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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:56 pm 
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halplm wrote:
we think they're that old


halplm, your version of God is of a God that can do anything, and that HAS done everything. So why would you argue about the consistency of the facts? In you Universe the rules are only what YOUR God says they are! In the world as it presently exists, Noah could not have fit all the animals on the ark. If God wanted to do it, though, God could. You think he did. And that's the fundamental truth, the rock bottom: YOUR God could do anything, including fool us all.

It suits you to believe this? Fine.

But the rest of us believe differently. We go by the evidence of our senses, and to do differently would be profoundly dishonest.

You can't have it both ways, halplm. YOUR beliefs are not "evidence" to us, and they never will be.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 6:59 pm 
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Well, if you start saying that the physical laws of the Universe could have changed so radically within the past few thousand years that our measurements are skewed, then nobody knows anything about anything. :) But I guess that was your point.

I'd rather believe that we have intelligence and curiosity for a reason. I'd rather believe that the Universe is a place we can study and explore, not a cosmic gotcha set up by God to tempt us away from righteous thought with artificial physical evidence that is so convincing that essentially all scientists accept it as valid data.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:01 pm 
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I'm not saying they are.

I just think it is inherantly incorrect to claim we "know" anything about something that old.

I don't claim to know anything that God has done in the past. I don't claim to know how he does things, or how he might have done them in the past.

Like I said, I think the speculation is fun. I find the speculation that scientists have about the past is fun as well.

I just don't think it is any more fact than you do the ark could fit enough animals...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:04 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Well, if you start saying that the physical laws of the Universe could have changed so radically within the past few thousand years that our measurements are skewed, then nobody knows anything about anything. :) But I guess that was your point.

I'd rather believe that we have intelligence and curiosity for a reason. I'd rather believe that the Universe is a place we can study and explore, not a cosmic gotcha set up by God to tempt us away from righteous thought with artificial physical evidence that is so convincing that essentially all scientists accept it as valid data.


And I'm not saying the physical laws have changed, or that god has set up a "gotcha" situation tricking us.

All I'm saying is that it's foolish to say we know anything... or even to say we THINK we know anything about that far in the past. WE can guess and look at evidence, but we might not even concieve of how things could have changed to make things look differently than we are.

The laws of the universe didn't necessarily have to change to change how LIFE happened thousands or millions of years ago. the environment of our little planet could have changed enough to alter that.

Vison says the air was cleaner a million years ago... what if that meant everything lived much longer? What if humans aged to 800 years old had significantly different bone structures than we see today?

What do we KNOW? virtually nothing. That's my point.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:07 pm 
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Then the scientists should quit, shouldn't they? They are all wasting their time, if nothing they think they have learned is true. Medicine is based on science, so let's shut that down, too. Technology—forget it, it's based on assumptions that electrons will always behave in a certain way under certain conditions, and we don't know that to be true. So scrap it. Let's just abandon all human endeavor, because the laws of the Universe could change tomorrow and we might fly off the surface of the Earth into space.

Or, we could base our understanding of the Universe on reasonable assumptions that are supported by tested evidence, and get on with life.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:10 pm 
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Primula Baggins wrote:
Then the scientists should quit, shouldn't they? They are all wasting their time, if nothing they think they have learned is true. Medicine is based on science, so let's shut that down, too. Technology—forget it, it's based on assumptions that electrons will always behave in a certain way under certain conditions, and we don't know that to be true. So scrap it. Let's just abandon all human endeavor, because the laws of the Universe could change tomorrow and we might fly off the surface of the Earth into space.

Or, we could base our understanding of the Universe on reasonable assumptions that are supported by tested evidence, and get on with life.


you're talking about what we do today... I'm talking about what happened a thousand years ago.

we can certainly KNOW things today. And I don't know if we cross posted, but I didn't say anything about the laws of the universe changing. If they do, I'm sure we'll be able to cope... for now, we might as well assume they won't.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:16 pm 
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But what we do today depends on the assumption that we understand the Universe well enough to know what it was like a thousand years ago, or far more than that. And of course we can see the Universe that existed, say, 2 million years ago every time we look at the Andromeda galaxy (the light we see started out from there 2 million years ago, so we're seeing what it looked like then). We can see much farther into the past than that, billions of years. The climate of Earth has nothing to do with what we see; for what we see to be "wrong," the laws of the Universe would indeed have had to change.

There is, in fact, no difference between measuring photons that have traveled 9 billion light years and measuring photons that have crossed the room from a TV set. If we can trust one, we can trust the other.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 7:18 pm 
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:bow:

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:35 pm 
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So you're telling me, that if more of the earth's land was available (say most of the water was in deep trenches of ocean, or tied up in the polar caps...), and it was COMPLETELY covered in extremely large amounts of vegitation (assume for a minute this is possible, somehow), and the number of animals using the oxygen all this vegitation was producing was actually quite small... such that our atmosphere had a MUCH higher concentration of oxygen than it currently does...

You're saying that nothing would change? That everyone would work basically the same... in such a radically different environment, where basically ALL C02 was consumed... things wouldn't be different?

Can you imagine such a place? Can you even begin to theorize what that would mean?

Yeah, we can look at light that's millions of years old... but that light is travelling at the speed of light... from those photon's point of view, time has been frozen... How does THAT work? that light thinks it's a day old... not 9 billion years...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 8:58 pm 
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halplm wrote:
So you're telling me, that if more of the earth's land was available (say most of the water was in deep trenches of ocean, or tied up in the polar caps...), and it was COMPLETELY covered in extremely large amounts of vegitation (assume for a minute this is possible, somehow), and the number of animals using the oxygen all this vegitation was producing was actually quite small... such that our atmosphere had a MUCH higher concentration of oxygen than it currently does...

You're saying that nothing would change? That everyone would work basically the same... in such a radically different environment, where basically ALL C02 was consumed... things wouldn't be different?

Can you imagine such a place? Can you even begin to theorize what that would mean?

Yeah, we can look at light that's millions of years old... but that light is travelling at the speed of light... from those photon's point of view, time has been frozen... How does THAT work? that light thinks it's a day old... not 9 billion years...


Um, hal, I don't think Light thinks, actually. We're the ones who do that.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:03 pm 
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Hal, there isn't a shred of evidence that the conditions you describe ever existed or ever could exist. But life already exists right now in many environments that are more radically different than that (bacteria living on sulfur in 500-degree water around deep-ocean vents, for example, or in tiny cracks in solid rock thousands of meters underground), and it is still ordinary life that uses the same set of biochemicals and reproduces the same way. Its genes still mark it as related to us and to all other life on Earth.

A note: Green plants could not live in an environment with no CO2.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:13 pm 
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halplm does have a point, though.

The oxygen in our atmosphere is a product of photosynthesis. Prior to any organisms who did photosynthesis....there was no O2.

This is important, because most of our guesses and understanding about early life are based on a very different atmosphere for the young earth than we have today. O2 is very dangerous - it tears things up. We do not consider spontaneous generation to be a viable theory - life does not come from non-living things, as far as we can observe. To posit that it did in fact happen at some time, back in the primordial soup, you have to suppose that conditions then were different than they are now.


But this is a billion years, not a thousand, just to clarify.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:21 pm 
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"We" do not consider "spontaneous generation" to be a viable theory?

Who are "we"?

What you mean is "abiogenesis" and there is enormous support for the idea in the scientific community. It is the logical "end" of reading Evolution backward, or rather the "beginning" to the Evolution of life.

Life no doubt arose in the Sea. Atmospheric oxygen, such as we have now, was not present, as you mention, nor necessary for any kind of life. There are many anaerobic life forms.

None of this requires any adjustment to conditions theorized to exist 3.5 to 4 billion years ago.

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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:30 pm 
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I think that's more or less what Mith was saying.

It's absolutely true that the early atmosphere contained little or no oxygen. If there is no life to keep the supply up, oxygen ends up sequestered in the ground in the form of mineral oxides. Sand has a ton of oxygen in it, and it's extremely hard, energetically speaking, to ever get it back out.

Probably the first sign of life around another star that we find will be spectrographic evidence of oxygen in the atmosphere of an orbiting planet. If there's a significant amount of oxygen in the atmosphere, there has to be life.

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“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for a while. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:46 pm 
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What Prim said :P.

A good bit of biology up to the time of Pasteur was focused on disproving instances of spontaneous generation. Maggots do not come from rotting meat, they come from flies (Redi). Broth does not get cloudy unless it is exposed to dust in the air. Etc.

It is definately held to be true that life cannot arise from non-living things in the conditions we have today. Atmospheric oxygen would tear it to shreds. In support of this, no one has ever observed life coming from non-living things.

But the theory of abiogenesis restates the very idea of spontaneous generation, placing it in a different time and a different environment. The different environment is crucial for the theory to make any sense.

I mentioned this, because halplm was questioning if you could ever consider different conditions - yes. Different laws governing the universe? No. Miracles? Special case, by definition.

But for miracles to be miraculous, the natural laws must be accepted as they are.

I have heard "natural causes" explanations for the plagues on Egypt, and I was intrigued by how some of the explanations hung together really well. It doesn't mean I think it happened that way, but I don't see any harm in pursuing the question.


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 13, 2006 10:53 pm 
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*waves hi to hal*

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PostPosted: Sun Dec 17, 2006 6:14 am 
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I hope that I don’t come across as a total ignoramus considering that I do not have a scientific background nor am I well read on the subject of evolutionary theory ( I would say that I have a basic/general understanding of the topic). I am not really that familiar with the terms macro/micro-evolution or speciation (although I figured that one out by reading the various posts) or abiogenesis (I wiki’ed that one). But seeing as I’m most likely someone who falls into the creationist camp I thought I’d add my own thoughts.

I do believe in the historical accuracy of the Bible, although I don’t think that I’d refer to myself as a literalist (that is it’s own invovled discussion). For example, I am comfortable with the idea that the world was created in 7 days but I don’t think that the 7 days of creation were necessarily 24-hour days ie that the measurement of time was different then. I’ve never really been bothered by whatever discrepancies and conflicts exist between science and the various events that occurred in the Bible. Although I do think that G-d created the world to exist within the confines of nature and a natural order and only disrupts that natural order in very particular instances. Otherwise, His ideal is to act/intercede within the realm of the laws of nature (this can be characterized as the distinction between a hidden miracle and an outright miracle- nes nistar and nes galui- but I think is the topic for an other discussion).

When it comes to the original question, that of the animals that were in the ark, when I was growing up I used to think that a pair of all of the known animals went inside. But if you look at a close reading of the text, it uses a very specific word to describe G-d’s command to Noah- the hebrew word ‘min’, roughly translated as kind or species:

“...and of every living thing of all flesh, 2 of every sort shalt thou bring into the ark to keep them alive with thee; they shall be male and female. Of birds after their kind, and of cattle after their kind, of every creeping thing of the earth after its kind, 2 of every sort shall come to thee, to keep them alive.” (Genesis 6:19-20- translation taken from The Jerusalem Bible)

Interestingly enough, the same word ‘min’ is used when G-d created animals:

And G-d said, Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind, cattle, and creeping things, and beasts of the earth after their kind: and it was so. And G-d made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the earth after its kind” (Genesis 1:24-25)

So, in terms of which animals went into the ark, I think that it can be suggested that, in fact, only representatives of each species were brought in, not necessarily every living creature. What this means exactly from a scientific point of view I’m not sure, whether it be proto-horse or whatever. Again, those are concepts and phrases that I’m not so familiar with.

Just as an interesting side note is that after the flood, when Noah and co. were coming out of the ark, a different word is used to describe the animals: mishpacha or family (although, you’ll note that The Jerusalem Bible translates them the same):

And Noah went out, and his sons, and his wife, and his son’s wives with him: every beast, every creeping thing, and every bird, and whatever creeps on the earth after their kinds (l'mishpachoteihem), went of the ark.” (Genesis 8:18-19)

To be perfectly honest, I don’t believe in the theory of evolution in all of its various details. However, I do think that there is such a concept of evolution and that members of a species evolve and adapt over time. So, in terms of the time it took for evolution to occur and the amount of years from creation to the flood and from the flood to Abraham, I’m not bothered by the discrepancy. However, I think that it is possible to make the argument that evolution in some form occurred at a faster pace than is understood by science alone. Or, perhaps, it could be argued that the measurement of time was different before the flood and what seems as less time in our measurements was actually a much larger period of time. Admittedly, though, it would not account for the amount of time between the flood and the generation of Abraham.

It’s possible also that the nature of the environment was (as was suggested earlier) significantly different than it is today. Again, if one is working under the assumption that G-d works within the confines of nature then conditions had to be right in the environment at the time to support such a natural disaster. Is it really something that is a meterological impossibility under all potential environmental conditions? (it might be, I don’t know of such things). At the end of the day, things really started from square one’ish after the flood (in fact, there are many literary parallels in the post-flood part of the text of the Bible to the creation story. It’s quite fascinating actually). So in theory, atmospheric conditions could have drastically changed in such a way that our current atmosphere would no longer sustain such a storm.

Finally, in terms of ages, if you are going to approach this from a Biblical perspective, in the days of Noah (and before as well), people were living well in the high hundreds. Noah, himself, lived 950 years.

I’m not sure if this is what you were looking for. Again, I am not that familiar with the ins and outs of the theory of evolution nor with the in depth arguments on both sides of the debate. I hope this was helpful in some way.

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 03, 2007 9:07 pm 
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It would be difficult for a new abiogensis event to happen today, with or without oxygen. More firmly established life would eat it.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 5:50 am 
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For some reason, that made me smile. :)

Hi, C_G! :wave:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 04, 2007 6:25 pm 
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Hi right back at you! :woohoo:

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