The problem of sex (or why I'm not an atheist)
I didn't read the article so can't comment on it but my approach is very simple. Discard any argument that proposes god as an answer to complexity.
By invoking god you bring in the baggage of heaven, holy spirit, miracles and all manner of supernatural mumbo jumbo. Ridiculous.
A complex question isn't answered by raising a myriad of ever more hyper-complex ones.
From the linked article:
The evolution of sex (and its accompanying reproductive capability) is not a favorite topic of discussion in most evolutionary circles, because no matter how many theories evolutionists conjure up (and there are several), they still must surmount the enormous hurdle of explaining the origin of the first fully functional female and the first fully functional male necessary to begin the process. In his book, The Masterpiece of Nature: The Evolution of Genetics and Sexuality, Graham Bell described the dilemma in the following manner:
‘Sex is the queen of problems in evolutionary biology. Perhaps no other natural phenomenon has aroused so much interest; certainly none has sowed as much confusion. The insights of Darwin and Mendel, which have illuminated so many mysteries, have so far failed to shed more than a dim and wavering light on the central mystery of sexuality, emphasizing its obscurity by its very isolation.’
So even if you are not invoking God, you are leaning toward not understanding something complex and opening a door for something more complex to be the answer. One enormous hurdle leads to putting up more hurdles.
That still falls back to "We can't explain, therefore- God."
We don't have all the answers about origins. We never will unless we could invent a time machine. Even if we produce life from nothing and cause it to evolve in a way that is similar to the path that earth took, it won't prove that things did happen that way.
But we've grown past ".....therefore- God." When we don't understand the proposed answers, we still have to deal with degrees of certainty and which explanations are most likely, most probable, most consistent with the reality we experience, and address the most issues of our understanding.
they still must surmount the enormous hurdle of explaining the origin of the first fully functional female and the first fully functional male necessary to begin the process
In more ways than one this is bollocks.
The article was obviously written by somebody who is obsessed with genitalia.
Think about mitochondria - that's your only clue for now.
Scratchme1010 - This is where I find an issue. The JWs promote this black and white mentality, that if you don't believe their nonsense then you have to believe the opposite. Where does it say anywhere that one has to become an atheist or evolutionist simply because you don't believe in religion or the bible?
Something that I learn was that the WT not only tells people what they are supposed to be, do and believe, but also tells them what they are supposed to be, do and believe if they leave. So, EdenOne, look for how much of your way of thinking may still be influenced by the way the WT promotes that people should think. Your post still resembles that all-or-nothing, black and white mentality. You don't need to be an atheist to believe in evolution, you don't need to believe in evolution to be an atheist, you don't need to constantly look for scientific proof if you truly believe in intelligent design. Your belief is just your choice.
While belief is very often a matter of choice, facts aren't a matter of choice. I have decided to lead my life where evidence takes me. And the Bible simply isn't supported by evidence. Actually, quite the contrary.
You make a lot of assumptions about me, which you wouldn't if you have followed my trajectory on this forum. When I began to realize that JW's weren't "the truth", I tried to savage my faith by doubling down my research of the Bible. I came up with many great 'discoveries' about beliefs, and developed a couple of theological constructs of my own. I published a website with the results of my research into the Bible. Many here must remember those days; it wasn't but a few years ago, perhaps three years ago. I sincerely believed still that there was merit to the Bible and the Christian faith. So, no, it's not true that when one leaves the JWs one necessarily has to believe the opposite of their nonsense.
The WT has no bearing in what I should embrace or not as truth after I left the JW's. It didn't have. I embraced agnosticism after extensive research into the very foundations of the Bible and of Christianity, especially research into the historical Jesus and the movement of Jesus' believers. it all came crashing down in flames.
It was the thorough deception of religious belief that let me to embrace the notion that one should lead life based on facts and evidence, instead of feeble feel-good faith. Wherever that may lead. I still find the Bible a fascinating work and Jesus and his movement a fascinating subject. But I see it from a historian's point of view and not through devotional lenses.
Many here must remember those days
I think I offered you some constructive criticism of your website.
OTWO - So even if you are not invoking God, you are leaning toward not understanding something complex and opening a door for something more complex to be the answer. One enormous hurdle leads to putting up more hurdles.
The way I see it, when faced with something that science can't explain with nothing more than conjecture, one can take one of the following routes:
a) Science can't explain this in a naturalistic way, therefore, God did it.
b) Science can't explain this in a naturalistic way, therefore, I'm open to the possibility that some unknown intelligence might have been involved in steering the process.
c) Science can't explain this in a naturalistic way, but I an certain that one day there will be such explanation, because it has consistently come up with such explanations so far.
d) Science can't explain this, and frankly it doesn't matter anyway.
e) Science can't explain this, and I'm comfortable not knowing.
Route a) doesn't work for me anymore because it's too simplistic and lazy and at the same time, poses issues of enormous complexity for which there is absolutely no evidence to back up, and is open to religious exploitation and deceit.
Route b) is a bit like discussing dark matter. We can't observe it, and we can't really describe its properties, but we're convinced that it's the only plausible explanation for some of the behavior of matter in our universe. It's a seductive idea, but it remains the realm of speculation, for is yet to be demonstrated.
Route c) I'm ok with those who take on this position; seems reasonable; but at the end of the day is of the same substance as belief.
Route d) I'm not comfortable with this. I think it matters.
Route e) Not really comfortable in not knowing. I want to find out!
when faced with something that science can't explain... - Eden
Why would you start there when there are volumes of information about the evolution of sex that you have not even began to explore?
Your article is full of out-of-date and biased misinformation.
This is just a cleverly disguised "this shit is so complex there must be a creator" argument.
Back on the OT:
What troubles me about the issue of sexual reproduction is this:
a) It appears to be general consensus that the earliest life forms reproduced by means of asexual replication. This is an integral copy of the original that copies itself and then separates. It's a simple, elegant and effective method.
b) It appears to be the general consensus that sexual reproduction appears in a much later stage of life.
The problem is, how did some organisms evolved from asexual to sexual reproduction? Because it's not a simple variation of the asexual method. It's a much more complex process that requires an enormous level of complexity at the very beginning (not saying that asexual reproduction isn't complex; but sexual reproduction is immensely MORE complex; it's a huge leap forward from asexual reproduction.)
For starters it requires that two separate organisms develop specialized, yet necessarily complementary genetic material, cut by half, that will be recombined by means of sexual activity. This is a gargantuan conceptual difference from asexual replication and can only work with a high level of complexity to start with.
Just recently I had to discard the idea of God's intelligent design altogether because for every puzzling and wonderful design such as sexual reproduction you find a myriad of other processes in nature where intelligent design does not fit (i.e. evolution). The only way to assert God's I.D. or God's intervention, you have to follow the Christian methodology:
- I pray to God for something to happen.
- It happens.
- Therefore God.
To maintain the belief in a personal God the believer is forced to ignore all the prayers that went unheard. In other words, he selects the instances that appear to support his arguments, while he ignores all the instances that don't support his argument. And you don't do that when you take an objective approach. Similarly, in order to claim I.D. you have to provide consistency, either all I.D. or no I.D at all.
The only way I can fit God is at the beginning of space/time/matter when He "subjected" all matter to inviolable and eternal laws of physics, that not even he interferes with.
What I've read so far revolves around the advantages of sexual reproduction over asexual, and why life favored sexual reproduction.
But I'm yet to read evidence of HOW organisms went from asexual reproduction to sexual. It requires two different phenomena that necessarily have to occur simultaneously: sexual process (fusion and recombination of genetic information from two individuals) and sexual differentiation (separation of genetic information into two parts) PLUS requires that two strains of individuals with sexually differentiated genetic material developed differentiated yet complementary reproductive structures (not to mention behavioral strategies) to make the whole process work.