these rules just didn't apply!

      So I think that it's just as reasonable to propose an alternative theory. Perhaps nothing ever did happen! Since we see this phenomena of causality every day and yet it couldn't hold true for our origin, then perhaps we are being deluded. Maybe causality is flawed because there was no beginning, and therefore, there is no now either. What caused the first cause? Well maybe nothing, because nothing was ever caused!

      This theory does have the advantage of not violating causality! And really, there aren't many theories we can trust more than causality. One pretty much has to throw causality out the window to accept any other explaination for creation.

      The first cause paradox suggests that there must be something wrong with our initial assumptions. Either causality is flawed, or perhaps our initial axioms are wrong. We at least used science to support the theory of causality. The axioms we just blindly accepted. Perhaps we are living in The Matrix, and if so, we again have to wonder whether it had a Creator or n

    • <The universe contains time, just as it does space, matter, and energy. Therefore its completely meaningless to say �before the big bang�, because it would be like saying �before time�.>

      I really don't see a good justification here for why time doesn't exist prior to the big bang. Also, it doesn't address whether matter and energy existed prior either. If we are to dismiss the law of conservation of energy and the law of conservation of mass, then we can accept that no matter and no energy were required. Likewise, if we can dismiss the law of causality, then we don't need a cause to make all this happen. So in theory, we could have a true void out of which a whole lot of matter and energy spontaneously erupted as the result of no cause. Or maybe the mass and energy were just sitting around waiting for no particular cause to happen to induce creation! Of course, if the mass and energy were around prior to time starting, then we have a problem since energy is measured in units that require time ( remember 1N = 1 Kg M / s^2, and 1 Joule = 1 N M = 1 Kg M^2 / s^2 ). So there really cannot be energy without time. If we try to relate matter to energy using E = m c^2, we would then have to wonder about whether mass can exist without time either.

      Really, I put all those thoughts in the same category as this lame question one of my bosses asked me several years ago. Some goofball implemented a flawed algorithm that computed the arctan(y/x) of a vector when y and x were both zero, and he wanted to know if this generated the same result on a number of different platforms. I explained that nobody should care what direction a vector with zero mangnitude is pointing. That's kinda like which way are you going in your car if it isn't moving? Anyway, he convinced me to give him the data he wanted, even though it was still a stupid thing to want.

      In my travels, I also found some interesting websites that point out that the big bang theory also has a number of other holes in it. One might expect that a uniform distribution would result if a large explosion was to occur and distribute matter throughout the universe. Instead, what we see is an extremely non-uniform distribution.

      Other sites point out that the angular spin of the planets does not agree with the big bang theory, but I didn't bother to follow that argument. If you are willing to accept the big bang theory, then randomness is perfectly reasonable to you so this wouldn't convince anybody of anything. I, personally, do not believe in random anything. I have yet to see a real random variable, and in fact, I have to go to great lengths to generate a pseudo-random number when I want one! You would think that with computers being as powerful as they are, we could generate random numbers at the drop of a hat.

    • Well, I decided that you are completely unworthy of representing the atheistic point of view. You are boorish, uncivil, and unable to defend your position. Thus, I spent some of my free time over the weekend researching what greater atheistic minds might say to defend their position. Before I begin, I will point out the remaining errors in your statements.

      <... further demonstrates you are not a scientist. Creationism is a long ago disproven hypothesis>
      Well apparently you don't know the first thing about science, since science isn't the tool we use to prove things. We can use philosophy or logic to "prove" something, but science is not about proof. Science is discipline concerned with aligning theory to evidence. We make observations, formulate guesses as to what should happen based on our theories, then adjust our theories based on the conclusions we obtain from our experimentation. Even if our theory correlates 100% to all observations ever made, that does not mean that the theory is "proven". For example, lets look what most people believe Newton had said regarding his Second Law of Motion. Newton actually said, F = d(mv)/dt, but most people think he said "F = ma". Assuming he had really said the latter, this would have correlated perfectly with all measurements until we reached the level of enlightenment to where we could play with things that move fast enough to see relativity's influence. So if you were going around thinking that you had a proven theory, all the sudden you would be wrong! So basically, you are full of it when you claim that Creationism has been disproven.

      Now, I am not sure why you thought that I endorse "Creationism". I guess that's just one more reason why you are no scientist. Jumping to conclusions will screw you every time.

      <Did you ever hear of scientific journals?>
      Heh, at least one of us has been published in several "scientific journals", as well as a number of other engineering trade journals and even a few Information Technology trade journals. If you have done extensive research into genetic algorithms, Kohonen self-organizing networks, back propagation, or image segmentation techniques perhaps you have read something I published.

      Now that you are dismissed, I offer some interesting findings for everyone else. First, I found a nearly excellent argument for athiesm at the following site:

      http://www3.telus.net/hellfire/theology.html

      This argument comes off sounding very convincing, but it leaves a huge hole right here:

      <But there was no point in time when the universe did not exist. Well, what about before the big bang? There was no before� simply because there was no time. The universe contains time, just as it does space, matter, and energy. Therefore its completely meaningless to say �before the big bang�, because it would be like saying �before time�.>

      (cont)

    • Dawkins probably wouldn't endorse an evolutionary process requiring multiple simultaneous advantageous mutations, although he wouldn't rule it out. In his books he tries to drive home the necessity of small accumulating changes in the development of a phenotype as a result of selective pressure. Given similar selective pressures, two geographically isolated species could evolve nearly identical phenotypes (or organs). I think he addressed this in "Climbing Mount Improbable". The problem is finding fossilized intermediates.

    • Agreed, I have no experimental evidence. I would love to go hunting for some, but have no spare time right now. I believe that when artificial intelligence advances to the point where it spawns a new sentient race then we will have evidence of such a mechanism in cyber evolution. Maybe that will give us some experimental insight into biological evolution, assuming we are not slaves or exterminated by then.

      kolorado

    • Good stuff kolorado, especially on retrovirus transfer.

      After a little more thought on the subject I'd say there are also other possible mechanisms for "internally produced" mutations: 1) free radical generation within cells causing targeted mutations (as well as random mutations), 2) hormonal stimulus of genetic changes in the germ line DNA. Both of these are possible mechanisms but are pure speculation on my part (at least I'n not aware of evidence for either).

      Probably the absolute best example of internally induced mutations would be Transposons. These are pieces of DNA that move around in the genome and this is an actual example of a internal mutation activity that we know occurs in plants and animals and that can be passed on in the germ line.

      To my knowledge, there no examples of the conscious or subconcious directly affecting mutation.

    • <<And if I gain eternal life with Christ, and no
      other reward, I will still be content. I long to hear the words of Jesus Christ, when I someday kneel before Him: "Well done, my good and faithful servant." That is what really motivates me. >>

      And me.

    • First of all I am not a biologist. However, I distinctly recall learning (in the 60s) that Lemarck's ideas re: evolution (tho never taken seriously) were in fact of immense importance to Darwin and the "use and disuse" theory of evolution was also used by Darwin to explain vestigal eyes in moles and other vestigal organs. As to the idea of inheritance of acquired traits, I don't think that the case is yet closed. I recommend this book:

      Edward J. Steele - Robyn A. Lindley - Robert V. Blanden
      Lamarck's Signature : How Retrogenes Are Changing Darwin's Natural Selection Paradigm

      Here is a review:

      http://www*2think.org/lamarck.shtml

      substitute . for *

      <I recommend Lamarck's Signature for it is thought provoking and generally well written (for the first few chapters at least). The jury is still out on whether neo-Lamarckian 'dogma' can be truthfully incorporated into our reality.

      A friend (with a BS in Molecular Biology and Master's Degree in Biomedical Science) who I lent the book to for a more expert opinion writes:
      <<Thanks for letting me borrow Lamarck's Signature. I think the authors have an interesting hypothesis but I found their evidence very soft. Some specific comments:

      The primary observation behind their argument is that highly non-random mutation patterns (Wu-Kabat structures) are found in immunoglobulin variable genes that are rearranged and expressed only in B cells of the immune system (figure 5.3). On page 166, they prepare to introduce their central hypothesis: "Given that 'Wu-Kabat structures' can only be fashioned during evolution at the level of antigen-binding by functional protein heterodimers, how is it possible for non-expressed germline V-gene segments to show highly detailed evidence of antigen-binding selection? Providing a rational answer to this question is the driving force behind our current research program." From the authors' perspective, this is explained by their soma-to-germline hypothesis: somatic hypermutation generates variability (true); mutants with greater affinity for the antigen are selected and expanded in a germinal center (true) while mutations in framework sequences are selected against, thereby generating Wu-Kabat structures (true); and finally, retroviruses randomly pick up some of these hypermutated genes and transmit them to the germline where they are incorporated into the chromosomal DNA (maybe). But there is a conventional explanation for non-random mutation patterns in germline genes, including the Wu-Kabat structures of immunoglobulins: germline mutations appear randomly; mutations that fall within the three complementary determining regions regions (CDRs) are allowed to accumulate because their changes are neutral or advantageous when expressed as antibodies in B cells; mutations in framework sequences are selected against since they produce non-functional antibodies; and with time Wu-Kabat structures appear in the germline without soma-to-germline feedback.

      The strong approach to show that soma-to-germline transmission occurs in addition to conventional germline mutation/selection is by experiment. The authors do not describe any successful experiments (as opposed to uninterpretable or irrelevant experiments)--instead they search for more observations which are consistent with their hypothesis.>>>

      Let's see if they can come up with some suitable experiments in time.

      kolorado

    • I'll take a look at his web site later (gotta go pick up the kids in a minute).

      I personally never said I don't believe there is "something" beyond this life. I just don't believe for one minute any of the world's major religions (I'm not familiar with the minor ones) is correct.


      Gotta run. Later guys.

    • I don't recall all the details but I'm sure Dawkin's book isn't comprehensive, nor was it meant to be.

      "But he doesn't explain problems as simple as how an evolutionary advance requiring multiple simultaneous advantageous mutations (like the whale's back tailfin) can arise, among many other problems."

      This is not a problem really. As far as I know no scientist says there has to be "mulitple simultaneous advantagous mutations." If I have time I'll find some references about this particular topic.

      Kolorado's hypothesis treads dangerously close to Lamarckian evolution, which we both know was disproved long ago (a lot of Russians starved to death disproving this hypothesis). You are exactly right about somatic events not being passed on in the germ line. But in defense of his POV, it is possible that there may exist an unknown mechanism for the enviornment to directly effect the germ line DNA. But at this point it's pure speculation and I've never heard of any evidence to suggest a mechanism for such events.

      Good stuff puff.

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