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Posts Tagged ‘richard dawkins’

10.15.2009 – Honest Questions About Evolution

October 15, 2009 6 comments

Let me first start by saying that I believe Evolutionary Theory. I believe that the brilliant Scientists that have done the hard work of researching and testing the theory over the many years have done good work. I can see no reason that they would have to mislead people intentionally. I do trust that they are honest in their findings and in the way it is presented to the general public. 

That being said, I have a few questions. 

I have just started reading Richard Dawkins ‘The Greatest Show on Earth’. And as usual with his writing, I am enjoying it tremendously. In the first part of the book, he uses the topic of the various breeds of Dogs to support the theory of ‘artificial selection’ (since humans were the ones to develop and domesticate the various breeds of dogs). He states that it’s been determined that all dog breeds lead back and tie into the genetics of Wolfs. Not foxes, hyenas, etc like originally thought. 

Here is where things get foggy for me. I did a bit of digging separate from the book to see if I could find more information on how this actually occurred. I found one idea where it said that larger wolves would be bred with smaller, more pointy eared wolves, and would end up with a slightly smaller version. And that process was repeated to eventually develop the various breeds. I’m having trouble with this. Isn’t it correct that if you breed a large wolf, with one that may be smaller and look slightly different that you would still have a wolf? At least throughout the much smaller span of time that humans have been doing this as compared to the EONS of time that natural selection works in. This is an honest question. I am really looking to find how the process actually works and actual evidence that supports it. If anyone reads this and has links to articles or books that would explain the process, PLEASE post it in the comments. I would appreciate it greatly. 

Another thing that has been nagging me lately is this. It is theorized that all life formed in the water (or Primordial Soup if you will). Single cell life forms eventually developed into more complex life forms over billions of years. And eventually some of those life forms moved onto land. Well, how does this happen? If a creature lives in water, it has gills. If a creature lives on land, it has lungs. How do the very FIRST creatures to do this, move from water to land? I mean, a fish that wanders on to land, and maybe lays eggs, doesn’t have babies that all of a sudden are born able to breathe air. Believe me when I say, I am not trying to over-simplify the process or claim that this is a flaw in the theory. I just can’t seem to figure out in my head, how this would happen. So, as with the other question, if there’s any information out there to explain this, I would LOVE to read it. 

Maybe Dawkins will discuss this later in the book, and I’m just jumping the gun, but like I said, it’s just something that’s been nagging me and I’m curious to see what’s out there to explain these questions. 

-eoe-

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08.28.2009 – My New 10 Commandments

August 28, 2009 2 comments

I am currently about half-way through reading Richard Dawkins – The God Delusion (yes, i know…what the hell took me so long?!?!?). It is truly VERY well written and I am thoroughly enjoying it.

I’ve just recently gone through his section that talked about a ’10 commandements’ more suited for our modern society. Since, obviously, the biblical ones are not only VERY outdated, but also, not all encompassing and really rather narcissistic from ‘god’s’ perspective.

Anyway, I wanted to post the new list of 10 commandments (based on the list that Dawkins provides in the book) because I think they are really are more applicable to modern life. Here is the list, along with some of my own commentary in parentheses where applicable…

First Commandment: Do not do to others what you would not want them to do to you. (Ah yes…the golden rule. Applicable, I think through ALL ages)

Second Commandment: In all things, strive to cause no harm.

Third Commandment: Treat your fellow human beings, your fellow living things, and the world in general with love, honesty, faithfulness and respect. (A worthy, albeit challenging, goal)

Fourth Commandment: Do not overlook evil or shrink from administering justice, but always be ready to forgive wrongdoing freely admitted and honestly regretted. (this has an ‘eastern philosophy feel to it that I really like)

Fifth Commandment: Live life with a sense of joy and wonder. (this is a big one for me. I think when I was young, I HAD this sense of wonder. This amazement with the world and the universe. Though the years of my fundamentalism, a lot of that was taken away and lost. Now that I’ve shed that oppression, I can feel some of the sense of joy and wonder coming back, and it really has been awesome)

Sixth Commandment: Always seek to be learning something new. (yep…a daily pursuit for me)

Seventh Commandment: Test all things; always check your ideas against the facts, and be ready to discard even a cherished belief if it does not conform to them.

Eighth Commandment: Never seek to censor or cut yourself off from dissent; always respect the right of others to disagree with you. (another challenging rule for me personally. It’s hard, but getting easier, to take the mentality that other people are allowed to have opposing viewpoints. I guess it just comes down to the fact that I’ve always been passionate about my beliefs (that damn fundamentalism!).

Ninth Commandment: Form independent opinions on the basis of your own reason and experience; do not allow yourself to be led blindly by others.

Tenth Commandment: Question everything. (and then question it again!)

-eoe-

08.13.2009 – Critical Thinking Update

August 13, 2009 1 comment

Well, I figured it was about time to just post an update as to the state of things in my own head. Kind of a ‘milestone’ marker for me to look back on and see how far I’ve come and how far there is left to go.

I’ve looked back recently on some of my earlier posts and just had to have a bit of a chuckle at some of the thoughts. When I first started this whole ‘Pursuit of Truth’ thing that I find myself on now, I obviously got sucked into a whole lot of conspiracy theory type BS initially. Ideas that the whole world was organized to destroy everyone in it except for an elite few. Or, if nothing else, enslave us all. The ‘New World Order’ bullshit if you will.

I now know how silly that all is. While I’m sure there is some level of secretive stuff going on in the world, I no longer believe that there is a global organized effort to bring on tyranny and keep all of us as peasants or slaves. The information that I found myself believing was based on blind assertions, non-sequiturs, and slipery slopes that had no real evidence to back it up.

I’m really starting to be proud of myself in the way that I am able to critically assess topics now and get to the root questions of their validity. Obviously, there’s always skills be to learned. There will always be practice needed, and I’m certain that at some point I’ll find myself believing something that didn’t really have all the evidence to support it. Hopefully, though, I now have the tools to recognize it and be able to re-think accordingly.

Most of my progress has come as the result of the various outlets that I’ve been reading and watching lately. The biggest help to me was reading Carl Sagan’s Demon Haunted World. His ‘Baloney Detection Kit’ seems to be the single most effective set of tools for getting to the crux of most claims and assertions. I hope to be able to apply more and more of these tools to my thinking arsenal for future use.

The other huge help to me has been listening to the podcasts from Point of Inquiry (http://www.pointofinquiry.org). There doesn’t seem to be ANY topic of human interest that they haven’t discussed with the leading thinkers of our times. It’s been an amazing journey to go through all of the archives and listen to the discussions. Hearing HOW these amazing minds dissect topics and tear them down to their bases is very impressive and very helpful.

Also, the Atheist Experience TV show (www.atheist-experience.com) and the Non-Phophets (http://www.nonprophetsradio.com) are two shows that I really love. I look forward to each week of hearing what they will be discussing.

Anyway, that’s kind of where I’m at right now. I’m FINALLY reading The God Delusion by Richard Dawkins (way overdue), and thoroughly enjoying it. I believe this may give me the confidence to no longer feel like I have to hide my atheism and stand by silently while the religious majority tries to force feed their beliefs to the non-believers.

-eoe-