So I went to the site that talks about the Atheist Riddle, there is a link to it right here on TA. Anyways, I must admit it is a pretty sound argument regardless of how poorly it is presented. I havent been able to find any kind of coherent argument against it or refuting it. Can anyone help? Any ideas about this? It basically states that DNA is a code, a way of storing information, and codes do not exist in nature and have always been engineered. Therefore we are engineered, they implant God as the engineer but that is simply a matter of opinion....Hmmm.
You really have to wonder if people who doubt whether evolution occurs really understand just how long a billion years really is. We can watch it happen all around us on a daily basis in microogranisms, its no wonder large changes occur over such an unimaginably long period of time. The only problem I have with evolution is the idea that it took several billion years for eukaryotes to evolve from prokaryotes and its only been 5 million years since humans and chimpanzees diverged. It seems once the ball gets rolling, it really gets rolling.
i'm sure in your studies you've learned how evolution often simply repurposes existing genes and traits for other uses. well, the more genes and traits an organisms has the more repurposing natural selection can do. as the snow ball gets bigger it does indeed gain speed on its way downhill. humans have about 25 times as many base pairs as E. coli does. not to mention, prokaryotes reproduce asexually whereas most eukaryotes reproduce sexually and so provide even more possibilities for natural selection to do its thing. hence why sexual reproduction is such a valuable adaptation.
Still, for sentience/intelligence to have evolved over such a relatively short period of time is truly remarkable. I wouldn't call myself an expert, but I can't think of many adaptations as complex as sentience and linguistic abilities. Puncuated equilibrium at work I suppose, we managed to take just the right step in the right direction and it opened an entire new perception of the world to us.
true but even sentience developed in small steps. we must be careful not to make it seem like sentience poofed into existence in one great leap whereas all the rest of evolution happened in small increments. all kinds of animals have evolved to live in social groups and have found success by cooperating. a population that does not very well at all won't be as successful as one that does this somewhat well which in turn won't be as successful as a population that does this very well. neuroscience shows us that animals have a larger neocortex the more social are the groups they live in. cooperation ensures survival but to cooperate you need a larger brain to calculate, monitor, and judge, and keep track of all the subtle nuances of interaction in the social group. the currency in a social group is information about your group-mates and the ability to process that information intuitively. the better a population is at this the better they cooperate the more likely they are to pass on the genetic component that predisposes them to that level of cooperation. when you cooperate that well you have more time for leisure which allows you not only to attain higher levels of socialization within the group and thus better cooperation- a positive feedback loop- but it also allows the animal, with it's evolved larger more complex brain, to begin thinking in the abstract. an animal that can think in the abstract is better able to consider the implications and consequences of its actions and so make better decisions. the ability to process raw information into something like, 'i think that Jane thinks that John knows that Jane is lying about her relationship with Dave' is a far better adaptation than simple cooperation. better decisions via abstract thinking increases socialization and cooperation still more allowing for even more leisure time because that ability to process raw information into complex 4th and 5th order intentionality allows you to keep track of who cooperates and who cheats. ultimately you end up with an animal that can think abstractly about questions that have absolutely no implication for their survival, for socialization and cooperation- questions like 'what does it all mean?' and 'why are we here?' sentience. an awareness of one's self and speculation about one's place in the universe. but it's all the result of little changes, each increasing the population's fitness.
i worry about the way the phrase "step in the right direction" when applied to human evolution sounds. it makes it sound like we are more evolved than other organisms or that we've reached a pinnacle of evolution. not saying that's your understanding mind you!
but it was a step in the right direction but only insofar as each little step was a step in the right direction towards better fitness in the environment that population found itself in, the pressures the environment put on the population. change the environment or any of the selection pressures and we would not be what we are today. if we were to rewind the clock, back to before the cambrian explosion for instance, and play the whole thing back again nothing would turn out the same. most of the animals alive in the playback version, but for the pure chance repetitions, so few they would be, wouldn't look anything like the animals alive today. that's of course because there's no such thing as inherent fitness but rather only fitness to a particular environment's changing selection pressures.
i may be telling you things you already know and if so i don't want to give the impression that i think you ignorant of this stuff. just thought i'd put the information out there for others who may be reading along. :)
So, it says that codes don't exist in nature without an intelligent creator. DNA exists in nature. If there was some other code that we found in nature, they would say that it doesn't exist in nature without intelligent creation. If we found more and more codes, at what point would they stop saying that there are no codes in nature without intelligent creation and start saying that codes are common within nature?
1) Physical matter is not created by conscious minds; there is no conscious process known to science that creates physical matter.
2) Therefore the physical universe was not created by a conscious mind.
If you can provide an empirical example of physical matter being created by a conscious mind, you've toppled my proof. All you need is one.