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      03-11-2008, 08:01 AM   #1
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Atheists & Agnostics, I Need an Answer

Where did life on earth come from? Please provide solid evidence.
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      03-11-2008, 10:48 AM   #2
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hahahahahaha, I'm pretty sure it's so controversial because there is no evidence.
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      03-11-2008, 11:07 AM   #3
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Lack of answer doesn't point to a wrong answer. A bogus one, does!
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      03-11-2008, 11:43 AM   #4
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Primordial goop. I believe there is much research that is still going on to actually determine exactly where the material originated from.
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      03-11-2008, 12:14 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GH32335i View Post
Where did life on earth come from? Please provide solid evidence.
You never took a biology or earth science course?

Ok, I'll play teacher.

There are NUMEROUS credible theories, one being that some mysterious and inscrutible power created the foundation for life through some as of yet unkown means.

About 150 million years after the initial formation of the Earth, the crust hardened. It's possible that it was even older than this, but the earliest solid compounds that we've found are more than 4.04 billion years old. However, it is clear from their structure that the first oceans were present when these compounds were formed. The earliest parts of the Earth's crust have already been reabsorbed, so we can really only make solid estimated guesses at it's true age.

The first organic base molecuoles could have been formed in several ways. The chemical process is one that is widely agreed upon, and accepted by science. The only debate is the environment in which it occured, which monomers were formed first, and what the energy source was.

There are three hypotheses that have credible evidence backing them. One involves electricity, and the spontaneous generation of amino acids when water is struck by lightning.

The second involves extreme heat, found at thermal vents under the ocean. In this case, the processes at work can be observed in nature, where the generation of early organic molecules can easily be seen in nature.

However, it is a big leap to suggest that life formed from these early organic monomers.

The third, most recent, most credible, and in some ways most interesting hypothesis for the early beginings of life actually points of an extra-terrestrial origin. Not UFOs/Aliens extraterrestrial, but rather comet/meteor.

Recent probes launched into comets has shown that the environment there is PERFECT for the origin of life. It generally as a center of highly complex metals, carbon compounds, and radioactive elements, surrounded by a thin layer of liquid water, kept liquid by radioactive energy converted into heat. The outer layer of the comet is frozen water. Most importantly, comets contain one of the most important factors to allow for the conversion of simple organic forms into more complex ones, clay.

Recent analysis from comet probes have also shown the presence of extremely advanced hydro-carbon molecules, phospholipids, amino acids, and more importanly, everything that would be neccesary for the generation of RNA. RNA is actually RELATIVELY easily spontaneously generated in frozen environments, should all the pre-requesite compounds be present. RNA is the most basic form of a self replicating molecule. Comets are rife with atmoic nitrogen, a very important ingredient.

In this unique environment, it is actually relatively easy for the building blocks of life to spontaneously generate, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics. Many of the early building blocks are actually energy conserving molecules, that will easily form under the right conditions. Because of the multitude of different sub-environments present in a commet, the chemical conditons for the spontaneous formation of ALL 4 nucleotides are present, along with conditions and compounds that could allow for the creation of pretty much any amino acid, ESPECIALLY with high amounts of atomic nitrogen in play.

Given enough time, primitive life could easily have formed on these comets, especially one with relatively high amounts of radioactive materials. Just recently, isolated colonies of bacteria on earth surviving with radiation as the sole source have been found.

As the hypothesis goes, one or more of these comets landed on earth, and some of the bacteria were able to survive in the environment there.

The earliest forms of life that we have actually been able to find, often preserved in quartz crystals, are anerobic bacteria living around deep-sea vents, and bacteria that use an early form of photsynthesis, free living in the ocean. These bacteria aren't NEARLY as old as life itself, and are far too complex to have been spontaneously generated.

Originally, the biggest hole was the formation of aerobic bacteria utelizing photsynthesis from anaerobic bacteria, given there was little to no O2 or O3 in the early atmosphere.

HOWEVER, the comet theory easily explains all of this. The super-primative pre-photosynthesis style of energy generation evolved first using the energy of radiation, in comets, in an environment natrually containing oxygen. On earth, these bacteria would have been perfectly capable of living near the surface of the ocean, and in areas around the early ice-caps. Over several billion years, these bacteria slowly increased the level of oxygen in the atmosphere, and evolved increasing complex and efficient means of survival.

Evidence indicates that the photosynthesis in earnest began around 3 billion years ago.

The begining of self-feeding life was the biggest factor in the start of evolution, as oxygen would have been toxic to many early life forms, and it also allowed for the formation of the ozone layer, which reduced levels of ultraviolet radiation to levels where more complexe genetic structures became stable.

More complex life forms arose about 2 billion years ago, as a result of symbiotic relationships. The earliest autotrophs were very similar in structure to modern cholorplasts and ribosomes. These simple life forms could be absorbed by more complex bacteria. This symbiosis gave these host bacteria a huge advantage, being able to produce their own energy through photsyntheis, and create biological food using ribosomes and mitochondria.

As an aside, mitochondrial DNA is one of the strongest pieces of evidence in support of Evolution, though it is obviously seperate from what I'm talking about here. Mitochondrial DNA points to a common ancestor for all complex life on earth, and is a big part of what allows scientists to trace the evolutionary path that life took. Sorry for the aside, just thought I might as well throw that in, because it would probably be safe to assume that you aren't well versed in science in general, if you've never heard the theories regarding the origin of life.

I hope I was relatively clear and cogent. I tried to keep it short, but this is one of the most complex, and most disagreed upon areas of science, with countless theories as to the origin of life. Some credible, and some not. It was only in the last 12-18 months that the data from comets probes have shown that they are likely where life began.

However, because it is difficult to assemble experimental evidence on this matter, it is difficult for a Hypothesis to ascend to a true Theory in this case, and it will likely be at least another hundred years before this happens. It is clear we are on the right track by analyzing comets, as they are not only a likely origin of "life", but also some have an environment that is actually relatively similar to that found in certain areas of early Earth. The biggest thing comets have that early Earth didn't have in abundance, was large amounts of clay, which is a VERY effective catalyst of the evolution of organic monomers into polymers, and polymers into ever more complex building blocks.

A "Theory" in science is something that is more or less proven beyond a resonable doubt. A theory is formed from a collection of extensive exterimental data, and undeniable facts. However, a Theory is not just a single fact, but rather a collection of them, combined with experimental evidence to create a proven and working model for the explanation of a certain pheonemnon. The only scientific "theories" that do not always meet this standard are some in theoretical physics, where experimental verification becomes almost impossible, because we lack the neccesary technology.

Steven Hawking describes it quite well: "A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model which contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations". A theory MUST also make falsifiable predictions, which is one of the big hurdles any "theory" describing the origins of life must overcome. It is difficult to make experimentally viable predictions on much of it, for obvious reasons, including the scale of time.

If you have any questions about anything, let me know. I didn't proof read this, as it's just a forum post, and not an essay, so I'm sorry if I was less than eloquent at any point.

PS: Didn't realise how long this was, sorry. It is quite a complex topic.
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      03-11-2008, 01:30 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by E82tt6 View Post
You never took a biology or earth science course?

Ok, I'll play teacher.

There are NUMEROUS credible theories, one being that some mysterious and inscrutible power created the foundation for life through some as of yet unkown means.

About 150 million years after the initial formation of the Earth, the crust hardened. It's possible that it was even older than this, but the earliest solid compounds that we've found are more than 4.04 billion years old. However, it is clear from their structure that the first oceans were present when these compounds were formed. The earliest parts of the Earth's crust have already been reabsorbed, so we can really only make solid estimated guesses at it's true age.

The first organic base molecuoles could have been formed in several ways. The chemical process is one that is widely agreed upon, and accepted by science. The only debate is the environment in which it occured, which monomers were formed first, and what the energy source was.

There are three hypotheses that have credible evidence backing them. One involves electricity, and the spontaneous generation of amino acids when water is struck by lightning.

The second involves extreme heat, found at thermal vents under the ocean. In this case, the processes at work can be observed in nature, where the generation of early organic molecules can easily be seen in nature.

However, it is a big leap to suggest that life formed from these early organic monomers.

The third, most recent, most credible, and in some ways most interesting hypothesis for the early beginings of life actually points of an extra-terrestrial origin. Not UFOs/Aliens extraterrestrial, but rather comet/meteor.

Recent probes launched into comets has shown that the environment there is PERFECT for the origin of life. It generally as a center of highly complex metals, carbon compounds, and radioactive elements, surrounded by a thin layer of liquid water, kept liquid by radioactive energy converted into heat. The outer layer of the comet is frozen water. Most importantly, comets contain one of the most important factors to allow for the conversion of simple organic forms into more complex ones, clay.

Recent analysis from comet probes have also shown the presence of extremely advanced hydro-carbon molecules, phospholipids, amino acids, and more importanly, everything that would be neccesary for the generation of RNA. RNA is actually RELATIVELY easily spontaneously generated in frozen environments, should all the pre-requesite compounds be present. RNA is the most basic form of a self replicating molecule. Comets are rife with atmoic nitrogen, a very important ingredient.

In this unique environment, it is actually relatively easy for the building blocks of life to spontaneously generate, thanks to the second law of thermodynamics. Many of the early building blocks are actually energy conserving molecules, that will easily form under the right conditions. Because of the multitude of different sub-environments present in a commet, the chemical conditons for the spontaneous formation of ALL 4 nucleotides are present, along with conditions and compounds that could allow for the creation of pretty much any amino acid, ESPECIALLY with high amounts of atomic nitrogen in play.

Given enough time, primitive life could easily have formed on these comets, especially one with relatively high amounts of radioactive materials. Just recently, isolated colonies of bacteria on earth surviving with radiation as the sole source have been found.

As the hypothesis goes, one or more of these comets landed on earth, and some of the bacteria were able to survive in the environment there.

The earliest forms of life that we have actually been able to find, often preserved in quartz crystals, are anerobic bacteria living around deep-sea vents, and bacteria that use an early form of photsynthesis, free living in the ocean. These bacteria aren't NEARLY as old as life itself, and are far too complex to have been spontaneously generated.

Originally, the biggest hole was the formation of aerobic bacteria utelizing photsynthesis from anaerobic bacteria, given there was little to no O2 or O3 in the early atmosphere.

HOWEVER, the comet theory easily explains all of this. The super-primative pre-photosynthesis style of energy generation evolved first using the energy of radiation, in comets, in an environment natrually containing oxygen. On earth, these bacteria would have been perfectly capable of living near the surface of the ocean, and in areas around the early ice-caps. Over several billion years, these bacteria slowly increased the level of oxygen in the atmosphere, and evolved increasing complex and efficient means of survival.

Evidence indicates that the photosynthesis in earnest began around 3 billion years ago.

The begining of self-feeding life was the biggest factor in the start of evolution, as oxygen would have been toxic to many early life forms, and it also allowed for the formation of the ozone layer, which reduced levels of ultraviolet radiation to levels where more complexe genetic structures became stable.

More complex life forms arose about 2 billion years ago, as a result of symbiotic relationships. The earliest autotrophs were very similar in structure to modern cholorplasts and ribosomes. These simple life forms could be absorbed by more complex bacteria. This symbiosis gave these host bacteria a huge advantage, being able to produce their own energy through photsyntheis, and create biological food using ribosomes and mitochondria.

As an aside, mitochondrial DNA is one of the strongest pieces of evidence in support of Evolution, though it is obviously seperate from what I'm talking about here. Mitochondrial DNA points to a common ancestor for all complex life on earth, and is a big part of what allows scientists to trace the evolutionary path that life took. Sorry for the aside, just thought I might as well throw that in, because it would probably be safe to assume that you aren't well versed in science in general, if you've never heard the theories regarding the origin of life.

I hope I was relatively clear and cogent. I tried to keep it short, but this is one of the most complex, and most disagreed upon areas of science, with countless theories as to the origin of life. Some credible, and some not. It was only in the last 12-18 months that the data from comets probes have shown that they are likely where life began.

However, because it is difficult to assemble experimental evidence on this matter, it is difficult for a Hypothesis to ascend to a true Theory in this case, and it will likely be at least another hundred years before this happens. It is clear we are on the right track by analyzing comets, as they are not only a likely origin of "life", but also some have an environment that is actually relatively similar to that found in certain areas of early Earth. The biggest thing comets have that early Earth didn't have in abundance, was large amounts of clay, which is a VERY effective catalyst of the evolution of organic monomers into polymers, and polymers into ever more complex building blocks.

A "Theory" in science is something that is more or less proven beyond a resonable doubt. A theory is formed from a collection of extensive exterimental data, and undeniable facts. However, a Theory is not just a single fact, but rather a collection of them, combined with experimental evidence to create a proven and working model for the explanation of a certain pheonemnon. The only scientific "theories" that do not always meet this standard are some in theoretical physics, where experimental verification becomes almost impossible, because we lack the neccesary technology.

Steven Hawking describes it quite well: "A theory is a good theory if it satisfies two requirements: It must accurately describe a large class of observations on the basis of a model which contains only a few arbitrary elements, and it must make definite predictions about the results of future observations". A theory MUST also make falsifiable predictions, which is one of the big hurdles any "theory" describing the origins of life must overcome. It is difficult to make experimentally viable predictions on much of it, for obvious reasons, including the scale of time.

If you have any questions about anything, let me know. I didn't proof read this, as it's just a forum post, and not an essay, so I'm sorry if I was less than eloquent at any point.

PS: Didn't realise how long this was, sorry. It is quite a complex topic.
Honestly, that was a very well written response. But with all due respect I didn't see any solid evidence, just some theories, which quite honestly are pretty simple.
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      03-11-2008, 01:46 PM   #7
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What would you like in terms of solid evidence? I can post links to early atmospheric compositon of earth vs current, or the results of probing comets, early fossilized life, etc, but all that can be found through google.

Though I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for. Like I said, it is very unlikely that all of these "theories" will never actually become a scientific Theory, simply because it is VERY difficult to incomporate into such a theory reliable predictions, at least until we start traveling to moons/planets where the "comet" theory could be put to the test.

It is entirely possible that we will never really know how life began on Earth, unless we can watch it happen somewhere else, which isn't going to be happening any time soon.

What I posted are just educated guesses, and that's probably all they'll ever be, at least for quite some time.

A cogent argument can also of course be made for intelligent design being the origin of life, though such an argument relies more on anecdotal evidence than physical evidence. However, the same could be said of many other theories. The structure of DNA, and the workings of a cell are so remarkably complex and perfect, that many find it hard to believe that it happened by accident over the course of billions of years, as opposed to being intelligently designed by a mysterious and invisible force. Theories on what that force was range from Aliens, to Titans, to the Abrahamic God.

The forces at work in nature are certainly remarkable, whatever they are, given that we have yet to really uncover all of the complexity of the genetics of an advanced life form.
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      03-11-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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finally, a real person of science. thanks for taking the time to post that E82tt6.

i'll read it again when i get home.. it was really over my head. hehe.
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      03-11-2008, 08:07 PM   #9
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Originally Posted by GH32335i View Post
Where did life on earth come from? Please provide solid evidence.
WE DONíT KNOW YET. WE HAVE EDUCATED GUESSES AND WE HAVE OUR BRIGHTEST PEOPLE WORKING ON IT AROUND THE CLOCK.

THE FACT THAT WE DONíT KNOW DOES NOT PROVE GODíE EXISTENCE!!!!

That kills your implied, half-ass argument dude!!!

Saying that itís God, means giving up on understanding Universe. Itís that simple. Please get some better arguments. This is funny.
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      03-11-2008, 08:10 PM   #10
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finally, a real person of science. thanks for taking the time to post that E82tt6.

i'll read it again when i get home.. it was really over my head. hehe.
It's amazing that you never heard of it before! It's high school biology stuff!!
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      03-11-2008, 10:22 PM   #11
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It's amazing that you never heard of it before! It's high school biology stuff!!
Not everyone in the US has had basic Biology in their school.
Just look at Bush (a representative of the US people), heck he supposedly went to Ivy League College and can't even put a sentence together...
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      03-11-2008, 10:45 PM   #12
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Not everyone in the US has had basic Biology in their school.
Just look at Bush (a representative of the US people), heck he supposedly went to Ivy League College and can't even put a sentence together...
Is our children learning?

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      03-11-2008, 10:48 PM   #13
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Childrens???

This is who leads us now. A republican religious-right (RnR) moron...

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      03-12-2008, 07:43 AM   #14
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uhh.. not everything he said was basic biology. i don't know where you come from but i'm happy for you that you had such a great education and that you're so smart. i hope it really makes you feel good about yourself.

besides, the last time i was in a bio class was in 1996, so forgive me if i cant remember any of that crap.

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      03-12-2008, 10:56 AM   #15
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What would you like in terms of solid evidence? I can post links to early atmospheric compositon of earth vs current, or the results of probing comets, early fossilized life, etc, but all that can be found through google.

Though I'm not sure if that's what you're looking for. Like I said, it is very unlikely that all of these "theories" will never actually become a scientific Theory, simply because it is VERY difficult to incomporate into such a theory reliable predictions, at least until we start traveling to moons/planets where the "comet" theory could be put to the test.

It is entirely possible that we will never really know how life began on Earth, unless we can watch it happen somewhere else, which isn't going to be happening any time soon.

What I posted are just educated guesses, and that's probably all they'll ever be, at least for quite some time.

A cogent argument can also of course be made for intelligent design being the origin of life, though such an argument relies more on anecdotal evidence than physical evidence. However, the same could be said of many other theories. The structure of DNA, and the workings of a cell are so remarkably complex and perfect, that many find it hard to believe that it happened by accident over the course of billions of years, as opposed to being intelligently designed by a mysterious and invisible force. Theories on what that force was range from Aliens, to Titans, to the Abrahamic God.

The forces at work in nature are certainly remarkable, whatever they are, given that we have yet to really uncover all of the complexity of the genetics of an advanced life form.
Thanks. I just wanted to prove a point and you helped me do it.

NO ONE has any solid concrete evidence of where life came from. Many of you have accepted a theory based on scientific hypothesis, which is fine. And many of us have accepted it to be by the design of a supreme being.

No matter which way you think, you have no solid proof and no right whatsoever to ridicule and make jokes about another group. I believe that God created all, and I feel that the Bible offers sufficient proof. If you don't that is up to you. But don't you find it amazing that a man walked the earth and preached for a very short time, yet 2000 years after his death people are still following him, and living (or at least trying to live) like he taught us to live? Isn't it amazing that his entire life would be predicted thousands of years before he was born? Also, isn't it amazing that there is a book written by 66 different authors over the course of roughly 2000 years that still can't be disproven? And that has the remarkable ability to tell us what is happening in our world of today. I know a lot of you call it an outdated book of fairy tales, but you should take a look at it from a scientific point of view. Take the time to really understand what it is saying, which can be a difficult task I admit. But when you do, you will be fascinated by it. I find it hard to imagine that something can be written with such precision, and I doubt any of us today could write anything that even comes close.

The thing is to believe in any theory it takes a bit of faith. To believe anything that has not been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt, and that's all we Christians do, is take it on a bit on faith. As you who are not religious do as well.

I will tell you that the Bible addresses in great length what is happening in our world today. A great deal of the Bible is prophetic, and we seem to be living in what the Bible refers to as the last days. It does not tell us how long these last days will last, but there are things happening in the news that seem to line up with what the Bible tells us will happen.

I will admit that I never really got into all the love your neighbor, hugs and kisses parts of the Bible. To me that's natural for humans. It's when I started studying it as a prophetic document that I became fascinated by what it says. To those of you with a more analytical mind like I have, you may want to look into it. You can even study it without believing in it, but you will be fascinated from an intellectual standpoint. I'm sure if I were to tell you that Amazon has a book that will clue you into the future of world events you would be all over it.

I've read that many of you believe that it's all about preachers getting rich off others donations, many of whom can't afford to split with their money, but they do out of guilt or fear. And guess what, I agree with you. I surf past the religious channels sometimes and I'm sickened by what I see. Many of those people are an embarassment to me. On the other hand, many of them are doing a good job, unfortunately there aren't enough of those on TV. I think many are using religion to get rich, and Jesus warned us that those people would be around, and they would mislead many people. I believe in what I believe and I'm not going to let those people come between me and God.

And please don't equate Christians with Muslims and say that we espouse violence, and forcing our religion on others by force. Christians do not do that. The Catholic church has, but Catholicism differs from Christianity in may ways. And if you feel that we Christians are trying to convert you or "save" you, please understand that we honestly believe that we have been given the great gift of a beautiful and eternal future, and we just want to give you that gift as well. We do it with the best of intentions. If you're not interested, a simple, no thank you will suffice. But also know that we will defend ourselves and our Lord and Savior. I really don't understand the motivation in mocking a religion or a belief that you don't believe in. Why waste your time?

Please do not decide on God based on the actions of people who claim to be religious. Go learn about God on your own and make up your own mind. It's between you and God and no one else. It's like deciding not to buy a BMW because you know a guy that has one and he's a real prick.

Once again, e82tt6 thanks for your great insight and information that you provided us.

By the way, sorry this was so long.
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      03-12-2008, 11:35 AM   #16
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No problem. The begining of life on earth, and the begining of the universe itself is something that it'll take science a LONG time at best to figure out.

Until we have the ability to observe it happening elsewhere, it's hard to prove any theory to a scientifically satisfactory level.

Religious texts (including the Bible) are certainly interesting literature, regardless of whether or not you believe the contents to be literally true.
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      03-12-2008, 12:53 PM   #17
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Uh, evolution is not a theory. It's a proven fact.

How life started is debatable, but evolution has been proven conclusively.

Are you saying, OP, that God created the first primordial proto-cells (I'm guessing not in his own image), and that's how life started? 'Cause evolution easily explains the rest.

I kind of accepted the high school biology explanation back in '81 - energy + organic compounds -> 'cells' with primitive membranes. I remember seeing a film about lab experiments attempting to re-create primordial conditions, and the outcome were these primitive 'proto-cells'. Energy from thermal vents or lightning sounds plausible.
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      03-12-2008, 01:13 PM   #18
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Where did life on earth come from? Please provide solid evidence.
Most likely formed from amino acids present in volcanic lava. As the earth cooled, and water condenses from the atmosphere, volcanic areas adjoined with the forming oceans, and formed the first single celled organisms, simple adaptations of the already existing elemental amino acids in the universe.
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      03-12-2008, 01:18 PM   #19
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Honestly, that was a very well written response. But with all due respect I didn't see any solid evidence, just some theories, which quite honestly are pretty simple.
What kind of evidence are you looking for? Something say, as concrete as the giant mythical, omniscient being that bore the earth and the universe and life in 6 days?



Or maybe something more along the lines of some other, completely unfounded religous being like Ganesh?
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      03-12-2008, 01:19 PM   #20
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Uh, evolution is not a theory. It's a proven fact.
I don't think we're talking about Evolution. It is a legitimate theory, a collection of facts and valid experimental predictions.

Scientific thought on abiogenesis hasn't advanced to the stage of a legitimate scientific theory yet.
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      03-12-2008, 01:40 PM   #21
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Most likely formed from amino acids present in volcanic lava. As the earth cooled, and water condenses from the atmosphere, volcanic areas adjoined with the forming oceans, and formed the first single celled organisms, simple adaptations of the already existing elemental amino acids in the universe.
You started your argument with "most likely"?
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      03-12-2008, 01:42 PM   #22
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[quote=Neurorad;2293355]Uh, evolution is not a theory. It's a proven fact.

How life started is debatable, but evolution has been proven conclusively.[quote]

The evolution of man has been proven conclusively? I guess I was out that day in school when they presented your missing link.
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