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Bernoulli's paper aeroplanes...
Why does an airplane fly? What makes it stay up? This is a pretty simple question, right? Learned about it in high school physics, right? So, what do you think causes flight and why do you think that?
posted by Clint Phipps on Mar 30, 2001 11:26AM

Clint, you're a crazy, crazy man.

I think it's all about getting in between air molecules... becoming ONE with the atmosphere... doesn't it have a lot to do with pressure? Above the plane vs. below the plane?

I know why birds fly, though.

posted by Piper -- on Apr 03, 2001 04:51PM

Dey pusha downa ona da air, man.
posted by ann athema on Apr 03, 2001 05:01PM

I think its something like the top of a wing is curved (on a plane at least mind you) and the bottom is flat, making the air above the wing have to travel farther. In doing this I THINK....the wind on top decreases in pressure, and the wind beneath increases in pressure pushing and pulling the wing up into the air. An example to demonstrate this. Take a piece of paper. Grip it at one end and let it dangle down on the other. Blowing, from the side your gripping, over the top of the paper....will lift it in the air. Its kinda neat if you can visualize what im saying enough to be able to demonstrate it for yourself.
posted by StU aRt on Apr 03, 2001 05:08PM

You guys are all wrong. Paper airplanes fly because paper is lighter than air! Duh!
posted by Cody Phipps on Apr 05, 2001 07:33PM

What if your airplane was designed in Redmond, Washington, and you got a little message on the dashboard that said "Your airplane has performed an illegal operation and will be shut down?" Would it crash just like this *)(@*^$(*!%t@#$%^&* computer of mine did just after I had composed and was preparing to send a heartfelt message to PHLUX, most of which I can no longer remember due to these violent urges surging through my cerebrum. Or cerebellum. Cranium. Medulla oblongata. Thinkbox. Skull. Aarrraagggghhhh!
posted by ann athema on Apr 19, 2001 08:16PM

posted by StU aRt on Apr 20, 2001 08:28AM

Of course, the real trick behind the phlying airplane is the phlying tree that was chopped down to produce it. Those are tough little phreaks to chop down, too. Cherry pickers are sometimes not enough... sometimes, a jet propulsion system, like the one in the Rocketeer, is needed.
posted by Cody Phipps on Apr 20, 2001 05:13PM

Have any of you PHLUXters actually piloted an airplane of any kind? If so, tell us about it.
posted by sam aritan on Apr 24, 2001 09:19AM

It was waaaay back in 1989, back when you were just a lil rascal, that I piloted my first plane. It was the most beautiful piece of machinery I have ever had the pleasure to grip the controls of, in my own bare hands. It was my Curtis P-40M Warhawk. A very agile plane and a very deadly plane during its time. I could fly those wings easier than I could slide down a slide. It became like second nature to me. As natural as walking, or perhaps riding a bike. It was approximately 17" long, and flew around me in circle after circle after circle after circle......climbing, dipping, and diving, whilst I held tightly the controls in my hand. A piece of almost oval shaped plastic that had 2 lines coming off of it and proceeding on about 10 feet to the insides of the plane to control the altitude of its flight path. Ahhhh yes many a day was spent getting dizzier and dizzier as that plane flew around me in its many many circles. Until the fate-ful day came that I was climbing steep and proceeding into a "loop the loop," and my engine stalled and cut out. It was terror at that very moment. My hands became cold, almost clammy. In an instant my mouth was dry I couldn't radio for help. I went down. I went down bad. Its really is. When you see a plane crash on tv. You think to yourself. "Man im glad that isn't me." Sometimes you imagine what it must be like in that plane as the pilot, or even the passanger....thinking about how you might feel, but nothing....nothing prepares you for the real thing. In those few short seconds while my plane carreened towards the ground....I prayed. I prayed that I would pull through this....that I would see my dog again, see my parents, play with my transformers. And in an instant, a crash, a bang, and a few plane lay in ruins. I made it out alive, but the plane was no more. I had a kinship with that plane. Many a day was spent just it and I flying high, alone in the field next my house. It was like my friend. I have never found the courage again to replace my friend. And to this day, I remain myself in coach if I ever fly. The love of me....and my plane.
posted by StU aRt on Apr 25, 2001 09:12AM

don't ask me I got a five in my last test...IT WAS OUT OF TWENTY PEOPLE.
posted by -- -- on May 29, 2001 05:56AM

But WHY?
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 02, 2001 01:06PM

Yes, I suppose we all did try to explain HOW and not WHY....I can't tell ya why, and I can pretty much guarantee no-one else can either. Because there are limitless things in this universe that we have no idea about whatsoever. Things we can't even concieve of. We can observe and tell you what things do what in our world, and how complicated they might be...but theres no way in hell anyone can tell you "Why" anything does anything. We dont know why. We dont know why we're made of teenie tiny cells and in total are made up of about, what 97% water or something? We can't tell you why we die naturally. We can tell you what happens, but not why. All we know is that thats what we have observed, and thats how it is and most of us can't imagine any other possibility for "us" to exist. Its almost like asking the question "....Though the theory of evolution is just a "theory," why do most of us take it as fact and therefor present it as such. Especially when the other leading theory.....the theory of creation, which also many of us believe as well (some even believe both at the same time), is just as possible, AND just as impossible, if you will?" We say that to believe in god or believe in the theory of creationism, brings with it much needed "faith." Well considering that the theory of evolution is again, just a theory, even if "more people" tend to believe it, theres alot of "faith" that must go into believing that as well. Evolution has not been proven as fact.....THAT is the only fact in evolution. Why is it that, despite who knows how many attempts, we've never been able to recreate (in a lab or anywhere that we know of), what apparently happened millions of years ago? When out of innatimate matter, suddenly "life" in some form or another was.....boom, there. Which then immediately violates the laws of physics, (though im not great at physics, my attempt to explain this law is as such: Anything in an un-organized (hectic if you will) state, cannot become organized unless with an outside intervention) never the less our always intelligent species has tried to unsuccessfully duplicate it to prove it true. Why is it that we are ALWAYS in search of our "missing links?" To prove evolution, in one way you need to show how we evolved, and with actual skeletal remains (seen as our public needs to see to believe, which in this case can be more than understandable). Yet we dont have those step by step skeletal remains. We have a few......separated by thousands and thousands of years worth of time, with no real apparent connections to each other besides the similar "ape like" frame and those genes that go along with it. So we are forced to keep searching for those missing links, hard as they are to find....if they exist, keeping evolution a theory. And yes folks you are right....there are just as many things to discredit creationism as well. However, for BOTH, there is just about as much evidence to promote them. Anybody out there looking for some real interesting reading.....look up "Ooparts," or Out of Place Artifacts. Things like flying model planes found in buried sealed egyptian tombs, as well as clay "pots" about the size of your fist that generates about 3 watts of electricity....a battery if you will. Crystal skulls, that even with todays technology we could NOT duplicate. Dinosaur footprints and human footprints walking side by side fossilized for all time for all to see. Stone henge aint the only "wierd" stuff we dont know about. And im not gonna say that every Oopart someones come up with or discovered is real, that would be silly, however there are over thousands of these Ooparts that have been documented. They can't all be hoaxes. Even if most of them WERE hoaxes, thats still a SHIT load of crazy stuff....that im sure most of us would say simply "shouldn't be." So we have to keep church out of the schools. For one reason I can understand that....theres tons of religeons out there, and who are we to say what might be right or not. BUT for another reason I feel its wrong. Remember how in school you learned that way back in the day people were treated badly (frowned upon, fired, convicted of crimes) for trying to teach evolution in schools, because creationism was fact in the publics eye? Well where are we headed now that the THEORY of evolution is more and more being treated as fact......when it is still a theory? If your going to teach one.......why not recognize both? Thats what learnings about isn't it? Or are we now in an age when selective learning is ok for the greater good? We will never know the answers "why" to most things......only how.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 03:24PM

About violating the laws of physics: you stated the law pretty much correctly, but mistakenly said that the idea of evolution would violate it. The outside source of energy in this case is the sun, and it has been pouring heat and light energy at the earth for billions of years.

If the earth was a CLOSED system (no outside energy source), then yes, spontaneous combination of random stuff into an organized form would be a violation. But the earth isn't a closed system, and the sun is what makes life on earth possible.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 03:30PM

True, I agree that the sun is what helps maintain life as we know it, and probably directed life as we know it to the state it is in as we speak. But the sun alone heating and enegizing a rock.....I dont believe spurred on life. If it did.....I would think man would have created life of his own by now, and that life would be easier to find out there in the universe than it has been presenting itself thus far. However, in my example I was including the sun and the rest of our galaxy in with the unorganized state of matter. Also on another note, relating to the scientific things we "know" as fact and have proven in the ways that we in this day and age "know how," remember at one point we as a species "knew" the world was flat, and that we were the center of the universe. What amazing discoveries will we find down the road to discredit things we know today as fact!!?? That of course doesn't have too too much to do with this topic at hand, I just thought about it just now and put it in before I forgot about it again.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 04:01PM

A bit about the language of "theory" vs. "fact" when discussing evolution:

* A theory, scientifically speaking, is a set of consistent ideas about an observed phenomenon.

* A fact is a single component or idea from a theory that has never been reliably shown to be false, and has been tested to a sufficient degree that it can be provisionally considered always true. In science, however, there are no hard facts; one confirmed contradiction to a "fact" invalidates the fact and requires reworking of the theory around it, and the ideas based on it.

In that context, calling evolution a "theory" is misleading. Yes, evolution is a theory, but in the scientific sense, it's a consistent set of ideas that explain what we can see happening in living populations today and also explains what we see in the fossil record from the past.

Unlike religious knowledge, handed down from a divine source and enshrined in an unalterable book, scientific knowledge changes all the time. No reasonable scientist holds the theory of evolution up as an unalterable and unchanging law;
if at any time it fails to fit observable phenomenon, it will have to be revised or discarded.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 04:02PM

The stuff you cite is a good example of commonly held beliefs that turned out to be wrong. But that's an example of scientific progress. When ideas and measurement equipment became sufficiently advanced, ideas that could be better tested and proven wrong were discarded. It's the same with any scientific knowledge, including evolution: if, at some point, it diverges from what is observed out there happening in nature, it has to be revised to fit reality. Reality isn't based on is based on reality.

Sometimes the biggest problem is having the flash of insight that lets you go outside the boundaries of accepted knowledge. In the case of the earth being the center of the universe, it was simply inconceivable for millennia that it could possibly be any other way. It wasn't as if many people were proposing alternative theories...there just weren't any other ideas to test.

With evolution, it's often said that there is another theory behind it...creation. That's not a "theory", however. It doesn't present any ideas to test. It also doesn't let you make predictions about the outcome of experiments. It also doesn't take any new or different evidence into account. Any time you get any observation or evidence, you just sit back and said, "Ayup, God did it." So it can't really be considered a theory at all, in the scientific sense.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 04:17PM

Oh, and for the record, I'm not saying that evolution says "there is no god" or that believing in god means you have to believe evolution is wrong. I think it's perfectly fine to believe that a god created the universe and also believe that living creatures' genetic makeup changes over time. The dangerous territory is saying, for something currently unexplained, "God is responsible." In the past, people believed God made it rain, God made the sun rise, God made people sick, etc. Now we have explanations for those things (weather, gravity, germs) that don't require a divine explanation. Attributing everything unknown to "god's work" diminishes both the idea of God and the idea of humanity's relentless quest for explanation and knowledge.
posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 04:27PM

But....with all these consistent sets of "proven thus far" the end we still have a theory surrounding them. Perhaps some of the inner workings of this theory could be fact themselves, but despite these the theory of evolution is still itself a theory. In a way there are also similar examples for creationism as well. Evolution places dinosaurs millions of years before man. Yet there are many paintings on cave walls depicting very precisely dinosaurs being hunted by man. These paintings go so detailed as to show indesputibly, triceratops', pteradactyls, bronto's, rex's, among others. Yet let alone us hunting would cave dwellers have known so precisely just what they looked like. Some drawings have even shown the best places to strike on them for a kill, and after looking at skeletal remains these instructions were indeed very accurate. The bible even makes references to what we now call dinosaurs, placing them at the same time as the human species, even though to contradict this some hard firm bible believers feel that dinosaurs were fictionally created to dispute the bible, and promote evolution. There are many MANY things we think we know, but infact...we just might not.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 04:51PM

Stu, I respectfully request that you cite your source for the "dinosaurs in cave drawings" information as well as the book, chapter, and verse in the bible that describes a dinosaur.

I understand the principle of your idea, but I think you're using bad facts to back it up.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 04:54PM

Please, for the satisfaction of my own curiosity, cite your references to the paintings of dinosaurs and men. Please include the paintings' precise locations and please also credit the discoverer of such paintings.
posted by Piper -- on Jul 02, 2001 04:57PM

Here's a page about dinosaurs in cave drawings. There's a photograph showing a "cave drawing" toward the end of the page.
posted by Zach Beane on Jul 02, 2001 05:02PM

Also for the note myself....I can't say ive made my decision either way. I'm more in between and simply enjoy provoking discussions like these. I believe aspects of both ideas. Some more than others, and have come up with my own ideas on "why." However they do often change with the introduction of new ideas, and I think I can honestly say that I will never know the hard fact answers until the day that I pass on. Even then.....its still a gamble. the light of studying and testing the ideas of creationism. I have seen a few documentaries and read a few articles on the ideas of the afterlife.....indirectly related to creationism......and the studies and experiments thereof. Though the tests have not been very conclusive, as of yet due to the difficulty of the proceedures and lives at stake (seen as they temporarily make someone die and then revive them after a little while to duplicate and study "near death experiences") many people, just like in the case of the earth being round, dismiss some of the results so easily as dreams or productions of the mind, as maybe you would think. But how far off is this from the earth being flat and then round? Its not exactly the same, no, but in one sense we're prodding in territory that we dont have the full scientific knowledge for OR the scientific tools to test these theories. I guess my point is, no we dont have the answers yet. We dont know if creationism or evolution is fact or fiction. Hell for all we know, both are false and aliens planted us here for reasons of their own. Look up the "Annunaki" for some interesting ideas coming mostly from old hebrew texts for that one....check out lycos or som'n. But since we dont know which one is the fact or not......all im saying is any which way it goes, we'll be laughing at ourselves down the road for the silly flat earths we believed in. Will it be the creationism flat earth? Or the evolution flat earth? Or will they both be flat earths?
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 05:12PM

The Bible- and I stand firmly by this statement- is a beautiful work of symbolic fiction, representative of some of humanity's first attempts at expressing our rational ideas of just exactly where we came from and what our purpose here might be. If you look at the stories of creation like I do, you see a definite parallel can be drawn between the story of God creating the Earth in seven days and the idea of life on Earth evolving over several millions of years. Life and nature grew, step by step and in somewhat logical progression, when God decided to create everything-- according to the story of creation as I understood it in the Bible. Life and nature grew, smaller step by smaller step and in remarkably logical progression, according to the original theory surrounding the idea of evolution proposed by Charles Darwin in the mid 1800's in his outrageously revolutionary book (the Origin of Species) that has since been expanded upon, looked down upon, worked out, working people up, twisted, convoluted, broken down, researched, researched, researched, proven, disproven, elaborated upon and argued for and against sometimes almost violently for over a hundred years.
Two versions of the same story...

I think airplanes fly because of all the heat generated here on Earth by all the hot-blooded people arguing and arguing and arguing. Once you get above all the bullshit, it really is smooth sailing.

posted by Piper -- on Jul 02, 2001 05:17PM

Dinosaurs in caves:
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 05:17PM

See I mostly ask questions why.....listen to others ideas dispute them with things they "may" not have heard (which doesn't always mean I disagree with the comment, I just like to hear what people come up with for retorts) and then continue to create more of my own ideas, and sometimes change them. The people that make me raise an eyebrow, are the ones who "BELIEVE" one thing and therefor talk about it as if it is reality and talk about it in such a way that almost forces it on others. We need these hotblooded conversations....otherwise we wouldn't progress in our ideas, we need communication (someone in china I bet knows things you dont, and has experienced things you haven't...just like the guy down the road probably has as well how do we learn if we dont communicate, whether possitively OR negatively?)....we'd be singing and dancing around trees, praising nature, which is GREAT if thats your thing, but we all just aren't wiccan.
"So God created the Great Dragons"...Genesis 1:21 The Latin Vulgate; 5th Century I have yet to go home and check this reference for accuracy. But I have this one for you so far. I'll find more...
posted by StU aRt on Jul 02, 2001 05:40PM

It would be puzzling indeed if the Bible did not mention what we call dinosaurs. It does mention them, however, perhaps not as we would expect. The Bible refers to various animals that we would call dinosaurs as; dragons, seamonsters, flying serpents, leviathan and behemoth, to name a few. Is there any animal in the Bible that is as thoroughly described as the leviathan and the behemoth in Job 39 & 40? I doubt that there are. If you're looking for dinosaurs in the Bible; he who has ears, let him hear. Because remember folks....the term "Dinosaur," wasn't even created until the mid-1800's, as im sure we can all figure out......very long after the bible was written.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 09:18AM

Job 39:5:

"Who hath sent out the wild ass free? or who hath loosed the bands of the wild ass?"

That has no relevance to the discussion, but I think "Band of the Wild Ass" would be a good name for a band.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 09:25AM

At one time, there was a theory known as Spontaneous Generation, which supposed that mice and other vermin were spontaneously generated from old rags and garbage etc.. That theory has long been disproved by science itself---or has it. Evolutionists and materialists ultimately have to depend on virtually that exact same theory to explain how life came into existence from non-life, which violates everything we know about biology.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 09:45AM

zach zach zach......

40:15 Behold now behemoth, which I made with thee; he eateth grass as
an ox.
40:16 Lo now, his strength is in his loins, and his force is in the
navel of his belly.
40:17 He moveth his tail like a cedar: the sinews of his stones are
wrapped together.
40:18 His bones are as strong pieces of brass; his bones are like bars of iron.
40:19 He is the chief of the ways of God: he that made him can make
his sword to approach unto him.
40:20 Surely the mountains bring him forth food, where all the beasts of the field play.
40:21 He lieth under the shady trees, in the covert of the reed, and fens.
40:22 The shady trees cover him with their shadow; the willows of the brook compass him about.
40:23 Behold, he drinketh up a river, and hasteth not: he trusteth
that he can draw up Jordan into his mouth.
40:24 He taketh it with his eyes: his nose pierceth through snares.

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 09:52AM

Life, at its most basic, is a set of imperfectly self-replicating molecules. It doesn't make sense that complex organisms like mice spring up from trash, but I find it conceivable (and within the bounds of biological science) that, given the right mix, self-replicating molecules could form.
posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 10:00AM

psalms 91:13 Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder: the young lion and the dragon shalt thou trample under feet.

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 10:04AM

Leviticus 11:13: And these are they which ye shall have in abomination among the fowls; they shall not be eaten, they are an abomination: the eagle, and the ossifrage, and the ospray,

I want to know just one thing: what the hell is an ossifrage?

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 10:12AM

How did people from several hundred years ago draw accurate pictures of a variety of dinosaur types unless they, perhaps, actually saw them? Dinosaur skeletons weren't discovered and assembled in "modern times" until the mid 1800's.Don't forget as well that even in these modern times, there has been quite a bit of placing the wrong head on the wrong body--or feathers on the wrong reptile. So, even if ancient peoples had merely come upon dinosaur bones, how did they recreate them so accurately?

For example, the Ica stones are etched and painted stones of apparent antiquity which were found in Peru and which depict several types of extinct dinosaurs, including the Triceratops, Stegasauraus and Pterasaurs.

Nearly a third of them depict dinosaurs with many showing interaction between the dinosaurs and men. These stones were written about in newspapers in the 1500's and the Spanish took some of these stones back with them to Spain around that same time.

They depict elements of high technology as well as men& dinosaur interactions. Why would men with high technology leave evidence of themselves on rocks? Go figure. Perhaps the "great flood" explained about not only in our, oh so fictional, holy bible but also by almost every religeon and nationality world-wide has something to do with it. After all in the bible man was basically explained as being pretty much at the same point we are at now today. Well...let me change that a bit, though the knowledge known by man at the time of the flood is not fully explained...they way human kind treated each other was very much the same. Remember Noah was the only "good man." Everyone else was rude crude selfish and ouright evil. And thus God sent the flood to destroy it all.....wipe out his creation fully with the exception of Noah and his family and "2" (though I would assume a few more in some cases for food) of every start it all over again. And come to think of it.....why wouldn't Noah have had some dinos, perhaps, on that great ship as well? Iiiiiiinteresting!

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 10:17AM

Psalms 74:13 Thou didst divide the sea by thy strength: thou brakest the heads of the dragons in the waters. 74:14 Thou brakest the heads of leviathan in pieces, and gavest him to be meat to the people inhabiting the wilderness.
74:15 Thou didst cleave the fountain and the flood: thou driedst up mighty rivers.

Isaiah 27:1 In that day the LORD with his sore and great and strong sword shall punish leviathan the piercing serpent, even leviathan that crooked serpent; and he shall slay the dragon that is in the sea.

I can try and come up with more if y'all want me too....but I'll leave it there for a bit.

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 10:29AM

Also.....its quite long and I dont think anyone really wants to wade through more biblical terms and writings to get onto whatever post comes after me so I will not post this whole bible excerpt. BUT as I was saying earlier in here....the bible describes, actually in great detail, including scales and teath and the tail, etc, what these "dinosaurs" looked like. Please anyone that doesn't believe or understand what im trying to say.....go to a hotel and open up that drawer that has the bible and turn to Job 41:1-34 and read for yourself. Set aside my previous post about the stones and the hell does a book that millions of us read or have read that whether god spake it to man who then wrote it OR man made it all up as a bunch of stories to direct your life the hell is it dead on? Pretty messed up if you ask me, especially when we were supposed to have just discovered these great beasts a mere couple hundred years ago?
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 10:44AM

"It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of what he was never reasoned into."
(Jonathan Swift)
posted by sam aritan on Jul 03, 2001 11:57AM

Whoa......we suddenly jumped onto the quotes page! A very interesting discussion between creationists, evolutionists, biologists, etc etc etc, pertaining to the scientific facts that support and/or discredit evolutionism, and creationism. "Yes, arguments took place, even some shouting. The conclusion of the majority was that there is no evidence of evolution, and we have no way of demonstrating that it is occurring now or has ever occurred." Fun fun stuff ;o)

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 11:59AM

"It is so much easier to assume than to prove; it is so much less painful to believe than to doubt; there is such a charm in the repose of prejudice, when no discordant voice jars the harmony of belief."
(W.E.H. Lecky)
posted by sam aritan on Jul 03, 2001 11:59AM

Here's a quote from the page you give, stu:

"For example, one of the mathematicians, *Murray Eden of MIT, explained that life could not begin by the "random selection," which is the basic pillar of evolutionary teaching. Yet he said that if randomness is set aside, then only "design" would remain?and that would require purposive planning by an Intelligence."

That's a strawman argument; nobody who understand evolutionary theory thinks that selection is random. It's "natural selection"; suitable organisms survive and reproduce, unsuitable organisms do not.

Selection can really impact a species. Look at any domesticated animal. They are the way they are because there was selection pressure put on them by humans. Humans bred the animal offspring with the most desirable traits and killed the animal offspring with undesirable traits. After a while, you wind up with fat cows, fat chickens, fat pigs, clever hunting dogs, etc.

It's the same thing in nature, although the force applying the selection pressure is different.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 12:04PM

Further reading of that page shows that most of the argument is based on the misstatement of evolutionary theory: that current forms of life evolved randomly or purely by chance. They cite, for example, how unlikely it is that the genes of a particular bacteria would evolve by chance.

Here's an analogy with a deck of cards. Say, for example, the bacteria gene is a royal straight flush, a pretty rare hand! What the scientists are saying is that the odds of randomly dealing a royal straight flush are too high, and it couldn't have happened without some divine power.

However, that's now how natural selection works. You're not dealing five cards at random; instead, you're gradually building on the previous success. You can keep cards that fit into a royal straight flush and throw out cards that don't fit...that's natural selection.

Of course, that's a little simplified. Real natural selection doesn't have some kind of target in mind (a royal straight flush, or a bacteria gene) only works within the pressures of the local environment. But the principle is the same: you're gradually building on past success, and throwing out failures.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 12:13PM

Will it be the creationism flat earth? Or the evolution flat earth? Or will they both be flat earths?

There's a critical difference here. The theory of evolution may someday be disproved by new discoveries and observations. The creationism theory cannot be tested and can never be disproved. Whatever new evidence arises, you can always say "God made it that way." That alone makes it worthless as a tool for knowledge and progress.

posted by Zach Beane on Jul 03, 2001 12:26PM

But will you not agree that there are many things in the bible, which is one of the idea of Gods center pieces, that when we finally have the time the knowledge and the tools to test, like whether the great flood really happened, possibly ever finding the great noahs ark (whew thatd be a big one huh?), finding the actual remains (yes if they exist)of Jesus whether he be christ or a great profit or teacher, etc etc etc. If some of these things and many others that I haven't listed could be found out. Wouldn't that set us in a very good direction to find God? Or to prove him true or false? I think these things CAN be found out....proven or disproven, and therefor I have to disagree with your comment that creationism can neither be tested OR disproved. Maybe not in our time but it is just as possible, as finding each one of our fossil "missing links" to prove evolution, as well as other evidences we use to "prove" it. Like dinosaurs living millions of years ago. I mean they date dino bones by the depth they are in the earth's crust. Well shit what about when we find mammal bones and skulls down in at the same depth? No "maybe" it hasn't happened yet, but in both instances we have a long distance to go before we can really honestly say who's right. And im not trying to say you have a firm emotional stance either way....that last part was just a general comment to the human species.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 01:02PM

"It doesn't make sense that complex organisms like mice spring up from trash, but I find it conceivable (and within the bounds of biological science) that, given the right mix, self-replicating molecules could form."

But out of the proverbial "nothing???" I could understand a self replicating molecule forming out of another perhaps non-replicating molecule.....but a self replicating molecule out of nothing? And if its from another non replicating molecule....whered that one come from???

posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 01:06PM

Leviathan, sea-monster, serpent, dragon… sounds just like the bible -specifically ambiguous. I think they were elephants, sharks, pythons, and crocodiles. How many of those words were in existence when the bible was written? Of course I could be wrong, it could all be another metaphor for something else...
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 03, 2001 01:13PM

A correction, we actually "jumped onto the quotes page" on Jul 02, 2001 5:40PM.
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 03, 2001 01:47PM

ONLY because I was told to......never the less....your statement is true.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 02:51PM

I agree....the bibles very'll never hear me say otherwise. Thats part of the joy I find in pondering some of the mysteries of the bible. However, with the exception of the croc and the snake, which will have been regular occurances all throughout history anyways, I think the sharks and whales and the such would have been described as fish, probably large ones, as has also been done in the bible. Jonah getting swallowed by the whale for an example. Elephants and the such well again more common animals especially to that time and erra. I realize this is just a simple attack on the examples you just brought up and I understand your point. But the simple fact is that if you do read Job 41:1-34 it aint no elephant, and with the exception of the fictional movie "lake placid," som'n that big aint no croc either.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 03:16PM

Thanks for clearing that up for me...
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 03, 2001 04:08PM

Well, I guess I've gotta give a little here: Religion does have advantages over science. The nice thing about it is that it's all written down already so you don't have to come up with anything new. Also, as we've seen here, most of one liners can make sense in other contexts, so it in effect can explain everything in a relatively small number of pages, that way you don't have to hump a big load of reference books all over the place, and you only have to learn the subject matter of one book so that you have all kinds of space in your brain for other important endeavors, like conceiving new ways of suppressing new and original ideas…
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 03, 2001 04:23PM

You're welcome????
posted by StU aRt on Jul 03, 2001 04:25PM

"There may be other ways of detecting error and discovering truth than that of free discussion, but so far we have not found them." (Henry Commager)

Don't know about revealing error and truth, but this discussion sure is revealing in other ways....

posted by sam aritan on Jul 05, 2001 08:41AM

posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 05, 2001 12:55PM

this is all silly craziness that none of us are intelligent enough to fully answer and I don't like arguing things that can't be proven one way or the least not right now...chill out and smoke a pipe
posted by Joshua Taylor on Jul 05, 2001 03:16PM

Dude, go for it. And if you see god let us know...
posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 05, 2001 04:10PM

Going back a while....

What exactly is wrong with belief? Why is it undesirable to hold to something and defend it?

What is the point of taking an active and forceful side in an argument while at the same time stating, quite clearly, one's distaste for consistency of thought?

What is the point in taking an active and forceful side in an argument if one's only satisfaction from the discussion comes out of the petty amusement derived from dismissing and combatting everyone else's salient viewpoints?
Why does the guy in China or the one down the road (neither of whom are present here, I suspect) have more and better things to say than those who are here?

If your respect for argument and for differing viewpoints and the mixing of ideas that results from good communication really is as far-reaching as you would have others (and yourself) believe, why is there this constant looming question of who is right and who is wrong?

And why is that question the most important one?

posted by Piper -- on Jul 05, 2001 05:49PM

Piper, wise men have taken a shot at answering a few of the questions you raise, to wit:

"A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds..." (Ralph Waldo Emerson)


"It is wrong always, everywhere, and for everyone to believe anything on insufficeint evidence." (W.K. Clifford)


"Of all the animosities which have existed among mankind, those which are caused by a difference of sentiments in religion appear to be the most inveterate and distressing, and ought most to be deprecated." (George Washington)

and finally

"Might makes right" (anon)

posted by sam aritan on Jul 06, 2001 08:33AM

I dont really think that its who is right and who is wrong. Its more a search for "how it is"......the truth. "SOME THINGS ARE TRUE WHETHER YOU BELIEVE THEM OR NOT..." now whether in the end that means that god exists or doesn't exist, can not be answered right now. That is all we do know. BUT the need for argument is still there. Argument, discussion. Especially in a topic like this. Something where there are two major differing points of view. The existence of God, and/or evolution OR the non existence of God, and evolution. In the event that someday we find God exists, the "see to believe"rs, I think, will make a BIG change in their ideas and points of view, perhaps thats obvious, perhaps not. Those who still choose not to believe, will suffer "eternal damnation," in the event God exists and the bible speaks as to how God really does feel, hypothetically speaking of course. Quite the price to pay in the event the bible should be taken litterally. So in the event of "today," whats wrong with argument to further ones knowledge or point of view? And the importance of the guy in China or the guy down the road, is that I am the guy in china, and im most certainly the guy down the road, as you are as well. China, England, Egypt, US, Maine, makes no difference. The person you share an apartment with or a house with is probably going to have something to say that just could spark another question in your own rock solid non-swaying mind. Seen as we dont and maybe wont know whether God exists....the ultimate possible truth in this topic....each one of us has to make advances to their own personal truth, and see where it takes them. I dont have any problem whatsoever with differing points of view, people are adds spice to life. I dont care if your muslim, christian, athiest, your thing. What does bother me is the person who isn't open to other possibilities. And when I say open to other possibilities, I dont mean you believe one way and your LOOKING for a reason to believe another way. Just simply being open to the other possibilities, and open to the conversation. Otherwise it just kinda reminds me of being racist almost. I mean,(and this is one hypothetical situation....there are and could be many) its like the kid whos parents bring him to church every day, which, whatever thats cool, but what about when hes in his mid to late teens and he simply feels strongly in his beliefs, only because thats what he knows....thats where hes been (kinda like the guy brought up to believe that black people are a waste of space and wont take the time to realize otherwise). Hows he supposed to know thats him, that thats his place, thats how he really does want to believe? He can't.....not really without being open to other possibilities, and using the reference materials that pass you a zillion times each and everyday.....people. Life is about learning. tomorrow you'll know and have learned things that you dont know today. How you go about doing that is your own choice. If you firmly believe in your stance, and you've found your truth.....right on good for you. I commend you in more ways than one. But if you have, then why are you here and why are you arguing? Let the rest of us dabble in our petty arguments. OR do you feel that you are so right....the rest of us must believe your way as well? OR do look at yourself as one of these reference materials that pass us a zillion times each and every day and you simply want to make yourself accessible? Josh made a good point pertaining to only his point of view, and I dont think he'll be joining us again in this post section. Good for him. If you really want to know my personal point of view....its kinda like this: I belive a higher power does exist, what its name is....I dont know. Whether this being effects each and every aspect of our lives, I also dont know, but dont belive he does. I do also belive in evolution. I have been reading and hearing about and seeing things that have been making me question it....but at this juncture I still belive in evolution. I used to believe in a heaven and a hell. Heaven being white and clouds and happiness and music and love for eternity, hell being fire and pain and saddness and anger for eternity. HOWEVER, after reading the book "Memnoch the Devil" by Anne rice, and seeing the movie "What Dreams May Come," with Robyn Williams and Cuba Gooding Junior, and also talking with friends and co-workers and priests and teachers etc etc points of view on heaven and hell have changed. To see how go see or read the above. But the point is, all my previous posts have not necessarily followed those points of view, and in my opinion in an argument like this....what better way to see how people really do honestly feel than to dispute something they say with a valid question, even if it makes you look like you take that point of view personally? I dont think, and if I have then I truly appologise, but I dont think ive flat out said anyone person in here is wrong at all. I just asked questions that could dispute what someone was saying to see "why," and maybe even make themselves ask why. Some people sway how they feel sometimes just a lil bit, because the person their talking to believes "similarly" to the way they do, and its easier for the conversation to do it that way. I want to know how a person really does feel inside, and see where they're coming from and why. Now im not entirely sure if you're post was pertaining to me or not, Piper, because there have been many cryptic points of the finger in this set of posts so far, but I hope some of what I wrote above can account for my reasoning, and the content of some of my posts. Im not taking an active forceful side for my own petty amusement derived from dismissing and combatting everyone elses salient view points. Its not really amusement at all. Its curiosity....curiosity to find my own truth. How many people "go with the flow?" How many people just accept things because they feel they have to. I dont wanna be that person, and I dont want you to be that person, and Im glad we're not. Im sure not too many of you care about this last part here, but maybe even one or two of you will be interested, but litterally almost every night before I finally fall asleep, I lay there with my eyes closed and let a billion thoughts about this stuff run through my head. Every different hypothetical situation you could think of from aliens to god to evolution to nature....some very fanciful, some plausible, some that are just simply crazy and unthinkable. This topic is a love of mine of sorts. Something that id love to get paid for to think about and study for the rest of my life. Not because I think God exists and I want to prove it true, but because I just want to know......"whats up?" lololol.....and everyday I have to keep waking up to the realization of my own belief that I will never know until the day I pass on. Im very open to the thought that my kids or grandkids or greatgrandkids etc etc will know someday.....but I truly believe that I will never know until I pass on. Does that mean I shouldn't think about it research it or discuss/argue it? I dont think it does. And I think you would agree.
posted by StU aRt on Jul 06, 2001 10:15AM

Several things have been troubling me about the new turn this conversation has taken. I think I've tracked down the source of one of the problems; it dates back to Greg's July 02, 2001 05:40PM post. He states:

"See I mostly ask questions why.....listen to others ideas dispute them with things they "may" not have heard (which doesn't always mean I disagree with the comment, I just like to hear what people come up with for retorts)"

While there is certainly a time and a place for inflammatory propaganda and intentional agitation in the name of intellectual discourse (I readily admit that I've used it myself), I would suggest that one shouldn't make tenuous arguments simply to inflame the conversation and to "hear what people come up with for retorts." An extreme argument is something that should not be proffered nonchalantly in a public forum just for the sake of watching other people jerk on their chains.

The second identifiable problem implicit in the 5:40 statement is one that has continually plagued conversations on Adding information to a conversation about a subject such as this, one which a significant portion of the world's population take very seriously, should not be a perfunctory exercise. Misstatements of fact proffered with nonchalance suffice to do nothing but muddy already cloudy waters. Expansive beliefs based on limited personal experience and nonexistent factual research and vague generalities woven from flimsy spider webs, pixie dust, and Hollywood smoke and mirrors are unhelpful.

This is the second emotionally charged topic that has made it's way onto's pages (The first was the Florida election post) and since they both play a part in the history and continuing development of this website, I'll borrow a page from the continuing saga of that situation to analogously illustrate my point.

Dershowitz, a legal commentator that blasted the majority justices of the Supreme Court in the Bush v. Gore case for their partisan decision, also comments on intellectual honesty in public discourse. He states, "I believe it is morally wrong for scholars to defend the majority justices, even if they think their arguments are theoretically defensible, unless they honestly believe that the justices themselves would have offered these arguments on behalf of Gore if the shoe had been on the other foot. For brilliant academics, clever arguments are easy to come by. But to publicly defend an argument that was presented only as a rationalization for a decision based on partisan political grounds rather than nonpartisan legal grounds, is to become complicit in an intellectual fraud perpetrated by the Supreme Court majority on the nation, and to encourage its emulation in future cases."

There is some merit to argument by way of playing the devil's advocate, but this particular post is pregnant with internal contradictions and thinly veiled value judgements based on little more than thin air and vague generalizations, which strike to the core of everything that many people hold as valuable and sacred (For instance, Greg, Christianity is an advancement beyond what you consider "Wiccan"? See, e.g. the 5:40 post again. Favor me with an explanation of what you think Wicca is, if you will, when it started, and how exactly a religion that has been responsible for innumerable deaths that are in direct hypocritical contradiction to their own core doctrine can be called progress....) And all this is apparently offered up with an apathetic motive of eliciting a retort that masquerades as an open mind.

I think that for the purposes of rational thought and conversation, if that's truly what the goal is in this case, this "I just like to hear what people come up with for retorts" is gonna fly like a lead zeppelin. It only exists to allow an easy escape route from a flimsy house of cards and to allow an indulgence of some quasi-sadistic character trait. When one decides to start an argument about a serious topic, that person shouldn't wait to see where everyone else stands before choosing a disposition. A newfound (in comparison to past posts) "quest for knowledge" is just a flimsy ex post facto justification. It's like saying, "Follow me boys! I'll bring up the rear…" Take a position that's intellectually honest and that you reasonably believe is defensible in the first place. I'm not suggesting that someone's first position be one that is set in stone for eternity, only that they argue for something that they reasonably believe at the time. If you don't believe what you argue, you're the one that's acting like a mercenary lawyer.

For the sake of coherent conversation, I'd personally like to know where to start arguing before I start arguing. I also think it may be unwise to approach a topic such as religion with careless disregard. If you don't believe the grand strokes you are using to sketch your reputation, pick a different brush. Then we can get on with the conversation. In the alternative, don't be surprised if you wind up with a Picasso when all along you've been trying for a Monet.

posted by Clint Phipps on Jul 06, 2001 05:52PM

Going back to the original subject, its definitely because the airplanes come from special airplane paper trees. These trees are grown in an anti-gravity environment on a secret goverment military base on the dark side of the moon. Recovery of the timber is dangerous and time consuming. If done incorrectly, the logs just float off into space, taking the space-lumberjacks right off with them.
posted by Cody Phipps on Sep 26, 2002 01:12PM