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General Evolution

Discussion in 'Hard Talk' started by Atheist, Mar 16, 2010.

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  1. Atheist

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    Do you believe in evolution? Please explain why. Also, please indicate whether or not religion has anything to do with your answer. If you answered "yes," do you think god is guiding evolution or letting it happen naturally (if you believe in god)? Or is "naturally" and "god" the same thing?

    By "evolution," I mean Evolution by Darwinian Natural Selection. Genetics teaches us that evolution is a "change in allele frequency." Micro-evolution occurs when species undergo changes (like bacteria acquiring drug resistance) but the end result is the same species (because they are still bacteria).

    Macro-evolution, on the other hand, is when a species undergoes small changes and over a VERY long time, eventually the species is different from the original species (ie, speciation). An example would be if a geographic barrier is placed in the middle of a group of one species, and then the two halves evolve separately to the point where they cannot mate with each other anymore (because they are different species).

    From what I have seen on other forums, most Sikhs believe in evolution (but there are more than just Sikhs in this forum).

    To be fair I will answer my own questions. Evolution by natural selection has mountains of evidence in its favor and in the scientific community it is regarded as fact (except, as James Watson who is co-discoverer of DNA and Nobel Prize Winner says, regarded as false by a fundamentalist minority). My conclusion about evolution is independent of religion. There is mountains of evidence to support both micro- and macro-evolution.

    What are your thought? Please criticize.
     
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  3. Sinister

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    Evolution is a theory that helps explain the variety in gene pool frequencies.

    Evolution however cannot explain the origins of the genetic material itself. That would require explanations ranging from mechanistic chemistry, chemical energetics (thermodynamics) to quantum mechanics or even religion.

    speciation can occur at the micro level. afterall how were multi-cellular organism brought into existence? through evolution and the benefits of symbiosis?

    what categorizes a separate species in an asexual environment is another concept i never understood?
    A person would assume that it depends on genetic familiarity/consistency or is it just a judgment based upon the subjective observation of phenotypes?
     
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  4. Atheist

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    Dear Sinister Ji,

    I like your response, especially how you say that evolution helps "explain" - a theory does just that - it explains natural phenomenon. Lots of people say that evolution is "just a theory" so it could be wrong...the word "theory" in the scientific community means an explanation.

    Anyway, I would agree that evolution cannot explain the origins of genetic material itself. Given that evolution is a "change in allele frequency," the allele would have to exist before hand. It has been hypothesized that the first type of life form was a self-replicating RNA molecule. This would have had to come about randomly (an exothermic reaction as far as I can tell). It is agreeable that the likelihood of this happening is very low, but it would only have to happen once and we are here talking about it. Considering how long after the universe began we had the first life form, we can see that indeed it was given lots of time to occur. Abiogenesis is an entirely separate discussion altogether, and I admit I have not researched it enough. The evolutionary biologists not surprisingly say it's totally possible given the right conditions.

    I also agree that speciation can occur at the micro level. The words "micro" and "macro" describe the evolutionary process, not the organism that it applies to. So if a bacteria undergoes speciation and there are two separate bacteria species, the bacteria are still micro-organisms, but macro-evolution has occurred.

    Good question with separate species in an asexual environment. The most common definition of species deals with ability to procreate, but obviously that wouldn't work with asexual organisms. But there are other definitions of species. Some define it based on DNA sequences (as you alluded to), and some on morphology (there are others too). The definition of species is difficult amongst prokaryotes.

    I think evolution tells us how we got here (once the start of life occurred), which is why it's such a powerful theory. Is there anything in Sikh scripture that talks about or alludes to something similar to evolution?
     
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  5. BhagatSingh

    BhagatSingh Canada
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    The concept of evolution is an elegant one... perhaps our universe evolved from previous unstable ones. :meditation:
     
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  6. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    The concept, theory, explanation of evolution shows us where we are today and it gives us the opportunity and the challenge so that we can trace ourselves all the way back to where it all started.

    In other words, it gives us the chance to go back and check our "home".

    Tejwant Singh
     
  7. Sinister

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    it is not that simple.

    In-vivo you are somewhat right, the reaction is exothermic;

    DNA is formed by the ATP+nucleoside reaction that causes fission of a phoshphate molecule that releases around 9 Kcal, so accordingly with respect to its surroundings it is an exothermic reaction

    this also puts DNA in an stable energy trough that contributes to it's stability within the nucleus. but that is meaningless if you consider the body as a whole that maintains the DNA.

    The term “exothermic” is solely dependant on how you define the parameters of the closed system. for example, where did that ATP+nucleoside come from?...There was obviously an equally energetic and reversible endothermic reaction responsible for its construction from ADP+nucleoside from an ATP. And lets not even get into the construction of the sugar backbones themselves yet.

    so when you start thinking of things such as abiogenesis...you are no longer privy to use a cell environment as a system. But must consider a more open system.

    Out of the cell, in the environment, or in vitro, we do not know whether RNA or TNA or DNA replicates in a spontaneous exothermic reaction. One could also assume it was endothermic (because we are creating bonds).

    Entropy (S) decreases as order increases and Entropy increases as disorder increases.

    dS(universe)=dS (system) + dS (surroundings) > 0

    Because the construction of TNA or RNA or DNA decreases the entropy of the atomic particles participating, dS (system)<0.

    dS= q (reversible) / T (temperature)

    we know that q (reversible) is the heat added to the system undergoing a reversible process (a process that proceeds with infinitesimal changes in the systems conditions)

    therefore dS (system) (just the molecules participating) < 0

    which also means q(reversible) / T < 0

    which indicates an endothermic reaction with the parameters set to just the molecule.

    So bring out a bomb calorimeter and all your soup like reactants that can,

    a) synthesize ribose sugars
    b) synthesize sticky phosphate groups
    c) synthesize Nucleotide bases
    d) Mimic synthesizing a stable RNA structure in a natural environment (step by step). Without the help of the machinery of a cell and its enzymes.

    Oh and did I mention that this RNA has to be self-replicating in order for the theory to work? Meaning an existing pool of nucleotides have to be synthesized, and then these nucleotides have to be energized by phosphates so that they become sticky and make a backbone (which would require a continous stream of energy being put into the system from outside).

    With the parameters of such a mechanism mapped out above, my most educated guess is that this would be an non-spontaneous endothermic reaction (requiring a tremendous amount of organization, therefore a tremendous amount of energy input).

    Now the chances of something like this happening are next to nothing. But then in retrospect our understanding of the universe so limited.
     
  8. Atheist

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    Dear Sinister Ji,

    Well done! I am impressed at your knowledge of science. Yes I was definitely over-simplifying the start of life, it is likely far more complicated than we can imagine. Anyway, going on the premise that the first form of life was a self-replicating RNA molecule, we can agree that this is already fairly complicated (compared to say, a water molecule). And the RNA molecule is composed of various "ingredients" if you will (like the ones you listed). So all the ingredients is more disorder, and the final RNA molecule is less disorder (and like you mentioned the formation of bonds). The system was open, getting energy from the sun. An exothermic reaction releases heat (or light, sound, etc.). If the formation of life required lots of energy then I can agree that it is unlikely that in the end, it actually released heat (since it had to use so much in the first place). Yes this does make sense. My initial thought was that the final RNA molecule had to be more stable than it's constituent parts, otherwise it would have been unstable and just broken down to its parts again. Indeed, this probably happened millions of times before it was finally done right (by chance, right?). So I was thinking that there had to be some component of spontaneity for the molecule to get "lucky" enough. But I believe you are right - the creation of, say, a brick wall requires energy to be put in and then you have an organized brick wall. Similarly, one could say that the creation of this RNA molecule requires energy to be put together, indicating that it is endothermic. I was originally thinking, didn't there have to be some component of spontaneity? After all there was no one there to put the RNA molecule together, it just happened in the right conditions after a LOT of failed trials - literally billions of years from the universe's point of view. That was what I was referring to when I said spontaneous (that it happened without someone doing it - I was using that word in too much of a vernacular form). But even now we witness endothermic reactions that occur without someone doing it - like photosynthesis...non-spontaneous meaning it needs energy to happen, it doesn't just happen and release energy in the process. So yes, we can say abiogenesis is endothermic, and endothermic reactions cannot happen spontaneously.

    So let us establish that some very improbable event occurred that required an endothermic reaction and lots of energy from the sun, and evolution took its course (yes very over-simplified). Some christians say that evolution is impossible because it violates thermodynamics. However, thermodynamics applies to closed systems, and evolution is a very open system. And once the start of life occurred, natural selection (the "selfish gene" as Dawkins puts it) is a very NON-random response to the environment, as everyone here already knows. So in evolution, we go from less complicated (bacteria) to more complicated (humans), again indicating an endothermic reaction (or rather, lots and lots of endothermic reactions requiring energy).

    The question is, is god a necessary component in all this? Does Sikhi mention evolution or something similar to it?
     
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  9. Sinister

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    Atheist ji,

    You have your question and understanding backwards, god is not a component in evolution, however, it can be argued, evolution is a component of god.
     
  10. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Sinister ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Well said. Come to think of it, evolution is part and parcel of this energy called god or by whatever other name one may have for it.

    Athiest ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    SGGS talks about evolution, about the big bang and mentions very openly and frankly in many places that a lot is unknowable which is the perfect admittance and the foundation of open mindedness that propels us to learning. Guru Nanak was the first to observe without the help of any telescope that there are innumerable planets and many Milky ways besides ours. Ironically, we discovered our first Milky way besides ours in 1992 with the help of telescope called Indira if I am not mistaken.

    That is why our Gurus called themselves and to us as Sikhs, learners, seekers, students.

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  11. Taranjeet singh

    Taranjeet singh India
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    Athiest ji,

    I believe that you are fully aware of Sikhi and Sikhism. Generally speaking, we have never addressed God the way you state in various posts. It seems that for you God is a commodity 'for sale'. It is not for us.

    He is the most Majestic thing , who has created this universe and galaxies ,whether the reactions were endothermic or exothermic is not known and is of no consequence to us. Whether there was conversion of potential energy or kinetic energy is also not known to us. WE are acquainted with these terms as these are recent products and we have learnt in our schools otherwise there is no relevance of these terms as well. Some people have tried to use Einstein's equation and others have employed Quantum mechanics and some have also tried the use of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. It is of no avail. I am sure that you have some understanding of bani or at least you enjoy.The following lines would be of some interest:



    kvxu su vylw vKqu kvxu kvx iQiq kvxu vwru ] (4-16, jpu, mÚ 1)
    What was that time, and what was that moment? What was that day, and what was that date?

    kvix is ruqI mwhu kvxu ijqu hoAw Awkwru ] (4-17, jpu, mÚ 1)
    What was that season, and what was that month, when the Universe was created?

    vyl n pweIAw pMfqI ij hovY lyKu purwxu ] (4-17, jpu, mÚ 1)
    The Pandits, the religious scholars, cannot find that time, even if it is written in the Puraanas.

    vKqu n pwieE kwdIAw ij ilKin lyKu kurwxu ] (4-18, jpu, mÚ 1)
    That time is not known to the Qazis, who study the Koran.

    iQiq vwru nw jogI jwxY ruiq mwhu nw koeI ] (4-18, jpu, mÚ 1)
    The day and the date are not known to the Yogis, nor is the month or the season.

    jw krqw isrTI kau swjy Awpy jwxY soeI ] (4-19, jpu, mÚ 1)
    The Creator who created this creation-only He Himself knows.



    It has been taken from japji Sahib that we read as the morning Prayer to remember the All Majestic and all powerful and the causes of causes. We hold HIM in reverence and in awe as well. We are told that we should have fear of the Lord all Mighty.

    You should also employ the language so that God is not bracketed in any Sarcasm. Your co-operation is solicited. We wish you a very happy journey on this forum.

    Regards.!
     
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  12. Atheist

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    Thank you for your replies.

    I apologize if my answers were felt to be sarcastic against Sikhi. I am just here to learn about other people's viewpoints on these issues. Clearly I think evolution is the truth and explains how we got here. Just as god may be looked at as a "commodity" for sale to an atheist, I can totally understand how this is certainly not the case for a devout Sikh.

    I too was a believer for most of my life, so I completely understand where you are coming from, so I am not trying to be offensive, just trying to see how evolution is viewed in this forum. Definitely people here believe in it, and it appears that not only is evolution a component of god, EVERYTHING is a component of god.
     
  13. kuldeepsb5

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    Guru Nanak Dev JI has told more than 500yaers agothe theory of evolution
    in 2 lines ,(which is explained as theory by Darwin in last century for which
    he is called as father of principle of evolution):-
    " Sachai te pawana bhaya, pawane te jal hoee.
    Jal te tribhavan sajya, ghat ghat jot samoee."
    and the same describes Darwin,how the gases formed DNA,than uni-cellulars,
    than algae,than corals and other species of plants and water animals ,and than reptiles,and than mammals and so on.
    Actally father of theory of evolution is GURU NANAK DEV JI and not Darwin.
    Bhul chuk khima Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa Waheguru ji ki Fateh
     
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  14. Atheist

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    Can you give an english translation of those lines please? Thanks.
     
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