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    Default All things evolution

    Interesting article just stumbled upon.

    The Neanderthal Enigma: Why Were their Noses So Big?

    Jan 14, 2011 3:17 PM EST
    A mystery of Neanderthals for more than a century is one that's literally as plain as the noses on their faces - why did they have such big schnozes?
    One common answer suggests their faces somehow helped our extinct relatives deal with the extreme cold they faced. Now, however, scientists find that Neanderthal faces were not built for the cold - meaning that no one still knows why Neanderthals had such noses.
    The enigma that such a large nose poses is that it seems like an excellent way to lose heat - a paradox, given that Neanderthals lived when glaciers dominated Europe. Modern humans and other animals, in contrast, typically have evolved significantly narrower, longer noses in cold climates. [The Many Mysteries of Neanderthals]
    Scientists have tried solving this mystery by suggesting there were equally giant sinuses behind the broad noses. Some proposed the sinuses helped warm the air before it entered the lungs so Neanderthals were able to keep their bodies warm. Others speculated the sinuses actually had the exact opposite function, helping Neanderthals rid their bodies of heat, preventing them from drenching in sweat that could have cooled them off even more.
    "The $64,000 question is what sinuses do - that is, what is their biological function. Scientists have been arguing over that for hundreds of years," researcher Todd Rae, a paleoanthropologist at Roehampton University in London, wrote in an e-mail. "There are dozens of suggestions for what they may do for the animals that have them, including adding resonance to the voice and acting as flotation devices!"
    To learn more about what role sinuses might have played in Neanderthals, Rae and his colleagues analyzed X-rays and CT scans of several Neanderthal skulls. They found Neanderthal sinuses were actually comparable in scale with those of modern humans and not unusually large or small. In contrast, they had previously discovered that sinuses get smaller in the cold in both macaque monkeys and rats.
    These findings suggest that scientists no longer have to do "philosophical and logical backflips" to explain how their noses and sinuses might have aided Neanderthals for a life in the cold - Neanderthals' researchers hint they didn't, Rae told LiveScience. It could be there was no special reason why their noses were unusually broad, Rae said - they could have just evolved that way randomly.
    "I would agree with their overall conclusion that the differences between Neanderthals and modern human faces do not appear in general to be adaptations to extreme cold climates," said paleoanthropologist Tim Weaver at the University of California, Davis, who did not take part in this research. "That doesn't mean that smaller features might not be shaped by cold climate. The projection of the nose of Neanderthals is very pronounced, and we see that characteristic in present-day humans who have ancestry in cold climates. Whether that's due to cold climate is unclear, but it's at least consistent."
    "One of the things that's really fascinating about Neanderthals is that they are perhaps the most closely related species to humans that have ever lived, and in that way can help us really understand the evolutionary forces that shaped us," Weaver added.
    Rae and his colleagues detailed their findings online Dec. 21 in the Journal of Human Evolution.
    *** **Top 10 Mysteries of the First Humans*** **Top 10 Things That Make Humans Special*** **The Coldest Places on Earth
    Copyright © 2010 LiveScience.com. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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    Vatican Science: How Pope Benedict Reconciled God and the Big Bang

    Jan 15, 2011 9:12 AM EST
    God or the Big Bang? Why not both? Things aren't all black and white in the Vatican, it seems.
    Pope Benedict XVI made headlines last week during a sermon that made a case for the similarity of science and religion, two disciplines on quest for the truth. Christopher T. Baglow, director of the Pope Benedict XVI Institute for Faith, Ethics and Science explained the nuance the pope tried to convey.

    "The Italian word in question is concorrenza, which means 'rivalry,' not 'concurrence,'" he told FoxNews.com. In other words, Pope Benedict pointed out that God and the Big Bang aren't at odds -- not that they don't square up.
    Surprised? Don't be. The church has long argued for a reconciliation of science and faith. Reality is a far cry from the caricature often seen in pop culture, in movies like "The DaVinci Code" and "Angels and Demons" that portray the Catholic Church as butting heads with science.*

    That's good fiction, but it's just not true.
    In fact, it was a Roman Catholic priest, Fr. Georges Lemaitre, who first proposed the Big Bang theory in 1927, on the basis of Albert Einstein's theory of relativity, according to the American Natural History Museum in New York. The current Pope wrote about it in a 1995 book, and John Paul II called science a "highway to wonder" way back in 1979.
    The Big Bang debate is just one example of the line Vatican scientists must walk. And there are many scientists indeed at the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in Rome, where Stephen Hawking and friends have discussed topics as diverse as biology, astronomy and chemistry.

    Not all scientists believe there will ever be accord between science and religion, of course.
    "Reconciling science with Christian religion is impossible," Zbigniew Jaworowski, a medical doctor, and a professor emeritus of natural sciences at the Central Laboratory for Radiological Protection, in Warsaw, Poland, told FoxNews.com. "Let the Pope stick with his sacred book, and let science follow its way."
    The Academy will continue to try, however.*
    It recently appointed Werner Arber, a Nobel Prize-winning microbiologist, as president, and plans a working group this spring on the fate of mountain glaciers. Last fall the Pontifical Academy sponsored a lecture by Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re that sought to reconcile the relationship that science and faith have with water. Recent sessions have focused on "human neuroplasticity" and "the scientific legacy of the 20th century."
    And the Catholic Church is not the only organization studying the nexus between science and religion these days. At Saint Olaf's College in Northfield, MN, the topic is a regular subject of inquiry.

    "We have a relatively new program called Science Conversation that in part regularly addresses the science vs. religion' issue," spokesman David Gonnerman told FoxNews.com.
    Binghamton University in NY offers a for-credit course of study called "Evolutionary Religious Studies" as well, which offers an introduction to the study of religion from an "evolutionary" perspective. Even the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) is getting involved. At the group's 2011 meeting in Washington, D.C. next month, a scholar from Syracuse University will present a paper entitled, "Teaching and Learning about Biological Evolution in the Muslim World," as part of a panel discussion on evolution and religion.

    For years, the Church has sought a reconciliation of science and faith. Back in 2005, French Cardinal Paul Poupard, in a news conference at the Vatican, said that the church wanted to help end the "mutual prejudice" between religion and science.
    The project was apparently motivated by Pope John Paul II's 1992 declaration that the church's 17th-century excommunication of Galileo was a grievous error stemming from "tragic mutual incomprehension." Galileo was condemned for supporting Nicolaus Copernicus' discovery that the Earth revolved around the sun; church teaching at the time placed the Earth at the center of the universe.

    "The permanent lesson that the Galileo case represents pushes us to keep alive the dialogue between the various disciplines, and in particular between theology and the natural sciences, if we want to prevent similar episodes from repeating themselves in the future," Poupard said at that news conference.
    There is hope for a reconciliation of science and religion among some scientific minds today. The work of this pope and his predecessor may be starting to yield results, said Jeffrey Schloss, chair of natural sciences and director of the Center for Faith, Philosophy and the Biosciences at Westmont College, in Santa Barbara, Calif.

    "The [Pope's] comments on the Big Bang fully accept the science of the evolving cosmos and don't claim any laws were miraculously broken," he told FoxNews.com.*
    "They only suggest that prior to any laws that were describable scientifically, there was a Being who devised them and brought them into existence -- through the Big Bang," he said.

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    Like to Sleep Around? Blame Your Genes

    Dec 02, 2010 7:58 AM EST
    Whether your roommate is Samantha Sleeps-Around or Paul the Prude, cut him or her some slack: People's predilections for promiscuity lie partially in their DNA, according to a new study.

    A particular version of a dopamine receptor gene called DRD4 is linked to people's tendency toward both infidelity and uncommitted one-night stands, the researchers reported Nov. 30 in the online open-access journal PloS One.
    The same gene has already been linked to alcoholism and gambling addiction, as well as less destructive thrills like a love of horror films. One study linked the gene to an openness to new social situations, which in turn correlated with political liberalism.
    In the new study, researchers gathered a detailed history of sexual behavior and relationships from 181 young adults. They also collected DNA samples from the volunteers' cheeks and analyzed the samples for the presence of the thrill-seeking version of DRD4.

    "What we found was that individuals with a certain variant of the DRD4 gene were more likely to have a history of uncommitted sex, including one-night stands and acts of infidelity," study researcher Justin Garcia, a postdoctoral fellow at Binghamton University, State University of New York, said in a statement.
    "The motivation seems to stem from a system of pleasure and reward, which is where the release of dopamine comes in," Garcia said. "In cases of uncommitted sex, the risks are high, the rewards substantial and the motivation variable - all elements that ensure a dopamine 'rush.'"

    People with the thrill-seeking gene variant were about twice as likely to report a history of one-night stands as those without the gene variant. Half of those with a love of risk imprinted in their DNA reported committing infidelity in the past, compared with 22 percent of those without the variant.

    "The study doesn't let transgressors off the hook," said Garcia. "These relationships are associative, which means that not everyone with this genotype will have one-night stands or commit infidelity. Indeed, many people without this genotype still have one-night stands and commit infidelity. The study merely suggests that a much higher proportion of those with this genetic type are likely to engage in these behaviors."
    *** **10 Surprising Sex Discoveries
    *** **Understanding the 10 Most Destructive Human Behaviors
    *** **10 Surprising Sex Statistics
    Copyright © 2010 LiveScience.com. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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    Default Is evolution compatible with the bible?

    IS IT possible that God used evolution to make men from beasts? Did God direct bacteria to develop into fish and then to continue developing through reptiles and mammals, so that finally a race of apes became humans? Some scientists and religious leaders claim to believe both the theory of evolution and the Bible. They say that the Bible book of Genesis is a parable. Perhaps you have wondered, ‘Is the theory that man evolved from animals compatible with the Bible?’
    The apostle Paul told educated Greeks: “God .*.*. made out of one man every nation of men”

    Understanding our origin is vital to understanding who we are, where we are going, and how we should live. Only with knowledge of man’s origin can we understand God’s permission of suffering and his purpose for man’s future. We cannot enjoy a fine standing with God if we are not sure that he is our Creator. So let us examine what the Bible says about man’s origin, his present condition, and his future. Then we will see if the theory of evolution is compatible with the Bible.
    When There Was One Man

    Evolutionists generally claim that a population of animals gradually developed into a population of humans, denying that there was once only one man. However, the Bible presents a very different picture. It says that we originate from one man, Adam. The Bible account presents Adam as a historical person. It gives us the names of his wife and some of his children. It tells us in detail what he did, what he said, when he lived, and when he died. Jesus did not consider that account as just a story for uneducated people. When addressing well-educated religious leaders, he said: “Did you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female?” (Matthew 19:3-5) Jesus then quoted the words about Adam and Eve recorded at Genesis 2:24.
    Luke, a Bible writer and a careful historian, presented Adam as a person who was as real as Jesus. Luke traced Jesus’ genealogy back to the first man. (Luke 3:23-38) Also, when the apostle Paul spoke before an audience that included philosophers who were educated in the famous Greek schools, he told them: “The God that made the world and all the things in it .*.*. made out of one man every nation of men, to dwell upon the entire surface of the earth.” (Acts 17:24-26) Clearly, the Bible teaches that we descended from “one man.” Is what the Bible says about man’s original condition compatible with evolution?

    Man’s Slide From Perfection
    According to the Bible, Jehovah made the first man perfect. It is impossible for God to make things any other way. The creation account says: “God proceeded to create the man in his image .*.*. After that God saw everything he had made and, look! it was very good.” (Genesis 1:27,*31) What is a perfect man like?
    Evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man

    A perfect man has free will and is able to imitate God’s qualities completely. The Bible says: “The true God made mankind upright, but they themselves have sought out many plans.” (Ecclesiastes 7:29) Adam chose to rebel against God. By his rebellion, Adam lost perfection for himself and his offspring. Man’s fall from perfection explains why we often disappoint ourselves, even though we want to do what is good. The apostle Paul wrote: “What I wish, this I do not practice; but what I hate is what I do.”—Romans 7:15.

    A perfect man would live forever in perfect health, according to the Bible. It is evident from what God said to Adam that if the first man had not disobeyed God, he would never have died. (Genesis 2:16, 17; 3:22,*23) Jehovah would not have declared the creation of man to be “very good” if the man had a tendency to get sick or to rebel. The fall from perfection explains why the human body, though marvelously designed, is susceptible to deformities and disease. Evolution is therefore incompatible with the Bible. Evolution presents modern man as an improving animal. The Bible presents modern man as the degenerating descendant of a perfect man.

    The idea that God directed evolution in order to produce man is also incompatible with what the Bible says about God’s personality. If God guided the process of evolution, it would mean that he guided mankind into its present diseased and distressed state. However, the Bible says of God: “The Rock, perfect is his activity, for all his ways are justice. A God of faithfulness, with whom there is no injustice; righteous and upright is he. They have acted ruinously on their own part; they are not his children, the defect is their own.” (Deuteronomy 32:4,*5) Therefore, mankind’s present suffering is not the result of God-directed evolution. It is the result of one man’s losing perfection for himself and his offspring by rebelling against God. Now that we have considered Adam, we can turn to Jesus. Is evolution compatible with what the Bible says about Jesus?

    Can You Believe in Both Evolution and Christianity?
    “Christ died for our sins.” As you probably know, that is one of the basic teachings of Christianity. (1*Corinthians 15:3; 1*Peter 3:18) To see why evolution is incompatible with that statement, we first need to understand why the Bible calls us sinners and what sin does to us.

    We are all sinners in the sense that we cannot perfectly imitate God’s glorious qualities, such as his love and justice. Therefore, the Bible says: “All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) The Bible teaches that sin is the cause of death. “The sting producing death is sin,” says 1*Corinthians 15:56. Our inheritance of sin is also the underlying cause of sickness. Jesus indicated that there is a link between sickness and our sinful condition. He said to a paralytic, “Your sins are forgiven,” and the man was healed.—Matthew 9:2-7.

    How does Jesus’ death help us? The Bible contrasts Adam with Jesus Christ and says: “Just as in Adam all are dying, so also in the Christ all will be made alive.” (1*Corinthians 15:22) By laying down his life, Jesus paid the price for the sin that we inherited from Adam. Thus, all who exercise faith in Jesus and obey him will receive what Adam forfeited—the prospect of everlasting life.—John 3:16; Romans 6:23.
    Do you see, then, that evolution is incompatible with Christianity? If we doubt that “in Adam all are dying,” how can we hope that “in the Christ all will be made alive”?

    Why Evolution Attracts People
    The Bible reveals how such teachings as evolution become popular. It says: “There will be a period of time when they will not put up with the healthful teaching, but, in accord with their own desires, they will accumulate teachers for themselves to have their ears tickled; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, whereas they will be turned aside to false stories.” (2*Timothy 4:3,*4) Although evolution is usually presented in scientific language, it is really a religious doctrine. It teaches a philosophy of life and an attitude toward God. Its beliefs are subtly attractive to mankind’s selfish, independent tendencies. Many who believe in evolution say that they also believe in God. However, they feel free to think of God as one who has not created things, does not intervene in man’s affairs, and will not judge people. It is a creed that tickles people’s ears.

    Teachers of evolution are often motivated, not by the facts, but by “their own desires”—perhaps a desire to be accepted by a scientific community in which evolution is orthodox doctrine. Professor of biochemistry Michael Behe, who has spent most of his life studying the complex internal functions of living cells, explained that those who teach the evolution of cell structure have no basis for their claims. Could evolution occur at this tiny, molecular level? “Molecular evolution is not based on scientific authority,” he wrote. “There is no publication in the scientific literature—in prestigious journals, specialty journals, or books—that describes how molecular evolution of any real, complex, biochemical system either did occur or even might have occurred. .*.*. The assertion of Darwinian molecular evolution is merely bluster.”

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    Default Darwin day?

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