Re: The First (was: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record))

From: Terry M. Gray <grayt@lamar.colostate.edu>
Date: Fri Dec 18 2009 - 16:03:56 EST

Bernie,

You're just proving the point in your previous post that engineers don't know much biology.

Life comes from life--there are no known exceptions (other than the miraculous and the original origin of life as I told you yesterday). What you think about "life" doesn't matter. There are well recognized characteristics in the biology world. Check any high school or college textbook.

Frozen embryos are either dead or alive. They may well be in a suspended state, but a frozen embryo or a frozen frog that dies during the freezing step cannot be resuscitated.

You're also confusing "soul" with "living". Cells don't have souls. Sperm don't have souls. In my theology, dogs don't even have souls. Humans have souls. Conception is a convenient marking point for deciding when God gives the soul, but even there it's debatable (for example, twinning happens later than conception, so if both individuals are ensoulated, it must occur later).

Your example of proto-life is also irrelevant. That transition happened once on earth. There's no evidence that it keeps happening. I.e. all of life seems to be derived from the same primordial cell/proto-cell/pre-biotic bush.

TG

On Dec 18, 2009, at 10:28 AM, Dehler, Bernie wrote:

>
>
> Terry and Moorad,
>
> Suppose a sperm cell is alive. Where did it come from? Was it created 'de novo?' Of course not. Wasn't it built by using non-living parts?
>
> Basically I'm saying look at the mechanics of how a cell comes to be.
>
> See, part of the issue is determining 'what is life.' And I don't think there's a clear and crisp definition of what life is... consider "proto-life":
> http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1200/is_n4_v146/ai_15657614/
> (If you can find a clear and crisp scientific definition of 'life' on the web, please provide a link... then see if it applies to sperm.)
>
> I think 'life' is also grey-scale. A sperm cell doesn't reproduce, as we think living creatures usually do in their life-cycle. I think sperm is more a 'component' of life than a 'creature' that is alive. It becomes a creature when joined with an egg. So then you can ask "when does the thing first become a "creature?" One could say as soon as the egg and sperm unite. But that is not a human as we know it. It emerges into a human. It will always emerge into a human as long as things go right, but it is not a human at the moment of conception... just like it is not a human when just a sperm. You can say at the point of egg/sperm joining all the DNA is there. True. That's one step on the continuum. But there are many more steps yet to be made, such as making vital organs and turning them on (brain, heart, etc.).
>
> Consider also the frog that can be frozen and it's heart will stop. It will then thaw and its heart will restart. Was it dead when the heart was stopped? Did it come back from death to life?
>
> Consider also the frozen embryos. Are they dead or alive? Not alive, since they aren't changing at al. Not dead, because how could they be brought back to life?
> RE: http://www.sharedjourney.com/ivf/fet.html
>
> If a sperm is alive, is it then murder or death of a bunch of souls when the innumerable multitude are released and never used (likely daily for a man, voluntary or otherwise)? At the last ASA conference, a Catholic Priest in the audience even said it was NOT a Catholic position to say that a soul is granted at conception. They are pro-life for other reasons, not because a soul is imparted at that point theologically.
>
> ...Bernie
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Terry M. Gray [mailto:grayt2@gmail.com] On Behalf Of Terry M. Gray
> Sent: Thursday, December 17, 2009 12:39 PM
> To: Dehler, Bernie
> Subject: Re: The First (was: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record))
>
> Bernie,
>
> Sperm and egg cells are already alive in the cell biological sense. The embryo may not be a viable separate organism, but all of the pieces are living cells that derived from other living cells.
>
> There are no known instances of life from non-life other than miraculous resurrections or the original origin of life itself.
>
> TG
>
> On Dec 17, 2009, at 1:27 PM, Dehler, Bernie wrote:
>
>>
>>
>> Moorad said:
>> "Needless to say, the same would also apply to life itself. How do you go from dead matter to a living being continuously?"
>>
>> Can you tell me when a baby becomes 'alive' (heartbeat, brain waves, both, other criteria, etc.). Is there a specific dividing line between where one second it is not viable on its own, and a second later it is viable on it's own?
>>
>> Let's answer your question with embryology. It starts with a sperm and egg. Where do they come from? The body manufactures it from energy and nutrients of things eaten (dead things). So these dead things bring forth life. First making sperm/egg, then when joined, activated for cell division and growth. Sooner or later you get heart beat, brain waves, etc... it's alive! But it doesn't just 'become alive' at one point. As for the first heart beat or brain wave, I don't think science knows yet. Does it just turn on and stay on, or have a sputtering start? It would be really hard to measure and monitor, I suppose.
>>
>> ...Bernie
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Alexanian, Moorad [mailto:alexanian@uncw.edu]
>> Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 11:35 AM
>> To: Dehler, Bernie; ASA
>> Subject: RE: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)
>>
>> Bernie,
>> In thermodynamics, the transition from a gas to a liquid can be accomplished by means of continuous changes in temperature and density owing to the existence of a critical point, viz. a critical temperature. For this reason, liquid and gases are referred by a single term, fluids. However, to go from a fluid phase to the crystal phase, one has to go though a phase transition, viz. there is no critical point. There is a broken symmetry in the crystal as contrasted to a continuous symmetry in the fluid. I find it hard to understand how consciousness can arise continuously. Needless to say, the same would also apply to life itself. How do you go from dead matter to a living being continuously?
>> Moorad
>> ________________________________
>> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Dehler, Bernie [bernie.dehler@intel.com]
>> Sent: Wednesday, December 16, 2009 12:27 PM
>> To: ASA
>> Subject: RE: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)
>>
>> Gregory said:
>> "Are you seriously suggesting that a 'first' is unnecessary?"
>>
>> Try looking at a baby as it develops, and then try to tell me exactly when the nose "first" appears. It happens so gradual that you can't tell. Same with human evolution. There is no biological 'first man' as it is so gradual. In both cases, you start from something very simple and build piecewise until you have a very complex product. The embryo analogy is classic and very illustrative; I may have first heard it from Lamoureux.
>>
>> ...Bernie
>>
>> ________________________________
>> From: asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu [mailto:asa-owner@lists.calvin.edu] On Behalf Of Gregory Arago
>> Sent: Tuesday, December 15, 2009 3:05 PM
>> To: Murray Hogg; ASA
>> Subject: Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)
>>
>> Murray,
>>
>> Time is not at issue. 10,000 or a million years could pass. Neverthess, THERE MUST HAVE BEEN A FIRST.
>>
>> Deal with this directly please for what it is.
>>
>> You are not, it seems, arguing with me or with Schwarzwald. You are arguing with someone else or with a straw man. You are arguing against the history of philosophy.
>>
>> You have already said you agree with the logic of Aristotle (and I prefer not to have to dig this up in archives). I am not asking you to agree with his or with Descartes' or with Darwin's science. But with LOGIC, Murray!
>> Who said the main issue here was in 'difference of scientific perspective'? It is not.
>>
>> I said the problem is with Dennis' philosophy. Do you disagree?
>>
>> There is no problem at all, and I would be surprised if you said otherwise, in appealing to the LOGIC of the Church Fathers.
>>
>> Some post-modern geneticists (i.e. there really aren't *any* modern geneticists) MAY (e.g. human rights) seek to try to 'refute' ancient logic. But that is their problem, which most scholars around the world of various religions reject. It sounds like you are debating with 'primatives' that 'A' might not equal 'A'. Some social constructivists and relativists in our time actually believe this. But I don't imagine this is your position!
>>
>> No, let's get serious Murray. Do you seek to refute Aristotle or not? Have you/we 'evolved' beyond Aristotle's philosophy? Are you seriously suggesting that a 'first' is unnecessary?
>>
>> Gregory
>>
>> ________________________________
>> From: Murray Hogg <muzhogg@netspace.net.au>
>> To: ASA <asa@calvin.edu>
>> Sent: Wed, December 16, 2009 1:32:28 AM
>> Subject: Re: Refuting Aristotle et al (was Re: [asa] Dawkins on the fossil record)
>>
>> Schwarzwald wrote:
>>> Not nearly enough, Murray. And I'll bluntly say that the tactic of refutation by referring to the date is the stuff of glaring intellectual weakness. It can be deployed for just about any position, even contrary ones.
>>
>> The difference in scientific perspective between the ancient world and today makes any appeal to Aristotle and the Church Fathers problematic in the extreme - particularly when their opinion (as it is on the question of the "first" human) is so markedly a product of their particular view of the created order.
>>
>> Simply citing those authorities as if they can be considered determinative in any theological debate is PRECISELY to attempt to do theology in a pre-modern intellectual context.
>>
>> Let me note, further, that I purposefully used quote marks on "refutation." I am aware that simply pointing to a calendar doesn't disprove Greg's argument - but it DOES introduce a major consideration that has to be addressed.
>>
>> So the fundamental point is that our conceptual world is fundamentally different from that of Aristotle and the Fathers. The only "glaring intellectual weakness" is on the part of those who pretend otherwise.
>>
>> In that respect, pointing out that there's been 2000 years of intervening scientific progress since Aristotle (and 1500 years of same since the Church Fathers) is not quite irrelevant.
>>
>> Blessings,
>> Murray
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>
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> ________________
> Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
> Computer Support Scientist
> Chemistry Department
> Colorado State University
> Fort Collins, CO 80523
> (o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801
>
>
>
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________________
Terry M. Gray, Ph.D.
Computer Support Scientist
Chemistry Department
Colorado State University
Fort Collins, CO 80523
(o) 970-491-7003 (f) 970-491-1801

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
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Received on Fri Dec 18 16:04:26 2009

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