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Researchers at the University of California, Santa Cruz, have determined the three-dimensional structure of an RNA enzyme, or "ribozyme," that carries out a fundamental reaction required to make new RNA molecules. Their results provide insight into what may have been the first self-replicating molecule to arise billions of years ago on the evolutionary path toward the emergence of life. In all forms of life known today, the synthesis of DNA and RNA molecules is carried out by enzymes made of proteins. The instructions for making those proteins are contained in genes made of DNA or RNA (nucleic acids). The circularity of this process poses a challenge for theories about the origins of life. "Which came first, nucleic acids or proteins? This question once seemed an intractable paradox, but with the discovery of ribozymes, it is now possible to imagine a prebiotic 'RNA World' in which self-replicating ribozymes accomplished both tasks," said William Scott, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry at UC Santa Cruz. Scott and postdoctoral researcher Michael Robertson determined the structure of a ribozyme that joins two RNA subunits together in the same reaction that is carried out in biological systems by the protein known as RNA polymerase. Their findings are published in the March 16 issue of the journal Science. For the full article Click Here .


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A self-replicating RNA molecule or not doesn't vindicate evolution let alone our origins. It doesn?t explain the fact that animals, birds, fish and humans are four different kinds of flesh and therefore evolution could never have occurred. It doesn't explain the fact that humans have a God consciousness and animals don't. How does science explains these things?

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"A self-replicating RNA molecule or not doesn't vindicate evolution let alone our origins"

- scientists are not seeking vindication for evolution. Are you?

"It doesn't explain the fact that humans have a God consciousness and animals don't"

- is it important for you to have your belief explained?


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oneplanet wrote:
"It doesn't explain the fact that humans have a God consciousness and animals don't."

And you know this because you have had long conversations with my cat?

Has it occurred to you that statements such as the one above are, on their face, ridiculous? That there isn't a single sentient entity on this planet that believes you have ever spoken to a lizard or an arachnid or a penguin or a hosueplant and asked whether it believed in a creator.

Use at least as much of your brain for matters of science as you use to remember football scores and you will find life easier.


DA Morgan
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DA Morgan, I am not sure of your first name, but I have always considered your comments to be intelligent, sometimes cleaver, witty, often well worded and someone I would dearly like to have a friendly chat with face to face. I mean that I am not being smart. And you live in a very beautiful part of the planet, which has to inspire you to write as much as you have on this forum.

But this time as we would say in cricket, you are stumped!

You obviously have no concept of what building an alter to God means or signifies. And I now know you spend little if any time with animals. Only someone living in suburbia would make those types of comments. I have spent my whole life with animals living in remote and far-flung corners of Australia working for the National Parks. Yes, I do know animals, how they think and act, especially dingos, wild dogs and feral cats. Spend a week with me in the bush where not even aborigines venture and you would see animals in a whole new light, their behaviour, antics and how they think. But you have to be tough to live this sort of life, few can. Most people are just academic about the bush and its inhabitants.

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oneplanet writes:
"You obviously have no concept of what building an alter to God means or signifies."

Actually I do. Do you think I had no childhood as burst into the world as an almost 60 year old adult?

oneplanet wrote:
"And I now know you spend little if any time with animals."

For someone that knows nothing about me ... well you know nothing about me. El Gato respectfully disagrees too. You can find his picture at www.psoug.org/gato.png

Perhaps you spent far too much time with those dingos because I can tell you for a fact, without fear of contradiction, you've not a clue as to whether they have a god consciousness. Your claims to the contrary are as believable as your claim that there is anyplace in the outback where the aborigines wouldn't venture. That is hyperbole and we both know it.

Last edited by DA Morgan; 03/18/07 06:05 AM.

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Dan, your link doesn't work. :-)


If you don't care for reality, just wait a while; another will be along shortly. --A Rose

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I know your name now. Dan, as I said sometimes you write well and sometimes poorly.

To understand the intricacy of building an alter to God really means you must have the indwelling Holy Spirit. Not even Judaism understands as the elders saw it fit to remove chapter 53 from Isaiah. Now why would that be? Religion, which adds or takes away from the Word of God has NO concept of this and most certainly, atheists do not.

The reason you say, I don?t have a clue as to whether animals have a god consciousness is because this would mean humans are indeed created in God?s image.

And I most certainly do know how dogs think and behave. I live only two doors away from the most efficient dog trapper in the country. And that is a fact not an exaggeration! And I most certainly know that no animal has ever built an alter to God, ever. Animals don?t have a God consciousness because they were not created in His image.

There is a great gulf between man and the animal kingdom and the way we conduct our lives testifies to this. Granted monkeys and humans share 95% the same DNA but that?s because we live in the same environment; it is the other 5% that divides us. But unfortunately you can?t DNA God consciousness, which is evident only by visible signs and actions and obvious ones at that.

DA Morgan Writes:
Your claims to the contrary are as believable as your claim that there is anyplace in the outback where the aborigines wouldn't venture. That is hyperbole and we both know it.

Who mentioned the Outback? There is historically little presence of aborigines where I work, as this area of the Snowy Mountains is very steep and rugged and cold. And don?t confuse the Outback with Out West or commonly known as, ?the back country?. There are places native Australians never venture in this sun burnt land or never have in the past, but someone from outside Australia could not know that.



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Why is it that the most evangelistic religious people, always eager to talk about the greatness of God, always are the ones who put God in a box?

Guess what? God is greater than you think, Oneplanet. You seem to think it impossible for him to have created humans through the process of evolution. But what if that's how he decided to do it? Nope, you say, it's still impossible. You seem to think it's not in his power, even as you preach of his omnipotence.

The Vatican itself stated decades ago that there is no contradiction between evolution and Christianity. That there is no contradiction, in fact, between Big Bang theory and Christianity. Yet, fundamentalist non-thinkers like yourself cannot accept the possibility that God used these techniques to do his work.

I'm a devout Catholic. I'm also a firm believer in evolution, quantum mechanics, the Big Bang, chaos theory, and every other well-established science. I don't see any contradictions at all. In fact, when I think I might see a contradiction, I delight in it. I think on it long and hard. I investigate it. And every single time, I find eventually that there is no contradiction at all.

An unexamined faith is a worthless faith. If your faith is so weak that it cannot withstand a scientific discovery and you are thereby forced to denounce the proofs before you, then your faith is doing you a major disservice and you need to examine it very deeply.

Oh, one more thing: You know my name too. So what? Do you think Dan ever tried to hide his name? Figuring it out didn't take much cleverness. Is he supposed to be worried?

w

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The problem, Rose, was the period at the end of the sentence ... I've removed it and all is now well.

Though the gato had his feelings hurt when told he wasn't an animal. He resents the implication that he might be one of us.


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I'm impressed oneplanet. You are now so knowledgeable about god and religion that you are prepared to criticize the religion of Jesus Christ. Your background must be impressive. Would you share it with us?

And after you do so try to remind yourself that this IS a science forum. That you are not in the protected zone of NOT QUITE and my tolerance for your proselytizing is growing remarkably thin. If you can not handle the maturity level required to get on-topic "A glimpse at the origins of life" please stop posting. If you can not temper your religious enthusiasm with civility and respect for others please stop posting. This is a science forum ... we come here to discuss science ... not to have you self-anoint yourself to tell us about something you don't even understand.

Thank you.

WZ writes:
"Why is it that the most evangelistic religious people, always eager to talk about the greatness of God, always are the ones who put God in a box?"

Because they have very small minds. There is a wonderful quote that truly captures it.

"God made man in his own image and man, being a gentleman, returned the favor."
~ anonymous

Though I am also reminded of Joseph Heller's wonderful statement in Catch 22.

"That's the kind of God you people talk about, a country bumpkin, a clumsy, bungling, brainless, conceited, uncouth hayseed. Good God, how much reverence can you have for a Supreme Being who finds it necessary to include such phenomena as phlegm and tooth decay in His divine system of Creation? What in the world was running through that warped, evil, scatological mind of His when He robbed old people of the power to control their bowel movements?"

A god, as conceived of by oneplanet, would be a pathetic god indeed.


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I think that, like Tinkerbell, gods can only exisit if/because people believe in them.

I have always thought my dog thinks his people are gods (or close to) because we feed him and take him walkies, that's enough to do it for him. My cat is otherwise. He is firmly in charge and bosses me around badly!

To return to the post. I find it fabulous that scientists are getting so far into the (bio) chemistry of the origin of our life on this planet. Like Wayne Zeller I have often wondered why religious people cannot accept that evolution makes at least as much sense as Adam and Eve and maybe God was at the back of it. Indeed when I was a child we were told that Genesis narrated the evolution story in a simplified form, and all sorts of weird tweaking took place to accomodate this reading of the bible story!

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Well, well I have hit a nerve! But still no one has answered my questions. You have just skirted around them. Anyway, I have your readers thinking so I bid you all good day.

Wayne Zeller writes
Oh, one more thing: You know my name too. So what? Do you think Dan ever tried to hide his name? Figuring it out didn't take much cleverness. Is he supposed to be worried?

No one is trying to be cleaver. I am only being polite, mate.

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DA. With my powers of extra-sensory perception your cat sent me a message about his belief in God. And guess what. Your cat believes God created cats in his own image. Oneplanet has probably gone back to his own planet now and so won't read that.

That stuff about RNA sure should have fundys running for cover. What convoluted arguments will they come up with in response?

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Wayne Zeller.

You talk a great deal of remarkably good sense. How much better the world might be if all theists were able to see things that way.


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oneplanet ... hitting a nerve just requires being a troll. If that makes you happy then congratulations.

It also means that a troll-alert now exists. You can either apologize and get on-topic or it is time to say goodbye.

Goodbye.


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Originally Posted By: redewenur
You talk a great deal of remarkably good sense. How much better the world might be if all theists were able to see things that way.


Humbly, I thank you.

I was thinking about this thread tonight as I tried to go to sleep and I had a small epiphany and knew I'd forget it if I didn't get up right then and write it down. And this thread seems a good place for me to do just that:

Self-professed Christians who argue against proven scientific fact saying instead that their religion is more accurate are, in fact, worshiping a deceitful god. It seems that their contention is that god, whoever that may be for them, set up mind-bogglingly complex traps for us all to fall into. He/She/It/Whatever took great pains to make the Universe look as though it makes a logical sense and that some degree of understanding can be had by curious humans if they expend the brain power to look at it; but instead made it entirely different than that for the sole purpose of punishing those who take the time to admire and understand the scenery. This trickster god of theirs apparently takes delight in confounding anybody who takes the time to try to understand his works.

I'm unaware of any Christian religion that intentionally teaches that God is a malevolent trickster.

If these people could be made to see the issue from this point of view, they would have to admit that one of two things is true: That their faith is in dire need of adjustment because it is faith in things that are provably untrue, or that the being they worship is not God at all and that they have been misled.

Hmmm, what character in Christianity would have a desire to so mislead them into following somebody other than God?


I was on the verge of sleep when I started typing this, and I'm not much more awake now. So, if it is senseless rambling then attribute it to grogginess. But I think there may be a good point here. At the very least, one to make fundies have to think for once.

(By the way, just this morning the priest at my church happened to say, "Our faith should never be one of ignorance and naivet?, but should rather be one of observation and understanding." I was thinking about this thread when he said it, and it really underlined the difference for me between the unthinking fundamentalist and the discerning Christian. And before somebody takes offense - I'm using the lowercase "fundamentalist" because I'm not talking about any one religion but rather the cults that form as satellites to almost ANY religion where the followers believe that their thinking has already been done for them and all that remains is to follow blindly.)

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Well said Wayne. It reminds me of something I saw on the Discovery Channel recently connected with this:
http://dsc.discovery.com/news/2007/02/25/tomb_arc.html?category=archaeology&guid=20070225073000

What I found more fascinating than the quasi-science presented was the reaction of two different theologians to the possibility.

To paraphrase both:
First:
"My faith in my religion does not contradict science. If Jesus' bones were found tomorrow it would not shake my faith as Jesus' ascension into heaven might have been spiritual ... there was no need for him to take his shoes or his body."

Second:
"It is impossible and contradicts the bible and were it true it would utterly destroy the Christian faith."

In my opinion the second theologian, for whatever personal reasons, was ready to stand on the proverbial mountain top and tell his god and Jesus Christ what they could and could not do. An amazingly arrogant act.



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Exactamundo!

It's just like when the "God Module" was discovered. This is a region of the brain that, when excited, delivers a rapturous religious experience. If you activate somebody's God Module with electrical stimulation, they will feel that they are in the presence of God. (I've often pondered the creation of a "Cultmaker 6000": Put this helmet on your recruit's head and turn it on and tell him you are God and that he should do as you say. Do that to 50 people people in one night and you get yourself an instant cult ready to kill or die for you.)

The most obvious implication is that God and religion spring from neuronal activity in the brain and that they are therefore inventions of man, deluded by his own biochemistry.

Anyway, fundmentalists all over the world were decrying the research as bogus. It didn't matter that it was easily demonstrable: It didn't fit with their thinking so it must be another hoax perpetrated by the evil scientists.

And, I must admit, it was one of those times that I found myself deep in introspection trying to resolve what seemed contradictory to my beliefs. But I wasn't about to accuse the scientific community of trying to put one over on the theists. That's silly. And then I heard a Catholic Bishop give his opinion when asked about it. He said, "It doesn't surprise me at all that God would build into his creations the ability to recognize Him." There was no contradiction for him at all. And, when I heard it put that way, the contradiction disappeared for me too. In fact, it made me better understand certain biblical stories. For instance, after Christ's resurrection, he found his disciples (men who knew him personally for years) and walked with them. They didn't recognize him at all. And then, when Christ wanted them to, they suddenly they realized who he was. Another time, before his death, he calls one of his followers up to a mountain for a private talk. Once there, he suddenly became radiant to the follower. Well yeah: He activated the God Module in both these cases when He wanted to be recognized for what he was.

Whether you believe in God or not, and whether you believe in Christ or not, you've gotta admit: The ability to, at will, make people see you as God is a pretty handy tool. And if God did make us all, then it makes perfect sense he'd include the God Module in his kit.

A very interesting study, and one that hasn't been done as far as I know, would be to see if other animals have God Modules and how they act if they are strongly activated. Once you see how they react to it, you could start looking in nature for similar behaviors. Only THEN could you know if you cat has conversations with God.

I would venture to guess that any animal without a God Module is probably incapable of a religious experience.

(It has also occurred to me that people who are fanatical, and the "crazy" guys who scream scripture on the street corners wearing signs about the end being near, very likely have some brain damage causing an over-excitation of this module.)

w

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Wayne wrote:
"I would venture to guess that any animal without a God Module is probably incapable of a religious experience."

And I further venture that any that have it also have religious experiences.

A bit of integrity demands that we acknowledge too that some known chemicals activate that center and produce religious experiences. And we all know which ones they are and how they have been used for millenia in quite a number of religions.

I like your idea with respect to the street-corner prophets. I might add that it seems to some degree some of them also find SAGG.


DA Morgan
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