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Complex design.

I am an Athiest or evolutionist, whatever.( A rose by any other name.) I agree with Richard Dawkins mostly , except in one instance. He goes on to say that any designer capable of designing something really complex, ( the design in nature.) has to be even more complex himself. What he has not taken into consideration is the species themselves. What could be a more simple explanation. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth.

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    Jun 22 2011: I've read over this conversation and I'm afraid I'm not going to bother with continuing it. Beyond this post obvoisly :)

    @Derek
    When you make any sense at all, which isn't often, you're jumping from point to point with poor reasoning, positing vague evidence and speculation as proof. It seems impossible to hold a rational conversation with you so I'm not going to attempt to.
    @Alex
    A valiant effort for reason but I think you're fighting an unwinnable battle.
    • Jun 22 2011: Hi Simon thanks for your imput, it was appreciated. What I was trying to do was explain how intelligence evolved, which had so much to do with the mutations, but of course that is like looking for the missing link. That is why it caused so much controversy. In a nutshell, I was trying to explain the dormancy that existed at the beginning of life and how it is still with us today. That being so, means that evolution is by design, If it was random; the dormancy would not be there. Thanks again Simon.
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    Jun 16 2011: dawkins does not argue that the creator has to be more complex. he exactly says that this is the creationist fallacy. they state that the world surely has an intelligent designer, since simple processes can not produce complexity. so dawkins asks: if we have an intelligent designer, who is obviously more complex than the world, don't we need a super intelligent designer who created the intelligent designer? since he could not come to existence any other way. and if the intelligent designer, a highly complex being, was never created, just exists, then why don't we assume that the world just exists?

    dawkins argues that in fact simple things can create complex things, as demonstrated by evolution.
    • Jun 16 2011: Hello Krisztian. " Dawkins argues that simple things can create complex things." Complex designs need ability to conduct a pattern. Without ability the complex designs would spiral out of control. Not my idea, the credit goes to the scientific community. They seem to agree with me that the laws of nature cannot be altered. When I refer to ability, I mean a natural ability not a spiritual one. What Dawkins is talking about is design by chance. Ask any gambler what chance would have done, especially over billions of years.
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        Jun 17 2011: no, it is your idea. scientific community, whatever it is, does not say anything of the sort. the entire universe is created by simple and random (aimless) processes.
        • Jun 17 2011: Hi Krisztian. Explain how design can happen without the ability to control it and guide it?
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          Jun 17 2011: I think there's a book for you called "The Blind Watchmaker". I'm serious, this book will answer your question.
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        Jun 17 2011: derek, the word "design" assumes conscious action. as we know, there are no signs that the world came to existence via conscious action. that is, the world was not designed.
        • Jun 18 2011: Hi Krisztian. Of course I can't assume that the world was created by conscious action and I don't beleive it was. Life at the beginning I do assume was created by accident, it is what follows, that my debate is based on. I am not a religious person.
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    Jul 13 2011: I thought Dawkins used the argument you listed above to argue against the existence of God in the first place? as far as I understood his quote supports what you're basically arguing for and you pretty much answered yourself with the question.
    • Jul 14 2011: Hello Zein, sorry I have not answered sooner; I haven't been too well. Dawkins says that to have a complex design means to have a more complex designer. His theory is; evolution is random and cannot have a designer, meaning God of course. I am an atheist but I disagree with him, I believe you can have one without the other. It's finding the means that nature has, to pass on that information to the process of evolution. Think; if there is a design where is the best place to look to find where it's coming from, it surely must be the species? I am not refferring to environmental mutations, it goes much deeper than that. My research goes into new territory; being new, I am getting a lot of negative response. It's my fault I should never attempted to try out new ideas on the web and I shall be more prepared next time. Hope this explains why I disagree with Dawkins. I have decided to withdraw from this debate because of the reasons I have given. Thank you for your imput.
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    Jun 16 2011: That makes no sense whatsoever, can you please rephrase it?
    • Jun 16 2011: Hi Mat. Please read my reply to the others.
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        Jun 17 2011: I'm out of this thread, this isn't science. This is some weird obsession you have with selection at the level of species and some sort of inexistent guiding force of nature.
        • Jun 17 2011: Hi Mat. It will always be non-existent to you. With respect, you have given up thinking.
    • Jun 19 2011: Hi Mat. If you are still there, look up my reply to Alex; it will explain my view on, "The Blind Watchmaker."
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        Jun 19 2011: I'm pretty sure Richard Dawkins wouldn't confirm your thoughts at all. You clearly haven't read anything that he or any biologist have written have you? First of all, let's get one thing strait: mutations are random but the process of natural selection isn't. It's not hard from here to see how the better adapted organisms triumph over the less adapted ones over eons of time. That's in no way total randomness. There is still no need here for any driving force from within a species or whatever level of selection you want to ascribe a hidden force to.

        There are very good reasons why it is theorised that an asteroid killed the dinosaurs, it isn't just a popular idea. For one, the K-T boundary is particularly rich in Iridium, an element that is rare on Earth but commonplace in asteroids. You can find some of the other evidence yourself. Not going to spoon-feed you all of the science when wikipedia and the internet are at your disposal.

        I don't know where you get the idea that everything in life has a purpose, I think it's something you cling on to from your religious past. As far as I can tell, the universe is meaningless. Meaning and purpose are human constructs.

        There is also a distinct possibility that if intelligence went extinct, it would not resurface. It's not the most popular survival strategy. To focus on intelligence rather than anything else to me sounds like uninformed narcisim. Sounds like the age old misconceptions that somehow humans are the most evolved, the finished product of evolution or some such ridiculoud notion. What matters, is how well your genes replicate. All living species are champions in that respect in all but few seriously rely on intelligence for survival.

        Edit: Seriously read "The Blind Watchmaker".
        2nd edit: Dawkins giving your intelligence obsession a serious stab. http://www.channel4.com/programmes/genius-of-britain/4od#3080365 41 minutes in.
        • Jun 19 2011: Matt, I have looked up "The Blind Watchmaker." Dawkins cannot get away with random when he comes up against a brick wall. Random only feeds that what he doesn't believe in. How silly can you get. You mention genes replicating; Answer me, how do those genes know what design is needed to allow the species to survive. Survival of the fittest only produces a symmetrical copy of the original only maybe stronger adapted, but only adapted to the same environment. Most of the time during the billions of years, the mutations have also required a change in DNA. Survival of what? produces this change. Random means no purpose and so no thinking. That's not for me. You also say that my ideas are uniformed nasissism, what is it when science and yourself use the word random because you have no other way to go, you have stopped thinking. You say "Distinct possibility." when referring to the possibility of intelligent life not resurfacing after an extinction. This only proves you are basing some of your iknowledge on theories and I am sorry, but theories have to be challenged, otherwise the world would still be flat. I am sure you will agree with the next observation; science and logic dictate that the first life-form must have been a dormant one. If this is so, all life on earth must have inherited some traits from that ancestor. All life has a subcoscious, otherwise it would have nowhere to store its memory. How would it know what to eat and where to find it. When we dream, most of what we dream can be explained by our every day experiences, but occasionally there comes a dream that defies any explanation. Is this the dormancy we have all inherited? All life has this dormancy because all life has a subconscious. This dormancy must be as important today as it was billions of years ago. The secret of intelligence; is it in there somewhere? Much more to come. (Fact.)
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        Jun 19 2011: You're talking absolute nonsense. Read the goddamn book, not some description you found on the internet!

        "how do those genes know what design is needed to allow the species to survive.", they don't. That's why deleterious genes perish whilst adapted genes prevail in a given environment. It's pretty straighforward.

        "Most of the time during the billions of years, the mutations have also required a change in DNA" A mutation IS consistently a change in DNA. How can you have a non-genetic mutation?

        "Random means no purpose and so no thinking. That's not for me.","what is it when science and yourself use the word random because you have no other way to go, you have stopped thinking." All your unfounded opinions that real scientists couldn't give a crap about.

        "science and logic dictate that the first life-form must have been a dormant one." Uhmm what?

        "All life has a subcoscious, otherwise it would have nowhere to store its memory. How would it know what to eat and where to find it." Bacteria don't have a subconscious. They don't need to store memory. Plants don't have a subconscious. All the resources they need are available without them having to seek it and if it is not they'll simply just die while others live in resource-rich environments.

        I honestly think most or all your questions would be answered by a good old science book on the subject. You seem to base your ideas mostly on questions rather than answers which is fine except your questions have been answered already and they don't look good for your natural guiding system or whatever it is. You can continue trying to ridicule my views but it's falling on death ears, nobody here thinks you have an ounce of credibility and I feel particularly unmoved by comments like "How silly can you get.". You're a stubborn man that doesn't want to admit that his pet idea might be wrong.
        • Jun 19 2011: Hi Matt. Deleteriuos genes perish while adapted genes prevail. Of course they do! I have no broblem with that. I am on about a completly new ball game which you ignore, why I don't know. I am trying to convey the why's and how's that caused intelligence to evolve. How would adapted genes be able to do this? You seem to be avoiding answering the purpose of the reign of the dinosaur. You also avoid saying anything about the dormancy that all life possesses. The virus is a dormant form of life, consists as you know of RNA or DNA. Because it can only replicate by attaching to a living body it is presumed dead by science. (This is for the benefit of the readers, you already know this.) The virus can survive in extreme heat, extreme cold and even in a vacuum. This dormancy, that you did not comment on, is connected to all life, the virus perhaps could be our ancestor from when life first began. Could you confirm or deny that this is possible, with a proper explanation. You may not think so, but I am genuinely interested in your answer. I am aware that the virus as far as we know has no subconscious, but it does possess one emotion. The need to survive. Without this there would be no beginning.
        • Jun 20 2011: Derek, I tried to explain the how and why of the evolution of intelligence. It is random changes that are selected for. Mutation have a certain probability of happening (http://www.genomeweb.com/sequencing/1000-genomes-researchers-find-variable-germline-mutation-rates-humans says that humans pass on in the region of 30-50 de novo germ line mutations to their offspring). The chance of any of these affecting intelligence in positive fashion is not quite zero, but probably approaching zero. The mutations that confer a benefit are selected for, deleterious ones selected against.

          I also don't see why there must be a purpose to the reign of the dinosaurs. They were the best adapted larger life form at that time in those niches, and therefore they were widespread.

          In my view (as a virologist) you cannot assume that the first lifeform was "dormant" (which is not a word we'd use anyway, I think you are looking for "parasite"), as it wouldn't be able to survive without the machinery of other living organisms. The likelyhood is that the first self-replicating molecules (or life if you will) were either protein based (think prions) or RNA based.

          You do have a tendency in your answers to be anthropomorphic and anthropocentric. You assign emotions to things that don't have them (viruses for starters) and you suggest that other organisms are further down the evolutionary scale than us. We are not the pinnacle of evolution, we are one branch. Apes are not less evolved than us, neither are rabbits, butterflies or dandelions. All have undergone the selection process through random mutation and selective pressures as we have, their adaptations just manifest themselves in a different way.
        • Jun 20 2011: Hi Matt. I feel I must apologise for misleading you, it was not done purposely. Somewhere along the road our paths met for a fleeting moment. The path I am on cannot be observed under a microscope, at least not yet, but who knows in the future? I admire your knowledge of biology and know you speak the truth, I agree with what you say. I am to old and thick to challenge you in this field anyway. Let me leave you with this last insight to where I am coming from. An individual learns a trade then decides to change to another type of work. That trade will still be with them whenever its use is needed. However when that individual dies, all that they have learned, dies with them. (Remember the dormancy that connects us all.) When an individual dies within a species, the species does not die. In the absence of divine help, the species can only rely on the individuals to supply that information for it to evolve, it can only do this if it can retain that information. (Memory, remember the virus, perhaps the beginning of memory.) I know you are going to jump in here and say environment, but environment is only the trigger, its what pulls the trigger that I am seeking. Ability without some kind of guidance would spiral out of control.
        • Jun 20 2011: Sorry for jumping into your debate with Matt here, but I am intrigued by what you're saying, eventhough I think that you are going down the wrong track with this.

          A species does not want to evolve, it does so as a result of the environment. An Individual dieing in a species does cause the loss of any beneficial mutations as they they would have been passed on to the next generation. Any learnt traits will not be passed on genetically (that would be Lamarckist in the extreme). The only way for learnt traits to pass on is through culture/nurture/whateveryou like to call it.

          I am also still unclear what you understand by dormancy. I don't think you areusing it in the classic biological fashion where it is used for things like dormant bacterial spores in extreme environments that will start growing again when conditions suit reproduction, as I don't see how this can be connecting us all.
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        Jun 20 2011: I appreciate your apology although I still believe that you're attempting to fill the gaps in your own knowledge rather than in our scientific knowledge. Maybe if you just read some evolutionary biology you would realize you're trying to fix a problem that isn't one. I know everyone wants to have the revolutionary idea that changes everything in science, but stubbornness is not a good measure of how great an idea is.
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    Jun 16 2011: I'm sorry, I've not really understood you're meaning here.

    Can you ellaborate on what you mean by "What he has not taken into consideration is the species themselves. What could be a more simple explanation."
    • Jun 16 2011: Hi Simon. What I mean by not considering the species, is; since evolution is for the benefit of the species, then the species are best placed to decide what is best for the species. How this information is passed on, is the next big step for science. Its saves the need for a complex designer.
      • Jun 17 2011: How does a species decide where evolution will take it? For starters, evolution/natural selection is driven by variation caused by random mutations. Then, the selective pressures acting on a species are out of its control (climate, predation etc). The only species that has some say in where its evolution will go is our own as we can (or will be able to) change our genetic code at will. However, at the moment we choose not to due to ethical reasons. So even humans are not "guiding" their own evolution.
        • Jun 17 2011: Hi Alex. You write has if evolution is in charge of the changes. Environment ( climate change included.) is only the trigger, it's what pulls the trigger that will give us the answers we crave. Our own evolutionary destiny can only be guided by our needs to survive. With intelligence comes a knowledge of our mortality and an ever expanding environment. (The Cosmos.) If this is not evidence of a design, what is? Because of that need to change, due to nature's own pattern, what makes you think that man's genetic code -change would stand the test of time? It would be up against the biggest opponent, nature herself. Darwin experimented with cross breeding, but when left alone to their own device, the species returned gradually to their origin. You also mention ethical reasons for not changing genetic codes. We are one world, one race. The human race. Our intelligence comes from the multitude of positive and negative emotions, each complimenting one another. For example; how could we know love without knowing hate? We couldn't. Though we may not like to think so; intelligent life could not exist without them, it's the food that intelligent life feeds on. Without stimulation we would not be here. The source of how information is passed on by the species to evolution, is a question I hope will come along eventually.
        • Jun 20 2011: Hello Alex. Science says that evolution is random, but it is only a theory until proved so, random explains everything and tells us nothing. Environment is only the trigger, its what pulls the trigger that is the most important. I do agree that there are random mutations though. Mutations are not just the survival of the fittest. this scenario comes more prominent after mutations have created a variety of different species. It is not always the fittest that survive, it can also be the weakest. (Physically that is.)The apes are good example where intelligence reigns supreme. When danger threatens, they gather together holding sticks and stones accompanied by the most threatening noise. It strikes fear into most predators. About the dormancy; science and logic dictate that the first life was a dormant one. The virus perhaps. This being so, then traits from that first life-form must have been inherited by all its decendents, all life on earth. When we dream most of what we see can be traced to our everyday experiences. Then there are dreams that happen now and again where there is no possible explanation. Could this be the dormancy that all life has inherited? These dreams are hidden in our subconscious and all life has a subconscious, where else could it keep its memory? Without memory life would not know what to eat and where to find it, life could not exist. All life has a subconscious so all life must possess this dormancy, It has been said that bacteria has no subconscious with which I agree. But all life even bacteria or the virus have the instinct for survival or there would have been no beginning. This one emotion would have started to evolve to all the emotions we have today. This dormancy must be as important today as it was all those billions of years ago. We all know it is there, Science hides it head in the sand, I think I know the reason why. They dare not speak its name.
      • Jun 17 2011: I think that what you struggle with is the concept of the vast amount of time involved in evolving a complex organism. You are also quite Lamarckist (inheritance of acquired characteristics) in your views of evolution. And finally you seem to be advocating some new-age spirituality. None of which is going to help you in your understanding of evolution.

        You look at finished product and seem to think that there is no way that this complexity can arrived through random chance and that there must be some sort of guidance. I would also recommend "The Blind Watchmaker" if you get the chance. The speed of evolutionary change is dependent on the rate of mutation, the amount of selective pressure and the number of individuals.

        A small population can evolve quicker than a large population, but it is less potential to do so due to less inherent variation. In case of a dramatic change of environment the selective pressures increase and this will speed up natural selection. Mutation rate can depend on solar activity etc. In general for a new beneficial mutation to spread through a large population you will need hundreds of generations if not thousands. In bacteria this can be done in days (hence the antibiotic strains we see), in mammals this will take thousands of years.

        The species has a whole has no say in where the selective pressures take it. What might be beneficial now (take increased melanin production in equatorial humans to protect against UV radiation), might be detrimental tomorrow (if they move to northern latitudes where they won't be able to make enough Vitamin D). Natural selection is random, brutal and takes a long time. There are far more variants that are no longer present in the gene pool than that made it through. Not because we decided to, but because the unfit variants did not manage to reproduce.
        • Jun 18 2011: Hello Alex. I agree with all you have written and I do appreciate it, but that is not the journey I am on. I am aware of "The watch maker." Your aim (I maybe wrong.) is to explain the very slow and complex way animal life mutates. When Dawkins talks about evolution being random, he is doing the same thing that religion does when being stumped by the unexplainable. One uses the excuse of divine help, the other uses the word random. They both explain everything but tell us nothing. I am sure Dawkins would confirm this. At the top of my list regarding evolution was; The Survival of the Fittest. It is no longer the case, at the top of my list now is; The Survival of the Most Intelligent. Science goes on forever talking about how the physical changes came about, but how did our intelligence develop through all this evolving. Science has reconstructed the demise of the dinosaur in so many ways, yet 99% of the population think it was by a meteor. (Power of suggestion maybe.) On the other hand they struggle and don't try to explain their purpose. Random means no purpose, like religion it stops us from thinking. The scale that brought this reign of terror has since been on the decline and it will probably not happen again. Why? Everything has a purpose. One more question; if intelligent life should become extinct, would life start again on its quest for intelligence.? Only if there is a design pattern would this be possible.
      • Jun 19 2011: I am starting to get it a bit more now. I think Intelligence is something that develops in social animals, especially if they're not as physically strong as some of their competitors. Being able to communicate advance plans, set traps etc would have been essential to early humans, and as a result would have been selected for (be it by the less intelligent getting killed by predators etc. or by the more intelligent getting recognition as the "alpha" males and females of the pack). Now how intelligence manifests itself on a physical level apart from an increase in brain volume to body size ratio, I don't know. Maybe in the ease in which new neuron connections form and reinforce themselves? All of which could arise by random mutation.

        The survival of the most intelligent IS the survival of the fittest for animals such as ourselves, chimpanzees or maybe even dolphins and wolves. For a solitary hunter such as a cheetah the ability to communicate has no benefit, so it wouldn't be selected for.

        Would intelligence develop again? Quite possibly, as it is obviously a highly successful trait for animals such as ourselves.
        • Jun 19 2011: Hi Alex. What you say is spot on. Intelligence would grow under pressure to survive. Before all that could happen there would have to be a genetic change to allow intelligence to develop more. The secret is in the memory, animals further down the evolutionary scale than ourselves have less memory and so are less intelligent.
      • Jun 20 2011: And the genetic change is a random mutation that was then selected for.

        Memory has something to do with the formation, reinforcement and selective culling of synapses, which again are biological effects that can be formed through the process of random mutation and selection.

        Nothing alive today is below us on the evolutionary scale. All species have had the same amount of time to adapt to the environment and undergone selection. Different species just have a different set of adaptations that allow them to thrive in their niche.
      • Jun 22 2011: "Science says that evolution is random"

        It isn't though. Mutations are random, selection isn't. Selection is the organiser. Deleterious mutations have a lower chance to be passed on than neutral ones or beneficial ones. I'd adviceyou to look at some texts describing population genetics or genetic drift.

        " It is not always the fittest that survive, it can also be the weakest. (Physically that is.)"

        Fitness in the evolutionary is not a description of physical fitness as in sports. Fitness is a measure of how well adapted an organism is to its environment. Physical fitness might be part of it in certain situations, but so might the ability to digest certain foods, a colour scheme or intelligence.

        "About the dormancy; science and logic dictate that the first life was a dormant one."

        In biology this is the definition of dormancy: "In a condition of biological rest or inactivity characterized by cessation of growth or development and the suspension of many metabolic processes." This is not what you mean, but I still don't get what you mean with dormant.

        "These dreams are hidden in our subconscious and all life has a subconscious, where else could it keep its memory? Without memory life would not know what to eat and where to find it, life could not exist. All life has a subconscious so all life must possess this dormancy, It has been said that bacteria has no subconscious with which I agree. But all life even bacteria or the virus have the instinct for survival or there would have been no beginning. This one emotion would have started to evolve to all the emotions we have today."

        Sorry but this is just new age mumbo-jumbo. If you do not have a complex nervous system you cannot store memories. Emotions are human construct. A survival instinct is obviously selected for. Those that survive reproduce, if you lack a survival instinct you won't passon your genes. We talked about the Blind Watchamker earlier, the Selfish Gene might be another one you want to look at.
        • Jun 22 2011: Hi Alex. I have mislead you. My appoligies. I agree with your description, mutations are random, but what I was trying to get across was the intelligence factor, that crept in from who knows where. When I said physical, I had wrongly tried to emphasize the impact that intelligence made to evolution. What I was trying to explain about the dormancy was; if that dormancy is still with us, then evolution is by design and not random as suggested. I have researched this part of my work and at this point I am sure you would not agree with me if I told you. This is purely because it is a new way to go. There is one question I would like answered; is there proof of a primitve, let's say virus, having no other but the instinct for survival or is it just a theory. You say that emotions are a human construct, but my studies involved a lot of species with various levels of emotion, the higher the level, the more intelligent the species. Alex I hope there is solid proof regarding the fact that life could not have begun from nerve lacking systems, I can't see how science can predict with any confidence, that which they cannot see. Sorry if you think I am stubborn, but I have experienced so many mistakes made by science, it's like politics, you can't believe a word they say. Sorry again for misleading you, I put it down to my lack of education and my age.
      • Jun 22 2011: Would it be possible to explain exactly in a couple of sentences what you actually mean with the words dormant and dormancy? Because I am still not clear what your use of the word is.

        Life obviously started from organisms without a nervous sytem, as nerve cells require specialised cell types which only arose when multicellular life started.

        I still think you project human concepts on to other organisms. Viruses or bacteria have no emotions. Survival is not an emotion, it is a given. A living organism that does not include a mechanism to survive long enough to reproduce will not pass on its genetic material, one that does will. There is no "want" to survive, it is all down to selection again. Most "emotions" you attribute to animals will be instincts, it is only really mammals that show anything resembling emotions such as fear or pleasure.

        As for your criticism of science, Ifeel that this might be due to a lack of understanding of the scientific method. Scientists don't expect you to believe them, they expect you to look through the data and come to a similar conclusion. Most scientific "discoveries" that have since been proven wrong (eg mmr/autism link, table top fusion etc) were due to the non-scientific media over inflating the importance a single paper, without waiting for other scientists to carry out the same investigations and either reinforcing or disproving the conclusions from the original paper. Something like the theory of natural selection has so much empirical data from so many sources that is highly unlikely to be false. The development of intelligence fits in to the natural selection quite readily, so I don't see why you are looking for another paradigm. If you had some hard data, preferably peer-reviewed to back your assertions up, the more brusque members of this site would take you more serious. I try to be civil in my arguments and try to educate, as that is what I do for a living.
        • Jun 23 2011: Hello Alex; I sense an element of frustration, please bear with me. The evidence of a dormant beginning I have started to register and have had 100% success up to now. Whether I am right or wrong will not be decided at this moment, there is a lot more evidence to gather. The dormancy that I refer to is the dormancy that science assumes was the first life-form. It's all about matching that dormancy with life today. I have consulted an advanced biologist, in fact he is a friend whom I met at the writer's club. When you mention selective instinct for survival, I agree totally. The difference with the virus is; it means attaching to a living host. There are theories that this came about because there probably was two kinds of virus. The way science goes about trying to convince itself as well as others, leaves me in no doubt that there could be another answer. No need for you to answer Alex and thank you for your imput, I do appreciate it.