Anyone find it hard to believe that there's no creator?

Discussion in 'Science and Nature' started by plsfoldthx, Oct 28, 2010.

  1. Now, I'm as pro-science as anybody. Was a biochemistry major... am in med school now and stopped believing in God when I was like 18 or so. I remember reading my cell bio and molecular biology textbooks and just be astonished at the extraordinary organization and regulation at the cellular level. The idea that proteins act just like machines with rotors and even walking cargo vehicles. Proteins that read code and assemble other proteins, that fix errors in the DNA, that fight germs, that The idea that all of this machinery is encoded in a code remarkably simple for what it actually does. The idea that this system regulates itself to maintain the perfect state.

    Of course like any good science major we learned about evolutionary biology, natural selection, stabilizing selection, disruptive selection, genetic drift, miller-urey experiment, prokaryotic origin of mitochondria, neutral theory, phylogenetic tracing using dna... etc. I've worked in an evolutionary biology lab taken grad school course work in evolutionary biology... and it all makes sense and it does explain many things, but what it fails to do for me, however, is bring all of complexities and organization of life together. These all make sense at the macro level, however, when I start thinking about the inside of cells... the bustling metropolis that exists billions of times over in our bodies... I can't help but wonder how the ****? ;)

    I'm not saying I don't know how therefore there has to be a God... I'm just saying that I'm astonished and bewildered how this level of organization came about. All I'm saying is I don't know. Any other people with science backgrounds feel the same way?
  2. Well. My background is in physics (currently doing a double physichs/nanotech undergrad at RMIT), and I tend to look at it this way.
    Our universe is big, right? And we barely know everything about our own SOLARSYSTEM! And from little else we know about what's outside that, and with all we know about what's inside it, there is one thing we know that's absoloutley true.
    Given infinite posibilties, and infinite oppurtunities, every possible combination WILL occur.

    So why can't this life on this small rock be a spilt test tube in the universe? A single accident? Chaos and randomness is beautiful to behold, it's what runs our universe...

    There is no need for a creator... no requirement in a system of chaos. It's not amazing that it just happens, it's amazing BECAUSE it just happens.
    Humans have this amazingly strange tendancy to need to feel so reassured that they know everything... right down to why they're here. And they don't seem to accept 'no particular reason' for an answer. weird.
  3. In all honesty this is a lot of what makes me believe that there probably isn't a creator. I understand yoru resasoning and it definitely has merit - life is complex to the point that its almost unimaginable, but I think to make that logical jump is to assume that we should have the mental capacity to understand everything around us. Just because evolution and a random creation event is a concept we can barely begin to understand doesn't mean it is not a possibiliy.

    This may be assumptive, but I wouldn't expect a creator to create such complex life. Why create a system that relies on faulty mechanics (DNA replication) and one that is entirely reliant on death and extinction. Obviously we can't discount a creater entirely, but I have a hard time beleiving that there is one and I think that without any proof, I would rather assume a lack of god than the alternative.

    I also tend to agree with LazyWalrus, that it is not suprising that in such a vast universe that a creation event might occur as a freak accident of physics.
  4. #4 MelT, Oct 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2010
    As you said in the thread regarding time-travellers, 'what has this to do with science?' :) The title of the thread sounds pretty much like a fundamentalist plea, not a science question.

    But okay, say we phrase it differently. 'How did life begin?', and, 'how did life become complex?'

    How did life begin? See other threads here regarding the spontaneous organisation of the basic chain molecules, etc, necessary for the appearance of life, around hydro-thermal vents.

    How did it become so complex? There are two answers:

    Evolution is not conscious, it doesn't seek to continually better an organism, that's a fallacy. In many cases evolution deals creatures a death blow by 'causing' them to lose traits that they eventually need later in their lives. Evolution has no direction, it's not even 'survival of the fittest', it is 'best chance of survival in the current environment'. Evolution goes back, forwards and sideways so that if the climate changes, or the food changes, or a whole host of other reasons, then the creature will adapt. But it isn't a consciously driven adaptation, just that those creatures who naturally possess a mutation necessary for survival will live, those without it will die. Mutations happen with regularity, and go on to affect entire races very quickly.

    I'm sure you're aware of the pale-skin and blue eyes of Nordic races? You must have met many people yourself with blue eyes too; The gene for blue eyes only first appeared about 10, 000 years ago.

    What we are now is something that, through evolution, is suitable for the current environment, that's all. If the air here should become thinner, or it should grow colder, then those who are able to tolerate those extremes will live when others will die. The old human race will die out, and the new will take their place - regardless of whether that mutation is something that benefits the human race in the long term or not.

    The eye has developed independently in a number of creatures, some using the same design as ours, some not. Some of those ceatures developed eyes and later lost them because the need had gone. Where once the eye was seen as a remarkably complex thing that could not have arrived by chance, we can say with certainty that it has arisen by chance a number of times. We know too how it came into being.

    Life became complex because of adaptation, where creatures retain not one or two traits for survival, but many. We can run, throw spears overarm (Neanderthals couldn't), tolerate a range of foods and temperatures - we just retain the best adaptations and grow more complex because of it.

    But life also became complex for another reason, one that's proabably more important than the first. We, and all other creatures, are not just one creature, but many. We're filled with a range of genetic material from viruses who use us as hosts and help drive our bodies to the degree now that we couldn't digest our food or even have a proper blood supply if they weren't present. We're all evolving together, going backwards and forwards in complexity as is necessary for us to live.

    Our blood for example is filled not just with our own cells, but also creatures that have their own lives within us, some bringing benefit, others not. Our stomach's, brains, blood, skin - our whole organism is a group of different levels of life that we didn't begin our journey to homo-sapiens with. Some are viruses that we've grown to be unable to live without. Each of these creatures evolves in its own way, achieving its own complexity to survive, but affecting those cells and organs around it.

    Does this process need a creator? No, not to begin and not to continue to develop.

    Life is wonderful. Life is lucky as all hell. But life is not spooky.

  5. What astonishes me is the concept of myself. How I am really the collaboration of millions upon millions of cells. Then I think of the universe and of a god, I don't think of a creator, I see us, our planet, our galaxy, everything and everyone as cells, working together to comprise the universe. How life plays into that, I really couldn't say lol. So I guess Spinoza's god makes the most sense to me, although I wouldnt say it's the exact representation of what I'm trying to say.
  6. The basic watchmaker argument.
    Most of the scientists I know in physics and chemistry do believe in god because of the level of organization but its really a personal choice for you to decide what you believe. I also know people who believe in evolution and religion. I personally find it hard to see how the two ideas are not in direct opposition to one another.
  7. I agree. Mind you, I have to say that I'm aware of the 'inner workings' of about 30 scientists here on a regular basis; 24 don't believe in god and don't see the level of organisation as being remarkable. I think about 60% of them see it as pretty mundane TBH. I''ve yet to meet one who has said that they believed in god because they couldn't account for the complexity/organisation. The opposite really, the more they know the less they seem to be impressed. It is though as you said a personal choice.

  8. #8 greenvegan, Oct 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2010
    Strange that no one in chem or physics dept says that. The only really hard core believers I know are in one of those depts and have little background in biology (in science careers anyways). These people I know who feel this way do not accept evolution at all either. I'm an anthropologist and study human evo but I love cultural anthro too so I am always asking questions about why people believe things.
  9. Was there an infinite period of nothingness, and then something randomly appeared in the universe?

    Or was there never a beginning, nor will there be an end, and all of infinite space has been full forever?
  10. The nature of belief is one of my favourite subjects. I write about the use of psychology and suggestion to create belief systems on and off stage. We are easily, readily, eagerlyled into believing things that are beyond ridiculous. But if someone wants and needs to believe in something, they will.

  11. #11 IwasA.Smurf, Oct 28, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 28, 2010
    I'm comfortably agnostic until proven otherwise.

    my views are way to complex and complicated to express. In a fair summation,,, energy cannon be created nor destroyed..

    ID (intelligent design theory) is more believable (for me) over the christian manifestation.
  12. Sometimes, but not really. The universe is amazing, but even more amazing is that it didn't take a divine hand to get it going.
  13. Creator you say?
    I had dinner with mine the other night. Meatloaf. It was delicious.
  14. Think of it like this. We are the creator to the cells and organs within us and how we manage our 'universe' is how we are praised by our organs and cells.

    We are creators of 2-Dimensional drawings. How much effort we put into bringing these characters to life and giving them stories is what God, a 4-dimensional character does with us and our surrounding and our universe. Same concepts with the cells and organs. My advice is to stay faaaaaaar away from religion when looking for answers for God if you are tainted but if you are or just a knowledge seeker religion is like the sandbox where we all play in. After that we grow up and build our own sandboxes for our kids and their children to play in and the cycle continues. This is why philosophy is incredibly important in explaining science and when you disregard that fact the material world gives you worth instead of the other way around, how it has always been. Thanks for reading and have a great day brothers and sisters
  15. Yes, I know it's like the watchmaker argument, but I'm not really making an argument. Like the guy above me said, it's more of a fundamentalist plea.
  16. So your mother was a cow? Or a horribly bad singer? ;)
  17. Thanks for the science review. I've read about all those things you mentioned, but it was a good read nonetheless. I would have to disagree with the last part... our blood contains mostly our own cells ... erythrocytes and leukocytes. I don't doubt there are traces of bacteria, but I don't think they bring us benefit... perhaps you are thinking of the GI tract? Despite proposed mechanisms of the development of the eye and the flagella, they are mere drops in the ocean of the complexity of biochemical systems.

    When we look at cell metabolism... the shuttling of precursors, intermediates... the shifting of lipids, sugars, amino acids through hormonal mediated responses... negative feedback inhibition... the level of organization of extracellular hormones > metabotropic receptors that modify DNA transcription and translation... When we look at the inter-reliance of protein function to critical side chains on not one, but many amino acids... does it not make you wonder if this is not all irreducibly complex? That is go back to the origin of life... early conditions formed nucleic acids ... Think for a second about mRNA and tRNA and the synthesis of amino acids by ribosomes... how did life settle on a specific tRNA for a specific 3 base pair sequence on the mRNA? There must have been massive complications early in life in determining these tRNAs? Why were these linked to such and such amino acids? Why are these not more variable in different species... surely, life could continue if the tRNA for CUC was bound to proline instead of leucine... evolution would just need to modify the DNA to get the same protein...
  18. What I find interesting is how humans have such a deep desire for art. How seeing a brightly lit up setting sun just kinda takes your break away or how music can give you the chills, why would have humans needed these things to evolve? And also just looking at our brains, how our memory is practically limitless and we only use a fraction of what our brains are fully capable of..
    The way I see it, science can explain the chemistry of how the ink sticks to the paper, but cannot explain how the ink formed into words on the paper. Much like how they can describe how lifeforms could've formed, but cannot describe the code in which dna uses to make to lives form..
  19. I believe (with what you said in mind) that SOMETHING - some force of energy simple CREATED everything (the laws of physics, molecular structures, chemical make-ups, quantum physics - the whole nine).

    But I DON'T think that this creator-thing judges, sends to hell, plays favorites, or sends himself down as a human to be crucified so that he/it can take all of the sins of humanity.

    No, sir. I just think it's how nature works - dog eat dog - natural selection. The Universe/Multiverse is chaotic. Beautiful, but chaotic.

    There is no doubt in my mind that there are billions of different lifeforms on other planets, but that's a different story...

    So yeah - I'm all for a "Great Architect", but that's it. No one I can pray to for help. :(

    Life. It is a motherfucker!
  20. #20 MelT, Oct 29, 2010
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 29, 2010
    No, actually our blood contains a host of things like T-Cells and Microphages of about five different kinds that are largely autonomous, but provide us with various biological functions. These are creatures in their own right. Neutrophils have their own lives and weave traps made from DNA to capture invading bacteria. They may well be in us, but that doesn't mean 'of us'. Think of it like a jellyfish - we aren't one creature, but a host of them living symbiotically.

    Our stomach's and GI tract have a variety of bacteria in them and without them we wouldn't be able to digest food.

    There aren't just traces of bacteria, but viruses and virus remnants which have actually contributed to our genetic makeup (again bad and good). Our DNA contains virus and bacterial DNA that we've gathered for thousands of years and that both helps and hinders us in equal quantities. There's DNA from say, forms of chest infection that are passed down from generation to generation. We are not just one single creature, but a composite of many. We're more a host for viruses and other forms of life than human to some extent. Not just as creatures or cells inside us, but as actual genetic material within our DNA (see below).

    When we look at the inter-reliance of protein function to critical side chains on not one, but many amino acids... does it not make you wonder if this is not all irreducibly complex?

    Not at all, far from it. Once you do go back to basic cell structure it's almost too simple. Join ahandful of simple machines together and they evolve into a more complex system. 'Irreducibly complex' is a term used by fundamental creationists about life that I'm afraid I don't agree with.

    By using the cell as an example you'[re almost implying that life began in cell form and that it somehow arrived complete and fully functional out of nowhere, when it didn't. Life began before cells appeared. To say that a cell is irreducibly complex would also imply that science can't break a cell down and show how it evolved, but we can. We know how it got its outer membrane, why and how cells divide, how they began to 'gather' genetic material. We know more and more about the cell every month - what about it do you feel will always remain unknown? Even the old chicken and egg, RNA/DNA is resolved now.

    That is go back to the origin of life... early conditions formed nucleic acids ... Think for a second about mRNA and tRNA and the synthesis of amino acids by ribosomes... how did life settle on a specific tRNA for a specific 3 base pair sequence on the mRNA?

    Please see other threads here regarding the emergence of life and Ligands. Life didn't 'settle' on one form, certainly not specifically. Life isn't all oxygen breathing and metabolising sugars, all life is not the same. We have creatures that metabolise various gases and metals to live. We have viruses that are on the cusp of beig 'alive' and being machines. The arising of life is now seeming ever more simple and common.

    I can't think of much about our bioligical makeup that is beyond the coming together of a series of co-dependant organisms TBH.

    It's unfortunate, but this thread now seems to be just an appeal for creationism and I don't think it should be here. How about asking the same thing in S+P?


    Here's an article about one such pathogen that is now within our DNA that provides us with genetic material that isn't ours. Although the article talks mainly about the remnants found in vertebrae, the DNA is everywhere within us:

    Unexpected Viral 'Fossils' Found in Vertebrate Genomes

    ScienceDaily (July 30, 2010) — Over millions of years, retroviruses, which insert their genetic material into the host genome as part of their replication, have left behind bits of their genetic material in vertebrate genomes. In a recent study, published July 29 in the open-access journal PLoS Pathogens, a team of researchers have now found that human and other vertebrate genomes also contain many ancient sequences from Ebola/Marburgviruses and Bornaviruses -- two deadly virus families.

    Because neither virus family inserts their genetic material into the host genome during replication, as retroviruses do, the discovery was all the more unexpected.

    "This was a surprise for us," says author Anna Marie Skalka, Ph.D., Director Emerita of the Institute for Cancer Research at Fox Chase Cancer. "It says that the source of our genetic material is considerably wider than we thought. It includes our own genes and unexpected viral genes as well."

    The team, which included lead author Vladimir A. Belyi, Ph.D., and co-author Arnold J. Levine, Ph.D., both at the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, compared 5,666 viral genes from all known non-retroviral families with single-stranded RNA genomes to the genomes of 48 vertebrate species, including humans. In doing so, they uncovered 80 separate viral sequence integrations into 19 different vertebrate species. Interestingly, nearly all of the viral sequences come from ancient relatives of just two viral families, the Ebola/Marburgviruses and Bornaviruses, both of which cause hemorrhagic fevers and neurological disease.

    "These viruses are RNA viruses," Skalka says. "They replicate their RNA and are not known to make any DNA. And they have no known mechanism for getting their genetic material integrated into the DNA of the host genome. Indeed, some of them don't even enter the nucleus when they replicate."

    That the sequences, some of which may have been integrated into the genomes more than 40 million years ago, have been largely conserved over evolutionary time suggests that they give the host a selective advantage, perhaps protecting them from future infections by viruses from those families. The study shows that integration of the ancient viral sequences was probably mediated by movable elements, LINEs, which are abundant in mammalian genomes.

    "In a way, one might even think of these integrations as genomic vaccinations," says Skalka.

    Demonstrating conclusively that the viral sequences have some biological function will take additional work. However, the team has noted that expression of some of these viral open reading frames has been detected in human tissues, which supports the possibility that they are biologically active in host species

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