Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Primate Pontification

My face was flushed and breathing rapid. Sweat trickled down my face and the saltiness stung my tongue. My heart raced as I excitedly reached the climax....of the hill--silly, I was hiking! It was a wonderful day for a ladies day out in the sun and wind. We embarked on a leisurely 1-2 mile hike and were in awe of the breathtaking sights such as bare-chested men running up or down the trail!

My hiking companion and I covered almost all the topics in the universe from the problems of obesity and dieting to literally the universe itself. There is something about fresh air, nature, and physical activity to bring out the philosophical side in us. I shared my recently discovered knowledge about Sumu wrestlers (that's right I watch way too much National Geographic/Discovery channel): did you know that their fat is almost all subcutaneous (under the skin) as opposed to the American visceral fat (around the organs)? She enlightened me on the powers of spicy food---cayan can be used to increase metabolism.

Inevitably, we winded our way down the path to science and religion. She had dated an anthropologist who was a devout atheist. This begged the question---Could evolution and human culture exist in conjunction with Christianity and religion or are they destined to be to separate pursuits/beliefs? She talked about the "Lucy" skull and declared that the man who found it was on staff at ASU? I was somewhat incredulous because I thought that Louis Leakey was dead and if he were alive, I didn't know that he would be on faculty staff at a university. My hopes and curiosity were piqued though. I raced home to my internet to see if he was, in fact, on staff at ASU! I was not surprised to not find him listed and then upon further research to find he was in fact deceased. I did find that he started out a christian missionary before getting distracted by a rugby concussion and evolutionary thought. He appeared to blend both theology and anthropology:

"Nothing I've ever found has contradicted the Bible. It's people with their finite minds who misread the Bible."(Wikipedia)

A man that opposed African female circumcision and apartheid, and discovered the great Jane Goodall, is alright in my book!


Jimbo said...

Hey were did you get the picture of me? The of me sitting in the tree.

Since you started the religion versus evolution discussion, I will toss my two cents in. I think they can both exist. I have yet to see or read any thing that proves that one spices has evolved into another. There is tons of evidence that spices have evolved within there own species.

I always like to ask the tuff and true believers of evolution that believe we all came for single celled ameba, how do you go from asexual reproduction to sexual reproduction. And if there is a way for it to happen, how did the first male wake up one morning and look down to find Mr. Happy and know what to do with it? It is not a divining rod. Well maybe it is now after thousands of years of evolution.

I don't want to preach that there some old guy sitting a gold chair in the clouds somewhere just watching and lifting his hand to create divine intervention. But even the simplest plant is an extremely complicate machine that I can not imagine just happened by accident.

Ok enough of my soap box.

Jimbo said...

Where did you all go today?

Eagle Eye said...

Is the picture a good likeness?
Science can't really prove anything--the law of gravity is still not proven 100%, but the rules of science tend to result in very strong correlations between the empirical and the unknown. That is the beauty of science, the very nature of science is curiosity and exploration and constant challenge and revision. Which leads us to the problem with most religions--no change, no challenging of ideas or openness to growth. How can an idea remain stagnant and unchanged for thousands of years and expect the world to still conform around it?
So, science can't prove beyond a doubt that some species begat others--the process can however provide strong circumstantial evidence. Most species have extremely similar DNA that varies by only a few genes or so. The same genes and hormones that control insulin in the pig also control insulin in humans. Am I saying that we came from pigs? Nay--but were we related to a similar cousin sometime in the past--very likely. How can we not all be related somehow when every species has more similarities than differences? The same skeletal blueprint is repeated over and over again. The bat has the same number of phalanges in its wings as we have in our hands. The frog's pelvis has very similar structure and function to the humans. To me, these coincidences just reinforce that maybe there was a devine plan for a blueprint for life and just like any project in process, it has been tweaked and modified through milleneum.
There are many intermediate species that suggest mammals came from reptilian-like beasts. The monotremes like the duck bill platypus are warm blooded mammals that lay eggs and secrete poison! Marsupials develop their young outside the body.
The answer to asexual vs sexual is fun of course! No--just JK! Single cell reproduction is fast and efficient, but it becomes much more difficult and fraught with risk when the organism becomes multi-cellular. The more complex and big the organism becomes, the less likely asexual will work. Most asexual organisms only have a lifetime between 5 minutes and a few months and reproduce by the thousands or even the millions, so they don't need to worry about protection from disease or taking to long to grow to maturity. The more complex, the more we need a "vessel" for sexual transport and the protection of the multi-cellular,complex,long life-span baby. Not to mention that asexual reproduction is also like some religious thought in that there is zero variety---the same exact genes are duplicated over and over leading to errors in the copies and enhancing the chance that one fatal flaw will cause the extinction of the entire organism. With gene variety due to sex we are actually protecting our species. Africans have sickle-cell anemia to protect them from malaria. If hypothetically--identical caucasions represented the whole human race, we would be obliterated by one disease. Not all sexual reproduction involves the mighty penis and coitus. Most aquatic species sexually reproduce by just letting it all flow out into the water and relying on "chance" meetings of ovum and sperm in the dark. Plants are a classic example of sexual reproduction without the penis. They just let the pollen blow where it may or rely on a third party--talk about your threesome!
Hormones and scent are powerful drug elixers to stimulate "Mr. Happy". All you have to add is a little scent,visual stimulation, and blood flow and you have a magic male looking for love in any and all places!LOL!
The evolutionist believes that life is one big happy accident set about by subtle gene changes and isolation. Even though the plant may seem very complicated and very removed from other species it still has the same basic need of reproduction and life. Plants are very sexual with their pistils and stamens, they are very sophisticated with hormone use like higher organisms, and their vascular system while simple provides very similar function to our own. There are far too many similarities between all species to assume that they could never have originated similarly. I choose to look at evolution as sparked by a divine entity with the introduction of the masterful building block of DNA and proteins and "let" life happen rather than force "perfect" beings into existance! Life is not perfect, so why should the creation of life be picture bookesque?
Whew! Sorry about the verbal deluge like a plague upon mankind....whatever!:-)

Jimbo said...

There are also a lot of similarities in our cell structure and that if tree, but nobody is making the calm that we are descendant from oak tree.

Car have a least two doors, a steering wheel, windows that roll down, 4 6 or 8 pistons and four tires. Are they all descendants from the very first car? No, they had a common designer.

If we are so close to apes, why has one never learned to talk? They have had thousands of years to mutate just a little to become more human. I have always wondered why evolution stopped when man started recording history. One more tid bit to prove evolution is not real. Jews have been circumcising their males for thousands of years and has one Jewish baby ever been born with out it fore skin? NO

With hundreds of thousand you years for this planet to evolve from single cell amebas, why did such complex creatures evolve? When the wind blows the sand does not form a statue, but it creates a simple and dune. Everything migrates to its simplest form, not a more complex form, unless there is something pushing it.

Eagle Eye said...

After the first attempt at a gear and wheel mechanism, cars have built upon the common design of the first--so resultant cars couldn't exist without the original attempts at design and function. The general building block of DNA probably occured en mass and global, so the possibility that several species evolved simultaneously is very real. I wasn't implying that we are descendents of trees either, but that we all share the common building block/design of DNA and cellular function with slight modifications.
Some findings assert that evolution occurs in a parallel way in many instances (horses). So rather than one common descendent, there is more likely multiple instances of change and evolution literally continents apart. It is much more likely that there are multiple original species even for homo sapiens. Read more about convergent and parallel evolution:
I don't think that recorded history has lasted billions of years--the time-span for mutations to develop and show up in future generations. Items like speech and lack of foreskin would have to be necessary for survival and improve reproductive odds in order to be successful mutations. Apes have language and vocalize, whether or not they need to form articulate words is probably mute (hehe-cool pun here) in a Congo jungle. And as far as I know, foreskin is not an advantagous mutation as far as reproduction or survival--men with skin on the devine rod probably have just as many opportunities to get laid and paid as any other man. Why did humans develop eloquent forms of speech? That is something that can only be speculated by science and by religion. Here is one opinion:
The tendency of evolution to form more complex organisms is a matter of debate. Not all organisms change--the single-celled amoeba is content to remain the same and so are many species. Some organisms do not increase in complexity over time. I submit that even though organisms appear to be more complex, aren't they just becoming a more efficient community of single-celled organisms? Our cells work together to function as one in the form of organs and have become inseparapable in some instances,yet very simple at the core. The mitochondria of cells is not of human origin. Scientists suspect that it was a bacteria-type cell sometime in the past that has become an integrel part of our whole complete organism. So,is evolved life more complex or simple cells working together for better success? Who knows?