August 31st, 2012
03:24 PM ET

soundoff (1,077 Responses)
  1. War919

    What most fail to realize is that science is the new religion. Consider the following:

    1. Most of the people who accept scientific explanations do not truly understand the science involved; they are taking on faith what an expert has told them. A majority of people accept DNA evidence as concrete, but most of them do not even know the words which the acronym represents, much less understand the principles behind the science.

    This is not unlike religion in that there were educated priests who "knew" about god and religion. They were the "experts" of the day and informed people as to the nature of the world according to the rules and principles of their theological education.

    2. Both religion and science share a primary function...seeking an understanding of the world around us, according to the knowledge and abilities of the people of the time.

    3. Each "new" religion spends a vast portion of their efforts dispelling the notions and beliefs of the previous religion. Casting the old beliefs as heretical mysticism, and citing the tenets of the new religion as the validation for this change in perception. Christianity depicted paganism as mystical nonsense and used their own beliefs to validate this depiction. Now Science uses its tenets to cast Christianity in the same light.

    4. We look at the people from old times and laugh at their beliefs, rituals and practices, all the while seeing ourselves as superior to them because we are so enlightened and our technology gives us so many comforts in life. The problem is that in another hundred years, the beliefs of today will be as absurd to those people as we see the beliefs of past religions.

    Keep this in mind the next time you condescendingly dismiss a person who holds beliefs which science has declared "heretical" to a modern "educated" person. The education you value so much, and all of the knowledge which swells our pride, will be a joke in another 100 years.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Alan

      I'm afraid you're wrong. That's because science uses the scientific method. Science relies on observation and making predictions. That's not a mumble jumbo dogma...

      September 2, 2012 at 12:16 am |
    • Manolama

      Science has nothing to do with faith because of the scientific method. If you don't understand something a scientist says, you can repeat the experiment, examine the evidence, and determine for yourself if it answers the hypothesis.

      And the biggest difference is that we are constantly (and I think excitingly) discovering new ideas/rules/facts and occasionally correcting past conclusions. So no, we won't look back and laugh at the laws or facts we've have now because most of it will be sound and the rest will have lead to new discoveries. Religion is dogmatic and inflexible, hence the hundreds of sects and schisms to choose from.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:27 am |
    • Scifer

      I leave with a quote by Carl Sagan

      "Who is more humble? The scientist who looks at the universe with an open mind and accepts whatever it has to teach us, or somebody who says everything in this book must be considered the literal truth and never mind the fallibility of all the human beings involved? "

      September 2, 2012 at 12:33 am |
    • War919

      Spoken like a true acolyte. I am familiar with the scientific method and understand more about science than most people. I am not a proponent of religion, I find it to be a contrivance of man which uses an appeal to concepts beyond the ken of the average person to perpetuate its authority. That being said, science does the same thing. Your vehement, close minded, absolutist response provides a fantastic validation of the veracity of my statements. You are clearly either a priest of the new religion or at the very least, a zealot follower of the faith. I have an idea, why don't you explain the key points of the theories of conservation of energy. I would like to see just how much you know about science. There are plenty of people in the world to whom the language of science is mumbo-jumbo. (note the proper usage of the term). Good talk though. Cheers.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |
    • War919

      Manolama – Are you trying to say that there are not sects of science? Are you saying that all scientists agree on every topic? Based on the concrete foundation of the scientific method, everyone should be able to see the basic truth or falsehood of any theory, right? Like so many religious zealots, you see the religion as something greater than the people who form the religion. Sadly, these facts and truths are only as valid as the perceptions of the person to whom they belong. And like all zealots, you fail to see the affect of perception on the validity of the very principles and concepts you sanctify. You cannot separate the human factor from the equation and this element renders any product tainted. You also refuse to accept that fact that your beliefs regarding the facts of science are based on your own limited understanding and that most of your "knowledge" is not your own and you have no means of supporting your opinions and beliefs and pressed on them. How many of the scientific breakthroughs of our age have you studied? Do you understand the nature of DNA? Can you replicate the experiments and reproduce the results? Are you able to interpret the data that others provide? How much of your scientifically proven "facts" do you actually understand and how many of them do you simply take on faith?

      September 2, 2012 at 12:46 am |
    • War919

      Scifer – Great Quote from a great man. A scientist with an open mind? Oh, you mean an idealistic version of the concept of scientist. Most scientists are not so much open minded, as they are open to finding ways to support their own hypotheses and not caring from where such support comes. I am not a proponent of religion, so please, stop comparing science and religion in an attempt to make me see them as different. Each instance simply provides further validation for my theory. I think many people are simply unable to see things outside of the perspective of their own era, their time in the world of life. To see beyond yourself and to put aside your vanity and pride is the most difficult task any intelligent person can undertake.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:53 am |
    • picknbow

      I'm not sure why we need to choose between science and religion. To say that science is a religion seems counter intuitive. Science is the pursuit of facts that explain events in our Universe and perhaps beyond. The more we find out the more marvellous it gets so why would that exclude a religious belief. Churches that deny the science are choosing to be left behind in my view.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:58 am |
    • Scifer

      @ War919

      Sure, in nutshell the amount of energy in the universe is finite, it was set at the moment of the big bag. Now while matter and energy are two forums of the same things and can change be changed back and forth (though as the moment humanity has only succeeding is converting matter into energy and not vise versa) as well as moving to different states of energy chemical energy, kinetic energy, etc the energy itself cannot be created or destroyed.

      This is also what lead to what came to be called the black-hole war after Steven Hawking postulated the existence of Hawking Radiation. Given that with a black-hole evaporating it would eventually mean that the information of the matter and energy comes lost to the universe resulting in a violation of this law. That in turn brought about the idea of the Holographic universe theory.

      You call me an acolyte, I find this funny as I will be the first one in line to defend you belief in god. I will even say that in science there is room for god. HOWEVER belief in creationism which says the universe earth everything around us was created 10,000 years ago and everyone that is was create as it with no adaption needed. That is completely untrue and we can prove it is untrue. We CANNOT prove there is no god, we CANNOT prove god caused the big bang, we cannot prove everything was moved down a step path at the moment of the big bang.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:06 am |
    • War919

      Scifer – the acolyte comment was for Alan. Also, I am simply playing devil's advocate on the topic. I see science as the new religion and that was my original thesis. I am not arguing in support of creationism, nor am I opposed to science. On the contrary, I am an acolyte of the new religion but this does not prevent me from recognizing an easily observable pattern that permeates human history. I am not arguing the validity of science, I am arguing that most people who accept its tenets are taking it on faith and have no real understanding of the very concepts in which they place their faith; not unlike religion.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:19 am |
    • War919

      pickandbow – You say seeking facts, while I say seeking understanding. Facts represent absolutist concepts whose existence depends on a predefined set of values applied to real world variables. And I have to repeat, that this is what religion represented and it is now what science represents. I think that there is one other point that is confusing people as to my original statement – I am referring to the average person, the typical citizen of the day, not the priests/scientists who engage in the daily rituals of the religion or who use the power of their authority, or who postulate the various theories or perform the various experiments; I am talking about the people sitting in the pews, I am talking about the blue collar workers who hear the terms on TV and place their faith in the concepts with no real understanding of them. My point is that this represents an act of faith; which is an element of any religion. Ergo, science is the new religion.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:27 am |
    • Scifer

      Ok sorry for my misinterpretation there :p

      And I can see where you coming from on that point. But I fight to the death on how science is not a new religion. But I will agree too many people take things on blind faith if it comes from a scientist mouth. However this is also needed to be taken with a grain of salt. As how many scientist say global warming is happening and how many people really believe it?

      I would also add that we are genetically programmed to trust the words of people that have a position of authority on set topics. We would not survive to adulthood without it. When your parents told you to don't drink bleach you didn't do it did you? Of course not, besides the fact that your still here :p, you know as a kid your parents know better. We loose a lot of that as we age as we place others on a scale to really judge do they know enough about something to take them at their word. For most people that know Science is beyond them so they trust the person that had dedicated his life to it. Perhaps they trust too much, but hey we are only human.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:33 am |
    • War919

      Scifer – Exactly! That very programming, that compulsion to accept, if not seek, an authority greater than ourselves to explain the world around us and those esoteric concepts which permeate our lives, has been around throughout our history. I believe it is this very compulsion that has been the impetus which allowed both governments and religions to flourish and dictate policy, behavior and even beliefs, to the masses. And again, the original thesis was not an indictment of science itself, but rather its acceptance and the behavior it engenders in those masses who lack the understanding to have substantive reasons for what can only be called their beliefs on the matter.

      September 2, 2012 at 2:00 am |
    • Manolama

      Hello war, to follow up on your devils advocate position that science is simply a new religion due to the fact that we are limited to human perceptions, unless you are a solipsist, then you are wrong in that we know that there is a world that exists independent of human perception (greater than us, if you like, or, simply the set of laws that define us). You are correct to draw a similarity between those who accept a a priests statements on authority and those who accept a scientists conclusions based on authority. That is vey much true. However the chain of evidence is what prevents science from becoming a religion. If you ask a priest **why** they point you at ahold scripture. If you ask the scripture why, there is no answer other than the scripture is the absolute source of the answer. But if you ask a scientist why, they will point you to an experiment, which grew out of another hypothesis and observation, and so on until you are looking at a basic principal of reality, which you may have to examine yourself. Indeed most folks don't follow this chain (including myself since I don't have the time to peruse everything I'd like to) but the point is that the chain is there, you could follow it, and you could find errors and propose your own solutions.

      And yes, there is always the human factor where some scientists may ignore data that doesn't jell with their hypothesis or they draw the wrong conclusion, but we try to avoid at via peer review and the repeatability of experiments. And yes there are very many disagreements amongst scientists as to conclusions regarding data, but the data doesn't change (for the most part). So science is not "greater" than ourselves. Science is simply the process by which we learn about the world around us. Religion is not a process, rather it is simply a statement that cannot change.

      September 2, 2012 at 1:53 pm |
    • takawalk

      Good post war. I am one of those simple people that thinks I have experienced God. But I like the way you think who knows who is right.

      September 2, 2012 at 8:48 pm |
    • donna

      So, what are your definitions of science and religion? They seem to differ from how the mainstream defines them.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:31 pm |
    • takawalk

      Manolama That was a good post. But in spite of your observations about science there are many who manage to treat it exactly as if were a religion. It might be because scientist convince us things are "fact" and make compelling arguments based on their experiments. And then it takes a century to understand that the fact was not a fact.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:22 pm |
  2. CJ

    Haha! Half the people who wrote on this would feel stupid if they would just wikipedia creationism. They should make sure they know what they are talking about before posting, instead of stereotyping like everyone else does in this entire world.

    September 2, 2012 at 12:05 am |
    • Scifer

      Exactly!! which is why most of my posts include when creationism is, people need to understand this is not a Science vs Religion issue. No where did Nye say God is not real or that we can prove that we don't need god (thou some scientists do).

      September 2, 2012 at 1:24 am |
  3. jbwheelej

    Look up the Miller-Urey Experiment demonstrating the generation of basic compounds for life from a mixture of simple organic molecules present on the early Earth, suggesting spontaneous generation of biologic molecules is possible. Your idea of spontaneous generation of life you refer to (Aristotle thought fish spontaneously arose from water, therefore fish were made completely of water; that flys arose from meat...shocking that people, even scientists-but not Pasteur, believed this into the late 19th century) is misleading. "That" spont. generation was rejected. Miller and Urey did the better experiment.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:59 pm |
    • Dr. John

      I have been teaching college biology for 28 years. Yup. This is one of the "icons" of evolution that has made it into most science texts. Want to know a dirty little secret about the Miller-Urey experiment? No one who has studied abiogenesis believes that life could EVER have started this way. This is so "old school" that it's laughable. The problems with this line of reasoning are so legion that I simply don't have time nor space to list them. If you want a viewpoint on this problem, look at the work of Robert Shapiro. So, what's the alternative? Well, why do you think that scientists like Sagan and Crick were looking for extra terrestrials? (... as in the SETI project.) Because they're smart enough to know that ALL lines of chemical abiogenesis are deficient. That's their alternative. But that concept sure isn't going to make it into science books. So what's left as the party line for you to regurgitate? Urey-Miller.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:06 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Sure you have, Dr. John. And I've been the King of Alsjdhojglmanhbksdafn, since it was founded.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:12 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Good evening Dr. John-

      I'm a biologist myself, though on the computational and mathematical side of molecular biology.

      I don't find a problem with the original Miller-Urey experiment taken together with subsequent experiments using other energy sources than electric discharges, they worked well enough. Some compounds important to life are readily accessible within short time-frames using conditions that come from reasonable guesses about the early earth.

      Looking to space has been driven by several motives. I think most importantly by the abundance of raw materials, energy sources the variety of environments that can be found in space. Low temperature chemistry over long periods of time in a stable environment is particularly interesting, I think. That could build some interesting compounds. Also, the possibility of chiral chemistry – preference of one enantiomer over another – in certain environment is interesting. That's something we see in life that needs explaining.
      So Miller-Urey ( from Haldane originally I think) was a good start and on the right track. Building on their work by bringing space into the picture makes abiogenesis more plausible than ever.

      September 2, 2012 at 11:44 pm |
    • Dr. John

      Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son – Wow. I'm abashed at your intellectual depth. A quick Google search is all it takes to find me. I don't hide behind pseudonyms. John Schutt

      Tom, Tom, the Other One – I understand your point of view. But I'd like to point out a couple additional line of thought. If you read the literature, you'll find out that lines of evidence like this, while briefly believed to be plausible, have long since been abandoned. Those who followed those thoughts later found out that the probabilities for these chemical reactions actually happening this way were infinitesimally small. For example, what mechanism could have separated the d- from the l- amino acids? And, the peptide bonds of life are not the thermodynamically favored ones. That's why this thinking was abandoned for other theories like the "RNA first" one. (Which itself has been abandoned.)

      Secondly, what did it take for these experiments to be done in the first place? It took a (very) intelligent designer. The experiments were designed to see if it "could" have happened. Note that this is really, really far from showing that it did happen this way.

      And that's my last objection. Anyone can invent "Just So' stories to say how life COULD have originated. But that's a very, very different thing from demonstrating that it DID occur that way. As for me, I'd rather remain a skeptic than to have a "leap of faith" that's driven by a worldview rather than being warranted by evidence that it DID happen that way.

      September 3, 2012 at 5:04 pm |
  4. Edo

    This part of that story was interesting...

    The Noble Peace Prize winning biologist, George Wald, was quoted in Scientific American magazine in 1957 as saying, “There are only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility. Spontaneous generation, that life arose from non-living matter was scientifically disproved 120 years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leaves us with the only possible conclusion that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God. I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible; spontaneous generation arising to evolution.”

    Read more: Cal Lord: Bill Nye should rethink creationism stance – Norwich, CT – The Bulletin http://www.norwichbulletin.com/columnist/x1696841144/Cal-Lord-Bill-Nye-should-rethink-creationism-stance#ixzz25HO2RPSQ

    September 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You still haven't read up on the fallacy called Appeal to Authority, have you, Edo?

      September 1, 2012 at 11:29 pm |
    • Edo

      Yes Tom I did after I replied to the earlier post...And Agree that I am guilty. I also admit that I am out of my depth. Thanks for not resorting to childish insults to reenforce your point.

      At this point I will bow out of the discussion and yeild the floor to brighter minds...My stance however is unchanged as I am sure yours is as well. I am not denying evolution just saying that God created it...And with that good bye and God bless!

      September 1, 2012 at 11:35 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      Well, that's refreshing.

      September 1, 2012 at 11:37 pm |
    • picknbow

      I\'m not 100% sure but I though that Pasteur and others simply proved that in a controlled environment you could not produce complex molecules, i.e., it doesn\'t happen spontaneously. Other experiments that emulated the earth millions of years ago (water, carbon dioxide, oxygen, etc) and used an electric spark to emulate lightning produced amino acids which are the building blocks of life.

      Current science tells us that we are children of the sun. A new sun burns hydrogen and helium at millions of degrees. After a Nova event a secondary Sun appears and again a third sun, this time containing more elements, heavier elements. Over billions of years, the matter expelled by a Supernova explosion forms into planets and interstellar dust.

      Our planet, because of many factors, even orbit, axis inclined thereby producing seasons, a moon that produces tides, a tectonic plate system to help the carbon dioxide cycle, a large gas plane nearby (Jupiter) to supply other elements and produce a protective gravity well, plenty of water and energy from the sun and other factors is perfect for life to evolve.

      Even though the early writers of the Bible did not have the science, in general terms they have it right, If, instead of 24 days the Bible speaks of billions of year days, we had the period when carbon dioxide heated the planet and then the planet cooled and became an ice ball, was heated again etc, then plants would appear, water-based creatures, land animals, humans etc.

      In all probability, give the number of billions of stars in our galaxy and the number of galaxies in our universe there is life somewhere else in our universe, the odds seem relatively high and we are already seeing planets with some of the latest satellites that we are launching.

      To imagine that the earth is only 6,000 to 10,000 years old is thinking like the catholic church when Copernicus was proposing that the sun was at the center of our solar system, or thinking the earth is flat or sticking your head in the sand. The science is sound and our understanding is evolving at an ever faster pace. It does not exclude the possibility of a higher purpose, not yet discernable to us. I believe that the more we learn the more it seems that there\'s so much more to learn and with each step we take we are nearer to realizing the next step in out evolution which I don\'t believe means that the light simply switches off.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:30 am |
  5. Booker

    Why all the arguing? Evolution is based on scientific principles, God and creationism are supernatural concepts. What is the point of using science to try to prove or disprove something that by definition stands outside the rules of science? When we die we'll either find out the Bible was right and go "Oops!", or if scientists are right we'll just be decaying, consciousless flesh and won't care anyway.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:25 pm |
    • Edo

      Got a point there Booker 😀

      September 1, 2012 at 11:28 pm |
    • Tom P. Sullivan

      You're assuming the Bible may be 100% correct. Native people everywhere will take issue with that. What if the Bible is only 14.2% correct?

      September 1, 2012 at 11:56 pm |
    • Greyson Smythe

      The problem is what do we do in the mean time, before we die.

      If we think that God exists, and he has rules, and we're the type that defers to authority, we'll follow those rules.
      If we do not think that God exists, we'll have to follow our own rules.

      Since God's creation would presumably bear unmistakeable artifacts of that creation, evidence of a universe and biome that's fallen together according to physical principles would be a reflection (or not!) of that God of creation.

      If one believes in a personal God, but sees his putative creation as uncaring, should that not be a cause for pause?

      September 2, 2012 at 12:04 am |
    • takawalk

      edo uh yep I think he does

      September 2, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
    • donna

      Science is the study of all that is real. So if the supernatural is outside the realm of science, that's only because it doesn't actually exist.

      September 3, 2012 at 2:32 pm |
    • takawalk

      Greyson Smythe Free will, Satan all that stuff. we live in a corrupted creation with active forces of good and evil. Well at least that is my world view. Meaning it only reflects that we are allowed to choose, not a reflection God in all of it's parts. Or maybe I just misunderstood your post I am a blond.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:35 pm |
    • takawalk

      Donna Just to be sure I will ask this. Your position is that since this art we call science( that has only been a thing to be taken seriously for a few centuries)cannot yet define or measure things as of yet undiscovered in the physical, that means they don't or can't exist. Not sarcasm or anything but a basic statement that if that is what you are saying I at this time would have to disagree.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:43 pm |
  6. George Benton Grempczynski (Pulpshmoo)

    According to some of you, having a high IQ is solely based on believing in the existence of God.

    September 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
  7. Mike

    who cares we will all be dead in 70-90 years...

    September 1, 2012 at 11:21 pm |
    • Tammy

      Babies born today.... and living through 2085 will EASILY be part of the cell research that will EASILY happen before 2050... extending human life 100s of extra years.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:07 am |
  8. Edo

    Einstein believed in God...He was certainly more intelligent than me and theres a great chance he was more intelligent than 99.99999999 percent of people that post on the web. Enough said.

    September 1, 2012 at 10:19 pm |
    • Bill Braskey

      Einstein defined God as the laws of physics though not as some man in the sky.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm |
    • uncle fester

      No, he didn't. Easily verified with your favorite search engine.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:33 pm |
    • Jason

      Einstein used the word god as a poetic metaphor. He believed in evolution, not creationism, and he hated it when religious people misrepresented him. Read what he wrote on the subject.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:34 pm |
    • uncle fester

      Just so we're clear, I was replying to "Edo", not Bill or Jason.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:40 pm |
    • jpphoopha

      Those who believe in intelligent design are the best evidence proving that belief is untrue.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:41 pm |
    • Joel Beisiegel

      I mean no disrespect. Einstein disagreed with the Bibles god. He was a humanist, He viewed the laws of physics, the beauty of the universe AS god. Google did help me 🙂

      September 1, 2012 at 10:55 pm |
    • gk

      Believing that human beings came about through evolution is similar to believing that Mt. Rushmore was caused by erosion!

      September 1, 2012 at 11:23 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Piper's Son

      You and Edo have about two working brain cells between you. Try putting them together and maybe you'll come up with a thought.

      September 1, 2012 at 11:26 pm |
    • Tammy

      Why do ANY religious beliefs have ANYTHING to do with known scientific facts?
      We can't live decent, good lives... unless we also foolishly think the Earth is only 10,000 years old?
      There's no connection.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:10 am |
  9. Michael Valente

    No Bill, you are being too generous.
    It is WORSE than saying the earth is flat.
    Many people had none of the scientific evidence to dispute the flat-earth concept.
    If they HAD, they probably would have shown more intellectual maturity than today's morons.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • EconCCX

      >Many people had none of the scientific evidence to dispute the flat-earth concept.

      Right, they looked in the sky and figured: the sun is round, the moon is round. Three for three would be pushing it.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:42 pm |
  10. Tom, Tom, the Other One

    So, as I see it, the situation is not all that complex. A few primordial protein shapes arose, probably as single sequences. Sequence within the shapes diverged, but shape was conserved. Why conserved? As you pointed out, function is dependent on shape and function is conserved. So protein families arose. Information was exchanged within and between protein families creating a more diverse population of proteins.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:54 pm |
  11. IntelligentDesign


    So as to not get off on tangents and stay on the subject of Intelligent Design vs Evolution, why don't we stick with carbon based organisms.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:21 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesign –

      One quick note: Using the reply link insures that a new thread is not started with each post.

      Now, back to your post...
      So, you believe that god continually tinkers with all carbon based matter (amino acids are not organisms)?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:24 pm |
    • Really-O?

      Yup...just what I assumed...IntelligentDesign is just blowing smoke.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:35 pm |
    • IntelligentDesign

      Sorry about starting a new thread each time.

      Thats true, amino acids are not organisms. But they are the main component of cells. The designing of proteins has ended. However I am aware that mutations modify the proteins via random changes made to DNA. Mutations, if you haven't already seen a post of mine made earlier in the day, is what I believe to be the weakest part of the theory.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:36 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Sorry Really-O? I don't know if this fellow is aware of the reply button. This is a reply to his 8:44 post.

      Proteins are interesting. I wonder if the complexity of proteins is as great as it seems. There are two things I recall from my course-work that may be important here. Proteins can be classified into families on the basis of shape. An example is the rhodopsin family of proteins characterized by 7-transmembrane domains. Sequence is conserved within families, but shape has less variation. The 2nd thing is that proteins are often almost modular. Some, like non-ribosomal protein synthetases are very striking in this regard.
      Rather than each protein being a unique thing that has to be arrived at independently, it works better for proteins to have arisen as shapes, fairly few in number, each shape accessible through a spectrum of sequences. The shapes themselves could be built up from modules. More complex proteins could be built up in a modular fashion from the more basic shapes.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:39 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesign –

      You believe mutations are the "weakest part of the theory". Well, that's novel. I've been reading and posting on this blog for six or more months now and, to memory, that is the first time I've ever heard a theist discount evolution because of a personal problem with mutation. You might have something really profound to say, but at this point I think the odds are astronomically slim. Prove me wrong, if you think you're able, but for now I think I'll pursue more fruitful dialog.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:42 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Also I'd like to add that "mutation" covers a lot of different changes in DNA sequence by a lot of different mechanisms. Transposition is important. It allows existing sequence to be swapped around among genes. The wheel is not re-invented every time.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:45 pm |
    • IntelligentDesign

      Here is my first problem with mutations:

      When it comes to evolution, most mutations (what evolution is based upon) that have an affect on future organisms actually introduce a negative trait that is passed on to future generations, not a positive one. Supposedly these negative traits are weeded out by natural selection – at least that is what the theory teaches. However, that is not what I see. As an example, there are currently 6500 genetic diseases and counting (diseases passed on from one generation to the next). Why isn’t evolution weeding out those diseases?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:47 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesign –

      Just an FYI...the overwhelming majority of cell mass (70% or more) is water, not amino acids. In addition, proteins, not free amino acids, comprise a significant percentage of cellular dry weight. Seriously, you've never taken a course in cellular biology, right? You're just blowing smoke, right?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:51 pm |
    • Really-O?


      And you see "6500 genetic diseases" as evidence of a grand design? You really haven't thought about this much.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:52 pm |
    • IntelligentDesign

      When I am talking about proteins being the main part of a cell, I am referring to functionality.

      People who believe in God and the Bible believe that at one time humans were created perfectly. It is possible that during that time there were no mutations or the body had the ability to correct all bad mutations that took place. Then, due to sin, we lost that perfection and in the process disease crept in and possibly also bad mutations.

      So, why isn’t evolution weeding out those 6500 bad mutations?

      September 1, 2012 at 10:01 pm |
    • Really-O?


      I first want to offer you an apology for my snarky tone...I'm so used to interacting with Chad on this blog that I sometimes forget some with your views are sincere.

      So, evolution does winnow – over time – negative mutations, but only if they negatively affect reproductive success (not entirely demonstrative in k-selection species like primates). There actually are genetic abnormalities that are profoundly negative for the individual, but positive in terms of reproductive success – sickle-cell disease is a good example. We also find ourselves in a predicament currently in which medical intervention has advanced to the point where those with some disadvantageous mutations can be sustained long enough to reproduce.


      September 1, 2012 at 10:22 pm |
    • IntelligentDesign

      Apology accepted.

      It seems we are done discussing this for this evening. I will check tomorrow for any updates. If we don't talk again this weekend then have a wonderful weekend.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:27 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesign –

      Please be aware that I have continued use of the term "mutation" for continuity, although chromosomal condition is actually accurate for parts of the discussion.

      September 1, 2012 at 10:39 pm |
    • IntelligentDesign

      Good Morning Really-O?

      I would like to take a little differnt approach to the subject of bad mutations (get away from the obvious bad ones which are the genetic diseases for a moment, we can get back to this).

      Positive mutations supposedly introduce small changes over a very long period of time. My question is, couldn’t negative mutations also introduce small changes over a very long period of time? Small enough where natural selection would not have weeded out those changes.

      If the answer is yes, then a follow up question would be: Since bad mutations outnumber good mutations, wouldn't we end up with an inferior genetic makeup as time progressed?

      September 2, 2012 at 8:53 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Hello IntelligentDesign-

      Your division of mutations into two categories is incomplete. Bad mutations could be said to be ones that cause loss of some important function or a harmful change in some important function. Good mutations improve function somehow. A third category does not influence function, at least not in an intolerable way. Bad mutations are selected against. Selection favors good mutations (rare) and they accumulate. The 3rd category are ones that also accumulate. They are responsible for most of the diversity you see in the genomes.

      The third category would include the mutations you mention that by themselves are tolerable but can add up to something that is problematic for an organism. Such ensembles of mutations are selected against so that either they move back into the tolerable range or drop out of the population altogether.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:16 am |
    • IntelligentDesign

      Hi Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Why does a bad mutation have to cause an entire loss of some function. The mutation could be a minor loss. For example, how is a mutation that causes a very minor loss in hearing going to be selected against?

      September 2, 2012 at 9:27 am |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      That's why I was throwing around the terms "tolerable" and "intolerable". Such tolerable bad mutations do accumulate (e.g. the opsin family has accumulated a number of polymorphisms that make some people less able or even unable to discern color variations). As they accumulate, as I mentioned, they may add up to something that falls under significant selection pressure. That pressure causes the ensemble of mutations that adds up to the problem to change, or else for the sub-population that carries it to drop out.

      September 2, 2012 at 9:39 am |
    • takawalk

      really-o thank you for tuning it down, we need to discuss this stuff not assume we are right

      September 2, 2012 at 9:09 pm |
  12. IntelligentDesign


    I am referring to evidence found right in your biology text book of intelligent design. You see logic and programming everywhere in biology.

    September 1, 2012 at 9:08 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesign –

      So, do you believe god continually tinkers with everything in the universe or just everything carbon based?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:13 pm |
  13. IntelligentDesign


    I was referring to the amino acid sequence where the true programming is performed. DNA is just the recording media used to contain the program. If no one has the ability to even read an amino acid sequence and tell us what the final shape of the protein is going to be, how am I suppose to believe a theory that tells me how these proteins (of which there are thousands in the human body) came into existence?

    September 1, 2012 at 9:00 pm |
    • Really-O?

      @IntelligentDesigner –

      You're post refers to the origin of life, not evolution. Do you not know the difference?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
    • Really-O?

      ...sorry..."you're" = "your"

      September 1, 2012 at 9:03 pm |
  14. Scifer

    Seriously people get you facts straight.. 90% of you that are upset do not even believe is what Bill Nye is fight against.

    He is not saying god doesn't exsist, he is not saying god didn't get the ball rolling. He is saying Creationism is wrong!
    Creationism says the world was created 10,000 years ago. It says that ALL live (No Execptions) came into being EXACTLY as they are. This is what he is fighting against.

    You can believe in god and evolution, heck look below I give you a link where the pope says he believes in evolution. He says god created everything and everything was planed out by him but evolution of creatures is real.

    In fact by saying that Creationism is the only answer if you believe in god is saying that MAN is infallible, because it was MAN that wrong the bible. You are also saying that god is not omnipotent because there is no way he could have planed the creation of the universe from the big bang and planed for man to come out that. Do you honestly believe that?

    I don't think you do, I believe that you do believe in Evolution and in God. You just got caught up in the media trying to say this is an attack on god, which it never was.

    September 1, 2012 at 8:57 pm |
  15. IntelligentDesign

    Putting amino acids together in a specific sequence that achieves a specific protein conformation and function is evidence of programming. In fact in concept, it is the same exact thing as what a computer programmer does, putting together individual instructions that achieves a specific function. For this to work, the program has to be put together correctly or else it will fail. This requires intellect – it doesn’t happen by pure random chance.

    Also, of the two, the amino acid programming is much more complex. There isn't a single human being, given a specific amino acid sequence, that can tell you exactly what shape that protein is going to take, and shape is everything in biology.

    September 1, 2012 at 8:44 pm |
    • Natalie Drozda

      But genetic codes and amino acids are not components of a computer program.

      Your DNA is a recipe, not a blueprint. Certain proteins and acids turn on and off during incubation and embryological growth. A misfire isn't always fatal the same way a bad line of code may be. It may result in something a little different: maybe beneficial, maybe benign or maybe detrimental, but it doesn't always mean "game over."

      September 1, 2012 at 8:51 pm |
    • Sid

      ID, things happened the way they did. Had they happened differently, things would be different. There has been a lot of time.Think about that a bit more anthropically.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm |
    • mama kindless

      Do you think something that we would now consider unnatural (but not spiritual in the way most people think) have come through the big bang (even if it no longer survives) that could have achieved such programming?

      September 1, 2012 at 9:11 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      Proteins are interesting. I wonder if the complexity of proteins is as great as it seems. There are two things I recall from my course-work that may be important here. Proteins can be classified into families on the basis of shape. An example is the rhodopsin family of proteins characterized by 7-transmembrane domains. Sequence is conserved within families, but shape has less variation. The 2nd thing is that proteins are often almost modular. Some, like non-ribosomal protein synthetases are very striking in this regard.
      Rather than each protein being a unique thing that has to be arrived at independently, it works better for proteins to have arisen as shapes, fairly few in number, each shape accessible through a spectrum of sequences. The shapes themselves could be built up from modules. More complex proteins could be built up in a modular fashion from the more basic shapes.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:33 pm |
    • Tom, Tom, the Other One

      So, as I see it, the situation is not all that complex. A few primordial protein shapes arose, probably as single sequences. Sequence within the shapes diverged, but shape was conserved. Why conserved? As you pointed out, function is dependent on shape and function is conserved. So protein families arose. Information was exchanged within and between protein families creating a more diverse population of proteins.

      September 1, 2012 at 9:56 pm |
    • Manolama

      Read up on evolution please. The fact that these amino acids are together do not imply design at all, any more than seeing a cloud shaped as a bunny rabbit implies someone flew a plane around to sky-write the bunny. The "code" that we see are only the successful mutations that were propagated. The code with errors died out. I.e. the organisms blue-screened.

      September 2, 2012 at 12:37 am |
  16. Chicagothug

    Bill Nye is just a Guy with an opinion. You people sucking up to every word he says makes me cringe! You sound like a bunch of kids tagging along with the classroom personality because being seen with him and repeating what HE says makes you feel clever! You need to grow up!

    The Caatholic Faith teaches Creationism but that the creation was the BEGINNING and was ongoing -THAT is evolution.

    NOT a big bang – a muddy puddle and a CELL that miraculously changed into the Trillions of creatures in the taxonomic table!
    It took Supreme Intelligence – and you don't get THAT from a muddy puddle, now DO you?

    September 1, 2012 at 8:25 pm |
    • Scifer

      Sorry but your wrong.. that is not Creationism. That is a belief in god which Nye did not comment on. Creationism is the belief that the world was create 10,000 years ago and that all life is too complex and arose fully formed in it's current state.

      September 1, 2012 at 8:42 pm |
    • Manolama

      Why do you need supreme intelligence in the first place? Read up on ochams razor. Where did the supreme intelligence come from?

      September 2, 2012 at 12:39 am |
    • takawalk

      Manolama That question a often asked one. Would like someone who thinks they have the answer to that explain it in any human language but to quote someone who is ever so simple (some things we jus never gonna know we all dead or dyin not long enough to figure everything) once my mind translated that I had to agree.

      September 5, 2012 at 6:50 pm |
  17. Scifer

    The Pope believes, in evolution and god.... do you know better then your religious leader??


    September 1, 2012 at 8:15 pm |
  18. nonbeliever

    How do you plan on teaching my children about creationism without teaching them about your religion? If you want your children to learn about creationism there are private religious schools that will be happy to teach your children all about it. Do not subject my children to your religious beliefs. There are many reasons for the separation of church and state, and this is one of them. My children go to school to learn real science, not your religious stories. Also, don't use my tax money to teach your religion.

    September 1, 2012 at 7:52 pm |
  19. Joe H.

    It's sad in this day and age that Americans are falling for creationism. For people to teach that the earth is thousands of years old and that man and dinos lived together is fine, but IT'S NOT SCIENCE PEOPLE. My daughter learns about Zeus and egyptian gods, etc., but in ancient history. Religion should not be taught as science. I live in TN and most of the private schools have tried to push this into their curriculum and it's sad. I finally found one that truly teaches SCIENCE. Evolution is real. You can look all around you and find proof. The world is several billions old. And show me one fossil bed (or other evidence for that matter) that shows that man and tyrannosaurus rex walked side by side. GIVE THEM HELL Bill.

    September 1, 2012 at 7:40 pm |
    • Scifer

      300 years ago there were "scientists" that prove Galileo was wrong about the earth revolving around the sun... doesn't mean they were right. That is the things with science, you have to look can it live up to the burden of proof.. your "evidence" does not.

      I am very familiar with science's attempt to show life the lifelessness and while it has not 100% happened yet we HAVE gone from regular base chemicals to amino acids the building boxes of life... that is FACT!
      look up Miller–Urey experiment.

      September 1, 2012 at 11:36 pm |
    • Scifer

      ok my computer is freaking out put random people instead of replying to the people I indented too sorry that last comment was meant to be a reply to Edo

      September 1, 2012 at 11:40 pm |
  20. Tom K.

    Think of it this way, creation is still occuring, It's called evolution.

    September 1, 2012 at 7:21 pm |
    • Dan

      A little too nuanced for the evangelicals, I'm afraid. It's all or nothing with those people

      September 1, 2012 at 7:27 pm |
    • takawalk

      ok Tom that is a a thought

      September 2, 2012 at 9:22 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12
About this blog

The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.