Blood Vessels, Tree Branches, and Lightning

Fateless7
Posts: 111
Joined: 2007-09-27
User is offlineOffline
Blood Vessels, Tree Branches, and Lightning

Hey party people,

I made an observation years ago and was wondering what area of scientific study this would fall into. I was also hoping someone educated in this field could correct me if I am using inappropriate terminology.

Forgive me if this sounds stupid.

What I noticed is that my blood vessels are structured exactly like tree branches, and both my blood vessels and tree branches are structured exactly in the fashion that lightning is. Looking at a picture of lightning, one might say, "That looks like an electric tree branch", if you will.

When I asked scientists about this matter, I received the reply (which I don't remember word for word anymore) that the reason behind these similarities are the natural laws and their effects. The scientist said something about... the way energy moves (does anyone know what I'm talking about?)... I don't remember. But I understand. It was both a "Duh!" moment for me and yet profound at the same time (when I applied this knowlege to other concepts, which I will do shortly).

I began thinking of the intelligent design arguments, especially about the "painting in the forest" analogy, which is particularly irrational, but nonetheless interesting to consider alongside my aforementioned observation.

When we look around the planet and observe the living organisms that dwell upon it, the intelligent design proponent says it appears to be designed. However, I don't even think it even appears to be designed. I can throw a cup of water against a wall and watch it spill down onto the floor. Would I then say the behavior of this water in reaction to gravity appears designed? Does the water have the intention of spilling down? No, I would say the water behaves this way because of gravity. It does not require design, only natural law. Is lightning, then, the result of design? Nope, natural law. Are tree branches, then, the result of design? I don't think so. It appears to be the result of natural law to me.

So, when I look at living organisms, I see exactly the same thing. I see that natural law plays a part in defining the structure of all organisms, rather than a designer. Fingers, fins, tails, all of these kinds of things appear to me to be the result of the way energy moves (again, looking for someone to expand on that) combined with biological processes.

What we should expect to see, if a thing is designed, is that the structure of the thing makes a departure from the way that natural law alone would have rendered it over time (I may not have explained myself properly here, but I'm trying).

In fact, it is in this respect that the "painting in the forest" analogy completely betrays itself because the painting is the only thing in that forest that we recognize is designed. The creationist shouldn't have to even use a painting as an example. The creationist should be able to say, "If you walk into a forest and see a bush, wouldn't you say it was designed?" I guess the analogy itself proves the creationist wrong.

And if someone could help me out with this... but doesn't it then follow that all of these organisms, whose structures are demonstrably the result of natural law... is this not evidence against design?

 

 


AngelEngine
AngelEngine's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: 2007-10-01
User is offlineOffline
Hi Fateless, Im taking

Hi Fateless, Im taking biology as a major right now, so ill try to answer best i can. 

 

Fateless7 wrote:

What I noticed is that my blood vessels are structured exactly like tree branches, and both my blood vessels and tree branches are structured exactly in the fashion that lightning is. Looking at a picture of lightning, one might say, "That looks like an electric tree branch", if you will.

Nice observation, but a tad bit inaccurate. You would need 2 trees, with branches conjoining together at the tips to make it really similar between our bodies and trees. But i get your point. 

 

Quote:

When I asked scientists about this matter, I received the reply (which I don't remember word for word anymore) that the reason behind these similarities are the natural laws and their effects. The scientist said something about... the way energy moves (does anyone know what I'm talking about?)... I don't remember. But I understand. It was both a "Duh!" moment for me and yet profound at the same time (when I applied this knowlege to other concepts, which I will do shortly).

He obviously believes in a life force. He is most likely referring to the fact that every living organism is connected. However, this belief is closer to religion than it is to science. Shamans share the same belief in the middle east.

Quote:
 

I began thinking of the intelligent design arguments, especially about the "painting in the forest" analogy, which is particularly irrational, but nonetheless interesting to consider alongside my aforementioned observation.

The life force beleif is significantly different from the deistic belief. In a deistic religion, god is the creator of all things. In the life force belief, an all powerful god, or even a higher power is unnecessary. Its just the energy of life connecting us all together. That energy, can not in any way be considered to be god, or even conscious.

 This life force beleif is strongly supported by certain situations. One famous one, is the fact that Dogs can live way beyond their life expectancy to serve their masters, and when their masters die, so does the dog, at the exact same time. A few other candidates, are when we can sense someone coming before they open thedoor, and the fact that twins are strongly attuned to each other.

Quote:
 

In fact, it is in this respect that the "painting in the forest" analogy completely betrays itself because the painting is the only thing in that forest that we recognize is designed. The creationist shouldn't have to even use a painting as an example. The creationist should be able to say, "If you walk into a forest and see a bush, wouldn't you say it was designed?" I guess the analogy itself proves the creationist wrong.

The analogy with the painting, is showing that you only think the painting was designed, because it was so obviously designed. However, when looking at a tree, its much harder to think that this tree was "obviously designed", unlike a painting. Therefore, the creationists is saying, "although you may not notice it, a tree is designed too, much like a painting". Frankly, this is a stupid argument to me. 

Quote:
 

And if someone could help me out with this... but doesn't it then follow that all of these organisms, whose structures are demonstrably the result of natural law... is this not evidence against design?

 

This is where creationists claim that even natures designs are actually a creators design. They state, that our bodies are beautifully crafted, and only an intelligent designer couldve done so.

Its up to your interpretation. You can interpret the designs of mother nature to contradict a design from an intelligent being. A creationist will interpret the designs of mother nature, coming from an intelligent being.  

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Fateless7
Posts: 111
Joined: 2007-09-27
User is offlineOffline
AngelEngine wrote: Hi

AngelEngine wrote:

Hi Fateless, Im taking biology as a major right now, so ill try to answer best i can. 

 

Fateless7 wrote:

What I noticed is that my blood vessels are structured exactly like tree branches, and both my blood vessels and tree branches are structured exactly in the fashion that lightning is. Looking at a picture of lightning, one might say, "That looks like an electric tree branch", if you will.

Nice observation, but a tad bit inaccurate. You would need 2 trees, with branches conjoining together at the tips to make it really similar between our bodies and trees. But i get your point. 

 

Quote:

When I asked scientists about this matter, I received the reply (which I don't remember word for word anymore) that the reason behind these similarities are the natural laws and their effects. The scientist said something about... the way energy moves (does anyone know what I'm talking about?)... I don't remember. But I understand. It was both a "Duh!" moment for me and yet profound at the same time (when I applied this knowlege to other concepts, which I will do shortly).

He obviously believes in a life force. He is most likely referring to the fact that every living organism is connected. However, this belief is closer to religion than it is to science. Shamans share the same belief in the middle east.

Hey AngelEngine, thanks for your reply.

I should have said that if you take a portions of tree branches or blood vessels, their structure is very much alike (almost identical in their pattern). You know what I mean!

I remember more now. No, the scientist was not talking about a life force-- this is way off. It was completely scientific. He said something like, "Energy moves in the most efficient way possible". Something like this was the explanation for why the formation of blood vessels and tree branches and lightning are dramatically similar.


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
Energy takes the path of

Energy takes the path of least resistance. So the blood flow in your veins takes the most productive path. The blood vessels should distribute pressure evenly to ensure all the blood gets to the destination and 'branching out' is the most effective way.


Fateless7
Posts: 111
Joined: 2007-09-27
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote:Energy

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Energy takes the path of least resistance. So the blood flow in your veins takes the most productive path. The blood vessels should distribute pressure evenly to ensure all the blood gets to the destination and 'branching out' is the most effective way.

That's what I'm talking about! Thanks.

I recovered the scientist's reply from an archive:

http://www.madsci.org/posts/archives/2002-12/1039795663.Ph.r.html

Nuclear Astrophysics is so impressive sounding, don't you think? I'm tempted to study it just because it sounds so cool.

He says the lightning is more of a coincidence but that the blood vessels and tree branches are not. He says that they evolved into their most effective form.

If this is the way energy travels due to natural law, then it makes sense that this branching structure could develop in the absence of design. Of course, we have to remember that we are composed of billions of individual cells working together. Kind of freaky, huh? The cells themselves, then, are responsible for the branching. Or are they? Was there an amount of electricity present that guided their behavior? I need to know this stuff.

Anyone know why cells do what they do? 


AngelEngine
AngelEngine's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: 2007-10-01
User is offlineOffline
Cpt_pineapple wrote: Energy

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Energy takes the path of least resistance. So the blood flow in your veins takes the most productive path. The blood vessels should distribute pressure evenly to ensure all the blood gets to the destination and 'branching out' is the most effective way.

No offense, Cpt_Pineapple, but its a bit off comparing a closed electrical Circuit to a human circulatory system. Although electicity is bound by natures laws to pass through pats of least resistance, this is only because the path is easier to take. However, the blood coursing through your vains cannot choose which path to take.

Also, the blood vessels do not branch out so that the pressure is distributed evenly. The Blood vessels turn into capilaries, so that the surface area is increased to its maximum, to ensure the maximum amount of gas exchange between the capilaries and the cells surrounding it.

Unlike the tree, which does not utilize its branches purely for the reason of increasing its surface area.

 

I know, im being anal about this. However, just thought id correct you on those two points. 

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Fateless7
Posts: 111
Joined: 2007-09-27
User is offlineOffline
AngelEngine wrote: Also,

AngelEngine wrote:

Also, the blood vessels do not branch out so that the pressure is distributed evenly. The Blood vessels turn into capilaries, so that the surface area is increased to its maximum, to ensure the maximum amount of gas exchange between the capilaries and the cells surrounding it.

Unlike the tree, which does not utilize its branches purely for the reason of increasing its surface area.

I know, im being anal about this. However, just thought id correct you on those two points. 

AngelEngine,

Quote:

Trees use a branched structure to deliver nutrients as well. They must also maximize the surface area they can deliver nutrients to and from, because they need the maximum area possible to be exposed to sunlight. That's why they end in flat leaves. It also minimizes the distance nutrients and water have to travel between the roots and individual leaves while at the same time making each leaf approximately the same distance up the structure.

Sounds like the same thing to me.

I don't think either plant or animal is utilizing their branching structure, per se, as if the cells thought up the idea, but natural selection would tend to allow only the most efficient structures to survive. Maybe there were other creatures whose structure was less efficient and did not branch as well. I don't know that yet, however.

Ah, so much to learn.

 


Cpt_pineapple
atheist
Cpt_pineapple's picture
Posts: 5487
Joined: 2007-04-12
User is offlineOffline
AngelEngine

AngelEngine wrote:

Cpt_pineapple wrote:
Energy takes the path of least resistance. So the blood flow in your veins takes the most productive path. The blood vessels should distribute pressure evenly to ensure all the blood gets to the destination and 'branching out' is the most effective way.

No offense, Cpt_Pineapple, but its a bit off comparing a closed electrical Circuit to a human circulatory system. Although electicity is bound by natures laws to pass through pats of least resistance, this is only because the path is easier to take. However, the blood coursing through your vains cannot choose which path to take.

Also, the blood vessels do not branch out so that the pressure is distributed evenly. The Blood vessels turn into capilaries, so that the surface area is increased to its maximum, to ensure the maximum amount of gas exchange between the capilaries and the cells surrounding it.

Unlike the tree, which does not utilize its branches purely for the reason of increasing its surface area.

 

I know, im being anal about this. However, just thought id correct you on those two points.

 

meh, I'm studying physics, not biology. 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Thing is, blood flow in

Thing is, blood flow in humans and every other organism is NOT efficient.

The MOST efficient design would be one huge conduit running the length of the organism with shunts off of it to the major organs and shunts of said shunts to tissues - then the reverse in the opposite direction.

What we actually see is a jumble of cables interacting with and connecting sections which clearly were not there from the beginning (or moved or changed in importance to body function and metabolic demand). The fact that the heart isn't dead center in us is only the begininng of the fluid mechanical inefficiencies within us.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


aiia
Superfan
aiia's picture
Posts: 1923
Joined: 2006-09-12
User is offlineOffline
Fateless7 wrote: Anyone

Fateless7 wrote:

Anyone know why cells do what they do?

DNA


AngelEngine
AngelEngine's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: 2007-10-01
User is offlineOffline
Fateless7

Fateless7 wrote:

Quote:

Trees use a branched structure to deliver nutrients as well. They must also maximize the surface area they can deliver nutrients to and from, because they need the maximum area possible to be exposed to sunlight. That's why they end in flat leaves. It also minimizes the distance nutrients and water have to travel between the roots and individual leaves while at the same time making each leaf approximately the same distance up the structure.

Sounds like the same thing to me.

Roots, yes. Branches, not so much.

The role of the branch, is, you geussed it, leaves. However, the branches itself do not need to increase surface area, for most species of trees out there, since the leaves are the ones that photosynthesize, and not the bark.

 But then again, i never thought the branching system really was all that effecient in trees. If the leaves were directly stacked above one another(which enough room inbetween so that sunlight can get through), the lost water from each pore of the leave could simply drip down and be directly absorbed again by the tree. Meh, my opinion.Sticking out tongue

Yellow_number_five wrote:

The MOST efficient design would be one huge conduit running the length of the organism with shunts off of it to the major organs and shunts of said shunts to tissues - then the reverse in the opposite direction.

 

Actually, this would only be good for transporting blood. As for the actual gas exchange, well, its crappy. At best.

Therefore, if you want your heart to pump blood to say, your liver, this would be the best mechanism. However, it would come at the cost of not pumping blood to the rest of your body.

Quote:
What we actually see is a jumble of cables interacting with and connecting sections which clearly were not there from the beginning (or moved or changed in importance to body function and metabolic demand). The fact that the heart isn't dead center in us is only the begininng of the fluid mechanical inefficiencies within us.

Meh. Im pretty happy with where the heart is. I mean, its in the top section, which means that Gravity pretty much helps with the pumping of blood. And its not too far up, so that even if you do a summersault, you wouldnt pass out from loss of bloodflow to your body/mind. 

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Fateless7
Posts: 111
Joined: 2007-09-27
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_Number_Five

Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Thing is, blood flow in humans and every other organism is NOT efficient.

The MOST efficient design would be one huge conduit running the length of the organism with shunts off of it to the major organs and shunts of said shunts to tissues - then the reverse in the opposite direction.

What we actually see is a jumble of cables interacting with and connecting sections which clearly were not there from the beginning (or moved or changed in importance to body function and metabolic demand). The fact that the heart isn't dead center in us is only the begininng of the fluid mechanical inefficiencies within us.

Yellow- Thank you!!!

Your explanation has helped provide more clarity to my own thoughts. Since lightning bolts form the way they do purely as a result of natural law and a natural process, I think the striking resemblance of our blood vessels and the tree branches demonstrates that they have also formed as a result of a purely natural process. The fact that our bodies do not represent the most efficient structure possible reinforces this idea.

Again, the Creationists' "Painting in the Forest" analogy betrays itself by suggesting that the Painting is necessary because it is the only thing in the forest that appears to be designed. 

I was just thinking, before you posted this, "If a 'God' designed humans, wouldn't their blood vessels look different? More like the way we make computers?"

I mean, I've been an atheist, but I still like to explore these paths of logic.

 


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Yellow_number_five

Yellow_number_five wrote:

The MOST efficient design would be one huge conduit running the length of the organism with shunts off of it to the major organs and shunts of said shunts to tissues - then the reverse in the opposite direction.

 

Actually, this would only be good for transporting blood. As for the actual gas exchange, well, its crappy. At best.
Did I ever imply that the capilllaries would be removed? NO. Pay attention.

Quote:
Therefore, if you want your heart to pump blood to say, your liver, this would be the best mechanism. However, it would come at the cost of not pumping blood to the rest of your body.

Hardly. We spend about a third of our lives supine, laying down, sleeping, the other 2/3 in various states of erectness
(lol, I said erectness), obviously from a fluid mech POV the best location is central.

Quote:
Meh. Im pretty happy with where the heart is. I mean, its in the top section, which means that Gravity pretty much helps with the pumping of blood. And its not too far up, so that even if you do a summersault, you wouldnt pass out from loss of bloodflow to your body/mind. 

You have no concept of potential energy or fluid mechanics, do you?

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
Fateless7

Fateless7 wrote:
Yellow_Number_Five wrote:

Thing is, blood flow in humans and every other organism is NOT efficient.

The MOST efficient design would be one huge conduit running the length of the organism with shunts off of it to the major organs and shunts of said shunts to tissues - then the reverse in the opposite direction.

What we actually see is a jumble of cables interacting with and connecting sections which clearly were not there from the beginning (or moved or changed in importance to body function and metabolic demand). The fact that the heart isn't dead center in us is only the begininng of the fluid mechanical inefficiencies within us.

Yellow- Thank you!!!

Your explanation has helped provide more clarity to my own thoughts. Since lightning bolts form the way they do purely as a result of natural law and a natural process, I think the striking resemblance of our blood vessels and the tree branches demonstrates that they have also formed as a result of a purely natural process. The fact that our bodies do not represent the most efficient structure possible reinforces this idea.

Again, the Creationists' "Painting in the Forest" analogy betrays itself by suggesting that the Painting is necessary because it is the only thing in the forest that appears to be designed. 

I was just thinking, before you posted this, "If a 'God' designed humans, wouldn't their blood vessels look different? More like the way we make computers?"

I mean, I've been an atheist, but I still like to explore these paths of logic.

So happy you get the nuance of the point.Way to put the pieces together for yourself - It warms my ineffiiciently placed heart whenever that happens. Eye-wink

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.


lpetrich
lpetrich's picture
Posts: 148
Joined: 2007-05-14
User is offlineOffline
As to why similar sorts of

As to why similar sorts of branching patters, consider what the alternatives would be. Instead of a sequence of small numbers of branchings, one would have to have a large number of branchings at one point, producing a very bushy appearance.

And consider that both trees and circulatory systems are not always at their present size -- they were all once much smaller and simpler.

It is actually rather easy to produce the sort of branching that one finds in circulatory systems and trees. For each part, make branches when it is small, and keep that branching pattern as the part grows. Thus, those branches will be frozen into place.

There is something called an L-system, which works in this way, and which can be used to construct plausible fake trees and other vegetation.

So trees and circulatory systems and the like do not need to be laid out in advance in any detail.


AngelEngine
AngelEngine's picture
Posts: 106
Joined: 2007-10-01
User is offlineOffline
Quote: Hardly. We spend

Quote:
Hardly. We spend about a third of our lives supine, laying down, sleeping, the other 2/3 in various states of erectness
(lol, I said erectness), obviously from a fluid mech POV the best location is central.

 

You misunderstood me. I didnt say the body would have a hard time pumping blood around. I said that the body would have a hard time distributing the gasses around, since there are no capilaries and poor surface area for gas exchange to occur.

"You have no concept of potential energy or fluid mechanics, do you?"-You

 ive got a body similar to what i posted, and its worked out fine for me so far.

 

 

 

I'm infallible. I don't know why you can't remember that.


Yellow_Number_Five
atheistRRS Core MemberScientist
Yellow_Number_Five's picture
Posts: 1390
Joined: 2006-02-12
User is offlineOffline
AngelEngine

AngelEngine wrote:

Quote:
Hardly. We spend about a third of our lives supine, laying down, sleeping, the other 2/3 in various states of erectness
(lol, I said erectness), obviously from a fluid mech POV the best location is central.

You misunderstood me. I didnt say the body would have a hard time pumping blood around. I said that the body would have a hard time distributing the gasses around, since there are no capilaries and poor surface area for gas exchange to occur.

"You have no concept of potential energy or fluid mechanics, do you?"-You

 ive got a body similar to what i posted, and its worked out fine for me so far.

Your point is agian, moot. Gases in the body are transported as dissolved in liquid - not bubbles. Had you BUBBLES or actual GAS in your veins or arteries, you'd DIE, pretty damn quick. See decompression sickness.

And there is plenty of area for gas-liquid exchange - what do you think your lungs do? The lungs function as a membrane that dissolves gasses, bubblessly into your blood. I work with a similar artificial membrane technology to provide blood oxygenation to patients during surgery and dialysis.

Educate yourself.

I am against religion because it teaches us to be satisfied with not understanding the world. - Richard Dawkins

Atheist Books, purchases on Amazon support the Rational Response Squad server.