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Thread: Biblical literalism, evolution and the role of terminology [split from Seven Little Words]

  1. #26
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MaeZe View Post
    Chickens happen to make easier to manage lab rats.

    From the WA Po article:
    Let us hope that they begin their experiments with little Bantams, and not one of the giant breeds. Better safe than sorry.

  2. #27
    practical experience, FTW MaeZe's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    I doubt there is any connection that would satisfy them. It's a deep core of their belief that people are God's special project.
    On the other hand, they are practical about other natural phenomena: they don't believe that earthquakes, hurricanes, etc are God's punishment on anybody for anything, those are just part of the delicate mechanism of the world.
    But, people have to be speshul, I presume to justify God's interest in us.
    What we might consider with this is reassessing the problem. Is it a knowledge deficit? No, apparently not. Let go of your usual approach or your established dismissal there is no solution (not that said assessment isn't valid, just consider other options first before giving up).

    That was the point of Eugenie Scott's approach, pointing out other Biblical truths the person has already been fine accepting the non-literal explanations for. Start from where they are and grow their beliefs from there.

  3. #28
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    Those things already look kind of like dinosaurs.

    Seriously, birds don't need teeth. They're already perfectly good at attacking us.

    https://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/14/w...ason.html?_r=0

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/...=.a7bdbba7a8be
    Let's imagine a cassowary with teeth. Or, a flock of Canada geese - remember the scenes in 'Jurassic Park' where the flock of little dinosaurs attacked? Canada geese are bigger, without being overly large. They flock together and are aggressive, especially if they are upset. And who knows what might upset a toothed goose??

  4. #29
    just a literary gearhead shortstorymachinist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albedo View Post
    Do we get a vote? Because I vote we put teeth on lammergeiers first. Why go for a chicken-sized velociraptor when you can have a velociraptor-sized velociraptor that can fly, eats bones and small children, and looks like it erupted fully formed from a metal album cover? Nothing can possibly go wrong with this idea.

    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    Let us hope that they begin their experiments with little Bantams, and not one of the giant breeds. Better safe than sorry.
    *googles lammergeiers* Errr, sorry, but I have to go with frimble on this one. Actually, no, I want chickens with teeth AND leg feathers, leg feathers are hilarious.

    Quote Originally Posted by MaeZe View Post
    Yes, actually.

    Turns out we have a lot of genes that are simply turned off rather than gone.

    'Chickenosaurus': paleontologist aims to re-create the dinosaur in every chicken

    Horner has a plan to turn on turned-off genes in chickens plus splice in some new ones.

    But it turns out chicken not only have genes for teeth, they also have genes for scales and claws.

    Horner's TED talk is fun: Where are the baby dinosaurs

    Or for the written summary if you don't have 20 minutes at the moment:
    WA Po: Paleontologist Jack Horner is hard at work trying to turn a chicken into a dinosaur

    Turning genes on and off, coding for proteins and protein folding is the next generation medical science, or rather one could also say it's the current generation of medical research.
    I loved that TED talk, and thanks for the links! Just the idea of using a chicken as a genetic Mr. Potato Head, mixing and matching various traits, is fascinating. I'd love to see the results.

    Quote Originally Posted by AW Admin View Post
    Regarding hens with teeth:



    See Hen's Teeth Not So Rare After All
    So maybe the saying can stick around, and just mean the opposite of what it used to?
    I am no maestro.

  5. #30
    Cultured vulture Albedo's Avatar
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    I'd basically be the worst Elon Musk. Instead of Mars trips and electric cars, I'd be spending my billions on making birds with teeth.
    Alex

  6. #31
    Heckuva good sport frimble3's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albedo View Post
    I'd basically be the worst Elon Musk. Instead of Mars trips and electric cars, I'd be spending my billions on making birds with teeth.
    In the long run, probably just as useful. After all, a flock of chickens that can eat a predator minimizes the effort spent guarding them. The foxes will be putting up fences to guard their dens from the chickens.

  7. #32
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Humans still have genes for making tails as well. We actually have a tail as embryos, though it usually doesn't develop beyond a little fused nubbin at the base of the spine called the coccyx.

    Once in a while, however...

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3263034/

    cetaceans are occasionally born with vestigial hind limbs too.

    https://evolutionforskeptics.wordpre...hindlimb-buds/

    There's no end to the coolness of nature.
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  8. #33
    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    In the long run, probably just as useful. After all, a flock of chickens that can eat a predator minimizes the effort spent guarding them. The foxes will be putting up fences to guard their dens from the chickens.
    The main cause of death to chickens is other chickens (featherpecking, cannibalizing)... so there might still be a net loss of chickenage.
    Emily Veinglory

  9. #34
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    I've noticed that one thing that has come up occasionally over the years with students is when one says that they really are impressed with the evidence, but they "can't" accept it because of their religion. Aside from the puzzling notion that one isn't allowed to choose a better religion in the US (a land where freedom of religion is part of our DNA),
    I think that the role in peer pressure and innate survival instincts that program us to stick with the group at all costs play a massive part in science denial and other similar behaviours such as clinging to harmful peer groups/cults (and the belief systems that's required within them) and staying in abusive relationships of any kind.

    Basically, the situation where humans can choose to change their peer group has only existed for an infinitesimally small amount of time compared to the time humans, human ancestors and social primates generally spent in situations where total rejection from the peer group meant a slow, lonely death.

    In early humans, the social cohesion of the group (for a genus that's reliant on co-operative hunting, hunter/gatherer division of labour and sharing of food, etc) is more important to survival than having an accurate belief system. If your group believes in a load of weird stuff that makes no sense (but the incorrect beliefs don't affect the ability to hunt/gather, etc), you'll be more successful at hunting, gathering, keeping warm, finding/making shelter, etc, if you're all working together. Divisions within the group could threaten the survival of the whole group. And the choice to just leave your group and join another one simply does not exist. Even if there were situations where you could join another group (e.g. joining another group upon reaching sexual maturity) you'd have to make a special effort to fit in with that group, believe what they'd believe, try to establish a status within the group, etc, that means you are still in a situation where choosing to adapt your beliefs to fit in gives you a better chance of survival.

    We're descended from all the survivors, i.e. descended from primates that survived being the omega by managing to cling on to the edges of the group by being really, really good at blending in. Descended from early humans who put their personal beliefs aside to fit in, increasing their chances of survival and the group's.

    Given all that, it's really not surprising that people will cling rigidly to the beliefs of their peer group, even if something (like hard, undeniable evidence) is pointing to the contrary. Cultish/extremist religions* exploit this to the max. "If you don't believe x you're a heretic/unbeliever/kaafir/add any term here with the meaning "you're not part of this group any more". They also target vulnerable people, i.e. people in need of social support, friends, etc. They give them that, then threaten to withdraw it if they don't toe the line. And people born into families that already believe like that have to face the possibility of being rejected by their family.

    *extreme versions of many religions do this, while more moderate versions of the same religions don't. I'm talking about the extreme ones that do this kind of thing, not entire religions.

    Additional things like fear of death (i.e. ceasing to exist rather than going to a happy afterlife), fear of the unknown, etc, also play a part... i.e. adding to the mindset that makes people cling to what their family/peer group/social network have told them they have to believe. At this point there is not only basic survival instincts kicking in, but also strong emotions that prevent them from questioning their beliefs. That is one hell of a powerful cocktail. Just presenting the evidence and telling people "you can choose a new religion" (peer group, social network, family - because all that's tied up in religion for many people) is nowhere near enough.



    ETA: I realise I've just spent ages giving an evolutionary explanation as to why people deny the existence of evolution.
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 12-21-2017 at 01:02 PM.
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  10. #35
    practical experience, FTW neandermagnon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    Let's imagine a cassowary with teeth. Or, a flock of Canada geese - remember the scenes in 'Jurassic Park' where the flock of little dinosaurs attacked? Canada geese are bigger, without being overly large. They flock together and are aggressive, especially if they are upset. And who knows what might upset a toothed goose??
    I want to know why avian dinosaurs evolved away from all that to become the small, toothless creatures of today. I'm guessing it's to do with the fact that ecosystems can only support small numbers of top predators and mammals were dominating those niches.

    Or maybe just that it was only the small ones that survived the mass extinction 65 mya.

    Sorry, my knowledge of evolution that doesn't evolve hominins is quite limited (open to suggestions for up-to-date books on avian evolution).
    Last edited by neandermagnon; 12-21-2017 at 01:04 PM.
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  11. #36
    Cultured vulture Albedo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    I want to know why avian dinosaurs evolved away from all that to become the small, toothless creatures of today. I'm guessing it's to do with the fact that ecosystems can only support small numbers of top predators and mammals were dominating those niches.

    Or maybe just that it was only the small ones that survived the mass extinction 65 mya.

    Sorry, my knowledge of evolution that doesn't evolve hominins is quite limited (open to suggestions for up-to-date books on avian evolution).
    The K-Pg extinction had a lot to do with it, I think. The dinosaurs that survived had already developed many adaptations towards flight: small size being one, but avian bone structure and respiration are also highly derived. There's a hypothesis that the neornithine beak actually aided those birds in surviving: some seeds would have lasted through the global firestorm, so anything that could eat seeds was at an advantage. Being able to fly to areas of refuge obviously would have helped as well.

    And once you've conquered the skies, why would you go back to being a large, lumbersome land animal? Lots have given it a shot: from Eocene terror birds, right up to the plentiful emus I dodge driving home from work every week, but in evolution once you find what you're good at you tend to stick to it.
    Alex

  12. #37
    practical experience, FTW Davy The First's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by neandermagnon View Post
    I think that the role in peer pressure and innate survival instincts that program us to stick with the group at all costs play a massive part in science denial and other similar behaviours such as clinging to harmful peer groups/cults (and the belief systems that's required within them) and staying in abusive relationships of any kind.

    Basically, the situation where humans can choose to change their peer group has only existed for an infinitesimally small amount of time compared to the time humans, human ancestors and social primates generally spent in situations where total rejection from the peer group meant a slow, lonely death.

    In early humans, the social cohesion of the group (for a genus that's reliant on co-operative hunting, hunter/gatherer division of labour and sharing of food, etc) is more important to survival than having an accurate belief system. If your group believes in a load of weird stuff that makes no sense (but the incorrect beliefs don't affect the ability to hunt/gather, etc), you'll be more successful at hunting, gathering, keeping warm, finding/making shelter, etc, if you're all working together. Divisions within the group could threaten the survival of the whole group. And the choice to just leave your group and join another one simply does not exist. Even if there were situations where you could join another group (e.g. joining another group upon reaching sexual maturity) you'd have to make a special effort to fit in with that group, believe what they'd believe, try to establish a status within the group, etc, that means you are still in a situation where choosing to adapt your beliefs to fit in gives you a better chance of survival.

    We're descended from all the survivors, i.e. descended from primates that survived being the omega by managing to cling on to the edges of the group by being really, really good at blending in. Descended from early humans who put their personal beliefs aside to fit in, increasing their chances of survival and the group's.

    Given all that, it's really not surprising that people will cling rigidly to the beliefs of their peer group, even if something (like hard, undeniable evidence) is pointing to the contrary. Cultish/extremist religions* exploit this to the max. "If you don't believe x you're a heretic/unbeliever/kaafir/add any term here with the meaning "you're not part of this group any more". They also target vulnerable people, i.e. people in need of social support, friends, etc. They give them that, then threaten to withdraw it if they don't toe the line. And people born into families that already believe like that have to face the possibility of being rejected by their family.

    *extreme versions of many religions do this, while more moderate versions of the same religions don't. I'm talking about the extreme ones that do this kind of thing, not entire religions.

    Additional things like fear of death (i.e. ceasing to exist rather than going to a happy afterlife), fear of the unknown, etc, also play a part... i.e. adding to the mindset that makes people cling to what their family/peer group/social network have told them they have to believe. At this point there is not only basic survival instincts kicking in, but also strong emotions that prevent them from questioning their beliefs. That is one hell of a powerful cocktail. Just presenting the evidence and telling people "you can choose a new religion" (peer group, social network, family - because all that's tied up in religion for many people) is nowhere near enough.
    (Took out last line which i don't think adds either way to your main point.)

    This is the challenge. For Democrats, for liberals, for anyone who believes truth is better than falsehood, even the painful truth.

    Engaging with 'groups' of any kind, which encourage denial of truth. A Secular Evangelicalism.

  13. #38
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    Quote Originally Posted by frimble3 View Post
    On the other hand, they are practical about other natural phenomena: they don't believe that earthquakes, hurricanes, etc are God's punishment on anybody for anything, those are just part of the delicate mechanism of the world..
    Actually, a disturbing fraction of these true believers also are convinced that natural disasters, etc., are indeed the handiwork of God to punish the iniquitous, same as he did back in Sodom and Gomorrah days. I believe Pat Robertson blamed Hurricane Katrina on homosexuality in New Orleans, as just one example.

    caw
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

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  14. #39
    Beastly Fido Roxxsmom's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by blacbird View Post
    Actually, a disturbing fraction of these true believers also are convinced that natural disasters, etc., are indeed the handiwork of God to punish the iniquitous, same as he did back in Sodom and Gomorrah days. I believe Pat Robertson blamed Hurricane Katrina on homosexuality in New Orleans, as just one example.

    caw
    It certainly makes for handy propaganda, anyway. I can't make up my mind whether or not the leaders of the politicized RR movement and the so-called "ministry of prosperity" have drunk their own kool aid and actually believe the lies they spout, or if they're cynically using such rhetoric to control people, and to sow discord and mistrust, while enriching themselves. I suspect the latter in most cases, though the two aren't mutually exclusive.
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  15. #40
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roxxsmom View Post
    I can't make up my mind whether or not the leaders of the politicized RR movement and the so-called "ministry of prosperity" have drunk their own kool aid and actually believe the lies they spout, or if they're cynically using such rhetoric to control people, and to sow discord and mistrust, while enriching themselves. I suspect the latter in most cases, though the two aren't mutually exclusive.
    Yup. There's a pretty big Venn diagram overlap here, I think. It's both easy and profitable for them.

    caw
    Last edited by blacbird; 12-23-2017 at 11:53 PM.
    Light thinks it travels faster than anything but it is wrong. No matter how fast light travels it finds the darkness has always got there first, and is waiting for it.

    -- Terry Pratchett

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