Skip to comments.Evolving Faith Can Mess With The Mind
Posted on 05/10/2009 2:57:53 PM PDT by steve-b
If only William Jennings Bryan had known Francis Collins.
Maybe Bryan, who died just five days after leading the prosecution in the Scopes monkey trial, might have lived longer. Although he won the case, his sudden death suggests the proceedings, during which he was savaged by the press, may have taken a toll.
And who knows? We might never have argued at all about whether evolution should be taught in public schools had Collins been around. Timing.
If Collins is not familiar, he should be. He is the physician-geneticist who led the Human Genome Project for the National Institutes of Health and is noted for his discoveries of disease genes. Alas, he came along about eight decades too late for Bryan. But he may have entered the zeitgeist just in time for thousands (millions?) of others who have trouble embracing both Darwin and God without, as Collins puts it, their brains exploding.
Collins, an evangelical Christian who was home-schooled until 6th grade, wants to raise the level of discourse about science and faith, and help fundamentalists -- both in science and religion -- see that the two can coexist. To that end, he created the BioLogos Foundation and last month launched a Web site -- BioLogos.org -- to advance an alternative to the extreme views that tend to dominate the debate.
Yes, he asserted to a room full of journalists gathered here, one can believe in both God and science. In fact, says Collins, the latter does more to prove the existence of a creator than not.
This doesn't mean that Collins falls in line with those promoting creation science or, more recently, intelligent design. He merely insists that belief in God doesn't preclude acceptance of evolution....
(Excerpt) Read more at chicagotribune.com ...
I believe in God and I believe that He created the universe just like He said He did.
The word “random” shows that you don’t know what you’re talking about. Ergo, your comment has no validity.
Heh! So I guess that means it’s directed.
“the random walk of evolution “
Consider that evolution may have (and probably did) evolve such that rapid changes, more variability, and evolution driving evolution was and is better.
That is rapid evolution produces a more fit species than a slower evolving one. So evolution may not be a random walk and is a process driving itself.
You can prove that sexual reproduction is an improvement for species survivability over asexual reproduction. This is a case where evolution “programmed itself” for faster genetic changes and is not merely a random walk.
In case this thread devolves into the typical crevo flamewar, I have opened a similar thread as an ecumenical topic, where the rules of discussion require more civility.
Collins attempts to meld God and science [Ecumenical Thread]
The Scientist.com ^ | 5/23/2008 | Bob Grant—Associate Editor, The Scientist
Posted on Sunday, May 10, 2009 3:38:17 PM by Kevmo
And for the next to last statement. You can prove that sexual reproduction is an improvement for species survivability over asexual reproduction. Obviously false or have you forgotten about bacteria?
The error that is introduced in this concept is that while mutation events may be random, the results stemming from those events are anything but random.
Most mutation events are inconsequential. Not because to the individual cell harboring the event they don't matter, but because that particular cell was not in the line of producing offspring anyway.
Even lethal mutations within a cell may be meaningless for the above reason.
This is remarkably fortuitous. Our bodies, and those of other life around the planet, are very resilient in the face of the continuing warfare being waged against them. Ionizing radiation occurs everywhere and continually. That's what causes the background clicking on the familiar Geiger Counter.
We deal with this through various responses in our health and immune systems, just as an ant colony deals with its daily casualties. Such is life.
It's only when the background clicking starts rising, to become an angry buzzing, that it represents a heightened danger. Uranium prospectors must have been operating on a short-term reward philosophy.
Of course, evolution is driven by many more factors than just ionizing radiation. But we will keep things uncomplicated for the moment and consider this factor by itself.
When radiation strikes vulnerable genetic information, it's rather like having a tiny ink blob fall on a nicely printed page. Most likely, the little ink droplet will fall on part of the "white space", the area between words and letters.
Even if it should fall on a letter, most often the astute reader will casually ignore it as simple noise not affecting his task.
Occasionally, a little droplet of ink could appear to actually change a letter to another letter, such as making an "n" look like an "h". Even this is normally not a problem. We expect a little less than perfection in most processes, and Nature is no different in Her expectations. (That's why reproduction has many levels of error-detection and correction.)
Every once in a while, which of course you will see that I am leading, a random droplet of ink could undetectably change the meaning of a written statement.
"The elephant ate the nut." then becomes "The elephant ate the hut."
Our normal error detection techniques do not immediately alert us to the problem, and error has crept in to the record that was being transmitted.
One can easily see that all efforts operate to the disadvantage of random error.
And yet ...
Exactly this sort of error was the reason great effort was expended to find better ways of doing calculations in the not-too-distant past. It was the reason that Charles Babbage ventured into the very difficult domain of creating the world's first computer, a mechanical contrivance. Well worth reading about in its own right. But my point is that his quest was driven by the occurrence of persistent error.
The disadvantage, as described, of error operates the same way in the matter of evolution, or reproduction. Life struggles against error, striving to create perfect reproductions, because error is costly, even fatal in many or most instances. "Stick with the plan" is the motto of life.
But error is persistent. Almost sly. "h" instead of "n" indeed! How rude!
And error is patient. It has all of time for its disturbing machinations.
"Stick with the plan" may be the motto, but "Things change" is the rule.
.(I'm stealing that line up there for my new tagline!)
Or that the sheer mass of simple organisms is greater than the total mass of more complex beings. So what is it that creates complexity?