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About bohemian

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  1. I would be very interested to hear of anyone, scientist or not, who does not accept that in everyday matters, design implies designer. The watch on his wrist, the mobile phone he uses, the shirt he wears, the car he drives, the quipment he uses in his laboratory etc. etc. As I tried to make plain, it is only with regard to life that this principle is deviated from. And why? Because to apply it to life would, as you rightly say, imply that life had a designer, and this is an unacceptable idea. I would like to return to the "primal soup" issue raised earlier. It is true that a few amino acids were retrieved, but as I mentioned before, there are 20 amino acids only which are used in living things and these are all "left-handed" although they are chemically identical and interchangeable with right-handed amino acids. The amino acids have to be arranged into a chain in a specific order (determined by dna) in order to produce a functional protein. An average chain is somewhat longer, but suppose we say 200 amino acids (the number nobel prize winner Francis Crick of dna fame suggests as a reasonable assumption). There is no chemical reason for the position of any particular amino acid at any location, so there are 20 possibilities for each position. The total number of possible combinations is therefore 20^200, or approx 10^260. (See Francis Crick Life Itself). The estimate for the number of atoms in the observable universe is about 10^80 ( The chances are obviously ridiculous for just one average protein to form by chance, and many proteins have thousands of amino acids, not jus 200 as in the example. No wonder Crick developed his ideas of panspermia! Remember too, that amino acids and proteins are not living things. They are not life.
  2. bohemian

    What films have you watched this week

    Broken Flowers. A Jim Jarmusch film with Bill Murray. Good performance by Murray - not a comedy in my opinion, although it has humorous moments. A confirmed batchelor with a string of failed relationships gets an anonymous letter saying he has a 19year old son who has gone on a road trip looking for his father. Murray visits girlfriends from 20 years before to try to work out which one is the mother.
  3. bohemian

    what classical music are you listening to now ?

    Charity shop find for 99p.
  4. That is a good post, Gizza. It comes back to what I posted earlier about our commitment to knowing the truth. You have made your decision that it is not important enough to you to pursue it. However, you do use some interesting terms in your post, such as a life you have been given. By whom? You refer to the way you live as a duty, which implies an outside standard to which you feel subject.
  5. My point in using that expression, rabski, was merely to emphasize that the experiment was not a random event, but was directed and controlled by scientists. It was in no way meant personally. That is really my point. It is only with regard to life that the principle of design requiring a designer is rejected, in all other areas the principle is accepted by everyone. There is no scientist who will deny it, except in the area of life. I was not suggesting that all scientists support intelligent design in life science, but in all other areas they accept the principle. As Francis Crick said concerning the appearance of design: "Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved." Also Richard Dawkins: "Biology is the study of complicated things that have the appearance of having been designed with a purpose."
  6. Of course there are things which it is not possible to know. However, do you trust your senses, your mind and your brain to convey accurate data to help you interface with reality? If you don't, then you can never know the truth about anything. But if you do, then it is possible to know things beyond a reasonable doubt. Not that you or I will know everything, but we have a fighting chance of finding out what is true and false.
  7. A good response, rabski, although the existence of fossils from the Ediacaran shows early life. Of course neither they, nor Adam and Eve, have any bearing on how life started in the first place. I feel that the argument from desgn is particularly strong. It is an argument accepted by most scientists, that design requires a designer. My suit hanging in my closet was obviously designed. I don't have to know who the designer was to recognize that it was designed. Scientists accept design in nature too (in some cases they have to stop themselves referring to design because they do not wish to appear out of step. Even Richard Dawkins acknowledges that there is what he refers to as "an illusion of design" in living things. My watch is a complex piece of equipment (there are more complex ones, and much more expensive ones too) but it is self-evident that it was designed. Again, I don't need to identify the designer to know that it was designed.
  8. A lot of people are under the same misconception, rabski. The Miller-Urey experiment in the 1950's attempted to recreate what they thought was an early earth atmosphere and ran electric aparks through it. Today it is known that their idea of the primitive soup was incorrect. As to whether oxygen was present or not, the answer would mean that the few amino acids obtained would be immediately broken down unless they were removed by the operator. At best, these experiments show that with a carefully planned experiment, carried out by an intelligent mind, a few amino acids could be obtained. This is a far cry from even the simpletst protein. The amino acids were also racemic, that is there was a roughly equal number of left-handed and right-handed amino acids, although living things have proteins made of left-handed ones. (There is no chemical difference between the two.) In subsequent years, Harold C Urey (Nobel Prize winner 1934) said (1962) "We all believe as an article of faith that life evolved from dead matter on this planet. It is just that its complexity is so great, it is hard for us to imagine that it did." and Stanley Miller (1995) "It must be admitted from the beginning that we do not know how life began." Richard Dawkins (1997) "but how did this whole process start?...nobody knows how it happened."
  9. I would be very sorry not to get any more of your insights, rabski. I think things are getting interesting here. Let me pose a question, and think about the possible answers: How did life on this planet come about?
  10. You are absolutely right that hearsay is inadmissible. The existence or otherwise of a Creator is not dependent on any book. I would say that evidence is important here. It does not 'prove' things either way, but we judge likelihoods based on evidence. What is the more reasonable explanation for the evidence we see.
  11. I'm sure I raised this before, but it bears repeating. Nothing can be proved in an absolute way. The most anything can be proved is "beyond reasonable doubt". This is the level of proof demanded in a capital court case. The reason is that there are always possibilities that can be raised, but it matters whether they are reasonable or unreasonable. Two men enter a closed room, a shot is fired and when the door is opened one man lies on the ground dead and the other has a gun in his hand. The defence lawyer asks "Isn't is possible that someone from the Starship Enterprise beamed down, shot the man and gave the gun to the other man, and then beamed back up?" One might concede it as a possibility, but it is unreasonable. OK that is extreme, but it may be simpler when a witness is asked "Isn't it possible that you were mistaken in your earlier testimony?" "Yes, its possible..". "Thank you, no further questions. The defence lawyer then asks, "Do you have any reasonable doubt about the accuracy of your earlier testimony?" "No." The burden of proof in court is "beyond a reasonable doubt". We have to examine the evidence and make up our own minds.
  12. Don't be sorry, rabski. I believe it is the crux of the matter too. But "truth" is an objective quality, there cannot be various versions of truth. There has to be an objective truth in this matter. Either God exists or he doesn't.
  13. The things that you would accept as 'proof' of a deity would actually force you to accept God's existence, thus taking away your free will. But I think that your view of God is the straw man view of a 'man in the sky', rather than the concept of a Creator with infinite power and infinite wisdom, who exists outside of time and space. (Of course, a true materialist does not accept that free will exists.) I cannot think of something that would change my mind about the existence of God, but that does not mean that I am not 'open-minded'. I am willing to hear argument and opinions that are designed to change my mnd, and I will evaluate them honestly. I am always ready to listen to evidence. Why do you think that you have a monopoly on 'critical thinking'? Of course, questions about whether God could or would intervene in various situations are ancillary questions. They may influence your subjective thinking but they do not really get to the question of God's existence. Once the existence of God is established, then those questions become more relevant. But, I would like to ask this: How important is it to you to know the truth? If knowing the truth would lead to your being rejected by society, or your own family, would you still want to know? If it meant your losing 20% of your income, would you still want to know?If it meant losing your freedom, or even your life, would you still want to know? Some people cannot live with the truth. This attitude is well illustrated by the character in the film The Matrix, who betrays his companions because he cannot live with the truth and would prefer to live with a comfortable lie which makes no demands of him.
  14. bohemian

    Baseball is back!

    Yes, a must win series for the Yankees after the sweep by Red Sox, but the White Sox have some good young players and I can see them building a decent team in the future. Jose Abreu is particularly impressive. The middle game with the 13 innings was a great game and very, very close. I thought we were going to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, especially when Sonny Gray was our last pitcher in the bull-pen, and Zach Britton had blown the save.