The Science of Twilight

General Discussion on the Twilight Universe

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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby debussygirl » Tue Mar 17, 2009 6:18 pm

Spiritus wrote:*Everyone who stabs me with the "it's fiction/fantasy" sword: Yes, it is. That's why I want to retract my closing point about the shapeshifters: Meyer states that they are primarily magical. But she also tells us that her "vampires" (and yes, there is venom in those quotes; I'm a mythology nut and her calling them vampires irritates me to no end) are primarily scientific creatures. The sparkles, the hybrid, she explains these things and more by way of science, and at that point certain rules come into effect. If I wrote a story that had a dragon that was clearly a machine but told you that it was a flesh-and-blood creature, how far would one's belief need to be suspended to make that convincing? If Meyer had told you that the gravity on the Earth in her story was 100x stronger than our normal Earth gravity and explained it with increased core density and nothing else, and yet everything functioned the same, would you write it off as "it's a fictional book"? No. Gravity has specific, unbending rules that it adheres to. The same applies to her vampires. When she said they worked under scientific means, they became subject to scientific rules. If she had said they were magical creatures, I would have nothing to say. But she didn't, and so, here I am.

First, thank you for your apology. I wasn't really mad at you, just that people in general have made a big deal that SM is mormon and so she shouldn't be writing vampire books.
I can see your point, so of course the science should only be bent to an extent. I think SM simply worded it incorrectly when she said that her vampires were science. I think she should have said more scientific than her wolves. Because, let's face it, it is impossible to create a vampire that does not break any of nature's laws. The very fact that they are the living dead contradict this, and I don't see how any scientist could've gotten around that.
So some things (such as their skin, sparkle, etc) should really be put off as simply fiction.
The one thing that I really did not like was the mention of chromosomes, I will admit. Since I am a loving fan and frankly, don't care much for science, I can easily toss that aside and still love the books. But the whole chromosome thing is completely off. Even with only high school biology under my belt in this one I can clearly see how it could not possibly work. However, if she had left that one detail out I think that the fantasy science she has created could work.
You also say that SM calling her creatures vampires "irritates" you to "no end". Well, I suppose that is all in personal likes and dislikes. Personally, every other vampire I have come across besides SM's have scared me silly and creeped me out. I guess it's because they aren't like those other vampires is the reason why I like them so much. They're so different that I feel like I'm not reading about vampires at all. They're more human.
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby Spiritus » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:35 am

*debussygirl: Thank you for demonstrating that those who are on these boards regularly have the capacity for calm, friendly responses to critics.

*Everyone else: You obviously seem to think that I'm pretty stupid, that I am somehow incapable of understanding the concept of "fiction". I have a shocking revelation for you all: I KNOW WHAT FICTION IS. I don't read anything BUT fiction. I'm not here to prove that vampires are scientifically impossible; that's a stupidly obvious fact. I am not here to bash the series; if I was, my posts would contain stuff like "these vampires are stupid" or "if she can't get the science right she shouldn't write at all". I am NOT saying ANY of these things. I'm not here to turn anyone against the series, and anyone who thinks I am takes themselves and the books WAY too seriously. Everyone has the same rights to like and dislike anything. I don't care if you like it or not.

I've been accused of cherrypicking. Of course I'm cherrypicking; I'm choosing specific points to discuss. If it's a sin to choose a few definitive points to examine, then I'll be sure to say an extra prayer tonight. But as far as I'm aware, having unambiguous ideas is a thing that's pretty much required for good discussion.

I've been told to read the Breaking Dawn FAQ. I have. 5 times. Before I posted here. And yes, I'm aware that Meyer says that it's all technically scientifically impossible. Pardon my language, but no shoot. We're discussing vampires. I'm an avid reader of mythological lore, including vampires, and some of the most awesome vampires are completely scientifically impossible.

ringswraith said that my purpose here is pointless because you all don't know. I. Don't. Care. If you have a correct, definitive answer. I'm not looking for someone to give me a quote and say "based on this paragraph, sparkles definitely work". I want you all to think. When I said "proved wrong", I didn't mean that I want someone to prove that sparkles are absolutely scientifically possible. I meant that I wanted you to use the what ifs you say you enjoy and set them against my points in kind, logical manner. I want someone to say "maybe the venom is really opaque and prevents light from touching their skin in big patches, thus making sparkles". I want you to use aspects of the book to contest my points (aside from "it's a book", which is a lame cop-out that's been done to death already). Proving me wrong "to my satisfaction" is you fans actually making an effort to contest them instead of just trolling me.

(Oh, and I didn't bring religion into a scientific discussion. It was an aside.)

It seems to me that the one who is taking my posts the least serious is me. I'm here to have fun, people. Have none of you ever played sports or a versus match in a video game? Is opposition the same as poison to all of you? Or is Twilight such Sooper Seereeus Bizness around here that anything critical blasphemy?

*navarre: no offense, but if my random scientific imposition prevents you from enjoying the books, you may want to examine exactly how much you actually like them.

And seriously,jenmick2? Feeble attempt? Sentence dissection? "How many books have you written"? You know these boards have a "no trolling" policy, right?

Kyrie? Same as above. If you're going to accuse someone of trolling, you might want to avoid makings insults about let's keep this PG shall we? size in the same post. Grow up.
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby Jadey » Wed Mar 18, 2009 1:57 am

Wait, Spiritus...
Why exactly are you posting on this thread..

Yes, you want to 'discuss the science of Twilight'
and you have..
Why are you still here?
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby ringswraith » Wed Mar 18, 2009 2:14 am

All right, Spiritus. Let's humor you for a moment, and let's see why this discussion will get nowhere, fast.

Let's take your point about blood as a source of nutrition. You claim:

So how can m_pires’ bloodthirst be justified? They have no needs. Their bodies are entirely self-sufficient; what little needs they have are filled by their venom (which, again, violates physics, as they never take anything in so that new venom can be made [and don’t tell me that they take in blood for this; blood doesn’t have the components to make something so powerful]). That’s the only way they can be immortal: if their bodies have no need for anything in order to perpetuate perfect, unending survival. Yet their unstoppable thirst for blood breaks this condition. The body does not create such powerful urges unless a failure to comply with them would have extremely negative consequences. But what consequences could there possibly be? They have no need for any sort of nutrition (which they couldn’t get out of blood anyways) because their cells never degenerate. Their “need” for blood is completely arbitrary and serves no purpose other than to forward the plot.

First: consequences. Not satisfying the urge to drink blood does have consequences. It makes the vampire weak and less coherent. Twilight, page 332:

"He must have been ancient, and weak with hunger."

Same page:

"The creature could have easily outrun them, but Carlisle thinks he was too hungry, so he turned and attacked."

Same, page 337:

"So he grew very hungry, and eventually weak. He strayed as far as he could from the human populace, recognizing that his willpower was weakening, too."

So, obviously, they do suffer negatives when they don't feed. Their cells may never degenerate, but that doesn't mean their minds won't, and that itself could lead to bad situations.

Second, they clearly derive some sort of nourishment from blood. Throw your vaunted physics and chemistry out the window- why are you applying such things to a fantastic creature? Do you know vampire anatomy? So what if blood, by human definition, is not nutritious?

Fact: female mosquitoes drink blood. Why? To get additional sustenance to form eggs.

Fact: leeches drink blood. According to what I've read, they are able to break down amino acids for consumption.

Maybe these vampires are the same. Who knows? We're speculating anyway.

[and don’t tell me that they take in blood for this; blood doesn’t have the components to make something so powerful]

Reposting the above because it's in really bad form. You claim to want discussion, and simultaneously shoot down a possible point of contention. And again, you're showing your bias- you don't know what a vampire's body does to blood. How can you possibly claim the above? What if these vampires turn blood into venom? Some natural venoms have enzymes. Maybe they turn proteins in the blood from one form to another.

My point still stands. Who knows? I'm certainly not going to stay awake at night wondering how the hell Emmett gets nourished by grizzly bears, or why Bella's blood smells so darn irresistible to Edward. That doesn't matter to my enjoyment of the series.

And just to make it clear, Spiritus- I never claimed you were stupid. Or dumb. Or intellectually-challenged. I simply happen to think you're looking for answers in the wrong place. With a side of "you could be wasting your time."
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby Kyrie » Wed Mar 18, 2009 7:25 am

Spiritus wrote:Kyrie? Same as above. If you're going to accuse someone of trolling, you might want to avoid makings insults about let's keep this PG shall we? size in the same post. Grow up.

Why do I always end up having to educate you people? Look:

A person's ego, pertaining exclusively to their online personality.
v. used to describe the act of showing off or stroking one's own ego.

Essentially, since you are here solely to gain online "recognition" on the various IHaetzTehTwilightz-boards you frequent, the above is what you are doing. It's got very little to do with your real-life measurements (which I am sure are more than adequate).
Oh, and - I notice you conveniently ignored the rest of my post, further adding to your troll factor. Deliberate misunderstandings, check; responding exclusively to stuff that offers easy comebacks: check.

There we go, now try again.
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby jenmick2 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 8:44 am

n/m original post.

We speculate, not debunk. So lets get back specualting here. Feel free to jump in with any of your view points Spiritus.
Lets see...I think we left off with the newborns.
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby Mrs.Edward_Cullen<3 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 9:53 am

Alright no more Mrs.Nice Guy. Spiritus, you obviously hate this series so much that you go to the extent to criticize and be hypocritical among people you don't even know if they really are the people they say they are. And I know as soon as I press submit you'll call me out and call me skeptic and hypocritical as I did to you but do I really care? I am a proud fan of the Twilight Series and so is pretty much everyone here except you. Should you really want to make people angry and destroy our little bubble of discussion and speculation? We're not incorporating this into reality. We're discussing the what if's of fiction, which means we can make up anything in our speculations. Heck I can say Victoria is Spanish bulldog and her mother was a horse who married a car and we could still speculate around that because it is pure fiction isn't? We could make ourselves think it's true if we wanted to which is the point of fiction.. To make up or think of anything we want to. Honestly I must say you are quite a good debater which I respect but you are offending lots of people including me since I'm a devoted fan..
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby navarre » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:13 am

[quote="Spiritus]It seems to me that the one who is taking my posts the least serious is me. I'm here to have fun, people. Have none of you ever played sports or a versus match in a video game? Is opposition the same as poison to all of you? Or is Twilight such Sooper Seereeus Bizness around here that anything critical blasphemy?

*navarre: no offense, but if my random scientific imposition prevents you from enjoying the books, you may want to examine exactly how much you actually like them[/quote]

For someone who claims to want to have fun in discussion, the tone of your post implied otherwise. You come across as condenscending to those of us who just enjoy the books in the light in which they are written.
Your "random scientific imposition" does not prevent me from enjoying these books whatsoever. I was irritated with your attitude towards those of us who just read the books and go along for the ride.

Sometimes, when posting, one doesn't come across the way they intend - maybe that was you, but it really came across as though we are the most stupid people you have ever encountered in a forum. We are anything but stupid.

But, like I said, in an earlier post I actually wanted to discuss how vampire DNA obliterates human DNA upon transformation. Just good FUN and speculation. It would be neat to know what peoples thoughts were on this.
Just for kicks & giggles. No response and that's fine.

Now - are we clear with each other?
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby pharmer4 » Wed Mar 18, 2009 11:26 am

Spiritus, the act of a troll is one who posts with the intent of causing controversy for controvery's sake, rather than intending for actual discussion.

This comes not from what you say, but your tone, and you participation in the board. If you were, in fact, interested in participating in the board in a manner other than trolling, you'd have used the introduction area, and posted in other areas of the forum too.

So, since the thread has not been derailed by your trolling, I see no issue in responding to it.

Let me begin by saying that you may claim to be a scientist, but I don't think you actually understand the meaning of the term. As someone who is actually employed in scientific application (ie, I make a living from science), let me say that you seem to be approaching science all too gullibly.

Firstly, a Scientist posits theories, attempts to find ways to prove or disprove these theories, and makes conclusions based on these proofs or failures.

What you are doing is saying "here is why these vampires are not scientific" without proving or disproving anything, and then you ask the members of this forum to do the work for you.

So, let us work on that shall we.

First, a scientist must operate under certain assumptions. These assumptions may be such things as "the universe operates under the laws of physics". That's a nice assumption. It works very well in day to day scientific work.

Of course, you can't have as much faith in that assumption about the Twilight Universe, because we can't measure the Twilight Universe, so our first step is to accept that the laws of physics may not apply to the Twilight Universe as strictly as they do to the real universe.

Secondly, a major issue I have with some of the arguments that you have plagiarised (yes, you did not come up with those yourself), is that the assumptions they are based upon are faulty. Primary amongst these is "Vampires, while super-human, operate scientifically in a manner similar to humans." Many of the arguments you pasted here are obviously made with the assumption that the things that we DO NOT know about Vampires, we will assume are human-like. Like the purpose of feeding.

Anyway, on to the specific points.

Spiritus wrote:1) The problems with hybrids

First, I want to address the mule/liger explanation to the hybrid that everyone cites. The liger does more to hurt your cause than help it. The vast majority of the time ligers must be euthanized very early in their lives. This is due to malformations of the skeletal structure and internal organs. In the cases where they don't die easily because of critical organ failure, they suffer greatly from slow organ failure or are invalids because their skeletons don't work right. All this despite that lions and tigers are nearly identical in skeletal structure, organ size, shape, and function, eating habits, instincts, lifespan, et cetera, et cetera. This because of the chromosomal difference.

There are many more hybrids in nature than the mule and liger. Think of bacteria, for instance, or even better, viruses. These operate solely by swapping and exchanging chromosomes and junk DNA, RNA and eventually mix together to make something that works. Of course the outcome is random, while vampire/human hybrids seem to be similar and follow a set of rules.

Of course, so do mules and ligers.

The fault with your point there is that you believe that when a mule or liger is used as an analogy for a human/vampire hybrid, that all of the characteristics of a liger and mule must also apply to a human/vampire hydrid. This is, of course, a faulty conclusion, because this is an analogy.

If one type of hybrid interbreeding creates a species that is a genetic dead-end, it does not follow that ALL hybrids would also be a genetic dead end. This is like saying "Horses have 4 legs. Therefore, everything with 4 legs is a horse."

Of course I understand you are trying to turn an argument defending human/vampire hybrids into an argument against them, but you missed the point - which I have made above - it is an analogy. Please utilise the closest dictionary for the definition of the term "analogy".

Spiritus wrote:And yet somehow, we’re expected to believe that two creatures as radically different as meyerpires and humans can crossbreed perfectly? Look at the differences: bodily functions (cellular, glandular, respiratory, digestive, nervous, excretory, sensory), genetic structure, cellular structure, eating habits (more on that later), the list goes on and on. Heck, the genetics of m_venom must be leagues different from human genetics into order to create the m_pire traits in Renesmee, yet it functions perfectly as h_sperm?

1) we are not expected to believe anything. That is not a scientific argument, it is a qualitative one, and is defunct by the response many here have already made - this is fiction - you are not expected to believe anything.

2) The differences between humans and vampires is a moot point, because you cannot intelligently discuss such differences without KNOWING WHAT THEY ARE. Since we do not know the physiology of vampires to any greater extent than "they do not require respiration or sustenance of physical means normally expected of humans." (Of course, this makes sense, as they are not humans).

3) Venom functioning as human sperm is another analogy. The venom of vampires is described in enough length to allow us to make an assumption that allows for scientific examination. It can be assumed from the description of how it works, that is operates in a manner similar to a virus - ie it countermands the functioning of the host and interjects it's own genetic matter (this is not in dispute, since chromosomes are explicitly mentioned), leaving the overall structure of the host similar, but the function different. Viruses do soemthing similar to this when they replicate in a eucaryotic cell - the final outcome being to make new viruses. The purpose of venom is to replicate vampires. Sometimes the dose or method of administration is a bit vigorous, so this fails, but the purpose is still there.

4) Since the previous assumption has some scientific merit, it can also be assumed that while the venom will act in a manner akin to a virus for replicating new vampires, it can also be assumed that a similar ability to mix DNA is possible (as viruses do from time to time - hence the ability of some viruses to "mutate" into new strains. Of course the DNA does not spontaneously change, but it is mixed in the process described above, and a new strain is born). You might like to do a little research, but you will realise that the human ovum is not like a normal human cell. In fact, the process of how fertilisation causes an ovum to grow into a human (or any ovum to grow into any mamal, etc) is still not fully elicidated.

It is understood, though, that once a mixing of DNA occurs, the newly created cell replicates in a manner that is both quite quick, and quite dramatic, with the specialisation of descendent cells into forms and functions far different from the original ovum. This replication incorporates both the original DNA from the host (ie, mother), and the DNA from the donor (ie the father).

At this point, we can make an assumption based on the outcome of the mixing of human DNA and Vampire DNA that we have witnessed (the hybrids), and draw conclusions from this outcome, without examining the process (this is called interpolation - again, refer to your dictionary). the facts are 1) human and vampire DNA was mixed in a manner akin to human fertilisation. 2) the result is offspring that have characteristics of humans and vampires. The interpolation based on these facts is that the DNA in the venom was incorporated by the ovum to create a viable foetus. Since we know that the human ovum is different from other human cells, and that the outcome is a viable hybrid, it is safe to make this assumption until we have a manner to develop experiments that would explain the process more thoroughly.

This of course raises 2 questions:
1) Could a female vampire impregnate a human female? It's an interesting thought, and would only require them to be able to transport their venom to the ovum. Since both male and female vampires are capable of reproducing new vampires, it can be assumed that this may be possible. Without knowing if there are residual Y chromosomes in male vampires that are not present in female vampires (ie incomplete conversion of all chromosomes from human to vampire - perhaps the venom only interjects a few changes, without wholesale deletion and repopulation), it is not possible to know if it would be possible for a female vampire to impregnate a female human, and if they'd be capable of creating male offspring. If the venom only converted some of the human DNA, it could be theorised that the venom produced by female vampires would be incapable of fertilising a human ovum.

2) if the differences of an ovum allow it to withstand the transforming actions of vampire venom, at least partcially, then it is feasible that female vampires still carry viable ovums. This is, of course, a moot point, since the rest of the reproductive system is incapable of delivering them to where they would be needed to be fertilised, and there is no substance hard enough to be able to be used for vampire IVF (ie, retreival of the ova in question).

Spiritus wrote:We’re led to believe that Renesmee is a perfect amalgam of human and m_pire traits: soft, warm, durable skin, plus the ability to live off of human and vampire food, plus a special gift (and probably a few other things I'm forgetting), yet not even mules (whose parents are MUCH more similar) get it all; they’re stumpy, dim, and sterile. Why can humans and m_pires breed when humans and dolphins (which are 99-99.9% genetically identical to humans, depending on your source) cannot? Assuming Renesmee could even exist, she couldn’t possibly function as well as she does. The genetic differences between the two species are too numerous and too radical for such a blend to be made. Not even counting what a fusion of organ function should look like (lungs that completely function + lungs that don’t function at all = (1+0)/2 = 0.5 = lungs that half function = death), the conflict of blood making genetics+venom making genetics should render her inoperable.

1) I have discussed above already why it is a poor argument to base the findings of one observation, and apply it to another observation. Ie, just because one hybrid does not work well, does not mean another does.

2) the method by which vampire DNA is incorporated in renesme cannot be determined. Since it is quite obvious from the existence of vampires, that somehow the venom of vampires transforms humans into vampires, it can be assumed that this process somehow converts human DNA, either partially or entirely, into vampire DNA. It is possible to make an assumption that this process would apply to the fertilisation of the ovum, so that the traits of the human and vampires develop into a being that is capable of utilising some of the aspects of either geneitc forebear. Again, scientifically, it is safe to make this assumption, because the observation is that, renesme exists, therefore there is a mechanism for this to be possible.

Spiritus wrote:One last thing I want to point out. I know arzim touches on this, but I want to expand on it. M_pire venom (and vampire venom in general) is EXTREMELY potent when it comes to genetic modification. To affect such a change in an ordinary human (a radical modification of almost every aspect of their body), it has to be insanely powerful. So the assumption that it does a halfway job when fusing with a human egg is, in no uncertain terms, ridiculous. It is DESIGNED to override human genes; not only that, it can affect these changes in EXTREMELY small quantities. The human egg would immediately become an m_pire and, by the nature of m_pires, would remain an egg forever, as m_pires never experience cellular division outside of healing.

1) the only assumptions, from a scientific point of view, that are ridiculous, are ones that are easily disproven. Case in point - the assumption that a human jumping off a 3 story building will be able to fly, is a rioidiculous assumption, because you can observe this to be unviable.

Since we cannot create an experiment to observe the mixing of DNA that caused the impregnation to occur, we cannot rule out any possibility, no matter how unfeasible, because we cannot measure or observe it. This is the scientific method.

I would also like to point out that with your previous paragraph, you are not being scientific, since you are making conjecture - you are stating categorically the purpose of something without the ability to prove or even support your argument.

Spiritus wrote:(As a cute piece of irony, it’s funny how such a devout Mormon was inspired to make such a hybrid by an incubus, a demon that rapes women in their sleep, sometimes killing them, sometimes impregnating them with half-breeds that are extremely evil.)

I direct you to read the life story of Galileo - his religion stated that earth was the centre of the universe, yet he continued with research that disproved this, yet remained a devout christian.

I believe your statement about SM being a mormon is driven more by lack of understanding, bigorty, and even fear, more than irony. I don't agree with any religion, and feel it is a crutch for those unable to understand or explain certain phenomena, but I respect the right of people to believe what they like, and to stick to their tennets as they see fit.

Spiritus wrote:2) The problems with Isabella’s pregnancy

Again, arzim touches on this, but I feel it warrants expansion.

50.6% water, 45% red blood cells, 4.4% combination of over 10 kinds of other substances, including waste and carbon dioxide. That’s the contents of human blood. It’s potentially lethal if ingested in large enough quantities. It has ZERO nutritional value.

1) Faulty argument - it has very little nitritional value (not zero) to humans. We do not know the physiology of vampires, so are unable to comment on the actual nutritional value of blood to vampires, and whether it actually provides nutrition at all. Further to this, other members have provided examples of other species that Do live quite adequately on blood, including leeches and mosquitoes - to which i will add a host of other insects, and vampire bats, which are mammalian, similar to humans. Additionally, blood is not as toxic as you think it is (in fact it is the potassium content that makes it toxic, not much else in there is toxic at all).

2) We are unable to determine what effect vampire venom has on the blood - perhaps it is converted to a form that would have some nutritional content (if in fact it is used for nutrition).

3) the content of blood as you described is only what can be measured by means at our disposal - this does not mean that blood does not have other constituents that we are unable to determine. I will utilise you habit of saying "more on this later". Suffice to say that it is possible for human blood to contain components that we cannot determine or measure with current means, and since there is no reason for real humans to search for such a component, it can never be ruled out.

Spiritus wrote:Now it’s well established that Isabella was still human throughout the pregnancy. She consumes zero human food during the entire month of her pregnancy (more on the length later). Permanent organ damage –which always leads to death- occurs 1-2 months into starvation. Logically speaking, Isabella should not have survived her pregnancy, as the fetus would have sucked her dry. An ordinary person can survive 1-2 months of starvation because they have fat and fat-soluble vitamins and minerals stored up; in a pregnant person’s case, the fetus would be draining all those stored essentials. The phrase “eating for two” is quite literal; the woman not only has to eat for herself, but provide an excessive amount of nutrients for the fetus, as it is basically making a fully-functional baby from scratch. That’s not even taking into account that it’s a hybrid fetus; it has to form cells that have m_pire durability and hybrid division rates (i.e. reaching the physical age of 17 by age 7) and whatever addition to the brain that allows for her reverse-empathetic power in addition to all the normal human stuff. Isabella should have been a husk inside of a few days.

Not only would a diet of blood be lethal for Isabella, it would also have killed the fetus. When it’s established that it has blood, human skin, a fully-functional digestive system, et cetera, it’s also established that the formation of such requires certain ingredients. Meyer attempts to violate the most basic rule of alchemy (not to mention physics): you can’t get something from nothing. The physical makeup of the hybrid fetus would require all the fats, proteins, vitamins, et cetera, that a regular fetus would require, plus whatever is needed for the m_piric add-ons, NONE of which are even SLIGHTLY provided in a liter of human blood. The fetus shouldn’t have been able to form AT ALL, much less grow into a super baby.

And here is where I will utilise the point made above., ie we do not know what it is in human blood that a vampire requires. It is plausible that there are elements in blood that we have yet to elucidate that the foetus is capable of using based on the ready source provided from Bella.

Similarly, we are not aware of the waste produced by a hubrid. Human babies create lots of urine, which goes to form part of the amnionic fluid. A hybrid may well be capable of producing waste that Bella's body is capable of using to sustain her. Since no imaging techniques are capable of penetrating the placenta of this particular pregnancy, we are unable to answer this question.

In addition, I believe that bella had a drip at one point in the pregnancy. If this is the case, she need not eat a thing, since it would be possible to utilise TPN, ie Total Parenteral Nutrition, or feeding via IV infusion. I may be mistaken on this point, and I don't have a copy of BD handy to confirm or debunk this.

Spiritus wrote:3) The problem of bloodthirst

I’ll grant you, I can’t recall if it’s ever explained exactly why m_pires need blood, but I don’t think it would be particularly relevant.

Something that needs to be understood about living creatures is that “need” is quite literal. Nothing good happens when needs are ignored: ignoring the need to breathe results in suffocation, ignoring the need to eat results in starvation, ignoring the needs to urinate and defecate results in blood poisoning and rupturing of the bladder, ignoring the need to sleep results in exhaustion, insanity, and death. The body does everything it can to force these needs: breathing is reflexive and forced, prolonged hunger is extremely painful, and urination and defecation are forced after so long, as is sleep.

1) By what definition of living do you define vampires? They do not respire like eucaryotic species. They are capable of reproduction, but so is fire.

2) some aspects of "living" beings vestigal - ie left over from a previous use that has been out-evolved (for instance, the appendix, which is very useful in rabbits, very annoying in humans). Feeding on blood may be a vestigal remnant of what vampires were before evolution solidified them into what they are now.

3) as stated above, we do not know the components of blood, only what we can observe. It is plausible that blood contains other elements beyond our ability to measure or perceive, that sustains some aspect of a vampire's existence.

4) as shown by other members, there is a dire consequence of not feeding for vampires, so the need is demonstrated.

5) we do not know how a vampire's physiology operates, so we are unable to determine either the purpose of the blood once it has been injested.

Spiritus wrote:So how can m_pires’ bloodthirst be justified? They have no needs. Their bodies are entirely self-sufficient; what little needs they have are filled by their venom (which, again, violates physics, as they never take anything in so that new venom can be made [and don’t tell me that they take in blood for this; blood doesn’t have the components to make something so powerful]). That’s the only way they can be immortal: if their bodies have no need for anything in order to perpetuate perfect, unending survival. Yet their unstoppable thirst for blood breaks this condition. The body does not create such powerful urges unless a failure to comply with them would have extremely negative consequences. But what consequences could there possibly be? They have no need for any sort of nutrition (which they couldn’t get out of blood anyways) because their cells never degenerate. Their “need” for blood is completely arbitrary and serves no purpose other than to forward the plot. I suppose it can be justified by saying that m_pires have a habit of evolving completely useless characteristics (i.e. their beauty), but that’s kind of mean to say.

1) It is unscientific to suggest that blood is not powerful enough to constitute an ingredient for vampire venom, since you are not able to quantitatively determine the potency of venom. Consider that protons in an acidic solution are very powerful, but in a neutral solution are not powerful at all. This is an analogy that demonstrates that the properties of some substances are not determined by WHAT is in the substance, but the relative concentration of it's components. Since we do not know the components of venom, we cannot determine if blood may in fact be used to synthesise it once injected into a vampire's body.

Spiritus wrote:Another thing about the consumption of blood: why is it “consumption”? Oral ingestion is indicative of sending it through their digestive system, which is established early on as nonfunctioning (though not exactly how it doesn’t work; is there no stomach acid or what?).

Fire consumes wood. The word consumption is not reserved for "eating"

Spiritus wrote:If we assume that the blood’s target is the villi, and also assume that the villi have been modified to completely absorb the blood (as m_pires make no waste), what can be gained from it? Water? If their bodies needed water (which they don’t), they wouldn’t crave blood. Blood is too toxic to be sought over regular water, and more difficult to get. Red blood cells? Their only function is to transport oxygen and carbon dioxide throughout the body, neither of which is a process that m_pires require. Clotting agents? M_pires don’t bleed. The various trace elements of proteins and such? Again, they aren’t given to cellular degeneration, so they require nothing like that. They have absolutely no reason to take blood from anything other than to make them vampiric enough to call vampires (which, considering how vampire lore was positively mangled in this series, I am surprised at). In fact, they have no reason to consume anything ever; as they are physiologically inert their bodies require nothing to exist except their venom, which they seem to produce ad infinitum all by themselves. I say again, it’s all completely arbitrary. Even making it oral is arbitrary. The original vampires absorbed blood directly into their bloodstreams by way of mouths on their hands or hollow, needle-like tongues, and they did it because they were evil (hence their weaknesses to garlic and holy objects). Neck-biting was introduced by Dracula to add another element of eroticism, an element Meyer rejected from her series almost entirely, rendering the oral method pointless, and m_pires, as stated before, have zero reason to consume the blood of anything.

Again, you are applying aspects of human physiology, and assuming they apply to a vampire. You are also assuming that you understand the composition of blood, and that there are not components that we are unable to detect.

Secondly, since we do not know the internal anatomy of a vampire, you cannot assume that the blood passes into vestiges of the human digestive tract. They could have an empty pit inside them where in sits some apparatus for converting blood into venom. It may also be absorbed by the musoca of the mouth, or any number of other anatomical anomalies - none of which we will ever know, since we are incapable of disecting a vampire, since none would sit still for us to do so, and none would be capable of being cut open by conventional methods.

Spiritus wrote:Unless, of course, we’ve been fooled. The Twilight Wikia states that “purplish-black bruises appear under their eyes, becoming more pronounced with thirst. The bruises signify the fact that vampires never sleep”. M_pires get bags under their eyes because they don’t sleep? Hold the phone; this could change everything. The bags your get under your eyes are sort of like micro-aneurisms. If you go without sleep for a long enough time, the blood vessels under your lower eyelids decay and break, filling pockets with old, dead blood, which is purple in color. That’s what bruises are, too: dead blood from broken vessels. Does this mean that m_pires are, in fact, given to cellular degeneration? Is the complete lack of sleep causing bags under their eyes? If this is the case, then I have some bad news: m_pires are insane. Besides creating bags under your eyes, sleeplessness has another, much more nasty effect: insanity. During REM sleep your brain is allowed to rest, as not nearly as much is demanded of it. However, not allowing it to rest causes its neurons to decay. This is always bad news. The death of too many neurons really messes you up: loss of control of motor function (eventually just the loss of motor function), hallucinations, slurred speech, personality decay, and eventually death. From personal experience, too little sleep causes me to read things that aren’t there, have random, violent spasms (I’ve thrown more than one book across the room because of this), and the sensation that my esophagus is filled with acid. And that’s from less than a day lost. A few weeks is lethal. Edward has been awake for approximately 90 years. No way is he playing with a full deck. (Actually, that had nothing to do with the bloodthirst problem. I just wanted to get it out there.)

Bruises are caused by plenty of other things besides blood.

For instance, fruit bruice quite effectively. Do you suggest that fruit must have blood in order to do this?

You are also, again, applying human physiology to vampires. Just because the bags under human eyes are caused by capilary degredation, does not follow that this is also true for vampires. Are you aware of the colour of vampire venom? I don't recall it ever being discussed. One plausible explanation is that there are reserviours of venom within the vestigal sinuses of a vampire, and when they have not had blood for a while, the venom production increases and causes a bruising-type effect to be visible.

As for the effects of sleep deprivation, you are again applying human needs to vampires. Plants do not require sleep, yet their cellular functions are very similar to animals. It is also impossible to predict the effects of sleep deprivation from something that we cannot observe. Given that vampires have had the best opportunity to observe vampires, it is safe to assume that their observations for the lack of need for sleep are accurate.

Spiritus wrote:3.5) The problem with Edward’s bloodlust

Refer back to the beginning of point 2 where I outline the contents of human blood. This formula is universal; the only time when a person’s blood does not look like that is when they have some kind of disease.

Now, we’re informed that the “smell” of Isabella’s blood gives Edward the fits like no other blood ever has. My question is simple: how can that be? There are only two levels of distinction for healthy blood: type and genetic. Now, unless Isabella has some new, unheard-of Type Z blood, there’s no way Edward has never encountered her type before in the almost 90 years he’s been an m_pire. That would mean that when Edward finds that she’s super-special-snowflake-yummy-smelling-and-tasting, he’s discovering this BY SMELLING AND TASTING HER DNA. This is, in no uncertain terms, absurd. All DNA is made of the exact same materials in different orders. There are no smells or tastes to become crazed by. Not only that, but the same genetic sequence is present in the entire body. Hair, skin, and saliva (among other things), all have the exact same DNA as blood. Isabella could be completely drained of all blood and Edward should still have fits. His specific madness over her blood is completely arbitrary.

Ever heard of pheremones? Even without re-using the argument for our inability to know all of the components of blood, you overlook these important components. Not to mention hormones and many other endogenous ingredients of blood that we do know about, that you ignore. All of these ingredients make a mix that is fairly unique between individuals.

Spiritus wrote:4) The problems with super speed, rigid cells, and flammable sweat

Anyone familiar with air friction? Hopefully those that are get where I’m going with this and can skip ahead. For those that aren’t, remember that air is matter. It’s composed of oxygen and nitrogen and carbon dioxide and crap from pollution and bits of dirt and dust and who-know what else. Newton’s 3rd Law states that “the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions”. This is what air friction is: as a body moves through the air, what’s in the air pushes back, and this impact changes kinetic energy to thermal energy and inhibits movement. Now, normally things move so slow that this friction is negligible. However, at higher speeds, this friction causes objects to gain heat. Things like satellites on re-entry get extremely hot. Distance traveled is irrelevant so long as the speed is high enough.

So the question becomes: why does Edward, who attains speeds so high that the human eye cannot track him, not burst into flames when he runs? His entire body is lubricated with a highly flammable substance. He should explode whenever he runs because the air friction would heat up the lubricant enough for it to ignite.

(And nobody say “it’s because it’s a liquid”; you get lighter fluid moving fast enough and it goes up. Though that’s actually irrelevant, as if the lubricant didn’t attain the proper heat, Edward’s skin cells would.)

Perhaps you may need to do a little reading on quantum mechanics. The speed and strength of vampires may be due to an ability to change to flow of time, rather than them actually being quicker. If time flows differenly for them, then the theory of relativity is also different for them.

An example of this is when Bella first leaps from a window, and she floats gracefully down to ground quite slowly, fully aware of everything around her as if in slow motion.

This would suggest that they are in fact not exerting greater force on the air as they move through it, but rather they are exerting the same force over a different time frame. This would mean that they appear to move at extraordinary speeds, but in fact they are moving at normal speed, in a different time frame. If their speed and force exerted is the same as normal, then the friction they create is also the same, and they don't risk a re-entry effect.

Spiritus wrote:His non-crispiness is especially difficult to accept when you consider his skin cells. They are reportedly hard and rigid. If you hit two objects together that have those qualities, odds are you’ll get a spark. Any time an m_pire smacked against anything tougher than an uncooked noodle (especially each other during their numerous bouts of wild sex) they should have burst into flames (well, “anything” is a bit of a hyperbole, but the list is very long). The only way this wouldn’t happen is if the “lubrication” was actually a coating; of course, then we would have had to endure Isabella telling us ad nauseum about how wet/slick Edward’s skin is, which isn’t quite so romantic.

hard striking hard does not always equal sparks. For example, diamonds don't cause sparks off each other. Your argument is faulty. Technically, sparks are caused by plasma being released from hard items that have free electrons in a matrix. This is why metal, flint, and even graphite, can cause a spark, while diamonds, quartz, and other tetraherdally arranged chemical structures (which are the hardest substances known to our method of measurement) don't cause sparks.

Spiritus wrote:5) The problems with sparkles

Meyer herself informs us that m_pires’ skin have the reflective properties of crystal. This brings up an issue with the whole sparkle business. Crystals don’t turn on and off. Some facets may shine brighter than others, but they will shine when exposed to light. Regardless of how they may move their bodies, m_pires shouldn’t sparkle when exposed to sun, they should shine. Entire patches of skin should reflect the sun’s rays, not just a couple of cells at a time. They should look like beings of light wearing clothes.

1) " properties of crystals" does not equal " are crystals"

2) Not all light has the same energy. Since we do not know the properties of vampire cellular anatomy, we do not know how much energy their skin absorbs, and how much is reflected. Since sunlight has the most energy, and we can observe that only direct sunlight creates the effect of sparkling skin, it can be assumed that only sunlight has enough energy to create this effect, and that indirect sunlight and all other forms of light is absorbed in sufficient amounts to prevent a sparkle effect.

3) The do look like a being of light in sunlight. Just no in the movie very effectively.

Spiritus wrote:Another problem is why they only sparkle in sunlight. Reflection is reflection, regardless of the light source. The fluorescent bulbs in their classrooms should produce a noticeable effect. The only way this wouldn’t happen is if the sparkles were of UV rays (the only thing sunlight really has that artificial light from household bulbs doesn’t), which are not only invisible, but cause skin cancer. So basically, walking in sunlight makes m_pires walking cancer lasers. Guess that explains why they stay out of it.

I've already explained this above, but if you know anything about sunlight, you know that the UV light content is not the only thing that sets it apart. The amount of energy in sunlight is far greater than in other common sources of light. Of course there are artificial sources of light that are very energetic, and perhaps these would have the same effect, but we've not seen the vampires hanging around massive spotlights or industrial lasers, so we can't comment on that intelligently.

Also, from a scientific point of view, if they were reflecting UV light, it would not be concentrated like a laser, but scattered, in the same way as the ozone. So being near a vampire would actually disipate UV light and make you less likely to get skin cancer.

Spiritus wrote:The other problem with the sparkle phenomenon (besides that it happens at all) is that they have to be in direct sunlight for it to occur. Because the sparkles are a reflection of light, any amount of light that people can see by should produce a visible effect on them. Combining that with my previous point, it should appear to the citizens of Forks that the m_pires shimmer all the time. There should be a constant, low-intensity reflection of light coming off of their skin at almost all times, creating a shimmering effect. They should appear blurry, even when stationary.

Explained above. Still, the vampires do have an unearthly look to them that the humans can't quite put their funger one, they just know it makes them uncomfortable. This phenomenon could explain that feeling, without resorting to supernatural means to explain their unease. Of course it does not happen to the extreme you suggest, but it may be present to some far less fantastical degree.

Spiritus wrote:I’m tempted to go on and on with more problems (such as how Isabella’s mind is unreadable when she’s a muggle, or that the shapeshifters MUST shift regularly to stay healthy), but I feel what I have given is sufficient for now. Please question and discuss, I will check back regularly to see how things go.

I welcome you to bring forth your other arguments. Hopefully you can formulate some of your own.

PS you suggested explanation of the venom on their skin preventing light from shimmering all the time does not bear up, even against your own arguments. If UV light was the only issue in sunlight that made them shimmer, then the venom would have no effect, as UV light would be blocked too. On the other hand if the venom is clear enough to not be noticed under indirect light, it would be even less noticeable under direct light, because this light is more intense, and more capable of penetrating anything that weaker light can penetrate.
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Re: The Science of Twilight

Postby obieewok » Wed Mar 18, 2009 12:30 pm

I'm not a scientist. I don't have fancy arguments. I can't post big long threads telling you that you are wrong because I don't know for a FACT that you are. You are more than likely much smarter than some junior college wannabe such as I. I can't explain why Edward sparkles, why vampires and werewolves get along, why reneesme exists, etc. But I can say this:

When the chemo got me so sick and so sad, escaping in a book helped me. When I was depressed and wondering why in my 20s I was sick, it was nice to have something else to think about. When I questioned my own mortality, it was fantasy hope that made me like Bella----to know that even in a silly book, people survive. People still keep on.

I guess I'm just saying that while, in science, nothing about the book makes sense, in my little part of the world, it doesn't have to. I just needed to escape my own nightmare for a bit, and I think that is all the author intended. Sometimes thinks really don't have to make sense. What a sad world it would be if everything ever written or performed had to be factual.

I respect your views, honestly I do. You put a lot of research into them. But I'm afraid it's in vain. I doubt anyone who is on this board is going to read your stance and go "Wow. Twilight sucks for me now." No one's mind is usually ever changed on a message board. I think you picked the wrong way to say what you wanted, the wrong place.

While you are free to believe whatever you like, just know that every person on here is here for one reason: Hope. That's the theme of the whole books. Hope. Hope for love. Hope for immortality. Hope for the sake of Hope. Whether it's a love story or defeating the Volturri, it's about hope. Let them have that. There's nothing wrong with believing in a fantasy. There's nothing wrong with believing in a fairytale. Sometimes it's the only thing that makes the big bad real world seem bearable.
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