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Reverend Al Sharpton Debates Atheist Christopher Hitchens

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posted on Feb, 5 2008 @ 12:17 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
Since you claim to have read this paper, please show me. All I could find was a link to an outdated article on the wiki's discuss page.


Heh, show you what? It's an article in 'the journal of theoretical biology'. If you have institutional access, you can read it.


If you'll notice, the article didn't just say that 'since the appendix has these functions, it isn't vestigial'.


I hope this will be my last reply to this, because we obviously read simple words differently. The article said:

"'nowadays seen to contradict the explanation of the appendix as a vestige of evolutionary development"

That was wrong, the article used to support this claim was the theoretical paper on a proposed immune function. If you can't see that, oh well. Not my issue.


Few mammals other than humans have an appendix, and evidence based on comparative primate anatomy is nowadays seen to contradict the explanation of the appendix as a vestige of evolutionary development.


And, again, the first part is a silly comment. All great apes have one. Once we move into the lower primates, some do, some don't, some have both a caecum and appendix. Just read the talkorigins article on the appendix. It explains all this.


I don't really care about the evolutionary position, I'm more interested in the objective, scientific postion. Mixing of politics with science can't be good, as seen here.


...

Evolutionary theory is science.



I apologise.


No worries.


I wanted some info to show why it is assumed that the original function of the appendix in humans was to assist in digestion of plant-material.


Nope, the appendix is a vestige of a large caecum. No great apes have this ability. It was lost in an ancestor of all the great apes at some point in evolutionary history.


Comparing the appendix to an organ in other animals isn't really helping. Possum's eat plants, zebras eat plants, wombats eat plants, why aren't their 'appendix' more developed (as it should have been originally if such a position was true)? In humans, as part of the lymphatic system, we have lacteals that transport the fatty acids from our small intestines, but then there are also a great many lymphatic channels in the appendix. What are these for? For the immune system!


OK, it might play some part in the immune system. It doesn't matter to its vestige status. The size of the caecum is related to the amount of cellulose in the diet. Just read the article that was linked earlier -


In this case, I'm saying (and modern science agrees with me) that no, immunity isn't an incidental function of the appendix, it is the main function (as shown by comparison with other animals, as well as the specialisation with immunity due to the lymphatic channels, as well as its own blood supply, as well as having it's own mesentary).


That's interesting, because the authors of the article say that their proposed immune function for the appendix is probably useless 'nowadays', heh. About as incidental as can be. That's why we can remove it and it results in no apparent negative effects, except for prolonging life


Remove an Ostrich's wings, and it will have difficulty turning while running, if we see an Ostrich running from a threat, but it can't turn properly to escape, this might have an impact on reproductive fitness. Moreover, Ostriches use their wings to shield their young from the sun, if the aren't present, their chicks might well die. Again, affecting fitness. And finally, if a wingless ostrich can't attract a mate, then it fails to pass its genes on, a final nail in the coffin for reproductive fitness.

Remove the appendix? Who gives a damn...


[edit on 5-2-2008 by melatonin]




posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 03:04 AM
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Originally posted by melatonin
Heh, show you what? It's an article in 'the journal of theoretical biology'. If you have institutional access, you can read it.

You have access? That is what I am asking. Can you show me the article? Perhaps a link? If that is not possible perhaps a Copy+Paste in a u2u? I won't tell, I swear
. I'm just curious.



Originally posted by melatonin
I hope this will be my last reply to this, because we obviously read simple words differently. The article said:

"'nowadays seen to contradict the explanation of the appendix as a vestige of evolutionary development"

That was wrong, the article used to support this claim was the theoretical paper on a proposed immune function. If you can't see that, oh well. Not my issue.

Since I do not know what the contents of the article are, there is only your claim of what it says. Not saying that I don't believe you, but as far as I know, the vestigial position is long gone. Once again, you ignored the part before '..nowadays', where there the claim is absolutely NOT based of any assumption of vestigiality.



Originally posted by melatonin

Few mammals other than humans have an appendix, and evidence based on comparative primate anatomy is nowadays seen to contradict the explanation of the appendix as a vestige of evolutionary development.


And, again, the first part is a silly comment. All great apes have one. Once we move into the lower primates, some do, some don't, some have both a caecum and appendix. Just read the talkorigins article on the appendix. It explains all this.

It is hardly silly. I tried showing you an example of it. A zebra, who is a pure herbivore, who eats grass and such, would probably take in a HUGE amount of cellulose. Why is their's so small? What about possums? What about wombats?
I gave other examples also. The appendix has it's own mesentary. It is a seperate organ. It has lymphatic channels. It's function is hardly 'hypothetical'. It is specialised.



Originally posted by melatonin
...

Evolutionary theory is science.

Sure it is. But blind acceptance of theories simply because they match one's belief and give a 'point' against a rival belief is not science. It really doesn't matter to me if the appendix is vestigial. The original argument in this thread was against 'every body part is useful', where appendix was given as a proof against. Obviously the appendix is not useless. It really doesn't matter to me if evolution is a fact. It doesn't affect my beliefs in the slightest, so I am able to be objective about this, because the 'other' alternative is of no negative consequence to me. I'm interested in fact, and safeguarding of fact from being pulled into unscientific rigmarole to prove a point.



Originally posted by melatonin
Nope, the appendix is a vestige of a large caecum. No great apes have this ability. It was lost in an ancestor of all the great apes at some point in evolutionary history.

I'm not sure I'm understanding you. What 'ability' are you talking about? Many great apes most certainly DO have a cecum, and aside from humans, most prefer fruits, as well as shoots and leaves, and gorillas (don't remember about the other's level of adaptation, but they eat shoots and leaves as well) are particularly well adapted to digesting these.



Originally posted by melatonin
That's interesting, because the authors of the article say that their proposed immune function for the appendix is probably useless 'nowadays', heh. About as incidental as can be. That's why we can remove it and it results in no apparent negative effects, except for prolonging life

Again, I'm surprised at you saying something like this in this day and age. 50 years ago, I might have accepted what you say, but today?! Most doctors will advise you not to remove your appendix (and they aren't just talking about the complications of the operation). As for the function being 'probably useless', while I'm sure that you live in that part of the world where you can rely on a steady supply of clean drinking water, safe, healthy foods, etc., I'm sure you realise that everyone (the majority!) isn't like you. If you assume perfect living conditions, one could live with no 'apparent negative effects' even without more than half their organs (or parts of their organs).

This is reminding me of something atheists occasionally blame theists for. If you can't find an explanation for it "God made it!". If you can't find an explanation for it "It is a vestige of evolution". I'd like to remind you, that when Darwin proposed his idea for the appendix, he was just theorising. He didn't (and couldn't) have known about the function of the appendix.

[edit on 6-2-2008 by babloyi]



posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 12:13 PM
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Originally posted by babloyi
You have access? That is what I am asking. Can you show me the article? Perhaps a link? If that is not possible perhaps a Copy+Paste in a u2u? I won't tell, I swear
. I'm just curious.


Some links are on their way by U2U.


but as far as I know, the vestigial position is long gone. Once again, you ignored the part before '..nowadays', where there the claim is absolutely NOT based of any assumption of vestigiality.


I'm getting confused now. The wiki blabbed some stuff about monkeys, and then said humans are one of the few with an appendix (completely ignoring all the other anthropoid apes, and many other primates), then made a claim supported by a paper on immune function saying the evolutionary vestige status is wrong. It was written by someone who perhaps read the article, or more likely just the abstract, and is just another person who has misinterpreted the evolutionary position, along with the authors of the article.

This is often found in the medical community, and is widespread in creationists. Again, the talk origins page explains all this. But you just don't want to bother reading it.



It is hardly silly. I tried showing you an example of it. A zebra, who is a pure herbivore, who eats grass and such, would probably take in a HUGE amount of cellulose. Why is their's so small? What about possums? What about wombats?


What about them? Have you measured their caecum? Many species have both a large caecum and appendix.


I gave other examples also. The appendix has it's own mesentary. It is a seperate organ. It has lymphatic channels. It's function is hardly 'hypothetical'. It is specialised.


No, it's hypothetical. That's why the article is a theoretical paper. Most of the gut has lymphatic tissue. Indeed, it has lots. The appendix is not special in this regard.



Sure it is.


Yup, glad you notice that. So, when evolutionary biologists in 1912 are saying that vestigial doesn't mean non-functional, that idea doesn't change because people misinterpret the science.



I'm not sure I'm understanding you. What 'ability' are you talking about? Many great apes most certainly DO have a cecum, and aside from humans, most prefer fruits, as well as shoots and leaves, and gorillas (don't remember about the other's level of adaptation, but they eat shoots and leaves as well) are particularly well adapted to digesting these.


The ability to consume vast quantities of cellulose. Even humans have a minimal caecum, it's just a small thing though. I can eat shoots and leaves as well, indeed, I had a salad yesterday. Amazing really.


As for the function being 'probably useless', while I'm sure that you live in that part of the world where you can rely on a steady supply of clean drinking water, safe, healthy foods, etc., I'm sure you realise that everyone (the majority!) isn't like you. If you assume perfect living conditions, one could live with no 'apparent negative effects' even without more than half their organs (or parts of their organs).


Maybe not, but you'd first have to show that the appendix is an essential organ. And no-one has done that yet. It has a hypothesised function, and probably a not so essential one. And even when you do, it makes no difference to its vestige status.

I'm really getting bored now.


If you can't find an explanation for it "It is a vestige of evolution". I'd like to remind you, that when Darwin proposed his idea for the appendix, he was just theorising. He didn't (and couldn't) have known about the function of the appendix


Look! You've just done it again. We don't just give something we don't have an explanation for vestige status. I'll say this once more...

IT DOESN'T MATTER IF IT HAS A FUNCTION!

What does matter is that it is a vestige of an organ that had a function in allowing an organism to have cellulose-heavy diet. That is where it's vestige status comes from. If it has some immune function, it doesn't matter.

And with that, happy reading. The first thing to note is that both articles are written by medical dudes who misinterpreted what the evolutionary meaning of vestige is, like many in medicine. If I want my appendix removed, I might ask a medical doctor. If I want to know about evolutionary biology, I ask a biologist who studies evolution.

Commentary on Bollinger et al (2007) by a biologist

[edit on 6-2-2008 by melatonin]



posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 10:25 PM
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Originally posted by AshleyD
I also noticed both of them got several things wrong in the points they were making. Oh well.


I really enjoyed this debate, and thought that Hitchens at least was a very appropriate candidate. He is extremely well versed in religion, origin of religions, origin of man, and authored "God is not Great" which is one of the best Atheist/Philosophy books out. Can you tell me about some of the several things he got wrong in his points?



posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 10:29 PM
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Originally posted by JesusisTruth ...and tis nun knew the preist so that how we knew about the presit, hes an underground soul that hides his gifts....


Why does he hide his "gift"? He can cure cancer but chooses to hide himself?



posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 10:46 PM
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To Melatonin and Babloyi,

You guys are both titans of the field, and I really enjoy reading your mini-debate. But yeah, you know I was going to say this sooner or later, stick to the thread topic and don't derail. When you catch yourself going on for 3 pages about vestigial organs, just stop and get back on topic. Either that or "take it outside" as in create a new thread. I hate to do this, because you're both experts in your own rights, but I don't see an end to this vestigial organ debate. So either make a new thread or join the rest of us in talking about the subject at hand.

Now, are there any "on the fencers" out there that found this debate worth watching? If so, what side do you find yourself leaning towards now? Were there any specific things said that really made you think or impacted you in any way?



posted on Feb, 6 2008 @ 11:23 PM
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l Blue soldier, he has to hide bcase he might be murdered if someone knows about him.. Alot of traditionl preist have been getting murdered latey because of their position, not including he would be hounded beyond measure, so hes stays hidden and in silence..


" God is not great "

That guys a fool..

Gods grace is the only reason we have love in our soul. If you have ever seen a soul without love you would understand...

He runs on pride...

Now the question is, why is the book named that if Gods not real?

And blue soldier, that diagram you made had no affect on you?

God bless you.



posted on Feb, 7 2008 @ 03:33 AM
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Originally posted by TheB1ueSoldier
To Melatonin and Babloyi,

You guys are both titans of the field, and I really enjoy reading your mini-debate. But yeah, you know I was going to say this sooner or later, stick to the thread topic and don't derail. When you catch yourself going on for 3 pages about vestigial organs, just stop and get back on topic.


When you put it like that, how can it help but sound silly? Alright. I'll end it on this quote from the article melatonin posted. Take it as you will:


There is virtually a 100% chance that if we are correct regarding the function of the human appendix, then the cecum of other animals fulfills the same function as the appendix of humans. In fact, much of our data are taken from non-human studies in a variety of species.

It is apparently a case of an organ being good at two functions (bacterial preservation and digestion) evolving to more efficiently carry out only one of those functions (bacterial preservation) while losing the other function (digestion) completely.




Originally posted by TheB1ueSoldier
Now, are there any "on the fencers" out there that found this debate worth watching? If so, what side do you find yourself leaning towards now? Were there any specific things said that really made you think or impacted you in any way?

You ever met an 'on the fencer' with regards to religion
? Hitchens' attack seems mostly leveled on a Christian concept of God (as far as characteristics as opposed to actions go) and I've heard most of his points elsewhere before. While I myself don't really know all that much about Christianity, I could have picked up responses to similar attacks here on ATS and applied them logically. Thing is, it doesn't seem Al Sharpton was interested in debating 'dogma'.



posted on Feb, 10 2008 @ 03:15 AM
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Originally posted by JesusisTruth
l Blue soldier, he has to hide bcase he might be murdered if someone knows about him.. Alot of traditionl preist have been getting murdered latey because of their position, not including he would be hounded beyond measure, so hes stays hidden and in silence..

Alright... that's pretty terrible. Being murdered for your beliefs is ridiculous, and I'm truly sorry if that's what's been happening around your parts lately.




Originally posted by JesusisTruth
Now the question is, why is the book named that if Gods not real?

You would know if you read the book. I highly recommend it.




Originally posted by JesusisTruth
And blue soldier, that diagram you made had no affect on you?
God bless you.

I'm assuming you meant this:
i83.photobucket.com...
I drew this for your thread a while back, back when I was a theist. Back when I constantly brainwashed myself to believe and let the church institutionalize me. I know that you have good intentions JesusisTruth, I know that you believe your actions will lead people to God and to heaven. But believe me when I say this, neither God nor his heaven ever existed. It's all a sham, a lie. Hundreds of religions have come and go, and Christianity is no exception. One generation's religion is the next generation's literature.



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