Earth's original ancestor was LUCA, study on origins of life

December 17, 2008,

Here's another argument against intelligent design. An evolutionary geneticist from the Université de Montréal, together with researchers from the French cities of Lyon and Montpellier, have published a ground-breaking study that characterizes the common ancestor of all life on earth, LUCA (Last Universal Common Ancestor). Their findings, presented in a recent issue of Nature, show that the 3.8-billion-year-old organism was not the creature usually imagined.

The study changes ideas of early life on Earth. "It is generally believed that LUCA was a heat-loving or hyperthermophilic organism. A bit like one of those weird organisms living in the hot vents along the continental ridges deep in the oceans today (above 90 degrees Celsius)," says Nicolas Lartillot, the study's co-author and a bio-informatics professor at the Université de Montréal. "However, our data suggests that LUCA was actually sensitive to warmer temperatures and lived in a climate below 50 degrees."

The research team compared genetic information from modern organisms to characterize the ancient ancestor of all life on earth. "Our research is much like studying the etymology of modern languages so as to reveal fundamental things about their evolution," says professor Lartillot. "We identified common genetic traits between animals, plant, bacteria, and used them to create a tree of life with branches representing separate species. These all stemmed from the same trunk – LUCA, the genetic makeup that we then further characterized."

Reconciling conflicting data

The group's findings are an important step towards reconciling conflicting ideas about LUCA. In particular, they are much more compatible with the theory of an early RNA world, where early life on Earth was composed of ribonucleic acid (RNA), rather than deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA).

However, RNA is particularly sensitive to heat and is unlikely to be stable in the hot temperatures of the early Earth. The data of Dr. Lartillot with his collaborators indicate that LUCA found a cooler micro-climate to develop, which helps resolve this paradox and shows that environmental micro domains played a critical role in the development of life on Earth.

From RNA to DNA: Proof of evolution

"It is only in a subsequent step that LUCA's descendants discovered the more thermostable DNA molecule, which they independently acquired (presumably from viruses), and used to replace the old and fragile RNA vehicle. This invention allowed them to move away from the small cool microclimate, evolved and diversify into a variety of sophisticated organisms that could tolerate heat," adds Dr. Lartillot.

The article, "Parallel adaptations to high temperatures in the Archaean eon," published in Nature (www.nature.com/nature/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nature07393.html), was authored by Bastien Boussau (CNRS, Université Lyon), Samuel Blanquart (LIRMM, CNRS: France), Anamaria Necsulea (CNRS, Université Lyon), Nicolas Lartillot (Université Montreal), and Manolo Gouy (CNRS, Université Lyon).

Source: University of Montreal

Related Stories

Recommended for you

How community structure affects the resilience of a network

June 22, 2018

Network theory is a method for analyzing the connections between nodes in a system. One of the most compelling aspects of network theory is that discoveries related to one field, such as cellular biology, can be abstracted ...

Unconfirmed near-Earth objects

June 22, 2018

Near-Earth objects (NEOs) are small solar system bodies whose orbits sometimes bring them close to the Earth, potentially threatening a collision. NEOs are tracers of the composition, dynamics and environmental conditions ...

Research team uncovers lost images from the 19th century

June 22, 2018

Art curators will be able to recover images on daguerreotypes, the earliest form of photography that used silver plates, after a team of scientists led by Western University learned how to use light to see through degradation ...

Detecting metabolites at close range

June 22, 2018

A novel concept for a biosensor of the metabolite lactate combines an electron transporting polymer with lactate oxidase, which is the enzyme that specifically catalyzes the oxidation of lactate. Lactate is associated with ...

38 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

nano999
3.9 / 5 (15) Dec 17, 2008
No proof against intelligent design (creationism) will ever be good enough for the fundamentalist god-huggers. To suggest that we evolved from the LUCA makes god cry and they can't have that.
mvg
2.2 / 5 (10) Dec 17, 2008
More supposition--
'where is the "data"?, the "findings"?--where are the"facts"??

A case in point:
"However, RNA is particularly sensitive to heat and is unlikely to be stable in the hot temperatures of the early Earth. The data of Dr. Lartillot with his collaborators indicate that LUCA found a cooler micro-climate to develop, which helps resolve this paradox and shows that environmental micro domains played a critical role in the development of life on Earth."

This is simply supposition, the ususal rant, "We think it happened this way--therefore it did."

Quantum_Conundrum
3 / 5 (13) Dec 17, 2008
From RNA to DNA: Proof of evolution

"It is only in a subsequent step that LUCA's descendants discovered the more thermostable DNA molecule, which they independently acquired (presumably from viruses), and used to replace the old and fragile RNA vehicle. This invention allowed them to move away from the small cool microclimate, evolved and diversify into a variety of sophisticated organisms that could tolerate heat," adds Dr. Lartillot.

====

The above is not a proof by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, it is little more than a hypothesis and circular reasoning.
Szkeptik
4.1 / 5 (10) Dec 17, 2008
"This is simply supposition, the ususal rant, "We think it happened this way--therefore it did." "

Of course "magical invisible sky fairy did it because I say so" is a way better stance to take.

I bet they've done a lot more calculating and thinking on this single project than anyone has ever did on ID.
nano999
3.4 / 5 (5) Dec 17, 2008
QC - Circular reasoning? Ha ha. Now THAT sounds like religion. Let the IDiots explain infinite regression.
LariAnn
2.1 / 5 (14) Dec 17, 2008
I see a lot of imagining and supposition in this article but very little real science as I understand the term. Unless, of course, sheer speculation is now considered "science". One of the big problems with this kind of folderol is that these people are looking at molecules that exist today, not 3.8 billion years ago.

I'm curious, though, about why the anti ID crowd is so anxious to prove that all existence is meaningless. Perhaps to justify their lack of a moral compass?
thales
4.5 / 5 (11) Dec 17, 2008
This is a fascinating story. I would imagine the next step now is to find the predecessor to RNA. It's interesting that this study has the effect of narrowing down the potential sites for life's origin (since it eliminates very high temperature areas). No doubt future studies along these lines will give us a better idea of the initial conditions where life originated.

As an aside, I do so tire of "this is not proof!" and "evolution is just a theory" memes. Once again, there is no proof outside of mathematics. Scientists concerns themselves with evidence. As for theory, here's Wikipedia:

http://en.wikiped...finition
flashgordon
3.3 / 5 (8) Dec 17, 2008
supernatural religion is just a play on ignorance; because we don't know one hundred percent . . . therefore, god exists; and, you'd better believe in my god or else your going to hell.

This is all you need to know in the fight between the creationists and the mathematical scientists; the whole thing about how scinece works and how much is correct is irrelevant; i can't believe this isn't known amongst those who fight the creationists; maybe you all should read much more Jacob Bronowski and E..T Bell!?
thales
3.8 / 5 (8) Dec 17, 2008
I was a creationist until last year. I can testify (!) that it is possible to convert a creationist. What really pushed me over was reading about genetic algorithms at talkorigins. I think arguing doesn't work since it automatically defines a territory that the creationist feels obliged to defend. I don't think learning can occur in a mind on the defense.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.6 / 5 (15) Dec 17, 2008
supernatural religion is just a play on ignorance; because we don't know one hundred percent . . . therefore, god exists; and, you'd better believe in my god or else your going to hell.


So you say.

So, do you believe that all Christians who report eye witness accounts of miracles are delusional? Or do you simply appeal to ignorance youself in an attempt to disuade people from believing in God?

How do you explain the fact that I have personally witnessed miracle healings through prayer in the same style as those recorded in the New Testament, i.e. Leg growing out from several inches shorter than the other, etc.

According to my own medical records, by all rights I ought to be a vegetable and a parapalegic/quadrapalegic, having contracted Spinal Menengitus at 3 weeks of age, but instead I have perfect health and an I.Q. of ~144.

===

Or how do you explain prophetic dreams I have personally had?

1) Accurately depicting the exact events of the next day, including exact, very unique personal interactions with specific people including non-generic sentences from conversation and/or unique, non-generic text written on a paper when I had absolutely no knowledge of it beforehand.

2) Dreaming the landfall locations of 3 of the 2005 season's hurricanes anywhere from 2 days to several months ahead of time (I posted one of these ahead of time on a Christian internet forum.)

3) Dreaming and accurately describing a room I had never seen or heard described, including a screen which "used to be there". Then going there about a week later, and finding it exactly as the dream. I describe it to someone and say, "everything was the same except a screen was right there!" He says, "Oh, there used to be one right there up until a year or so ago!"

---

Of course, you will hypocritically call me delusional or a liar, or else say something like, "We don't understand everything about the brain and the body, etc".

But then, you allegedly found fault with creationists for that very reason, i.e. "argument from ignorance".
nano999
4 / 5 (8) Dec 17, 2008
LariAnn - "why the anti ID crowd is so anxious to prove that all existence is meaningless"

I think you're thinking of nihlilsts or maybe some disgruntled goth kids you saw at the mall.

I don't know of any nonbelievers that want to prove that existence is meaningless. That's just silly.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.4 / 5 (14) Dec 17, 2008
Hey, way to go whoever gave me a 1 of 5.

As a Christian, my duty is to tell the truth "Whether they will hear or whether they forbear."

It is not my concern whether or not you believe me, at least as far as my personal self goes; its between you and Jesus.
ijeffrey
3.4 / 5 (7) Dec 17, 2008
Can you dream up the winning lottery numbers for me? I would greatly appreciate it!!
Quantum_Conundrum
1.9 / 5 (15) Dec 17, 2008
Can you dream up the winning lottery numbers for me? I would greatly appreciate it!!

===

Oh, here we go, the typical question, which admittedly I would also ask in your situation.


The answer is no for several reasons:

1) I have little to no control over what God has ever given me in a dream. Either he speaks or he doesn't.

2) I'll just be honest, being a fallen, selfish human being, if I DID have such a dream, I certainly wouldn't give the numbers to you. I'd buy a ticket myself.

3) Which gives us, "You have not because you ask not, and when you ask you ask amiss that you may consume it upon your own lusts."

The dreams that I described above ended up protecting myself or other people from harm. Not promoting selfish gain.
Quantum_Conundrum
1.4 / 5 (13) Dec 17, 2008
The point is, you can neither "disprove" my intellectual and spiritual convictions that God is real, nor "disprove" my personal experiences.


If you believe I am irrational, then what do you do with the majority of people on this planet who willfully choose to partake of substances and lifestyles which definitely destroy their bodies and minds? i.e. smoke, ingest, inhale, inject or otherwise partaking of substances (or lifestyles) they know destroy the mind and body?
Bob_B
3.7 / 5 (3) Dec 17, 2008
QC:
We can ignore it though. This in turn will drive you into a bunch of new posts and allow you to waste more time here, therefore saving all those others from your idiocy.

You can not prove otherwise!
FreakTrap
4.5 / 5 (8) Dec 17, 2008
QC, to be honest, my psychoanalytical perspective of your experiences is that you have run into déjà vu and relied on supernatural and spiritual notions to explain the causation for the confused mind set you were experiencing. The ideology that you have a conduit with a higher presence which gives you cute and confusing experiences should be received as illogical and a manifestation of false conclusions from any logical external perspective.

The divine intervention conclusion to explanations has yet to serve a use to humanity other then to squelch our curiosity. Sure, this was useful for pushing ourselves out of our rudimentary ancient history of non-communitarianism, but I feel that we are as a race approaching the point where such a brace is turning into more of a societal hindrance than a conduit for advancement.

Regarding the article though, the sentence "Here's another argument against intelligent design." is immature and has no business attached to a pseudo-scientific article. I didn't know this website was for the distribution of opinions and mud slingings, rather, I felt it was a quality aggregation of scientific research and human advancement.
thales
5 / 5 (1) Dec 17, 2008
Not entirely on topic, but this just made me laugh.

http://archive.sa...ex1.html
LariAnn
1.3 / 5 (13) Dec 17, 2008
Jonnyboy, apparently I touched a nerve even though I named no names. If the shoe fits . . . Now, who the #%$@ am I? Do you think YOU are JC? Perhaps you did, if you in delusion thought I even implied such a thing (that is, if JC was a real person, which he wasn't! Symbolism, ever heard of that?). Actually, I'm someone who considers life to have intrinsic value, and human relations to require something other than "we are all merely the result of random molecular collisions over billions of years". IMHO, anyone who insists on believing (yes, believing) that all the universe came from nothing, and all this complex life, the understanding of which requires high intelligence to even begin to comprehend, came into existence from nothing more than random molecular interactions, has to be looking for an excuse either to 1) assume the role of a god or 2) have carte blanche to do whatever they wish to in life, including all the deeds that "religious" or spiritual types would deem to be wrong things to do to fellow humans. I'd love to hear about the reasoning process that prohibits such deeds in an existence with no more meaning than random molecular movements.
VOR
4.2 / 5 (5) Dec 17, 2008
The point is, you can neither "disprove" my intellectual and spiritual convictions that God is real, nor "disprove" my personal experiences.


If you believe I am irrational, then what do you do with the majority of people on this planet who willfully choose to partake of substances and lifestyles which definitely destroy their bodies and minds? i.e. smoke, ingest, inhale, inject or otherwise partaking of substances (or lifestyles) they know destroy the mind and body?
Silly question from silly person. You are irrational and so is self-destruction. We're all capable of both behaviors. But it's in the best interests of our species to resist such disfunctions. BTW remote viewing has nothing to do with a deity. Even if we wildly assume purely for the sake of argument that prayer can heal, that indicates most directly that those who pray, not a deity, had some influence. As for disproving 'god', well that's a moronic quest since faith is by definition beleiving in something that cannot be proven or disproved. Its no validation, just word tricks. Old, simple, moronic word tricks for the small minded, you make no point at all. Religion can play a valuable role for many people, but that doesnt mean some of its claims aren't utter fabrications. The value of religion lies in the empowerment it lends. The deity aspect is an elaborate credibilty device. As for morality, religious people are clearly no more morally enlightened than the most secular among us. To suppose otherwise is the pinacle of arrogant ignorance.
x646d63
4.6 / 5 (11) Dec 17, 2008
LariAnn

I am an athiest. I make a conscious choice to live among others, to participate in society. Because of that choice I choose a moral code that is acceptable by others in my society.

Mine is a choice. Your moral code is forced upon you by someone else.

Who lacks compass? The person who chooses morality, or the person who feels obligated to be moral because some "higher being" requires it?
aaronfaby
4.1 / 5 (9) Dec 17, 2008
I hate to break it to the naysayers here, but I'm pretty sure there's actual scientific data to support these ideas that can't be explained neatly in a handful of paragraphs on a science news website. I bet you could get a copy of the research papers if you know where to look. Contrary to what IDiots want you to think, scientists don't just pull theories out of their arses.
Flakk
4.3 / 5 (7) Dec 17, 2008

This is simply supposition, the ususal rant, "We think it happened this way--therefore it did."


Creationists do the same thing. Only with far less basis in fact.
abadaba
5 / 5 (5) Dec 17, 2008
@Quantum Conundrum, you ARE delusional, and unstable it seems. You are a self proclaimed psychic/prophet/genius/living miracle, and then use this as your evidence that there is a God? hmm... It's people like you that are the cause of the stereotypes you are trying to defend against.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (8) Dec 17, 2008
@Quantum Conundrum, you ARE delusional, and unstable it seems.


See? Typical.

The Christian reports personal testimony, including eye witnessing events, and is then labelled delusional, as expected.

1) Just because God speaks to someone does not necessarily biblically qualify them as a prophet.

2) Even IF I am a one, it has nothing to do with anything that I have ever done. Like anything else, it is a gift from God and not based on any merits of my own, and certainly none that I am aware of.



So what real explaination do you have for those things I reported above anyway? Since you reject me as being delusional (and reject God in the process either directly or indirectly)?

As for the healing of the man's leg, there were at least a dozen adults present, and several teens and children present, most of which are still alive to this day. There was no possibility of a hoax. There were no smoke, mirrors, or light shows, and no money involved.

Now let us pretend that I just might have somehow been mistaken, that there is some other explaination for a man's leg growing out by several inches like something you saw in the "Swamp Thing" movie.

Now, you tell me what that explaination might be?
aaronfaby
5 / 5 (4) Dec 17, 2008
I think many people here misunderstand the purpose of scientific inquiry. Science never 100% proves anything. We can only attempt to discover enough evidence to support or contradict a given theory. The problem for a creationist is that they state that life could ONLY (emphasis on ONLY) have come about through some kind of supernatural intervention. The duty of science is to discover a POSSIBLE natural explanation. If and when science discovers a possible natural explanation, it doesn't mean scientists are saying without a doubt that it happened this way. What they are saying is that we have a very good idea about how it could have happened naturally. Which in turn means that supernatural intervention is not the ONLY possible explanation anymore. Now it's up to the rational person to decide whether the natural explanation (backed by scientific observation and scientific models) is more logical or probable than the supernatural explanation (which is usually derived from ancient texts written by bronze age desert nomads).
aaronfaby
5 / 5 (4) Dec 17, 2008
@Quantum_Conundrum:

Do you believe people are abducted by aliens? If not, why? There are thousands of people who can personally testify that aliens exist and take them aboard their ships for all kinds of gruesome experiments.

People of other religions also personally testify that they have been healed by praying to their respective gods? Do you accept their personal testimony? If not, why? Surely the thousands of Muslims, Hindus, and others aren't delusional and in fact were healed by their gods.

Oddly enough, with all these miracles happening every day, no one seems to be able to present any solid, indisputable evidence to prove once and for all that faith healing actually works.
EvgenijM
5 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2008
Well, if I have to choose which view is more accurate - I would say it is science. Pretty much all of my house equipment works, because their theories are very accurate on this scale. Can't say the same for religions - I have yet to see even one evidence, that proves their theories on practice (without alternative explanation from science).

ps. And note, despite their great success - scientists have an understanding, that their theories are not ultimate truth , but just very good models. Religious people on the other hand, despite their very low success, think that their belief is the ultimate truth, and it is very funny to watch how one confession tries to prove, that it is the ultimate truth, while all other is false.
Quantum_Conundrum
1 / 5 (7) Dec 18, 2008
@Quantum_Conundrum:

Do you believe people are abducted by aliens? If not, why? There are thousands of people who can personally testify that aliens exist and take them aboard their ships for all kinds of gruesome experiments.

People of other religions also personally testify that they have been healed by praying to their respective gods? Do you accept their personal testimony? If not, why? Surely the thousands of Muslims, Hindus, and others aren't delusional and in fact were healed by their gods.


I do not deny demonic miracles, because there are several such instances recorded in the Bible.

Read the first several chapters of Exodus. For a time, God allowed the magicians to mimick the true miracles as they continued to harden their hearts more and more. However, eventually he revealed himself as the One True God, while simultaneously giving humanity one of the greatest Biblical prophetic types: The Passover.

The Passover is, admittedly, one of the most devastating destructive events in the history of humanity, but it is also one of the greatest deliverances. Had Egypt simply obeyed God the first time, or the second, or the third, or even the ninth, God would have spared them this terrible judgement.

As for whether the various "religions" are delusional...

2 Thessalonians 2:11And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:
12That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.

----

Seriously though, not all are necessarily delusional; they simply lie.

Take the religion of Islam for example: the Quran specificly commands Muslims to lie about their religion if it furthers their cause, and to cheat, steal, torture, and kill "infidels", especially Christians and Jews, whenever possible.


Contrast that with Christianity: "Love your neighbour as yourself....bless those who curse you. Do good to them...pray on behalf of those who hate you and persecute you and despitefully use you...



It really is not surprising that there are so many false religions in the world. Satan is an "Angel of Light", that is, a "false god". "Religion" is one of his favorite tools in misleading humanity. He knows he's already lost his rebellion against God, his only interest ever since then is in attempting to destroy as many people as possible before God finally says, "Enough is enough."


Matthew 7:12Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets.

See Leviticus 19, which predates Confucious by well over half a millenia.

13Enter ye in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat:
14Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.


Does this following part sound like Mohammad and your typical Muslim? Sure it does.

15Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
16Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
18A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.
19Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.
20Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Many (perhaps even "most") so-called "Christians" are also following a false religion and do not really know God.

21Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.
rab96
1 / 5 (3) Dec 18, 2008
It's interesting how such a heated debate on God and religion come up because of such a simple study. Do scientists need God to disprove Him?
morpheus2012
1.7 / 5 (6) Dec 18, 2008
waht a retards news

i tell the morons who wrote taht and did the study

the real sciencse and knoledge is hiden from the redcnkes and nerds

like all pshyhorg is rantign about is 5 procent of the sscience and knodlege

the 95 preocent rest is held back supresessd and deceloped by the shadow elite

now if u dont know taht and u call ur self scietist
or smart dude

u might as well go watch american idol its same use

D666
5 / 5 (5) Dec 18, 2008
How do you explain the fact...


I have several explanations.

1) As I mentioned to Vellinarius (sp?) a while back, I am 300 lbs of solid muscle, I run a mile in 3 minutes flat, I taught Kung Fu to the Chinese, and I'm over 300 years old.

It's easy to make claims, especially on a forum like this where there's no obligation or opportunity to back them up.

2) Claims of healing and other miracles are common, not just among christians, but among followers of every formal faith and probably every informal one, as well as from people who don't attribute the miracle to any kind of god. So your claims, even if I was to take them seriously, are just as likely to prove the existance of Krishna, Buddha (yes, I know, not a god), and the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Or ESP, or the claim that the universe is just a figment of our imaginations.

Add to that the fact that every properly designed study has completely failed to support any such claims -- the one they did in Britain actually showed that people who knew they were being prayed for did *worse* in recovery (which they attribute to performance anxiety). And insurance companies, who you will agree couldn't care less about anything except money so aren't likely to take any kind of philosophical stance, don't detect any statistical difference between theists and non-theists in terms of health, accidents, house fires, robberies, etc etc etc, for any given lifestyle.

So what you have is a claim of miracles, response to prayer, etc, that you insist is very real and is the basis for your faith, but which can't be proven by any unbiased study. It's kind of like the guy on Mystery Men who could only turn himself invisible when no-one was watching.
D666
5 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2008
I was a creationist until last year.


I hear ya! I was raised Catholic, at a time when Vatican II hadn't filtered down to the rural level. I was taught creationism straight. I was also taught that men have one fewer set of ribs than women because Adam's rib was taken to make Eve. The revelation that this wasn't so was the first nail in the coffin for my faith (one of many).

In my teens, I became a baptist. Yes, accepted Christ, got baptised by full immersion, the whole nine yards. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to turn off my brain and kept asking inconvenient questions. I was told "that's the devil speaking through you" a few too many times, and came to realize that, regardless of whether there's an actual god, formal religion is nothing but a way for one group of people to control another group of people.

aaronfaby
4 / 5 (1) Dec 18, 2008
@Quantum_Conundrum:

Are you going to actually answer my question, or just continue to spew more meaningless biblical nonsense?
thales
5 / 5 (4) Dec 18, 2008
As for the healing of the man's leg, there were at least a dozen adults present, and several teens and children present, most of which are still alive to this day. There was no possibility of a hoax. There were no smoke, mirrors, or light shows, and no money involved.

Now let us pretend that I just might have somehow been mistaken, that there is some other explaination for a man's leg growing out by several inches like something you saw in the "Swamp Thing" movie.

Now, you tell me what that explaination might be?


James Randi, who is well known for being a former magician turned debunker of paranormal claims, wrote a book some years ago called "The Faith Healers". Here's an excerpt:

"The illusion can depend on the fact that [the faith healer] swings the two legs away from the audience so that they are not truly at right angles to the audience, while the chair (and the person%u2019s body) remains slightly turned toward the audience. This displaces the feet relative to one another, and they do not meet, the legs thus seeming to be of differing lengths. To cause the %u201Cgrowth%u201D of the nearer leg, [the faith healer] simultaneously presses the loose shoe into place and swings the legs into line with the subject%u2019s body."

Please note that this requires no smoke, mirrors, or light shows. It's also worth pointing out that people may be motivated by things other than money.
D666
5 / 5 (7) Dec 19, 2008
The point is, you can neither "disprove" my intellectual and spiritual convictions that God is real, nor "disprove" my personal experiences.


Quantum: It's kind of hard to tell who you are answering if you don't give at least a little bit of attribution. Either way though, I need to respond to this.

The thing is, I neither want nor need to disprove your beliefs. I fully support your right to believe anything you want, and I would fight just as hard to defend religious freedom as I would any other constitutional right (such as sexual orientation, for instance). Frankly, as long as you stay out of my face, I couldn't care less.

But that doesn't mean I have to *respect* your opinion, or sit quietly and listen while you inflict it on me or others. These flame-fests generally are not so much about religion as they are about the religious, if you get my drift. It tends to be the case that relatively hard-line religious types will climb onto a forum, make a bunch of pronouncements that are blatantly offensive based on their religious views, then adopt a "wounded innocent" posture when people shoot back. It's disingenuous and just prompts more shooting and expressions of contempt.

The important point is this: You are not in a privileged position; you do not have the moral high ground; you cannot judge yet not be judged; you have no entitlement from which to criticize yet be immune to criticism; you are not entitled in any way to expect better treatment than you mete out.

Now, your first impulse may be to dismiss my comments with a sneer and a wave of the hand. Feel free. It's completely irrelevant. This is not a negotiation. I (and all humanists) don't have to "win" in the sense of converting you. All we really have to do is make it clear that theists do not have the power to inflict their beliefs on the rest of us any more. And really, that's all we're trying for.

thales
5 / 5 (3) Dec 19, 2008
@ D666: Bravo!
GDM
3.5 / 5 (2) Dec 24, 2008
So...getting back to the original article, the father/mother of us all was a bit of slime, right?

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.