Hope for your project - a little off topic.


A

Alf P. Steinbach

There is obviously some disagreement over the precise definition of a
"species" so how about this: let's say a competent anthropologist from
2013 were able to travel back in time to the period during which humans
were evolving and could stay there for 50,000 years if necessary (please
don't pick me up on the logistics of this). Let's say they are also
able to examine *every* embryo that is produced by the pre-humans or
"near" humans of the time. Would you agree that at some point they are
going to be able to perform a thorough examination of a particular
embryo and make the determination that they classifiable as "Homo
sapiens"? OK, well all I am saying is that the first time this is
possible is when we have identified the "first human".

A more practical version of this experiment can be done with baking of
gingerbread persons like <url:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Gingerbread_men.jpg> and <url:
http://jags-webdesign.com/wp-conten...man-costumelrgscale880193_800jpg-cplydgbw.jpg>.

Presumably you and I can agree on a reasonable definition of "finished
gingerbread person", based on properties such as color, firmness,
temperature, blah blah.

I think we can even agree that in any particular performance of the
experiment -- nom nom, fresh gingerbread person! -- each of us can
pinpoint a particular gingerbread person as the first to be finished.

Except that we won't necessarily pick the same one.

So, each performance, we can fight over whose measurements and judgment,
not to mention /definition/, is most correct. :)


Cheers & hth.,

- Alf (seriously off-topic mode)
 
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D

David Brown

"David Brown" wrote in message

I find most of this rather unnecessary, judgemental and somewhat offensive.

Let me start by saying that yes, this whole discussion is unnecessary.
It is very much off-topic in this group, and no one has any realistic
ideas about changing anyone else's opinions. I enjoy such off-topic
threads on occasion, and apparently so do many people here (though there
are others that dislike them) - I like to swap ideas and opinions like
this, even if it seldom leads to change or agreements. I don't agree
with certain of your beliefs, but it can be good to hear them anyway.

And yes, things get somewhat judgemental. Strong and controversial
beliefs will /always/ been judged. You judge my beliefs and opinions
against your own, and I judge yours. We can all try to limit our
judgements to the arguments and opinions expressed rather than the
people expressing them, though we also all know it is easy to stray from
that path.

Which brings me to the final point - I do not mean to be offensive. But
I know that my tone can be somewhat sarcastic or exaggerated, and of
course there is plenty of scope for writing things that can be taken in
different ways and viewed as more offensive than intended.

In particular, I made a rather large error in my post. I described (and
ridiculed) a number of more general points about extreme views, and then
I made a point that was specific to your views. I did not intend these
to be connected as they were. I believe (from your posts and questions)
that you have a fundamental misunderstanding about species and how the
question of a "first human" does not really make sense, and you I don't
think this thread will change that. But I did not mean to imply that
you were a Creationist or that you hold such extreme views. I worded
the post badly in that way, and for that I apologise. I should have
read through my post more critically before sending it.

You say things like "It is not uncommon amongst some religious people to
deliberately misunderstand evolution and the concept of species".

I said that, and it is true. However, I did not mean to imply that this
applies to /you/ specifically - it was a general statement (as were
several other points I made). At best, I could only guess that it
/might/ apply to you - after all, you had given little information about
your opinions other than a conviction that there had to have been a
"first human".
You
then attempt to ridicule my belief that there must have been a first
human with a "Singing in the Rain" analogy.

I ridiculed the extrapolation many Creationists or Biblical literalists
make to go from the stories in Genesis to theories about biology. Note
that this is not a ridiculing of a Christian faith (or any other
religious faiths and beliefs) - but targeted at a specific extremist
viewpoint held by some people.

If you don't believe that, then your beliefs are not being ridiculed here.


That is /not/ the same as my disagreement about there being a "first
human" as a general point - because that depends on there being a
specific definition of a "human". If you can come up with a categoric
definition of what makes a being "human", then it /might/ be possible to
define a "first" human.
You (indirectly) suggest I
may be a "Biblical literalist".

If I suggested that, it was /very/ indirectly - my points were general,
not specific to you. (Again, I know it looked like they /were/ directed
at you, and I can only apologise again.)
You then make the ridiculous statement
that "believe evolution made humans and other species as complete,
individual and unchanging concepts through inexplicable leaps - one day
a chimpanzee gave birth to the first human". Finally you refer to my
beliefs as "fundamental and self-reenforced (sic) misunderstandings".

Again, this is the sort of argument that many Creationists (or fans of
"Intelligent Design") use - not an argument that I am attributing to /you/.
Well, it appears to me that your *beliefs* are vastly more "fundamental"
than mine. And I am certainly not "deliberately misunderstanding
evolution" or the "concept of species". Further, I am certainly not a
"Biblical literalist" and neither have I ever said that the human
species or any other is a "complete, individual or unchanging concept".

I don't believe that you can talk about a "first human" until you define
a "human" - without such a definition, there was no "first human". If
that is more fundamental than your beliefs, fair enough.
Finally, if you can find a quote where I stated either directly or
indirectly that "one day a chimpanzee gave birth to the first human"
then I would challenge you to post it here.

As noted multiple times above, I did not mean to imply that you said or
thought this.
So now that I have established that basically everything you posted here
is false, what can I make of anything else you say?

I think we have established that most of what I wrote does not apply to
you, even though my clumsy writing implied that.

What we have left is that you believe that there was a "first human",
and I believe that without any kind of definition of "human" there is no
meaning to the question - and hence there was no "first human".

I think you are wrong to think there can be a clear definition of
"human" - the move from "pre-human" ancestors to "modern human" was
gradual, with a great deal of overlap. Species are not disjoint - it is
not possible to say that one generation was "homo rhodesiensis" and the
next generation was "homo sapiens". There is no dividing line.

At best, one could pick specific genetic mutations and say that these
are specific to humans, and therefore the first hominin with that gene
was the "first human". (Other non-genetic characteristics, such as
walking upright, using tools, talking, etc., are far more diffuse and
even harder to categorise.) But there are many such genes, and for at
least some of them it is not unlikely that they evolved more than once
independently.

Even when you can give defining characteristics to something, and give a
clear decision to "this is an X", you do not necessarily have a "first"
member. Consider the set of real numbers greater than 1. It is easy to
see if a given number is in this set - yet it has no "first" member.
My belief that there must have been a first human has absolutely nothing
whatsoever to do with the Bible or religion in general so please do not
try to ridicule this notion by using your own hatred/fear of
Christianity, the Bible or religion as I am not referencing any of
those. Just because I *am* a Christian does not mean that I am
incapable of understanding complex scientific concepts or that I am
unable to apply logic and reason (despite what you may want to believe).

Fair enough. I am not against religion in itself - I have seen the good
effects of religious faith as well as the bad effects. I am against
irrationality in the name of religion, and I am against the abuse of
human rights in the name of religion - but I know that the same applies
to many religious people.
Like most contributors in this thread, you are seemingly allowing your
own religious or anti-religious views get in the way of a logical
debate. You see references to "Bible", "creation", "Adam and Eve" and
you become all defensive of anything which appears to attack your
"absolutely factual" scientific principles and go into all-out attack
mode against the "myths" of religion.

Well, how about you try to distance yourself from those emotions and
consider what I am actually suggesting (which again has nothing to do
with religion).

OK, I accept that criticism. I mixed things up in that post when they
should have been separate.
There is obviously some disagreement over the precise definition of a
"species" so how about this: let's say a competent anthropologist from
2013 were able to travel back in time to the period during which humans
were evolving and could stay there for 50,000 years if necessary (please
don't pick me up on the logistics of this). Let's say they are also
able to examine *every* embryo that is produced by the pre-humans or
"near" humans of the time. Would you agree that at some point they are
going to be able to perform a thorough examination of a particular
embryo and make the determination that they classifiable as "Homo
sapiens"?

I am happy to accept your thought experiment here, but I would /not/
agree that there would be a point at which he could say "these are homo
sapiens, but their ancestors were pre-humans".

/If/ I thought such a classification were possible, then I would be
agreeing with you about the existence of a "first human". But just as
there is no clear dividing line between "small piles of stones" and "big
piles of stones", there is no clear dividing line between pre-humans and
humans.

If your anthropologist were to jump back in time to find a group of homo
rhodesiensis and follow it through thousands of generations, he would
view it as a group of pre-humans that was gradually evolving. If he
were to time-jump a little forward and find a group of humans, and
follow them backwards through thousands of generations, he would view
them as a group of humans with evolution viewed in reverse. And in the
middle, there would be thousands of generations when he was viewing the
/same/ group - but classifying it differently as "late pre-humans" and
"early humans" depending on the viewpoint.
OK, well all I am saying is that the first time this is
possible is when we have identified the "first human".

Then I am suggesting that if that embryo is male then let's name him
Adam and Eve otherwise. You may object to the names (possibly because
they make you go all defensive again) but they're just the names I would
use for the "first human".

The names would be fine - I just don't agree that such "people" existed.

Note that this is not the same as saying I don't believe in common
ancestors - the genetic, fossil, geological, statistical and biological
arguments for common ancestors are very strong. There have been
particular genetic changes at different stages that have enabled
significant changes to the lifestyle of following generations, and such
steps have resulted in the first carrier of that gene being a common
ancestor.

All I am arguing is that such common ancestors cannot be considered to
be the "first human".
 
D

David Brown

"David Brown" wrote in message
David, I would like to express my sincere thanks for the humility you
displayed in this post. I did take your references and quotes to be
directed at me but I accept now that they were not so it's all good.

It was my fault, and I'm glad there are no ill feelings over the clumsy
post.
I happen to know where you are coming from in many of the things you
said. Unfortunately extreme Creationists and fundamentalists give
Christians as a whole a bad reputation as being people incapable of
logical thought and dismissive of anything remotely scientific. This is
not limited to Christianity however, just as terrorists give Muslims a
bad name and also just as white supremacists, "rednecks", racists etc.
give non-religious people a bad name. Pretty much any form of extremism
(religious or otherwise) can paint an entire section of society in a
poor light.

Indeed - we must all strive not to tar people with the same brush.
Thankfully there are many Christians with very "modern" outlooks on life
and with very open-minded views. I myself am very highly educated
having degrees in two branches of science and believe I am more than
capable of evaluating evidence appropriately.

I guess the main difference between me and someone like you (or a
non-Christian) is that I absolutely believe that science does not have
all the answers and there are things in this universe that science
cannot and will never be able to explain fully.

I am not sure that is quite right - I /also/ believe there are things
that science will never fully explain. The difference is that I don't
appeal to a "higher power" for the explanation - I just accept that
sometimes things are the way they are, and we will never know why. Why
are the fundamental constants in physics balanced in such a way that
molecular physics work? I don't expect science to give a complete
answer (maybe it will, but I don't expect so) - but I don't feel the
need to say "God set things up that way". But if you like to think
that, that's fine by me.
Anyway, this thread is definitely way off-topic (and clearly has been
for some time) but I *still* believe that there must have been a "first
human". Even if Homo sapiens did in fact evolve more than once
independently, one of those "new" individuals *must* have evolved first,
even if only by a nanosecond. Contrary to your views and that of others
in this thread, I very firmly believe that logic insists that there must
have been at least one point where the offspring was human and the
parent not fully human.

I guess we can agree to disagree on this point and leave it there...

I can agree with that :)
 
W

woodbrian77

In other words: please don't feed the trolls. From where I'm looking,
half of comp.lang.c++ is wasted on the Leigh-vs-woodbrian offtopicness
and that is not how it should be.

I think Leigh asked a fair question about longevity.
I've been answering as best I can, and of course others
chime in. Although some post here in an attempt to
discredit me, I'm hopeful those who examine the software
on my site will consider it good. And I believe those
who work with me will find I'm interested in improving
my software by thinking about it through their project.


Brian
Ebenezer Enterprises - In G-d we trust.
http://webEbenezer.net
 
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D

David Brown


A bunch of students doing a back-of-the-envelope estimation based on
guesses of ancient measurements about an exaggerated story copied from
even older stories (the Bible authors copied it from Babylonian legends)
does not constitute the slightest evidence for any of the Bible. It's
some students doing a light-hearted project, hoping the department will
pay for a night out at the cinema as "research".

Plus - there were not 35,000 species of animal in Noah's time (assuming,
for the moment, that there was such a person around 6000 years ago).
3,500,000 would be closer if you don't count the microscopic animals,
and don't count other types of life (plants, fungi, bacteria, etc.).
Second, many animals (the "clean" ones) were in sevens, not twos.
Third, using the building materials and techniques available at that
time, a ship that size would be impossible to construct - it would
collapse under its own weight, if it were even possible to find enough
material and people to build it.

And that's before you look at the story itself, rather than just the
ship - the ecology, physics and biology involved clearly put it at the
same level of realism as Star Wars and Harry Potter.

Accept the Bible for what it is - a collection of teachings, parables,
myths and legends, with a few bits of biased history along the way,
written to give some moral guidance and keep the Jews as a separate
people with a clear power structure.

I'm not going to see the recent "Noah" movie, though.

Watch "The Life of Brian" instead - it might make you think a little, as
well as making you laugh.
 
Ö

Öö Tiib

A bunch of students doing a back-of-the-envelope estimation based on
guesses of ancient measurements about an exaggerated story copied from
even older stories (the Bible authors copied it from Babylonian legends)
does not constitute the slightest evidence for any of the Bible. It's
some students doing a light-hearted project, hoping the department will
pay for a night out at the cinema as "research".

Plus - there were not 35,000 species of animal in Noah's time (assuming,
for the moment, that there was such a person around 6000 years ago).

Plus - Noah had probably to loan reindeer of Santa Claus to collect
even 35,000 species from all world (whole year, 100 species per day)?

Plus - living beings consume lot more food and fresh water than they
weight during one year. Otherwise they die of thirst and starvation.

Everything can be anyway like in Bible. One has just to trust that
we live in Matrix-like simulation that perfectly runs by the rules
of nature unless Administrator issues some sort of change from
"outside". It may be possible to prove that it is simulation but it
is impossible to prove that it is not. Alleged situation can let one
to hand-wave all issues with any story away with ultimate
explanation "goddidit".

Being afraid of Administrator (just for a case) can make sense for
people who can't find any reasons to stay decent otherwise. However
taking such apparent man-made fairy tales literally can't help
with anything in modern time, is there a God or not. ;)
 
W

woodbrian77

The only thing that is even more tiresome than religious battles
is people arguing for an account that they apparently have not read.
The biblical arc did not hold *two* of every kind. That is the
popular cliche. There were 7 pairs of everything except for the
unclean beasts.

Tell the students to multiply by something approaching 7 and do
their homework again.

I don't know the students. But my understanding is
the majority of animals are unclean. I'm also of
the opinion it was a regional flood. So I don't think
35,000 species were on the ark.

Brian
Ebenezer Enterprises
http://webEbenezer.net
 
D

Dombo

Op 04-Apr-14 11:11, Chris Vine schreef:
radiation. Using the Stefan-Boltzmann law for radiation, (H/E)^4 = 50,
where E is the absolute temperature of the earth (-300K)

-300 Kelvin ???
 
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D

David Brown

I don't know the students. But my understanding is
the majority of animals are unclean. I'm also of
the opinion it was a regional flood. So I don't think
35,000 species were on the ark.

So you accept the word of the Bible, with absolutely /no/ other
evidence, that there was a flood and an ark. And yet you reject, with
absolutely no evidence, the Bible's description of the flood affecting
the world rather than just a local region?

If you are going to reduce the Bible's exaggerations until they start
sounding less daft, why not take it to the level of reasonable likelihood?

There have always been regional floods around the world. And I'm sure
that at one point, there was a guy who thought that these particular
rains look bad, so he put his family and farm animals on a boat or raft
- thus saving them while the rest of the village got swamped.
 
W

woodbrian77

So you accept the word of the Bible, with absolutely /no/ other
evidence, that there was a flood and an ark. And yet you reject, with
absolutely no evidence, the Bible's description of the flood affecting
the world rather than just a local region?

It could have been the known world - an area equivalent
to the size of the US.
If you are going to reduce the Bible's exaggerations until they start
sounding less daft, why not take it to the level of reasonable likelihood?

There have always been regional floods around the world. And I'm sure
that at one point, there was a guy who thought that these particular
rains look bad, so he put his family and farm animals on a boat or raft
- thus saving them while the rest of the village got swamped.

Much bigger than a village.

The Bible says, "The righteous shall live by faith."
Our ancestors did so and gave us the motto - "In G-d
we trust." My other evidence is in terms of G-d's
faithfulness to me.


Brian
Ebenezer Enterprises - Was Eisenhower the last decent President?
http://webEbenezer.net
 
W

woodbrian77

It is taking Ken Ham over 73 million dollars to build a completely
unseaworthy ark "replica" using modern technology, modern materials,
and a crew of probably hundreds of people. This "replica" would
probably not float even for a minute, much less be safe on the ocean.

You believe that one man and his three sons (or whatever the number
was) was able to build a wooden boat that's vastly bigger than any
other boat made of wood that has ever been built in the history of
humanity, with bronze-age technology and a crew of about four people,
and have it seaworthy? (Sure, bigger boats have been built in modern
times. They were not built of wood. There's a maximum size that you
can build from wood before it crumbles under its own weight.)

Probably their wives helped work on the ark also.
Noah may have received more instructions on how
to build it than are in the Bible.
Maybe they could afford to hire some people to help
them. As far as the elements, I don't think it rained
prior to the flood.

Brian
Ebenezer Enterprises
http://webEbenezer.net
 
W

woodbrian77

You don't think. Period.


The proof is in the pudding:

http://webEbenezer.net/build_integration.html

I don't claim it's perfect, but believe it's good and
want to make it (code, documentation, etc.) better.
Feel free to offer some ideas on how to do so. As
I've said before I've been blessed to get a lot of
ideas on how to do that via newsgroups. In recent
months I've found ideas from these pages that have
helped me improve the software.

Brian
Ebenezer Enterprises
http://webEbenezer.net
 
D

David Brown

Probably their wives helped work on the ark also.
Noah may have received more instructions on how
to build it than are in the Bible.
Maybe they could afford to hire some people to help
them. As far as the elements, I don't think it rained
prior to the flood.

There is no way to make the story, as described in the Bible, remotely
realistic. It is a fable, just like the myths and legends that every
religion has - they exist to form a background to the religion, god(s),
and questions such as "where do we come from?". Throughout the entire
history of human culture, as far as we know it, religions have had such
myths - and /nobody/ has treated them as though they were realistic,
normal facts or historical accounts, until the Bible literalists came
along in the 19th century (because Darwin upset them). Religious
believers have happily said such stories were true, and that they
believed them - but it is a different sense of "true". This other sense
of "true" is part of a religious faith - it's the same thing people mean
when they say they know logically that there cannot be a God, but they
know he exists nonetheless.

I think it is a sad thing when religious people try to justify tales
from the Bible (or Koran, or any other religious book) in terms of
realistic science and technology, rather than just accepting the
intended lesson ("Don't mess with God - he can has the power to destroy
us all. But fortunately he is a merciful and forgiving guy.")

It is a lot like books with titles such as "The Science of Middle Earth"
trying to explain Sauron's genetic engineering of the orcs.


If you think that the story of Noah and the ark really happened as
described in the Bible, then there is only one rational, logical and
consistent explanation - God waved his magic wand and made it happen
with no regard to the laws of physics, biology and ecology which apply
to everyday life. And then he waved it again in order to hide all
evidence of what "really" happened, and to create vast amounts of fake
evidence for future scientists to find - just to ensure that no one
could ever know for sure that God exists.

And if you believe in /that/ level of conspiracy, you might as well join
the last-thursdayists, as the evidence is just as strong.


I have nothing against religious belief itself - if someone feels their
lives are enhanced by a "relationship with God" of some sort, then
that's fine. I am all in favour of people getting the best they can
from their lives, as long as it is not at the expense of others. But
irrationality and wilful ignorance and stupidity bug me - whether it is
religiously based or not. (Non-wilful ignorance is cured by information
and education, and non-wilful stupidity just has to be accepted.)
 
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W

woodbrian77

It is taking Ken Ham over 73 million dollars to build a completely
unseaworthy ark "replica" using modern technology, modern materials,
and a crew of probably hundreds of people. This "replica" would
probably not float even for a minute, much less be safe on the ocean.

You believe that one man and his three sons (or whatever the number>
was) was able to build a wooden boat that's vastly bigger than any
other boat made of wood that has ever been built in the history of
humanity, with bronze-age technology and a crew of about four people,
and have it seaworthy? (Sure, bigger boats have been built in modern

Noah and family would put Olympians to shame:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencet...peaked-7-300-years-ago-declining-rapidly.html
 
D

David Brown


The article is about people 7300 years ago - isn't that long before the
world was created, according to creationists?

There are lots of people around the world that are much stronger, fitter
and faster than modern Western athletes - it's a matter of lifestyle,
genetics, and evolution. Different groups of people in different places
and different times have evolved in different ways (some good ways, some
bad ways), just as happens with all lifeforms.

And even if there was such a person as Noah, and even if he were fitter
and stronger than any current Olympian, it would take a mythological
Greek Olympian to build the boat (assuming it were physically possible,
which it is not).
 
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Q

Qu0ll

"Juha Nieminen" wrote in message
Reply at the end...

-----------------------------------------
I don't know the students. But my understanding is
the majority of animals are unclean. I'm also of
the opinion it was a regional flood. So I don't think
35,000 species were on the ark.

It is taking Ken Ham over 73 million dollars to build a completely
unseaworthy ark "replica" using modern technology, modern materials,
and a crew of probably hundreds of people. This "replica" would
probably not float even for a minute, much less be safe on the ocean.

You believe that one man and his three sons (or whatever the number
was) was able to build a wooden boat that's vastly bigger than any
other boat made of wood that has ever been built in the history of
humanity, with bronze-age technology and a crew of about four people,
and have it seaworthy? (Sure, bigger boats have been built in modern
times. They were not built of wood. There's a maximum size that you
can build from wood before it crumbles under its own weight.)

Even if it were to build a boat of that size from wood alone (it's
not, but let's assume it is), it's logistically impossible to do with
such a small crew with bronze-age technology.

Building a boat of that size with such a small crew and such primitive
technology would have taken decades, if not hundreds of years. "That's
fine", you say, "Noah was hundreds of years old." Yeah, sure, let's
accept that myth. However, that's not the problem. The problem is that
a wooden structure of that size would require constant maintenance,
especially given that it's constantly exposed to the elements. At some
point, when the structure reaches a certain size, the amount of
maintenance will take all the effort of the four-man crew, stopping
them from actually building any more of it.

Even if the boat wouldn't crumble under its own weight, it just cannot
be seaworthy. There's a lot of engineering that goes into building big
modern vessels, such as oil tankers. The sea exerts all kinds of stress
onto the ship and it has to be designed to withstand them.

Even if it had been just a *building* made of wood, rather than a boat,
it would have been completely unprecedent for the time. The technology
just wasn't there and, once again, there's a limit of how big a wooden
structure can be.

--- news://freenews.netfront.net/ - complaints: (e-mail address removed) ---
-------------------------------------------


For me, to believe that there is some degree of truth in the story of Noah's
Ark means accepting that there was considerable divine intervention at every
step of the way. Personally I have no problem with that and don't try to
"prove" the story based on science alone and nor do I feel I need to.

If there wasn't a divine force or supernatural powers then not much of the
Bible makes sense anyway. I believe Jesus was God and rose from the dead.
Nothing scientific in that. Not a problem for me.

--
And loving it,

-Qu0ll (Rare, not extinct)
_________________________________________________
(e-mail address removed)
[Replace the "SixFour" with numbers to email me]
 

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