X-rays reveal hidden leg of an ancient snake

Feb 07, 2011
This is a 3-D reconstruction from synchrotron X-ray images of the previously hidden second leg of Eupodophis. The bones are artificially colored to highlight the internal structure of the bone and show how the snake's leg grew. Credit: A. Houssaye

(PhysOrg.com) -- A novel X-ray imaging technology is helping scientists better understand how in the course of evolution snakes have lost their legs. The researchers hope the new data will help resolve a heated debate about the origin of snakes: whether they evolved from a terrestrial lizard or from one that lived in the oceans. New, detailed 3-D images reveal that the internal architecture of an ancient snake's leg bones strongly resembles that of modern terrestrial lizard legs. The results are published in the 8 February issue of the Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology.

The team of researchers was led by Alexandra Houssaye from the Museum National d'Histoire Naturelle (MNHN) in Paris, France, and included scientists from the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France, where the X-ray imaging was performed, and the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Germany, where a sophisticated technique and a dedicated instrument to take the images were developed.

This video is not supported by your browser at this time.
This movie from computer graphics images illustrates the fossil Eupodophis descouensi and the 3-D model of the snake leg reconstructed using synchrotron-radiation computed laminography. Credit: P. Tafforeau/ESRF

Only three specimens exist of fossilised snakes with preserved leg bones. Eupodophis descouensi, the ancient snake studied in this experiment, was discovered ten years ago in 95-million-year-old rocks in Lebanon. About 50 cm long overall, it exhibits a small leg, about 2 cm long, attached to the animal's pelvis. This fossil is key to understanding the evolution of snakes, as it represents an intermediate evolutionary stage when ancient snakes had not yet completely lost the legs they inherited from earlier lizards. Although the fossil exhibits just one leg on its surface, a second leg was thought to be concealed in the stone, and indeed this leg was revealed in full detail thanks to synchrotron .

© Alexandra Houssaye / MNHN

The high-resolution 3-D images, in particular the fine detail of the buried small leg, suggest that this species lost its legs because they grew more slowly, or for a shorter period of time. The data also reveal that the hidden leg is bent at the knee and has four ankle bones but no foot or toe bones.

"The revelation of the inner structure of Eupodophis hind limbs enables us to investigate the process of limb regression in snake evolution," says Alexandra Houssaye.

This is a photograph of Eupodophis descouensi, a fossil snake from the Cretaceous Period (95 million years ago) of Lebanon. The black scale bar at the bottom right equals 1 cm. Credit: A. Houssaye

The scientists used synchrotron laminography, a recent imaging technique specially developed for studying large, flat samples. It is similar to the computed tomography (CT) technique used in many hospitals, but uses a coherent synchrotron X-ray beam to resolve details a few micrometers in size--some 1000 times smaller than a hospital CT scanner. For the new technique, the fossil is rotated at a tilted angle in a brilliant high-energy X-ray beam, with thousands of two-dimensional images recorded as it makes a full 360-degree turn. From these individual images, a high-resolution, 3-D representaton is reconstructed, which shows hidden details like the internal structures of the legs.

"Synchrotrons, these enormous machines, allow us to see microscopic details in fossils invisible to any other techniques without damage to these invaluable specimens," says Paul Tafforeau of the ESRF, a co-author of the study.

Explore further: Mexico archaeologists explore Teotihuacan tunnel (Update)

Provided by European Synchrotron Radiation Facility

5 /5 (9 votes)

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jsovine
1.6 / 5 (31) Feb 07, 2011
Genesis 3:14
So the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
CSharpner
4.4 / 5 (20) Feb 07, 2011
Genesis 3:14
So the LORD God said to the serpent:
“Because you have done this,
You are cursed more than all cattle,
And more than every beast of the field;
On your belly you shall go,
And you shall eat dust
All the days of your life.
I don't mean any disrespect, but why did you post that? There are hundreds of religious texts around the world. What was your rational in picking the one you did to post here. Additionally, what was your intent for posting that to a science audience? In other words, what did you hope to accomplish? Or, had you not thought it through that far before posting?
jsovine
1.6 / 5 (20) Feb 07, 2011
I thought it provided an interesting parallel, considering it is a point that has been used to deride the Judeo-Christian position in the past.

As to the hundreds of religious texts, I don't know of any that specifically address the matter of snakes once having legs; do you?
BillFox
3 / 5 (12) Feb 07, 2011
Thanks for such wonderful insight mr bible thumper.
cyberCMDR
3.7 / 5 (15) Feb 07, 2011
Funny, he quotes Genesis but doesn't say anything about the timeline of millions of years. A bit of a disconnect, huh?
soulman
3.9 / 5 (14) Feb 07, 2011
I thought it provided an interesting parallel

How is it interesting and what's it parallel to?
considering it is a point that has been used to deride the Judeo-Christian position in the past.

Past, present and future.
As to the hundreds of religious texts, I don't know of any that specifically address the matter of snakes once having legs; do you?

Who gives a crap? Are we to take away from your verse that snakes also eat dust? I understand dust isn't very nutritious, so 'all the days of your life" would be very small indeed. Ergo, snakes should be extinct by now. Yes, very 'interesting', not.
ekim
5 / 5 (7) Feb 07, 2011

Don't go looking for snakes you might find them
Don't send your eyes to the sun you might blind them
Haven't I seen you here before?

Oh, watch the puppets dancing
Yeah, see the clowns fall down...
- Metallica
scidog
4 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2011
anyway great stuff,to be the workers who went from eye loops and dental picks to synchrotrons it must be like living in a sci-fi world,without the jet pack to ride home in however.
6_6
2.5 / 5 (11) Feb 08, 2011
@jsovine - heh, that's the first thing that came to my mind as well.

Serpents travel on their belly or rib cage, and because of the nearness of their head to the ground, their flickering tongue appears to be `licking the dust`.

The freedom from violence and hurt amid Jehovah's restored people is illustrated by the `serpent's food being dust.` (Isa 65:25)

At Micah 7:17 all the nations opposing God's people are foretold to be obliged to `lick up dust like the serpents.` (See also Am 9:3)

In Mesopotamia, Canaan, and Egypt the serpent was the symbol of fecundity and of sex goddesses; two serpents intertwined were used to denote fertility through sexual union, and because of the repeated shedding of the serpent's skin, it was used as a symbol of continuing life.

The well-known characteristics of a serpent are referred to in various texts: its gliding motion (Job 26:13), its bite and its hiding place in stone walls (Ec 10:8, 11; Am 5:19), also its being cautious (Ge 3:1)

soulman
3.8 / 5 (10) Feb 08, 2011
^ Sockpuppet alert!
xrisxs
1 / 5 (13) Feb 08, 2011
If we do not make God in the end then what are we really doing? What are we looking for.All of us,people, even if you do not believe in Him I bet you wish there was.The day u prove God does not exist is the day you will breath your last.The first thought in my head while reading the artlicle was the snake in the bible.I do not see an old man in the heavens but to whomever or whatever got me here I am greatful. I am a firm believer in science but until you factualy rule him out I am by human, inclined to at least speculate ONE'S existence. If the end is the answer to all that was before it then one can say the answer to the answer is all that is before the final moment. The snake at some point stopped using energy to make somethig that was not needed obviously but detrimental to their safetly as well.Have you been in a fight with a long haired dude.I bet somewhere in the fight you grab his hair. Also have you ever swimed with out your legs or arms moving, u would be surprised
jsovine
4 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2011
^ Sockpuppet alert!


As unfortunate as it is that the only user posting in apparent support of my own post registered his/her account this morning (February 8, 2011, 3:47 am), it's not a "sock puppet" account.

I didn't register with my real name in 2009 just to create throwaway accounts to my own harm (it would make me a liar) just to try and "prove" that I have "support" on a science blog. I could care less if 100 real people came in here and started posting in my favor. What I came here to say, has been said. If I wanted to debate, I would stay on Reddit (user: Gargan_Roo).

Thanks for the false accusation though.
Moebius
3.7 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2011
If anything other than evolution were true, snakes would not have vestigial legs. And if I recall some living species have them too.

Another proof of evolution and evidence for anyone but a fool that creationism is not only not true, but if there IS a god it's an insult to him to twist his words to suit yourself. It's they who are more likely to go to hell. If there is a hell, I think there is a particularly hot place waiting for creationists and fundamentalists because they are the worst misinterpreters of the bible and abusers of the word of god. Lucky for you there isn't a hell.
gvgoebel
1.5 / 5 (8) Feb 08, 2011
If anything other than evolution were true, snakes would not have vestigial legs.


But every possible observation is compatible with Design: "It was made that way!"

"Eh? Why?"

"To trick people into thinking evolution is true."
PS3
1.4 / 5 (11) Feb 08, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.There is no way falling to your death gives you wings.
Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I thought it provided an interesting parallel, considering it is a point that has been used to deride the Judeo-Christian position in the past.

As to the hundreds of religious texts, I don't know of any that specifically address the matter of snakes once having legs; do you?

So then why aren't they talking to us like they used to.....

Oh yeah, because the Bible, when taken literally, is entirely full of bullshit.
All of us,people, even if you do not believe in Him I bet you wish there was.
I'd rather not have an invisible, invincible, wrathful dictator watching everything I do in life and convicting me of thought crime so he can lock me in his basement and light the house on fire for all of eternity, thank you very much.

Most people wouldn't be happy with the notion of living in North Korea, but at least when you die, you're free of North Korea. Why do you want to live in an eternal North Korea?
gvgoebel
3.3 / 5 (7) Feb 08, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.


THE EVOLUTION OF FLIGHT (a.k.a. HOW TO WING IT)

from UC Berzerkley:

ht_CUT_HERE_tp://www.ucmp.berkeley.edu/vertebrates/flight/evolve.html
Skeptic_Heretic
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.There is no way falling to your death gives you wings.

Joking or are you really this ignorant?
PS3
1.3 / 5 (14) Feb 08, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Skeptic_Heretic
4.1 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Why can't you give us any evidence for your creator?
xrisxs
1.7 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
Thank you for the article. Had you not posted this article I would have never known snakes had legs. But my defense was for the person who thought of the snake in the bible for i did exactly the same thing. And I bet 40 out 50 people if not more thought the same thing. Even if the bible were not real or to say never been here somewhere in walk of life I would still find myself as one. 40 billion people in the world but I am still one. All I know is I am deviding light from darkness and I have a choice to look at either one. somewhere in all that has to if not a reason then an answer.
PS3
1.3 / 5 (12) Feb 08, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Why can't you give us any evidence for your creator?

I did give evidence in that no chemist can make life thus must have been designed by god/alien.
Paljor
4 / 5 (4) Feb 08, 2011
They have, look it up. (made life.)
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (10) Feb 08, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Why can't you give us any evidence for your creator?
I did give evidence in that no chemist can make life thus must have been designed by god/alien.
That isn't evidence, and we've done everything up to but excluding the creation of life from base materials.

You cannot demonstrate your viewpoint whatsoever. Looking at the attempts of chemists, physicists, and biologists one can see that there is ultimate progression towards the goal, yet you empty headed troglodytes look at any misstep in these fields and immediately assume absolute proof of your silly human faith chain beliefs.

You don't even believe in a God, you believe in the stories told to you by your parents and authority figures. The human faith chain continues, to your detriment, and unfortunately to the rest of ours as well.
gvgoebel
3.7 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
I did give evidence in that no chemist can make life thus must have been designed by god/alien.


How old are you?
GSwift7
4.6 / 5 (10) Feb 08, 2011
If anything other than evolution were true, snakes would not have vestigial legs. And if I recall some living species have them too


There's no way to logically debate the creationist view. To play devil's advocate, I could argue in favor of creationism by stating that god created the earth with a built-in 'historical record' including fosils that appear to be old already on the day they were created. God could have created life with a built-in history of apparent evolution as well. He could also have set in motion the process of continuing evolution, starting from the day he created it all.

You see, you can't use logic for something that is by definition outside of logic. If he could flood the whole planet in a few days, then it's only 'logical' to assume he could erase all traces of the flood afterwards.

I don't really buy any of that bible stuff, but you can't really argue against someone who really believes it, and it doesn't make any sense to try.
panorama
5 / 5 (11) Feb 08, 2011
I don't really buy any of that bible stuff, but you can't really argue against someone who really believes it, and it doesn't make any sense to try.

This is the point where pointing and laughing works for me.
PS3
1 / 5 (7) Feb 08, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Why can't you give us any evidence for your creator?
I did give evidence in that no chemist can make life thus must have been designed by god/alien.
That isn't evidence, and we've done everything up to but excluding the creation of life from base materials.

You cannot demonstrate your viewpoint whatsoever. Looking at the attempts of chemists, physicists, and biologists one can see that there is ultimate progression towards the goal, yet you empty headed troglodytes look at any misstep in these fields and immediately assume absolute proof of your silly human faith chain beliefs.

You don't even believe in a God, you believe in the stories told to you by your parents and authority figures. The human faith chain continues, to your detriment, and unfortunately to the rest of ours as well.


I don't even believe in ''God'' I think he alien and Jesus was Budhist.
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
If he could flood the whole planet in a few days, then it's only 'logical' to assume he could erase all traces of the flood afterwards.


"So where did all the water go?"

"Sponges grow on the bottom of the ocean, right?"

"Yeah?"

"Well, how much deeper would it be if they didn't?"
Skeptic_Heretic
4.6 / 5 (7) Feb 08, 2011
There's no way to logically debate the creationist view. To play devil's advocate, I could argue in favor of creationism by stating that god created the earth with a built-in 'historical record' including fosils that appear to be old already on the day they were created. God could have created life with a built-in history of apparent evolution as well. He could also have set in motion the process of continuing evolution, starting from the day he created it all.
I could also say that I am god and created everything 5 minutes ago. Don't worry, all those memories, your wife, the people who are having sex at this very minute, I created them too, and gave them all this wonderful backstory.

Or we can go with the most logical and supportable stance. I prefer the second option.

I don't even believe in ''God'' I think he alien and Jesus was Budhist.
Even better. Your stance is laughable, even to people who believe in faciful bullshit.
panorama
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I don't even believe in ''God'' I think he alien and Jesus was Budhist.

How about you develop that idea and get back to us.
PS3
1 / 5 (12) Feb 08, 2011
I wouldn't be surprised that there is some code in DNA that shows clear design just fools refuse to show and have been sitting on the info trying to debunk.
gvgoebel
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I wouldn't be surprised that there is some code in DNA that shows clear design just fools refuse to show and have been sitting on the info trying to debunk.


I would guess 14. I'd be appalled to find out you're an adult.

I admit it would be interesting to decode a gene and find out it translates to "EAT AT LUIGI'S!"
panorama
5 / 5 (2) Feb 08, 2011
I wouldn't be surprised that there is some code in DNA that shows clear design just fools refuse to show and have been sitting on the info trying to debunk.

So, you state that you don't believe in "God". Then you say you wouldn't be surprised if proof of said ghod was found in DNA? I don't believe in any of the conventional ghods either, but it would definitely surprise me.
PS3
1 / 5 (6) Feb 08, 2011
I wouldn't be surprised that there is some code in DNA that shows clear design just fools refuse to show and have been sitting on the info trying to debunk.

So, you state that you don't believe in "God". Then you say you wouldn't be surprised if proof of said ghod was found in DNA? I don't believe in any of the conventional ghods either, but it would definitely surprise me.

Made by aliens not from heaven.scientists would have to debunk cause the god folk will say its him.

gvgoebel
5 / 5 (5) Feb 08, 2011
Made by aliens not from heaven.scientists would have to debunk cause the god folk will say its him.


13?
PS3
1 / 5 (8) Feb 08, 2011
Made by aliens not from heaven.scientists would have to debunk cause the god folk will say its him.


13?

close:). how old are you 40? that leaves you what, 30 more years till death if you're lucky:/
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2011
close:). how old are you 40? that leaves you what, 30 more years till death if you're lucky:/

Well at least he doesn't still wet the bed.
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
close:). how old are you 40? that leaves you what, 30 more years till death if you're lucky:/


You'll be 40 someday, and I honestly hope you make it there. And on a parting note, do remember this conversation when that day comes, and I honestly hope when you do so you feel embarrassed.

The unkindly thing would be to think that you wouldn't.
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (5) Feb 08, 2011
Well at least he doesn't still wet the bed.


Give me a few more decades.
xrisxs
1 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2011
The same reason the snake lost its legs is the same reason this article lost the point of the article. At some point this article got transformed by other means because it is obvious we do not need the article to talk about Gof but it helped for a minute I guess. The snake traded in legs for length? Have you ever made a bike faster? you first take off things that are needed. but the bike was ok till you needed to go faster in less energy. And those who say God does not exist is just another way of saying I am the stuff..I mean if I were God I and I was found then I would not be one at all. When you tell me why a simple moth hits a simple light bulb I believe you will have your answer..
widgget
5 / 5 (3) Feb 08, 2011
It's quite disheartening to see how many people believe this religious crap even after all of the evidence that shows otherwise and none in support of their theory. I suppose it would be very hard to admit to yourself that you were wrong about everything you built your life around.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I could also say that I am god and created everything 5 minutes ago.


Do I have to believe in you to get to heaven? Oh, and one small request. You know that day in the third grade? Can you change that one? You know the one.

Okay, kidding aside. I was taking my 14 year old daughter and her 15 year old 'boy friend' to dinner the other day. We were talking about the movie we saw the other day on netflix about Darwin (it was really good). The boy didn't know who Darwin was, and had very little idea what evolution was about. He essentially had heard of it on TV, but that's about it. That's scary.
xrisxs
1 / 5 (5) Feb 08, 2011
if anything we will make God if He does not exist already. And I am not talking about the biblical God. I am talking about the one thing you will never disprove. You might call it a universe but I simply call all of this God. I have spent my whole life time proving He does not exist, but the further i got I found the opposite.
GSwift7
5 / 5 (1) Feb 08, 2011
I have spent my whole life time proving He does not exist, but the further i got I found the opposite.


That's a good point, argued by many philosophers in the past. The reasoning is that no matter how much you can explain without god, you eventually hit a philosophical wall, beyond which there's no explanaition except 'something' meta-physical.
thales
5 / 5 (9) Feb 08, 2011
I have spent my whole life time proving He does not exist, but the further i got I found the opposite.


Huh, I had the same experience. Well, except EXACTLY OPPOSITE.
Moebius
1.6 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2011
The existence of a god makes no sense. Neither does a created soul. Self awareness makes no sense in the context of atheism. How do you reconcile these contradictory ideas?

What we think of as god may be the collective soul, not a being. Each of us has a piece of it while we live and it returns to the collective when we die (the white light). We don't truly die and we don't live on as an individual either. It could explain a lot of things, like the Akashic records, psychic phenomena, a disinterested supreme being, life, etc.

I had a vision once. I could see to the center of the universe and there was something there. There were threads of light coming from it, each connected to everyone and every thing. Is it true? Who knows. I do know that atheism makes as little sense as religion which is why I am agnostic.
PaulieMac
5 / 5 (7) Feb 09, 2011
Self awareness makes no sense in the context of atheism.


What? Why not?
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (4) Feb 09, 2011
Self awareness makes no sense in the context of atheism.


What? Why not?


Ditto. Closely related question: Can we build a machine that is self-aware?
soulman
5 / 5 (4) Feb 09, 2011
Ditto.

I'll see your ditto and raise you a ditto!
Closely related question: Can we build a machine that is self-aware?

Yes, of course. Why not?
Ethelred
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2011
If we do not make God in the end then what are we really doing?
On this site most of us are trying to learn how the Universe works.

All of us,people, even if you do not believe in Him I bet you wish there was
No. Which god? I sure am glad the Elder Gods don't exist and I also glad that the Jehovah of Genesis and Exodus does not exist. There MAY be a Jehovah but that version in the Bible doesn't fit the actual world we live in AND it is psychotic. If you can't stand that statement read about the Flood, the various massacres allegedly carried out by the command of Jehovah, and the alleged murder of all the first born in Egypt after Jehovah hardened Pharaoh's heart.
The day u prove God does not exist is the day you will breath your last.
No. Did it already and I still breath. Of course that is assuming you mean the Jehovah of Genesis. If you meant Ahuramazda I haven't looked into him that much.

More
Ethelred
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2011
Have you been in a fight with a long haired dude.
No.
I bet somewhere in the fight you grab his hair.
No. It would depend on the kind of fight.
Also have you ever swimed with out your legs or arms moving, u would be surprised
No but snakes do since they don't legs or arms. There are sea snakes and many land snakes can swim. Fish have a serious shortage of arms and legs and I am pretty sure they swim anyway.

Please do all of us, yourself included, a favor. Break up your posts a bit. Monobloc posts are hard to read. You might also read them over before posting. That one might have made sense with a rewrite.

Ethelred
Ethelred
4.4 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2011
40 billion people in the world but I am still one.
What the hell? You might want to check up on your facts occasionally. You are off by quite a bit. 34 million or thereabouts. Must be that hideous hat you seen to have on in your profile. I know it would lower my IQ.
And those who say God does not exist is just another way of saying I am the stuff.
You didn't sleep much lately did you? That one is even worse than the others. Oh bloody hell the next two sentences are even sillier.
You might call it a universe but I simply call all of this God.
Jack Handy is alive and writing on Physorg.com

Ethelred
Ethelred
4.6 / 5 (9) Feb 09, 2011
The reasoning is that no matter how much you can explain without god, you eventually hit a philosophical wall, beyond which there's no explanaition except 'something' meta-physical.
Math IS NOT metaphysical. It transcends mere meta-physucks.

The Universe seems to be mathematicly valid so why shouldn't it exist? The Jehovah of Genesis is mathematically and logically contradictory so it can't exist. Assuming math and logic actually have meaning and if we don't assume that then we are just a Kantian Circle Jerk.

Ethelred
Ethelred
4.5 / 5 (8) Feb 09, 2011
How do you reconcile these contradictory ideas?
What contradiction? The one that is due to the false statement:
Self awareness makes no sense in the context of atheism.
Unless YOU are the only person on Earth that absolutely knows that self awareness is dependent on a magical being outside our brains that statement is what makes no sense.The best I can figure at the moment is that self awareness is pretty much self-explanatory. We have a multi processing multi-threaded asynchronous brain where some parts watch what other parts are doing. I really don't see anything mystical in it or even that difficult to understand anymore.
What we think of as god may be the collective soul, not a being.
There is no evidence for souls nor a need for souls to explain anything. And a collection on things that have no evidence is a lack of evidence to a higher power. In other words its crap piled on top of crap.

Ethelred
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2011
You might want to check up on your facts occasionally. You are off by quite a bit. 34 million or thereabouts.

Er, I think you mean 34 Billion.
Skeptic_Heretic
5 / 5 (5) Feb 09, 2011
Self awareness makes no sense in the context of atheism. How do you reconcile these contradictory ideas?
Self awareness is not a product of atheism. Atheism is only the lack of belief in nonsensical theism. Self awareness isn't handled by western theism, and in fact the exact opposite is demanded. The concept of self-awareness, and self rule is absent from western theism, so how do you reconcile the opposing ideas of religious belief in a dictator God with your want for freedom and individual liberty?

Exactly.
Moebius
1 / 5 (11) Feb 09, 2011
Self-awareness implies there is more to us than atheism implies. Self-awareness is more than the sum of its parts, the cells in our brains. We aren't computers which can pass the Turing test but will never be self-aware. Even if they consist of the electronic equivalent of neurons. Only a fool would believe a machine can become self-aware, that is reserved for life and it defies explanation, self-awareness IS the basis for religion.

I reiterate, if you think a machine can become self-aware you are a complete fool. How would you know if it was? Because it says it is? The concept only exists because each of us knows as individuals we are self-aware therefore we assume that all the rest of us are too. There is no test nor will there ever be for self-awareness. A machine is NOT like us and no matter how well it imitates life it isn't alive, can not become self-aware and will never be granted that status by any intelligent life form, just fools which there is no shortage of.
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (11) Feb 09, 2011
Even if they consist of the electronic equivalent of neurons. Only a fool would believe a machine can become self-aware ...


So you are saying we could build a machine that by all appearances was just as intelligent as a human being and it wouldn't be self-aware. Then that would imply that we could build machines that were much more intelligent than we are and weren't self-aware.

And that, if there are greater intelligences in the Universe than humans, they may not be self-aware either. And that these greater intelligences would wonder why we make a fuss about it ... but if they weren't self-aware, could they wonder?

...it defies explanation...


To declare complete ignorance on a matter directly means one has nothing further worth saying about it one way or another.

How would you know if it was? Because it says it is?


Yes. Just ask it. If you tell me you are self-aware, I have no more or less means of verifying it.
PaulieMac
4.6 / 5 (10) Feb 09, 2011
Self-awareness implies there is more to us than atheism implies


Atheism has zero implication for self-awareness. Likewise, being self-aware does precisely nothing to prove or disprove the existence of a magical sky fairy.

Only a fool would believe a machine can become self-aware, that is reserved for life and it defies explanation


You forgot to say "In my opinion", which makes it appear as if you are asserting fact. And even if you *meant* to assert a fact - you did not, of course. You provide no logical basis for your claim. Why should a machine not become self aware? I should think it inevitable, evantually.

"reserved for life"? "Reserved"? By?

What twaddle.

self-awareness IS the basis for religion.


Plus ignorance and fear. And in the case of 'organised religion', the need of the ruling elite to control and supress the populace.

fools which there is no shortage of.


Amen, brother ;-)
Skeptic_Heretic
4.9 / 5 (7) Feb 09, 2011
Self-awareness implies there is more to us than atheism implies.
Self awareness is nothing more than being consious of the fact that you exist (in some form or another).
We aren't computers which can pass the Turing test but will never be self-aware.
Maslow disagrees, and he's the expert here, not you nor I.
Only a fool would believe a machine can become self-aware, that is reserved for life and it defies explanation
You are a machine. You're not made of steel and silicon but the rules that govern the function of machines are the very same rules that govern your function.

You are not special because you think so, and your "God" did not make you special. You are the worst kind of religous adherant, completely vacant of critical thought.
self-awareness IS the basis for religion.
No, control is the basis for religion. You may want to learn something about the various fields of science you feel comfortable taking a shit on before your next post.
jmcanoy1860
5 / 5 (1) Feb 09, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.There is no way falling to your death gives you wings.


You do realize that the flight stroke has been attributed to the grasping motion of certain predatory dinosaurs, right? We have fossil evidence of it. What is your mechanism again? Magic?
soulman
5 / 5 (2) Feb 09, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.

You might be right.
There is no way falling to your death gives you wings.

Not unless you've downed a can of Red Bull energy drink!
GSwift7
not rated yet Feb 10, 2011
Math IS NOT metaphysical. It transcends mere meta-physucks.

The Universe seems to be mathematicly valid so why shouldn't it exist?


Godel showed that the Universe is not mathematically consistent within itself. So you have to go 'outside' the Universe in order to find mathimatical consistency. By definition, 'outside the Universe' is metaphysical. I could also propose that your notion that the Universe can be described by math only goes to prove that the Universe is itself meerly theoretical.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (5) Feb 10, 2011
Godel showed that the Universe is not mathematically consistent within itself.
No he did not. He showed that any system of LOGIC that can produce numbers, which I suspects is ALL systems of logic, as the word system implies a SET of logical statements, which is more than ONE, and thus numbers MUST arise, must be EITHER complete or inconsistent. Not being a physicist he didn't prove the Universe was complete.

Unless he had a secret proof and that is reason he went wacko.

I could also propose that your notion that the Universe can be described by math only goes to prove that the Universe is itself meerly theoretical.
Reality is a punch in the nose. In other words it doesn't matter if it is just a bunch of numbers as those numbers would constitute reality.

There IS a spoon.

Ethelred
xrisxs
1 / 5 (4) Feb 10, 2011
I envy the fact that you found it important to attack my iq? thanx, it tells me alot about you. by the way i just threw out a number. and i assure you atheist came second hoss. no matter how you slice it or get all defensive. but if you want to compare apples, then be my guest. but i am that guy in the end of it you will still not like me because i will always like you. to what is your definition of an I.Q. does it even exist. lmao. i am the wrong tree.
GSwift7
2 / 5 (1) Feb 10, 2011
No he did not. He showed that any system of LOGIC that ...


I was being deliberately toung in cheek. My point is that it is possible to argue that you can't fully understand the universe while you are part of the universe. I was relating that to Godel's second theory which kinda says the same thing about math, paraphrased. No matter how you try to prove that the Universe is real, if you are part of the Universe then you're using circular reasoning.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
I envy the fact that you found it important to attack my iq
I was attacking the hat. And the lack of coherence in your posts. The parts that I could make heads or tails of usually made less sense than the incomprehensible parts.
thanx, it tells me alot about you
Yes, I don't like checkered hats.
by the way i just threw out a number.
Despite being thrown out somehow it wound up in your post. Next time make sure numbers that are that far off reality actually hit the trash.
and i assure you atheist came second hoss.
I am Agnostic and that was incomprehensible.
no matter how you slice it or get all defensive.
I prefer to slice with a sharp blade and I don't see anything that I had to defend. Reality it what is what it is.
but if you want to compare apples, then be my guest.
I prefer comparing tits and ass.

More
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
but i am that guy in the end of it you will still not like me because i will always like you.
I am pleased that you will always like me. I am not sure why you think don't like you. I don't know you, I am just trying to convince you that it might be wise to think a bit, rewrite, and maybe do it another time before you hit the submit button. Again monobloc posts are hard to read even when the contents make actual sense. If your profile didn't say you are from the USA I would assume that English is not your native tongue and that you might even be using a computer translator.
to what is your definition of an I.Q.
I go for problem solving ability and but I was actually trying to make a joke. I am sorry but your posts simply make little sense and when they do make SOME sense, grammar wise, they make no sense content wise.
i am the wrong tree.
What program are you using to translate and what was the original language?

Ethelred
CreepyD
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
I love the comments sections on topics like this, it makes for very entertaining reading :)
I know someone very religious who loves dinosaurs, but doesn't believe they exist because the bible 'proves' they couldn't have existed.
Just mention evolution, and they get all angry saying 'what a load of rubbish', when there is plenty of proof all around us.
xrisxs
1 / 5 (2) Feb 11, 2011
hey fella, again thank you for spending your precious time on reading my junk. Again your post has no help on the topic at hand other than to spend time and space on telling me about me. Sad, but if you want to know ok. I am a narcisistic schizophrenic no good 6'2 walking blue mofo. but if you were on the side of the road and you needed help i would stop no MATTER what. After being adopted found in a closet, then beaten and raped and told i would amount to nothing and 4 wives and 79 jobs kind of left me at this point in any language wacked. Now mister, I am also the guy that has found away to survive but what means needed. You have no idea how it is to be me this I promise you. other than that I have yet to look at your profile because I could careless. All i cared about was my attempt at some attempt of a response to snakes with legs. But if you saw me anywhere the only thing you would be thinking about is how to stop your wife from starring. What it is?!!
Ethelred
not rated yet Feb 11, 2011
hey fella, again thank you for spending your precious time on reading my junk
Your welcome.
Again your post has no help on the topic at hand
We already covered your questions so unless you ask new questions the best we can do for you is to help you make more comprehensible posts. Drop the monobloc posts for instance.
I am a narcisistic schizophrenic no good 6'2 walking blue mofo
You are a little bit old to be developing schizophrenia. You don't LOOK blue. So that is a hell of a makeup job.
being adopted found in a closet, then beaten and raped
I reccomend a serious course of intensive psycotherapy.
told i would amount to nothing
As a persistent monobloc poster that seem to be true for you on this site. Or you could choose to change. It is your choices that make you who you are.
4 wives and 79 jobs
This seems excessive. You might try making better choices.

More
Ethelred
5 / 5 (1) Feb 11, 2011
I am also the guy that has found away to survive
Everyone here has not only found a way to survive but also to get online.
no idea how it is to be me this I promise you
Same for all of us.
I have yet to look at your profile because I could careless.
There is nothing much there except for links to my posts. And a text image of a troll's former arm. It is now my trophy.
All i cared about was my attempt at some attempt of a response to snakes with legs
You got those BUT it was really hard to tell what exactly you trying to convey so we might have missed something.

If you really do want to discuss the actual topic how about you

Say something new on the topic.
Read the post before you hit submit and make sure it said what you meant to say.
Break up the post with some whitespace. Hit the ENTER key TWICE not just once.

The main thing this article was doing was talking about a new technique for imaging fossils BELOW the surface of the rock.

Ethelred
xrisxs
1 / 5 (3) Feb 12, 2011
All you had to say is that you were a copy and paste expert. But in the meantime I have written 45 songs,sung and played the guitar since may of last year, xrisxs/youtube, i also made a machine that you can work out your whole body out of wood, and then some. Again, all your doing is attacking my intelect and for the most part if money and sanity is what gets measured here then I do not have much. If your saying yout a school teacher extrodinair with some college and a daddy whos says i love you then ok, my goofy hats off. you win. Am i supposed to cry? or give in or what? Well this is my last post on this article, and for what it is worth, thanx for the w/e this just was. You made me see the light!!
Sonhouse
1 / 5 (1) Feb 12, 2011
I thought it provided an interesting parallel, considering it is a point that has been used to deride the Judeo-Christian position in the past.

As to the hundreds of religious texts, I don't know of any that specifically address the matter of snakes once having legs; do you?

So then why aren't they talking to us like they used to.....

Oh yeah, because the Bible, when taken literally, is entirely full of bullshit.
All of us,people, even if you do not believe in Him I bet you wish there was.
I'd rather not have an invisible, invincible, wrathful dictator watching everything I do in life and convicting me of thought crime so he can lock me in his basement and light the house on fire for all of eternity, thank you very much.

Most people wouldn't be happy with the notion of living in North Korea, but at least when you die, you're free of North Korea. Why do you want to live in an eternal North Korea?


And that would be when you are in heaven:)
Ethelred
not rated yet Feb 13, 2011
All you had to say is that you were a copy and paste expert.
Nonsense. I suggested that you improve what you write.
But in the meantime I have written 45 songs
Very nice. But irrelevant to this discussion.
made a machine that you can work out your whole body out of wood
And I learned how to sprint faster. At least I think I am going faster.
all your doing is attacking my intelect
I trying to help you write better.
if money and sanity is what gets measured here then I do not have much.
I don't have money either and sanity is in short supply.
If your saying yout a school teacher extrodinair with some college
Just experienced at writing on the Net.
a daddy whos says i love you
Hard for him to do as he died in 1976.
Am i supposed to cry?
No. You are supposed to try harder. Hit the ENTER key a couple of times now and then.
You made me see the light
Wish I did but you are still making monobloc posts.

Ethelred
kevinrtrs
1.2 / 5 (5) Feb 13, 2011
Right, now that all the non-discussions have taken place, just a small question:

If the rocks are supposed to be 95million years old, does that automatically make the snake 95m years old too? Is it possible that the rock itself is composed of particles that displays the calculated age of 95 million years but in fact the rock could be younger[or OLDER for that matter, difficult as it might be to conceive of that]?
Just a thought.
Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
Right, now that all the non-discussions have taken place, just a small question:
Right then a person that REFUSES to answer relevant questions has the cajones to ask question he hopes aren't answered and will pretend weren't in any case. Yeah you go right ahead Troll. Don't like being a troll? Start discussing things and can the evasions.

If the rocks are supposed to be 95million years old, does that automatically make the snake 95m years old too?
Well the snake IS lithified within the rock. How the hell could it be younger than the rock? Some people claim there are not bad questions but That is a silly question considering the is no way you don't already know the answer.

Is it possible that the rock itself is composed of particles that displays the calculated age of 95 million years but in fact the rock could be younger
Not really. In may cases the age of the rock is the YOUNGEST possible interpretation of the evidence.

More
Ethelred
5 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
The article does not say what kind of rock it is or how it was dated. Most likely the layer of rock is dated by potassium-argon in a layer above the rock. The attempts by Creationists to make P-A dating go away always avoid mentioning the causes of errors in the technique make the rock look YOUNGER not older. Anything that would cause a loss of potassium would cause a greater loss of the argon breakdown product. The Creation Institute carried exactly that kind of a blatantly bogus attempt to make P-A go away by washing a sample in water and the measuring the potassium loss ONLY and carefully pretending the argon in the sample wouldn't be affected. Funny how they refrained to an actual dating on it. They lie a lot at that place.

Ethelred
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (2) Feb 13, 2011
They lie a lot at that place.


Oh, they never lie. They believe every word of it. Morton's Demon just screens out all the inconvenient facts.

I have a higher opinion of deliberate liars.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?

_ttp://www.physorg.com/news193579481.html
They already have.
"This is the first synthetic cell that's been made, and we call it synthetic because the cell is totally derived from a synthetic chromosome, made with four bottles of chemicals on a chemical synthesizer, starting with information in a computer,"

"life" is too vague a term. There are functioning nanobots that we call "DNA" and because they're powered on and functioning, we call them "life", but there's really nothing particularly special. Nanobots are just a collection of atoms arranged in a way to replicate themselves and perform a few other functions.
CSharpner
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?
Why can't you give us any evidence for your creator?

I did give evidence in that no chemist can make life thus must have been designed by god/alien.
A few decades ago, man couldn't make microfibers, like what's on some leaves that causes water to bead up and roll off. Man can make it now... I'm wearing a pair of pants right now with that ability. Using your logic, a few decades ago it'd be safe to say that it's proof to say that there's a God because man can't make microfibers. Today we can, as is true with MANY things we couldn't make in the past. Since we CAN make them, does that prove God does NOT exist?

How about this? Whether we CAN or CAN'T make something is neither evidence FOR nor AGAINST the existence of a God?

Some things are just really difficult to make. But we've made both life AND microfibers, but neither has anything whatsoever to do with whether God exists or not.
PS3
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
how come chemist cant make life?

_ttp://www.physorg.com/news193579481.html
They already have.

thats more like hacking life.
kaasinees
1.7 / 5 (3) Feb 14, 2011
@CSharpner
That is not really life.
A life form has a local ecological process. For example cells have ATP, there are many processes involved, like protein proton diodes. In basic essence everything is a machine, including us. What makes us alive is the huge complex local ecological process in our body. In this way our earth can be seen as a living entity(read Gaia hypothesis).
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
Self-awareness implies there is more to us than atheism implies.

Evidence please.
Self-awareness is more than the sum of its parts, the cells in our brains.
You're preaching to the choir... BTW, the software I write is also more than the sum of its parts (the subroutines and schemas for the databases).
We aren't computers
Our brains ABSO-FREAKIN-LUTELY ARE computers!
Only a fool would believe a machine can become self-aware
A LOT of VERY intelligent people vehomently disagree with your completely unsupported statement. On what do you base your dramatic, insulting conclusion?
that is reserved for life
Says who? Also, define "life"? That's a REAL challenge. Define life.
I reiterate, if you think a machine can become self-aware you are a complete fool!
Repeating your fallacy by calling those smarter than you doesn't improve your point nor does it make you look more intelligent... quite the opposite.

Continued...
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
First of all, let's clarify: You use the term "self-aware", but I'm sure you mean "sentient" or "has consciousness".
How would you know if it was? Because it says it is?
You don't. The only machine you can prove to yourself that IS sentient is your own brain, but you can't prove it to anyone else. You can no more prove the guy standing next to you is sentient anymore than you can a complex AI system. Whether you can or can't is irrelevant.
There is no test nor will there ever be for self-awareness.
Exactly. What's your point?
A machine is NOT like us and no matter how well it imitates life it isn't alive
Now you switched topics from consciousness to "alive". Again, define "life".
can not become self-aware
You've stated your opinion as if it's rock-solid fact, yet provided zero evidence whatsoever. Please back up your assumptions.

Continued...
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
and will never be granted that status by any intelligent life form, just fools which there is no shortage of.
Did you just call a bunch of intelligent people fools and then say "fools which there *IS* no shortage of."???? LMAO!

Look, you clearly have a strong opinion, but you just keep shouting what it is and give absolutely no evidence whatsoever to support it. Here's my evidence that suggests you're wrong:

1. Biological brains ARE computing devices (this is well known and accepted and I'm assuming you have no disagreement here).
2. Manufactured brains can (not necessarily "DO", but "CAN") carry out the same type of logic that biological brains do. You gave artificial neurons as an example.
3. It's logical to conclude that consciousness or sentientness is the side effect (or "emergent property") of said computing in bio-computers. There's no logical reason to say the same side effect would NOT be repeated in a manufactured brain.

Here's my challenge to you:
continued...
CSharpner
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
Here's my challenge to you: Presume a manufactured brain with manufactured neurons (MNs), that perform identical processing to inputs and produce identical output and can form new connections to new MNs. How would consciousness NOT be achieved in the manufactured brain. What's the physical mechanism that's different between the 2 types of brains in question? Further assume that we also take an existing bio-brain and replace each bio-neuron with an MN, one at a time, and end up with a completely manufactured brain. Wouldn't consciousness of the bio-brain continue to exist into the manufactured one? If not, explain why.
CSharpner
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
@CSharpner
That is not really life.
A life form has a local ecological process. For example cells have ATP, there are many processes involved, like protein proton diodes. In basic essence everything is a machine, including us. What makes us alive is the huge complex local ecological process in our body. In this way our earth can be seen as a living entity(read Gaia hypothesis).
This (the vagueness of the term "life") is one of my big pet peeves. There's not an absolute definition of "life" and anyone that tries to define the term ultimately fails. Most people would consider that bacteria "alive" according to most perceived definitions of the term. Again, "life" is not a straight forward definition, so we'll get people that disagree on what things are "alive" and which aren't. This being a great example.
kaasinees
1 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
Actually if you read any books on Gaia (especially Revenge of the Gaia, 2006) you will understand it gives a very clear definition of what life is, other definitions of life are nihil compared to it.
Also every scienctific research has proved the gaia theory to be correct. There have only been a few people actually denieing the gaia theory and they had no arguments against it that could hold ground since the 1970's. Also the theory is a more global version of a microbiologist version of the definition of what life is(i think its described in the wikipedia article). This theory is much like the evolution and round planet theory, it makes sense to a small group of people, until alot later everyone grows to be wise enough to understand that the theory is correct and sciences proving it.
CSharpner
5 / 5 (1) Feb 14, 2011
I believe flight is good proof of being designed and not by evolution.There is no way falling to your death gives you wings.
One good example of a mid-term state of evolutionary flight is the flying squirel. It is in a pre-flight state. It glides with flaps of skin. This is a great example of how flight evolves. Squirrels jump from limb to limb. Those that randomly develop slightly larger skin flaps will be able to catch a little more air than those that don't and over time will evade predators more than those that don't and will be more likely to contribute their genes to the next generation, and so on. At the moment, they have large flaps of skin that act as wings, allowing them to glide remarkably well. At some point in the future, it's likely some will randomly have a mutation (amoung many others) that will cause them to want to flap. There will be variations of skin shapes and sizes in the ones that tend to flap their arms.

continued...
CSharpner
not rated yet Feb 14, 2011
continued...

Some of those may be able to increase their lift, a little, and some of their descendants a little more. Eventually, full flight, like bats.

Insect flight: As with all descendants, genetic mutation occurs somewhat randomly. Various shapes and sizes of appendages come about. Some of them may catch the wind. There may be some advantage in some of these. For those that have an advantage with this, the appendage will stay. More random variations on these appendages (size, shape, thickness, etc...) will occur. Those that provide an advantage stay. Some may be near a muscle. As the insect is thrown into the wind, movements of the muscle can change the orientation and/or shape of the appendage, giving it some kind of control. Another advantage. This continues on. This is one of many ways flight can evolve that doesn't require "falling to your death".
gvgoebel
5 / 5 (2) Feb 14, 2011
How would consciousness NOT be achieved in the manufactured brain?


Related issue: if our consciousness isn't a product of our brain machinery, then why do psychoactive drugs; selective brain damage; and the simple wear and tear of senility do so much to alter that consciousness?

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