This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Bigtimedwarfer's Profile

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Joined over 3 years ago
Gender: Male

Latest Discussions Started by Bigtimedwarfer

More Discussions by Bigtimedwarfer

Latest Comments by Bigtimedwarfer

Go to: Why We Don't Believe in Science

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Jump to comment 4 by Bigtimedwarfer

Comment 2 by Alan4discussion :

Until we understand why some people believe in science we will never understand why most people don’t.

The answer is in this text! If they are relying on "belief" rather than understanding of science, it is very easy to know why! As for "most people don't", that is specific to the background of asserted ignorance in some cultures, but this author is just rambling around in his own ignorance!

Indeed. Whichever meme is planted first grows very deep roots indeed. The more pertinent question that the author almost but doesn't quite ask is:

Why are some able to suppress their earlier faith based beliefs in favour of evidence based ones whilst others cling to them?

My guess would be education and peer pressure, even in as developed a nation as the USA and even amongst undergraduates.

Fri, 08 Jun 2012 11:54:14 UTC | #946310

Go to: Evolutionary equivalents of human intelligence

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Jump to comment 76 by Bigtimedwarfer

Comment 75 by ccw95005 :

I like to think of us humans as colonies of cells..........

I think that it's good to stay humble and remember that we are nothing more than colonies of cells. The amazing complexity lies in the way they are interconnected and cooperative with each other.

But we are definitely colonies of specialized cells.

I can sort of see where you are coming from but the truth of the matter has to be taken into consideration at some point, right? Obviously you are entitled to think as you please but in this instance how you like to think (or at least how you express those thoughts) is contrary to the truth and likely to obscure it for others.

We are a collection of cells yes but that collection forms a multicellular organism. That is something quite distinct from a colony of unicellular organisms. The term colony comes loaded with its own meaning which does not apply to any of our organs or tissues.

If you believe that natural selection leads to the rise of consciousness in animals then our multicellular nature was a key factor in this process. Most people would agree that in order to attain sentience, intelligence or consciousness you need at the very least to possess a brain of some sort. Specialised brain cells cannot evolve in a colony where all cells have to carry out all of the functions required for their existence. In a multicellular organism they can because their "sister cells" will remove some of the functionality burden from them.

I agree that its good to be humble but I fail to see why erroneously considering yourself to be a colony of cells is humble whilst correctly considering yourself to be a multicellular organism is not.

Thu, 10 May 2012 11:37:18 UTC | #940847

Go to: Evolutionary equivalents of human intelligence

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Jump to comment 72 by Bigtimedwarfer

Comment 70 by raytoman

Our brains, like any organ, are a colony of cells,

I dislike this semantic. Our brains, like all of our organs are part of a multi-celled organism. As a result individual cells specialise according to their environemt giving rise to different tissue types.

Colonies of cells are just that. Lots and lots of single-celled organisms living together.

The distinction is significant, even from the perspective of the gene.

Wed, 09 May 2012 12:06:58 UTC | #940713

Go to: Evolutionary equivalents of human intelligence

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Jump to comment 71 by Bigtimedwarfer

Comment 63 by nick keighley :

isn't "neutral adaption" a bit of an oxymoron?

No I don't think so. Not from the viewpoint of the organism anyway, perhaps from the perspective of the gene it is.

There are examples of proteins with exactly the same phenotype which are encoded by altogether different genes. These genes have adapted but the influence of this adaptation on the organism or even species in question is neutral.

Even where an adaptation within a genome has a phenotypic impact there is no intinsic reason why this should have an effect of the fitness of the organism in question, sometimes it doesn't. Again its impact is neutral.

How would you phrase such a phenomenon?

Wed, 09 May 2012 11:47:34 UTC | #940711

Go to: Family disputes create rebel bees

Bigtimedwarfer's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Bigtimedwarfer

Comment 16 by 78rpm :

Just a correction of your terminology, not of your thoughts: All female honeybees, whether worker or queen, are diploid, period, just like all of us mammals and birds. All males are haploid, period. It is the system that is is called haplodiploidy.

Its listed as an adjective in my copy of the Chambers dictionary:

haplodip'loid adj (biol) denoting a species in which one sex has haploid cells and the other has diploid cells.

So all female bees are diploid. All male bees are haploid. But all bees are haplodiploid.

Thu, 03 May 2012 13:01:19 UTC | #939336

More Comments by Bigtimedwarfer