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Author: Kazim Big gold star, 5000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: of 24982  
Subject: Coin tossing contest Date: 2/21/2001 4:06 PM
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I am migrating a thread that started on the Christian Fools board. For background, please read these posts first:

http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14386753
http://boards.fool.com/Message.asp?mid=14388664

Hey Kazim, long time no read. Your analogies paint a really cool picture. But I've got questions.

With the coin-toss analogy, why would only half -- or perhaps less than half -- be eliminated with each round? Isn't it conceivable that everybody would be out after say, 10 rounds? Or, couldn't two really lucky people go on to the 38th round? Not that it signifies anything.


I must not have explained the contest clearly. Like the tennis match, I intended that players be paired up in competition with each other. In the first round there are six billion players, three billion pairs. In each pair, one gets heads and one gets tails. One wins and goes to the next round; the other loses and is out of the game. It would take 33 rounds of dividing the pool of players in half to eliminate all but one.

But I'm sitting here wondering: In the case of both the coin toss and the tennis tournament, where did the big pool of competitors come from?

Where did all the people in the world come from? Didn't your mother ever explain the facts of life to you? ;)

Seriously, that is a question about reproduction, whereas the analogy is about natural selection. If you try to stretch the example to cover reproduction, you've missed the point.

My first thought is of a petri dish. It's filled with some clear substance, and then a drop of an alien substance is added. Then, what looks like frost or mold, spreads across the petri dish.

So, when the mold covers the entire dish, it's accomplished its purpose.


Mold has no purpose. Mold continuously reproduces itself, because it inherited the ability to reproduce from its parent cells. Mold which has a genetic tendency not to reproduce will not pass that trait on to any other mold. So it doesn't come with genetic instructions to "keep making more mold until the dish is full, then stop." It has instructions to "survive as best you can, and make more mold as much as you can."

If we say that the Earth is a huge petri dish, and that life spread out in low level form, what would cause it then to change into something different -- a new kind of mold -- after it had covered every possible surface?

Selection. Mold cells don't live forever; they die. They die faster, sometimes without reproducing, once they have spread out to the entire dish, because the resources they can use to stay alive are limited. Any mold cell that happens to have a feature that would keep it alive and reproducing better and longer than its neighbors will eventually dominate the dish.

Would you say that as it spread, some of it was affected differently by the new environments it creeped into? So that when the mold went full circle, covering the entire Earth/petri dish, parts of it were superior to other parts?

And if they were superior or different, how would they now be able to thrive while being forced to speread over old, pre-existing mold -- instead of the original clear liquid they had started on?


Like I sad, they would eventually crowd out the older, inferior mold cells, which would then be dead. Did you think that mold cells are eternal beings?

What would have caused them to prepare for reaching the end of the clear liquid -- and suddenly have to deal with expanding over other mold? Wouldn't they just die? Wouldn't all things, that sprang up out of some environment, when suddenly faced with a new environment, die? Wouldn't this always happen, every single time? Is this why evolutionists introduce mutations?

This is a great big glaring misunderstanding about evolution. Life forms don't predict or prepare for future conditions. Things don't adapt to their environment on purpose. The lucky ones are those that just have what it takes to survive when times are tough.

Anyway, a completely full environment is not suddenly a different environment than a 95% full environment. The environment ALWAYS includes competition with neighbors for limited resources. It's just that the competition gets gradually tougher as the population increases. And most of the players lose eventually.

That the dish is full doesn't make all the mold cells die off instantly. Some die off, yes, but then the dish isn't full anymore. Funny how that works.

How do things that don't know they need to be different begin to prepare for change, rather than just dying when they are suddenly faced with it? Or, how did the eye come into being, or the ear, when the original low-level forms weren't listening to anything? or seeing anything? What do evolutionists say about this? How do life-forms enable themselves to become different?

For some reason creationists think that this is a hard problem. It's covered extensively in Richard Dawkins' "Climbing Mount Improbable" and also given some coverage at this page.
http://www.don-lindsay-archive.org/creation/eye.html

Don't you guys say that it's through slow processes, which take place over long periods of time? And don't you add that it's through being acted upon by nature.

But it doesn't make sense. Big petri dish or little petri dish, when the mold fills the dish, it doesn't become a different kind of mold.


No, and no one would ever claim that it doesn't. The difference between a 95% and a 100% full dish is an artificial constraint, not some magic boundary that causes things to suddenly change.

Not only that, but molds die out after they've consumed what it is that they thrive off of.

So I guess my main question is: Where did the big pool of competitors, all playing the same game, with some predetermined to be better than the others, come from?


That is a question of abiogenesis. I note how deftly you changed the subject. The ORIGINAL claim was "Natural selection doesn't explain anything; it's a tautology." My previous post was intended to show that it's not. Rather than agree that this particular charge has been addressed, you then moved on to criticize another aspect of the science entirely. Not that I'm surprised, mind you.
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Author: preston6 Big red star, 1000 posts Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 196 of 24982
Subject: Re: Coin tossing contest Date: 2/21/2001 5:04 PM
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Kazim,

I read Darwin's statement on the eye, but I couldn't find where light-sensitive cells came from.

The closest thing I found was, "So, light sensitive chemistry was around. We can also assume that something like Vitamin A was around, since it is found in so many creatures."

But why was light sensitive chemistry around, if it wasn't created by a known need?

Was it just a very fortunate byproduct of some other chemical interaction?

That seems like kind of a dorky argument, and I assume it's not what you guys would say. What do you say?

Moving on, you said:

A completely full environment is not suddenly a different environment than a 95% full environment. The environment ALWAYS includes competition with neighbors for limited resources.

Wait a second, in our analogy, the environment and the resources are the same thing.

More clear liquid to expand upon equals no need for competition.

So when we suddenly come upon no more clear liquid, but instead pre-existing growth, that's a new problem that hasn't been prepared for.

The mold wasn't fighting amongst itself as it spread.

And why would any low-level life form emerge with instructions to both spread out and also fight with itself?

That would be self-defeating instruction.

But obviously I don't think that you guys haven't already thought of this and found answers for it years and years ago.

It's just interesting to me to work through these issues for myself.

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Author: nf Big red star, 1000 posts Old School Fool Add to my Favorite Fools Ignore this person (you won't see their posts anymore) Number: 214 of 24982
Subject: Re: Coin tossing contest Date: 2/23/2001 9:34 PM
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Hello preston. Enjoy the board.

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