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High-Rise Syndrome

Article #231 • Written by Jason Bellows

As most people know, when a cat is able to see, it will usually land on its feet. It's a neat knack they've had to evolve over eons of climbing trees to cache their kills, evade predators, and look down on the world from a high bough. Although the cat's claws are evolved in an arched shape that is better suited to climbing than for use as weapons, they are still the tools of agile and capable hunters.

Among the feline's numerous predatory gifts is the capacity to fixate on his prey--a skill useful when chasing a shrew through the grass, but a serious disadvantage in the urban world. People living in tall buildings often allow their cats to sit on window ledges and fire escapes, unaware that the traits which allow cats to clamber through trees aren't nearly as effective with metal railings, window panes, and brick. Cats have been known to fixate on something outside and leap or fall from high-rise ledges, an occurrence frequent enough that urban veterinarians have coined a phrase for it: High-Rise Syndrome.

Surprisingly, cats falling from lower floors have been found to suffer greater injury than those falling from higher. In fact, when given prompt medical attention, cats which sustain a fall from two to thirty-two stories have a 90% survival rate!

According to data from veterinarians in New York, cats are most likely to survive if they fall from a height of six stories, with heights over seven stories being only slightly more dangerous. Clearly, if a person were to take a spill from six stories up the forty-mile-per-hour impact with the Earth would be rather traumatic. The reasons why our feline masters can better deal with such punishment are still somewhat nebulous, but the reigning theory is three fold:

It takes a normal cat about a two and a half feet of free-fall to orient himself to feet-down, and it wasn't until the advent of high-speed cameras that the acrobatics were fully understood. Much like an ice skater controls her rate of spin by pulling in or extending her arms, the cat first tucks in his front legs and splays out his rear legs, allowing him to quickly situate his forequarters with the feet down. He then reverses the procedure, extending his front legs and tucking in the rear legs, allowing the hindquarters to rapidly twist into position while the forequarters turn only slightly. Rear legs re-extend when in place, and he's fully deployed.

This position is ready for landing, but it also lends the cat a limited aerodynamic--much like the flying squirrel. The ability to increase drag slows a cat's average terminal velocity from a person's 130mph to a much happier 60mph.

The fact that cats can twist so quickly to attain feet-down contributes to survivability of High-Rise Syndrome, but it leads into the importance of the third stage. In order to perform the righting maneuver, many muscles have to fire in fast and in sequence, and the immediate aftermath of a quick muscle pull is tension; tension is anathema to surviving an impact. The tension is why six to seven stories seems to be the prime falling altitude: it gives the cat time to unwind after the hard twist, and relax into the free-fall for a moment before landing.

To record (so far as I can find) the highest a cat has fallen and survived was forty-six stories, but no matter the fall a pet undergoes, one should go look. How rotten would it be to survive a catastrophic trip only to be left abandoned in the world below without access to the food bowl? But just because a cat survives a serious fall doesn't mean he's well. Cats often undergo fractures, broken teeth, or internal injuries upon landing, thus should always be seen by a vet after a fall. The ASPCA notes on their website that sometimes the owners of pets that fall from heights immediately write them off as dead, and don't bother to go and seek out their lost critters.

Therein lies a quandary: there is a distinct possibility that the data pertaining to High-Rise Syndrome is tainted. High-Rise Syndrome was added to the lexicon by veterinarians, implying that they gathered the data from animals brought to them for care, but if poor Fluffy ends up a pancake, few cat owners would bother taking him to the vet. Even if the survival rate isn't quite so high as the numbers suggest, it is nonetheless amazing that a significant number of the cats leaping from the upper floors of high-rises live to nap another day.

Article written by Jason Bellows, published on 08 November 2006. Jason is a contributing editor for DamnInteresting.com.

Article design and artwork by Alan Bellows. Edited by Alan Bellows.
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248 Comments
levitysea
Posted 08 November 2006 at 12:21 pm

So you just gotta be REALLY relaxed seconds before impending death to survive a big fall? Sounds easy enough.


mercuryswitch
Posted 08 November 2006 at 12:51 pm

Umm.. What's going on with the password prompt from bb.damninteresting.com?
Has something to do with your DB problems before?


sulkykid
Posted 08 November 2006 at 12:52 pm

Aw man, I was almost first!


sulkykid
Posted 08 November 2006 at 12:54 pm

So, the gist of the story is: CATS ARE STUPID! (OK, I can't fall 46 stories and survive, so what!)


coreburn
Posted 08 November 2006 at 12:59 pm

Ok, this password prompt is REALLY annoying.
I just went through the process of creating an account on here in the hopes of using the account to fill in the username & password but it doesn't want that info... so now I'm leaving a comment so that I haven't created this account for nothing.


Brandie
Posted 08 November 2006 at 01:08 pm

Pretty interesting! I like the last little paragraph about how the survival data may be tainted because of pet owners' aversion to bringing dead pets to the vet : o )


GregDDC
Posted 08 November 2006 at 01:21 pm

The main image for this article has a password box pop-up. This is probably b/c it is linked to http://bb.damninteresting.net instead of http://www.damninteresting.net. Once that image is fixed the whole thing should be considerable less annoying.

DI Article!


Alan Bellows
Posted 08 November 2006 at 01:35 pm

Sorry about the password prompt everybody... the image was in a protected directory. It's now been fixed.


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 02:16 pm

You have only to mention that foolish farce, evolution, one time before I'm going to say something about it. I know if you believe evolution now you'll believe it as long as you want to and this will make no real difference in your life but here goes anyway...EVOLUTION IS A FARCE! How could something that is NOTHING do anything!? Duh! It's a no-brainer--that doesn't even have a brain! EVOLUTION HAS NEITHER SUBSTANCE, PERSON, PRESENCE, STRUCTURE, MOTIVE NOR ANY PERCEIVABLE QUALITY!

To buy into that one, you have to be either some kind of grotesque, stellar-stupid or utterly desperate to get out of church. I'm leaning toward the latter. I'll the first to admit that priests have proven to be child-molesting liars and shameless, greedy thieves but that fact does not disprove the existence of God. People have no excuse for believing their lies en masse -- but that's another discussion. Back to the point...

There are 12 tones in music (repeated several times to form a piano keyboard or guitar fretboard) and a *trained* musician can usually play no more than 8 (66%) of them (in a diminished scale) at any given time before it, subjectively, sounds bad. I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANY BIRD SING OFF-KEY, not even once, EVER! Have you? Birds go on and on and on and it ALWAYS SOUNDS GOOD -- or at least interesting -- but never a sour note!

Are bird songs the result of random note selection? It would have to, according to the preposterous theory that you hold so dear (because it has relieved you of the burden of morality, self-denial and self-control). To say that birdsongs were "perfected over millions of years" (blah, blah, blah) and are no longer changing, would imply that "random, natural selection" has CEASED to operate as a force in the lives of birds. Something evolution cannot do BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST! DAMN! Why is it so hard to accept something that is so obvious?!

In accord with that TOTALLY BOGUS THEORY of Evolution, bird songs (along with *every* other aspect of *every* other living thing) should ALWAYS be in flux. This would necessarily require that an appreciable portion of birdsong note selection end up perhaps working for a given species of bird but sounding "off-key" to humans.

Do birds *need* their songs to sound good to members of a species with which they cannot mate? Why? Is on-key note selection a fixed default? How? How could *any* bird possibly arrange it, much less *all* of them? Granted, the parrot and a very few other birds can mimic sounds, but such birds are comparatively few and even so, the ability to make any kind of sound has got to have little (if any) value as a survival skill to an animal whose primary survival mechanism would have to be winged flight.

Now I know you've been trained to twist ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING into survival terms and therefore it's incumbent upon you to make something up. You may even be able to cite one flawed example which I'll pick apart later, but I just thought I 'd put it out there to see what you'll say. Ok faithful followers of the Church of Evolution, get to work-- and remember, ridicule is not evidence! :-)

That's all, you can go back to sleep now.


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 02:37 pm

It's a neat knack they've had to evolve over eons of climbing trees...

If the first cat didn't get it right the first time, it would have been curtains for the species. I can hear it already..."there was no first cat" There is no fossil-record proving the gradual advent of the house cat. There were big cats and small cats in the past and there are big cats and small cats now. Granted, we have exterminated a few species so you can always say they "de-evolved", or spout some other smart-sounding nonsense but that's a whole other argument.

If cats could have survived aeons with under-developed landing abilities, that would necessarily mean that better landing skills were not vital to the continued survival of cats. Subsequently, therefore, there would be no further development on the skill.

Oh, and if DNA is read-only, just how does the benefit of a given animal's experience get recorded into it's genes for posterity? If you want to attribute this to random mutation, that would mean every "random" step forward would have a 50% chance of being countered by a step back. Please deny this like I know you can. In either case, no survival skill would develop.

Just thought I'd point that out and I apologize if it burst your bubble--but I know you can blow another one.


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 08 November 2006 at 03:13 pm

Shandooga, strictly speaking there is no incontrovertible evidence that anything has ever happened. The best we can do is to trust scientific observation, and revise our view of the universe as our observations teach us more about it. At this very moment, Evolution is the explanation which best fits the observations about life-- it fits the observations extremely well.

If god(s) ever decide to present some evidence more compelling than ancient bastardized books and "funny feelings," science will immediately adjust itself to consider these observations, and continue the learning process. Religion condemns the consideration of alternate explanations, and therefore represents the most closed-minded view of the universe imaginable.

Think about the things you believe, and which of them you know that you will NEVER change your mind about, regardless of the evidence. If that list is longer than zero, you are closed-minded... and the first step in resolving that character weakness is to know that you possess it.


Enasni
Posted 08 November 2006 at 03:25 pm

Cool article, I always like looking at the ways that cats seem to be so supremely adapted. And now on to the messy bit...

Shandooga, I'm not going to hesitate to say that people like you are one of the major problems with society today. Closed-minded insistence that evolution isn't real is just stupidity. People don't HAVE to "believe" in evolution, in the same way that people don't have to "believe" that water is wet. There are more logical fallacies in those paragraphs you've just written than I've seen in months. It's ridiculous.

I'll just debunk one thing you've said, since it goes above and beyond your other comments on the ignorance scale. You say that for every step forward you'd have one step back. This is not true. For every favorable mutation, there are thousands, if not millions, of mutations that either do nothing, or worse, harm the individual. However, despite this millions-to-one chance against a step forward, as you put it, these mutations are not favored: their carriers die, and therefore the genes are not passed on. But in the rare case that you DO get a favorable mutation (that cat ancestor that had just slightly faster reflexes), there is a greater chance that that cat will survive to breed.

And that's evolution. It's incredibly simple, and it makes sense. Why bother arguing? Oh, and if it makes you feel better, you can always claim that evolution was a process that God set in motion. Why not?


Misfit
Posted 08 November 2006 at 03:30 pm

YYYYyyyyyyeah... Not gonna encourage another DI comment-space-based battle by debating on the topic of evolution.

As for the article, I thought it was awesome! I've read that some cats can even glide while in mid-air. Whether or not they actually have control over where they go is beyond me.

I have a cat, and she kills everything. Here's the crazy part: she's been de-clawed! We had to de-claw her after she was tearing up everything in the house (not my choice) but she still finds ways to climb all sorts of trees and things. She does still have her hind legs, though, so maybe that helps a tiny bit with the climbing... I don't know. Never seen her drop from a tall building, though.

A few questions:

Does anybody know what other animals do this sort of thing as well as cats?

Actually, that's about all I have to ask. But before I go,

HOORAY!!!!! Third day running of posting daily like old times!! Keep it up!


Enasni
Posted 08 November 2006 at 03:52 pm

Misfit, as far as I know, it's tree-dwelling quadrupeds that tend to be good at this stuff. Squirrels are a great example, although squirrels very rarely fall/jump from anywhere. Other animals that can survive tall drops... tends to be the smaller the better. I'd be willing to be that a flea or an ant could survive a fall off the Empire State Building.


peridot window
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:03 pm

Shandooga said: "You have only to mention that foolish farce, evolution, one time before I'm going to say something about it. I know if you believe evolution now you'll believe it as long as you want to and this will make no real difference in your life but here goes anyway…EVOLUTION IS A FARCE! How could something that is NOTHING do anything!? Duh! It's a no-brainer–that doesn't even have a brain! EVOLUTION HAS NEITHER SUBSTANCE, PERSON, PRESENCE, STRUCTURE, MOTIVE NOR ANY PERCEIVABLE QUALITY!"

Do you also discount love? Do you also discount your own god?

Shandooga said: "To say that birdsongs were "perfected over millions of years" (blah, blah, blah) and are no longer changing, would imply that "random, natural selection" has CEASED to operate as a force in the lives of birds. Something evolution cannot do BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST! DAMN! Why is it so hard to accept something that is so obvious?!"

Maybe you ought to study, understand and know that which you're bashing to save making a fool of yourself. Evolution will cease only when there is nothing left to evolve. In other words, evolution ends when all life ends. (To make one point clear, evolution effects a population, whereas adaptation effects an individual organism.) Evolution might not effect what bird you're referencing in its lifetime, but as it reproduces, its offspring are effected, and sequentially, those birds' offspring are effected, et all.

Shandooga said: "and remember, ridicule is not evidence!"

You might want to take your own advice, sir. You seem rather adamantly insulting to those who believe in evolution.

Shandooga said: "If cats could have survived aeons with under-developed landing abilities, that would necessarily mean that better landing skills were not vital to the continued survival of cats. Subsequently, therefore, there would be no further development on the skill."

While better landing skills might not have been extremely vital (as, say, a beating heart would be), better landing skills do improve survival. Better survival equates to a larger facility to obtain food. The more food the cat had, the more it reproduced, passing on its better-landing gene.

Shandooga said: "Oh, and if DNA is read-only, just how does the benefit of a given animal's experience get recorded into it's genes for posterity? If you want to attribute this to random mutation, that would mean every "random" step forward would have a 50% chance of being countered by a step back. Please deny this like I know you can. In either case, no survival skill would develop."

You're making a fool out of yourself, sir. DNA is not affected at all by experience. At the time of conception, DNA is set in stone. It does not change in your lifetime (except for radiation, which doesn't change all the DNA in all the cells in your body; only a relatively small few). It is affected by your parents genes. And yes, there is a chance of "devolving" a bit. (However, I don't believe you can consider anything devolving. Even a fatal mutation is still evolving.) Random mutations occur, and they may either be good, bad, or neutral. Good mutations improve the chance of reproduction. Bad mutations decrease that chance. Neutral mutations don't affect it at all. Organisms that "devolve" die off quickly without chance of passing on its genes, so the mutation is not passed on either.


glennbirk
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:17 pm

I've seen a raccoon perform a similar twisting maneuver to land on its feet seemingly unharmed after a fall from a 20' roof (though as far as shandooga is concerned this might have been because the hand of Jeebus was guiding it down safely) . It was pretty amazing to see.

Does anyone know if the "always lands on its feet" phenomenon has been observed in other felines like lions, tigers, leopards or mountain lions?

I'm fairly certain ligers can do it since we know they're bred for their skills in magic.


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:19 pm

ConcernedCitizen said: "The best we can do is to trust scientific observation, and revise our view of the universe as our observations teach us more about it. At this very moment, Evolution is the explanation which best fits the observations about life– it fits the observations extremely well.

I beg to differ, sir. Whatever of the principles of evolution actually appear valid are really just rather obvious, (relatively) short-term observations about how living things (on earth) *seem* to tend to work --generally speaking. (Whew, was that run-on sentence adequately qualified?) Attempts to project the most desirable (yes, desire is a factor here) and popular of evolutionary theory's observations into a full-blown explanation for life itself, however is fraught with insurmountable challenges. The simple fact is that science (as a body) has not moved to honestly deal with said challenges...not the least of which is how DNA (effectively billions of lines of code) could have assembled itself without oversight. Remember, too, that the theory of evolution was first postulated when the mechanics of living cells were very much a mystery and DNA was totally unknown.

Granted, it is possible (and valid) to make observations and connect them (where reasonable) to point to a probable conclusion but there is much, incontrovertible evidence for the existence of a great intelligence in (or over) the universe. If you believe the information that you paid so much money for in college, you have trusted untrustworthy people to objectively present said evidence to your attention -- and they chose not to. I assure you, you will not become aware of the sheer magnitute of the lies with you have been victimized until you actively engage yourself in a search for the truth.

If god(s) ever decide to present some evidence more compelling than ancient bastardized books and "funny feelings," science will immediately adjust itself to consider these observations, and continue the learning process.

Your faith in science is touching, yet misplaced. Men lie and the world has become filled with liars. Don't take my word for it, just look in your e-mail and take to heart the sheer number of people who are actively searching for someone to victimize with deception. They have you surrounded. It would be a mistake to assume that *none* of such persons desire or have been able to attain influential positions in society--now or in the past.

Now consider this: There are 4 fundamental forces in nature: gravity, electromagnetism, strong nuclear and weak nuclear. Which of these (or what combination thereof) yields consciousness? Before you answer, consider that all 4 forces are at work in every atom in every non-living thing too. Scientists have not found one part of the brain or body that accounts for consciousness. You can invest your life in the assumption that they eventually will or you can examine undesirable possibilities.

Think about the things you believe, and which of them you know that you will NEVER change your mind about, regardless of the evidence. If that list is longer than zero, you are closed-minded… and the first step in resolving that character weakness is to know that you possess it."

Everything I believe I have searched out and proven to myself. I don't listen to the machine, run with the crowd or stake my life on any "official" stories. I took the red pill and the rabbit hole appears quite deep from where I'm standing.


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:21 pm

glennbirk said: "I've seen a raccoon perform a similar twisting maneuver to land on its feet seemingly unharmed after a fall from a 20' roof (though as far as shandooga is concerned this might have been because the hand of Jeebus was guiding it down safely) .

You are a battery.


cerebulon
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:22 pm

"Birds go on and on and on and it ALWAYS SOUNDS GOOD ... but never a sour note!"

My list of birds that sound horrible: Barn Owl, Carrion Crow, Canadian Goose, Rook, Secretary Bird, Ducks, Chicken, Emu, Oscrich, Turkey Vulture, Brown Booby, Northern Gannet, Palawan Peacock Pheasant, etc..

Head on over to http://www.junglewalk.com/ and take a listen to they many sounds of tone-deaf birds.

As for the evolutionary history of the cat... two missing links found so far are Cimolestes a small arboreal mammal similar to a tree shrew and Proailurus which was an early cat-like animal similar to a civet, considered to be amongst the earliest true feline animals. Some of these early cat-things did not make it: Nimravus, Dinictis, Nimravidae all went completely extinct with no surviving relatives around today.

"If cats could have survived aeons with under-developed landing abilities, that would necessarily mean that better landing skills were not vital to the continued survival of cats." Better landing skills are not vital to the survival of cats, but they developed anyway as an added bonus. It much like your eyes shutting when you sneeze - an evolved, instinctual response. Shutting your eyes when you sneeze is not vital to the survival of humanity - but it helps.

The anti-evolution argument is pointless. Evolution does not disprove God, evolution is simply the best possible answer as to how God constructed the living parts of his creation. Evolution reveals the humbling scope of God's complete understanding and vision. It is a miraculous thing to observe through fossils how a tiny shrew-like prehistoric creature devolped into the modern cat over millions of years; and it is no different than resurrecting the dead, speaking in tongues or forming little animals out of clay and then bringing them to life. Evolution is just another miracle of God that has been revealed to us through fossils.

"Lift up the stone, and you will find me there." See? He even said so.


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:29 pm

peridot window said: "Do you also discount love? Do you also discount your own god?

not at all and I don't get your point.

Evolution will cease only when there is nothing left to evolve. In other words, evolution ends when all life ends.

Duh. That was my point. If evolution ever was a bona-fide factor in the existence and/or behavior of living things then *some* birds should sing off-key. You didn't answer this question. What about birds singing on-key?

You might want to take your own advice, sir. You seem rather adamantly insulting to those who believe in evolution.

Perhaps I was a bit harsh, but I did provide a solid foundation of reasoning, did I not? Of course you don't agree.

While better landing skills might not have been extremely vital (as, say, a beating heart would be), better landing skills do improve survival. Better survival equates to a larger facility to obtain food. The more food the cat had, the more it reproduced, passing on its better-landing gene.

By this logic we should have some cats who land well and others who *always* go "splat."

You're making a fool out of yourself, sir. DNA is not affected at all by experience.

Duh. That was my point. How could lifeforms improve over time if there is no way to record whether a given "adaptation" was for better or for worse? They can't, therefore, there is no engine for evolution. Therefore, evolution is false. I can only write my posts, I cannot read them to you. :-) --Oops, was that ridicule?


CravenMorhead
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:30 pm

Does anyone know if the "always lands on its feet" phenomenon has been observed in other felines like lions, tigers, leopards or mountain lions?

I'm fairly certain ligers can do it since we know they're bred for their skills in magic."

I don't know about you, but I am not willing to toss a lion, tiger or bear off a twenty story building to see if they land on their feet. Though I would assume they would. I would think that most tree dwelling or former tree dwelling animials would have this trait.

cm


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:36 pm

Enasni said: Shandooga, I'm not going to hesitate to say that people like you are one of the major problems with society today.

Thank you, but of course, I'm inclined to disagree. You are calling me close minded because I have completed my research and drawn a logical conclusion. The discussion is, therefore, closed to me--I *know* the answer and there is no longer any need (or justification) to await any further data. Of course you cannot accept this--I knew that before I wrote it.

For every favorable mutation, there are thousands, if not millions, of mutations that either do nothing, or worse, harm the individual.

Nice try. By your logic the failure rate of all reproduction would have to be 99.99999% How many people do you know that have birth defects? How many 2-headed snakes have you seen? Is there one species of snake that *always* had 2 head? No? Oh. Ok.

if it makes you feel better, you can always claim that evolution was a process that God set in motion. Why not?"

It doesn't and it isn't. It is a lie put forth by the devil worshippers who run this government and determine what the schools will teach. There, I said it. Time to change to foil. :-)


azngeek714
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:41 pm

I'm just curious on how many cats they threw out the window to prove this hypothesis.


peridot window
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:49 pm

Shandooga, your arguments have ceased to be logical and have entered the realm of hilarity. For this, I concede.

I cite your reason why you aren't closed minded. Also, due to your mention of the what the schools teach and what they don't, I must bring up the Flying Spaghetti Monster. I am a devout Pastafarian, yet my beliefs aren't taught in schools. I agree, 'tis an outrage.


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 08 November 2006 at 04:50 pm

Shandooga, you are quite well-spoken, and you seem motivated to change minds. I respect that. But from my perspective your words are dripping with irony, just as mine must from yours. You speak of "desire" as a motive for believing in evolution, but to my mind "desire" is the primary motivation to believe in god(s). You speak of liars urging me towards science, but there are many liars in religion... particularly when you consider that not all religions can be true, so MOST religious people are lying (and/or misguided).

It takes courage to believe in science because it means that there is probably no magical bearded man in the clouds who cares about you. It means that all we probably have is each other, and that each of us must strive to do the right thing because there is probably no magical forgiveness waiting on the other side. It means there probably isn't an "other side" to go to. That's some scary shit. It's much easier to believe in god(s).

The word "probably" occurs many times in the above paragraph because science doesn't state that there is no god(s), only that there is no evidence for god(s) aside from the circumstantial. The only way to discover the truth is with evidence and an open mind. Unyielding certainty is the enemy of discovery. You can choose to ignore evidence if you wish, but then you are choosing to close your mind to reality.


Enasni
Posted 08 November 2006 at 05:12 pm

Shandooga, I just wanted to give you some heartfelt thanks. You have provided me with a few good laughs, and I can share these with my friends. You can express yourself well, so I have no choice but to respect you on that point. However, if you think you've come to a "logical conclusion," then I think you might need to take some logic classes. My first post attacking you was a mistake; there's simply no way to argue with someone like you.

I'll just take this last little shot and quit. The law of large numbers: Trillions upon trillions of births have occurred since life came to be on Earth; the vast majority of these have had no real effect. Billions of these trillions had harmful birth defects; a relatively small amount, and these individuals die out, leaving no evolutionary trace. The number helpful mutations is smaller still, perhaps measured in millions, but THESE were truly important live on an evolutionary scale, these were the lives that helped better the species. The reason evolution works is that mistakes, negative things, all go away. They vanish with hardly a trace. The positive things however, live on, and the wonders of life around us today are perfect evidence.

I might check back later to see if you bother trying to debunk my statement. We'll see if you can bring up another laugh.


Leighther
Posted 08 November 2006 at 05:38 pm

Yay for cats and conservation of angular momentum.

I think there are flying snakes and lizards too which both spread and flatten their rib cages to present greater surface to the air. Seen it on TV so it must be true :-p But seriously, it was a good documentary.

Quirks and Quarks the respected Canadian radio science program featured a researcher a while back who was describing some of the regional variations in bird calls, dialects if you like. Slowed down recordings made the differences easier to pick out with the human ear. So, if there are spatial variations, why not temporal changes too? If you're interested, record your local bird dialects, compare with other locations.

Yay also for probability and random events.


Floj
Posted 08 November 2006 at 05:54 pm

Nice article, it's neat to finally get an explanation of why cats manage to land on there feet. I wonder if people could learn a similar acrobatic maneuver. I'd probably pull like every muscel involved and land in an even worse position. ouch. But it wouldn't be anything that a good slice of pie couldn't fix. mmhmm

Shandooga remindes me of these evangelists that came to campus a couple weeks ago. They were part of open air or something like that. Anyway, they said the same thing and called everyone stupid (kind of a hypocritical, cause these guys that said they live without sin (no joke)). Anyway (again), they said that the speed of light was actually slowing down... last time I checked, the speed of light in a vacuum is pretty constant. Chill out Shandooga, we're here to read some Damn interesting stuff (and discuss various types of pie and their great tastes), not to cast judgement and call others stupid. You need a good slice of pumpkin pie, that's the best kind. mmhmmm x2 (parenthesies)


Asshe
Posted 08 November 2006 at 06:17 pm

Good to see that you kids all play nice!

I'd heard some of this before, but still a DI article!


OriginalSim
Posted 08 November 2006 at 06:30 pm

"evolve over eons of climbing trees to cache their kills,"

Wow, I didn't know that cats hid their catch in trees.....


OriginalSim
Posted 08 November 2006 at 06:51 pm

Woo hooo Shandooga! Obviously you need to pray for some enlightenment.

"Duh. That was my point. If evolution ever was a bona-fide factor in the existence and/or behavior of living things then *some* birds should sing off-key. You didn't answer this question. What about birds singing on-key?"

Birds sing ON KEY? What the heck kind of music do YOU listen to? All birds I've heard sing off key all the time. Their RELATIVE pitch is often befitting J.S. Bach's well-tempered scale, but why the hell would birds be so into Bach? The 12 tone scale is much more interesting. Microtonal scales are, too. Why would God choose a Baroque period tuning and what did birds use before that? Pythagorean tuning? Well, maybe their vocal chords are related by the 12th root of two. Anyway, Birds sing to mate. Mating happens when the song is "Good". These "Good" genes get passed down. "Bad" songbirds don't get laid, so no passing of genes. Evolution is natural selection. Not DNA corrupting.

"Duh. That was my point. How could lifeforms improve over time if there is no way to record whether a given "adaptation" was for better or for worse?"

The records of the adaptations are the result of breeding: The stronger, smarter, faster, more intelligent, able to withstand colder (or hotter) temperatures, breathe thinner or thicker air, etc, etc all lead to successful breeding and child rearing, having the advantage over the 'poorer' or less adept adapters and all due to some quirk in the genes (IMHO a quirk CAUSED by God). Hence the quirk that helps any GROUP of a species survive over those WITHOUT the quirk record a successful permutation of some fragment of some gene and it SURVIVES (the record) and the others, sadly, do not.

I think maybe you need to open up to the Science of God, as well as your wonderfully traditional approach. All those miracles have a scientific basis, you know. And vice versa.


jkschlitz
Posted 08 November 2006 at 06:59 pm

Shandooga said: "Duh. That was my point. How could lifeforms improve over time if there is no way to record whether a given "adaptation" was for better or for worse? They can't, therefore, there is no engine for evolution. Therefore, evolution is false."

You obviously have no clue what evolution is, and even though people have explained it to you in this thread (quite succinctly and well, I might add), you choose not to listen. If you're going to argue something, it's a good idea to understand what you're arguing about. If you don't you end up sounding like an idiot.


TheZingerLingers
Posted 08 November 2006 at 07:48 pm

Alas, I knew all these days of flame war-less DI articles would come to a close someday.


fight test
Posted 08 November 2006 at 07:49 pm

Shandooga things dont randomly apear saying that evolution is real though i dont know how the univers was created and neather does anyone for shure but it is highly dowtful to say that a being(god) created everything. i mean where did "god" get the matearals to make these things ,no one knows. also we dont know the form of this god where he is or how he was created. all we really know is a bunch of books say there there was a person with a voice that said dont eat this. all that we have to go on is what we already know


Zamemee
Posted 08 November 2006 at 08:07 pm

If you need proof of evolution all you have to do is look at Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Decades ago it was easily killed with the use of a single antibiotic, but now there are strains that take three or more antibiotics administered over a period of months to kill. What is happening here is that while most of the bacteria were killed off, there were some that were resistant to the antibiotics being used against them. These bacteria survived and reproduced.


Zamemee
Posted 08 November 2006 at 08:11 pm

Sorry for the double post, have a look here: Antibiotic Resistance


exsomnis
Posted 08 November 2006 at 08:31 pm

Here we go again.

It's always surprising to see righteous religious people eschew science when it's such an ubiquitous part of modern life. Such an act of self-denial it must be to conveniently ignore all the conveniences that science and technology provide. Without science we'd all still be riding horses, drinking water out of cesspools, passing feces into holes in the ground, thinking that the world is flat, etc, etc.


fight test
Posted 08 November 2006 at 08:37 pm

REVISED

I don’t think there is a god.
how could there be a being that we don’t know what form it has taken, where it is or who or what created it.
Also it couldn’t have created the universe from nothing.
You can take something (a raw material) and make it into something else but you can’t take nothing and make something.
Also Jesus and the bible.
Im not deigning that Jesus may have been real. if he was I don’t think it would have anything to do with god.
It’s been said that humans only use 8 or 9% of there brain so he may have been able to use more. Some of the mericals may have been true
Like moving the water to make a passage across the sea may have been real but not the water into wine or the fish and bread because again you cant make something out of nothing.
Back then there wasn’t mass production of things so people would have to write the bible by hand with all those pages I don’t think they would have gotten everything rite. Also they may have added some things for a reason unknown. It could have been a story book for all I know.
All of this im not shure of and I don’t have any proof but neither does anybody else. The bible may be completely true or just some of it true but there is also science and all science is a proven fact.


Zamemee
Posted 08 November 2006 at 09:11 pm

You really shouldn't say "humans only use 8 or 9% of there brains". It would be more accurate to say that we only use a (insert percentage here) of our brains at a time depending on the current activity we are taking part in. 90% of our brain doesn't just lay dormant, it gets used, just not all at one time.


whaaat
Posted 08 November 2006 at 10:28 pm

WHY CANT EVERYONE JUST READ THE ARTICLE AND TALK ABOUT THE ARTICLE NO ONE CARES FOR YOUR OPINIONS ON THINGS NOT OF THE ARTICLE......ARGUING ON THE INTERNET IS LIKE THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS EVEN IF YOU WIN YOU ARE STILL RETARDED. no offense to people in the special olympics


Shandooga
Posted 08 November 2006 at 10:40 pm

ConcernedCitizen says:" ...to my mind "desire" is the primary motivation to believe in god(s). You speak of liars urging me towards science, but there are many liars in religion… particularly when you consider that not all religions can be true, so MOST religious people are lying (and/or misguided).

Mr. or Ms. "Citizen": To my surprise, I have received far too many replies to respond to them all. I have chosen yours out of the bunch because you seem the most reasonable and balanced--that's what I have been fishing for.

Were you to read some of my other posts you would see that I have characterized at least some religious "leaders" as child-molesting, lying, greedy, etc. We are definitely in agreement on this point. For the record, I am a religious person but I was not always.

As a child I was taught religious beliefs so profoundly stupid and contradictory to every observable facet of life that I left off believing it at a relatively young age (about 11). Years later, someone asked me if I believed in God and I responded "Religion is guidelines for weak-minded people" and I left it at that. Some time later another person asked me if I believed in God. I replied: "Does God believe in me?" I was quite satisfied with having shaken her so. It was around that time, however, that I began actually thinking about the matter. The truth is that, without realizing it, I had "thrown out the baby with the bathwater" --so to speak. Just because one person lied to me in God's name I gave up on the very concept of believing in God. It was a mistake which I see being repeated by many in this time of great deception.

Consider this: There can be only one correct answer to any given question, for example: the question what is 1+1 will likely only yield one answer, 2. That was easy because the math was simple. However, the more factors you introduce -- and the more people you ask-- the more unique (and necessarily erroneous) responses you will receive. It can, therefore, be reasoned that to every question there must be ONE (no more and no less) correct AND an infinite number of *incorrect* answers. This applies to every question you can ask; that's human nature. Could you agree to this in principle? It's easy when nothing personal is at stake.

Matters of faith and the origin of life are not immune to this logic. There are some who espouse the belief that 'different religions are just different roads all leading to the same place.' While "agreeing to disagree" may keep the peace by settling arguments, it will never suffice as a bona-fide method of calculating any sort of math. If we are unable (or unwilling) to do the hard math then we're going to have the suffer the consequences of not having the right answers.

In the matter of evolution vs. creation consider the fruits of the theory and principles of evolution: war, racism, Nazism, fascism, unbridled greed, rape, hatred, strife, etc...feel free to disagree (someone always does). Now before you flip the coin and cite the crimes of religion, don't forget, we are already in agreement on that.

I have read the entire bible at least 3 times (going on 4 or maybe I lost count) and what I have learned is that the vast majority of people who say they're Christians haven't the slightest idea what that would require of them. Lying men simply told them some stories, claimed they got those stories from the bible, took their money, molested their children (and some other rotten stuff) and now that it is all coming to light everyone is turning around and saying "God must not exist." This because they allowed themselves to get duped by not checking the math for themselves.

It takes courage to believe in science because it means that there is probably no magical bearded man in the clouds who cares about you. It means that all we probably have is each other, and that each of us must strive to do the right thing because there is probably no magical forgiveness waiting on the other side. It means there probably isn't an "other side" to go to. That's some scary shit. It's much easier to believe in god(s).

Why is it that people who don't believe in God have a need to make God out to be magical? Anyone who doesn't believe in God is inherently unqualified to say how he would operate if he *did* exist. Clearly, the entire universe is governed by laws--all of it--and much of the math is far over the heads of our best and brightest. Who do you know that designs cars that don't drive on roads? Why is it so hard for to accept something so obvious: why would someone powerful and intelligent enough to make THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE not be practical, logical and precise enough to make it self-sustaining to a reasonable degree? Who do you know that designs a car, house, watch or anything else, but must constantly standing next to it to make sure it works? C'mon people, this isn't hard.

The word "probably" occurs many times in the above paragraph because science doesn't state that there is no god(s), only that there is no evidence for god(s) aside from the circumstantial. The only way to discover the truth is with evidence and an open mind.

Circumstantial evidence is evidence nonetheless. As I mentioned, my mind *was* opened --then it became informed, now I know. Why keep searching for something you have already found? Are married people "opened" to the possibility of taking a different mate? There wouldn't be a marriage for long. You have likely accepted as fact the notion that all the answers *cannot* be known *presumably* because you assume that if all the answers *could* be known they would also be widely accepted. That would be an erroneous presupposition, however, since people do lie, cheat, steal, hate, murder, deceive and so forth. These facts must also be taken into consideration in making decisions that determine.

Unyielding certainty is the enemy of discovery. You can choose to ignore evidence if you wish, but then you are choosing to close your mind to reality.

Well spoken, but let's not forget: the answer to 1+1 may be unknown to some but that fact would not prove that it is unknowable to all. That, my friend, is what my definition of is is. :-)


Drakvil
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:15 pm

Jason: DI article, I really enjoyed it.

As for the relaxation bit being attributed to survival, I have read where that is also why drunk drivers very often survive the fatal car accidents they cause... they are so relaxed that they suffer far fewer injuries than their terrified victims.

Shandooga: You seem to have this ridiculous notion that there is an absolute good or bad in evolution and that there is some kind of desire associated with it. For someone that repeatedly claims to have logically studied evolution in order to be convinced to discard it in favor of folk tales associated with the bible, you are making a poor argument.

There is no such thing as de-evolution. There is no desire, or an absolute good or bad. We have proof that things change, and that is all that evolution really is. Evolution doesn't disprove or contradict God, and makes no statement about him other than reasonable people can see that He has used it to make people the way they are today. Science doesn't have anything to say about God other than it cannot be used to say anything about him... it can only be used to describe the way things are happening around us.

Evolution isn't about creatures getting "better" and evolving into some "higher" state... it just says that as creatures change, the traits that tend to get them killed don't get passed on, and the ones that are helpful in some way to them surviving and mating get passed on. Eventually the traits that will get them killed will be present in fewer and fewer creatures until it doesn't exist anymore. These traits are specific to the environment (general term) that the creatures live in... like penguins adapting to live in very cold weather. If you started moving them up the coast of south america at a rate of about a mile a decade, by the time the population reached Uraguay they would be very different animals... well adapted to the warmer weather and they wouldn't be able to survive in antarctica if moved there in a week. So what helped them survive in the antarctic won't help them in Uraguay and vice versa. If you moved them back at the same rate you brought them up, you would end up with something similarly adapted as the penguins you started with, possibly something that looks very different.

Since you seem to be just about the only person here that believes that evolution and God are mutually exclusive, why not stop trying to convince the same people over and over again of statements that they have rejected on the merits of those statements? Evolution isn't a church, it's an observation of how God is working on things. Let us all worship God in our chosen way (even if for some it is to not believe in him) that CAN co-exist with God and stop insulting the good people here. If you truly think that their beliefs and opinons are offending you, perhaps you shouldn't keep returning to the site who's purpose is to present these ideas, since we all find them interesting and to have considerable merit. Your flaming and ranting are hurting your cause hundreds of times more than they are helping.


Gromit
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:25 pm

Shandooga - how did God come to exist? In particular, to have substance, person, presence, structure, motive or any perceivable quality (to borrow some of your words)?


crispi
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:27 pm

In the animal kingdom, "survival of the fittest" is the rule. The animals with the best survival instincts and hunting skills grow larger and stronger than the others and are the ones who get to mate and reproduce. In that sense, evolution is always happening. The human race is the only one where under-achievers survive and are allowed to reproduce.

Some people grow and learn, and help the human race evolve. And, there are some who do their best to hinder it.


Silverhill
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:31 pm

Very well put, Drakvil. thanks.


crispi
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:38 pm

God didn't "come to exist..." To imply a beginning is to imply and end.

Silly human.
:)


kwiksand
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:42 pm

Fantastic Article! Thanks DI Guys, that was DAMN Interesting!

Shandooga: I'm unsure of why you've entered into this discussion. I don't have the vocabulary, nor the time to refute anything you've said but your long winded attempts to over-respond and thus befuddle others are astounding. I'm not sure where in the world your located, but where I am located (Australia) your psycho pro-god creationilist babble is highly frowned upon.

That's not to say I don't believe in creation. In my mind, evolution makes more sense, but I don't go to lengths to push my stubbon opinions like you seem to want to..

We have Moremans (Spelling?!?!), Jehovahs etc here too, and quite frankly I slam the front door... HARD. The last thing I want is some bigot forcing their ideas down my throat. Way to destroy an otherwise fantastic day on Damn Interesting.


FlyingAvatar
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:50 pm

What Would Jesus Do? Why flame evolutionists on some message board, of course! Surely it's the Christian thing to do.


Gally
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:54 pm

Hmm... Intriguing debate...

Actually, evolution works in artificial intelligence, we create random solutions to a problem, then record good solutions, using that we then combine them to form offspring which at times are also good solutions. We also add the factor of randomness through mutation, by adding mutation we remove the risk of having generations of solutions that are basically the same or is a copy of the previous generation.

Evolution in AI takes a long time to simulate since millions of solutions are needed to be tested and tried. It is actually more of a search algorithm, searching for the most suited solution for the problem. So if we were to translate it into the real world, it would mean the changes happen gradually, the change can not be noticed in a lifetime of a human since it is gradual and takes a long time.

There is also co-evolution, wherein an animal is trying to evolve to out best another. An example would be a predator trying to outwit its prey and the prey trying to create defensive mechanisms like camouflage. So the evolution is endless since it’s a competition, until of course either the prey or the predator becomes extinct. This is, of course, a simplified example. In reality the prey is also trying to eat something else and this something else is trying to avoid being eaten and same goes with the predator. Also there are times that instead of competing, they could be evolving to help other species and so on.

My point is evolution works with AI… What I cannot prove though is that it played a vital role in molding our environment since that is not my field of study.


Floj
Posted 08 November 2006 at 11:58 pm

Drakvil! Your statement up there was beautiful... very well said. I won't even try to paraphrase it.

However! Shandooga! You cast such stereotypes upon other religons!

Shandooga said: "I'll the first to admit that priests have proven to be child-molesting liars and shameless, greedy thieves but that fact does not disprove the existence of God."

Since you have absolute knowledge and are capable of judging all that is right and wrong, I must ask. How does it feel to walk on water? If you've read the Bible so many times through, why do you insist on spreading your opinion through such hateful ideas? Has the world wronged you in some way, or are you a malefactor, insistent on insulting others beliefs. I, and many other people respect your belief against evolution. Is it too much to ask that you respect mine in return? I don't hate you in any way; hate is wrong, and developing strong emotions over the internet is unhealthy. Think before you type and speak; if what you say makes so many people angry, are you doing the right thing? I still say that you need a big slice of pie, God bless.

Anyway:

whaaat said: "WHY CANT EVERYONE JUST READ THE ARTICLE AND TALK ABOUT THE ARTICLE NO ONE CARES FOR YOUR OPINIONS ON THINGS NOT OF THE ARTICLE……ARGUING ON THE INTERNET IS LIKE THE SPECIAL OLYMPICS EVEN IF YOU WIN YOU ARE STILL RETARDED. no offense to people in the special olympics"

Because it's an entertaining way to express personal opinions between a collection of opposing views... and pie.


Pazza
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:09 am

Shandooga, may I recommend a book. It is called "On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, or The Preservation of Favoured Races in the Struggle for Life" and was written by a fellow called Charles Darwin.


ConcernedCitizen
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:12 am

Shandooga: Thanks for responding so reasonably. You said a lot of true things, but saying true things in proximity to assumptions does not make the assumptions any more credible.

Like yourself, I was raised in a religious household. There was not some life-changing event that turned me away from religion, it just never spoke to me. Perhaps if I'd had some religious experience that moved me, the emotional payload would be evidence enough of god's existence. But there was no such experience, large or small.

To me, "god" is a needlessly complex answer to the question of "why am I here?" An omniscient universe-spawning being which has existed for an infinite time is a very strange and complex idea. It doesn't fit at all within the framework we can see. True, there may be a framework which we cannot see, but one can use that argument to support the existence of ANYTHING, so it has no value in intellectual discourse.

On the other hand, evolution is a wonderfully simple and elegant explanation which fits exactly in the framework we can see. As Zamemee pointed out, we can observe evolution in action with antibiotic-resistant bacteria... The stronger individual bacteria survive to reproduce, and soon they dominate. A similar parallel exists in viruses; if viruses did not undergo mutations, they would become extinct once all of their hosts developed an immunity to them. For example, countless flu viruses undergo random mutations every year, but the only survivors are the few viruses which mutate in a way that allows them to continue to infect.

Considering the above observations, we KNOW that A) life forms DO mutate, B) some of those mutations help the life forms to better survive, C) these slightly mutated survivors reproduce more because they survive longer, and D) they pass the improvements on to their offspring. That's all the ingredients of Evolution, right there. We've seen bacteria evolve within a few decades, and viruses within a single year. Imagine how many improvements this natural cycle has promoted over millions of years. A pure freshwater spring seems like a pretty unlikely concept if you're not familiar with the porous rocks that filtered the water to make it that way. But rocks aren't god, they're just rocks... doing what they do because they must.

A common misconception is that Evolution describes mutations on-the-fly, but this is not so... the mutations occur when the DNA is first combined from the parent organisms. Lots of opportunity for mutation exists there, both good and bad. Fortunately the snakes with two heads never get laid, so they have no offspring to pass the two-head gene to. But the bird with the more pleasing song will impress all of the ladybirds, and pass the pleasant-song gene to lots of little ones.

It's not my goal to convince you that god is a fiction, I debate for my own selfish reasons. It allows me to rethink my own logic by reexamining all of the evidence, and once again only one conclusion falls out of the data. Maybe tomorrow the information will change enough that I must conclude that god exists. I don't know.

For me, learning is not a destination, it is a path. If you exclaim that you have reached some destination and stop walking in the middle of the path, all you're really doing is gumming up the traffic. Doubt is healthy. Skepticism is a survival instinct. Don't believe anything today based solely on the fact that you believed it yesterday.

(I know that my fellow commenters are probably unhappy with the continued derail, and for that I apologize. For me, opening my mind in a good rousing, debate is a great way to stretch the brain matter).


CanInternet
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:56 am

Nice movie of cat twisting and falling:
http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2006/09/060928-cats-land-video.html
And about birds and tones, try this for size. This one can make any sound it wants.
http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=3433507052114896375


sifounak
Posted 09 November 2006 at 01:11 am

Wow. I impressed as to how... What's the word? Ridiculous. I'm impressed as to how ridiculous your logic is, Shandooga. So, to start...

Oh, and if DNA is read-only, just how does the benefit of a given animal's experience get recorded into it's genes for posterity?

First of all, DNA can change in a person while we live, albeit very slowly. The UV rays in sunlight damage the DNA in your skin, but your body can repair that. There are certain diseases that can slow this repair and this damage can lead to cancer (which is a genetic mutation of cells).

You seem to be a little confused as to what you are referring to. Generally, evolution is considered to be a change in genetic composition over long periods of time. You or I will not evolve during our lives because our DNA does not change significantly in a short period of time. That does not mean that DNA will never change.

A birth defect, for example, is a genetic mutation. If genetics do not change, how is it that some babies are born with defects from parents who are not defected? Down Syndrome an example of the previous statement. A parent does not have to have Down Syndrome for the child to be born with it. And I disagree with the argument that a god creates these genetic mutations because if that were the case, why would negative mutations be made? How can a terrible mutation (such as the skin disease where a person cannot be in sunlight for more than a few minutes without painfully burning their skin) be justifiably be cast upon a child at birth by an ultimately good god? Where along the grand scheme of a god's plan do things of that nature lie?

Now I know you've been trained to twist ABSOLUTELY EVERYTHING into survival terms and therefore it's incumbent upon you to make something up.

Survival may not seem like a factor in life to you, but that's only because we have developed to a point of changing our surroundings to suit us. It doesn't matter how fast we run or how far we can see because we have cars that can take us where we need to go and glasses that fix our vision. Life was not always this way. It seems as if it might be unreasonable to wonder if you would put down your bible and actually read a real history book to see what life was really like before we had Escalades and BMW's everywhere. If you were born with vision that only allowed you to see 2 feet in front of you (I know people with a range of vision that small), how long do you think you'd survive in predator/prey world without glasses? Exactly.

Survival is the key to passing on genetic information. Regardless of how good or bad your genetics are, you cannot have offspring if you are dead. A prey that can run faster than its predator will live longer and have a greater chance to reproduce. This is not the same thing as thinking that this animal learned to run faster, as you do, and therefore cannot pass this trait onto its offspring. This is about an animal being born with the ability to run faster. Stronger hind legs, longer legs, etc. If you sit and tell me that changes like that cannot take place in people over long periods of time, I will stand all day and point out the massive height differences in people across the world. If people are the decendants of a set of people created in a god's likeness, how can so many variations on that likeness be present without a slow genetic drift over the centuries?

Oh, and that slow genetic drift is called evolution.

Anyone who doesn't believe in God is inherently unqualified to say how he would operate if he *did* exist.

Wait a minute. I will bring up the immediate point that you have now invalidated any claims you make about evolution because of the fact that you do not believe in it. This illustrates one of the biggest fundamental flaws in religion and fundamentally religious people, such as yourself. Belief does not validate something. For example, you can NOT believe in gravity as much as you want, but that does not mean it doesn't exist. Nor does it mean that one cannot adequately describe how gravity works and still not believe in it. There is a difference between knowing how something works, believing in something, and something actually being real. If I were to believe in the Easter Bunny, describe exactly what it looked like, and exactly how it does all of those Easter things we attribute to it, those things do not make the Easter Bunny real. The reason you are a close-minded person is because you make the distinction that things which you do not consider real are not worth knowing and understanding (because you say that those who do not believe in something are unqualified to describe how it would operate or work).

Why is it so hard for to accept something so obvious: why would someone powerful and intelligent enough to make THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE not be practical, logical and precise enough to make it self-sustaining to a reasonable degree?

This statement suggest that (A) you understand a process by which things change over time to adapt for survival in the long run (which is evolution) and (B) believe that a god created these things (or set them in motion). If you are going to take a stance on an argument, please know your own stance and not contradict claims you make as you continue.

This is statement is the biggest logical fallacy on your part. You are arguing from an assumed position. The fact of the matter is that it is this assumption that is being contested. If someone does not believe in the existence of a god and attributes a genetic drift in a population to natrual processes, you do not prove anything (other than a lack of understanding of the problem) by saying "why would someone powerful and intelligent enough to make THE ENTIRE UNIVERSE not be practical, logical and precise enough to make it self-sustaining to a reasonable degree?" You are assuming the existence of a god-like "someone" which is one of the things under question to begin with. You are also showing you don't understand the problem because earlier you argue that evolution doesn't exist but a method to be "self-sustaining to a reasonable degree" does (which is part of the definition of what evolution is). You invalidate any claims or statements you make because you make assumptions that go against the argument itself.

You are calling me close minded because I have completed my research and drawn a logical conclusion. The discussion is, therefore, closed to me–I *know* the answer and there is no longer any need (or justification) to await any further data.

You keep saying that you have come to a conclusion so the topic is "closed" to you. What if your conclusion is based in false information? Will this forever remain closed to you? It seemed as if this was once a closed topic to you back when you didn't believe in a god, but you gathered new information and came to a different realization. That is keeping an open mind. A closed mind is one believing that its conclusion is right regardless of a change of information.

And if there is any sort of indoctorination going on, it is not in the world of sciences, it is in the religions. Religious influence once held reign over every sort of phenomena of the world. Earthquakes, floods, rains, and the sort were all attributed to a god. Point by point, science proved that those things are not the doings of a god. Religious influence has receeded to only a few holding points. How the Earth and all matter came to be, and anything after death. The latter of which, seemingly, can never be proven, so all religions have a sure bet there. As to how all of the world's matter came to be, that may not ever be proven. Just because science has not proven something does not mean an idea that something that defies everything that we know and have proven (that a single being created matter and has unlimited power and intelligence) is the correct answer. That is simply the "desire" to have an answer when there is no proven answer yet.

There are many more things I could go on about, but I just wanted to give you a sample so that you can understand that there are many logical errors on your part.

Truly evaluate who you are, what you believe in, and why you believe in them. And keep in mind...

"If you would be a real seeker after truth, it is necessary that at least once in your life you doubt, as far as possible, all things." (Rene Descartes, 1596 - 1650)

You did not doubt before. You simply had no reason to believe.

And another thing to chew on for many of you people who believe that there has to be something after death. What exists before a baby is born? As in, where is the soul of that baby before it is born? It does not exist. If nothingness (or non-existence) is acceptable before birth, why is it not acceptable after death?


sifounak
Posted 09 November 2006 at 01:31 am

Leighther said: "Yay for cats and conservation of angular momentum.

You, my friend, are the embodiment of everything that is life in that statement alone. I applaud you. That was one of the most enjoyable things I've read in this entire board.

It's fun to get the mind all worked up. Post on, people. Post on.


zyrion
Posted 09 November 2006 at 01:59 am

Being an Evolutionary Biology major from an Ivy League institution, I find this discussion fascinating. I would be interested to hear how Shandooga would describe the process of evolution. Do you understand the process of meiosis vs. mitosis? How well schooled are you in the science of biology and evolution to be debasing it?


rp2
Posted 09 November 2006 at 02:21 am

CATS!!! EVOLUTION!!! GOD!!! It's those damn Canadians again...


Xiphias
Posted 09 November 2006 at 03:30 am

53 comments. I thought it was because the article had been linked from Neatorama and presumably other blogs but it's instead because some complete muppet mentioned evolution and other people couldn't hold there temper enough to ignore him.

How about we delete all the comments for this article and start again so we can discuss it properly?


Kuz_Sam
Posted 09 November 2006 at 04:25 am

all u retarded biatches can go stick ur heads up a dead bears bum. This is an article about cats not fricken evolution vs god...j33bus...i cant believe ur immatureity. i agree with Xiphias...PLZ PLZ PLZ ALAN...DELETE ALL COMMENTS AND LETS START AGAIN


leooel
Posted 09 November 2006 at 04:59 am

Come on Shandooga, chickening out? You've taken on everyone except OriginalSim, who challenged the whole basis of your argument, the irrefutable evidence that birds sing so sweetly. Pfffft.


just_dave
Posted 09 November 2006 at 06:03 am

Xiphias said: "53 comments. I thought it was because the article had been linked from Neatorama and presumably other blogs but it's instead because some complete muppet mentioned evolution and other people couldn't hold there temper enough to ignore him.

How about we delete all the comments for this article and start again so we can discuss it properly?"

Yours included? Lots to add to the discussion there.

As most people know, when a cat is able to see, it will usually land on its feet.

So, what would happen if you blindfolded a cat before you pushed him off the balcony? (that was just a joke, by the way ;o)

Zamemee said: "If you need proof of evolution all you have to do is look at Mycobacterium tuberculosis. Decades ago it was easily killed with the use of a single antibiotic, but now there are strains that take three or more antibiotics administered over a period of months to kill. What is happening here is that while most of the bacteria were killed off, there were some that were resistant to the antibiotics being used against them. These bacteria survived and reproduced."

Sorry Zam; that may be proof of micro-evolution, but micro-evolution does not equal macro-evolution. It's a huge leap to assume that because the one happens, the other has also happened. Bacteria may "evolve" and become resistant to antibiotics, but that's a far cry from single cell organisms evolving into multi-cell organisms and developing the biological diversity we see on the planet today.


Kathleen
Posted 09 November 2006 at 06:19 am

Please learn some basic grammar. The words "there," "their" and "they're" are not interchangeable. The minute I read what someone posts and I see them misuse any of these words, I assume they are uneducated and I give up on them and go to the next post. Personally, I think it's fascinating that cats have this ability to right themselves as they're falling and I think that skill evolved. I don't know why the theory of evolution is so terrifying to some people's religious views. I feel I am religious, but I don't see a conflict there. I see the hand of God in evolution just as in everything else. But that's just me and I'm not trying to make everyone agree with me. Well, not about anything except the grammar and that really bothers me.


Brandie
Posted 09 November 2006 at 07:23 am

Kathleen said: I don't know why the theory of evolution is so terrifying to some people's religious views. I feel I am religious, but I don't see a conflict there. I see the hand of God in evolution just as in everything else. "

Absolutely, Kathleen - I agree with you 100%.

I don't believe that an intelligent person could say that evolution is a complete myth. Also, I don't see how a spiritual person could be presented with the very believable theory of evolution and not say "hmm, what a powerful God to allow/cause all that complicated stuff to happen; sure am glad He remembered to make me too."

Anyway - still a DI article.


adastra
Posted 09 November 2006 at 07:24 am

Jeesh, all this "debate" about god and eviloution is NOT damn interesting but just mental masturbation. It serves no one's interest, provides no enlightenment, to anyone except... the people babbling on just because they can. Please folks, discuss the article and bring me some insight, something to think about, some pleasure for me too, some pleasure that might actually be educational, too.


Dave Group
Posted 09 November 2006 at 08:00 am

Fascinating article. How about a related one on cats with wings? Seriously-- there are a number of cases of cats who have grown tufts of fur from their backs that resemble wings, though the extent of their "flying" is open to conjecture.


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 08:28 am

I’m not sure what to say I think this guy is just trying to get everybody’s goat and be annoying. Nobody could be this ignorant.

But just case...
Shandooga
I can’t imagine you have done any true or objective research into this. Maybe you have read some religious essays or listened to some guest speakers at you church. That is not considered rigorous research into a subject, at least not enough to come up with the final end all answer to the universe. I have to say that your jumps of logic and inaccuracies in thought lead to some very strange conclusions. IE birds never sing off key. Says who? No biologist would say that. Can you point to some scientific study with objective quantifiable data that has come to that conclusion or did you just anecdotally observe it while you were feeding the birds at the park one day and just happened to have tuning fork with you? I can think of are more compelling arguments against evolution then you have presented here, which goes to show, you have not done “extensive research” into this topic, as you think you have. I’m not sure you really understand the word research and the dedication and rigorous standards it implies.
Ok I’m done for now.
But for the record I think this guy is not for real I think he just likes to argue even when he knows he’s wrong

Great article keep them coming! I have heard that cats don’t really land on there feet they actually land on there bellies. That is were they absorb most of the shock.


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 08:32 am

leooel said: "Come on Shandooga, chickening out? You've taken on everyone except OriginalSim, who challenged the whole basis of your argument, the irrefutable evidence that birds sing so sweetly. Pfffft."

I couldn't get any of the sounds to play on my computer, but that doesn't mean that evolution isn't the stupidest theory on anything ever put forth by anyone. I could pretend no car had a designer and then claim that the model-T was the result of an "accident" and that each subsequent development in automobile design resulted from further accidents involving other model-Ts. I could carry the fantasy quite far and make it as detailed as I wanted to. I'm sure I could even get *somebody* to go along with me but it would still be a ridiculous fantasy and no one with half a brain would have a good excuse for believing me.


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 08:33 am

adastra said: "Jeesh, all this "debate" about god and eviloution is NOT damn interesting but just mental masturbation. It serves no one's interest, provides no enlightenment, to anyone except… the people babbling on just because they can. Please folks, discuss the article and bring me some insight, something to think about, some pleasure for me too, some pleasure that might actually be educational, too."

That was funny...there's some truth to it too. I admit that I started it--I always do. Somebody has got to stand up for the truth and I have no problem being the only one.


CravenMorhead
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:06 am

Shandooga said: "That was funny…there's some truth to it too. I admit that I started it–I always do. Somebody has got to stand up for the truth and I have no problem being the only one."

Let us be clear here. You are NOT standing up for the truth. Neither are the evolutionists. Neither Intelligent Design nor Evolution have been proved to be true. They are both theories. They were both invented by people to try to explain the world around them.

There is the Christ Fanatics that like to believe that an invisible man in the sky made everything not too long ago but put fossils in the ground as a practical joke.

Then there are Fundamental Darwinians who like to believe that the strongest survive. Whatever trait provides a stronger organism will be passed on, whatever provides weakness will fade away.

For example, C. Diff evolved antibiotic immunity. It will survive better in a Hospital setting rather then the non-resistant strain. The stronger bacteria survives. Or rather the invisible man in the sky wants us to get sick and die.

It is your Belief but don't for a second call either one the truth.

With much moistness,
CM


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:14 am

sifounak said: "I disagree with the argument that a god creates these genetic mutations because if that were the case, why would negative mutations be made? How can a terrible mutation (such as the skin disease where a person cannot be in sunlight for more than a few minutes without painfully burning their skin) be justifiably be cast upon a child at birth by an ultimately good god? Where along the grand scheme of a god's plan do things of that nature lie?

I never said that God "created" genetic mutations.

Survival may not seem like a factor in life to you, but that's only because we have developed to a point of changing our surroundings to suit us.

Of course survival is a factor in life but this notion of "developing over millions of years" is fallacious. How can you exist for any appreciable length of time if you are not developed enough to survive? This is simple reasoning. As long as people have been getting burned and stabbed we are still dying from getting burned and stabbed? Where's the adaptation already? Look how many chickens are going to be wholesale slaughtered today (I'm having chicken for dinner :-) ). Chickens have wings--when are they going to evolve a defense already? Certainly not *after* dinner.

With all of the creatures that posses various means defense (and offense) why are we (the most "advanced" survivors) born soft, unarmed, unskilled and utterly helpless? Sure we're crafty, (if we *choose* to be) but we're relatively slow.

Why aren't we born with callouses on our hands if our forefathers have been dragging rocks around caves for aeons? That should have been an easy one for evolution. The simple answer is that we were given the ability to adjust to a limited range of circumstances as could be reasonably expected from any wise and powerful enough creator of anything. Tall buildings are given the means to sway--but just a little. More advanced techniques call for dampers but this still points to intelligent planning within a limited range of possibility. More denials, please. If you don't you could end up in church. :-) I'm really having fun with this.

Oh, and that slow genetic drift is called evolution.

Yes, that's what you call it, but the fact is that human cells self-destruct when they *somehow* know that they have "drifted" too far. [insert denial here]...

Belief does not validate something. For example, you can NOT believe in gravity as much as you want, but that does not mean it doesn't exist. Nor does it mean that one cannot adequately describe how gravity works and still not believe in it. There is a difference between knowing how something works, believing in something, and something actually being real.

How many times has "official" science scoffed at something only to later learn that it is real? None? Never happened?

You keep saying that you have come to a conclusion so the topic is "closed" to you. What if your conclusion is based in false information? Will this forever remain closed to you? It seemed as if this was once a closed topic to you back when you didn't believe in a god, but you gathered new information and came to a different realization.

It would not be accurate to say that the topic was closed when I didn't believe in God. There was a time when I simply did not have a compelling reason to believe. Now I do and most of that was based on *real* scientific findings, not that well-market package of conjecture, suppositions and FAITH that we know as the THEORY of evolution. Evolution is a religion, just one that lacks a god that is *greater* than the believer. This frees the believer to do anything he desires without *fear* of reprisal. Consequences, however, remain unavoidable.

Here's a news story that you may not want to read...
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/6688917/

And if there is any sort of indoctorination going on, it is not in the world of sciences, it is in the religions.

It is true that there is more religious error than truth, but it is also true that people like it that way. There is error in science too. Have you never heard of a scientist faking results to get funding? Here one and he wasn't the first:

http://blogs.chron.com/sciguy/archives/2006/10/disgraced_scien.html

What exists before a baby is born?

Potential.

where is the soul of that baby before it is born?

Where is the flame before the match is lit?

If nothingness (or non-existence) is acceptable before birth, why is it not acceptable after death?"

Death is, quite reasonably, the opposite of life and I never stated otherwise -- neither did the Bible. Other religious texts may, but I don't make any claims on behalf of religion in general. Did I not say the world is full of religious error? Your presupposition is based upon one of these. You have not done your homework.


djsteiniii
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:21 am

Regarding:
The tension is why six to seven stories seems to be the prime falling altitude: it gives the cat time to unwind
after the hard twist, and relax into the free-fall for a moment before landing.

I read an article on the same subject in Newsweek many years ago. The conclusion drawn there was that once the cat oriented itself, it took several stories before it could relax. Once it had relaxed, its legs splayed further, thus increasing its drag and slowing it down. Also, a cat's size/mass ratio is higher than that of a person, giving him a lower terminal velocity.

Now, thanx Jason for the VERY interesting article! Could we please move the God/evolution discussion to another forum?


noway
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:26 am

peridot window said: "You're making a fool out of yourself, sir. DNA is not affected at all by experience."

Then why would it need to "evolve" at all then?

sifounak said: " First of all, DNA can change in a person while we live, albeit very slowly. The UV rays in sunlight damage the DNA in your skin, but your body can repair that. There are certain diseases that can slow this repair and this damage can lead to cancer (which is a genetic mutation of cells). "

Aren't these all "experiences?" You two seem to contradict each other.

ConcernedCitizen said: "A common misconception is that Evolution describes mutations on-the-fly, but this is not so… the mutations occur when the DNA is first combined from the parent organisms."

Again, you all contradict each other.

ConcernedCitizen said: On the other hand, evolution is a wonderfully simple and elegant explanation which fits exactly in the framework we can see.

If it's so simple, why do none of you or any of the scientists agree with each other on the subject?

peridot window said: "Random mutations occur, and they may either be good, bad, or neutral."

Give me one example of a "good" mutation that anyone has ever witnessed.

sifounak said: "You are arguing from an assumed position....What if your conclusion is based in false information? Will this forever remain closed to you?"

Do you realize how many assumptions evolutionists make just to keep their theories going? It's a good thing scientists are never wrong.

zyrion said: "Being an Evolutionary Biology major from an Ivy League institution, I find this discussion fascinating. I would be interested to hear how Shandooga would describe the process of evolution. Do you understand the process of meiosis vs. mitosis? How well schooled are you in the science of biology and evolution to be debasing it?"

http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/1457880876031057998iPTmmn

just_dave said: "Sorry Zam; that may be proof of micro-evolution, but micro-evolution does not equal macro-evolution. It's a huge leap to assume that because the one happens, the other has also happened. Bacteria may "evolve" and become resistant to antibiotics, but that's a far cry from single cell organisms evolving into multi-cell organisms and developing the biological diversity we see on the planet today."

Exactly!


LL
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:37 am

All these comments and not a single one about the enormous potential to be found in cats always landing on their feet. Combine with buttered toast, which always lands butter side down in my kitchen, and we have perfect way to levitate objects. Simply attach buttered toast to a cats back and drop. The cat and toast will spin above the floor and levitate. Harness the thousands of cats at the local humane society and we could build a levitating train.

Well, it's as scientifically sound as intelligent design.


MikeyMouse
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:38 am

Seriously dudes

Have you never delt with Trolls before? This Shandooga guy/girl/monkey is the perfect example of a troll. The only way to deal with this is not to reply to any of his/her, etc. (gonna assume its a he) posts.
His arguments are the worst i've seen in a long time (born with callouses on our hands??? WTF)
Everytime anyone totally disproves a point he makes, he ignores the reply and makes up some new point.
I'm guessing he's 12 and having a great time reading all your sensible replies to nonsense. Although the Matrix references should have told you all how old / mature he is.
Seriously guys, don't give any more sensible awnsers to his posts. (Specially not the callouses one)

And yeah, i read this cat falling story a while ago on the straightdope website (sited in references above)
I liked the line on how the data might be misleading as "Cats that took a big fall and look like a can of spam, go in the dumpster, not to the vet" (From the straightdope article)


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:39 am

OriginalSim said: "Birds sing ON KEY? What the heck kind of music do YOU listen to? All birds I've heard sing off key all the time. Their RELATIVE pitch is often befitting J.S. Bach's well-tempered scale, but why the hell would birds be so into Bach?

Where do you think Beethoven got his 5th symphony? How do you know that Bach wasn't into birds--they were indisputably here (and singing) first.

There are birds that don't sing but do make noises. like a child playing a piano is bound to hit sour notes probably more so than the good ones (unless he stays on the white keys). I've never heard a songbird hit a truly sour note--have you?

Why would God choose a Baroque period tuning and what did birds use before that? Pythagorean tuning?

The scale would not be the point. My point was that random note selection will rarely result in a viable music scale. You are twisting my words to achieve a ridiculing effect. Ridicule is not evidence, but people do tend to disassociate themselves from the subject of ridicule. That is one of the major means by which the theory of evolution continues to propagate. People *want* to be "smart" now instead of moral. Anyone wearing a lab coat is automatically deemed to be smart. People, therefore, want to associate themselves with such persons and whatever gets them to that position or keeps them there.

Anyway, Birds sing to mate. Mating happens when the song is "Good". These "Good" genes get passed down. "Bad" songbirds don't get laid,

So birds do sing on-key, then?


sulkykid
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:39 am

Man, who would have thunk that mixing God, cats, and evolution would have been so volatile? We could use all this flaming to power one of those Doble steam powered automobiles. So what's the record for number of replies to a DI article?


levitysea
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:50 am

ConcernedCitizen said: "Shandooga, you are quite well-spoken, and you seem motivated to change minds. I respect that. But from my perspective your words are dripping with irony, just as mine must from yours. You speak of "desire" as a motive for believing in evolution, but to my mind "desire" is the primary motivation to believe in god(s). You speak of liars urging me towards science, but there are many liars in religion… particularly when you consider that not all religions can be true, so MOST religious people are lying (and/or misguided).


It takes courage to believe in science because it means that there is probably no magical bearded man in the clouds who cares about you. It means that all we probably have is each other, and that each of us must strive to do the right thing because there is probably no magical forgiveness waiting on the other side. It means there probably isn't an "other side" to go to. That's some scary shit. It's much easier to believe in god(s).

The word "probably" occurs many times in the above paragraph because science doesn't state that there is no god(s), only that there is no evidence for god(s) aside from the circumstantial. The only way to discover the truth is with evidence and an open mind. Unyielding certainty is the enemy of discovery. You can choose to ignore evidence if you wish, but then you are choosing to close your mind to reality."

I couldn't have said it better myself, that is the absolute truth right there.


CravenMorhead
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:55 am

peridot window said: "You're making a fool out of yourself, sir. DNA is not affected at all by experience."
noway said: "Then why would it need to "evolve" at all then?

You don't need to evolve. You do evolve. As well decide what you mean by experience. Cause you saw a good TV show doesn't mean you will change your DNA. If you are exposed to radiation or any other mutagens or carcionogens then your DNA will change. Unless your gonads are affected the changes won't be passed on to your childern.

If it's so simple, why do none of you or any of the scientists agree with each other on the subject?

Why don't all priests agree? Luthrians, mormans, catholics, orthodox? We all have our own ideas and we all think they are right. We all have our proof. With science we debate, debunk and restart. With the church, Crusade.

Give me one example of a "good" mutation that anyone has ever witnessed.

Define good? Advantegous? Antibiotic resistence in bacteria. What is the increased size of cattle. One of mans first genetic engneering project, spanning thousands of years. we artifically select the bigger cattle so that we have better animals. Look at the common coackroach, A hundred years ago they didn't flee when there was sudden light. They were a lot of casualities. Except the ones that fled. That genetic trait was passed on. Do you want me to go on?

Do you realize how many assumptions evolutionists make just to keep their theories going? It's a good thing scientists are never wrong.

Do you know how many assumptions ID make to keep their theories going? It is a good thing the church is never wrong.

http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/1457880876031057998iPTmmn

(Cheap shot: Nice photo of you)

Evolution of life started 4 billion years ago. For 3.5 billion years life was limited to single cell organisms. Then they started multi-cell organisms and to us is 500 million years. Think about how much time 3 billion years is. It is about 10^17 seconds. Genetic material started out as Protein Nucleic Acid. The components evolved to RNA, then DNA.

Evolution is a theory that follows the current observations. It has been altered and admended. As with any scientific thoery. It is good that scienctist can admit they are wrong and admend their ideas. Or admit when they don't know.... (see stephen hawking and the momment of god)


AntEconomist
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:05 am

A God who can create species via evolution from a distance of billions of years is a hell of a lot cooler than a God who simply pops them into existence.


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:09 am

I have to agree with Mickey here. This Kid or whatever in not educated enough (and by that I don’t necessary mean formally) to understand evidence and research. He believes that research is having a belief and then trying to come up with “evidence” to back it up. What this really boils down to is the understanding of belief vs. evidence. Clearly Shandooga does not understand this distinction. I have my beliefs as well but I can understand evidence, and sometime you have take a look at your understanding of your beliefs (insert bible verse here) we will see how sharp Shandooga is) and not presume to understand everything about everything. Even religious scholars will tell you nobody truly understands God just as no scientist will tell you they understand everything about the natural world. This does not mean we give up trying. I hope Shandooga you will open your mind and not presume to know how God chose to create the world.

I think cats have this skill because they are not smart enough to not fall off tall objects. My evidence is the fact that they jump out of 6 story buildings to begin with. There’s a new string for you. Bring it on Cat lovers……..


Bollo
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:10 am

Ahh, so that's how the bald cat survives in the Meteor advert.. And they must've done their research as they were six floors up.


sh0cktopus
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:16 am

MikeyMouse: You said it all. DO NOT FEED THE TROLLS. I don't even have the patience to sift through these comments for something interesting that actually relates to the article.


MikeyMouse
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:22 am

Wow, thanks, and it was my first ever post here, do I get a slice of pie now?

(And to anyone who is considering reading all the above posts, go browse the DI archive instead. Just the other day I found that immortal cancer they cut out of that woman story, that was the most damn interesting thing i read in ages)
http://www.damninteresting.com/?p=364


Misfit
Posted 09 November 2006 at 11:18 am

I have been following the entire comment texts quite closely. After reading everything here in one sitting, I have been struck by this conclusion:

This isn't fun anymore.


drewd
Posted 09 November 2006 at 11:24 am

Another damn interesting article followed by a legion of damn stupid comments. I used to enjoy reading the comments, but, as Misfit said, it isn't fun anymore.

Hey, Alan, maybe it's time to start deleting posts that stray from the topic.


sulkykid
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:02 pm

James said: "...

I think cats have this skill because they are not smart enough to not fall off tall objects. My evidence is the fact that they jump out of 6 story buildings to begin with. There’s a new string for you. Bring it on Cat lovers…….."

Good try James, but I already attempted to bait the cat lovers. Apparently they don't read (this web site).


levitysea
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:21 pm

Hey drewd, I think they pointed out right there in that article about fixating on an object. I'm sure it took millions of years of EVOLUTION for a cat to be as great a hunter as it is and I bet if you had such singularity in your vision you might miss a step or two yourself whilst vigorously hunting that cheesteak sandwich!


levitysea
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:22 pm

sorry, not drewd, James. :-/


interesting
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:42 pm

I applaud all the folks who are engaged in this interesting discussion. However irreconcileable one's views may appear, every reasonable and intelligent discourse will undoubtedly impart new information on all of us, thereby giving us something to ponder.

"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" -- Alvin Toffler


NewEvolution
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:48 pm

To Shandooga and everyone else here, I refer you to this: Index to Creationist Claims. Conveniently it also lists their logical and scientific counter-arguments.

I've found this site immensely useful in "debates" such as these.

Also, flipping cats are neat. I do so love high-speed photography.


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 12:53 pm

levitysea said: "Hey drewd, I think they pointed out right there in that article about fixating on an object. I'm sure it took millions of years of EVOLUTION for a cat to be as great a hunter as it is and I bet if you had such singularity in your vision you might miss a step or two yourself whilst vigorously hunting that cheesteak sandwich!"

I don’t even like Cheese-steak sandwiches. Maybe if you would have said pepperoni pizza. I might fall off a building fixating on that.
It does seem like an insurmountable trait to develop as an instinct. To flip so perrrrfectly over. But I think that any animal does this or at least tries. Cats have just developed a particular knack for it and the body to match. I would think it developed something like this:
Small cats that chased small animals up a tree (where there are less predators eating them and certain prey would be more plentiful) might sometimes fall out of said trees. Cats may not die by falling out but they may get hurt and be out of commission for a short time or not able compete for a mate as effectively. If you have ever seen cats mate you will know that they have to be in good shape. Cats that flipped and landed more in tact bred more. It’s not just did they go splat or land with the perfect grace.


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 01:44 pm

drewd said: "Another damn interesting article followed by a legion of damn stupid comments. I used to enjoy reading the comments, but, as Misfit said, it isn't fun anymore.


Hey, Alan, maybe it's time to start deleting posts that stray from the topic."

The discussion did not stray from the topic. The article mentioned that flawed, stupid, nonsense, racist theory and I went to town!


etonalife
Posted 09 November 2006 at 02:07 pm

DI article Jason!! I find it somewhat bizarre that cats tend to better when falling from heights taller than most trees... But I assume that may be because of the time for relaxation in the free fall, like the drunk driver survival rate.

I apologize if I'm repeating someone, but I tend to skip all the lengthy evolution debates. I just read the other day that some company is going to start selling hypo-allergenic cats!! Apparently the dominant cause of human allergy reactions to cats is due to a single protein they produce, for which the DNA has been sequenced. Originally the company had planned on doing some intense genetically-modified engineering, until they learned that the gene is already turned off in some cats. So they tested a few thousand cats, and began to breed those with the favourable trait. Luckily for them, and some humans, the protein-producing gene is recessive - which means that when the hypo-allergenic cats breed with normal ones, the offpring will most likely be hypo-allergenic as well...

What a world, eh?!


Cepheid the Spectre
Posted 09 November 2006 at 02:30 pm

Yay my first post on DI!

Just before people continue to throw around words like "truth" and "knowing", I would like to say something that I often ponder. Everything we observe is not what you think it is. My simplest example to what I mean is a light. Find a light that is on, or just use your monitor, and look at it. If I were to ask you "Is that light on?" one would be inclined to say "Yes", but I beg to differ. For though you can see it is on, people often fail to remember something that rules our lives, time. It takes TIME for the photons being emitted from the light to reach your eye, and it takes TIME for the nerve impulse to reach the brain, and it take TIME for the subconscious parts of your brain to process the image, and it takes TIME for your awake conscious to understand that it is on. I relize the total time for these events to transpire is minuscule, it is time none the less. So, in essence, EVERYTHING that you observe is the past. To go even farther, how does one prove to one's own self that this is real? Since it all comes down to your brain's interpretation of the world, your brain may be altering it.
I hope this being my first post doesn't change your (this is directed at no one specific) view on the info said in it. I just wanted to make it clear that no one here "knows" what they are saying, not to mention that most of what being said here would appear to be opinions. In the end, both parties involved in this debate are guilty. Each side is failing to recognize that the other side will not back down and that they are making little progress (other then reinforcing distaste for others). Is it really that hard for someone to back down and "know" that the other party is wrong and let them think they are right?

P.S. The reason I continue to ponder this is can one "Know" that they "Know" nothing?....paradoxes are annoying.


Marshall the Great
Posted 09 November 2006 at 02:33 pm

Shandooga said: "The discussion did not stray from the topic. The article mentioned that flawed, stupid, nonsense, racist theory and I went to town!"

There are definitely some flawed, stupid, and nonsense theories on this page, but the theory of Evolution bestowed on us by Him (the Mighty Darwin that is) and agreed upon by the vast majority of scholars certainly isn't one of them.


bstephina
Posted 09 November 2006 at 02:38 pm

About cats...

OriginalSim said: ""evolve over eons of climbing trees to cache their kills,"

Wow, I didn't know that cats hid their catch in trees….."

I don't know about housecats, but I've seen leopards dragging dead baby antelopes up trees (on the teevee, of course). I might be misremembering, but leopards also like to jump out of trees at their prey..

James said: I have heard that cats don’t really land on there feet they actually land on there bellies. That is were they absorb most of the shock."

Man, if I were to belly-flop out of a sixth-floor window.. Do you think anyone's ever been killed by a falling cat?

NOT about cats..

Shandooga said: "Look how many chickens are going to be wholesale slaughtered today (I'm having chicken for dinner :-) ). Chickens have wings–when are they going to evolve a defense already? Certainly not *after* dinner."

Chickens could never be a prime example of evolution. They're domesticated animals: for thousands of years we've shoved them into pens, eat all of them regardless of fitness in the wild, and controlled which traits we wanted to breed in or breed out. This is really rather a minor point, but I thought I should stand up for the poor things--CHICKENS OF THE WORLD UNITE!!! Except for the one I ate last night.


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 03:10 pm

bstephina said: "About cats…

Man, if I were to belly-flop out of a sixth-floor window.. Do you think anyone's ever been killed by a falling cat?

."

By landing on their belly I mean their feet hit first, of course, but the shock is mostly absorbed by their bellies. Obviously they don’t belly flop.


Shandooga
Posted 09 November 2006 at 03:32 pm

What this really boils down to is the understanding of belief vs. evidence. Clearly Shandooga does not understand this distinction.

Shandooga understands that his beliefs *are* based on evidence. People who have had their opinions handed them by "official" sources are invariably conditioned to see things from an evolutionary point of view. So conditioned, the mind loses flexibility and begins to *see* everything in that certain light. The "officially approved" point of view (I didn't believe the Warren Commission, did you?) leaves one without a complete understanding of life, why we're here and where we're going.

After just a few years in this woeful condition, people tend to come to terms and simply accept that these things cannot be fully known. I beg to differ...the fact that you don't presently possess *certain* information may not rightly be projected into evidence that a) no one else knows it b) no one can know it or c) you will never come to know it. If you don't feel like you understand life or cannot adequately explain it to your children, then you have been listening to the wrong people.

sometime you have take a look at your understanding of your beliefs (insert bible verse here) we will see how sharp Shandooga is) and not presume to understand everything about everything.

I never claimed to know *every* detail about all that there is to know but I do have the answers to all the *important* questions (excluding non-deep, non-questions like "what is the sound of one-hand clapping?" If you don't, you have not done your homework. You may, if you choose, wait until the day of your death to find out whether or not something (or nothing) more will happen or you can use the time you have to fully investigate all the avenues before you--even the ones that *somebody* labeled "old-fashioned", "religious nut", "conspiracy nut", etc...

Even religious scholars will tell you nobody truly understands God just as no scientist will tell you they understand everything about the natural world.

Religious scholars (as a whole) have long ago abandoned any search for truth or intent to disseminate the same. Just like politicians, an increasing majority of them have used religion as a pretext by means of which they can glorify themselves, subjugate people and garner obscene personal gain. Those who are sincere in intent are, for the most part, stuck in institutions long corrupted by clerics of the former ilk. These sincere few are further handicapped by "official" teachings which are rife with contradictory traditions and easily-correctable translation errors. Here's a rather glaring example:

. . .They like the most prominent place at evening meals and the front seats in the synagogues, 7 and the greetings in the marketplaces and to be called Rabbi by men. 8 But YOU, do not YOU be called Rabbi, for one is YOUR teacher, whereas all YOU are brothers. 9 Moreover, do not call anyone YOUR father on earth, for one is YOUR Father, the heavenly One. 10 Neither be called ‘leaders,’ for YOUR Leader is one, the Christ...(Matthew 23:6-10)

Notice verse 9 says do not call anyone your father? Clearly, the context indicates that this does not refer to biology. Now with that rather unambiguous passage clearly spelled out and in context, how has the Catholic church gotten away with calling it's child-molesting priests Father all this time? The answer is entirely too simple: nobody did their homework.

This does not mean we give up trying. I hope Shandooga you will open your mind and not presume to know how God chose to create the world.

The bible indicates how God chose to create the world in as much detail as the ancients could understand. If you had read it (like you were told not to), you might have found some very compelling passages which would be quite difficult to explain were the Bible actually *authored* (not written) by ancient shepherds and tent-makers.

Here are a few examples:

21 Do YOU people not know? Do YOU not hear? Has it not been told to YOU from the outset? Have YOU not applied understanding from the foundations of the earth? 22 There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell. . .(Isaiah 40:21-22)

It was not until 1920 that the brightest (and best equipped) among mankind finally observed the red-shift, proving conclusively that the universe is expanding. How did Isaiah know thousands of years ago? Furthermore, was the Earth not generally assumed to be flat all those years ago? Granted, the moon is round and, from Earth, could have still been imagined flat too, but there was no word in ancient Hebrew that could have specifically spelled out that the "roundness" in question would be in 3 dimensions.

". . .Where, now, is the way by which the light distributes itself...?" (Job 38:24)

So is it a particle or a wave? That's *still* a good question. How could the writer have known about this conundrum thousands of years ago?

"My bones were not hidden from you When I was made in secret, When I was woven in the lowest parts of the earth. 16 Your eyes saw even the embryo of me, And in your book all its parts were down in writing, As regards the days when they were formed And there was not yet one among them." (Psalm 139:15-16)

What is the writer describing here? Body parts in writing before they were formed? Sounds like DNA to me. The writer was a shepherd--how could he have known?

". . .in answer Jesus said to them: “Look out that nobody misleads YOU; 5 for many will come on the basis of my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will mislead many. . ." (Matthew 24:4-5)

Jesus spoke these words 3 days before his execution as a criminal. Here it is more than 2,000 years later and we're still talking about him. How could he have arranged this? Notice he said "...mislead many." Now think of the Branch Davidians at Waco, TX., the Jim Jones incident in Guyana, all the people who have come forward with claims that they were molested by Catholic priests (and those who haven't come forward).

Even if you want to say that this is some kind of conspiracy, how do you account for the fact that so many people have been taken by it? There are more people in the world that claim to be followers of Jesus than adhere to any other faith.

Mind you, he merely spoke these words, he never wrote a thing. What assurance could he have had that even the mention of him (much less his work) would be carried on 2,000+ years after his death? What will people say about *you* 2,000 years from now? You have a certain (and reasonable) expectation that you will be totally forgotten. Even if you *want* to be remembered, how will you arrange it with certain success?

Ok, that's a lot to shrug off, but you're "educated" --I know you can do it.


another viewpoint
Posted 09 November 2006 at 04:29 pm

...LOOK OUT BELOW...another cat is falling for a purrrrrrrfect landing!


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 04:45 pm

Shandooga,

You have totally miss understood a basic concept once again. You for some reason have assumed that I am not a Christian or do not believe Jesus died on the cross and was raised three days later. You seem to assume that because the evidence shows that the world was created gradually over time that somehow that means that the bible can not be true. As you have admitted, our understanding of the world has changed as we begin to understand the physical laws (that God wrote) which govern it.

Are you saying that you need to conduct every study and every experiment first hand to believe it. I think that there is really no reasoning with a person like you. You still make no logical argument. I think it is you that have listening to the wrong people.

Yes you do clam to have all the answers. You have made that abundantly clear throughout this string. Your smugness and contempt for anyone that has a different view of the bible that you have is a sign of your immaturity. I have done my homework. Gods will cannot be fully known by humans if you had read and understood the bible you would know that. I have read the bible and studied its meaning and the context in which it was written.

Exactly how many religious scholars do you know? You make assessments of people with out and knowledge what so ever. Are you talking about TV evangelists and Clergy or well studied religious scholars?

True science and true learning come from having an open mind. You have closed it to the possibility that the conclusions that you have come to and that your interpretation of the bible may not be completely right. I guess it is easier to just accept the that the world was made in 6- 24 hour periods than to explore the possibility that that may be a metaphor to enable people the grasp the concept. I suppose you think that David was really telling Uriah to go home and wash his feet. I could go on and on with metaphors used in the bible. Do they make the underlying truths less true…no.

And I don’t know what you talking about being told not to read the bible. Who has screwed you up so badly? The Warren commission? How would you have any objective evidence for or against the Warren commission? I’m not sure why I continue to write you. You talk about people being indoctrinated you should look in a Mirror sometime Buddy.

I really just wanted to talk about cats. Why will nobody talk about cats.


AntEconomist
Posted 09 November 2006 at 05:22 pm

Maybe someone should write an article exploring how Shandooga manages to exist as an a-logical entity in a logical universe. Now that would be interesting!

I bet he uses a microwave -- aren't the principles that govern its operation inextricably entwined with the principles of carbon-dating? Don't buy into the brain-washing! Microwaves cannot heat day-old coffee!


James
Posted 09 November 2006 at 05:25 pm

AntEconomist said: "Maybe someone should write an article exploring how Shandooga manages to exist as an a-logical entity in a logical universe. Now that would be interesting!


I bet he uses a microwave — aren't the principles that govern its operation inextricably entwined with the principles of carbon-dating? Don't buy into the brain-washing! Microwaves cannot heat day-old coffee!"

I think we have already.


Xoebe
Posted 09 November 2006 at 05:38 pm

I love my kitties, though they leave entrails in the back yard, and occasionally, in the house. One of them got a rabbit a few months ago, all I found were the back legs.

You cannot reason someone out of a position they did not reason themselves into to begin with.

I do not try to reason with my cats. I offer them food, water and a warm place to sleep. I think they like me.


Floj
Posted 09 November 2006 at 06:43 pm

Shandooga, are you for real? You've gone so far with your typed out rants, that it seems like a satire of yourself. I'm just curious, cause you seriously sound like an episode of South Park. No one can even take you seriously any more. Next time try propose your point in a more insightful manner, in which you take a moment to acknowledge the opposing argument. That's basic debate.

Pie, plane and simple. mmmmhmm


BrianTung
Posted 09 November 2006 at 07:14 pm

Ignore fools; their foolishness is self-evident. Explaining a fool is about as much use as explaining a joke.


Silverhill
Posted 09 November 2006 at 07:47 pm

Hav a look at Mike Reed's nifty Flame Warriors site, where are depicted a wide variety of discussion-forum archetypes. In particular, I find the following quite appropriate for Shandooga:

Ferrous Cranus (click for image)"Ferrous Cranus is utterly impervious to reason, persuasion and new ideas, and when engaged in battle he will not yield an inch in his position regardless of its hopelessness. Though his thrusts are decisively repulsed, his arguments crushed in every detail and his defenses demolished beyond repair he will remount the same attack again and again with only the slightest variation in tactics. Sometimes out of pure frustration Philosopher will try to explain to him the failed logistics of his situation, or Therapist will attempt to penetrate the psychological origins of his obduracy, but, ever unfathomable, Ferrous Cranus cannot be moved."
--and--
Stone Deaf (click for image)"Stone Deaf is one of the few truly invincible Warriors because nothing can shatter his impenetrable armor of non-recognition. His primitive battle strategy is maddeningly effective: he simply refuses to acknowledge any arguments he doesn't like. Kung-Fu Master can hammer away with devastating blows, Cyber Sisters can screech in full throat, and Profundus Maximus can expound until he drops, but Stone Deaf remains utterly oblivious as he advances his dogged and often repetitious attacks. In the early stages of battle a wide array of Warriors will fling themselves at Stone Deaf, but inevitably they fall back exahusted or lose interest when they see that their best weapons have no effect. His only real enemy is Admin, who has the power to eject him from the discussion forum."


harrlokk
Posted 09 November 2006 at 08:23 pm

In physics class we were given data of various cats falling from different heights. Cats that were very low to the ground or very high up had the greatest survival rates. The only the the cats had in common that fell from great heights were they reached terminal velocity. We assumed that when the cats reached terminal velocity that they were more relaxed when they hit the ground since they wouldn't feel themselves accelerating.

I skipped over the debate so if someone already posted this please excuse me repeating it.
As for the debate, I leave you with this advice. Never wrestle with a pig in the mud. You both get dirty and the pig likes it.


Digital Anubis
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:00 pm

Heh, someone posted the Flame Warriors links before I could :-)

Damn Interesting article, and a mildly mentally stimulating argument.

To Shandooga - 0/10...try harder troll.


cerebulon
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:25 pm

"Chickens could never be a prime example of evolution. They're domesticated animals: for thousands of years we've shoved them into pens, eat all of them regardless of fitness in the wild, and controlled which traits we wanted to breed in or breed out. "_bstephina

I've often wondered why there are no wild chickens who do fly. We have wild ducks and turkeys who can fly, but no chickens. Why is that? They are not like ostriches or kiwis with tiny wings and it looks to me (not a chicken expert) that their wing to body ratio looks about the same as a turkey. As a parallel, why are there no wild cows? We have wild sheep, goats, oxen and pigs - but no cows. Can anyone answer this? It's been bugging me for years.


cerebulon
Posted 09 November 2006 at 09:48 pm

Is High-Rise Syndrome an instinct or a learned behavior?

I had a wolf-dog named Huskey who was a very aggressive hunter. We lived in the country and already had 2 dogs when we adopted him. Our two previous dogs would chase cats, opossums and raccoons but never kill them. It was like they had the instinct to chase the animals, but had no idea what to do with them after they caught their prey. In fact, both of them used to come back with injuries from their "hunting." After we introduced Huskey though, this all changed. He would go out at night, kill animals and bring them back to our home to eat them. The other dogs learned to do the same from him and were bringing back rabbits and such within a month of Huskey's adoption.

So does anyone know if young kittens land on their feet when dropped? Is there an age when their ability to recover is nonexistant? Has anyone ever documented the mean ages of the surviving cats or whether these cats live alone or with other felines? Were their ever any experiments done dropping cats from various heights or is High-Rise Syndrome all conjecture based on a random sampling of veterinary reports?


sifounak
Posted 09 November 2006 at 10:36 pm

Back at the grind, it seems. Here we go again Shandooga...

People *want* to be "smart" now instead of moral. Anyone wearing a lab coat is automatically deemed to be smart.

So you're basically saying that being smart and being moral are two separtate things that cannot coincide. And that believing in evolution is immoral? That wearing a lab coat is an act by which someone is trying to attain something that is immoral? So religious garb or stripper outfits are "bona-fide" moral clothing? It is only lab coats that are immoral articles of clothing? Wow. Apparently lab safety means nothing to you.

Maybe I'm missing a step here. Believing in evolution is somehow immoral because...? What moral values does it contradict? Does beliving in evolution somehow make it okay for me to go out an murder my neighbor? Or go rape a random person? You make such blatant accusations with no support. You also seem to take it as proof that you are correct because you can predict that people would oppose such irrational beliefs. Your statements have implications. Your only argument against the implications of your statements is that you never said the exact words you imply. You're being vague, and in so doing, you feel qualified that you feel justified that it is an ample defense against your own lack of support.

21 Do YOU people not know? Do YOU not hear? Has it not been told to YOU from the outset? Have YOU not applied understanding from the foundations of the earth? 22 There is One who is dwelling above the circle of the earth, the dwellers in which are as grasshoppers, the One who is stretching out the heavens just as a fine gauze, who spreads them out like a tent in which to dwell. . .(Isaiah 40:21-22)


It was not until 1920 that the brightest (and best equipped) among mankind finally observed the red-shift, proving conclusively that the universe is expanding. How did Isaiah know thousands of years ago? Furthermore, was the Earth not generally assumed to be flat all those years ago? Granted, the moon is round and, from Earth, could have still been imagined flat too, but there was no word in ancient Hebrew that could have specifically spelled out that the "roundness" in question would be in 3 dimensions.

The only thing you have proven by this statement is that you are another person that will twist any words found in your book to fit what has been proven by science. You attack science, but you also try to reconcile many incongruities found in your book. By making reaches like this to try and reconcile scientific findings, you are trying to hold true the events written in the book, and any metaphor that can be derived from any line in the book. The vague nature of the writings is not support, it actually hinders your understanding. You know better now because of science, and you're trying to find the facts of today in a past where those things were not known.

When you look at the grand scheme of things during the time in which this book was written, the entire context of the world's geography had not been discovered. You make all of these "round" citations, but they look at the context they are written. You say they had no word for a circle in 3D, but the world "ball" (which is a much more accurate representation of a sphere than a circle) is used somewhere in the bible (Isaiah 22:18). And just because they reference the Earth as a circle, does not mean it was a sphere. The world was, at this time, considered flat with finite ends. And every other process described is a flat process. Stretching out gauze is a flat process. Tent walls are flat. Nothing about those are round. The sky, to their knowledge, was flat and extended in all directions above the Earth forever. Even past the ends of the world.

You ask how Isaiah knew thousands of years ago that the "heavens" (which you are using as a metaphor for the universe) are expanding? He did not. There is actually no explanation as to what these "heavens" refer to exactly. What they are, what they are made of, etc. The creation of the Earth, and all of the things it is composed of, is described in Genesis 1. The heavens, however, are not. I can already hear vague metaphors being spawned from the vague words of your book. So I'll go ahead and make it a bit easier.

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, on the seventeenth day of the second month—on that day all the springs of the great deep burst forth, and the floodgates of the heavens were opened. 12 And rain fell on the earth forty days and forty nights. (Genesis 7:6-10)

Heavens, here, cannot possibly mean the universe or outer space. Rain does not come from outer space. Also, heavens does not mean the sky in this case, because if it were to come from the sky it would have been written as such because "sky" was defined in the first chapter of Genesis. They just didn't know how rain was formed at this time and so it came from the "heavens." Also, 600th year of Noah's life? That one has to be a metaphor too, right? What sort purpose would that serve? Comedic relief?

Shandooga, you are unqualified for scientific discussion. I do not say this because you seemingly don't believe in science, I say this because you simply do not understand it or how it works.

I do tire of this redundant failure in logic on your part. I'm going to continue my life now. I will check back in case of a response, but you are beyond any help. Even a god with limitless power and intelligence.


OriginalSim
Posted 09 November 2006 at 11:02 pm

Shandooga said: "Where do you think Beethoven got his 5th symphony? How do you know that Bach wasn't into birds–they were indisputably here (and singing) first.

Beethoven indeed got exactly 4 notes from a bird. And they are not in key. He forced them into the then-currently-in-vogue tuning temperment. And his Pastorale (the 6th Symphony) has a mimic of cuckoo, thrush and other animals and even babbling brooks. However, those are simulacrums of nature, not the other way round.


There are birds that don't sing but do make noises. like a child playing a piano is bound to hit sour notes probably more so than the good ones (unless he stays on the white keys).

How do you define a sour note? If one uses all the black and white keys on a piano, then one is using the chromatic scale and there are NO sour notes to be had. If one is composing a 12 tone composition, again there can be NO sour notes, as all the chromatic notes are "in key" and therefore cannot be "sour" unless the piano is out of tune. Just because the child may not produce music pleasing to you does not invalidate the music. And Schoenberg would LOVE it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arnold_Schoenberg


I've never heard a songbird hit a truly sour note–have you?

Yes. All birds do in fact hit "sour" notes, if you force them to use man's artificial rules as to what constitutes a sour note. Which is, of course, relative to other notes they hit. Their perfect fourths aren't. Even Beethoven's grassland sparrow is a little off. Being "sour" is subjective, with trained musicians able to hear a relative detuning of the equal-tempered scales, of 3 cents or so. This being my original point which you obviously misunderstood. You are superimposing your opinion of what a "sour" note is, on what birds do, and have done for centuries, if not millenia, before man created an arbitrary collection of notes you call a "key" or, more properly a "key feeling".


The scale would not be the point.

Then I misunderstood your meaning of "on key" and "off key". The scale is the point, because the scale IS the key... so being off key is being off scale, or at least being a deviation from the 12th root of 2 which is the relationship from one chromatic tone to the next.


My point was that random note selection will rarely result in a viable music scale.

Scale, no. Key feeling, YES. And used quite often in 20th century music.


You are twisting my words to achieve a ridiculing effect. Ridicule is not evidence, but people do tend to disassociate themselves from the subject of ridicule. That is one of the major means by which the theory of evolution continues to propagate. People *want* to be "smart" now instead of moral. Anyone wearing a lab coat is automatically deemed to be smart. People, therefore, want to associate themselves with such persons and whatever gets them to that position or keeps them there.

I am sorry if you felt ridiculed. I was trying more for a lighthearted rebuff..... And I wasn't twisting, I was attempting to clarify. I think now you more than likely used an informal sense of "key".


So birds do sing on-key, then?"

Only if you are a bird.... and of the right species. A bluejay has no chance with a whipoorwill.

Many people who like country music do not like barrelhouse blues and jazz (although the styles are, oddly enough, closely related). But the complaint generally runs to the effect that country music sounds more pleasing and that jazz has all these "sour" notes. The blues and jazz scales and modes do make use of dissonance - notes played together which create a tension. So, in the case of birds, if the species produces a 'music' which is pleasing to the vast majority of birds of that species, then we have a species specific scale in which most of the birds would not be considered 'bad' singers. Those few isolated individuals of that species who sing in a different scale or key feeling for that species, will not be successful. Their corrupted DNA likely will not survive more than a few meagre generations.


Zomzom
Posted 09 November 2006 at 11:53 pm

Shandooga: I find your view rather interesting. I'd really like to have conversation with you about it. Rather than clog up these comments with off-topic actions, could you email me please? I'm zombic [at] gmail.com

As for cats, I was present for a survived 3 story fall, the cat chipped one of its front teeth but appeared otherwise unharmed - we didn't take it to the vet, but it has lived many years since it's fall. I like the gliding idea, go cats!


Drakvil
Posted 10 November 2006 at 01:26 am

I once lost a cat of mine that fell out of a tree whilst trying to traverse a branch onto the roof of my (single story) house. And I've seen several of my current cats fail to land on their feet when falling from a distance of only about 3 feet (have you ever seen a cat fall off the side of a bed?). Before this article I wouldn't have thought many cats would have survived a fall of 2 stories or greater.

I have seen articles and TV programs that have illustrated that ants cannot be killed by falling... their terminal velocity is too low to cause them any serious damage. The show Spring of Trivia, for example, dropped an ant something like 50 feet and that didn't even phase the little bugger. I don't suppose anyone has knowledge of a study to find the average terminal velocity of falling cats?


Kuz_Sam
Posted 10 November 2006 at 03:11 am

We were only trying to talk about a bit of pussy and then we get cats like shandooga come along and spoil everything...he is the kind of man/lower life form/haemaphrodite that scratches and bites until he gets his saucer of milk... i say "just have a cry shandooga and try to regrow the bits that got removed when u were neutered... :P


Bolens
Posted 10 November 2006 at 04:35 am

What a great article! Growing up on a farm I knew about cats amazing "land on their feet" abilities early on. I did not know they had a chance of surviving such long distant falls though. Good job Mr. Bellows.

Sorry, but somehow it reminded me of "teaching poodles how to fly" in the movie UHF. hehe.


Tink
Posted 10 November 2006 at 06:27 am

Shandooga, Your opinions are note worthy in that it proves that no one in this world is useless, one can always serve as a bad example. :)

Regardless of your fanatic zeal to prove your point, it realy is unnescesary to continualy spam Alans site with your obviously un welcome rhetoric. Why do you not open your own blog and spout off all your theories for debate there? I do think you have the modicum of intellegence to know that A. No one would be interested enough to go there, and B. The only way you can get an audiance for your theoretical masturbation is to whore off this site. Please go away. Or stick to the authors topic and quit trying to monopolise and steal all the bandwith that we who have made donations to this site have paid for.

Now with that I offer you a bit of education, straight from the Bible. We are made in Gods Image. Image being the key word here. An image is a reflection of or identical copy of the original. We are the Creator(s). Jesus said that we could do more than He, perform greater miracles and move mountains. We only needed faith. He meant faith in ourselves. And faith that God made us all perfect in His image,(Like He said He did) and thus it would be impossible for God to create anything that was imperfect, (Or to lie to us).

How ever because we have for gotten who we are (The Perfect Children of a Perfect God) then we refuse to have the faith that we can and have created our own universe, using evolution to do so because we don't realise that our thoughts, words and experiances are the processes of creation. Just like God.

This is why the universe is expanding, and as our curiosity grows and theories EVOLVE so does the universe grow according to our thoughts and words. Jesus' as well as all the true messengers of God has asked us to believe in only One Thing, Love. For as long as mankind has been here, God has plead with us to believe in love. To love ourselves enough to see and believe in the truth of who we are, and to use that knowledge to nuture and create our world as we think it should be.

With this growing Knowledge we have evolved to a higher level of thinking, (and thus creating) than that of our ancestors.

Someday everyone will realise this and the world will EVOLVE to the utopia that we have dreamt of for millinia. Can you grasp the concept?

Peace.

P.S. I thought the story about the cat was very cool, but once again my attention and pleasure has been hijacked. Sorry Alan, and fellow commentors, I promise not to aknowledge this person again. Oh and BTW I'm agnostic.


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 08:57 am

James said: "I really just wanted to talk about cats. Why will nobody talk about cats."

Meow. Happy?


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 09:04 am

Tink said: "Shandooga, ...Regardless of your fanatic zeal to prove your point, it realy is unnescesary to continualy spam Alans site with your obviously un welcome rhetoric. Why do you not open your own blog and spout off all your theories for debate there? I do think you have the modicum of intellegence to know that A. No one would be interested enough to go there, and B. The only way you can get an audiance for your theoretical masturbation is to whore off this site. Please go away.

The machine has you well-trained. Why do you feel the need to paint me a "fanatic"? I detected 10 times as much "zeal" in favor of evolution--but you couldn't see that, could you? If I am an un-welcome, off-topic, problem-child, why are so many people responding to me? Review the posts of others and see that some have actively invited me to respond to them. If YOU don't like my posts, feel free to take another blue pill and go back to sleep--I don't see what's forcing you to read them.


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 09:12 am

MikeyMouse said: "This Shandooga guy/girl/monkey is the perfect example of a troll. The only way to deal with this is not to reply to any of his/her, etc. (gonna assume its a he) posts.

SHANDOOGA IS A GREAT WARRIOR KING! :-)

His arguments are the worst i've seen in a long time (born with callouses on our hands??? WTF)

That's right. Why are we not born with callouses on our hands? Don't callouses develop as a result of subjecting one's hands to hard labor? If this response to hard labor is an "adaptation" (which mankind has, apparently, always been doing) then why is it not a default?

I'm guessing he's 12

I'm 37 and well-informed.

the Matrix references should have told you all how old / mature he is."

If you watched the Matrix and thought it was fiction then you are a battery powering the machine that is killing you.


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 09:17 am

Kuz_Sam said: "We were only trying to talk about a bit of pussy and then we get cats like shandooga come along and spoil everything…he is the kind of man/lower life form/haemaphrodite that scratches and bites until he gets his saucer of milk… i say "just have a cry shandooga and try to regrow the bits that got removed when u were neutered… :P"

You are a battery.


CanInternet
Posted 10 November 2006 at 09:23 am

*yawn*


bobba
Posted 10 November 2006 at 10:45 am

I think you're trolling, but it's so wrong, I just can't help myself...

There are 12 tones in music (repeated several times to form a piano keyboard or guitar fretboard) and a *trained* musician can usually play no more than 8 (66%) of them (in a diminished scale) at any given time before it, subjectively, sounds bad.

What a load of rubbish. There are 12 notes in a western scale, but plenty of other scales use more. The *trained* western musician uses 8 notes because there ARE only 8 notes in a scale. You would have a hard time playing an 8 note scale with more than 8 notes! Musicians using alternative scales with more notes can play beautifully for hours, check out John Coltrane.

I HAVE NEVER HEARD ANY BIRD SING OFF-KEY, not even once, EVER! Have you? Birds go on and on and on and it ALWAYS SOUNDS GOOD — or at least interesting — but never a sour note!

Apart from crows, seagulls, hawks, ducks, swans, geese, or, actually, all non songbirds, no, you have a point. Technically, songbirds don't stick to a key as such but use intervals, good songbirds transpose while they're singing. If you played a blackbird's song on a piano as a solo over a chord, it would sound bloody awful.

Are bird songs the result of random note selection? and are no longer changing, would imply that "random, natural selection" has CEASED to operate as a force in the lives of birds. Something evolution cannot do BECAUSE IT DOES NOT EXIST! DAMN! Why is it so hard to accept something that is so obvious?!

No, birds songs are changing all the time. The bird learns its song from its parents but will adapt and change the song if it needs to. Birds also have regional accents, the same species will sound different in one part of the country to another. If a bird is relocated into a different accent area, it will change its song to fit in with the local birds, thus increasing its chance of defending its territory and mating. If evolution did not exist, all birds would sound the same everywhere.
Also, no-one has ever said that natural selection is random, quite the opposite. Natural selection in songbirds is to do with a bird dominating a large area with an intimidating song and by fighting. The bird with the largest area (and thus the largest munber of breeding females) will pass on its genes to a larger number of offspring. The offspring will have their father's genes, have a loud voice, learn his song and have a better chance of having lots of offspring of their own. The unsuccessful birds genes will not be passed down and thus die out. His song will be forgotten.

In accord with the THEORY of Evolution, bird songs (along with *every* other aspect of *every* other living thing) should ALWAYS be in flux. This would necessarily require that an appreciable portion of birdsong note selection end up perhaps working for a given species of bird but sounding "off-key" to humans.

Living things *are* always in flux. Because of a long timescale for evolutionary preocess, it may not seem that way. However, a new species of frog has evolved in northern Australia in the relatively recent past. Google may find it. Birds can sound pretty nasty at times. While camping in New Zealand we listened to a Kia in a tree during the day and commented on how good it sounded. At nighttime however, it changed its song to something resembling a New York fire-engine's airhorn. Not good. That bird nearly didn't get the chance to pass its genes on to anyone.

Do birds *need* their songs to sound good to members of a species with which they cannot mate? Why? Is on-key note selection a fixed default? How? How could *any* bird possibly arrange it, much less *all* of them? Granted, the parrot and a very few other birds can mimic sounds, but such birds are comparatively few and even so, the ability to make any kind of sound has got to have little (if any) value as a survival skill to an animal whose primary survival mechanism would have to be winged flight.

Birds don't need thier song to sound good to other species (crows, geese, etc) I'm not sure about your point here. Flowers don't need to look pretty to us either. When a bird is singing, it is a capella, therefore any note that it sings will be 'on key'. There is no reference note for it to be in tune with. The point of the birds song isn't to frighten away predators, as you said, they can fly. The point is to be the loudest, demonsrate vocal dexterity and attract females. As birds hear in a certain range, the frequencies they produce will be best tuned to sound loud in that range (Humans hear loudest at 3 kHz - the frequency babies cry at). Because humans subjectively think they sound good says more about our brains than the bird's song. Here's test for you. Whistle a note out loud. Sounded good didn't it? Try whistling a few different notes in succession. Still sounds good eh? Try to make it sound bad. Difficult isn't it? My wife is tone deaf - totally. I have recently taught her how to whistle. She now walks round the house whistling, it sounds pretty good. She doesn't try to whistle tunes because she can't hear tunes, just random notes. Our brains like patterns and melodies. Birdsong has both. A blackbird's song usues many intervals which aren't available on a piano, they fall in between notes, (what you have been calling 'off key') but it still sounds nice. The bird is not trying to impress us, if you try and get nice and close for a good listen, I think it would stop singing and fly away, it is communicating with others of its species.
If birdsong had anything to do with other species, they would keep it quiet and not give away their position.


mreiland
Posted 10 November 2006 at 10:46 am

Consider this: There can be only one correct answer to any given question, for example: the question what is 1+1 will likely only yield one answer, 2

umm,no, it all depends on what mathematical system that you're working in. The fact that you're only familiar with one such system shows your ignorance, not the validity of your argument.

This applies to every question you can ask; that's human nature. Could you agree to this in principle?

Again, this shows your ignorance. Take a look at multi-valued logic, more specifically, a recent area of interest known as 'fuzzy logic'.

Matters of faith and the origin of life are not immune to this logic. There are some who espouse the belief that 'different religions are just different roads all leading to the same place.' While "agreeing to disagree" may keep the peace by settling arguments, it will never suffice as a bona-fide method of calculating any sort of math. If we are unable (or unwilling) to do the hard math then we're going to have the suffer the consequences of not having the right answers.

It took a long time before Complex Functions(ie, "imaginary numbers") became an accepted part of Mathematics. Several generations, I do believe. Your belief that there is no debate w/i the scientific community is ignorant at best.

In the matter of evolution vs. creation consider the fruits of the theory and principles of evolution: war, racism, Nazism, fascism, unbridled greed, rape, hatred, strife, etc

how does that argument go? people don't kill people, bullets kill people.

Science has also allowed normally infertile woman to have children, countries that are starving to have food due to advances in agriculture, the ability to communicate easier so as to hopefully not have to go to war, etc.

These are problems with people, not science.

I have read the entire bible at least 3 times (going on 4 or maybe I lost count) and what I have learned is that the vast majority of people who say they're Christians haven't the slightest idea what that would require of them.

What would happen if every time someone expressed a differing opinion I told them they weren't scientists? This is why science moves forward and religion tags along.

Well spoken, but let's not forget: the answer to 1+1 may be unknown to some but that fact would not prove that it is unknowable to all. That, my friend, is what my definition of is is. :-)

The answer to 1+1 depends on the definitions, and the system, that you put together for yourself. There is no universal truth that makes 1+1=2, only a mathematical system built up from unknowns. The system most often taught, because it seems to coincide with the physical world, results in 1+1=2, but it is not the only system, and arguing as if it were so makes you stupid.

Science has their system, and religions have theirs.

With all of the creatures that posses various means defense (and offense) why are we (the most "advanced" survivors) born soft, unarmed, unskilled and utterly helpless? Sure we're crafty, (if we *choose* to be) but we're relatively slow

That's the whole point. Being crafty increased our survivability.

How many times has "official" science scoffed at something only to later learn that it is real? None? Never happened?

What, pray tell, is official science? Please, point me towards the organization that puts together the body of works that are considered to be official science.

Cephied:
Quit with the craptastic existentialism.


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 10:47 am

Zomzom said: "Shandooga: I find your view rather interesting. I'd really like to have conversation with you about it. Rather than clog up these comments with off-topic actions, could you email me please? I'm zombic [at] gmail.com


As for cats, I was present for a survived 3 story fall, the cat chipped one of its front teeth but appeared otherwise unharmed - we didn't take it to the vet, but it has lived many years since it's fall. I like the gliding idea, go cats!"

Ok, zombic...I'll bite. You'll get a message from my hotmail account.


SkiCaradhras
Posted 10 November 2006 at 11:25 am

You guys almost made me forget what this damn article was about in the first place! Religion and science can coexist; they were not meant to work against each other. Evolution does NOT disprove god or his existence, and the Bible does not disprove evolution (see Scopes monkey trial). Science is the How and religion is the Why, and neither have to be full of lies for the other to be true. But this article is about science.

Is there any way humans could use similar methods to cats to break their fall?


frenchsnake
Posted 10 November 2006 at 11:35 am

DI article. I've never seen still photos of cats falling on their feet like the one above, but I've been curious about it, especially since watching the Eyewitness episode on cats when I was in middle school... heh. Great series.

As for Shandooga, I haven't posted a lot after DI articles, so I at first entertained the hope that he just had a very twisted sense of humor. But after the debating really began, it became quite obvious that he honestly believes this nonsense he's spouting. So I have nothing to say to that moron, except for this: Being open-minded means that you NEVER stop reconsidering and revising your opinions.


frenchsnake
Posted 10 November 2006 at 11:42 am

Come to think of it, I remember having a friend in high school who was very much into his religion and a science major. I asked him how he could be such a devout Christian and a scientist at the same time, and he said that in his religious community the Bible was taken more as metaphor than as fact. To them, the Bible contains a series of stories designed to teach people the proper way to live, not to make them believe that we're all descended from the same two people or that there really were feats of magic and miracles way back when. That explanation is what's made religion tolerable for me since then... *sigh*

Arg! I can't believe I actually sank into that religious talk anyway instead of thinking about the article! I'm so ashamed.


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 11:57 am

mreiland said: "...it all depends on what mathematical system that you're working in. The fact that you're only familiar with one such system shows your ignorance, not the validity of your argument.

You well know what mathematical system I'm working in. You are attempting to obfuscate clear logic in a rather lame attempt to make an escape through a brick wall. I'll remind you, that usually went badly for the coyote. :-)

Again, this shows your ignorance. Take a look at multi-valued logic, more specifically, a recent area of interest known as 'fuzzy logic'.

What, pray tell, is official science? Please, point me towards the organization that puts together the body of works that are considered to be official science.

GAAP. Does that acronym mean anything to you? How 'bout if I expand it: Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Clear now? Just try sending your tax return in with your refund calculated based on "fuzzy logic." A long stretch in a federal pen should clear that up for you.

"Official science" is that certain body of information that qualifies any educational institution to be considered "acredited".

Your belief that there is no debate w/i the scientific community is ignorant at best.

There's that word again. Are you attempting to establish "truthiness" through repetition? Clearly, I'm literate but you keep using that word. Does your need to label me "ignorant" make you "smart" by comparison? This is a lame, manipulative, literary device but your president with his mind-control device (the media) gets away with it routinely. I guess so you have ample cause to expect that you will get away with it too, but not this time: Shandooga don't play 'dat. :-)

Science has also allowed normally infertile woman to have children, countries that are starving to have food due to advances in agriculture, the ability to communicate easier so as to hopefully not have to go to war, etc.

True, but science has also polluted the water, air and land. Science developed weapons of mass destruction and evaporated two Japanese cities with them (not to mention Chernobyl and Three-Mile Island). Science mislead millions of people into believing that EVERYTHING came from NOTHING. What greater contradiction could there be? Science got some things right but it is not the paragon of virtue some would have you believe.

These are problems with people, not science.

The body of knowledge (and assertion) we commonly refer to as "Science" is entirely the progeny of human thought. It must necessarily, therefore, reflect the entire range of the human experience--good AND bad, right AND wrong.

What would happen if every time someone expressed a differing opinion I told them they weren't scientists?

You would then qualify to testify against intelligent design as an "expert witness" in court.

The answer to 1+1 depends on the definitions, and the system, that you put together for yourself.

So what's 1+1? Ducking the question is not an answer. So many have accused me of not having answers but I can't get a straight answer to 1+1 out of any of you.

That's the whole point. Being crafty increased our survivability.

If survivability is the chief goal of the continued existence of the human species then what's up with abortion? What other species practices that? How about cigarette smoking? I've heard that referred to as "slow-motion suicide". Why do humans do that? What's the deal with murder? Why do people (increasingly) kill their own family members? That would *have* to be a blow to the species. N'est pas?

The problem is *choice.*


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 01:01 pm

frenchsnake said: Being open-minded means that you NEVER stop reconsidering and revising your opinions."

I quoted four passages from the Bible and supported it with reasoning. No one, including yourself, refuted any of it directly. That could be taken as a tacit admission of defeat.

Openmindedness for openmindedness' sake is not a virtue. If you know nothing you'd better open up and let in *some* knowledge. In your post you stated :

" he honestly believes this nonsense he's spouting"

You appear, therefore, to be closeminded to my opinion; does that make you a moron too?

in his religious community the Bible was taken more as metaphor than as fact. To them, the Bible contains a series of stories designed to teach people the proper way to live,

There are a very few parables in the Bible (by percent) and they are by far outnumbered by other types of texts including some that were taken from the official records of the day. The position of your friend's religious community reflects a weak knowledge of scripture and an even weaker dedication to the pursuit of the same. Religious error is not, in itself, evidence against the existence of religious truth.

not to make them believe that we're all descended from the same two people

Mitochondrial DNA has proven, definitively, that we are all descendants of one woman. I presume that woman didn't clone herself and had at least one mate for a grand total of 2 people. Basic math; not that hard really.

Arg! I can't believe I actually sank into that religious talk anyway instead of thinking about the article! I'm so ashamed.

Am I preventing you from talking about cats?


Shandooga
Posted 10 November 2006 at 01:18 pm

SkiCaradhras said:Religion and science can coexist; they were not meant to work against each other.

You were so reasonable and conciliatory in your post that I almost *want* to agree with you. unfortunately, the theory of evolution falls short in the fossil record and numerous other areas of science and therefore does not suffice to fill the role of "HOW." That's why the argument will always persist.

You are correct that the theory of evolution (even if it were technically feasible) cannot disprove the existence of God, but the vice-versa is not necessarily so. God makes evolution unnecessary. The theory of evolution was initially postulated as an explanation of why "White people" (DNA supports no such notion) were superior and should rule the whole world.

This erroneous (yet desirable) view was exactly the rationale that *certain* people wanted (see "the Mismeasure of Man by the late Stephen Jay Gould, famous evolutionary biologist) to hear in order to justify Manifest Destiny, and the genocide of Native Americans and the pursuant enslavement of Africans. *Some* people have been using this rationale to purse that goal ever since. It never stopped; that is what the New World Order is (and always has been) about and it is nearning completion...

This is what I mean about being informed: seeing the pieces, not denying their existence and connecting them into a working "whole". Feel free to disagree--or just ignore me--your choice. ;-)


James
Posted 10 November 2006 at 02:09 pm

Shandooga said: "


You are correct that the theory of evolution (even if it were technically feasible) cannot disprove the existence of God, but the vice-versa is not necessarily so. God makes evolution unnecessary. The theory of evolution was initially postulated as an explanation of why "White people" (DNA supports no such notion) were superior and should rule the whole world.

This erroneous (yet desirable) view was exactly the rationale that *certain* people wanted (see "the Mismeasure of Man by the late Stephen Jay Gould, famous evolutionary biologist) to hear in order to justify Manifest Destiny, and the genocide of Native Americans and the pursuant enslavement of Africans. *Some* people have been using this rationale to purse that goal ever since. It never stopped; that is what the New World Order is (and always has been) about and it is nearning completion…

This is what I mean about being informed: seeing the pieces, not denying their existence and connecting them into a working "whole". Feel free to disagree–or just ignore me–your choice. ;-)"

You know everybody. This guy is so far out there he sees conspiracy and big bother hiding under every rock. I bet you believe that the government puts GPS tracking devices in all the money and Linden really killed JFK and whatever other crack pot theories are out there. I thought that he could reasoned with but his only refute to the sciences behind the theories is “that what they want you to think or that’s what their forced to present to the world” Really He is trying the say that Chares Darwin came up the evolution because he was a racist. This guy I am sorry to say nothing but a crack pot. And not only that, he is intent on spreading false biblical doctrine. He claims to know so much but tries to force prophetic statements where they are not. He has obviously been messed up pretty bad with the Catholic Church somewhere along the line. I am going to resist the temptation to pick your so called logic apart because nothing anything could say would make you understand anything you don’t want to believe or accept. You will simply say that anyone in a white lab coat is part of some scientific conspiracy to kill god or something and discount their work in a way that is so improvable there is no argument against him. I hear is now “A good conspiracy is one you can’t prove” Or “well you can’t prove evolution….” So I am done with guy and I suggest everyone else be done with him. I only hope he doesn’t screw up too many people around him.


frenchsnake
Posted 10 November 2006 at 02:10 pm

Hahaha! Interesting stuff, Shandooga.

Shandooga said: "Science mislead millions of people into believing that EVERYTHING came from NOTHING. What greater contradiction could there be?"

I wonder if you could clarify something for me. If there is a god, doesn't the theory of creation say that God created everything from nothing? I thought that was what religious "creation" was all about, as opposed to evolution, which I see as something of a pyramid shape (as in there have been many creatures that failed, and the relatively few we have now are those that were successful).

And yes, you are distracting from the cats. Cat-girls hiss at you. HISS!


interesting
Posted 10 November 2006 at 03:15 pm

Charles Darwin, in his famous work The Origin of Species, remarked on the inconsistency with respect to theory of evolution of at least one biological construct: the eye. Reflecting on this dilemma, Darwin stated that the premise of the eye being the result of natural selection, “seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”

Now, I do not wish to claim that Charles Darwin, whom I respect, was wrong, or that his work carries no merit. On the contrary, I'm convinced that micro-evolution may indeed have its place, and as a general abstract concept is encountered daily, if only in software development. Mechanisms such as inheritance and polymorphisms, are not only evident in biological instantiations of the abstract concept that is evolution, but are readily encountered in non-biological engineering methods as well. (buildings evolve, software evolves, technology evolves)

From this I conclude, that evolution as a theory is incomplete, for it does not account for the initial creation, as well as encountering unresolved postulates, of which at least one is the aforementioned inconsistency.

Therefore, in my opinion this debate is an open field, which subsequently allows any of us to partake in its development and either conclusively uphold its principles or develop new theory.

Finally, one need not be a religious person to question evolution; adhering to the one and perhaps the most important goal of science, is to innovate and never cease questioning the acquired knowledge.

P.S.

The concept of creation is not the exclusive domain of religion. Science does not have the answers to some of the most profound questions, such as the spontaneous existence of life, or the primordial environment in which the universe has flourished. And if the concept of absolute nothingness does not boggle one's mind, perhaps more thought should be expended. For absolute nothingness cannot exist, as at this very moment there is at least someone pondering its existence.

To illustrate the point further, one need only imagine concept of physical entity that is one-dimensional, meaning that its extents in the other familiar two dimensions do not exist. It is easy to instantiate this concept in computer software, just as instantiating four dimensions is easy in mathematics. Now, I'm religious and to me the concept of only three physical dimensions is one of the most fascinating aspects of the Universe, and how this concept is coincident with the Holy Trinity, which is described in the Bible in the day and age when presumably our current understanding of the Universe was absent.

(Sheet of material, regardless of its minuscule thickness, is still a three-dimensional object)


Kathleen
Posted 10 November 2006 at 03:51 pm

LL owes Dave Barry credit for the cats and buttered toast thing. You didn't write that yourself.


Silverhill
Posted 10 November 2006 at 05:01 pm

interesting said: "Charles Darwin, in his famous work The Origin of Species, remarked on the inconsistency with respect to theory of evolution of at least one biological construct: the eye. Reflecting on this dilemma, Darwin stated that the premise of the eye being the result of natural selection, “seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.”"

Recall, however, that Darwin was not giving up on the notion of the eye's development. He went on from there to explain how an eye could have evolved.


rp2
Posted 10 November 2006 at 05:56 pm

gg


Kuz_Sam
Posted 10 November 2006 at 06:42 pm

Shandooga said: "You are a battery."

Yes...i am a battery...but only to power the cattle-prod that will be used to obliterate ur hopes of becoming a parent...btw...have u run out of tissues yet?


Kuz_Sam
Posted 10 November 2006 at 06:45 pm

i believe in god but is it possible he was the one who created the big bang? These opposing theories will probably never be proven. I am a creationist; I refuse to believe that I could have evolved from humans. Why dont we all just try to get along?


trillian
Posted 10 November 2006 at 06:52 pm

Just yesterday, I was reading an article about surviving long falls. It discussed the importance of relaxing, and of letting your lower body absorb most of the impact - pretty much what cats do, except they don't need wikihow to teach them how.

Ah, here it is.

I've been getting some serious Baader-Meinhof Syndrome quite frequently ever since I read that DI article. This site rocks.

I'm seriously tempted to jump into the evolution discussion, but my pro-Darwin compatriots have done a great job of discussing the science, and I know that some people just do not want their minds changed. I don't really see why it was necessary to bring it up in response to this article in the first place. How cats land (esp. the step-by-step illustration, thank you for that) and their remarkable survival skills wouldn't be any cooler just 'cause God did it.


mudpuppy555
Posted 10 November 2006 at 07:01 pm

What does this have to do with angry, laser-guided seabass?

People are born knowing two things for sure. One is that there is a God and two is that you will face him someday and give account of yourself. I don't care if you believe it or not, it's your soul at stake. People lose this knowledge over time if they let it slip away. Also, just because you don't know the truth doesn't mean that others don't. While all the bible is for us, the letters of Paul are to us and about us today.
Good luck with that, then.
My cat says "hi".


cerebulon
Posted 10 November 2006 at 09:58 pm

mudpuppy555 said:
People are born knowing two things for sure. One is that there is a God and two is that you will face him someday and give account of yourself. I don't care if you believe it or not, it's your soul at stake. People lose this knowledge over time if they let it slip away. Also, just because you don't know the truth doesn't mean that others don't. While all the bible is for us, the letters of Paul are to us and about us today.

Mudpuppy, you are wrong. No one is born with any knowledge of God or having to give an account of anything. Knowledge of God is achieved solely through education. If everyone WAS born with some innate knowledge of God, we wouldn't need the Bible, the Quoran, the Talmud or any of the other religious books; we would simply know his law, his plan and everyone would get along and be in agreement.

The obvious fact that no one can agree or get along - even within Christianity itself - shows how clueless we are when it comes to our Creator.

Mudpuppy, I feed I need to respond to you. You and Shandooga. Whether you realize or not, you are doing great harm to Christianity by posting such poorly-conceived ideas in a public forum. Can you not understand that arguments based in faith or belief are always destined to lose in any argument? Do you not realize that you are making Christians look like ignorant fools?

If you want to attack evolutionary theory, then attack it based on its' own merits and faults; and make damn sure you know what you are talking about. Do not bring God or faith into the argument, because when/if you are proven wrong, you make God and your faith in Him appear wrong. This is the very essence of taking His name in vain.

Scientists draw their conclusions from evidence. Creationists draw their conclusions from the Bible and then try to find evidence to support it. If you want to shoot holes in evolution, then please do so; but use the same pool of information the scientists use to support it. Pointing out gaps in the fossil record is not enough.

How about pointing out that most of the knowledge we have of prehistoric life is entirely conjecture? How about showing examples where new species or missing links have been established on as little as a single tooth or a digit? (http://www.paleocene-mammals.de/insectivores.htm) How many times have these fossils been assembled incorrectly from multiple different animals? (The Dinosaur Heresies. Robert T. Bakker, Willaim Morrow and Company, Inc. 1986.) Or how often is science affected by social influences rather than a rational thinking? (http://www.ajph.org/cgi/content/abstract/96/2/222?ck=nck)

Stop bringing crucifixes and holy water to a gun fight.


fropfreak
Posted 10 November 2006 at 10:09 pm

I agree that a critter which spends time in the tree tops would be better off knowing how to flip mid-fall, however; I would think all earth bound animals would posess this ability thanks to gravity, we should naturally want to have those parts which aline vertically stay vertical. A life of Being tugged toward earths core has ingrained up from down in our brains, and in a panic situation, falling from a building, your reflexes would align you to your most comfortable position? And landing feet first gives a better chance of living than head first.

Just thinking out loud about why so many animals oriantate themselves on freefall.
maybe someone will make it past all the gets old fast anti-evolution arguments....


Random5
Posted 11 November 2006 at 01:47 am

Evolution:
1) Evolution in theory works. Here is a simple logical example which should be fairly simple to understand. You have a number of basically similar, but have slightly different traits. Place them all in a hazordous environment, it could be a place with no food, with predators, an electric fence, whatever. Some of these random traits will lend an advantage to the creature with them. The ones with better night vision are more likely to see a predator, run away and increase their chance to survive. Those with stronger legs are more likely to run fast enough to escape, increasing their chance to survive. And on the other hand you have those with weaker legs, short sightedness and so on. Obviously they have a reduced chance of survival.

The traits which made them different are recorded in their DNA. The ones with the bad traits (bind, slow) die, and the DNA with those bad traits in them never reaches the next generation because they don't get to make any babies, they're dead. The ones with the good traits on the other hand get to make babies with the good trait DNA so the good trait DNA goes out into the world in the next generation. So does most of the average DNA, and perhaps a small amount of the bad DNA. If you assume mutation stops then for some reason, in a competitive environment each generation there will be less with bad DNA, and more with Good DNA because more of the bad ones die than survive, and hardly any of the good ones die.

The basics are there, it works.

2) DNA in the real world works
This, i'm not going to prove myself, it's rather complicated. But science has explanations for how pretty much every stage of evolution probably came about, including the development of complex structures which would not seem useful from a single mutation and not provide increased chance of survival, how it got started, how most animals came about etc. Use the google, it has many answers for those who know how to look

God

1) (most) Religion gods just don't make sense. This is fairly obvious, as most of the old religions can be examined and found to be based on incorrect information, to contradict themselves and so on. This isn't the place to list it, but I'm sure most people here are intelligent enough to have noticed it for themselves, those who aren't are probably off in their own little world where nothing I write here has a hope of reaching them anyway. Again if you disbelieve, google.

2) Religious gods were created by man. Because they provided something man wanted, reassurance that they were not alone in a large hostile world. That misfortune stuck for a reason and goood would follow. God is a way for man to try and control things he cannot in his current state due to lack of knowledge. Like whether man's family died from sickness, or his crows were destroyed by hail and a myriad of other things. Go to church and pray every weekend, and god will reward by looking out for you. Be a good little child all year and a jolly fat man will come down the chimney and reward you with things you want.

At a certain stage of childhood we stop believing in Father Christmas (Yes, that's the same as Santa for you Americans), because we reach a level of awareness of the world and reasoning that we decide it's not true. Some of us also reach a stage where we similarly discard what we have been told of Gods in a similar fashion. You may say children have a reason to believe falsely in F.C. because their parents sneak presents from him into stockings, which is a different situation to God, but it is not really. While noone gives you anything concrete for believing in god people will see chance events as divine intervention in their favour, and similarly with the lack of bad events. Those that do occur were milder than they would have been had they not believed in god and so on... people who want to convince themselves of something are usually fairly good at it.

3) No kind of god exists. While by now we know the religions' gods do not exist, what about some other unknown divine entity which shaped the earth and planted life on it (most likely through planned evolution). Well actually the first line of this point is misleading. An unknown entity could have set things up to turn out as they did on earth easily and in a scientifically examinable way. It is not unreasonable to allow the possibility that evolution was seeded by an alien race for one or more of a multitude of reasons (once you take into account extremely different cultures and values). Would that make them a god though? No. Because of what we associate the word God with - supernatural prowess in the creation. An alien life-architect is not a god, just another being, who probably came about through evolution itself and wants to study the process from afar.

But why couldn't we and the universe have been created by a being uf utterly unknown nature and power? Because of the simple question: What would have created god? Would god have always existed? Why not say the universe always existed, or at least the reality to hold it and spew forth matter as we know it during the big bang. An extrodinarily complicated god with immense intelligence and purpose, makes far less sense than a large collection of Existence which arrahges itself in fertile patterns according to the balance of rules which govern our universe.

Now i have been going along a while, and may have strayed off track towards the end :) Fairly tired now but I reserve the right to come back and review/add to the last bit of what i've written later. Just in case :)


Cepheid the Spectre
Posted 11 November 2006 at 01:54 am

Really slow response

1+1=10
1+1=0x2 (x does not represent multiplication)

These answers are what you would call "correct".


Bolens
Posted 11 November 2006 at 06:33 am

My faith in a Creator is buttressed when "faith lacking reason" and "reason lacking faith" make over 100 posts in a comment stream on the topic of flying felines. hehe.

Cats aside, noone should feel upset thet they struggle with this. Eternal destiny is a hot button because it needs to be. There is a rabid desire in all of us be right on this, and that is good, for the stakes are high. Eternity is a long time.


sulkykid
Posted 11 November 2006 at 07:55 am

Cepheid the Spectre said: "Really slow response


1+1=10
1+1=0×2 (x does not represent multiplication)

These answers are what you would call "correct"."

Cepheid, Shandooga has correctly refuted this obfuscation already.


sulkykid
Posted 11 November 2006 at 08:06 am

interesting said: "Charles Darwin, in his famous work The Origin of Species, remarked on the inconsistency with respect to theory of evolution of at least one biological construct: the eye. Reflecting on this dilemma, Darwin stated that the premise of the eye being the result of natural selection, “seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree.” ... "

Silverhill said: "Recall, however, that Darwin was not giving up on the notion of the eye's development. He went on from there to explain how an eye could have evolved."

Yes, I really hate when people use quotes out of context in arguments. It shows, at best, their ignorance, and at worst, ... As Silverhill says, Darwin went on immediately afterward in his text to present hypotheses on the eye's development. (What the heck is the plural for hypothesis?) His very next word was "Yet".


sulkykid
Posted 11 November 2006 at 08:12 am

Random5 said: "Evolution: ... God ... blah, blah, blah ... "

Random5, I think you are over-tired. Your arguments on the non-existence of God are very poor. Not to mention knocking Santy Claus!


OriginalSim
Posted 11 November 2006 at 09:03 am

leooel said: "Come on Shandooga, chickening out? You've taken on everyone except OriginalSim, who challenged the whole basis of your argument, the irrefutable evidence that birds sing so sweetly. Pfffft."

Thank you for noticing! However, I hope that it is an indication that I have stimulated thought and have managed to help someone somewhere refine their theories and ultimately perhaps shed some light on some heretofore unrealized truth. I was not out to "get" Shandooga or to belittle his/her perceptions. I don't believe Shandooga to be a 'troll' either.

I commend those who take a stand and argue based on their beliefs and what facts they know. Which is what Shandooga is doing, so, yes, though I disagree in one respect, I commend Shandooga for speaking out!

I do that, too. So if Shandooga is a troll, so am I. Although in my defence, I think trolls simply say (in generic template): "Here is the way it is. You are wrong. Go blow". What many people have done here is shared their ideas and used the more useful and stimulating (to some): "Here is what I believe AND WHY. If you disagree I will continue explaining the why".

Unfortunately, quite often, the why is an opinion, rather than proven fact. That is generally the point of senseless argument, when it degrades into "my opinion is better than yours". Note that I challenged Shandooga's opinion on musicality, based on what little musical facts I know. There are many points I did not argue, as I have a similar opinion.

Overall Dang Intrestin' comments, IMHO. Everyone has an opinion, most relay them well. Some confuse the concept of "opinion" with "fact", which is a highly human trait. I suspect, as usual that the actual truth lies in the center of a highly complex mathematical expression which takes into account all possible outcomes of said truth and manifests itself in a way that is difficult to resolve with human perception.

But that's just my opinion.


interesting
Posted 11 November 2006 at 10:56 am

sulkykid said:

“Yes, I really hate when people use quotes out of context in arguments. It shows, at best, their ignorance, and at worst, …”

Your insinuation is clear, yet I hope you understand that context can be arbitrarily large. My only intent was to demonstrate that even Charles Darwin had some doubt, which indeed served as a stimulus to continue his research.
Posting the entire works, would devalue the point of conciseness, thereby rendering it ambiguous.

Random5 said:

“At a certain stage of childhood we stop believing in Father Christmas (Yes, that's the same as Santa for you Americans), because we reach a level of awareness of the world and reasoning that we decide it's not true.”

Skillful and unique comparison, although I must admit appears to be only tangential to this discussion. Recognition that children's tales serve to scare children to bed, provide incentive to behave or otherwise simply for the value of entertainment is not the same, in my opinion, as pondering the very nature of creation. Yet even so-called children's tales may still be based in fact, “Hannibal ad portas!” comes to mind.

“It is not unreasonable to allow the possibility that evolution was seeded by an alien race for one or more of a multitude of reasons (once you take into account extremely different cultures and values).”

Theory of bio-robots, as it were, is recursive without a clear base case. I'm not fluent enough in the matter to provide thorough argumentation to its claims, but I take a different stand, perhaps one which puts me “in a little world”.

Nevertheless, I must admit, the concept of aliens created by aliens, created by aliens is an intriguing possibility indeed, yet unsatisfactory, perhaps not unlike faith in God is for you.

It appears that an individual cannot be convinced of faith, or God, as this is contradictory; faith resembles hope.

“But why couldn't we and the universe have been created by a being uf utterly unknown nature and power? Because of the simple question: What would have created god? ... ”

Truthfully, I wish I could answer your question. Even so, continuing the search in your own mind, and in spirit of public discovery in an open forum, however futile it may appear, serves its purpose.


sulkykid
Posted 11 November 2006 at 12:26 pm

interesting: the point is that Darwin was in no way expressing doubt. Read the text.


cerebulon
Posted 11 November 2006 at 01:03 pm

Question for evolutionary thinkers: why aren't there more types of life? Since I may, or may not fully understand evolution, I am going to include a description of my understanding to better frame my question.

As I understand it, billions of years ago certain complex chemicals under conditions we do not have at present formed simple, self-replicating life. From those origins all current life originated. Both plants and animals appear in their current forms as a direct result of selective breeding for survival over billions of years. At present we know of five "kingdoms" of life: Plants, Animals, Fungi, Protozoa and Bacteria. Within the animals we have around thirteen phylums with five for vertebrates and at the moment eight for invertebrates.

This seems like a very small number of possible outcomes to me. Perhaps with mass extictions the number of phylums we have now would be limited, but we should still have fossil records of other life-types that existed within prehistory. Instead, we seem to have these same groups appearing through large spans of the fossil record. Why? Shouldn't there be hundreds of existing phylums that spawned from numerous types of simple life?

For example, among living cats there are 37 species. If you add the extinct cats, the number increases to over 100 known variations (1). But they are all easily identified as cats. They all originated from a single anscestor estimated to live at 20 million years ago (2).

20 million years to produce hundreds of variations of a single species. Since life formed approximately 4 billion years ago (3), shouldn't there be thousands of distinct variations of those original simple lifeforms?

Why is there such an apparent lack of biological diversity?

(1) http://www.messybeast.com/cat-prehistory.htm
(2) http://www.agarman.dial.pipex.com/bco/prehistoric.htm
(3) http://www.americanscientist.org/template/AssetDetail/assetid/48545


mudpuppy555
Posted 11 November 2006 at 01:19 pm

cerebulon, I feel the need to feel sorry for you. I do not believe in crucifixes or holy water as you ignorantly stated. Those are catholic superstition, just as the pope is a fool. I gave you a great key for understanding the bible and you passed right by it (pearls before swine) . Try reading the book 'Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds' by Phillip E. Johnson, maybe that will give you a glimmer of the contrasting evidence. Evolutionists have the evidence, they just misuse it to get rid of a God to whom they will have to give account of themselves. I am not here to lay out all the details, just to point people in the right direction if they will look. You do not want to look, you already 'know it all'. We shall see how that helps you in the hereafter. Everyone dies, remember that. One day you will travel to 'the undiscovered country, from whose bourn no traveler returns'. (Shakespeare). Anyway, I understand that this site is mostly frequented by nerds, of which you might be leader. I know name calling does not help you any, but inflames your tiny ego to wave its little fist in the air and yell "me me me". Go right ahead. God made the truth so simple that people like you pass it right by. You have faith in a blind process, I have faith in God who reveals himself through the bible and in No other book. Just for a challenge, read the book of Romans.


interesting
Posted 11 November 2006 at 01:29 pm

sulkykid said:

"...the point is that Darwin was in no way expressing doubt. Read the text."

Measure of doubt, does not imply totality of doubt, neither does it imply lack thereof. I would venture that neither you, nor I truly know how much Charles Darwin doubted his research, I can only read and attempt to comprehend his writings. Feel free to accuse me of not comprehending, but forget not to look at how well you're paying attention to the minute detail of the remark he made about the eye. Looking at the big picture often allows one to gloss over the details, especially when details manifest themselves as friction in an argument.

Someone already mentioned Rene Descartes, and the concept of methodological skepticism, I only want to add that my personal belief is that healthy amount of doubt in any endeavor can lead to more refined understanding.

Lastly, it is my firm belief that as it applies to science, concept of evolution is founded on doubt; ideas that are peer-reviewed and accepted rise to the top, rest that are doubted, fade into obscurity.


kilranian
Posted 11 November 2006 at 04:34 pm

Shandooga is here to Shandooga-up another article.

Congratulations, troll. You get to be a verb now.


cerebulon
Posted 11 November 2006 at 06:03 pm

Mudpuppy, you are so ignorant you do not even understand a metaphor when it is presented to you. Unlike you, I never lowered myself to name-calling - only constructive criticism. For that you would call me a pig and condemn me to hell. I try to show you fight fire with fire (oh no another metaphor) and you counter with more Bible reading. Medical cures, space flight and engineering did not come from the Bible, they only came from folks learning how the world actually works. Maybe one day you will pull your head out of that book and look around you. I wish you the best and hope, God willing, you find your way to paradise.


trillian
Posted 11 November 2006 at 07:07 pm

I love when someone tries to set it up so that by the very act of proving him wrong, others are somehow actually disproving themselves and making his case for him:

Shandooga said: "Please deny this like I know you can."

Kind of like saying in advance that it's whiny for someone to call you on reducing a discussion to name-calling:

mudpuppy555 said: "I understand that this site is mostly frequented by nerds, of which you might be leader. I know name calling does not help you any, but inflames your tiny ego to wave its little fist in the air and yell "me me me". "

Shhyyyyyeah.


sulkykid
Posted 11 November 2006 at 07:24 pm

trillian said: "I love when someone tries to set it up so that by the very act of proving him wrong, others are somehow actually disproving themselves and making his case for him:"

My wife will say to me: "You're being argumentative". To which there really is no good reply.


Random5
Posted 11 November 2006 at 08:55 pm

interesting says

Theory of bio-robots, as it were, is recursive without a clear base case.

Uh, not exactly, I didn't say this clearly enough but what I meant was there is a possibility our evolution was seeded by aliens, who would have come about through unseeded evolution.

Aside from a few misspelt words my previous post is fairly on track, I will continue on the final point though.

Of all the theories of creation, evolution has by far the most evidence. Creation by god on the other hand has none but anecdotal, most of which is also [url=http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/GodProof.htm]rediculous[/url]. If you truly believe in god, why couldn't god have created evolution? Because the [url=http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/BibleQuotes.htm]bible[/url] says so?


Random5
Posted 11 November 2006 at 08:59 pm

(oops, didn't mean to hit submit just then)

Then if god could have created evolution, why can't it have arisen itself? That the chance is small does not prove it could not, maybe the chance is so small evolution has only arisen once and we are it. A small chance of something happening, say rolling 100 dice and having them all show 6 doesn't prove anything except that it can occur, and does. Hence you must at least give equal weight to evolution occurring without the interference of god as with it, for the evidence it did occur is there and available for anyone willing to look at it.


just_dave
Posted 11 November 2006 at 09:08 pm

Good grief; I step away for a few days and come back to find 160 comments (and counting), yet very few that actually address the content of the original post. Seems that it's the articles that address evolution that draw the most comments, and most of those are from evolutionists beating up on creationists. Can't we all just get along, or do the evolutionists feel that threatened by the presence of even a few that would speak out against the High Holy Doctrine of Evolution?

The biggest problem I have with evolutionists is that they say it's all figured out and that's that. The theory is presented as fact, and no room is left for the miraculous, yet for any of evolution to really occur would require nothing less than countless miracles that happen spontaneously. To that I say, "Shhyyyyyeah!"

cerebulon said: "If you want to attack evolutionary theory, then attack it based on its' own merits and faults; and make damn sure you know what you are talking about."

I'm not "attacking" evolutionary theory" but how about pointing out the biggest flaw/conjecture/lie in the whole of evolutionary theory; that microevolution plus lots of time equals macro evolution. The whole of evolution is based upon that assumption, yet it is just that; an assumption.

Oh, and just to get back to the original post,

Jason wrote that a cat's curved claws are "better suited to climbing than for use as weapons..."

Seems to me that the curved claw that works for clinging to tree bark works just as well for catching & holding smaller prey and pulling it to the mouth for a quick kill. Who is to say that those claws aren't better suited for catching prey than for climbing?

Jason also said that, "Among the feline's numerous predatory gifts is the capacity to fixate on his prey–a skill useful when chasing a shrew through the grass, but a serious disadvantage in the urban world. People living in tall buildings often allow their cats to sit on window ledges and fire escapes, unaware that the traits which allow cats to clamber through trees aren't nearly as effective with metal railings, window panes, and brick. Cats have been known to fixate on something outside and leap or fall from high-rise ledges..."

What, pray tell, does having the capacity to fixate on prey have to do with a cat leaping or falling from tall buildings? They also have the capacity to determine distance (remember depth perception? A product of binocular vision?), so wouldn't the cat know instinctively that if it sees something at a distance that it shouldn't jump at it? Did you not quite finish your thought on that, Jason? The claws - railings thing works, but I don't see how the fixate - tall places thing fits.


interesting
Posted 11 November 2006 at 09:31 pm

Random5 said:

"...If you truly believe in god, why couldn't god have created evolution? Because the [url=http://www.godlessgeeks.com/LINKS/BibleQuotes.htm]bible[/url] says so?..."

Based on the mounting evidence, I suppose it is a reasonable assumption, and one which often emanates the most reconciliatory tone. Nevertheless, I truly believe that God exists; how and why the Universe is created is just the consequence of the inquisitive mind, for which I'm grateful.

Finally, it is surprising to see a forum which manages to maintain reasonable civility, despite the highly inflammatory topic.


Cynthia Wood
Posted 11 November 2006 at 10:49 pm

just_dave - just a thought here, but fixation, or the concentration on prey to the exclusion of the surrounding environment is something that may well work for a country cat. The odds of the cat stalking a prey animal higher in the air than a few feet - maybe ten at most - are pretty minimal, so the consequences of falling can largely be ignored. The same doesn't hold true for a city cat watching a sparrow on the rail of a tenth-story balcony.

In other words, non-city cats fall every day, and nobody notices because they don't get hurt. It only gets noticed in city cats because of the more dire consequences.


Shandooga
Posted 12 November 2006 at 01:47 am

kilranian said: "Shandooga is here to Shandooga-up another article.

Congratulations, troll. You get to be a verb now."

Yes!! I'm a verb! --Battery.


Shandooga
Posted 12 November 2006 at 02:05 am

frenchsnake said: "Hahaha! Interesting stuff, Shandooga. ...I wonder if you could clarify something for me. If there is a god, doesn't the theory of creation say that God created everything from nothing?

Not necessarily. From what does a father make his son? Is he, himself, not the very source? Consider this:

"Raise YOUR eyes high up and see. Who has created these things? It is the One who is bringing forth the army of them even by number, all of whom he calls even by name. Due to the abundance of dynamic energy, he also being vigorous in power, not one [of them] is missing...."(Isaiah 40:26)

Raise *your* eyes high up and see. What's there? Ok, now reverse time a few thousand years and with the streetlights gone, you the stars would be the highest thing visible to the naked eye. This passage of scripture attributes the existence of stars to "dynamic energy." Now split any given atom; could the resultant energy be considered "dynamic"? Is it reasonable that the phrase "dynamic energy" would be the closest *anyone* could come to explaining this kind of thing to people who had no knowledge of physics or even that the sun is a star? It wouldn't seem unreasonabe to me, therefore, to infer that *someone* had knowledge of E=MC2 thousands of years ago.

Matrix batteries may now supply the customary obligatory round of ridicule, obfuscation and denial.


SL Aronovitz
Posted 12 November 2006 at 06:25 am

Cats were once worshipped as gods......and have never forgotten that.

I just wonder where along the extended trail of feline evolution the can-opener appeared. Considering their rapid responsiveness, cats and can openers must have been bitter enemies at some time, but now seem to have co-evolved through contact with humans. Interesting!

I tested the cat-always-landing-its-feet theory when I was 12 by dropping the cat onto my sleeping sister from about 7 feet up. The cat landed on all fours and I landed in solitary confinement in my room for two weeks.


uncle frogy
Posted 12 November 2006 at 12:36 pm

This is my first post here. I have enjoyed the site for a while and have been stimulated by the discussions on many occasions. Not to start a controversy nor insult anyone but I cannot leave it alone (I pick at scabs also) I do not believe Shandooga is for real in the least. I think he is playing "devils advocate" for the fun of getting everyone wound up.
come on is this stuff for real?

Shandooga says

"You have only to mention that foolish farce, evolution, one time before I'm going to say something about it. I know if you believe evolution now you'll believe it as long as you want to and this will make no real difference in your life but here goes anyway…EVOLUTION IS A FARCE! How could something that is NOTHING do anything!? Duh! It's a no-brainer–that doesn't even have a brain! EVOLUTION HAS NEITHER SUBSTANCE, PERSON, PRESENCE, STRUCTURE, MOTIVE NOR ANY PERCEIVABLE QUALITY!"

I had a very enlightening discussion with a self identified Atheist about what an atheist real thought. While it might may not be true for all atheist I was told that atheist did not (in essence my description after a long conversation) in a God person but in some kind of "infinite abstract" especially not a "Zeus like" father figure in heaven.

This was very interesting and he doubted me when I pointed out that his "infinite abstract" was very similar to much of eastern thought Hindu, Buddhist and Taoist.

In fact the above quote is so similar to the nature of the Tao that it could have come from a Taoist text.
If Mr. Snadooga is for real which I doubt very seriously he is a believer in one of the religions of the Abramist traditions which still have a "father figure" deity as a core belief.

Evolution does not require belief nor does any other scientific law or truth.

sorry if I went on too long or got off the subject too much.
this is one of the more interesting places to visit on the web and I hope it is here for a long time to come


Rev. Jack
Posted 12 November 2006 at 12:37 pm

AntEconomist said: "A God who can create species via evolution from a distance of billions of years is a hell of a lot cooler than a God who simply pops them into existence."

Here, here.

I am a Christian and a pastor and I believe in the Bible.

But when I read Genesis chapters 1-11, I have to ask a basic question. Did God give Moses these stories as a scientific account or as formational texts upon which to build a society out of a rabble of escaped slaves?

Given the circumstances around which the opening chapters were given to us, I doubt a scientific play by play would have been helpful to Moses and the Hebrews. A working knowledge about DNA and the Big Bang won't feed the masses or organize a government.

So God gave us stories which explain the "why" of existence and left the "how" to another day.

And really, that's a nice delineation between science and religion. Science is well equipped to tell us how things work, but science cannot tell us the "why"- science cannot answer the metaphysical question.

Likewise, religion can speak volumes on those metaphysical questions, but is very, very limited in explaining the mechanics of it all.

So religion vs. science?

I don't think so!

No- religions + science.

Yeah, that's more like it.


cerebulon
Posted 12 November 2006 at 02:16 pm

just_dave said: ...The theory is presented as fact, and no room is left for the miraculous... I'm not "attacking" evolutionary theory" but how about pointing out the biggest flaw/conjecture/lie in the whole of evolutionary theory; that microevolution plus lots of time equals macro evolution.

For your argument to work, you would need to supply physical, observable evidence of miracles/magic/supernatural to show how it affects nature. If you can suceed in that, you may additionally want to show conflicting evidence that micro evolution does not lead to macro evolution with time.

The fossil record does show many glimpses of transitory lifeforms that are neither bird nor reptile and neither mammal nor reptile. We even have species today, the platapus, echidna, hoatzen and the worm-lizard which are observably altered from their traditional phylum. Moreover, the capture of a dolphin with another pair of hind-fins confirms that cetaceans evolved from four-legged wolf-like animals and were not always whales and dolphins as we know them today.

The fact is that Intelligent Design and Creationism are not legitimate scientific theories at all. They are only clever debating tactics based on personal feelings with some scientific-sounding language attached to add a measure of legitimacy to them. Instead of making a new argument, the audience is bombarded with questions without any factual basis. This is done in the hopes that the conclusion will be reached that even if a small percentage of these implied problems with your opponent's case are legitimate, then your opponent's case must be flawed, a conjecture or an outright lie.


rp2
Posted 12 November 2006 at 02:49 pm

Let this die already..


cerebulon
Posted 12 November 2006 at 03:49 pm

rp2 said: "Let this die already.."

I second this notion: less evolution, more throwing cats off things experiments!


frenchsnake
Posted 12 November 2006 at 04:08 pm

Cynthia Wood said: "just_dave - just a thought here, but fixation, or the concentration on prey to the exclusion of the surrounding environment is something that may well work for a country cat. The odds of the cat stalking a prey animal higher in the air than a few feet - maybe ten at most - are pretty minimal, so the consequences of falling can largely be ignored. The same doesn't hold true for a city cat watching a sparrow on the rail of a tenth-story balcony.

In other words, non-city cats fall every day, and nobody notices because they don't get hurt. It only gets noticed in city cats because of the more dire consequences."

That reminds me. Never, ever tether your cat to the base of a tree or to anything on a balcony it you want to give it some fresh air. My old babysitter did that once, and let me tell you, coming home to find your cat hanged because it jumped off something chasing a bird is not a pretty sight.


Crispy
Posted 13 November 2006 at 04:52 am

Man... I'm afraid I really don't have time to read the EIGHTY-FIVE PAGES(!) of commentary here, but I have a simple suggestion:

Can we please, PLEASE have all discussion of the following topics BANNED from comments threads here (and perhaps removed to a separate discussion forum or something)? I want to read about the ARTICLE; not this constant pointless back-and-forth of Evolution vs Creationism, the ranting for and against 9/11 conspiracy theories, liberals vs conservatives, Bush vs anyone else, America vs The World, baby-murderers vs woman-haters, or whatever "issue of the moment" some random poster wants to drag into the fray.

I like reading the comments here at DI - when they focus on the article. When they get derailed like this, my eyes just start glazing over. Enough already.

Back on topic now...

Very, very interesting article! Definitely one of my favourites. Thanks for the tip frenchsnake, I'll keep that in mind... poor kitties.


Rev. Jack
Posted 13 November 2006 at 07:28 am

yo crispy- if you don't like the looooong comment threads, just don't read them

there, problem solved, no need to ban anything


irea6242
Posted 13 November 2006 at 08:31 am

Great article! As a cat-lover, I've heard about cats not "dying so easily" when they fell from greater heights, now I know why. Won't test it on my babies though =P

By the way, I second Crispy. Can't there be some guidelines to limit off-topic discussions, or a separate forum where these issues can be fought out?


mreiland
Posted 13 November 2006 at 12:27 pm

You well know what mathematical system I'm working in. You are attempting to obfuscate clear logic in a rather lame attempt to make an escape through a brick wall.

And you missed the point.

GAAP. Does that acronym mean anything to you? How ’bout if I expand it: Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. Clear now?

Now that's a lame attempt at trolling, as is most of your post.

There's that word again. Are you attempting to establish "truthiness" through repetition? Clearly, I'm literate but you keep using that word. Does your need to label me "ignorant" make you "smart" by comparison?

No, it either makes you a troll or it makes you extremely uneducated. Most everyone understands what ignorant means.

So what's 1+1?

the binary operation x + y is defined as the following (yes, the right side is defined in terms the set of integers):

x + y = (x+y) - 2[floor(x/y)]

1 + 1 = (1+1) - 2[floor(1)] = 2-2(1) = 2-2 = 0;

Which means that 1+1 = 0. This function is commonly known as the modulus function and is part of what is known as modular arithmetic. Most cryptographic systems use modular arithmetic (RSA, etc.), but I'll give you an example that's a little closer to home.

What is 24+1? is it 25 or is it 1?
According to the 24 hour clock that's popular amongst the worlds several billion inhabitants, it's 1. According to the definition as defined for the set of integers it's 25.

You cannot use logic, which is a purely mathematical construct, without subjecting yourself to the rules of mathematics, and the definitions therein. Neither can you use a binary operator that's been defined in terms of mathematics without doing the same.

The point of all of this is that you based your argument on the premise that 1+1 always equals 2. This premise is flawed, therefore your argument was flawed. If you consider this obfuscation then I consider you ignorant.

Now, I do not wish to claim that Charles Darwin, whom I respect, was wrong, or that his work carries no merit. On the contrary, I'm convinced that micro-evolution may indeed have its place, and as a general abstract concept is encountered daily, if only in software development. Mechanisms such as inheritance and polymorphisms, are not only evident in biological instantiations of the abstract concept that is evolution, but are readily encountered in non-biological engineering methods as well. (buildings evolve, software evolves, technology evolves)

Software development & polymorphism, et al, are not anywhere near good analogies of biological facilities, so I think you draw the wrong conclusion. I recommend you watch the video of Alan Kay in his talk entitled "The Computer Revolution hasn't happened yet"(it's currently hosted on google video). A bit old, but still very interesting.

Now, I'm religious and to me the concept of only three physical dimensions is one of the most fascinating aspects of the Universe, and how this concept is coincident with the Holy Trinity, which is described in the Bible in the day and age when presumably our current understanding of the Universe was absent.

The prevailing theories hold that there are more dimensions, and this fact is the actual cause of gravity.

It wouldn't seem unreasonabe to me, therefore, to infer that *someone* had knowledge of E=MC2 thousands of years ago.

Since you seem to agree with Einstein's theory of relativity, would you care to explain how it is that we're seeing stars from over 4 billion years ago via the hubble telescope?


cerebulon
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:23 pm

The following is from St. Augustine (Augustine of Hippo) who lived in A.D. 354-430. I think it is fascinating that he is actually identifying and chastising the arguments of what we would call fundamentalists today, and he is having to do it not even four-hundred years after Christ's death.

"Usually, even a non-Christian knows something about the earth, the heavens, and the other elements of this world, about the motion and orbit of the stars and even their size and relative positions, about the predictable eclipses of the sun and moon, the cycles of the years and the seasons, about the kinds of animals, shrubs, stones, and so forth, and this knowledge he hold to as being certain from reason and experience.

Now, it is a disgraceful and dangerous thing for an infidel to hear a Christian, presumably giving the meaning of Holy Scripture, talking nonsense on these topics; and we should take all means to prevent such an embarrassing situation, in which people show up vast ignorance in a Christian and laugh it to scorn. The shame is not so much that an ignorant individual is derided, but that people outside the household of faith think our sacred writers held such opinions, and, to the great loss of those for whose salvation we toil, the writers of our Scripture are criticized and rejected as unlearned men.

If they find a Christian mistaken in a field which they themselves know well and hear him maintaining his foolish opinions about our books, how are they going to believe those books in matters concerning the resurrection of the dead, the hope of eternal life, and the kingdom of heaven, when they think their pages are full of falsehoods and on facts which they themselves have learnt from experience and the light of reason?

Reckless and incompetent expounders of Holy Scripture bring untold trouble and sorrow on their wiser brethren when they are caught in one of their mischievous false opinions and are taken to task by those who are not bound by the authority of our sacred books. For then, to defend their utterly foolish and obviously untrue statements, they will try to call upon Holy Scripture for proof and even recite from memory many passages which they think support their position, although they understand neither what they say nor the things about which they make assertion."


interesting
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:23 pm

mreiland said:

“Software development & polymorphism, et al, are not anywhere near good analogies of biological facilities, so I think you draw the wrong conclusion. ...”

Evolution is an abstract concept, that has at least one instantiation in the form of mutations of biological entities. If you're unfamiliar with the terms inheritance and polymorphisms as it applies to computer software, but more importantly as it applies to biology, I suggest you research the history of the object-oriented software development, and related influences from the field of micro-biology.

“The prevailing theories hold that there are more dimensions, and this fact is the actual cause of gravity.”

I suppose you're referring to the String theory, which at one point postulated of 10 spatial dimensions, and if I recall correctly, has evolved into the current M-theory, which adds another dimension bringing the total to 11. Before reaching the current count, previous iterations suggested somewhere between 3-10 spatial dimensions, and the currently contested point of theory is the fact that there may very well be up to 26.

Having read Brian Greene's The Elegant Universe and being thoroughly fascinated by it, I will only add that regardless of how much I attempt to wrap my head around even a 4th spatial dimension, I fail miserably. Perhaps I'm not cut out for this kind of work, but I urge you to take a piece of paper and pencil, and draw a vector orthogonal to the familiar three.

If you find yourself successful, please, in the spirit of public discovery share with us your findings.


rp2
Posted 13 November 2006 at 02:28 pm

I have two eyes. I have one nose and two ears. I have ten toes and ten fingers. Also, my hands sweat sometimes.


Rev. Jack
Posted 13 November 2006 at 05:53 pm

nice quote cerebulon

Augustine- writing a millennium and a half before Darwin set off a bomb in the world view of Western Civilization- contended that the material in Genesis 1-11 was, in fact, allegory.

Now, Augustine was no heretic. He believed in the basic claims of the Christian faith- that God created the universe, that God is Triune, that Jesus is both human and divine and the He rose from the dead.

And Augustine's theology is alive and well today- most of the great minds of the reformation including Luther and Calvin based their views on Augustine. Fundamentalism today can be traced back to Augustinian thought- though Augustine's sound theology has been corrupted by the uber-right.

And yet even that hero of Biblical conservatism in the ancient world- that venerable apologist who's work saved many souls- even Augustine doesn't try to turn the Genesis accounts (yes- Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are two distinct and separate stories) of creation into science.

The bottom line is that the science behind evolution is not in opposition to Christianity. Nothing about the teaching of evolution rules out the existence of God nor does evolution contradict any core teaching of the creeds of the Christian Church. And any Christians who think they serve God by denying the facts which can be observed in nature is on a fool's errand.

Please- if you honor the Creator, then embrace the magnificence of the creation. The system of evolution is a marvel to behold- not a threat to genuine faith.


mreiland
Posted 13 November 2006 at 10:23 pm

Interesting:

I actually have a degreee in CS & Math and I'm currently going back to get my Masters in Math. I suspect from your conversation that your background is somewhat similar ( just wanted to clear the air ). That being said, I'm not a biologist, although I did make an A in basic biology ;)

I'm sure you know that Alan Kay is the author of Smalltalk, the predecessor of most current OOP languages. To hear him say it, C/C++/Java, et al, are not what he had in mind when he coined the term OOP. The example he gave was the Internet. That's an example of an OOP system, and if you think about it, it's probably the most scalable system ever built by mankind.

And that's why I say they're not good analogies. Not because of some abstraction, but because Alan Kay makes that claim, and I have a lot of respect for the man. I don't have the education to back myself up any better than that, so take it as you will.

Perhaps I'm not cut out for this kind of work, but I urge you to take a piece of paper and pencil, and draw a vector orthogonal to the familiar three.

If you find yourself successful, please, in the spirit of public discovery share with us your findings.

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/7997/

http://www.geocities.com/CapeCanaveral/7997/whatis4d.html

The prevailing theory by those who are much more educated than either you or I believe that there are more than 3 dimensions. I'm only pointing out the flaw in your rationale, but, as I stated before, they're theories & you're free to believe what you want. However, given the fact that men such as Einstein & Stephen Hawking believe in such a thing gives me the tendency to discount your rationale.


just_dave
Posted 13 November 2006 at 10:32 pm

cerebulon said: "For your argument to work, you would need to supply physical, observable evidence of miracles/magic/supernatural to show how it affects nature.

Right. Tell you what; you start by supplying physical, observable evidence of macro evolution. When that happens, we'll also have our verifiable miracle. 'kay? ;o) For all intents & purposes, a miracle by its very definition — a spontaneous imposition of supernatural forces on the natural world — would not happen on command, nor would it be repeatable or verifiable to any scientific standard. I know nothing at all about you, but I would hazard to guess that a miracle could happen right in front of your nose and you would deny that its miraculous. Instead, being the science-minded being that you are, you'd try to figure out how to explain it naturalistically, and conclude that some spurious natural phenomenon occurred that caused it.

If you can suceed in that, you may additionally want to show conflicting evidence that micro evolution does not lead to macro evolution with time.

Seems to me that the burden of proof should be on science to prove the connection between the two, not for me to disprove it. I've seen the evidence to date (or rather the lack thereof) and I'm far from convinced. As are many, many others.

The fossil record does show many glimpses of transitory lifeforms that are neither bird nor reptile and neither mammal nor reptile. We even have species today, the platapus, echidna, hoatzen and the worm-lizard which are observably altered from their traditional phylum.

Glimpses. Nothing anywhere from any time period that is definitely transitory. And who is to say that the placement of those "transitory lifeforms" is accurate? Evolutionists? Please.

Moreover, the capture of a dolphin with another pair of hind-fins confirms that cetaceans evolved from four-legged wolf-like animals and were not always whales and dolphins as we know them today.

How does a single mutated specimen confirm anything other than mutations happen? Using that as an example is just silly.

The fact is that Intelligent Design and Creationism are not legitimate scientific theories at
all."

I suppose you're right, when the rules regarding what is a "legitimate scientific theory" are written by those who have the most to gain by banishing discussion of anything but evolution. Because the backers of evolution don't accept ID as legitimate does not make it illegitimate.

They are only clever debating tactics based on personal feelings with some scientific-sounding language attached to add a measure of legitimacy to them. Instead of making a new argument, the audience is bombarded with questions without any factual basis. This is done in the hopes that the conclusion will be reached that even if a small percentage of these implied problems with your opponent's case are legitimate, then your opponent's case must be flawed, a conjecture or an outright lie.

I argue more against evolution than for any alternative; my discourse is aimed at pointing out the weaknesses in the theory, and that the case made by evolutionists is flawed, full of conjecture and lies. I see no point in making any new argument, as the old lies continue to be presented as proven fact when they are not.

While your quote of Augustine is noteworthy, it's not very applicable to this discussion; Augustine was referring to cosmology, not the origins of life. He readily — and rightly — accepted new discoveries that were observable, provable, and logical; evolution has proven to be none of these. If you bother to read any of his other writings you'll recognize that he readily gave credit for Creation where credit is due.

My apologies for straying and staying off the original topic. But there seems to be little more to say about falling cats. I could say something about some of the unscientific experiments from my pre-teen years, trying to get a neighborhood cat to land on something other than its feet... But we needn't go there.


mreiland
Posted 13 November 2006 at 11:26 pm

I know nothing at all about you, but I would hazard to guess that a miracle could happen right in front of your nose and you would deny that its miraculous. Instead, being the science-minded being that you are, you'd try to figure out how to explain it naturalistically, and conclude that some spurious natural phenomenon occurred that caused it.

This is why your cellphone works, yet I don't hear you arguing against wave theory. Then gain, wave theory doesn't infringe upon your religious beliefs. ie, which came first, the cart or the horse?

I argue more against evolution than for any alternative;

And that is the problem.

my discourse is aimed at pointing out the weaknesses in the theory, and that the case made by evolutionists is flawed, full of conjecture and lies.

And that is the problem. What you don't understand is that disproving evolution does not, in any way, prove or validate creationism. That is a gross misunderstanding of the Scientific Process.

When the theory of Evolution first came about, the religious folk said it didn't exist. Then, through the Scientific Process, Scientists proved that biological creatures did change significantly (they did this using bacteria, who's generations can be very very short). Then the religious folk started talking about Micro vs Macro evolution, as if there were such a thing.

Apparently these folk have never heard of deductive logic.

The trend now is for the religous folk to accept evolution as a mechanism of God. This is probably the most intelligent way to argue it.


TreBar
Posted 14 November 2006 at 04:56 am

nice article about cats... and ahm

Here in germany we really cant believe this evolution-contra-ID discussion is receiving so much attention.
Of course its legit to argue on the assets and downsides of the empiric sciences. Nevertheless "we" have come to a fine collection of results (actually a whole lot of them make this discussion at this "place" even possible). We have got used to think of the underlying scientific Theories as granted knowledge, but they still represent our actual best-guess about the workings of the world, yes and of life within it.

There may be alternatives to the concept of Evolution. This statement itself is part of empiric, scientific thinking. It tells us to always stay open minded, because one new idea or finding may take us to conclusions wich rock even the most basic assumptions.

But open mindedness is an ardous path, as everyone can state who once believed Santa Claus filling socks with sweets and writing the deeds of all children on a veeeery big paper. Especially when we find ourself in opposition to others, may it be individual, cultural, religious, in interest, liking or conviction... There we cannot achieve it by pointing fingers at each other, nor by alternate stubborn iterations of beliefs. It demands the will to accept that the other exists - even if we think he is ultimately wrong.

Since Galileo Galilei we have come to terms that science and religion seem to disagree quite frequently. Some 4 centuries later were sometimes still caught in this ambivalence. Both have been important, for different facets of our existance.

I have not yet heard a scientist stating god to be a spin J=-1 relic particle (with the explicit understanding that scientists are human and therefore are well suited to any kind of nonsense). But sadly enough a lot of arguments thrown into by some ID-devotees on this comment board sound to me exactly like that.

For my own part, I understand science as a great tool to explore the world outside - Religion may be as great for the inner world of our soul. To mix them up I think and feel our exploration has not jet gone far enough.

with best regards
TreBar (Germany)


frenchsnake
Posted 14 November 2006 at 10:03 am

I wholly agree with your last comment, TreBar. Religion should be about spirituality, about telling people to be good, and should not be applied to explaining the origins of humanity, or gravity, or whatnot. That's why I was really encouraged by my friend's assertion that his community took many of the stories in the bible as metaphors for life. It seems like trying to apply religion and spirituality to science and the natural world is kind of missing the point.

frenchsnake (Quebec)


interesting
Posted 14 November 2006 at 11:41 am

mreiland:

Dimensional analysis is a neat concept, and one which I already mentioned when I stated that adding dimensions in a purely mathematical sense is quite easy; visualization can be a bit tricky however, regardless of the projection.
Lastly, Albert Einstein did conceive of a fourth dimension, which underlies the premise of space-time due to the nature of it being a dimension of time, as opposed to the familiar three being the dimensions of space.

P.S.

I think that M-theory (brane theory) may very well hold water, my only point was to accentuate the fact that it is still in flux.


mreiland
Posted 14 November 2006 at 02:21 pm

I think we're getting a bit off-track here. My comment about there being more than 3-dimensions was in response to someone (I thought it was you) claiming that the fact that we are 3-D creatures was proof of religion due to the holy trinity.

That being said, whether or not "extra" dimensions are a purely mathematical construct or whether they do actually affect us has yet to be shown conclusively, but if they are actual physical phenomenon, the could affect us, even if we can't percieve it.


interesting
Posted 14 November 2006 at 04:19 pm

mreiland said:

“I think we're getting a bit off-track here. My comment about there being more than 3-dimensions was in response to someone (I thought it was you) claiming that the fact that we are 3-D creatures was proof of religion due to the holy trinity.”

Agreed, and yes it was me who mentioned the fascination with three dimensions, but it was as a postscript and was not posited as proof of religion, rather that it was coincident, and personally captivating.

As for extra dimensions, I do keep try to keep an open mind, and I do not discount the possibility that one day we will in fact know conclusively whether or not it is possible.


cerebulon
Posted 15 November 2006 at 03:19 am

just_dave said: "Right. Tell you what; you start by supplying physical, observable evidence of macro evolution. When that happens, we'll also have our verifiable miracle. 'kay?

Physical, observable evidence for macro-evolution:

(A) We find many cases of transitional forms in the fossil record, such as (1) Fossils of the diatom Rhizosolenia are very common (they are mined as diatomaceous earth), and they show a continuous record of almost two million years which includes a record of a speciation event. (2) Haasiophis terrasanctus is a primitive marine snake with well-developed hind limbs. Although other limbless snakes might be more ancestral, this fossil shows a relationship of snakes with limbed ancestors (Tchernov et al. 2000). Pachyrhachis is another snake with legs that is related to Haasiophis.

(B) Ring species show the process of speciation in action. In ring species, the species is distributed more or less in a line, such as around the base of a mountain range. Each population is able to breed with its neighboring population, but the populations at the two ends are not able to interbreed. (In a true ring species, those two end populations are adjacent to each other, completing the ring.) Because there is no known barrier to large change and because we can expect small changes to accumulate into large changes, microevolution implies macroevolution. (3)

(C) An atavism is the reappearance of a character present in a distant ancestor but lost in the organism's immediate ancestors. We only see atavisms consistent with organisms' evolutionary histories. Like the dolphin with another pair of perfect, functional fins where their legs used to be millions of years ago.

I can keep going with this, there are many more transitional forms that show both speciation and specialization which point to gradual changes over time.

JustDave: For all intents & purposes, a miracle by its very definition — a spontaneous imposition of supernatural forces on the natural world — would not happen on command, nor would it be repeatable or verifiable to any scientific standard.

I think you are wrong in your definition of a miracle. Jesus Christ performed numerous, repeated miracles which would be verifiable by ANY scientific standard. I would also propose that since Christ gave his followers the ability to cast out/command demons - whose existance would be miraculous - Christians should summon up demons for science to study. The existance of a demon would imply the existance of God. No, I am not being snide - I am dead serious. If I ever do find a complete text on just how to do this, I will attempt it at first opportunity.

JustDave: I would hazard to guess that a miracle could happen right in front of your nose and you would deny that its miraculous. Instead, being the science-minded being that you are, you'd try to figure out how to explain it naturalistically, and conclude that some spurious natural phenomenon occurred that caused it

Very true. Keep in mind that human flight, pain killers, levitation and even fire were once believed miraculous. There is no reason to think that angels and demons do not conform to natural law. I would hazard to guess that unless he is directly interacting with our cosmos, God does not conform to any natural laws, since he was never part of this universe to begin with.

JustDave: I suppose you're right, when the rules regarding what is a "legitimate scientific theory" are written by those who have the most to gain by banishing discussion of anything but evolution. Because the backers of evolution don't accept ID as legitimate does not make it illegitimate.

The rules regarding what is a legitimage scientific theory are written are called the Scientific method. Perhaps you've heard of it? It is the technique used the world over, for investigating phenomena and acquiring new knowledge, as well as for correcting and integrating previous knowledge. It is based on gathering observable, empirical, measurable evidence, subject to the principles of reasoning.

The Scientific Method is not some nefarious scheme to disprove ID, it is used in every science and has been applied to every discovery, theory or proof ever made. Since ID fails the Scientific Method, it is NOT the Scientific Method that is at fault, rather it is the "theory" of Intelligent Deisign.

JustDave: I see no point in making any new argument, as the old lies continue to be presented as proven fact when they are not.

That is why you fail. That is why you make Christians look like fools.

While your quote of Augustine is noteworthy, it's not very applicable to this discussion; Augustine was referring to cosmology, not the origins of life. He readily — and rightly — accepted new discoveries that were observable, provable, and logical; evolution has proven to be none of these. If you bother to read any of his other writings you'll recognize that he readily gave credit for Creation where credit is due.

Cosmology was once condemned as being against God and the Bible, since it removed the Earth from a point central in the universe. His quote is absolutely applicable to this discussion, since IDers are attempting to do the exact same thing today.

Evolution is logical, observable, provable and has been accepted accross the world for these reasons.

Evolution has nothing to do with creation. It only comes into play after creation. It is your misunderstanding of evolution that leads you to believe it denies the hand of God.

(1) Miller 1999, 44-45)
(2) Caldwell and Lee 1997.
(3) Theobald, Douglas, 2004. 29+ Evidences for macroevolution.


Rev. Jack
Posted 15 November 2006 at 07:36 am

For the record- Augustine pre-dates the shift in cosmology brought on by Capurnicus.

Augustine based his comments to two realities.

1)The average Christian lacked a scientific education (a fact still true today.)

2)Some passages of the Bible seem to be allegorical and historical in nature.

Look- the creation stories in Genesis are different than the Gospels. The Gospels are four distinct works (though some information sharing seems to have occurred somewhere between Matthew, Mark, and Luke.)

But Genesis is supposed to have had one main author/editor who drew material from different sources into one narrative. So while four people telling a story might have some legitmate difference (ala the Gospels,) and story written or redacted by a principal guiding hand into a single work should not contradict itself if it is trying to tell a literal narritive.

So here is an easy experiment. Go read Genesis one, and make a chart of the order of creation as described in that story. Then, put that piece of paper away, wait a week, and do the same exercise with Genesis 2 on a separate piece of paper. Then compare two.

If these accounts are supposed to be literal and accurate, you should find that they agree in the order and time-frame for the emergence of human beings.

If, however, there are discrepancies between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 in regard to human origin, this suggests that the stories are intended to be allegory- not literal and certainly not as science.


mreiland
Posted 15 November 2006 at 10:44 am

Or that the stories have been manipulated, or inexplicably changed during translation.


Rev. Jack
Posted 15 November 2006 at 01:40 pm

Well, mreiland- first of all, we're not talking about translation here. The differences between the order of creating in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2 are still there in the Hebrew.

And thanks to the Dead Sea Scrolls, we know that the Hebrew Bible (that is the Old Testament) in our hands is nearly verbatim the same as it was in the First Century. You are correct in that before then, our records get shaky. Then again, seeing as the Dead Sea Scrolls are in agreement with the Septuagint in nearly every way, that pushes our reliability back even further. Given the verifiable track record of ancient Jewish scribes, there is no real reason to assume serious mistakes further back in the time line.

We moderns love to pick on ancient people for being so ignorent and inefficient compared to us- with our technology and all. But in fact the ancient scribes in just about every pre-modern culture were serious and talented professionals who had their own systems of checking one-another's work. Unintentional errors of the sort you suggest seem to be an extreme rarity.

The real risk would have been intentional changes aimed at harmonizing the two accounts to remove disagreement. It is amazing that no scribe tried to "fix" the disparity. (Some Catholic scribes did this with the Vulgate and the Majority Text- which is a major reason why current scholar no longer rely as heavily on medieval documents for creating new translations- through archeology, we've found older and more reliable texts to use.)

It seems clear given the Hebrew text and come commentaries in the Talmud that at least some ancient Hebrew scholars (I'm talking even into pre-Roman times) did not take those two stories as literal fact but as allegory.

Thus there is a firm case to be made that neither Christians nor Jews need fear geology nor biology because the neither the true age of the earth nor the reality of evolution pose any threat to what the author and editors of the Genesis stories were trying to communicate. The aim of Genesis 1-11 is to tell us what God is like and how people came to be in the broken spiritual state we are in. The aim is not to lay our a scientific account of the origins of human life.


mreiland
Posted 15 November 2006 at 02:02 pm

You apparently missed the point so I'll be more explicit.

What you've done is presented a false dichotomy. You've given two options, refuted one, and presented the other as being correct when there are many more explanations. It's not a very nice way of making an argument.

If I were to argue against you, I'd simply point out that no two eyewitnesses ever see the same thing, and the fact that the events were gone & dead before they were recorded adds to the problems.

But I don't care enough to argue with you about it, just giving a bit of advice, especially after witnessing two consecutive posts of yours employee the same fallacy.


Tink
Posted 15 November 2006 at 10:34 pm

Ok what the hell, looks like we have given the DI! cat topic a nice burial so I will slip in a few personal cracks, just for fun.

MikeyMouse said: "Wow, thanks, and it was my first ever post here, do I get a slice of pie now?

Lol, welcome to our humble ;-P little crowd. You will have to ask Floj for the pie, I think she/he has all the best recipes :) and is usually more than willing to share them! Bless 'er heart.

Shandooga said: "I couldn't get any of the sounds to play on my computer, but that doesn't mean that evolution isn't the stupidest theory on anything ever put forth by anyone......."

Try hooking some speakers up to your PC.
(Damn ya, I had to take one more bite! LOL .You are a funny guy even though you have a propensity for pissing people off.)

interesting said: "I applaud all the folks who are engaged in this interesting discussion. However irreconcileable one's views may appear, every reasonable and intelligent discourse will undoubtedly impart new information on all of us, thereby giving us something to ponder.
"The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn" — Alvin Toffler"

Very good, well said!

CravenMorhead said: "You don't need to evolve. You do evolve....
Do you know how many assumptions ID make to keep their theories going? It is a good thing the church is never wrong.
http://entertainment.webshots.com/photo/1457880876031057998iPTmmn
(Cheap shot: Nice photo of you)

LOL GG

Evolution is a theory that follows the current observations. It has been altered and admended. As with any scientific thoery. It is good that scienctist can admit they are wrong and admend their ideas. Or admit when they don't know…. (see stephen hawking and the momment of god)"

Yes, Yes, Yes!

cerebulon said: I've often wondered why there are no wild chickens who do fly. Why is that? As a parallel, why are there no wild cows? We have wild sheep,... - but no cows. Can anyone answer this? It's been bugging me for years."

Yes some free range chickens can fly short distances, just enough to get above ground level to roost in a tree etc. Or to land on their favorite owners head. I know this :) As for wild cows, we have oxen, and Buffaloe, that our domesticated cattle are (cough) evolved/ bred from. Also in ranching areas where the cattle are bred for meat and not closley involved with humans, they do go wild in a sense, and though inclosed by fences, will injure the unwary while protecting calves or in the case of bulls, their harem of cows.

AntEconomist said: "A God who can create species via evolution from a distance of billions of years is a hell of a lot cooler than a God who simply pops them into existence."

Amen!!

Bolens said: "My faith in a Creator is buttressed when "faith lacking reason" and "reason lacking faith" make over 100 posts in a comment stream on the topic of flying felines. hehe.
Cats aside, no one should feel upset thet they struggle with this. Eternal destiny is a hot button because it needs to be. There is a rabid desire in all of us be right on this, and that is good, for the stakes are high. Eternity is a long time."

A favorite quote from an episode of Roseanne:Spoken to Becky:"Do you know how long eternity is? Imagine a ball of brass 1 billion miles round,and every 10 milloin years a dove flys past this ball and lightly brushes a spot on it with a single feather. When the ball has been reduced to a grain of dust that equals one day of eternity. Got Guilt?"

LOL

True confession:( I microwaved a cat by accident one day. And once I realised the horrid mistake and opened the door, it fell off the counter and landed on its feet. It evolved to death soon after though... bummer.


cerebulon
Posted 15 November 2006 at 11:52 pm

Hey Tink, thanks for the chicken/cow input. I wondered if oxen and bison were in cow family or not. Still, they're pretty far removed from your standard heifer. We had free range chickens who would do the "hop and flap." They would get up on low trees, railings and tables. On day I grabbed one and threw her as high as I could. She flapped like mad and actually made about 50 feet horizontally. The goofy hen seemed to like it and would keep coming back for me to throw her again. That was a weird, weird chicken. She actually laid green eggs! I have no idea what breed she was - she had copper feathers with a ring of dark green around her neck and at her feather tips.


Tink
Posted 16 November 2006 at 01:13 am

cerebulon said: "Hey Tink, thanks for the chicken/cow input. I wondered if oxen and bison were in cow family or not. Still, they're pretty far removed from your standard heifer. We had free range chickens who would do the "hop and flap." They would get up on low trees, railings and tables. On day I grabbed one and threw her as high as I could. She flapped like mad and actually made about 50 feet horizontally. The goofy hen seemed to like it and would keep coming back for me to throw her again. That was a weird, weird chicken. She actually laid green eggs! I have no idea what breed she was - she had copper feathers with a ring of dark green around her neck and at her feather tips."

LOL, your welcome. It sounds like you had a mixedbreed of Ameraucana. These are also known as Easter egg chickens, because they lay many pastel shades of egg.
Here are a couple of links to some cool pictures about them.
http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/chooks.html
http://www.feathersite.com/Poultry/CGA/Arau/BRKAmer.html


SweetViolet
Posted 16 November 2006 at 01:05 pm

Shandooga says: In the matter of evolution vs. creation consider the fruits of the theory and principles of evolution: war, racism, Nazism, fascism, unbridled greed, rape, hatred, strife, etc.

If these evils are the fruits of the theory and principles of evolution, then what prompted them to appear prior to 1859, when Darwin published his theory? Or are you implying they did not exist prior to that event?

DI article about the cats! Cool animals, cats...


cerebulon
Posted 16 November 2006 at 09:28 pm

Hey Tink, thanks again! That bottom link is Phoenix dead on - except for the rooster tail and comb. Yes, I named our chickens. Phoenix was a great chicken. Her eggs were the best I've ever had! A chicken like that, you don't eat all at once. No, I'm kidding. I didn't have the heart to kill her. Phoenix lived till she died at a ripe old age of 8 years. Then my grandmother boiled her and fed her to the other chickens while I wasn't paying attention. (shudders) I was shocked to say the least and told her that was sick. SICK! She said to stop being a pansy and that feeding chickens other chickens is what made their egg yolks so strong. (shudders again) That's how I found out that all of our chickens were cannibals. Oh the horror. The horror that is life.


SweetViolet
Posted 17 November 2006 at 05:44 am

cerebulon said: "Hey Tink, thanks again! That bottom link is Phoenix dead on - except for the rooster tail and comb. Yes, I named our chickens. Phoenix was a great chicken. Her eggs were the best I've ever had! A chicken like that, you don't eat all at once. No, I'm kidding. I didn't have the heart to kill her. Phoenix lived till she died at a ripe old age of 8 years. Then my grandmother boiled her and fed her to the other chickens while I wasn't paying attention. (shudders) I was shocked to say the least and told her that was sick. SICK! She said to stop being a pansy and that feeding chickens other chickens is what made their egg yolks so strong. (shudders again) That's how I found out that all of our chickens were cannibals. Oh the horror. The horror that is life."

Hmmmm...that's how Mad Cow disease is thought to have been started...feeding cows to cows. You didn't happen to have any mad chickens, did you?


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