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Re: Abiogenesis (Self replicating RNA?)

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  • gluadys
    ... Sorry, Kamran, but it does: http://scholar.google.ca/scholar?q=self-replicating+RNA&hl=en&as_sdt=0&as_vis=1&oi=scholart Now you are not merely disputing
    Message 1 of 73 , Dec 31, 2011
      --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Kamran <forkamran@...> wrote:
      > Kamran: RNA does not self replicate on its own, period. 

      Sorry, Kamran, but it does:


      Now you are not merely disputing theory. You are putting on blinkers so that you can deny factual evidence.

      You can't generate knowledge that way.
    • Pat Inniss
      ... You are also heir to a genetic tradition shaped by thousands of generations of evolution, and just as we developed genetic features in reaction to
      Message 73 of 73 , Jan 4, 2012
        Tuesday, January 3, 2012, 1:42:54 AM, jayjay4547 wrote:

        > --- In OriginsTalk@yahoogroups.com, Pat Inniss <urbankawboy@...> wrote:
        >> > http://www.scilogs.eu/en/blog/biology-of-religion/2011-09-18/the-cultural-evolution-of-religion-by-ara-norenzayan-and-will-m-gervais

        >> Pat Inniss: Thanks for the link, I hadn't come across that one. But I don't understand how there is any gap between what I was suggesting `" that religious belief and corresponding neurological religious tendencies may have arisen because of their contribution to Darwinian fitness and the blog suggesting what you term self-creation.  I think the point to remember in considering why Christians and other believers may buy into this idea is that the invention of the God construct by humans and the question of whether a god actually exists are two different issues independent of each other. You could believe that humanity came up with religious belief to improve its Darwinian fitness and still believe that there is in actuality a divinity.
        > If humanity itself "came up with" –i.e. invented- belief then it would be
        > no more than a coincidence if the object of that belief in the form of the
        > creator actually did exist. In other words, if these are two separate issues
        > as you say then the heart is ripped out of belief. And note that for many
        > people in the West, the heart has been ripped out of belief- like you, they
        > believe that belief is a mere human invention. What I believe myself is that
        > religious belief has been taught to us by the Creator who made everything
        > else. What this Creator is I'm not clear about at present- I haven't been
        > taught that as yet. But I'm heir to an accessible tradition in form of
        > resources such as the Bible, the Book of Common Prayer, Hymns Ancient and
        > Modern, writings on these by contemporaries like Rick Warren and Karen
        > Armstrong and of older authorities like John Macmurray. There is also the
        > influence of the Holy Spirit. Enough meat to get on with.

        You are also heir to a genetic "tradition" shaped by thousands of generations of evolution, and just as we developed genetic features in reaction to cultural advances such as agriculture and animal domestication (and some might argue alcoholic beverages), it seems likely from the evidence that the brain adapted itself to religious belief in somewhat the same way it changed to accommodate language. Perhaps this plays a role in your belief. Since you came from a Christian environment, that is the belief you embrace. Do you think you would have the same beliefs if you had grown up exposed to another religion in the same way as you were exposed to Christianity?

        There are very good reasons for thinking that there was some interplay between religious or other dogmatic systems and evolution. I think we are seeing some evidence of positive effects of god belief, but no evidence of God's existence itself, thereby leading to the conclusion that God exists in men's minds to provide the benefits socially and psychologically. Kind of like Santa is created to motivate little children. Of course, in terms of the possible neurological roots of belief and how it all got started, we know little. Perhaps with further research we may find that humanity's proclivity toward religious belief can be related to some traits found in other animals.

        >>Pat Inniss: From my perspective the point is, in terms of the value of religious belief to society and/or Darwinian fitness, that the transcendence which may inspire behavior is not something that necessarily has to exist outside of the imagination of man. This construct of a supernatural provides motivations and modes of behavior which may not be as readily accessible without such inspiration. The performance envelope is expanded whether, for instance, the paradise with 40 virgins actually exists or not. So while philosophical materialists may not recognize a transcendent plane as an objective reality, its existence in the minds of men and the consequent possible effects on evolution should be acknowledged.
        > I suppose the 40 virgins reflect that if one dies in a good cause, that act
        > brings what Christians call a state of grace. It's a metaphoric truth at
        > least in so far as action this side of death. I experienced it the other day
        > when I was a hero to a small crowd because I rescued a child who had been
        > locked in a hot car. One guy even offered me money. There was no risk to me or
        > even objective credit, that belonged to my son who had by the "merest chance"
        > noticed the child though tinted windows and realized there was a problem
        > demanding action. Afterwards I felt overwhelming gratefulness that I had been
        > given that opportunity, indeed like being given 40 virgins. (not to make that
        > image too explicit or practical- and that unreality points to the metaphorical nature of the teaching) .

        Congratulations on your actions. It seems today that many people don't want to get involved - I think psychologists call it the bystander syndrome. I'm glad you were so responsible.

        My reference to the 40 virgins actually comes from Islamic traditional descriptions of the rewards of paradise, particularly for martyrs. These people would be those who died doing good things, which in the original context might include killing Christians under the right circumstances. It seems somewhat absurd from a Western perspective to associate the promise of sexual joys with God's rewards, but apparently such tales were effective motivators.

        >> > Jayjay: If you think differently than me because our minds are wired differently then why have any discussion of the issue? Why come to a forum run by people with different wiring?
        >> >
        >> Pat Inniss: I come to this forum because I am curious about the differences in our minds. While empirical data points to some genetic difference, how does that manifest itself in the ways that we think about religious topics? How do environmental and psychological elements help determine our beliefs? I can't find that out by only conversing with those like me. I don't expect to profoundly change anyone who disagrees with me, but I appreciate it when those who think differently than I do share their ideas so that I can try to understand why we arrive at different conclusions. To me this is far more intriguing than the actual questions discussed here concerning human origins. I learn a lot by studying how other people think. I probably wouldn't learn as much dialoguing with people who shared my worldview.
        > What you say make sense to the extent that our minds are not wired
        > differently, that we can persuade others of the truth, or be convinced
        > ourselves. Believers are not laboratory rats nor are you one.

        If our minds are not wired differently, then how do you account for the twin studies indicating that identical twins were far more likely to have similar religious views than non-identical twins? The authors of these studies attributed the difference to genetics.

        >> Pat Inniss: I compared religiosity to sickle cell genes because it's something that only affects some people. Everybody has feet, or at least the genes for feet.
        > Almost everyone has the ability to believe there is a god.

        I would tend to agree with this statement, especially if you would allow for different degrees of "belief," including just acting like you do. It seems that there is a certain percentage of the religious who don't actually believe quite as literally, but who participate in the rituals and mouth the words, perhaps due to social pressures. CS Lewis suggests that there were no atheists until relatively recently. That seems highly doubtful, but it does seem likely that they kept themselves well hidden until more tolerant societies emerged. I have to wonder if it really is possible for 100% of the population to truly believe. That would be an interesting question for the psychologists.

        >>>Jay: If I were an atheist hard-wired differently than religious people, then I would be either wired as a pre-human animal – a gross throw-back, or my mind would be that of a modern mutant. How do you handle that problem?
        >> Pat: You consider the fact that I might be genetically different than more religious people a "problem" for me. This isn't really a logical problem in the sense that it is an impediment to the truth or a factor which would undermine the basic thesis. If my mind is in some way deficient, then that is something that is better known than unknown. If I represent a throwback, then it's also an interesting and potentially valuable thing to know. I also have a problem digesting lactose and apparently don't benefit from that late genetic innovation, either, but it hardly makes me feel less human. These considerations should not, ideally, impinge on my determination of what is true, even if I found the truth to be to my detriment. The point you make is interesting to me because it echoes so much of the logic I hear from religious people, where the consequences of a truth seem to be intermingled with the evidence for the truth in determining what they choose to accept or believe.
        > A few times now you have implied that religious people suffer from some
        > logical incapacity- here, we intermingle consequences of truth with evidence
        > for the truth. That doesn't match the possibilities that you are a genetic
        > throwback or that you have a genetic defect making you irreligious. Or do you
        > possibly have a genetic "defect" that actually makes you more logical?

        I may be, due to my genetic predisposition, perhaps more logical in this particular sphere, but to be fair you would really need some objective way to make that evaluation and I would be loathe to make such a claim myself without citing specific evidence. We all view ourselves as perfectly logical, so making any claims of personal logical superiority would appear foolish.

        > Suppose that irreligion is due to some genetic missing link ( you mentioned
        > a crocodile clip missing from your hot-wiring), is that defect known to
        > science in another context? On a hunch I googled "Autism and Atheism"- sure
        > enough High Functioning Autism (AKA Asperger's Syndrome) is apparently positively correlated with atheism

        > http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2039690/Atheism-autism-Controversial-new-study-points-link-two.html
        > That article is called "controversial" not because of the methodology but
        > because the conclusion is dangerous. It's divisive. It besmirches every
        > atheist with its implication. And it's plausible. So the whole issue about
        > genetics and belief is prickly with destructive potential.

        I can understand the controversy, but that shouldn't turn us away from the truth. If the science proves sound, why not accept those conclusions? It seems like information for which there might be some use in arriving at a better understanding of our world and ourselves.

        >> Pat: So then you would reject Darwinism because of your belief that Communism failed? I'm not understanding how the performance of a 19th century economic theory should influence the truth of Darwinism. If Communism had succeeded brilliantly, would that have validated natural selection?
        > Communism would have succeeded brilliantly if the world had conformed to
        > Marx's belief that the economy –considered as a network of relations between
        > people involving resources- if that network could have been centrally managed.
        > And it did work brilliantly during WWII –I read the other day, the Russians
        > inflicted 93% of the casualties suffered by the Nazis. But the Cold War
        > revealed its long term weakness in the lack of LIFE in a controlled system.
        > The mind-boggling thing for me, was how the very rulers of the system walked
        > away from their construction. A free-enterprise system, that controls itself
        > evidently has more LIFE in it. Except the economy doesn't really control
        > itself, it is embedded within the biosphere- itself a network of unknown scope
        > under control of the Creator. It seems to me, the essential mistake of Marx
        > was over-estimating the power of the human intellect, expressed through a
        > secular political movement, to understand and control the networked world.
        > Darwin made a related mistake, especially in Descent of Man, in reading the
        > Creation as a process of self-creation that humans could control. Though he
        > was properly cautious about the adequacy of knowledge in his time others took
        > his ideas much further- with catastrophic results in the 20th century. The
        > entire mess of 20th century totalitarianism can be laid at the foot of the
        > 19th century and we need to roll back more of their mistakes if we are to get through the 21st century.

        I'm afraid you still haven't persuaded me that the success or failure of Communism has any implications whatsoever regarding the accuracy of Darwin's central conclusions. The proof of Darwin is borne out more in our millions of years of natural history than anything happening in recent decades, and our interpretation of that evidence cannot, or at least should not, be changed by political or economic developments.

        >> Pat: Yes, there is more than mere genetics going on to explain the differences in philosophies. I think there is also an interplay of personality types and cultural background, as well. Probably all too complicated to ever derive a simple formula, but not totally beyond human comprehension, perhaps.
        > Maybe one could put it this way, that to a degree, we can choose who to side
        > with between conflicting ideologies. These ideologies colonise our minds, we
        > can become their creatures or soldiers. An individual has little power to see
        > beyond the ideology he or she supports. But we all have a hunger to understand
        > the world and the world – or the Creator, to my understanding – is capable of teaching us.

        I can generally agree with that. To me the big question is what role our biology plays in the relative success of these ideologies. I'd suggest it is significant.

        Regards - Pat Inniss
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