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Scientists Decipher 3-Billion-Year-Old Genomic Fossils

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the long-time-gone dept.

Biotech 217

hnkstrprnkstr writes "MIT scientists have created a sort of genomic fossil (abstract) that shows the collective genome of all life underwent an enormous expansion about 3 billion years ago, which they're calling the Archean Expansion. Many of the new genes appearing in the Archean Expansion are oxygen related, and could be the first biological evidence of the Great Oxidation Event, the period in Earth's history when oxygen became so plentiful that many anaerobic life forms may have become extinct."

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217 comments

At last! (3, Funny)

lpaul55 (137990) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624402)

I can breathe!

Oxygen catastrophe (1)

Rosyna (80334) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624566)

Just flip a switch and the earth gets flooded with oxygen. Where's Noah when you need him?!

Re:Oxygen catastrophe (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624594)

so finally we will have proof that the nigger is the most primitive and savage of all human beings. that is why haiti worked out so well, why Harlem is not a safe neighborhood, why OJ Simpson was found not guilty, why there was the LA Riots when a single nigger hopped up on PCP got in a fight with cops and the liberal media didn't mention he was on PCP, etc. truth hurts doesn't it libs?

For the "but it's just a computer model!" trolls (3, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624406)

Go here. [google.com] Follow, read, and understand the links on the first, say, three or four pages of search results. Then, maybe, you'll know enough to have a meaningful opinion on the subject.

Re:For the "but it's just a computer model!" troll (0)

grikdog (697841) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624980)

>Whack u upsida hed! Short version, please. Demonstrate how the abstract pin head in question can support that many dancing angels. Try to imagine your audience is U. S. Senator Tom Harkin, Chairman of HELP, and the upshot will be your cut of guvmint grants for 2012.

Re:For the "but it's just a computer model!" troll (4, Informative)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625430)

Wow, the first result [google.com] is very interesting, and mostly understandable, because the ideas read much like similar programming concepts. And it even contains a car analogy!

The character ’existence of engine’ is compatible with the tree of Figure 2.1 (a) as the
motor is invented once in the edge connecting the root and the common ancestor of car and
motorcycle. The same character is not compatible with the tree in Figure 2.1 (b) where the
engine is invented twice. The character ’number of wheels’ is compatible with both trees.

What they say... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624414)

Be sure to drink your Ovaltine. Ovaltine? A crummy commercial?

Wait, what? (3, Funny)

WD (96061) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624474)

I'm confused. So they were on the Ark or what?

Re:Wait, what? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624494)

You're not confused, you're a troll. But given that most raving lunatics like you around here couldn't contribute anything real to a conversation such as this speaks volumes as to the real reason you're interested in discussing science...

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624536)

whoa, someone left their comedy detector off today. Get some sleep dude!

Re:Wait, what? (4, Interesting)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624598)

really, creationism is the 'elephant in the room' whenever you start talking about the fossil record

what I find interesting about the article is the layering effect of life. how the anerobic life got pushed out by the oxygen breathers and relegated to living in the cracks. good for us, but an extinction event for them. there have been many big extinctions, and each allowed some hardier form of live to make it to the next expansion. we are in a current extinction event (holocene), and have started to worry about an asteroid or some such wiping us out.

even that worry over our own 'extinction' bumps up against any number of religious beliefs, even if they seem to have an unrealistic timescale of tens of years, when any historical events have been separated by millions of years

so, gimmee something here, how do you discuss geologic events when people seem so driven to think in terms of their own lifespans?

Re:Wait, what? (5, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624812)

so, gimmee something here, how do you discuss geologic events when people seem so driven to think in terms of their own lifespans?

Very, very slowly.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624882)

so, gimmee something here, how do you discuss geologic events when people seem so driven to think in terms of their own lifespans?

WIth such people, my advice is to simply change the topic to something more relevant to them... like "Obama's health care plans" or "Assange and how this egotistic douche bag tries to avoid the extradition and the execution sentence that any cyber-terrorist is so rightfuly entitled"... things like that, you know?

Re:Wait, what? (3, Interesting)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625064)

what I find interesting about the article is the layering effect of life. how the anerobic life got pushed out by the oxygen breathers and relegated to living in the cracks. good for us, but an extinction event for them. there have been many big extinctions, and each allowed some hardier form of live to make it to the next expansion. we are in a current extinction event (holocene), and have started to worry about an asteroid or some such wiping us out.

even that worry over our own 'extinction' bumps up against any number of religious beliefs, even if they seem to have an unrealistic timescale of tens of years, when any historical events have been separated by millions of years.

I'm a programmer but just happen to be reading Nick Lane's books on this. If I get something wrong please biologists jump in and correct me. :)

I only read a page or two a day (first "Oxygen", and now "Power, Sex, Suicide" - and yes, that's all based on oxygen). But the revelation I had yesterday was that anaerobic bacteria essentially drown in oxygen, just as we would suffocate with too little oxygen, which by the way is not that much below the historic percentage of atmosphere for last several hundred million years of 21%. Dropping below about 15% of atmosphere would kill all oxygen breathing life.

So anaerobic life which ruled the world didn't get pushed out by oxygen breathing life, it got pushed "out", or down into stagnant places rather, by oxygen, which was created by photosynthesis. Almost all the oxygen over .1% of the atmosphere was created by photosynthesis in plant life.

And what became of that anaerobic life in the sea with .1% oxygen? It exists to this day in our cells, which are in the same salt water of the sea in our body and exposed to .1% oxygen delivered by hameoglobin in the blood. It also exists in our intestines among other places with little oxygen, such as bottoms of swamps.

The kicker? People talk of evolution and they have no idea. All current life was set in place nearly three billion years ago. Every complex thing you ever read about in the human body cells is in every cell of every life form for almost three billion years.

DNA, RNA, mitochondria, conversion of glucose to storage of energy in ATP molecules using an extremely complex 12 step process, manufacture of the same proteins with ribosomes, fermentation to create energy without even that .1% of atmosphere oxygen when necessary (such as our muscles which fermentation kicks in when needed and creates a byproduct lactic acid which eventually causes cramps), respiration using haemin which is haemoglobin in blood and clorophyll in plants, everything was set almost three billion years ago.

Nothing has evolved, it has only specialized.

The bigger question is how this complex machinery of life developed in the first billion years of Earth amidst massive meteor impacts. People can call it what they want, but knowing that all life that has ever existed has existed essentially unchanged from three billion years ago defies explanation of "evolving" in first one to two billion years to the amazing complexity of how cells work and then staying pat for almost three billion years and only losing capabilities, not gaining new and more complex capabilities as one assumes from casual science study and reading.

I am not religious and do not consider religious arguments against evolution as anything but pedantic handwaving, but what we call evolution is really rather trivial specialization implemented by the ancient common embryo genes.

I could go on and I'm probably leaving out even more stuff that took my breath away when I read it but people have no idea the ancient universality of all life forms from the same unbelievably complex cell from three billion years ago.

  rd

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Lloyd_Bryant (73136) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625428)

Nothing has evolved, it has only specialized.

The bigger question is how this complex machinery of life developed in the first billion years of Earth amidst massive meteor impacts. People can call it what they want, but knowing that all life that has ever existed has existed essentially unchanged from three billion years ago defies explanation of "evolving" in first one to two billion years to the amazing complexity of how cells work and then staying pat for almost three billion years and only losing capabilities, not gaining new and more complex capabilities as one assumes from casual science study and reading.

Why would you expect the "gaining of new and more complex capabilities"? Evolution is not oriented towards perfection. It's oriented towards "good enough". So it's quite possible that all those 3 billion year old mechanisms have been "good enough" to meet all conditions encountered since then, in which case unless the "new and more complex capability" provided a substantial survival advantage, it won't have become commonplace. And since "more complex" generally means "more expensive in terms of energy consumption", any mutations in that direction could quite likely have been a survival *disadvantage*.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625692)

And since "more complex" generally means "more expensive in terms of energy consumption", any mutations in that direction could quite likely have been a survival *disadvantage*.

I agree with that, but what I'm saying is that the common perception of evolution is that life gets more complex by "evolving" but the most complex machinery of cells has stayed unchanged for three billion years, and that all life forms, from bacteria to yeast to fungus to plants to animals have the same cell machinery, the stuff we just figured out like the DNA helix just a few decades ago.

I don't think very many people have any idea everything has the same cellular basis of life for past three billion years, every life form that ever existed. Maybe biologists just operate knowing this but the rest of us have no idea. I just read it myself in the past month, and I've read a lot of science in my lifetime.

  rd

Re:Wait, what? (5, Insightful)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625626)

The bigger question is how this complex machinery of life developed in the first billion years of Earth amidst massive meteor impacts. People can call it what they want, but knowing that all life that has ever existed has existed essentially unchanged from three billion years ago defies explanation of "evolving" in first one to two billion years to the amazing complexity of how cells work and then staying pat for almost three billion years and only losing capabilities, not gaining new and more complex capabilities as one assumes from casual science study and reading.

a) How long should we have expected that first billion years of evolution to take?

b) You should rephrase "not gaining new and more complex capabilities" to say "at the cellular level". At higher levels, progress has been phenomenal. (How much smarter are you than a single-cell organism?)

The origin of cellular machinery is indeed impressive, but unfortunately "I can't believe it could happen by natural causes in a billion years" tells us a little about the speaker's beliefs, and nothing at all about what actually happened.

As to why not much new has been added to that machinery since, maybe we have more basis for speculation. Competition from all-new "designs" is probably impossible, because the necessary building blocks would probably be oxidized, or digested by current organisms, before it could bootstrap itself into a new cell type. For variants on what we have, evolution is not a reversible process, so we can't expect cells to undo part of their history and try something else, any more than birds would evolve back into dinosaurs and go then forward again down a different path.

So we're probably stuck with consideration of add-ons to the current machinery. But there's no guarantee that something nifty would happen in that regard within any bounded period of time. Evolution doesn't provide organisms with things just because they are needed or would be useful. Possibly cellular evolution has reached a "local maximum" on the fitness landscape, from which there is no easy jump to something better.

And who knows... some of the past jumps may not have been particularly easy either, but merely fortuitous one-time events.

And evolution of macroscopic organisms has certainly gotten a lot of mileage out of the existing cellular machinery. Maybe it's good enough?

Re:Wait, what? (5, Informative)

Gogogoch (663730) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625862)

"All current life was set in place nearly three billion years ago". Absolutely not - your view of the history of biology is very warped. Study more biology itself to realize what 'current life' actually looks like. Some important points:

1.7~2 Billion years ago: probable endosymbiosis of prokaryote into eurkaryotic cells, forming mitochonria. Much later than the 3 billion years you suggest, and an absolutely vital stage in the evolution of multicellular life. In fact, it is suggested that the emergence of mitrochondria is why we are here to day - without these powerhouses single-celled life did not have enough available energy to form multi-cellular organisms.

1~1.3 Billions years ago: complex multi-cellular life: While the diversity, resilience, and ubiquity of single-celled life is amazing, I find complex multi-celled life much more astonishing. That colonies of cells can cooperate, specialise and form complex life is a wonderful achievement of evolution. Of course, it took a mind-boggling amount of time. Still, a significant step the results of which are quite distinct from life of 3 billions years ago. So your assertion is again inadequate.

~600 million years: emergence of the first neuron.

~580 million years: nerves and muscles, working together; first eyes

~550 million years: brains

And so the list goes on. Perhaps a significant development every 10-20 million years.

~540 million years: hearts and circulatory systems

There is a giant change from single-celled life to cats, dogs, and humans. What you should be saying is that, as a programmer, you are amazed that all life on Earth has the same genetic code - that the 3 base-pair codon is almost universal in every cell and organism on the plant. I suppose I do like you perspective though, when you look at a yeast cell, an oak tree, and a human and realise they are all related, all cousins, all derived from an evolutionary chain billions of years in the making.

Re:Wait, what? (2)

globaljustin (574257) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625304)

so, gimmee something here, how do you discuss geologic events when people seem so driven to think in terms of their own lifespans?

I can help. I am the product of 18 years of Christian fundamentalist education, from Kinder through undergrad.

Focus on the processes and what happened and not on how you got there...say "over time" and just be as general as possible. Really it's sad that it's come to this, but just say "millions/billions of years ago" as little as possible.

The best you can realistically expect from a TRUE creationist is "how do they know that?" and "how does X geological or celestial event affect Y?" and that's OK. It's a *conversation* instead of an argument. I've learned this is 'victory' when dealing with close-minded, under educated people.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625412)

It's a *conversation* instead of an argument.

Is it? Or is it just managing to avoid an argument by saying essentially nothing at all?

Maybe it's just a matter of different scale calibration, but a victory of that kind isn't worth the time I'd be spending on it. I'd rather just be silent. It's boring, but I'd take boring over the results of pushing the "crazy" button. And you ALWAYS end up pushing the crazy button sooner or later, unless you avoid the topic altogether.

(Or maybe you're just better at this game than I am.)

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624558)

There is actually nothing in the biblical text that precludes evolution all all the prior lifeforms.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

garyisabusyguy (732330) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624662)

yeah, my parents always went for the whole, 'So, how do you know that a billion years isn't a "day" for God?' thing and sent me on my way. they were teachers (remain involved with religion) and never faced any of the conflict that the fundamentalists being to the table

so, what drives the desire to hold a belief in front of so much evidence to the contrary?

Re:Wait, what? (2)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625330)

Nothing needs to drive it - they just ignore or explain away the evidence. Humans are inherently irrational, and we're very slow to change our minds about even mundane matters, let alone something which has been drilled into us since childhood and which heavily influences how we interact with those around us. The big surprise isn't that so many people continue to believe in nonsensical superstitious claims - it's that so many have managed to find their way out of it.

Re:Wait, what? (1)

M. Baranczak (726671) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625334)

And the correct response is: If the Book of Genesis re-defines a common word like "day" to mean something completely different, then how can you trust anything else in it?

Re:Wait, what? (4, Insightful)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625836)

Except the original Hebrew word didn't mean a day, and was often used in other writings to mean an indeterminate period. If you're asking how you can trust a poor translation job, you may be on to something, but the original text didn't use the English word 'day' at all, let alone redefine it.
Alternately, some people claim the account in Genesis is metaphorical. Now I'm not arguing that it definitely is or isn't, but your argument seems to be that if it is metaphorical, it's untrustworthy in some absolute sense. I.e. "Carl Sagan used a metaphor of the Milky Way as the Backbone of Night in Cosmos, so how can we trust anything else in Cosmos?" Or maybe you're going as far as "The discoverer of the Benzine ring used a metaphor of a snake devouring its tail to describe it, so how can we trust anything in organic chemistry?".

Re:Wait, what? (2)

whereiswaldo (459052) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625808)

so, what drives the desire to hold a belief in front of so much evidence to the contrary?

Well, I go to church regularly and I'll readily admit I'm not completely convinced of all of this stuff being true. However, the people at my baptist church really do care about others and I do, too. They've really touched my heart. I know every church is different and some (probably many, especially catholic) really turn me off with the condescending, "you're a sinner since birth" brain washing) so YMMV.

If you find a good church like I did and put your heart into it, suspending your scepticism (it's not easy), you just may feel the power of faith. It's an amazing feeling, a power I can't deny washing over me. Maybe you guys can think of a scientific name for it. But for now I am content in attending church, "rebooting" my soul every week and casting off doubts, hatred, etc... The people at my church really believe what they are preaching. They don't beg people for money... they pray about it. They pray about everything they need as a ministry. They pray for others in need. It's really refreshing.

If I am wrong about these beliefs, then I will one day die and go into the soil and nothing more will happen. If I am right, I will have eternal life in heaven. And while I am living, my life is enriched by being with people who care about one another - about me - and put their 100% out there every time I see them. That's more than I can say for a hell of a lot of people. So as you can see, I have nothing to lose by believing.

As far as evolution goes, I think a God that doesn't take into account changing environmental conditions isn't a very smart God. So evolution and creationism can coexist, at least in my view. I mean, think about it, everything had to originate from something, right? God, or whatever you want to visualize, has to ultimately create all this, in some dimension/multiverse/etc... Who created time? Imagining there's some power higher than us just seems obvious.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624702)

I'm confused. So they were on the Ark or what?

Yes, the "B" Ark.

Re:Wait, what? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624796)

I'm confused. So they were on the Ark or what?

No, you're making a joke about the sort of myths that piss people off.

The correct myth about the Oxygen Catastrophe of 2.5-2.8 Ga ago, of course, is the one recorded in the sci-fi short story written on behalf of my preferred cult: Bob and the Oxygen Wars [subgenius.com] :)

Creationism (1, Troll)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624488)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

Re:Creationism (0)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624498)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

How about: "Hey, why are you free citizens of the United States of America exercising those freedoms!?!? Friggin assholes!!!"

You??

Re:Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624572)

Free to be wrong is still wrong, the universe doesn't care.

Re:Creationism (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624584)

free to be wrong is FUNDAMENTAL to being free.

Re:Creationism (2)

ushering05401 (1086795) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624626)

Wow. You just decoded the entire reason I don't run around killing people.

What do you think would happen if people started thinking about this more? Maybe we would soon see a "Hey, we have been wrong before so we will think a little more next time" popular uprising.

It will be chaos I tell you. People thinking thoughts.. talking to each other.. My god, I need my inhaler and HOMELAND SECURITY!!!

Re:Creationism (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624616)

Oblig XKCD comic: http://xkcd.com/154/

Re:Creationism (5, Funny)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624512)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

As little as possible.

Re:Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624926)

I have created a new word specifically for these types of conversations. Every evolutionist has had a "proselytizing" experience where a devoutly religious person tries to persuade you that creationism is the only possible answer. Now, I have a word for the evolutionist who wants to praise evolution from the heavens; fossilytizing! I've added it to addictionary so please vote it you will and share with your friends!

Re:Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625346)

and try not to make eye contact.

Re:Creationism (1)

meow27 (1526173) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624524)

<quote><p>40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?</p></quote>

Just use the famous old trick

if in the 4th day the sun and the moon were created, then how could you tell time before hand?

this must have happened between days 1-4
>:3

Re:Creationism (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624590)

This doesn't say anything that contradicts Creation, or The Omnipotent Creator. Its just that it all happened umpteen billion years ago.

Re:Creationism (5, Insightful)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624596)

Simple. "God works in subtle, mysterious ways. Who is to say that He did not create the universe in such a way that the precise results He wished to occur would occur, like an intricate, universe-wide set of dominoes? Could not evolution be the means by which He created man?"

If they continue to argue, hit them with a crowbar.

Re:Creationism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624682)

I think that Quantum Physics and that pesky uncertainty principle would tend to disagree..

Crowbars cant alter fundamental truths.

Re:Creationism (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625556)

You've never been hit with a crowbar, have you? Please believe me that when you feel bones breaking for this or other reasons, it's altering some fundamental truths, includin gthe nature of your relation to your deity and the rest of the universe. And torture has, occasionally, been quite effective in changing people's minds. It's just not reliable or safe.

Re:Creationism (1)

flyingkillerrobots (1865630) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624718)

I'm not sure you're aware, but I'm pretty sure you've just described the basic premise of Intelligent Design.

Re:Creationism (1)

Dhalka226 (559740) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625114)

Which is fine by me. I don't have a problem with Intelligent Design by itself. Now, when people try to push to have it taught in science classes or given equal time with scientific theories with vast amounts of evidence supporting them, then I have a problem with it. As a concept in and of itself, meh, whatever.

In fact, I see Intelligent Design as a step in the right direction. It's essentially theists saying "okay science, you might be right -- BUT GOD DID IT ZOMG!" As an intellectual I find it to be a bit of a cop-out, but I also see it as a recognition that science might actually have it right, and also a step away from strict Biblical interpretations, both of which I consider to be extremely good things.

It's the distinction between faith and religion. I have no particular problem with people who have faith in god; I don't share it because my mind won't allow me to accept something without evidence beyond not knowing something ("god of the gaps"), but I don't mind that they can. I do have a problem--a major problem--with religion. To quote Jefferson, with its "tyranny over the mind of man." Its self-importance, its "knowing" it's right until it can't possibly deny it's wrong anymore, the atrocities committed by it and for it, the way it is used as an excuse to sanction pretty much every horrible action in human history from wars and sacrifies to the Crusades and Inquisitions to justifications of witch hunts and slavery to modern-day gay bashing. All of these things I loathe. But actual belief that there's a higher power? Not my cup of tea, but go ahead. If nothing else it forces people to think about what god is and what he would really think and really want, and to make those decisions as individuals or communities and not as billion-member denominations who are more than happy to do all your thinking for you.

As I said, as long as they don't try to consider such belief on the same levels of merit of actual scientific process and theory or force it on people in the name of "equality," I couldn't care less if that's what people believe.

Re:Creationism (1)

shiftless (410350) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625466)

Its self-importance, its "knowing" it's right until it can't possibly deny it's wrong anymore, the atrocities committed by it and for it, the way it is used as an excuse to sanction pretty much every horrible action in human history from wars and sacrifies to the Crusades and Inquisitions to justifications of witch hunts and slavery to modern-day gay bashing. All of these things I loathe.

Me too. But these are not religious qualities--they are HUMAN qualities. People did the things above because they were human, and they wanted to, and the religion was just an excuse to do it.

Re:Creationism (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624858)

Hmm, for an all powerful god to create everything, know everything and control everything, that god must necessarily be much larger and more complex than the universe. So, who created this god?

Re:Creationism (1)

Newtonian_p (412461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624890)

Ultragod created God, obviously.

Who created Ultragod you ask? What a silly question. Ultragod is eternal and thus needs no origin.

Please use the correct notation (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625046)

It's "ultraGod."

"Ultragod" is too easily confused with the GodUI, a buggy framework responsible for the segfault in the Red Sea.

Things started to improve about 2,000 years ago with the introduction of God On Rails, although this still has reports of Christians with evidence of memory corruption.

Re:Creationism (1)

ukemike (956477) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624942)

Hmm, for an all powerful god to create everything, know everything and control everything, that god must necessarily be much larger and more complex than the universe. So, who created this god?

He evolved.

Re:Creationism (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625040)

Hmm, for an all powerful god to create everything, know everything and control everything, that god must necessarily be much larger and more complex than the universe. So, who created this god?

He evolved.

Blasphemy ... everybody knows that She evolved, praise be unto Her Noodliness

Prayer and Gospel reading in the Reformate Pastafarian Church this Friday at noon-time.

Re:Creationism (2)

Newtonian_p (412461) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624972)

This sort of ad-hoc rationalisation can be used to account for absolutely anything imaginable. For instance, arguing that God created the whole Universe 5 minutes ago with everything in it and all our memories in a way to make it undistinguishable from a 13.7 billion year old Universe would be another example of ad-hoc rationalisation that can account for anything which is intellectually equivalent to your suggestion.

I know you don't necessarily believe in "domino theology", it is just something to use on creationists but in my experience there almost no chance that they'll change anything in their mind about the subject of evolution. For anything related to someone's religiously based beliefs it's hard to have any productive discussion.

Re:Creationism (2)

dmuir (964412) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625184)

No, because Theistic-Evolution is self-refuting. If God said he created in 6 days, but actually took billions of years, then that would make him a liar. If he's lying about how he created, then there's a good chance he's not telling the truth about being God either (basically the inverse of John 3:12). It also ignores the premise for Evolution; a way to explain origins without God. Something is very wrong with Evolution if you have to invoke God to get it to work.

Re:Creationism (1)

SourGrapes (1003959) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625586)

No, because Theistic-Evolution is self-refuting. If God said he created in 6 days, but actually took billions of years, then that would make him a liar. If he's lying about how he created, then there's a good chance he's not telling the truth about being God either (basically the inverse of John 3:12).

Six days from what reference frame, though? I'm sure you don't have to be reminded that time is relative. The perception of time of someone sitting at the beginning of the universe when the energy density was ridiculously high is going to be a lot different than ours is on Earth's surface here and now. I've seen figures that estimate the relationship between the rate of time-passage at nucleosynthesis compared to today is something like 10^12. Which, if you multiply it by 6 days, you do get about 16.4 billion years. So God's not lying, he's just using a different frame of reference. It can be literally both 6 days and billions of years simultaneously, no lying required. I doubt you'd hear that argument out of an actual creationist, but there you go.

Re:Creationism (1)

supersloshy (1273442) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625658)

Note that the Catholic Church, from it's very inception (which is when Jesus made Peter his successor), never believed that the Bible was to be taken literally at all times (especially in Genesis). My source [catholic.com] (Also, check out some of the other writings on that site: awesome resource!).

Re:Creationism (0, Troll)

Brett Buck (811747) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624670)

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who were or are highly religious. Newton, for example. He (arguably) invented calculus and the law of gravity, and is essentially responsible for modern analytical science. Your primary accomplishment appears to be a snotty little comment belittling other's deeply-held beliefs.

Re:Creationism (0)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624730)

Yes, I belittle others deeply held beliefs that are so easily proved wrong.

Newton had an excuse, there was no carbon dating back then.

You don't even know me, you have no idea how little I've accomplished, Mr. poopy-pants!

Re:Creationism (2)

kanto (1851816) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624736)

Overwhelming majority of the early non-religious scientists were burned at the stake or at least didn't get the credit they deserved in their lifetime; I guess that's a theistic selection of sorts.

Re:Creationism (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625422)

Overwhelming majority of the early non-religious scientists were burned at the stake or at least didn't get the credit they deserved in their lifetime; I guess that's a theistic selection of sorts.

Citation?

Off the top of my head, I can't think of a single non-religious scientist who was burned at the stake. Or are you counting Bruno, who was a Dominican monk, as I recall. And wasn't burned for being a scientist, but for being a heretic (no, not heretical about scientific beliefs, heretical in that he rejected a lot of Catholic religious beliefs).

Plus the whole reincarnation thing, of course. Very bad thing to believe around Catholics, and no more scientific than Creationism....

Re:Creationism (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624864)

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who were or are highly religious.

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who are highly dead.

Re:Creationism (5, Insightful)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625014)

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who were or are highly religious.

Or claimed to be in order to escape the current Inquisition.

Re:Creationism (5, Insightful)

adamofgreyskull (640712) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625074)

I'm sorry, but that's a ridiculous argument. So what? Newton was religious. Richard Feynman isn't. Richard Dawkins isn't. Thomas Edison wasn't. Sigmund Freud wasn't. Stephen Hawking isn't. Peter Higgs isn't. James Watson isn't. These people [wikipedia.org] aren't/weren't. So what? People make discoveries and come up with inventions. Some of those people believe in religion, some of them don't. Measuring relgion's impact on progress by naming famous religious scientists/inventors...down that path lies madness.

On the other hand, many murderers, mass murderers even, are/were "highly religious" and of course, in the middle of those two extremes, there are many many many many many many many other people who have made no impact on society whatsoever, doomed to be excluded from the annals of history by their mediocrity who are (or were) "highly religious". You can't just hold up an example of a great scientist who was also religious and say:

"Look! That proves it!!! Human progress is impossible without Religion!!"

I think if you replaced Newton's headstone with a magnet and wrapped his coffin in wire, you'd produce a measurable current every time you did say that.

The "overwhelming majority of human progress" is in the past, due to the fact that the present is still happening and we can't see into the future. Society is becoming more secular. Many countries still have blasphemy laws. Some countries will stone you to death if you criticise a man who's supposedly an emissary of a prophet of a god. How many people were hanged/stoned/shot to death because of their godlessness who might have come up with calculus, or the "law of gravity" or the bagless vacuum cleaner or any one of a number of Really Great Things? How many were excluded from schools/universities because of accidents of birth, or because of their religious beliefs (which is pretty much the same thing).

How many scientists paid lip service to God and religion because it was an established social convention. How many scientists paid lip service to God because the church was giving them money? If you were studying at one of the earliest 12th-14th century(I think) church-run universities would you come out with a heretical theory that suggested that God might not exist? No. No you wouldn't.

Re:Creationism (2, Informative)

Monchanger (637670) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625144)

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who were or are highly religious.

That's because it took us 5,000 years of civilization to grow past our need to attribute everything we didn't understand to a mysterious power. Today we actually have the cognitive fortitude to admit our ignorance and lack of imagination. Those evolved among us do anyway.

Your "deeply-held belief", which is undoubtedly simply a circumstance of conceptive chance, rather than a profound understanding of theology and introspection, is not shared [lhup.edu] by a statistically significant number of modern scientists. So this silly claim you parroted (made up by far more intelligent religious hacks, good job crediting them by the way) proving religious belief has anything to do with scientific endeavor is plainly bullshit.

But go right ahead. Continue to take the coward's way out and claim that some deity is responsible for your mental failures if that helps you look in the mirror. Just do us a favor and quit trying to rewritite history as well.

Re:Creationism (3, Insightful)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625358)

Nice logic! Got another one for ya: The overwhelming majority of murders and rapes were committed by people who were or are highly religious. Guess that proves that theists are inherently immoral, eh?

Re:Creationism (1)

Antique Geekmeister (740220) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625576)

Where do you possibly derive this? Most murders and rapes are committed by family members: there's nothing like living that close to someone, especially someone under your physical care or control, to tempt abuse. Religion may ritualize it and set standards such as the child body changing of ear piercing, circumcision, or clitorectomy practiced by various cultures. But how many members of any genocidal army were genuinely religious? How many just followed orders and killed scapegoats?

Re:Creationism (1)

c6gunner (950153) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625598)

I don't think you understand the scope of this discussion. Generally speaking, it's a good idea to read the entire chain of comments, instead of just reading mine and then getting your panties in a bunch. Context matters.

Re:Creationism (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625404)

The overwhelming majority of human progress has come from people who were or are highly religious.

Ignoring the dubious use of "highly" in that claim, we can also point out that all the foundations of human society and technology were created by polytheists.

Re:Creationism (2)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624754)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

"Awhh... forget about LHC... what do you think of Snooki? [theonion.com]".
Is this good enough?

Re:Creationism (0)

khallow (566160) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625042)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

Are you sure it's not 98%? That's a number too.

Re:Creationism (1)

pinkushun (1467193) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625852)

40% of US residents believe in creationism. What are you going to say to them, huh?

"Creating man and women incapable of evil is the act of a worthy God"? :-D

Plant and Animal... (2)

RyanFenton (230700) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624516)

Two fires that found a way to indirectly fuel eachother over the millennia by way of oxygen. Somewhat romantic, actually. Actually makes more sense to give a flower in that context.

Ryan Fenton

Re:Plant and Animal... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625216)

What do the plants give? A bouquet of genitals?

"Say it with roses" ...

The Great Memory Leak (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624530)

This is what happens when you don't free() your genes after you're done with them.

Re:The Great Memory Leak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624732)

This is what happens when you don't free() your genes...

the nun told me doing that would make me go blind.
So she did it for me. Mmmm, nun job.

Re:The Great Memory Leak (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624784)

This is what happens when you don't free() your genes after you're done with them.

Why free them? Want to end like Manning? Send them to Cryptome or OpenLeaks... (one simply cannot trust Wikileaks for responsible leaks releasing).

What about mass extintions? (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624654)

Is not that every living thing died, but that very few survived, and those very few could had common recent mutations (i.e. resistence to cold around ice ages) that could be misinterpreted as ancient genes as found in different species.

Re:What about mass extintions? (1)

rodarson2k (1122767) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624708)

That's their whole argument. Everything that survived the period of time that they are referring to was capable of utilizing oxygen. After that, things got more and more complicated and diverse.

Basically, these guys just got an article posted to slashdot (and nature) describing how they just confirmed that evolution probably happened more or less how we expected that it did.

Re:What about mass extintions? (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624852)

Basically, these guys just got an article posted to slashdot (and nature) describing how they just confirmed that evolution probably happened more or less how we expected that it did.

Nice snark, eh? Maybe you should drop some acid and read the paper. Might open your mind to some fantastic little details like coming up with an explanation of how most life on the planet manages to look at act like it does.

Yes, TFRP (The Fine Research Paper) broadly agrees with current evolutionary theory. No, it's not the Higgs Boson or even the Flying Spaghetti Monster. It does represent an interesting new look of a vastly important time in our biosphere - one that is fantastically difficult to study.

But keep on minimizing everything if it suits you. Your loss.

Re:What about mass extintions? (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625110)

Is not that every living thing died, but that very few survived, and those very few could had common recent mutations (i.e. resistence to cold around ice ages) that could be misinterpreted as ancient genes as found in different species.

Those things would be the Archaea with all our existing complex life infrastructure existing in frigid cold and hydrothermal vents deep under sea, and in earth heated sulphur lakes and high saline lakes. They were able to survive and pass on to us life.

in an analogy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34624744)

If there had been CO2 dependent intelligent life at the time they would have phrased the rise in O2 in the same terms we frame the rise in CO2 today, O2 would be a form of pollution, an ecological disaster, something preventable if only the oxygen producing life forms would just restrain themselves. Just as then, the problem we face now is not an artificial one. We are part of the ecosystem, taken as a mass we're no more intelligent than the oxygen producing life forms in the previous event. As a mass we just do what we need to in order to survive. There's no guarantee of our survival or any other species on the planet. I'm only comforted by the fact that we might be even harder to kill than the cockroaches most suggest will inherit the planet after we're gone. We may fall back to three forms of life on the planet, us, some yeasts and some algae. (although, there may be a dark horse running in the back of the pack in the form of the jellyfish. we'll be able to have yeast butter and jellyfish sandwiches. )

And on the eigth day ... (1)

PPH (736903) | more than 3 years ago | (#34624962)

... God created rust.

Re:And on the eigth day ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625176)

Wait- rust?

All these years I've been thanking him for spending the eight creating pr0n...

If you think humans can't change the earth (1)

rastoboy29 (807168) | more than 3 years ago | (#34625306)

You have only to look at the fairly well accepted theory that plantlife on Earth provided all the oxygen that now exists on it, to realize that living things can indeed change the planet and make in uninhabitable.

Good thing for us, not so great for lots of anaerobic bacteria that may have been around before.

Re:If you think humans can't change the earth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625822)

Good thing for us, not so great for lots of anaerobic bacteria that may have been around before.

They should have began protesting, chaining themselves to other bacteria, and shout "we don't want no oxygen ruining the lives of our children".

Full text of article - pdf form (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625344)

Here is the full article text: Article [shmsoft.com]

Really!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#34625362)

I keep tellin you fools, I DON'T SWALLOW !!! and definitely not this shit.
besides that, I don't return favors . . . . EVER!!!

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