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Sunday, June 04, 2006

Navigation systems in Monarch Butterflies

It makes me wonder.....Read this with me:

“navigation” systems in automobiles are a fairly new (and still costly) innovation, monarch butterflies have managed for millennia to navigate their way for a distance of some 3000 miles (4800 kilometers) each fall from Canada to Mexico (and vice-versa in the spring) without losing their way.

The phenomenon of long-range bird migration is a well-known one, but not in the insect world. Also, among birds their migration route is a round-trip one, which they make more than once in their lifetimes, while for the monarch it is strictly a one-way trip for each butterfly. How do these creatures do it?

The mystery of the mechanisms involved in this remarkable phenomenon has been resolved by a team of scientists who did this by exploring the infinitesimal butterfly brain and eye tissues to uncover new insights into the biological machinery that directs this delicate creature on its lengthy flight path.

The research team, led by Prof. Steven Reppert of the University of Massachusetts Medical School, included Dr. Oren Froy, now of the Faculty of Agricultural, Food and Environmental Quality Sciences of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Others involved were from the Czech Academy of Sciences and the University of California, Irvine. Their latest findings were published in a recent issue of Neuron magazine, constituting a continuation of their earlier work, published in the journal Science.

While light in general is essential to the functioning of the “biological clock” in the butterfly brain – governing its metabolic cycles, including its “signal” to migrate -- the researchers discovered that it is specifically the ultraviolet band of light that is crucial to the creature’s orientation. The butterflies have special photoreceptors for ultraviolet (UV) light in their eyes which provide them with their sense of direction.

They proved that this ultraviolet “navigation” is crucial by placing butterflies in a “flight” simulator. When a UV light filter was used in the simulator, the butterflies lost their orientation

Further probing revealed a key wiring connection between the light-detecting navigation sensors in the butterfly’s eye and its brain clock Thus, it was shown that input from two interconnected systems – UV light detection in the eye and the biological clock in the brain -- together guide the butterflies “straight and true” to their destination at the appointed times in their two-month migration over thousands of miles/kilometers
.

I have always wondered how it is so easy for evolutionists to believe that a very exacting and complex system, one more sophisticated than we can make for ourselves, just happened to evolve in Monarch butterflies. Not just that one example, of course, but there are thousands of immensely complex and amazing systems within organisms that give those organisms amazing abilities.

Or, here's another one: Acoustic 3-D Imaging System Unveils Remarkable Behavior of Ocean Plankton

An international team of scientists from Israel, the United States and Germany, led by Prof. Amatzia Genin of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Interuniversity Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat, has provided, for the first time, evidence of the remarkable dynamics responsible for the formation of large aggregations of microscopic animals in the ocean.



From the surface, the ocean appears to be vast and uniform. But beneath the surface, countless numbers of tiny, nearly transparent animals, called zooplankton, are swept into clusters and patches by ocean currents. The very survival of many zooplankton predators – from invertebrates to whales – and the success of fishermen catches can depend on their success at finding those patches.



The new findings indicate that zooplankton are passively drifting with the current, as their name implies (“planktos” – “drifting” in Greek), but only in the horizontal direction, not in the vertical. Indeed, in the vertical, these creatures show a great ability to go “against the flow.”



Although scientists and fishermen have known for a long time that zooplankton spend their life suspended in a constantly flowing environment, an understanding of their responses to ocean currents has remained elusive, mainly due to technological limitations in tracking the motion of the minuscule animals.



Now, the recent development of a three-dimensional, acoustic imaging system by Jules Jaffe of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, has opened the door for a team of researchers to track several hundred thousand individual zooplanktons at two coastal sites in the Red Sea. In addition to Prof. Genin, the team included his graduate student Ruth Reef; Dr. Jules Jaffe and Prof. Peter Franks from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography; and Dr. Claudio Richter from the Center for Tropical Marine Ecology in Bremen, Germany.



Their findings, reported in the May 6 issue of the prestigious journal Science, show that these small animals effectively keep their depth by “treadmilling” against up-welling and down-welling currents at speeds of up to several tens of body-lengths per second.



Downward-flowing water in the ocean is always accompanied by horizontal flows, forming a convergence, or “down-welling” zone. When zooplankton swim upward against such a downward current, they form patches as more and more individuals are brought in with the horizontal currents and concentrated in the down-welling zone.



“Clumped distribution, termed ‘patchiness,’ is one of the most ubiquitous characteristics of oceanic zooplankton,” said Genin, lead author of the Science paper. “Aggregations (of the tiny animals) are found on all scales, from millimeters to areas covering hundreds of kilometers. Understanding the mechanisms that produce zooplankton patchiness is a central objective in biological oceanography.”



The new imaging system, Fish TV, uses multibeam sonar to uniquely measure animal movement. The system allowed the researchers to analyze the swimming behavior of more than 375,000 individual zooplankton swimming against vertical currents. Swimming in this manner allows the plankton to keep their depth, a behavior which was postulated long ago but had never been measured in the ocean until now. The scientists say it is remarkable that the small zooplanktons are capable of remaining at a constant depth with such high precision in the face of such strong vertical currents. The ecological implications of this behavior carry far-reaching consequences for predatory fishes, whales and humans.



The results of the multinational research project were captured during three experiments lasting several weeks at two sites in the Red Sea, near the coral reef of Eilat in Israel and at Ras Burka off the coast of Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. At the sites, scuba divers attached Fish TV’s sonar head (“transducer”) on a large underwater tripod, raised some 20 feet above the sea floor. The transducer was cabled to a control and data-acquisition unit consisting of a computer and other electronic hardware.



Fish TV’s transmitters sent out 1.6 megahertz “pings” that bounced off the zooplankton and returned data to the instrument’s receivers. It’s a system not unlike those used in ultrasound procedures for biomedical applications.



“That small zooplankton are capable of remaining at a constant depth with a precision of centimeters, sometimes in the face of strong vertical currents, implies that these organisms have extremely sensitive depth sensors, the nature of which is yet unknown,” said Genin. “That this depth-keeping behavior has evolved in so many different species implies that this energetically demanding behavior provides significant, yet poorly understood benefits. Revealing those benefits and the nature of depth sensing will be a major and exciting challenge for future research in zooplankton ecology and evolution.”



The research was funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research through the “Red Sea Program” and the U.S.-Israel Binational Science Foundation. Jaffe was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research and California Sea Grant.


We do not as yet know just how these plankton can maintain their vertical position and sense depth so precisely, we just know that they can somehow do it. Another interesting avenue for science to pursue.

Bacteria with motors more efficient than anything man can design. Eyes that can see a much larger range of the spectrum than can a man's. Birds that can sense precisely the temperature inside a big clump of dirt and leaves and move a stick here and a few leaves there to adjust that temperature accordingly. All around us are organisms that are supposed to be behind us on the "evolutionary ladder" but are, at least in some ways, incomprehensibly superior.

One thing I wonder, were evolution actually true, why man wouldn't have evolved stronger bodies, better eyes, precise internal navigation systems, the ability to replace damaged or missing body parts, etc. These are all traits available in the massive gene pool that is all of life, assuming we all share in that pool.

But then some of what we find in nature may not make sense, really. Did Salmon have to evolve the ability to leave their freshwater birthplace, go out to sea to live in salt water, then return to their birthplace to spawn? Is there some kind of need for that? Would natural selection favor such an unusual cycle with the arbitrary need to come right back to the beginning for each Salmon? I think not. Are butterflies that must migrate thousands of miles better adapted for survival than butterflies that have no such need? No, not logically. One has to make leaps and twists of logic to explain why the Monarch would have been "selected" with such a difficult life cycle.

It all makes sense if God created. If he created many and varied kinds of creatures and placed within the gene pool many traits that could be selected to help ensure survival, then such creatures would in some form or another survive whatever the earth and mankind could throw at them. The Passenger Pigeon may be gone, but many other varieties remain. No one sees an Aurochs anymore, but we have lots of cows. Mammoths are gone, African Elephants remain. No matter what the evolutionists say, what we see in the real world is that each creature has the ability to adopt to new changes and to change with those changes while remaining what it is. Finches can vary in terms of the primary beak size and shape and remain finches.

If God did not create, the wide variety of creatures we find in the world doesn't make sense. One would expect evolution to select just a few "best-of-the-best" creatures to beat out the other candidates rather than having all these myriad creatures we have today. But if God did create, and create with man in mind, it makes sense. He made a beautiful and varied world for man's environment full of wondrous creatures from whom we could learn many things.

Navigation systems in Monarch Butterflies, designed by God, working just fine, thank you, to this day.

30 comments:

Jake said...

I have always wondered how it is so easy for evolutionists to believe that a very exacting and complex system, one more sophisticated than we can make for ourselves, just happened to evolve in Monarch butterflies.

If it wasn't evolution, the what mechanism do you propose? "Goddidit" is not an answer unless you are prepared to go on to ask "how?" (In which case the God step seems superfluous, in any case.)

creeper said...

Crikey, Radar, first an extended argument from incredulity and from ignorance, and then this bit of weirdness:

"All around us are organisms that are supposed to be behind us on the "evolutionary ladder" but are, at least in some ways, incomprehensibly superior."

Could you point us to this "evolutionary ladder" in which we're "ahead" of all the other animals? Seems you've just dragged in your "man is the pinnacle of all creation" belief into a place where it doesn't belong.

"One thing I wonder, were evolution actually true, why man wouldn't have evolved stronger bodies, better eyes, precise internal navigation systems, the ability to replace damaged or missing body parts, etc. These are all traits available in the massive gene pool that is all of life, assuming we all share in that pool."

Once again I heartily recommend that you read up on the theory of evolution from a non-creationist source. Natural selection does not result in the 'ultimate' of anything, it results in something that is as good as it needs to be to bring about survival/reproduction advantages. Human vision etc. is as good as it needs to be.

Actually, this is an argument against this creator of yours, Radar. If God made man in his image, then why did he give him senses that are inferior to other animals? Why not give man all the best features? This makes more sense from an evolution perspective than from a creation one.

"Did Salmon have to evolve the ability to leave their freshwater birthplace, go out to sea to live in salt water, then return to their birthplace to spawn? Is there some kind of need for that? Would natural selection favor such an unusual cycle with the arbitrary need to come right back to the beginning for each Salmon? I think not. Are butterflies that must migrate thousands of miles better adapted for survival than butterflies that have no such need? No, not logically."

Could you point us to the scientific studies that you've examined or conducted on these organisms before arriving at these conclusions?

"If God did not create, the wide variety of creatures we find in the world doesn't make sense. One would expect evolution to select just a few "best-of-the-best" creatures to beat out the other candidates rather than having all these myriad creatures we have today."

The selection for a few "best of the best" creatures would only make sense if you had a very small area, where each species would be competing with every other species under identical circumstances and environmental conditions. In a world in which you have many different habitats and environment and organisms reacting to many different factors (including all the other organisms), such complexity makes perfect sense according to the theory of evolution.

Think of an example as limited as the beaks of Darwin's finches - that's a very small and limited environment, but already the differences in conditions among the islands have an effect on the evolution of the finches - you don't see a drive toward a "best finch" here, do you? Now project that complexity and adaptation to all the traits (not just beak size) of all the creatures in all the different environments around the world, and bewildering complexity of life is not only plausible, it's inevitable.

"But if God did create, and create with man in mind, it makes sense. He made a beautiful and varied world for man's environment full of wondrous creatures from whom we could learn many things."

We can learn many things from nature, that much is true. But why would God, for example, design man-eating animals? That doesn't really fall under the usual "free will" excuse, does it?

And why would God design something like sickle cell anemia?

highboy said...

We can learn many things from nature, that much is true. But why would God, for example, design man-eating animals? That doesn't really fall under the usual "free will" excuse, does it?

And why would God design something like sickle cell anemia?"

I can't argue the science, but as far as this goes, the animals didn't eat men when God created them. It's right there in the Bible. Death did not exist at all, until man rejected God's word and did his own thing.

creeper said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
creeper said...

"Death did not exist at all, until man rejected God's word and did his own thing."

And you rejected the "God as a control freak" option because...?

highboy said...

"And you rejected the "God as a control freak" option because...?"

Really not sure what you are implying here. If God were a control freak, and brainwashed everyone into doing what they were suppose to, I fail to see how that would make Him a loving God. But since He his...

creeper said...

"Really not sure what you are implying here. "

Well, you just told me that God imposed death on all mankind because two people dared to not do exactly as they were told.

That kinda spells control freak to me.

And it's not exactly compatible with "loving" either.

Anonymous said...

Dan S. said:

Creeper: "Once again I heartily recommend that you read up on the theory of evolution from a non-creationist source."

I would definitely second this. While it's cool that you're thinking about it and asking questions - suggesting an active mind, and potential - it's going to be very hard for you to find your way to - well, if not answers, better questions - relying on sources that hate the subject.

It's the equivalent of trying to find out about Republicans (or Democrats) by relying on partisan sources from the other side talking about how bad the other party is. They might be helpful in some ways, but they're certainly shouldn't be your main guide. And if you're really serious, you shouldn't try to find out about either party from partisan sources involved in partisan debate, but far drier and bloodless analyses. Same thing. Learning about evolution from people who think, at worst, that it is literally Satanic (and pathetically misguided at best) will not inform you about the best arguments or overall framwork of thought. Learning about evolution from the evolution/creation wars. while certainly lively, isn't that good either - it warps the subject.

------

Anyway, I think we can agree that these things - monarch and salmon migrations - are marvelous. Sadly, they're both imperiled - with monarchs, very severely - by human action. The idea that God made nature to take anything that we can throw at it is dangerous. Yes, life on earth has proven to be very resiliant (they just found a ancient Antarctic crater marking an asteroid impact that could have caused the mass extinction - the mother of all mass extinctions really - at the end of the Permian; it made the one that put paid to the dinos look like a blip on the radar screen, and seems to have come as close as anything to ending life - and look, just a short 100,000, 200,000 human lifespans later life had bounced back as if nothing had happened, if you didn't look to closely at who was around) but while it would be tough to wipe out all butterflies, it would suck for us not to have any more monarchs (or most species of wild cat, big or small, or any elephants, or . . . .)


" Did Salmon have to evolve the ability to leave their freshwater birthplace, go out to sea to live in salt water, then return to their birthplace to spawn? Is there some kind of need for that? Would natural selection favor such an unusual cycle with the arbitrary need to come right back to the beginning for each Salmon? I think not."

Anyway, without getting into a discussion of how evolution seems to work, and how it's not an optimizing machine - Creeper's comments on biodiversity are quite good - can you think of any possible reasons why it would be advantageous for young salmon (they do some growing up (1-3 years) in their native rivers before heading out to sea and aren't just tiny fry) 1) to head out to sea for some time, and 2) once all grown up, return to spawn.

It might help to think about bird migration. Many birds around here in the spring and summer head down to the tropics in winter. Why might they do this? What differences are there between the two places that might make such a move sensible? But once down in the tropics, they don't just stay there - once the temperate zone winter is over, they head back. Why might they do this? What differences are there between the two places now that might make such a move sensible? Think about environment, resources, and competition.

Another clue might be recent research revealing (how's that for alliteration?) that salmon runs provide a major boost to their home ecosystems -sort of a mass transfer of nutrients/ energy from the ocean to their home streams.

If you want to cheat, you could go here:
biology.uwsp.edu/faculty/CHartleb/Biol375/Readings/Gross 1988.pdf

but it would be better if you tried to figure it out for yourself.

_________________

"But if God did create, and create with man in mind, it makes sense. He made a beautiful and varied world for man's environment full of wondrous creatures from whom we could learn many things."

That is a question that is outside of science, and cannot be meaningfully addressed through it, but if one believes God did so, there's no obvious reason that he couldn't have done so using natural processes.

Likewise: rainbows are pretty. Whether or not a God made them thusly for people to enjoy (and/or as a reminder) is a theological rather than scientific question, but science can inform theology to the extent that it can conclude that if this is the case, it is done through natural processes - weather, properties of water, optics, etc.) rather than, say, the employment of angels with big paintbrushes zipping back and forth after every rainstorm.

No?

-Dan S.

Anonymous said...

" Is there some kind of need for that? Would natural selection favor such an unusual cycle with the arbitrary need to come right back to the beginning for each Salmon? I think not."

Are you sure? Think about this.

First off, anadromous fish are in a very weird situation. By returning to freshwater to mate they're moving into a highly environmentally varied and physically disjunct habitat. Imagine that humans and other apes were born on islands, went out to sea to grow up and then went up on islands to reproduce. Would there be any advantages to coming back to the island of their birth? (What might happened if they just clambered ashore on any random island? And what if we couldn't rely on technology to adapt to varied habitats but had to rely strictly on genetic adaptations passed down from our ancestors who were sucessful at living in that habitat?)

Do you see where this is going? If not, well, let's look at salmon again.

As is, a small percentage of salmon end up somewhere else for whatever reason (something that's important both for gene flow between populations and colonization of new areas -> evolution of distinct populations -> and eventual speciation). Imagine if all salmon from a specific area, having spent a few years in the ocean, just randomly headed towards freshwater.

What would happen? How would this affect their chances of:

1) finding a place suitable for spawning?
2) and one that is suitable for spawning and has other salmon?
3) and one is that suitable for spawning and has other salmon in quantity - enough to ensure that each individual has a decent chance of not becoming bear or human food (herd or school effect - prob. very important) and finding a salmon of the opposite sex?
4) and one is that suitable for spawning and has other salmon in quantity of a species that can be mated with to produce viable offspring (note: in some - though not all - cases, hybrids between species may be sterile and/or poorly adapted to either species' lifestyle)?
5) and one is that suitable for spawning and has other salmon in quantity of a species that can be mated with to produce viable, fertile offspring?
6) and one is that suitable for spawning and has other salmon in quantity of a species that can be mated with to produce viable, fertile offspring and is of the same species, and thus likely to result in offspring that are well-adopted to a general set of conditions?
7) and one is that suitable for spawning and has other salmon in quantity of a species that can be mated with to produce viable, fertile offspring and is not only of the same species but of a population that is well adapted to specific local conditions?

How you doing in terms of figuring out a reason why fish might evolve an adandromous lifestyle (breed in freshwater, move, after several months - several years to the sea, return after some years to breed)? It might help to know that there are also catadromous fish - they're born in the sea, move to freshwater, and return to the sea to breed. Additionally, anadromous fish are more common in temparate areas (sometimes very, very more common), and catadromous fish in tropical ones.

If you come up with something (and if you give up, look at the link in my previous comment) - why not just stay out in the ocean? Certainly the issues above are less pressing there - tons of marine fish manage, after all! What might be one advantage for salmon in returning to (relatively) isolated freshwater rivers and streams? (Alternately, it's also possible that they just haven't worked out how to reproduce in freshwater - which seems unlikely - and are they marine fish who evolved to spawn in freshwater, or freshwater fish who evolved to move out to the sea? I have no idea. I knew almost nothing about this specific issue -besides general knowledge and some ecological stuff - last week. This is all me googling and thinking. There's a lesson in that, I think . . .
___________
"I have always wondered how it is so easy for evolutionists to believe that a very exacting and complex system, one more sophisticated than we can make for ourselves, just happened to evolve in Monarch butterflies"

Nobody thinks it "just happened." Evolution certainly has a chance or random aspect, but as we've been saying, it also has a very, very orderly aspect. Evolving a connection between two pre-existing systems - "UV light detection in the eye and the biological clock in the brain" - which, when you look at it this way, doesn't seem insanely impossible any more - was presumably something that was advantegeous to survival.

I have to run - more on monarch butterflies later. Remember - plant (or preserve) milkweed! There are a bunch of species . . .

-Dan S.

highboy said...

"Well, you just told me that God imposed death on all mankind because two people dared to not do exactly as they were told."

When did I say God "imposed" death? Sure, He could stop death if He wanted to, but it was their choice, just as it is ours, to reject or accept God's guidance. Just because God allows consequences doesn't make Him a control freak.

"And it's not exactly compatible with "loving" either"

So if you punish your kids, you don't love them? They knew what they were doing when they ate the fruit. They ignored God, and unlike you and me they didn't need faith at all, they actually lived with Him and witnessed His power and love. They rejected it.

creeper said...

creeper: "Well, you just told me that God imposed death on all mankind because two people dared to not do exactly as they were told."

highboy: "When did I say God "imposed" death?"


I thought that was what you meant here: "Death did not exist at all, until man rejected God's word and did his own thing." If it didn't come from God and it didn't happen as a result of two people not doing exactly what they were told, then what did you mean?

"Sure, He could stop death if He wanted to, but it was their choice, just as it is ours, to reject or accept God's guidance. Just because God allows consequences doesn't make Him a control freak."

No, but having such an excessive reaction to someone disobeying him does.

creeper: "And it's not exactly compatible with "loving" either"

highboy: "So if you punish your kids, you don't love them?"

Punishing your kids is one thing. Punishing your kids' extended family down through hundreds of generations is kinda on the excessive side. And no, it's still not "loving".

"They knew what they were doing when they ate the fruit. They ignored God, and unlike you and me they didn't need faith at all, they actually lived with Him and witnessed His power and love. They rejected it."

Wow, so even in person God's not that convincing. No wonder He overreacted.

highboy said...

"Punishing your kids' extended family down through hundreds of generations is kinda on the excessive side"

How did He punish them unjustly? Unless there is someone (other than Jesus) I don't know of the keeps His word perfectly.

Anonymous said...

"I have always wondered how it is so easy for evolutionists to believe that a very exacting and complex system, one more sophisticated than we can make for ourselves . . ."

Actually, think about this one. We've come amazingly far in the last century, and unbelievably far in the last few. In that time we've moved from horses dragging wheeled boxes to navigation systems in automobiles (=satellites, GPS systems, computers, internal combustion, etc. . . )

If we could do that in a few centuries, imagine what evolution could do a few million (let alone a few billion!)

-Dan S.

creeper said...

"How did He punish them unjustly?"

Again: by imposing death on them for something they did not do.

Jake said...

Punishing your kids is one thing. Punishing your kids' extended family down through hundreds of generations is kinda on the excessive side. And no, it's still not "loving".

I would go further than this.

If you punish your kids in a temporary way, such that they will learn why they shouldn't do what they did, and refrain from doing it in the future, that is loving. If you punish your kids in a permanent way, so that they will continue to suffer, regardless of whether they do what you told them not to again, is not loving, it is abuse. If your god is a father, then he's an abusive father.

Jake said...

When did I say God "imposed" death?
and
Just because God allows consequences doesn't make Him a control freak.

Is your god, or is he not, an omniscient, omnipotent being? If he is, then he did, indeed, impose death. He set up the world in such a way that before this action on the part of Adam and Eve, there was no death. Once Adam and Eve did the thing that God didn't want them to do, he changed the way the world works, introducing death. Therefore he imposed death.

If he is, as you claim, omniscient and omnipotent, then he did not (passively) "allow" consequences. He invented and inacted those consequences. Given the circumstances and nature of the consequences, creeper is making sense in calling God a control freak. However, I have a different idea:

God, being omnipotent, created human beings as they are/were on purpose. God, being omniscient, knew ahead of time that humans would disobey him, and that he would punish them.
God, being omnipotent, is the direct cause of the unfolding of these events.
Therefore, IMO, God is not only a control freak, he is a sick, cruel sadist. Even if you could prove to me that your god existed, I would refuse, on principle, to worship such a sick and twisted being. The fact that you *do* worship him disturbs me in the extreme.

cranky old fart said...

This all sounds rather familiar, no?

"Kids frequently carry around a lot of guilt for their parent’s violence, and often actually blame themselves".

http://www.dawnonline.org/children.htm

Jake said...

eerie, isn't it? And it justifies all sorts of horrors.

Jake said...

this is a better link.

highboy said...

"Again: by imposing death on them for something they did not do. "

And again, no one is punished for something they did not do. Every human being that lived has pulled the same stunt Adam and Eve did in one way or another.

"God, being omnipotent, created human beings as they are/were on purpose. God, being omniscient, knew ahead of time that humans would disobey him, and that he would punish them.
God, being omnipotent, is the direct cause of the unfolding of these events.
Therefore, IMO, God is not only a control freak, he is a sick, cruel sadist. Even if you could prove to me that your god existed, I would refuse, on principle, to worship such a sick and twisted being. The fact that you *do* worship him disturbs me in the extreme."

Okay, so because God created the consequence, that makes Him unfair in your eyes? Also, the whole "God knew ahead of time" gig is old. Trying to fit God into our "time" comprehension is laughable. Now, without God, all the sick twisted things done by man are, *drum roll* still done by man. It disturbs me greatly that it is this mankind, capable of such awful things, in whose intelligence you put your trust in understanding and even INVENTING morality. Whether God created the consequence or not, it was/is still man's choice, and knowing the consequence, man still chooses wrongly. This says more about man than it does God. You are also forgetting one BIG part of the equation, as you are disturbed that I worship God. I worship a God that yes, may have created the consequence, but also killed His Son to pay that consequence so that I won't have to. And yet, He even gives me the choice of whether not to accept even that! Yeah, what a cruel God, killing apart of Himself so that I could live forever with Him...

Your links are not even relevant to the discussion, I have no idea what it is you are trying prove.

Jake said...

a God that yes, may have created the consequence, but also killed His Son to pay that consequence so that I won't have to.

and this is totally okay with you. scary.

creeper said...

"And again, no one is punished for something they did not do."

God imposed death on everyone for the curiosity of two people a few thousand years ago. That's a LOT of people being punished for something they did not do.

"Every human being that lived has pulled the same stunt Adam and Eve did in one way or another."

A kid down the street dies of leukemia because Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Go on, pull the other one.

So which stunt are we all pulling, what's wrong with it, and why?

"Also, the whole "God knew ahead of time" gig is old. Trying to fit God into our "time" comprehension is laughable."

And that is exactly what you are doing by presuming that God did one thing BEFORE he did another, or that he did one thing BECAUSE of another, which really kinda shrinks him down to some kind of D&D deity, doesn't it?

Whatever happened to omnipresent and omniscient?

"It disturbs me greatly that it is this mankind, capable of such awful things, in whose intelligence you put your trust in understanding and even INVENTING morality."

Wait a minute - aren't you excusing God of some awful things, like inventing death, while crediting him with inventing morality?

But anyway... I've made this point on your blog before. Crediting mankind with originating morality as a matter of collective wisdom and experience is simply an explanation for the origin of morality, not a claim that every individual is perfectly enlightened, and increasingly so over time.

Human beings will commit immoral acts, for motives that are short-sighted, selfish, even irrational to us at times. That doesn't mean that morality was developed over time by human beings collectively realizing what can contribute to a better life together.

highboy said...

"and this is totally okay with you. scary."

Killing His Son and resurrecting Him from the dead 3 days later to keep my sinful ass out of Hell? You betcha.

"God imposed death on everyone for the curiosity of two people a few thousand years ago. That's a LOT of people being punished for something they did not do."

First, it wasn't curiousity, it was disobeying God. Second, people die because they reject God by disobeying Him. Which brings us to this:

"A kid down the street dies of leukemia because Eve ate of the forbidden fruit. Go on, pull the other one."

A kid dies of leukemia because we live in a fallen world, as a result of our sinfulness. Must I also add that a child who dies of leukemia doesn't "die?" What bothers me is that both of you know the jist of Christianity, yet make arguments like this anyway, when you already know the answer. No one HAS to die. That is why Jesus died and was resurrected to begin with. People die because they choose to reject HIS sacrifice for THEIR sins. You can argue that God shouldn't have created negative consequence, but then is that love? Love is a choice, not a warm fuzzy feeling that comes and goes and is consistent as silly puddy. You say "cruel" and I say, "Wow, I'm a turd that repeatedly hurts God and others with my selfishness, just like everyone else, yet God, who knew all the evil I would committ, still thought I was so valuable that He send His Son to die and be resurrected so that I can live forever." Yeah, what a bastard God is...

It seems you think God would be MORE loving if He didn't invent any negative choice at all, no negative consequence, no negative anything, which would be the equivelant of brainwashing.

creeper said...

"Must I also add that a child who dies of leukemia doesn't "die?"

Why not, if it's inherently sinful and hasn't yet found Jesus?

highboy said...

"Why not, if it's inherently sinful and hasn't yet found Jesus"

That would depend on whether the child was able to make the decision. Its really pretty simple.

Jake said...

That would depend on whether the child was able to make the decision. Its really pretty simple.

You're right, it is. Your god is a fairy tale invented by cruel and power-hungry men who wanted to justify their immoral behaviour by bestowing on themselves the divine right to misbehave. I not only refuse to worship him, I see no reason to believe he exists.

highboy said...

"You're right, it is. Your god is a fairy tale invented by cruel and power-hungry men who wanted to justify their immoral behaviour by bestowing on themselves the divine right to misbehave. I not only refuse to worship him, I see no reason to believe he exists."

Yeah, "Thous shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie..." Yes, those are horrible things. Who would ever teach their kids to love others as they would love themselves. What is simple is that YOU apparently deliberately misrepresent what the Bible really teaches to justify YOUR misbehavior. Otherwise, why consider God cruel? Go ahead, give me "the list" of all these "atrocities" that God has committed, and I'll be happy to do laps around that argument. With all the abortion, baby killing, life-deteriorating acts men have become masters at, why would they not expect to be judged? Oh, I know, God is only loving as long as nothing bad happens to anyone no matter what they do. Got it. So if God let everyone do what they want when they want how they want He would be less cruel. How dare He expect us to love one another?

Jake said...

why would they not expect to be judged?

Because there is simply no evidence that your (or any) god exists.

As far as your contention that people are not competent to creat moral systems goes: creeper has adequately addressed that, and unless you have a substantive refutation to his argument I consider the matter closed

highboy said...

"and unless you have a substantive refutation to his argument I consider the matter closed"

The almighty Jake has spoken, so I guess that settles it. The fact remains that if Creeper's description of morality in mankind were true, I fail to see why so many humans still disagree. Or is the majority deciding what is moral and what is not?

creeper said...

"That would depend on whether the child was able to make the decision. Its really pretty simple."

So is a child inherently sinful or not? At what point does the child require salvation?

"Yeah, "Thous shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not lie..." Yes, those are horrible things. Who would ever teach their kids to love others as they would love themselves."

They are perfectly in line with morality being an expression of mankind collectively learning over time how best to live together, as I have described it.

"What is simple is that YOU apparently deliberately misrepresent what the Bible really teaches to justify YOUR misbehavior."

How am I misbehaving?

"The fact remains that if Creeper's description of morality in mankind were true, I fail to see why so many humans still disagree."

Because not every individual is perfectly enlightened, as I have already pointed out on your own blog? Because the wisdom of the crowd can be better than some particular individual perspective? Because some people place self over the collective good, and morality tends to reflect the collective good? Just a few thoughts.

The so-called "fact" doesn't remain, it's simply a misunderstanding or misrepresentation on your part.