Chemistry Origin Of Life

Abiogenesis Challenge

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Over on a recent thread, we witnessed some flailing about with respect to abiogenesis (see comments 374-376). Thoroughly confused about critical distinctions, such as the difference between deterministic forces and contingent possibilities, some seem to think that the fact that “nature forms stars and planets” means that nature can do just about anything. No need to ask any hard questions, kids! Just close your eyes and imagine the possibilities.

This is what so much of the materialistic abiogenesis creation story amounts to.

I have posted essentially this challenge before, but for Zachriel and anyone else who thinks materialistic abiogenesis is anything more than a laughable made-up story, here it is again:

—–

For purposes of this challenge, I’m willing to grant you all the amino acids you want. I’ll even give them all to you in a non-racemic mixture. You want them all left-handed? No problem. I’ll also grant you the exact relative mixture of the specific amino acids you want (what percentage do you want of glycine, alanine, arginine, etc.?). I’ll further give you just the right concentration to encourage optimum reaction. I’m also willing to give you the most benign and hospitable environment you can possibly imagine for your fledgling structures to form (take your pick of the popular ideas: volcanic vents, hydrothermal pools, mud globules, tide pools, deep sea hydrothermal vents, comets, dust clouds in space . . . whichever environment you want). I’ll even throw in whatever type of energy source you want in true Goldilocks fashion: just the right amount to facilitate the chemical reactions; not too much to destroy the nascent formations. I’ll further spot you that all these critical conditions occur in the same location spatially. And at the same time temporally. Shoot, as a massive bonus I’ll even step in to prevent contaminating cross reactions. I’ll also miraculously make your fledgling chemical structures immune from their natural rate of breakdown.

Every single one of the foregoing items represents a huge challenge to the formation of life, but I’m willing to grant them all for the present exercise.

Now, with all these concessions, go ahead, what is your theory about how life formed?

—–

Note:

I also reiterate my open invitation for Zachriel, AVS, billmaz and anyone else to do a guest post laying out their strongest evidence for abiogenesis. There have been no takers yet, but the invitation remains open.

308 Replies to “Abiogenesis Challenge

  1. 1
    Jack Jones says:

    You’re being extremely generous to them Mr Anderson.

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    The combinatorial explosion kills both abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution dead. This truth cannot be repeated often enough. It’s simple math.

  3. 3
    brian douglas says:

    Turnabout is fair game Mr. Anderson. Given the exact same concessions you mentioned above, or any others that you deem necessary, what is your theory about how life formed?

    Now, keep in mind, that god-did-it is a cop out. I expect the same level of detail, with mechanisms and intermediary steps, that you expect of the evolution side. Was it a one time event (Genesis)? Is the earth 6000 years old, or a few billion? Is there constant intervention? Is the designer bound by physical laws? Is the design front loaded? Is the designer material or supernatural? Is there a common ancestor to all earth life or was each “kind” created as is? Did life on earth originate elsewhere in the universe? Were Adam and Eve really the first humans? Did all extant animal and plant life on earth descent from Noah’s ark?

    I could go on, but this should be a good start. You answer all of this, and I will attempt to answer your question.

  4. 4
    Jack Jones says:

    Doesn’t look like your challenge will be met Mr Anderson.

    I was discussing this issue with an illogical guy called Brian and his position was that chemistry just was different in the past, he didn’t give any justification. He was appealing to nature but then went outside how nature is repeatedly observed to operate which contradicts his strict naturalistic worldview.

    Furthermore, this guy Brian that I was conversing with believes that nature existed before it existed, he is very illogical.

    hahaha

    The law of biogenesis shows that as far as nature operates that you only get life from life, But some like this guy Brian I was conversing with the other day, engage in special pleading, reject how nature is known to operate, and pretend chemistry was different in the past which is a cop out.

    He appealed to nature while rejecting how nature is known to operate.

    The law of biogenesis shows that life could not have originated spontaneously in nature and that we have to go beyond a natural cause for how life originated.

    Chance dun it is a cop out.

    Design trumps chance.

  5. 5
    brian douglas says:

    “I was discussing this issue with an illogical guy called Brian…”

    Sorry, I don’t recall discussing this with you. I do remember talking to Joe about chemistry acting the same now as it did in the past. Maybe you were reading that discussion and had difficulty comprehending it. I know that reading comprehension was a serious problem with Joe, as was basic math (he even claimed that wavelength = frequency), but I assumed that you didn’t suffer that serious mental handicap.

  6. 6
    gpuccio says:

    brian douglas:

    I do like specific and precise questions. So, if you don’t mind, I will try to answer yours according to my personal views. Eric will certainly give his personal answers too, if he likes.

    So, let’s go on:

    1) Was it a one time event?

    Biological design is certainly not a one time event. OOL, the appearance of eukaryotes, the Cambrian explosion, and probably each new protein superfamily are obvious examples of separate design interventions, at different times. OOL could have been a “one time” design intervention, but anyway it certainly required some time and was not an “instant” event. With what we know, I believe that LUCA (probably similar to prokaryotes) was the first living being, or group of beings, on our planet. But we cannot exclude previous steps in OOL: we just don’t have any facts supporting that kind of hypothesis.

    2) (Genesis)?

    I never discuss religion in a scientific context.

    3) Is the earth 6000 years old?

    No.

    4) or a few billion?

    A few billion.

    5)Is there constant intervention?

    There are certainly multiple, repeated interventions in time, as already discussed. We cannot exclude some kind of constant intervention, but certainly there are special distinct interventions which are distinct and different from any kind of “constant” intervention at other times.

    6) Is the designer bound by physical laws?

    The process of design is certainly bound by physical laws, because it happens in space and time.

    7)Is the design front loaded?

    No. The only “front-loading” we can observe are some minor adaptational algorithms, which are obviously designed, but certainly have some role.

    8) Is the designer material or supernatural?

    I have repeatedly said that “natural” and “supernatural” have no clearly defined meaning, IMO. And “material” is certainly not the logical opposite of “supernatural”.

    The only thing that is certain is that one or more conscious biological designers are real. He or they exist. For me, that is enough to say that he or they are part of reality, whatever meaning you can choose to give to the strange word “nature”.

    Regarding the “material”, I don’t think that the designer(s) of biological life has a material body (I am not a fan of the “aliens” theory), but he certainly can interact with matter as we understand it.

    9) Is there a common ancestor to all earth life or was each “kind” created as is?

    Most certainly there is evidence of common descent. Probably universal, but I would not be really sure.
    Specific forms of life are certainly the result of specific design, probably acting on previously existing forms of life, through designed descent.

    10) Did life on earth originate elsewhere in the universe?

    Possible, but I don’t think that, at present, we really have facts pointing to such a theory.

    11) Were Adam and Eve really the first humans?

    I never discuss religion in a scientific context.

    12) Did all extant animal and plant life on earth descent from Noah’s ark?

    I never discuss religion in a scientific context.

    I hope you find my answers clear enough. I am ready to discuss them in greater detail, if you like.

  7. 7
    Bob O'H says:

    I’m not an abiogenensis researcher but I can already see why your conditions might be inadequate. If you’re going to set a generous challenge, you could make sure you’re being generous in the right was. As it is, you’ve eliminated any explanation based on DNA or RNA.

    FWIW, if you wanted to find out what current theories about abiogenesis are, you could start with wikipedia, and then follow the links.

  8. 8
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    I am sure that Eric could be willing to make further “concessions” (he is truly a generous guy! 🙂 ).

    Please, ask for specific ones.

  9. 9
    gpuccio says:

    Bob O’H:

    To be clear, you can ask for nucleotides, but not for long functional nucleic acids.

    Just as you can ask for aminoacids, nut not for functional proteins.

    IOWs, you cannot ask for “ready” complex functional information, that is exactly the ID point.

    I suppose that even asking for ready prokaryotes would be stretching Eric’s generosity a bit! 🙂

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    EA, well done. I add to it my own three years standing open invitation and challenge to address the ToL from roots to tip. To date there has been no really good response and the OOL issue has particularly been ducked. KF

  11. 11
    kairosfocus says:

    PS: The ghost of Paley in Ch 2 (not just the simple watch in the field of Ch 1 but the thought exercise of a self replicating time keeping watch), rides again, where the FSCO/I in self-replicating, metabolic automaton, encapsulated smart gated life is what is to be causally explained:

    Suppose, in the next place, that the person who found the watch [in a field and stumbled on the stone in Ch 1 just past, where this is 50 years before Darwin in Ch 2 of a work Darwin full well knew about] should after some time discover that, in addition to

    [–> here cf encapsulated, gated, metabolising automaton, and note, “stickiness” of molecules raises a major issue of interfering cross reactions thus very carefully controlled organised reactions are at work in life . . . ]

    all the properties [= specific, organised, information-rich functionality] which he had hitherto observed in it, it possessed the unexpected property of producing in the course of its movement another watch like itself [–> i.e. self replication, cf here the code using von Neumann kinematic self replicator that is relevant to first cell based life] — the thing is conceivable [= this is a gedankenexperiment, a thought exercise to focus relevant principles and issues]; that it contained within it a mechanism, a system of parts — a mold, for instance, or a complex adjustment of lathes, baffles, and other tools — evidently and separately calculated for this purpose [–> it exhibits functionally specific, complex organisation and associated information; where, in mid-late C19, cell based life was typically thought to be a simple jelly-like affair, something molecular biology has long since taken off the table but few have bothered to pay attention to Paley since Darwin] . . . .

    The first effect would be to increase his admiration of the contrivance, and his conviction of the consummate skill of the contriver. Whether he regarded the object of the contrivance, the distinct apparatus, the intricate, yet in many parts intelligible mechanism by which it was carried on, he would perceive in this new observation nothing but an additional reason for doing what he had already done — for referring the construction of the watch to design and to supreme art

    [–> directly echoes Plato in The Laws Bk X on the ART-ificial (as opposed to the strawman tactic “supernatural”) vs the natural in the sense of blind chance and/or mechanical necessity as serious alternative causal explanatory candidates; where also the only actually observed cause of FSCO/I is intelligently configured configuration, i.e. contrivance or design]

    . . . . He would reflect, that though the watch before him were, in some sense, the maker of the watch, which, was fabricated in the course of its movements, yet it was in a very different sense from that in which a carpenter, for instance, is the maker of a chair — the author of its contrivance, the cause of the relation of its parts to their use [–> i.e. design].

    . . . . We might possibly say, but with great latitude of expression, that a stream of water ground corn ; but no latitude of expression would allow us to say, no stretch
    cf conjecture could lead us to think, that the stream of water built the mill, though it were too ancient for us to know who the builder was.
    What the stream of water does in the affair is neither more nor less than this: by the application of an unintelligent impulse to a mechanism previously arranged, arranged independently of it and arranged by intelligence, an effect is produced, namely, the corn is ground. But the effect results from the arrangement. [–> points to intelligently directed configuration as the observed and reasonably inferred source of FSCO/I] The force of the stream cannot be said to be the cause or the author of the effect, still less of the arrangement. Understanding and plan in the formation of the mill were not the less necessary for any share which the water has in grinding the corn; yet is this share the same as that which the watch would have contributed to the production of the new watch . . . .

    Though it be now no longer probable that the individual watch which our observer had found was made immediately by the hand of an artificer, yet doth not this alteration in anywise affect the inference, that an artificer had been originally employed and concerned in the production. The argument from design remains as it was.

    Marks of design and contrivance are no more accounted for now than they were before. In the same thing, we may ask for the cause of different properties. We may ask for the cause of the color of a body, of its hardness, of its heat ; and these causes may be all different. We are now asking for the cause of that subserviency to a use, that relation to an end, which we have remarked in the watch before us. No answer is given to this question, by telling us that a preceding watch produced it. There cannot be design without a designer; contrivance, without a contriver; order [–> better, functionally specific organisation], without choice; arrangement, without any thing capable of arranging; subserviency and relation to a purpose, without that which could intend a purpose; means suitable to an end, and executing their office in accomplishing that end, without the end ever having been contemplated, or the means accommodated to it. Arrangement, disposition of parts, subserviency of means to an end, relation of instruments to a use, imply the presence of intelligence and mind. No one, therefore, can rationally believe that the insensible, inanimate watch, from which the watch before us issued, was the proper cause of the mechanism we so much admire m it — could be truly said to have constructed the instrument, disposed its parts, assigned their office, determined their order, action, and mutual dependency, combined their several motions into one result, and that also a result connected with the utilities of other beings. All these properties, therefore, are as much unaccounted for as they were before.

    Nor is any thing gained by running the difficulty farther back, that is, by supposing the watch before us to have been produced from another watch, that from a former, and so on indefinitely. Our going back ever so far brings us no nearer to the least degree of satisfaction upon the subject. Contrivance is still unaccounted for. We still want a contriver. A designing mind is neither supplied by this supposition nor dispensed with. If the difficulty were diminished the farther we went back, by going back indefinitely we might exhaust it. And this is the only case to which this sort of reasoning applies. “Where there is a tendency, or, as we increase the number of terms, a continual approach towards a limit, there, by supposing the number of terms to be what is called infinite, we may conceive the limit to be attained; but where there is no such tendency or approach, nothing is effected by lengthening the series . . . ,

    And the question which irresistibly presses upon our thoughts is. Whence this contrivance and design ? The thing required is the intending mind, the adapted hand, the intelligence by which that hand was directed. This question, this demand, is not shaken off by increasing a number or succession of substances destitute of these properties; nor the more, by increasing that number to infinity. If it be said, that upon the supposition of one watch being produced from another in the course of that other’s movements, and by means of the mechanism within it, we have a cause for the watch in my hand, namely, the watch from which it proceeded — I deny, that for the design, the contrivance, the suitableness of means to an end, the adaptation of instruments to a use, all of which we discover in the watch, we have any cause whatever. It is in vain, therefore, to assign a series of such causes, or to allege that a series may be carried back to infinity; for I do not admit that we have yet any cause at all for the phenomena, still less any series of causes either finite or infinite. Here is contrivance, but no contriver; proofs of design, but no designer. [Paley, Nat Theol, Ch 2]

  12. 12
    kairosfocus says:

    BD,

    I assume you are familiar with the fact of genetically modified organisms and especially the much headlined Venter.

    Move molecular nanotech labs forward several generations in a context where initial level intelligent design of life is already a fact.

    Take that as a yardstick on feasibility, adequate cause that is observable and of the difference between the propagandistic “natural vs supernatural” and the longstanding actual design inference in light of Plato’s contrast in The Laws bk X: the natural (= undirected chance and/or mechanical necessity) vs the ART-ificial (= intelligently directed configuration).

    In that context, highlight the von Neumann kinematic Self Replication (vNkSR) and code use involved in cellular replication, the integration of a metabolic automaton and of smart gated encapsulation. Thus, the manifestation of massive, undeniable, functionally specific, complex organisation and/or associated information (FSCO/I) and its commonly observed source, design. With a trillion member base of observations, backed by needle in haystack blind search challenges in the direct config space or the search for a golden search higher order spaces.

    KF

    KF

  13. 13
    kairosfocus says:

    BD,

    Behind the debates on particular points, I find there is an imposition of a priori evolutionary materialist scientism and its fellow travelleers dressed up in lab coats.

    With such priors imposed, I think a predetermination of the general sort of thing that “must” have happened is undermining objective evaluation of the origin of FSCO/I challenge starting with the root of the tree of life (ToL).

    Johnson’s reply to Lewontin’s notorious cat out of the bag statement in NYRB, is a key start point for a better balanced discussion:

    For scientific materialists the materialism comes first; the science comes thereafter. [Emphasis original] We might more accurately term them “materialists employing science.” And if materialism is true, then some materialistic theory of evolution has to be true simply as a matter of logical deduction, regardless of the evidence.

    [–> notice, the power of an undisclosed, question-begging, controlling assumption . . . often put up as if it were a mere reasonable methodological constraint; emphasis added. Let us note how Rational Wiki, so-called, presents it:

    “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method. Methodological naturalists limit their scientific research to the study of natural causes, because any attempts to define causal relationships with the supernatural are never fruitful, and result in the creation of scientific “dead ends” and God of the gaps-type hypotheses.”

    Of course, this ideological imposition on science that subverts it from freely seeking the empirically, observationally anchored truth about our world pivots on the deception of side-stepping the obvious fact since Plato in The Laws Bk X, that there is a second, readily empirically testable and observable alternative to “natural vs [the suspect] supernatural.” Namely, blind chance and/or mechanical necessity [= the natural] vs the ART-ificial, the latter acting by evident intelligently directed configuration. [Cf Plantinga’s reply here and here.]

    And as for the god of the gaps canard, the issue is, inference to best explanation across competing live option candidates. If chance and necessity is a candidate, so is intelligence acting by art through design. And if the latter is twisted into a caricature god of the gaps strawman, then locked out, huge questions are being oh so conveniently begged.]

    That theory will necessarily be at least roughly like neo-Darwinism, in that it will have to involve some combination of random changes and law-like processes capable of producing complicated organisms that (in Dawkins’ words) “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”

    . . . . The debate about creation and evolution is not deadlocked . . . Biblical literalism is not the issue. The issue is whether materialism and rationality are the same thing. Darwinism is based on an a priori commitment to materialism, not on a philosophically neutral assessment of the evidence. Separate the philosophy from the science, and the proud tower collapses. [Emphasis added.] [The Unraveling of Scientific Materialism, First Things, 77 (Nov. 1997), pp. 22 – 25.]

    KF

  14. 14
    Virgil Cain says:

    brian douglas is obviously brain-dead. Why is it that our opponents are too dim to comprehend that theirs is the position that claims to have a step-by-step mechanism for not only producing living organisms but also the diversity of life. ID does not make such a claim so ID does not have to posit such a thing. ID claims to have a step-by-step process for detecting design and we have shared that.

    Trying to turn their onus onto ID is a sure sign of ignorance and desperation.

  15. 15
    Virgil Cain says:

    The best materialistic explanation for the OoL comes from deep-sea vents- not the black smokers but the other, more alkaline vents. It is posited that the porous rock formations provided cell-like areas for the mixing of minerals, the start of macromolecule creation and the start of a Krebs cycle (Nick Lane “Life Ascending”).

    Of course it is untestable but it is the best they have.

  16. 16
    kairosfocus says:

    BD

    Further to this, it is necessary to face the issue that by virtue of self referential incoherence that undermines responsible rational freedom — required for reasoned, evidence and logic led discussion, warrant and knowledge — evolutionary materialist scientism and fellow travellers [EMS & FT] is inherently self referentially incoherent and self-falsifying, even before we look at specific details, evidence etc. Just by its very nature of claiming to wholly account for human reality including the life of the mind.

    Nancy Pearcey has summed that up very well:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    I am strongly convinced on long experience that until this is faced, no serious progress will be possible. For this imposition is warping both the science and the institutions that carry science onwards to influence society and general opinion.

    KF

  17. 17
    brian douglas says:

    “brian douglas is obviously brain-dead.”

    Thanks for the kind words. They always make for a more enjoyable discussion.

    ” Why is it that our opponents are too dim to comprehend that theirs is the position that claims to have a step-by-step mechanism for not only producing living organisms but also the diversity of life.”

    Reference please. If you are going to make a ridiculous claim like that, I would like to read the actual claim. Nobody ever said that we had a step-by-step mechanism for the development of life. Ease keep up Jack.

  18. 18
    bornagain says:

    “brian douglas is obviously brain-dead.”

    More than Brian Douglas realizes

    Atheists Don’t Really Exist:
    https://docs.google.com/document/d/14DktPLhEDt1rxJgUWbkpLCWuDZEJDz4xnrLLVfsXkk8/edit

  19. 19
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Years ago I found that trying to debate detail points with marxists (benchmark ideologues)without addressing the underlying worldview foundations problems was pointless. So, I learned to always connect to the foundational issue and punch that home. It will be resisted, but in the end that is what builds the critical mass for breakthrough. Just a thought for those pre-occupied with details and latest this or that. KF

  20. 20
    Virgil Cain says:

    brain damage brian douglas, The reference is Darwin’s “On the Origins of Species”. In it he posited a step-by-step process for giving the appearance of design. The claim is repeated in biology textbooks that discuss evolution. Delusional people like you refer to it as the theory of evolution.

    Or are you admitting total ignorance?

  21. 21
    Jack Jones says:

    @18

    “brian douglas is obviously brain-dead.”

    “More than Brian Douglas realizes”

    hahahaha

    Everyone can see Brian is retarded.

    hahahaha

    Now…Brian is welcome to believe in the funny idea of nature existing before it existed or believe that chemistry acted differently in the past.

    But you notice that he cannot provide any logical arguments for abiogenesis.

    He is just on UD as an ankle biter. You can only laugh at morons like that.

    @14 “brian douglas is obviously brain-dead.”

    Yep, that is Brain Deadouglass for you

    hahaha

  22. 22
    mike1962 says:

    OP: Now, with all these concessions, go ahead, what is your theory about how life formed?

    (Crickets)

  23. 23
    Andre says:

    Was it not Alicia that claimed we have a step by step account for life?

  24. 24
    Virgil Cain says:

    Andre- Anyone who is educated in evolution knows that evolutionism claims to have step-by-step processes for producing the diversity of life. brian douglas/ william spearshake/ carpathian/ puke breath is just an ignorant trolling sock-puppet.

  25. 25
    kairosfocus says:

    VC and JJ, please moderate tone. KF

  26. 26
    kairosfocus says:

    M62, crickets indeed (and empty chairs on the stage), for three years now. KF

    PS: Hint to materialists, please don’t leave Wiki to stand in for the empty chair.

  27. 27
    Jack Jones says:

    KF, If somebody wants to be treated with respect than they should act in a respectful manner. And when opponents are calling people by others names then it is fair to do to them also. And when they are not posting any content but just ankle biting, then it is fair to point it out.

    Furthermore, Thanks to Virgil posting the names on this threads of BD, sock accounts, Now I know that the person stalking me on UD is a sock account of somebody who also goes by the identity of william spearshake etc.

    I looked into what Mr Cain said and found this.

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....s-not.html

    William SpearshakeSaturday, November 14, 2015 5:20:00 PM
    Who is this Jack Jones joker? Is he another sock puppet of Joe G.? He has the same abusive nature.

    There is also this.

    William SpearshakeMonday, November 02, 2015 8:34:00 AM

    Jack Jones sounds very much like Joe G/Virgil Cain/Frankie, etc.

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2.....peaks.html

    I don’t know who Joe.G is but now I know that brian douglas is a sock account of this William.

    If you support People stalking people on UD with sock accounts and calling them with names of somebody else while not providing any content and just ankle biting, KF then that is up to you, but I think they do not deserve respect.

  28. 28
    kairosfocus says:

    PPS: What you have to be a lot better than, courtesy WIKI:

    Abiogenesis (Brit.: /?e?ba?.??d??n?s?s/ AY-by-oh-JEN-?-siss[1] U.S. English pronunciation: /?e??ba?o??d??n?s?s/),[2] or biopoiesis,[3] is the natural process of life arising from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds.[4][5][6][7] It is thought to have occurred on Earth between 3.8 and 4.1[8] billion years ago, and is studied through a combination of laboratory experiments and extrapolation from the genetic information of modern organisms in order to make reasonable conjectures about what pre-life chemical reactions may have given rise to a living system.[9]

    The study of abiogenesis involves three main types of considerations: the geophysical, the chemical, and the biological,[10] with more recent approaches attempting a synthesis of all three. Many approaches investigate how self-replicating molecules, or their components, came into existence. It is generally accepted that current life on Earth descended from an RNA world,[11] although RNA-based life may not have been the first life to have existed.[12][13] The Miller–Urey experiment and similar experiments demonstrated that most amino acids, basic chemicals of life, can be synthesized from inorganic compounds in conditions intended to be similar to early Earth. Several mechanisms of organic molecule synthesis have been investigated, including lightning and radiation. Other approaches (“metabolism first” hypotheses) focus on understanding how catalysis in chemical systems on the early Earth might have provided the precursor molecules necessary for self-replication.[14] Complex organic molecules have been found in the Solar System and in interstellar space, and these molecules may have provided starting material for the development of life on Earth.[15][16][17][18]

    The panspermia hypothesis suggests that microscopic life was distributed by meteoroids, asteroids and other small Solar System bodies and that life may exist throughout the Universe.[19] It is speculated that the biochemistry of life may have begun shortly after the Big Bang, 13.8 billion years ago, during a habitable epoch when the age of the universe was only 10–17 million years.[20][21] Panspermia hypothesis answers the question as from whence life, not how life came to be; it only relocates the origin of life to a locale outside the Earth.

    Nonetheless, Earth is the only place in the Universe known to harbor life.[22][23] The age of the Earth is about 4.54 billion years.[24][25][26] The earliest undisputed evidence of life on Earth dates at least from 3.5 billion years ago,[27][28][29] during the Eoarchean Era after a geological crust started to solidify following the earlier molten Hadean Eon. There are microbial mat fossils found in 3.48 billion-year-old sandstone discovered in Western Australia.[30][31][32] Other early physical evidence of a biogenic substance is graphite in 3.7 billion-year-old metasedimentary rocks discovered in southwestern Greenland[33] as well as “remains of biotic life” found in 4.1 billion-year-old rocks in Western Australia.[34][35] According to one of the researchers, “If life arose relatively quickly on Earth … then it could be common in the universe.”[34]

    As of now, that is what is in the empty chair.

    Hint, target rich environment.

    KF

  29. 29
    kairosfocus says:

    PPPS: Rational Wiki (which imposes philosophical materialism on science via so-called methodological naturalism) is even more revealing:

    Abiogenesis is the process by which life arises naturally from non-living matter. Scientists speculate that life may have arisen as a result of random chemical processes happening to produce self-replicating molecules. One of the popular current hypotheses involves chemical reactivity around hydrothermal vents.[1][2] This hypothesis has yet to be empirically proven although the current evidence is generally supportive of it. Give those crazy scientists a half billion or so years to play,[3] though, and they might do just as well as nature once did!

    Fallacy of confident manner, anyone?

    KF

  30. 30
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, stalking is serious . . . and in my case it has been real world also including extended family (yes, I have had to go to the police). Post Umpqua, it is downright irresponsible to the point of potential bloodguilt. That said, we do not need to resort to schoolyard level name twisting and name calling. A spiral to the bottom in a mud puddle fight with a pig is a losing proposition as he is more vicious and experienced. There is a reason we are counselled not to throw pearls to pigs who cannot appreciate value and will viciously turn on you — have you thought about their canines? Trolls crave attention so beyond a certain point of speaking for record, studiously ignore as is happening with a penumbra of attack and hate sites. Let us focus the empty chair on the debate stage and the two stand-ins so far. The implication is, if you all don’t put up something substantially better the strawman you allowed to stand by default is in for a major, point by point dissection. The clock is ticking, and remember abiogenesis is the root of the evolutionist tree of life. Where, the “natural selection (etc) works magick . . . yes I point to the occult roots . . . dodge is off the table as code using vNkSR reproduction integrated with metabolic automaton in a smart gated encapsulated cell is what is to be explained. Just codes and communication alone imply language, communication systems, and arguably purpose to effect co-ordination. KF

  31. 31
    Jack Jones says:

    KF,

    They should be called irrationalwiki because they certainly aren’t rational and as you and me and born and box and others have pointed out, materialism cannot ground rationality but undermines it.

  32. 32

    At the origin of the heterogeneous cell, you have to create utility through representation. A thing must be specified if it is to appear in genome and be formalized into heritable memory.

    Those who believe life came about through unguided material means, must therefore be able to demonstrate some material principle behind representation arising in an inanimate environment. And not only representation, but spatially-oriented representation, or they will not have the infortmation-bearing capacity required for the cell to record itself into memory (and begin the cycle of life).

    That’s a damn high hill, even for a stepper. Basically, its a delusion, driven by commitments to ideology.

  33. 33
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Now, with all these concessions, go ahead, what is your theory about how life formed?

    Not from amino acids.

    There are a number of speculations about abiogenesis, but none of them form a complete theory. We might start with what we do know, that the Earth is billions of years old, and life began within millions of years after it cooled enough for liquid water to form.

  34. 34
    Jack Jones says:

    I am sorry about what happened to you and your family KF, I have noticed that when it comes to Opponents of ID that many of them are not balanced mentally, they are like the rabid SJW’s that go after people.

    We are dealing with some seriously screwed up people.

  35. 35
    Zachriel says:

    Upright BiPed: heterogeneous cell

    What is a “heterogeneous cell”?

  36. 36
    brian douglas says:

    Joe/Jack/virgil/Frankie/whoever, evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred. Much in the same way that I can propose the mechanisms involved in the production of a car without knowing the step by step process that is actually used.

  37. 37
    gpuccio says:

    Zachriel:

    “There are a number of speculations about abiogenesis, but none of them form a complete theory.”

    I know you have always been “cautious” about OOL, and I appreciate that attitude.

    OOL is such an easy win for ID that there is almost no fun in debating it. (I know, you will not agree 🙂 )

    But believe me, the origin of eukaryotes is no smaller problem. And metazoa. And, and…

  38. 38
    Virgil Cain says:

    We might start with what we do know, that the Earth is billions of years old, and life began within millions of years after it cooled enough for liquid water to form.

    Except we really don’t know that.

    Everything we do know says that living organisms are the result of an Intelligent Design and our place in the universe just adds to that inference.

  39. 39

    Sorry Zach, I’m not going to look up words for you, particularly since the word is used in context.

    A living cell is a heterogeneous system. It requires discrete parts in order to function, and reproduces itself by means of prescriptive synthesis. This process requires the translation of an informational medium. The minimum requirements for the origin of the system are therefore established by what is physically necessary to record and translate the amount of information that the system needs to successfully describe itself into memory.

    You’ll have to find someone else to play games.

  40. 40
    Virgil Cain says:

    Sock Puppet:

    evolution just proposes the mechanism,

    Umm the mechanisms proposed are all step-by-step processes. Darwin’s whole point was that natural selection was a step-by-step process for explaining the design observed in living organisms. The same can be said for drift. Gradual. Incremental. Steps.

    not a step by step account of how it occurred.

    The posited mechanisms are gradual step-by-step processes. That means it is up to the position making the claim to support the claim, or withdraw it until it can be supported.

    Science 101

  41. 41
    Eric Anderson says:

    brian douglas @3:

    Now, keep in mind, that god-did-it is a cop out. I expect the same level of detail, with mechanisms and intermediary steps, that you expect of the evolution side.
    . . .
    I could go on, but this should be a good start. You answer all of this, and I will attempt to answer your question.

    Sounds like you are trying to avoid having to provide a naturalistic explanation, which is not surprising. You will also note that I have not claimed that “god-did-it” and that no further discussion is needed. More foundational to your comment however, is the fact that you are (i) misunderstanding the nature of scientific critique, (ii) making a logical category mistake, and (iii) misunderstanding the design inference.

    (i) It is perfectly legitimate for me to offer a critique of a particular claim without offering an alternative theory. Abiogenesis proponents have claimed that life arose by purely natural and material processes. Fine. Let’s hear what they are and examine them. And when pressed on the details it isn’t a very impressive response by the abiogenesis proponents for them to say, “I’m not going to tell you the details about how my theory works, nor am I going to even consider the possibility that my theory is full of holes, until you come up with some alternative theory and give me all the details of your theory.” That is nothing more than a confession of ignorance and we might be forgiven for suspecting that the abiogenesis proponent has no idea how his own theory would work. The abiogenesis proponent claims that a natural and material process can produce life. Fine. Let’s hear it. And we are perfectly justified in critiquing that claim on its own merits.

    (ii) More importantly, you make a category mistake in demanding details of “mechanisms and intermediary steps” in an intelligent design situation. Intelligent design is not a mechanistic theory. That is the whole point. Whereas naturalistic scenarios must, by definition, be explainable by purely natural mechanisms, things that are designed are not explainable solely on the basis of mechanisms. This is a very common intellectual trap that abiogenesis proponents and materialists fall into. They think that a demand for “mechanisms” of design is a valid critique of the design inference. It is not. However, it is understandable why they would approach things that way — material mechanisms are all they have to work with in their limited world view; intelligence is not allowed. Thus whenever they approach any question of origins they do so with the blinders of materialism firmly in place and naturally fall into the intellectual trap of assuming that there must be a mechanistic explanation.

    (iii) The design inference asks whether something is designed. That is it. Once we conclude that something is designed we can of course continue with interesting follow-up questions, such as the why, or the how, or the when, or the by whom? But we are not required to answer any of these follow-up questions to draw an initial design inference. For example, we can see that the Egyptian Pyramids were designed. And we can do so without knowing exactly how they were built — whether a “mechanism” of rollers or mud slides was used, whether a steel hammer or a wooden mallet cut the blocks, whether ramps or pulleys and ropes were used, and so on. We can speculate on the particulars of how something like life was intelligently designed, but it is not germane to the design inference.

    —–

    Unlike a design inference, naturalistic mechanistic scenarios live and die by mechanisms. If you don’t have a natural, physical mechanism, you don’t have a valid mechanistic scenario.

    So I ask again, what is the proposed mechanism of the alleged mechanistic abiogenesis claim?

  42. 42
    kairosfocus says:

    BD, unless you have concrete demonstrative proof of sock puppetry, kindly cease and desist from making unsubstantiated allegations. So far, you are doing little more than atmosphere poisoning. FYI, there is an empty chair on the stage, with two Wikis standing in. Believe you me, if there is not something substantial put up, these Wikis are going to be shredded, point by point. KF

  43. 43
    brian douglas says:

    Virgil/Joe/Frankie/Jack, using my car analogy, here are the mechanism:

    Smelting, cold rolling, painting, casting, stamping, drafting, milling, welding, etc.

    Based on these mechanisms, please provide me the step by step process of building the car.

  44. 44
    Barry Arrington says:

    brian douglas:

    Now, keep in mind, that god-did-it is a cop out.

    brian douglas

    Joe/Jack/virgil/Frankie/whoever, evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred. Much in the same way that I can propose the mechanisms involved in the production of a car without knowing the step by step process that is actually used.

    brian is apparently against cop outs except when he is not. 🙂

  45. 45
    Eric Anderson says:

    Bob O’H @7:

    gpuccio @8 is right. I’m willing to grant you all the nucleotides you want, if you prefer that approach, instead of amino acids. I’ll even give you the base, sugar and phosphate group already nicely put together for good measure.

  46. 46
    kairosfocus says:

    EA, 41: Excellent. KF

  47. 47
    Eric Anderson says:

    KF @13:

    That is an excellent observation by Johnson and one that is critical to keep in mind.

    I note that the materialistic mindset manifests itself in various ways, including demands for mechanistic explanations, as I outlined @41.

  48. 48
    Zachriel says:

    gpuccio: OOL is such an easy win for ID that there is almost no fun in debating it. (I know, you will not agree 🙂 )

    The existence of a gap is not a strong argument for design. In any case, abiogenetic hypotheses have been scientifically fruitful, while Intelligent Design has been scientifically sterile. There’s no there there.

    Upright BiPed: I’m not going to look up words for you, particularly since the word is used in context.

    We did look up the term, but it generally seems to refer to cell populations, not to cell structure.

    Upright BiPed: A living cell is a heterogeneous system. It requires discrete parts in order to function, and reproduces itself by means of prescriptive synthesis. This process requires the translation of an informational medium.

    A simple replicator in a membrane is heterogeneous in the normal sense of the word, but doesn’t include translation, so is not a “heterogeneous cell” as you are using the term.

    Upright BiPed: The minimum requirements for the origin of the system are therefore established by what is physically necessary to record and translate the amount of information that the system needs to successfully describe itself into memory.

    The “therefore” is misplaced. Rather, you are *claiming* that such a system can’t derive from a simpler system.

    Eric Anderson: Abiogenesis proponents have claimed that life arose by purely natural and material processes.

    You might want to check out Szostak’s Lab. They’ve done a lot of research into abiogenetics.
    http://molbio.mgh.harvard.edu/szostakweb/

    Eric Anderson: Intelligent design is not a mechanistic theory.

    Intelligent design implies manufacture, which is mechanistic, or as brian douglas terms it, “Smelting, cold rolling, painting, casting, stamping, drafting, milling, welding, etc.”


    And the LORD God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul. — Genesis 2:7

  49. 49
    Virgil Cain says:

    Earth to sock puppet-

    Natural selection and drift ARE the alleged step-by-step processes that produced the diversity of life. However no one knows how to test that claim. And it is very telling that you don’t grasp the significance of that.

  50. 50
    Eric Anderson says:

    Virgil Cain and Jack Jones:

    You have some valid points.

    Let’s try to keep the focus on the substance and the name-calling to a minimum . . .

    Thanks,

  51. 51
    Jack Jones says:

    The ID proponent bases his beliefs based on known chemistry and the law of Biogenesis and how nature is known to operate.

    The ID proponent accepts that life cannot originate spontaneously in nature and thus accepts you have to go beyond a natural cause for how a living organism or organisms originated.

    The Person that has faith that life originated spontaneously from non living matter is basing their faith based on what is not known for how nature operates, they reject known chemistry, they reject the law of biogenesis.

    Just like they reject logic when they deny a cause that is not natural for the origin of nature and believe in infinite finite natural past events.

    They not only believe they can count back an infinite amount of past natural events, but they believe in the tautological oxymoron of “infinite finiteness”

    It shows their position is based on emotion and not reason.

  52. 52
    Virgil Cain says:

    The existence of a gap is not a strong argument for design.

    True, but it is a start in that direction.

    In any case, abiogenetic hypotheses have been scientifically fruitful,

    Your opinion is not an argument.

    while Intelligent Design has been scientifically sterile.

    And your ignorance is not an argument.

    A simple replicator in a membrane

    Your imagination is not an argument.

    Rather, you are *claiming* that such a system can’t derive from a simpler system.

    Yes, that is the claim that neither you nor anyone else will ever refute.

    Intelligent design implies manufacture, which is mechanistic,

    Yes, it does. However it is a given that we do not have to know the mechanism before we can determine if the object/ structure/ event in question was the result of nature, operating freely or intelligent design. That is what is meant by saying ID is not a mechanistic theory.

    This has been explained to Zacho many times and it still refuses to learn.

  53. 53
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, in many cases the new atheist radicals and fellow travellers are SJWs seeking to demand approval and to impose a massively transforming ill-considered agenda on the emotionally loaded assumption that this restores justice for groups they see as unjustly oppressed by that now likely mortally wounded civilisation formerly known as Christendom. They are often angrily right and wise in their own eyes while being amoral and/or radically relativist, routinely speak with disregard to truth, double down on claims when challenged and use the turnabout accusation agit prop tactic so beloved of Hitler, Goebbels and co. Vox Day may be an extremist with questionable views and approaches of his own, but he does have a sharp mind when he wants to use it. KF

  54. 54
    Barry Arrington says:

    Zach,

    You might want to check out Szostak’s Lab. They’ve done a lot of research into abiogenetics.

    Before I follow you link, can you tell me whether Szostak’s lab has solved any of the basic problems facing a materialist OOL account? If yes, I must have missed the headlines and Nobel Prizes that surely followed. If not, what is the point of checking them out?

  55. 55
    Eric Anderson says:

    KF @29 (quoting Rational Wiki):

    Abiogenesis is the process by which life arises naturally from non-living matter. Scientists speculate that life may have arisen as a result of random chemical processes happening to produce self-replicating molecules.

    I note that abiogenesis has been elevated to an actual process that definitely exists (albeit an unknown one). To be accurate, they should have said that “abiogenesis is a theoretical process that . . .”

    My favorite part though is the claimed existence of the never-before-seen, hypothetical entity: the self-replicating molecule. Ah, yes. Ever an important character in the materialist creation story.

  56. 56
    Andre says:

    Eric

    You should be even more surprised at the fact that a self replicating molecule happened for absolute no reason whatsoever..

  57. 57
    Jack Jones says:

    Zach said ”

    “The existence of a gap is not a strong argument for design. ”

    We argue from what is known, not from what is not known. You argue from what is not known to occur in nature with your rejection of known chemistry and the law of biogenesis.

    ” In any case, abiogenetic hypotheses have been scientifically fruitful,”

    Like Virgil said.

    “Your opinion is not an argument.”

    Zach “while Intelligent Design has been scientifically sterile.”

    On the contrary, it is the presuppositions of those that believed in a designer that gave rise to modern science.

    Kepler’s motivation was a result of his belief in a Designer, so it is funny when you talk about planetary motion in your comments.

    The idea that our sense of self is an illusion produced by determined matter in a universe where stuff happens, provides no grounds for doing science.

    None of the presuppositions of science have any grounding on materialism.

    If humans are nothing more than determined matter in motion as they are on materialism, then not only is the investigator illusory but the matter that gave rise to the illusion of self is just doing what ever any other such configuration of matter would so, as matter can be reduced to chemical elements on the periodic table then please do tell what chemical elements are free?

    Truth requires freedom, it makes no sense to say determined chemistry is false which you would be doing when arguing against others.

    Maybe you can do what Professor Moran has failed to do and tell me. which chemical elements are free?

  58. 58
    brian douglas says:

    Barry: “brian is apparently against cop outs except when he is not. ”

    How is this a cop out? Do you agree that we understand the basic mechanisms behind mountain formation? If so, why do we not question them because we can’t describe step by step how Mount Everest came to be the shape it is?

    Physicists have a very good understanding of radioactive decay and the mechanisms involved. The fact that they cannot predict when any atom will decay is not evidence against the theory.

  59. 59

    Upright BiPed: I’m not going to look up words for you, particularly since the word is used in context.

    Zach: We did look up the term, but it generally seems to refer to cell populations, not to cell structure.

    My suggestion would be to not ignore context.

    Upright BiPed: A living cell is a heterogeneous system. It requires discrete parts in order to function, and reproduces itself by means of prescriptive synthesis. This process requires the translation of an informational medium.

    A simple replicator in a membrane is heterogeneous in the normal sense of the word, but doesn’t include translation, so is not a “heterogeneous cell” as you are using the term.

    I am using the word in the sense of our universal observation of living cells. They are heterogeneous entities that reproduce themselves by the translation of prescriptive memory.

    Upright BiPed: The minimum requirements for the origin of the system are therefore established by what is physically necessary to record and translate the amount of information that the system needs to successfully describe itself into memory.

    Zach: The “therefore” is misplaced. Rather, you are *claiming* that such a system can’t derive from a simpler system.

    Wrong. A heterogeneous self-replicating system that reproduces itself by the translation of prescriptive memory, must be able to describe itself into that memory. The minimum requirement for the system is therefore established by what is necessary to record and translate the amount of information that the system needs to successfully describe itself into memory. The word “therefore” is not misplaced.

  60. 60
    Andre says:

    Brian

    A mountain only obeys the laws of nature it is inanimate matter. You are animated matter there is a mountain of difrence between you and that mountain. Inanimate can not become animated unless there is an animator.

  61. 61
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry: “brian is apparently against cop outs except when he is not. ”

    How is this a cop out? Do you agree that we understand the basic mechanisms behind mountain formation? If so, why do we not question them because we can’t describe step by step how Mount Everest came to be the shape it is?

    There is a theory of mountain formation. That theory is based on the extrapolation of causal forces we see in operation today. In other words, geologists go outside, look at processes that result in the formation of mountains today, and say “Gee, I theorize that is how mountains formed in the past.” Perfectly reasonable chain of inference.

    When it comes to OOL, as EA’s post shows, there are no causal forces currently in operation that could even conceivably (much less actually) turn dead matter into living matter. As EA observes, this is true even if we give the process an enormous head start. If you are saying you know the general mechanism (as opposed to step-by-step details) by which dead matter was turned into living matter in the remote past, you are wrong. You don’t even know a mechanism that will meet EA’s toy challenge. Therefore, with respect to OOL, your mountain formation example fails, because there is absolutely no known mechanism for materialist OOL, much less a mechanism that we currently see in operation.

    As for evolution generally, it is true that mechanisms have been proposed (genetic drift; natural selection, etc.). But don’t you see that when you say that you “know” these mechanisms account for the observations that you have just engaged in a colossal exercise of question begging? This is patently obvious.

    Go outside. Do you see natural selection or genetic drift forming new body plans (as opposed to making minor modifications to existing body plans)? Do you see natural selection or genetic drift forming genomes (as opposed to making minor modifications to existing genomes)? I can go on and on. The answer is “no.”

    You will almost surely respond that my criticism is misdirected because those processes work on a geologic time scale and therefore we cannot expect to see them in operation today. The problem with this response is that there is good reason to believe that unlike the causal forces we observe with respect to mountain formation, there is reason to believe that the causal forces proposed for materialist evolution are incapable in principle of doing the work ascribed to them. To cite one example of many, how can natural forces even in principle create a semiotic code? And even if they have an existing semiotic code to work with, how can natural forces coordinate the multitude of simultaneous modifications to that code necessary to create significant changes to body plans?

  62. 62
    Jack Jones says:

    In regards to Mr Arrington’s comment

    “As for evolution generally, it is true that mechanisms have been proposed (genetic drift; natural selection, etc.). But don’t you see that when you say that you “know” these mechanisms account for the observations that you have just engaged in a colossal exercise of question begging? This is patently obvious. ”

    On the evolution berkeley site then their example for genetic drift is a foot dreading on some green beetles and you end up with 1 green beetle to 5 brown beetles which already existed.

    http://evolution.berkeley.edu/.....cle/evo_24

    How the hell is that evolution so that over time a new creature will emerge?

    And if the green beetle was to have offspring with the brown beetle then that doesn’t produce a mechanism for new organs and body parts over time.

    You might get some cosmetic variation like you get when humans of light skin have children with people of darker skin but that provides no mechanism for the humans to give rise to a new body plan over time.

    In the past I was told that the peppered moth story was an example of natural selection which they equivocate for evolution.

    Even if the peppered moth story were true then how is that supporting evolution?

    You started with black moths and light colored moths and ended with the black moths because the light ones get eaten up.

    How is that supporting evolution?

    You have a reduction of information in the population and no mechanism has been produced for a moth to evolve towards a new life form over many generations.

    And increasing the amount of black moths over time is not going to provide a mechanism for them to become something else.

    The death of the light colored moths did not create The moth in the first place.

    Why is it that evolutionists use these pathetic ideas as support for their faith when it has nothing to do with how new organs and body parts originate?

    “When it comes to OOL, as EA’s post shows, there are no causal forces currently in operation that could even conceivably (much less actually) turn dead matter into living matter. As EA observes, this is true even if we give the process an enormous head start. If you are saying you know the general mechanism (as opposed to step-by-step details) by which dead matter was turned into living matter in the remote past, you are wrong. You don’t even know a mechanism that will meet EA’s toy challenge. Therefore, with respect to OOL, your mountain formation example fails, because there is absolutely no known mechanism for materialist OOL, much less a mechanism that we currently see in operation. ”

    Mr Arrington, they go outside of what is known for how nature operates and then they claim they are sticking to natural causation.

    They need to stick to what is known with how processes in the present operate, when they step outside of what is empirically known for how nature operates, while claiming natural causation, then they are not being consistent with their own rule.

  63. 63
    mike1962 says:

    brian douglas: evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred.

    How do we empirically verify or falsify that the proposed mechanism can generate what occurred?

    Much in the same way that I can propose the mechanisms involved in the production of a car without knowing the step by step process that is actually used.

    I can verify or falsify your car-making proposal empirically. As it turns out, I can actually provide a step-by-step account of car-making. You can make proposals all day long, but you need to specify the means of verifying or falsifying your proposals. Otherwise it’s not science.

    Take, for example, the conjecture that something like a chimp brain evolved, without any intelligent intervention, into a human brain. You can propose a variety of “mechanisms” for this, but how would you go about verifying or falsifying this conjecture?

  64. 64
    Jack Jones says:

    Correction, that should read “6 brown beetles”

  65. 65
    brian douglas says:

    Mike: “I can verify or falsify your car-making proposal empirically. As it turns out, I can actually provide a step-by-step account of car-making.”

    Yes, by dismantling the car and reassembling it, you could posit a step by step process for assembling the car. But could you conclude that your process was the exact same one used to first construct it? No.

    Much in the same way that we know the DNA sequence required for a specific protein, we could probably posit a series of mutations that could result in the needed sequence. But that would be pointless as there is no way that we could conclude that it actually arose in that fashion.

    But we have gone way off topic. With regard to OOL, I have already stated that I have no idea how it came about, and that an intelligent agent is a valid inference. As is a natural one. But the only way that you can test the strength of either inference is to continue to research all possible natural possibilities. I think that we would all agree on this. Unless someone has any idea for testing the idea of an intelligent cause to OOL.

  66. 66
    Mapou says:

    mike1962 @63,

    Well said. The inability of Darwinists to formulate an experiment that could falsify Darwinian evolution is the reason that Karl Popper called it a “metaphysical research program”.

    It boggles the mind that Darwinists have managed to turn their little chicken-shit religion into a government funded and mandated “science”. Future historians will have a hard time figuring that one out. It’s almost as if a powerful but invisible hand is pushing this crap onto humanity.

  67. 67
    kairosfocus says:

    Notice the continued empty chair on the stage?

    What does that tell us about the confident manner of evolutionary materialism advocates and fellow travellers?

  68. 68
    Jack Jones says:

    @66

    Mapou

    The Bird Watcher Ernst Mayr said

    “Evolutionary biology, in contrast with physics and chemistry, is a historical science—the evolutionist attempts to explain events and processes that have already taken place. Laws and experiments are inappropriate techniques for the explication of such events and processes. Instead one constructs a historical narrative, consisting of a tentative reconstruction of the particular scenario that led to the events one is trying to explain.”

    In other words, Just so stories.

    I don’t mind the butterfly and moth collectors coming up with their evolutionary just so stories, they could be published as bedtime stories. They shouldn’t however be mooching off the state with their story telling.

  69. 69
    Barry Arrington says:

    Brian

    Much in the same way that we know the DNA sequence required for a specific protein, we could probably posit a series of mutations that could result in the needed sequence. But that would be pointless as there is no way that we could conclude that it actually arose in that fashion.

    Wow. I have never seen an evolutionist go this far before. Attempting to actually demonstrate how their mechanism accounted for the observation is “pointless.” You just gotta have faith.

    Well OK brian. But do me a favor. Never poke fun at other* religious fundamentalists.

    _________
    *Note that I did not use the word “those.”

  70. 70

    Unless someone has any idea for testing the idea of an intelligent cause to OOL.

    A Valid Test.

  71. 71
    kairosfocus says:

    UB, of course, all objectors to the design inference of consequence know that were they able to show credible creation of functionally specific complex organisation and associated information by undirected blind chance and mechanical necessity, the inference to design on FSCO/I as empirically reliable sign would collapse. So would ID as a scientific movement. That there is now a pretence of unfalsifiability is a mark of just how badly many attempts over the years to falsify have failed. The dismissal of the design inference by so many largely turns on ideological commitment and consequent twisted redefinition of science. KF

  72. 72
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: Before I follow you link, can you tell me whether Szostak’s lab has solved any of the basic problems facing a materialist OOL account? If yes, I must have missed the headlines and Nobel Prizes that surely followed.

    No. Szostak won his Nobel for work with telomeres.
    http://www.nobelprize.org/nobe.....facts.html

    Szostak’s Lab has done interesting work on vesicle replication and RNA selection.

    Upright BiPed: I am using the word in the sense of our universal observation of living cells. They are heterogeneous entities that reproduce themselves by the translation of prescriptive memory.

    There’s nothing wrong with coining a term, but it’s not something one can just look up. That’s the reason for the question.

    Upright BiPed: A heterogeneous self-replicating system that reproduces itself by the translation of prescriptive memory, must be able to describe itself into that memory.

    In RNA World, prescriptive memory is the RNA, which not only is the memory, but also can act as an enzyme. The only thing missing then is the translation mechanism. It’s possible that translation could evolve through exaptation. RNA charged with amino acids would provide additional functional options, as well as greater stability. Charged RNA could evolve into a peptide ligase, then self-charging proto-tRNAs that worked just to deliver amino acids to the ligase, and finally, specialization for the growing number of different amino acids.

    mike1962: How do we empirically verify or falsify that the proposed mechanism can generate what occurred?

    One way is to look at the historical record captured in the fossil succession. Another is to carefully observe natural selection directly.

    mike1962: Take, for example, the conjecture that something like a chimp brain evolved, without any intelligent intervention, into a human brain.

    We have evidence of a gradual transition, consistent with evolution.
    http://ncse.com/files/images/F.....custom.png

  73. 73
    Eric Anderson says:

    UB @32:

    Good points, as usual.

    BTW, are you involved with the website you linked to? If so, I’d be interested in hearing a bit more about it if you don’t mind sharing.

  74. 74
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @33:

    There are a number of speculations about abiogenesis, but none of them form a complete theory. We might start with what we do know, that the Earth is billions of years old, and life began within millions of years after it cooled enough for liquid water to form.

    It would be more accurate to say none of them form anything more than a laughable made up story, but OK, I understand your point.

    I’m happy to stipulate that the Earth is billions of years old and that life began within millions of years after it cooled enough (the short timeframe making, we might note, the materialistic luck-of-the-draw abiogenesis story all the more unlikely).

    Let’s start with a few other things we also know. No material mechanism has ever been demonstrated that can generate complex specified information. In contrast, intelligent beings regularly generate such information. Every abiogenesis hypothesis to date suffers from gaping problems beyond the critical information question (to wit, the various concessions I made in the OP). The oft-cited “self-replicating molecule” has never been observed, nor has anyone ever provided even a grounded theoretical model of how such a thing could exist or operate. Any materialistic scenario runs into huge combinatorial problems that far exceed the resources of the known universe. And on and on.

    Are you willing to start with those things that we know? Or is it just the billions of years some people seem to be impressed with.

    Yes, I am willing to start with everything we know. Not just some selective tidbits here and there, coupled with lots of half-baked speculations.

  75. 75
    mike1962 says:

    Brian Douglas: Yes, by dismantling the car and reassembling it, you could posit a step by step process for assembling the car. But could you conclude that your process was the exact same one used to first construct it? No.

    Nobody is asking for “the exact same one used to first construct it.” What I am asking for is a way to verify or falsify whatever your putative process or mechanism is. If it’s not verifiable or falsifiable, then we’re not talking science.

    Much in the same way that we know the DNA sequence required for a specific protein, we could probably posit a series of mutations that could result in the needed sequence.

    You say “we could probably.” Very well, then. Do that, by golly. That’s the sort of thing we’re asking for. Let’s see if it verifiable or falsifiable. If not, you’re not yet talking about anything scientific. Mere speculations do not a scientific theory make.

    But that would be pointless as there is no way that we could conclude that it actually arose in that fashion.

    Nobody is asking for that. See above.

    With regard to OOL, I have already stated that I have no idea how it came about, and that an intelligent agent is a valid inference. As is a natural one.

    I won’t speak to the ID question here, but a “natural agent” is not presently a valid inference for OOL. Valid inferences are “the act or process of deriving logical conclusions from premises known or assumed to be true.” All you have presently is a mere conjecture with mostly gaping holes and precious little evidence. That’s not the same thing as an inference.

  76. 76
    mike1962 says:

    Zächriele: One way is to look at the historical record captured in the fossil succession. Another is to carefully observe natural selection directly.

    Please provide an example that is germane to the discussion of verifying or falsifying putative mechanisms.

    We have evidence of a gradual transition, consistent with evolution.

    A gradual transition is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

  77. 77
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: What I am asking for is a way to verify or falsify whatever your putative process or mechanism is.

    We can observe natural selection in everything from guppies to finches. We can also observe the effects of mutation in bacteria. For historical cases of adaptive evolution, the sequence of events can be determined from common descent. To show natural selection requires finding examples of a sequence that includes incremental, selectable steps.

  78. 78
    Barry Arrington says:

    Barry Arrington: Before I follow you link, can you tell me whether Szostak’s lab has solved any of the basic problems facing a materialist OOL account?

    Zach: No.

    Well, OK then. Thanks for saving me from wasting my time.

  79. 79
    mike1962 says:

    Zächriellen: We can observe natural selection in everything from guppies to finches. We can also observe the effects of mutation in bacteria. For historical cases of adaptive evolution, the sequence of events can be determined from common descent. To show natural selection requires finding examples of a sequence that includes incremental, selectable steps.

    What is your putative mechanism(s) for what is seen in the fossil record and how can it/they be verified or falsified? Once you figure that out, please feel free to give Brian some assistance with respect to this question and OOL, which is the topic at hand.

  80. 80

    Hi Eric,

    Yes, both of the sites I linked to are mine. They are just two weeks old now. I wrote about them here
    on UD on Oct 31st.

    I’d like to have that conversation. Can you contact me at info (at) biosemiosis ((dot)) org? I look forward to it.

  81. 81
    Barry Arrington says:

    KF,

    That there is now a pretense of unfalsifiability . . .

    Well, yes and no. They claim ID is unfalsifiable only when they are not claiming it has in fact been falsified. Being a materialist means never having to stick to one story as to why your opponent’s theory fails.

  82. 82
    Zachriel says:

    Barry Arrington: Well, OK then.

    Stay ignorant then. Good luck with that!

    mike1962: What is your putative mechanism(s) for what is seen in the fossil record and how can it/they be verified or falsified?

    Evolution by natural selection. We just provided how it can be verified.

    We can observe natural selection in everything from guppies to finches. We can also observe the effects of mutation in bacteria. For historical cases of adaptive evolution, the sequence of events can be determined from common descent. To show natural selection requires finding examples of a sequence that includes incremental, selectable steps.

  83. 83
    Jack Jones says:

    Zach@82 “Evolution by natural selection. We just provided how it can be verified. ”

    Natural selection is a fallacy of personifying nature. The environment does not select.

    It is why there is no agreed definition of Natural selection and you even had Coyne contradicting himself, Darwin came up with a metaphor and tried to project that out into the world as a law of nature which is like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. That’s why there has been confusion among evolutionists when it comes to that term and contradictory definitions.

    I agree with Peter Corning on an exceptional use of the term “natural selection when it comes to predator prey relationships, like birds eating the light colored moths but the death of the light colored moths did not create moths in the first place. It provides no means for moths to become something else over time.

    Not dying did not create that which already existed.

    What needs is explaining is how one type of organism can give rise to a new type over time, There is no agreement for a mechanism for that.

    The weeding out of that which already exists did not create that which did not die.

  84. 84
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: What is your putative mechanism(s) for what is seen in the fossil record and how can it/they be verified or falsified?

    Zächriellen: Evolution by natural selection. We just provided how it can be verified

    Well, let’s see. You said…

    One way is to look at the historical record captured in the fossil succession.

    The historical record is the thing to be explained. It is not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Another is to carefully observe natural selection directly.

    For example?

    We have evidence of a gradual transition, consistent with evolution.

    Gradual transitions in the fossil record are an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    We can observe natural selection in everything from guppies to finches.

    See previous paragraph.

    We can also observe the effects of mutation in bacteria.

    So what is your proposed mechanism? That mutations in bacteria are responsible for the gradual transitions found in the fossil record? Please clarify.

    For historical cases of adaptive evolution, the sequence of events can be determined from common descent.

    Events, adaptations and appearances of common descent recorded in the fossil record are effects, not mechanisms to be verified or falsified.

    To show natural selection requires finding examples of a sequence that includes incremental, selectable steps.

    Incremental steps in the fossil record are effects, not mechanisms to be verified or falsified. “Natural selection” is merely a tautological tag for “whatever survives in its environment.” It is not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Evolution by natural selection. We just provided how it can be verified.

    No you didn’t. You provided no putative mechanism. Merely citations of effects that require a mechanism, yet to be described.

  85. 85
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Natural selection is a fallacy of personifying nature.

    Natural selection is a directly observable phenomenon.

    mike1962: It is not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    The historical record shows branching descent.

    mike1962: Gradual transitions in the fossil record are an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Whatever the mechanism is, the historical record shows that it works incrementally.

    mike1962: “Natural selection” is merely a tautological tag for “whatever survives in its environment.”

    Selective fitness refers to traits that provide a heritable reproductive advantage. Some traits are not heritable. Some traits don’t provide a reproductive advantage. Some organisms survive by happenstance.

    mike1962: You provided no putative mechanism.

    Evolution by natural selection is a mechanism.

  86. 86
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: Take, for example, the conjecture that something like a chimp brain evolved, without any intelligent intervention, into a human brain.

    Zächriellen: We have evidence of a gradual transition, consistent with evolution.

    Given that “gradual transitions” are “evolution”, that’s not saying anything at all. Now, do you have a testable, falsifiable mechanism that can account for a chimp-like brain evolving into human brains without intelligent intervention?

  87. 87
    Jack Jones says:

    “Natural selection is a directly observable phenomenon.”

    Natural selection is a metaphor, Darwin admitted that it is a false term.

    You can make an exception for the use of the term for predator-prey relationships, the environment that is lived in however cannot select, it is a personification fallacy.

    Fallacious thinking does not cease to become Fallacious thinking just because it has become popular, Butterfly and Moth collectors may be trained in story telling but they are not necessarily trained in logic.

    Predators that kill off prey did not create that which did not die.

    Not dying did not create that which lives.

  88. 88
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Given that “gradual transitions” are “evolution”

    Gradual transitions can be called evolution, but we’re referring to evolution by natural selection.

    Jack Jones: Natural selection is a metaphor

    The term “natural selection” was chosen as a metaphor, but is a term of art referring to differential reproductive potential due to heritable variations.

  89. 89
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson

    I’ll also miraculously make your fledgling chemical structures immune from their natural rate of breakdown.

    Indeed you’re very generous, but if on top of that you also want to be considered PC, you may want to remove a word that is not PC in the above quoted sentence, which was copied from your OP.

    🙂

  90. 90
    mike1962 says:

    Zächriellen The historical record shows branching descent.

    Branching descent is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Whatever the mechanism is, the historical record shows that it works incrementally.

    Incremental effects recorded in the fossil record are just that: effects. They are not a mechanism that can be verified or falsified.

    Selective fitness refers to traits that provide a heritable reproductive advantage. Some traits are not heritable. Some traits don’t provide a reproductive advantage. Some organisms survive by happenstance.

    Which boils down to “whatever survives in its environment.” “Whatever survives in its environment” is an effect to be explained by a mechanism, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    differential reproductive potential due to heritable variations.

    Which is another way of saying, “whatever survives in its environment.” It is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Evolution by natural selection is a mechanism.

    No it isn’t.

    EDIT: We know that things that survive in their environment, survive in their environment. We know that things that can reproduce can produce things where some survive in their environment and some don’t. These are effects, not mechanisms to be verified or falsified. Please get down to the putative verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the things that survived in the fossil record.

  91. 91
    Jack Jones says:

    Zach “The term “natural selection” was chosen as a metaphor, but is a term of art referring to differential reproductive potential due to heritable variations.”

    The peppered moth story is an example of differential reproduction, It does not explain the origin of moths or provide a mechanism for how moths could evolve towards becoming a new type of living thing over time.

  92. 92
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson

    Does OOL mean Out Of Luck?

    🙂

  93. 93
    Jack Jones says:

    @90 Mike “EDIT: We know that things that survive in their environment, survive in their environment. We know that things that can reproduce can produce things where some survive in their environment and some don’t. These are effects, not mechanisms to be verified or falsified. Please get down to the putative verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the fossil record”

    Exactly Mike, These people seem excited about the trite observation that “survivors survive” It does not take much to fill their cup.

    hahaha

  94. 94
    Eric Anderson says:

    brian douglas @36:

    Joe/Jack/virgil/Frankie/whoever, evolution just proposes the mechanism, not a step by step account of how it occurred. Much in the same way that I can propose the mechanisms involved in the production of a car without knowing the step by step process that is actually used.

    You are partially right, so let me see if we can bridge the gap.

    You are absolutely correct that you can propose general mechanisms involved in car production without knowing every detail of the process. And, you can know with reasonable certainty that a car (or similar object) was designed, without knowing the precise manufacturing process involved. We do this all the time.

    After all, there are many ways an intelligent designer can build a functional machine. And while we can perhaps catch some glimpses of the process by reverse engineering a machine, we cannot necessarily tell with complete certainty the entire process used to bring the machine about.

    The reason for this is intimately related to and is precisely because an intelligent designer has the ability to choose between contingent possibilities. Thus, an intelligent designer can choose not only what to build, but can also, within fairly broad parameters, choose when and how to build it. Indeed, there is an entire section of patent law devoted to the improvement of methods and processes, and companies collectively spend billions on efforts to improve manufacturing processes. From solely examining a machine we may not know whether it was created through process A, or B or C.

    And this is precisely because it is a designed machine produced by an agent that has the ability to choose among several contingent possible modes of construction.

    Let’s now contrast this with the mechanistic approach. The blind forces of chemistry and physics have no ability to choose between different manufacturing processes. They have no ability to decide when or how they operate. They will blindly follow whatever interactions come their way and will (either inevitably or at least stochastically) produce whatever those laws dictate.

    We know that a designed system can come about through various means, depending on the decision of the designer. In contrast, it makes no sense to say that a purely mechanistic process — one that blindly follows the deterministic and stochastic processes of chemistry and physics — it makes no sense to say we know a mechanistic process brought a machine about, but that we don’t know what the process was.

    In the mechanistic context — in sharp contrast to the designed context — the mechanistic process is the issue at hand, it is where the rubber must meet the road. And the absence of a well-understood materialistic process for producing the machine, means that we don’t have a materialistic explanation.

    Thus, you have made a category mistake with your example.

    Your example of not being able to provide a complete description of the process for manufacture of a car is a good example, but you have it exactly backwards. Your example holds, for a designed system, not for a naturally-occurring one. If you want to provide a mechanistic example, you would essentially be saying that “undesigned machine X came about through a purely material process, but I don’t know what that process is.” Such an approach is nonsense. Thus, you are left to steal examples from the other side of the aisle — designed systems where we know the process can be contingent.

    If we are going to claim a mechanistic process, then we at least need to have enough of a detailed understanding of the process to see if such a mechanistic process actually has any chance of producing the machine in the real world. A mechanistic theory is only as good as the mechanism proposed. Otherwise, we are just making up stories.

    Thus, regarding the origin of life, we cannot say life came about through purely mechanistic processes, but that we don’t know what those processes are. If materialists are being minimally intellectually honest, the most they can say is that they don’t know whether life could arise through purely natural processes. And if they want to be truly intellectually honest, they will need to admit to and grapple with the many problems of naturalistic abiogenesis, just some of which I listed in the OP. And they would also acknowledge that, in sharp contrast to purely material processes, intelligent beings are known to have the capacity to create, and are regularly observed creating, complex functional machines in three-dimensional space.

    —–

    Having said all that, let me provide yet one more concession — or perhaps better said, let me clarify my concessions from the OP:

    I am not demanding that abiogenesis proponents tell us exactly how life did arise on the early Earth. After all the naturalistic proposals inevitably include lots of chance and potentially unrepeatable strokes of cosmic luck. Fine. So be it. I’m not demanding that we be told the definitive answer to how life actually arose.

    All I am asking for is a rational, coherent proposal with reasonable detail. I would be impressed with something that has the potential of being a reasonably likely naturalistic path to the origin of life.

    Something that is not based on vague assertions and that is completely lacking in detail. Something that doesn’t ignore the many critical issues that numerous researchers have detailed. Something that doesn’t assume the existence of entities and processes that have never before been observed.

    Something beyond a laughable made-up story.

  95. 95
    Eric Anderson says:

    Virgil @40:

    Well and succinctly said.

  96. 96
    mike1962 says:

    Jack Jones: Exactly Mike, These people seem excited about the trite observation that “survivors survive” It does not take much to fill their cup

    “Survivors survive” aka “natural selection” is true for every single thing that exists in the universe, and is therefore useless with regards to any explanatory power of putative mechanisms. It does not enhance the explanatory power of any verifiable or falsifiable mechanism beyond the mechanism itself.

  97. 97
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Branching descent is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Of course it’s a mechanism. Do you accept branching descent applies to many taxa?

    mike1962: Incremental effects recorded in the fossil record are just that: effects.

    Evolution by natural selection implies incremental change. This important observation helps us make sense of the mechanisms involved. Do you accept that the historical record largely shows incremental change?

    mike1962: Which boils down to “whatever survives in its environment.”

    No. If it survives do to reasons other than heritable traits that provide a differential reproductive advantage, then it is not natural selection.

    Jack Jones: The peppered moth story is an example of differential reproduction, It does not explain the origin of moths or provide a mechanism for how moths could evolve towards becoming a new type of living thing over time.

    That is correct. It is merely a simple example of natural selection working on existing variation.

  98. 98
    Jack Jones says:

    @96 Mike

    “It does not provide a testable and falsifiable mechanism for the existence of any survivors in the first place.”

    I have made that vary point to somebody that I know, that it does not explain the existence of the survivors but these people will go around in circles like a Dog chasing it’s own tail.

  99. 99
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson

    Modern biology offers gazillion fascinating research topics that could lead to wonderful discoveries which could benefit the medical field. That’s where more time and resources should be applied to.

    With the overwhelming amount of work biology scientists have trying to figure out exactly how the currently observable biological systems work, why should anyone care about that highly vague, speculative and controversial OOL stuff, except as entertainment for the folks who like the ‘fiction’ literary genre and don’t mind squandering their time on it?

  100. 100
    Jack Jones says:

    “That is correct. It is merely a simple example of natural selection working on existing variation.”

    It’s an example of birds eliminating the light moths, it does not explain the existence of the survivors and provides no mechanism for moths to give rise to a new life form over time.

    Come on zach, you need to get out of your “survivors survive” mindset as it is not a mechanism for what created moths in the first place and provides no mechanism for something else other than moths to arise.

    You just keep going around in circles like a merry go round.

  101. 101
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: It does not enhance the explanatory power of any verifiable or falsifiable mechanism beyond the mechanism itself.

    If we can causatively link particular variations of traits to differential reproductive success, then that is natural selection, a mechanism which brings about changes in the composition of a population.

    ETA: Mechanism, as in, push here causes change there.

  102. 102
    Jack Jones says:

    “If we can causatively link particular variations of traits to differential reproductive success, then that is natural selection, a mechanism which brings about changes in the composition of a population.”

    Sing along.

    Here zach goes round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, here zach goes round the mulberry bush, all day long.

  103. 103
    mike1962 says:

    Zächriellen: Of course it’s a mechanism.

    Of course it isn’t.

    mike1962: Incremental effects recorded in the fossil record are just that: effects.

    Zächriellen: Evolution by natural selection implies incremental change.

    “Evolution by natural selection” with respect to the fossil record merely means “incremental changes in the fossil record that were laid down by things that survived and sometimes produced survivors that were different by some mysterious mechanism and survived.” No verifiable or falsifiable mechanism here.

    This important observation helps us make sense of the mechanisms involved.

    You haven’t mentioned any mechanism.

    Do you accept that the historical record largely shows incremental change?

    Yes. Do you?

    If it survives do to reasons other than heritable traits that provide a differential reproductive advantage, then it is not natural selection.

    It’s the origin of those heritable traits that pertain to the as-of-yet-unstated verifiable and falsifiable mechanism(s). So far you’ve done nothing more than describe the fossil record.

  104. 104
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Branching descent is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Where do new cells come from? Cells divide. Where do new species come from? Species divide. The claim of branching descent is subject to verification. It doesn’t have to be true, but is true in many cases.

    Do you accept branching descent applies to many taxa?

    mike1962: Evolution by natural selection merely means “incremental changes in the fossil record that were laid down by things that survived and sometimes produced survivors that were different and survived.”

    That is incorrect. Natural selection is the process which leads to changes in a population due to heritable variations which provide a differential reproductive advantage. Do you see the phrase “due to” there? That means causation. A push here causes changes there.

    ETA: “Natural selection is the differential survival and reproduction of individuals due to differences in phenotype; it is a key mechanism of evolution.”
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Natural_selection

  105. 105
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: It does not enhance the explanatory power of any verifiable or falsifiable mechanism beyond the mechanism itself.

    Zächrielein: If we can causatively link particular variations of traits to differential reproductive success, then that is natural selection, a mechanism which brings about changes in the composition of a population.

    In other words: If we can causatively link particular variations of traits to differential reproductive success, then that is natural selection things that survive, a mechanism which brings about changes in the composition of a population.

    “Natural selection” only means “things that survive.” What verifiable and falsifiable mechanism caused the variations of traits that were able to survive, as evidenced by the fossil record?

    ETA: Mechanism, as in, push here causes change there.

    You still keep using “natural selection” as if it means anything beyond “things that survive.” Everyone knows that “things that survive, survive.” But what are the verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the heritable things that survive? (Crickets)

  106. 106
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: If we can causatively link particular variations of traits to differential reproductive success, then that is natural selection

    That’s right.

    mike1962: things that survive

    Just “things that survive” doesn’t constitute natural selection. An organism may survive by luck rather than ability. Or a trait that provides an advantage may not be heritable.

    You’ve accepted that the fossil record shows largely incremental change. Do you accept branching descent applies to many taxa?

  107. 107
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: Branching descent is an effect, not a mechanism to be verified or falsified.

    Zächrielein: Where do new cells come from? Cells divide.

    Empirically verified. So?

    Zächrielein: Where do new species come from? Species divide.

    “Species” in an imprecise term and is an effect, and regardless of how precisely it is defined, new species are effects to be explain, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of new heritable traits.

    The claim of branching descent is subject to verification. It doesn’t have to be true, but is true in many cases.

    Branching descent in an effect in the fossil record, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of said branching descent.

    Do you accept branching descent applies to many taxa?

    It seems fairly obvious given the fossils. Do you?

    Natural selection is the process which leads to changes in a population due to heritable variations which provide a differential reproductive advantage.

    You have stated (again) that survivors survive and pass on heritable traits that sometimes differ. Stipulated long ago. So I’ll ask (again), what is the verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the heritable traits that survive?

  108. 108
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein That’s right.

    I think you quoted yourself.

  109. 109
    mike1962 says:

    Zächrielein: Just “things that survive” doesn’t constitute natural selection. An organism may survive by luck rather than ability.

    Survivors survive, regardless of the particulars.

    Or a trait that provides an advantage may not be heritable.

    You have provided no verifiable or falsifiable mechanisms for any trait, heritable or not.

    Cart. Before. Horse.

    Time for bed. TTFN.

  110. 110
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: “Species” in an imprecise term and is an effect, and regardless of how precisely it is defined, new species are effects to be explain, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of new heritable traits.

    If a single species divides into two species, then it is a mechanism that generates new species by branching descent.

    mike1962: Branching descent in an effect in the fossil record, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of said branching descent.

    There are mechanisms that bring about branching, but that doesn’t mean branching isn’t itself a mechanism. One species splits into two is a mechanism, just as much as one cell splits into two is a mechanism. We don’t have to know how the cell actually goes about splitting, it’s still a mechanism. We might then look into the details of how cells split to determine the mechanics that make up the larger mechanism.

    mike1962: It seems fairly obvious given the fossils.

    Okay, so you accept largely incremental change and branching descent for many taxa.

    mike1962: So I’ll ask (again), what is the verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the heritable traits that survive?

    Natural selection is one such mechanism. To verify natural selection one would have to show that particular variations in heritable traits cause differential reproductive success.

  111. 111
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: Survivors survive, regardless of the particulars.

    Sure, but only when the change in the population is due to heritable traits is it considered natural selection. The environment changes making a trait advantageous, and it causes a change in the population. Push here and it causes a change there.

  112. 112
    Jack Jones says:

    @109 Mike “You have provided no verifiable or falsifiable mechanisms for any trait, heritable or not.

    Cart. Before. Horse.”

    You are right Mike.

    He is not going to deal with what you are asking mike and he is just going to go on about something that you are not asking of him. He is just gonna go on ad nauseam about something that you are not asking because he has no answer.

    You are wasting your time with somebody arguing dishonestly. You cannot have any meaningful dialogue with a person like that.

  113. 113
    Mung says:

    I’m still waiting for that first self-replicating molecule.

    I’m guessing, based upon current weather where I am, it must have been water. Good old H2O.

  114. 114
    Mapou says:

    Sometimes I wonder how easy it would be to replace Zachriel with a simple chatbot.

  115. 115
    Jack Jones says:

    mapou @114 “Sometimes I wonder how easy it would be to replace Zachriel with a simple chatbot.”

    Zach seems alright but then when he goes down a blind alley and has nowhere to go then he just repeats the same stuff over and over and ignores the point that is on the table like he did with Mike. It is like he is some robot that is programmed to just repeat the same stuff over and over and over again and bore people into submission, instead of dealing with the real challenge being laid before him.

  116. 116
    kairosfocus says:

    Notice how there is a consistent tip-toe around the focal issue, origin of life; leaving Wiki and Rational Wiki so-called to stand in for the empty chair?

    What is this telling us about the balance on the merits at the root of the tree of life regarding adequate observably confirmed cause of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information?

    As in what is required to account for encapsulated, smart gated, metabolic automata with von Neumamm, code using kinematic self replication?

    As in the self replicating living cell?

    What then does this do to the balance of explanatory candidates from the root on up to us across the tree of life icon?

  117. 117
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung, a self replicating molecule would not solve the problem, as the actual architecture of cell based life would have to be accounted for: encapsulated, smart gated, metabolic automata with von Neumamm, code using kinematic self replication. What it does is it exerts the poof magickal rhetorical power of “survivors survive (and drift)” which it is held axiomatically accounts for body plans through its powerful magick. Has that power of writing codes, systems and integrated body plans out of successively culled lucky noise been actually demonstrated? Nope, just imposed by the magick of evolutionary materialist scientism by the back door of a mere methodological constraint. Poof, smoke and mirrors, amazing as Mandrake famously gestures hypnotically. KF

  118. 118
    tjguy says:

    brian douglass @58

    How is this a cop out? Do you agree that we understand the basic mechanisms behind mountain formation?

    If so, why do we not question them because we can’t describe step by step how Mount Everest came to be the shape it is?

    brian, as someone else pointed out, this is not a fair comparison at all.

    First of all, we don’t know that life evolved at all. That is the hypothesis. It may not have evolved and the problems with the abiogenesis fairy tale may very well be evidence that it did not evolve like you believe it did.

    Secondly, you are using a process that is well understood and can be measured and perhaps even observed over time in the natural world. The laws are well understood. No information is necessary. It is just random movements of the crust and plates so the comparison fails.

    Much in the same way that we know the DNA sequence required for a specific protein, we could probably posit a series of mutations that could result in the needed sequence. But that would be pointless as there is no way that we could conclude that it actually arose in that fashion.

    No, actually, it would not be pointless at all.

    It is true that even if this were possible that there is no way that we could conclude that it actually arose that way. This highlights the problems of historical science, but that’s another subject.

    Anyway, it would be fantastic if you could even show that such a pathway even exists.

    I bet this would get someone a lot of attention! I’d love to see someone actually give this a try.

    And the really cool thing would be if you could show how each step along the way increases the fitness of the organism enabling it to be selected! I do not think this would be a waste of time at all.

    Any takers?

  119. 119
    Dionisio says:

    tjguy @118

    Exactly. The main problem is not the historical issue.

    The way I see it, the main issue is to explain how modern science and technology could do it, step by step, in such a way that it could be also reproducible without our guidance.
    Even with all the generous concessions Eric Anderson has made in his OP here. Although those concessions might be revocable.
    It could be approached in two phases:
    1. How could we do it, using all the knowledge and the latest cutting-edge technology available today.
    2. How could the solution to 1 occur without any intelligent assistance.

    We have to get phase 1 resolved before we can move on to phase 2.

    The above described approach (specially the first phase) has nothing to do with history.

    Importantly, let’s keep in mind that the developmental processes are included in all this.

    Is there anything close to this in the evo-devo literature out there?

  120. 120
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: he goes down a blind alley and has nowhere to go then he just repeats the same stuff over and over and ignores the point that is on the table like he did with Mike.

    Actually, the discussion has progressed, albeit slowly. Mike1962 now agrees that the fossil record largely shows incremental change, as well as branching descent for many taxa. Our disagreement is currently over the nature of natural selection.

  121. 121
    Jack Jones says:

    “Actually, the discussion has progressed, albeit slowly. Mike1962 now agrees that the fossil record largely shows incremental change and branching descent for many taxa.”

    Really, So you are a darwinian gradualist and reject punctuated equilibrium which was brought out to explain away the stasis and discontinuous nature of the fossil record.

    You’re clearly not on the same page as Professor Moran with your rejection of Punctuated Equilibrium.

    If you were one of his students then he might not be very happy.

    “Our disagreement is currently over the nature of natural selection.”

    Mike has been very clear, why you have problems is either that you are obtuse or stupid or playing dumb because you cannot provide what he is asking of you.

    I am willing to grant predator-prey examples as examples of natural selection.

    Using the peppered moth example, then explain to me the evolution that you believe occurred and also explain to me how that explains the origin of the peppered moth?

  122. 122
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: So you are a darwinian gradualist and reject punctuated equilibrium which was brought out to explain away the stasis and discontinuous nature of the fossil record.

    Darwin held that evolution would be frequently characterized by stasis. In any case, punctuated equilibrium applies only at the granular, species level. That still leaves a largely incremental pattern.

    Jack Jones: You’re clearly not on the same page as Professor Moran with your rejection of Punctuated Equilibrium.

    Punctuated equilibrium is just one of many modes of speciation.

    Jack Jones: Using the peppered moth example, then explain to me the evolution that you believe occurred …

    There was a change in the population due to differences in heritable traits, a.k.a. natural selection.

    Jack Jones: and also explain to me how that explains the origin of the peppered moth?

    It doesn’t. It’s merely a simple example of natural selection, a mechanism mike1962 says doesn’t exist.

  123. 123
    Jack Jones says:

    “Darwin held that evolution would be frequently characterized by stasis.”

    Darwin held that nature takes no leaps, Neo darwinism is the idea of evolution occurring in a uniform manner.

    “In any case, punctuated equilibrium applies only at the granular, species level. That still leaves a largely incremental pattern. ”

    No, Punctuated equilibrium was brought out because The fossil record as a whole did not support a gradualistic pattern.

    “No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It seems never to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of changeover millions of years, at a rate too slow to really account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the organisms did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on someplace else. Yet that’s how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” (Eldredge, Niles, Reinventing Darwin: The Great Evolutionary Debate, 1996, p.95.)

    “Punctuated equilibrium is just one of many modes of speciation. ”

    Punctuated equilibrium teaches that evolution occurs in leaps, Darwin said that there are no leaps in nature.

    Gould rejected neo darwinism because it did not show the fossil pattern that he expected.

    You are holding contradictory positions.

    “There was a change in the population due to differences in heritable traits, a.k.a. natural selection.”

    We have already been over that, I am asking you, what evolutionary changes specifically have occurred in the example?

    You seem to want to play games instead of answer the specific question that is being asked.

    “It’s merely a simple example of natural selection, a mechanism mike1962 says doesn’t exist.”

    It doesn’t generally as it is metaphorical, the term, selection when it comes to predator prey relationships is an exception and does not create anything and is describing elimination and not the creation of anything, but I am hoping that instead of dancing like a jester, You are going to tell me what evolutionary changes occurred in the peppered moth example.

  124. 124
    Barry Arrington says:

    Zach,

    Darwin held that evolution would be frequently characterized by stasis.

    He did not. Zach, you just made that up. Darwin held that evolution was continual. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism as Darwin understood it. That is why they had to change the theory.

    Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)
    The Myths of Human Evolution
    Columbia University Press, p. 48

    This is widely known. Zach, for someone who comments on these issues so often, you are astonishingly ignorant of basis facts.

  125. 125
    Jack Jones says:

    @124

    Thank You Mr Arrington.

  126. 126
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Darwin held that nature takes no leaps, Neo darwinism is the idea of evolution occurring in a uniform manner.

    Punctuated equilibrium doesn’t posit evolutionary leaps either, but rather that evolution proceeds in small, isolated populations which then overtake the parent population, leaving a step in the fossil record. Punctuated equilibrium is consistent with population genetics, whereby fixation of traits can occur much quicker in small, isolated populations.

    Jack Jones: We have already been over that, I am asking you, what evolutionary changes specifically have occurred in the example?

    There was a relative redistribution of color in the population due to differences in heritable coloration, a.k.a. natural selection.

    Barry Arrington: you just made that up. Darwin held that evolution was continual.

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1866: the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.

    Furthermore, Darwin stated the basis of punctuated equilibrium.

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1866: It is the dominant and widely ranging species which vary most frequently and vary most, and varieties are often at first local—both causes rendering the discovery of intermediate links in any one formation less likely. Local varieties will not spread into other and distant regions until they are considerably modified and improved; and when they have spread, and are discovered in a geological formation, they appear as if suddenly created there, and will be simply classed as new species.
    http://darwin-online.org.uk/Va.....-1866.html

    Darwin also coined the term “living fossil”, so he was quite aware of stasis.

  127. 127
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Sure, but only when the change in the population is due to heritable traits is it considered natural selection.

    That is incorrect and demonstrates ignorance of the process. It is only natural selection if the mutations are happenstance/ accidental changes. Natural selection is differential reproduction due to happenstance heritable variation.

  128. 128
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel talks of the fossil record but conveniently leaves out the fact that the fossil record shows the succession as fish-> tetrapods-> fish-a-pods, whereas Common Descent would have fish-a-pods before tetrapods.

  129. 129
    Jack Jones says:

    “Punctuated equilibrium doesn’t posit evolutionary leaps”

    Yes it does, Neo Darwinism was about Continuity in nature, that evolution occurred in a uniform and continuous manner, Punctuated equilibrium taught the reason that the fossil record was discontinuous is because that change happened in leaps leaving no trace of the transitionals behind.

    Darwin said natura non facit saltum” — “nature does not make leaps”.

    One teaches uniformity of rate, the other rejects uniformity of rate.

    Gradualism
    (uniformity of rate), embraced by Darwin;
    later a
    key assumption
    of the Modern Synthesis.

    Discovering Evolution:
    II. Before Darwin

    Biology learning center university of Arizona

    Uniformity of rate was embraced by darwin and became a key assumption of the modern synthesis.

    “either, but rather that evolution proceeds in small, isolated populations which then overtake the parent population, leaving a step in the fossil record. Punctuated equilibrium is consistent with population genetics, whereby fixation of traits can occur much quicker in small, isolated populations. ”

    Neo Darwinism teaches continuity and uniformity of rate for the evolutionary process.

    Punctuated Equilibrium teaches discontinuity in nature and says nature takes leaps and does not happen in a uniform manner.

    Neo darwinism teaches one of Darwins Pillars, “natural selection” or survival of the fittest and competition between living things.

    Eldredge however did away with this idea and talked about the idea of catastrophic events removing the competition so that his postulated new life forms could be established.

    Lynn Marguilis “There is no gradualism in the fossil record… ‘Punctuated equilibrium’ was invented to describe the discontinuity.”…

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-magazine/

    “There was a relative redistribution of color in the population due to differences in heritable coloration, a.k.a. natural selection.”

    I didn’t ask you to tell me what you term natural selection.

    I asked you where is the evolution in the example?

    Name the colors and tell me, what that has to do with the evolution from moths to a new type of life form or the origin of moths?

    Why are you dancing?

  130. 130
    asauber says:

    Zachy is UD’s Pet Evolutionist Troll. There are others as well, but he is the best behaved.

    Andrew

  131. 131
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Punctuated equilibrium taught the reason that the fossil record was discontinuous is because that change happened in leaps leaving no trace of the transitionals behind.

    Not in leaps, but rapid in geological terms.

    Jack Jones: One teaches uniformity of rate, the other rejects uniformity of rate.

    Darwin posited that rates of morphological evolution would vary.

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1866: the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.

    Jack Jones: I asked you where is the evolution in the example?

    Which was answered. There was a relative redistribution of color in the population.

    Jack Jones: Name the colors …

    See Cook et al., Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: the last experiment of Michael Majerus, Biology Letters 2012.

    Jack Jones: and tell me, what that has to do with the evolution from moths to a new type of life form or the origin of moths?

    It’s merely a simple example of natural selection, a mechanism mike1962 says doesn’t exist.

  132. 132
    Virgil Cain says:

    It’s merely a simple example of natural selection,

    Unfortunately for you, you don’t know if it was natural selection or design. Your bald declarations are neither evidence nor an argument.

  133. 133
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Color changes are adaptations. Not a single person here would argue against that.

  134. 134
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: Color changes are adaptations.

    Mike1962 argued that natural selection is not an evolutionary mechanism, but natural selection clearly drives the change in color in the peppered moth. Push here and it changes there.

  135. 135
    Jack Jones says:

    “Not in leaps, but rapid in geological terms.”

    Not interested in your sophistry, One proposes leaps and the other proposes that evolution is uniform, one expects continuity in nature, the other is an excuse for the lack of continuity

    “Darwin posited that rates of morphological evolution would vary.

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1866: the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.”

    Gradualism
    (uniformity of rate), embraced by Darwin;
    later a
    key assumption
    of the Modern Synthesis.

    Discovering Evolution:
    II. Before Darwin

    Biology learning center university of Arizona

    Uniformity of rate was embraced by darwin and became a key assumption of the modern synthesis.

    Darwin said natura non facit saltum” — “nature does not make leaps”

    “Which was answered. There was a relative redistribution of color in the population.”

    No you didn’t, You failed to tell me how that supported your evolutionary position.

    Increasing the amount of black moths in proportion to the light did not create the light or dark moth and provides no mechanism moths to become another type of life.

    “See Cook et al., Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: the last experiment of Michael Majerus, Biology Letters 2012.”

    I didn’t ask you for my benefit, I asked you to be specific and say what occurred so that we can analyze it because you are being dishonest.

    “It’s merely a simple example of natural selection, a mechanism mike1962 says doesn’t exist.”

    Well in most instances the term is being used falsely so he is right for the most part, When the term is used to say that the survivors were selected then the term is false, or when we attribute non sentient environmental conditions the power of selection.

    As the term is commonly used then it is a false term but we can allow the term selection for predator-prey exceptions, but this is not evolution but elimination of part of the existing population.

    I will ask you again, How does increasing the amount of black moths in proportion to the light explain the existence of the light or dark moths and how does it provide a mechanism for a new type of organism to arise?

    You said to Andre “Mike1962 argued that natural selection is not an evolutionary mechanism, but natural selection clearly drives the change in color in the peppered moth. Push here and it changes there”

    No, Increasing the amount of black moths is not a mechanism for moths to become a new life form over time.

    How is increasing the amount of black moths going to change a moth so that a non moth arises?

    If all white humans died then the survivors wouldn’t constitute a new life form.

    And you have not provided a mechanism for humans to give rise to a new type of living organism over time.

  136. 136
    kairosfocus says:

    I see discussion on evolution, not OOL. Looks like the empty chair continues, with Wiki and Rational wiki as strawmen.

  137. 137
    Jack Jones says:

    Sorry KF, I got drawn in to zachs dishonesty of equating ns with evolution, when he is asked to use specific language describing evolutionary change then he just doubles down and uses the same language which does not describe what is being asked.

    He was doing this dance with mike yesterday and is doing the dance with me today.

  138. 138
    Jack Jones says:

    “Mike1962 argued that natural selection is not an evolutionary mechanism”

    And he is correct

    “but natural selection clearly drives the change in color in the peppered moth. Push here and it changes there.”

    No, The death of the light colored moth did not create the black moth and their death does not mean the surviving black moth constitutes a new type of life form.

    You can multiply the dark moth zillions of times, you still have not give a mechanism for the moths to give rise to a new type of life over time.

    You have failed to make any case that the peppered moth provides any mechanism for your faith to occur. It is a dead end for you and that is why you dance like a cat on a hot tin roof because it does not support your position.

  139. 139
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Repeat after me….. Adaptation……

  140. 140
    Barry Arrington says:

    Zach

    Darwin held that evolution would be frequently characterized by stasis.

    Barry

    He did not. Zach, you just made that up. Darwin held that evolution was continual. The fossil record falsifies Darwinism as Darwin understood it. That is why they had to change the theory.

    “Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.”
    Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)
    The Myths of Human Evolution
    Columbia University Press, p. 48

    Zach quotes Origin of Species in reply:

    Darwin, Origin of Species 1866: the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured in years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retain the same form.

    Let’s put that quote in context (I will bold the snippit Zach took out):

    On this doctrine of the extermination of an infinitude of connecting links, between the living and extinct inhabitants of the world, and at each successive period between the extinct and still older species, why is not every geological formation charged with such links? Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life? Although geological research has undoubtedly revealed the former existence of many links, bringing numerous forms of life much closer together, it does not yield the infinitely many fine gradations between past and present species required on the theory, and this is the most obvious of the many objections which may be urged against it. Why, again, do whole groups of allied species appear, though this appearance is often false, to have come in suddenly on the successive geological stages? I can answer these questions and objections only on the supposition that the geological record is far more imperfect than most geologists believe. The number of specimens in all our museums is absolutely as nothing compared with the countless generations of countless species which have certainly existed . . .Many species when once formed never undergo any further change but become extinct without leaving modified descendants; and the periods during which species have undergone modification, though long as measured by years, have probably been short in comparison with the periods during which they retained the same form.

    First Darwin says that his theory of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time predicts an infinitude of connection links and that every geological formation should be charged with such links. He candidly admits that the fossil record does not by and large support his theory. Then he goes on to explain why the theory should be accepted nevertheless.

    One of the reasons he gives is the one Zach snips out of context. Darwin says that the record might give a false impression of general stasis, because some species that happened to leave fossils became extinct without leaving descendants. Why does this leave a false impression? Because the record of an individual species that is not representative of the process of evolution as predicted by Darwin, by the sheer happenstance became the one that left a fossil record.

    What is going on here? Zach has used Darwin’s claim that certain fossils leave a FALSE impression of stasis to support Zach’s claim that Darwin actually predicted stasis.

    Or perhaps Zach knows something that world famous Darwinists Eldredge and Tattersall didn’t. And if you believe that, my ocean front property in Kansas is still for sale.

    So, my original conclusion stands: Zach, for someone who comments on these issues so often, you are astonishingly ignorant of basic facts. To which I would not add “and you show an alarming propensity to distort the facts to suit whatever argument you happen to be making.”

    Zach, if I were ignorant of basic facts and/or had to distort the facts to suit my argument it would bother me. I might even change my mind. Does it bother you? Is there any chance that the fact that you are wrong about so many things will change your mind about the subject of origins generally?

  141. 141
    kairosfocus says:

    JJ, we are going to take those strawmen apart point by point. Just, we are here underscoring just how patently they have nothing to say. All they can do is change the subject. And on natural selection, differential reproductive success leading to loss of varieties is a subtracter of information, not an adder. We are left with chance variation suggested as incrementally creating info. But given the island of function in huge config space imposed by needing well matched, correctly arranged and coupled parts, all you have is something that moves around in islands of function. It does not explain finding their isolated shorelines in beyond astronomically large seas of non function. Needle in haystack search on steroids. What they will not tell you and studiously ignore, the body plan origin challenge. And neutral drift at best is moving on flat plateux in islands of function, it meets the same obstacle in finding. And for a key example, protein fold domains in AA acid chain config spaces. Try how much 20^300 is as a number, and that is typical protein length. KF

  142. 142
    goodusername says:

    Barry,

    I don’t see where you think Darwin is saying that the fossil record is giving a “false impression of general stasis” – it looks like he’s saying that stasis is, indeed, the norm with evolution.

    The fossil record may, however, often give an impression of general disconnectedness of species and sudden jumps.

    The highlighted part of the quote gives the two reasons for this:

    This is because of 1) extinction (and thus nothing to connect to) and 2) That stasis is the norm. Meaning that catching a species in times of change requires some luck.

    It’s not stasis that’s a false impression – stasis is the cause of a false impression.

    Why does not every collection of fossil remains afford plain evidence of the gradation and mutation of the forms of life?

    Because of extinction (without descendants) and the relatively long periods of stasis.

  143. 143
    Barry Arrington says:

    GUN @ 142:

    Darwin’s prediction of rampant, albeit gradual, change affecting all lineages through time is refuted. The record is there, and the record speaks for tremendous anatomical conservatism. Change in the manner Darwin expected is just not found in the fossil record.

    Eldredge, N. and Tattersall, I. (1982)
    The Myths of Human Evolution
    Columbia University Press, p. 48

    Ya know. I guess you might be right. Eldredge and Tattersall could have spent decades studying Darwin and becoming two of the most famous evolutionary theorists on the planet and still not have a freaking clue about what Darwin predicted.

    No, on second thought, you are wrong.

    That Darwin was flummoxed by the fossil record because it did not reveal what his theory predicted it should reveal (rampant transitions as far as the eye could see) is widely known. Are you really going to try to change that bit of history now? Good grief, do you people have no shame?

  144. 144
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Not interested in your sophistry, One proposes leaps and the other proposes that evolution is uniform, one expects continuity in nature, the other is an excuse for the lack of continuity

    Not interested in your sophistry. Punctuated equilibrium posits geologically rapid speciation events in isolated populations, but the events still take many years. The result is steps in the fossil record. Punctuated equilibrium is not the only mechanism of speciation, and more gradual changes can also be found in the fossil record.

    Jack Jones: Gradualism (uniformity of rate), embraced by Darwin; later a key assumption of the Modern Synthesis.

    We quoted Darwin directly on the subject. As for the Modern Synthesis, it did emphasize phyletic gradualism. Now we know that this only explains some of the record.

    Jack Jones: Darwin said natura non facit saltum” — “nature does not make leaps”

    The steps in punctuated equilibrium are still due to phenotypic gradualism. The relatively rapid changes are occurring in small, isolated populations, but still over many generations.

    Jack Jones: Increasing the amount of black moths in proportion to the light did not create the light or dark moth and provides no mechanism moths to become another type of life.

    Never said it did. Indeed, we said quite the contrary several times. It’s a simple example of natural selection.

    Jack Jones: How does increasing the amount of black moths in proportion to the light explain the existence of the light or dark moths and how does it provide a mechanism for a new type of organism to arise?

    We want to make sure that everyone is in agreement on the fundamentals. So far mike1962 agrees that the fossil record shows largely incremental change and branching descent for many taxa. Once we are in agreement on the nature of natural selection, we’ll answer the original question, How do we empirically verify or falsify that the proposed mechanism can generate what occurred?

    Jack Jones: I got drawn in to zachs dishonesty of equating ns with evolution

    Natural selection is not equivalent to evolution. Natural selection is just one of many evolutionary mechanisms. It’s best not to misrepresent someone’s position when calling them dishonest.

    Jack Jones: No, The death of the light colored moth did not create the black moth and their death does not mean the surviving black moth constitutes a new type of life form.

    Didn’t say it did. Natural selection is differential reproductive potential due to differences in heritable traits.

    Andre: Repeat after me….. Adaptation……

    That’s right, Andre. Natural selection drives adaptation.

    Barry Arrington: He candidly admits that the fossil record does not by and large support his theory.

    No. Darwin explains why the fossil record won’t encapsulate every transition. First, because fossilization is necessarily incomplete; second, because stasis is more typical than change, so change will be less likely to be preserved; and third, because new species will often form in small, isolated populations, and are therefore unlikely to leave fossils.

    Barry Arrington: Eldredge and Tattersall could have spent decades studying Darwin and becoming two of the most famous evolutionary theorists on the planet and still not have a freaking clue about what Darwin predicted.

    Citing a primary source, Darwin’s own words, trumps a secondary source. Gould and Eldredge were often criticized for overstatement.

    If the argument was that the Modern Synthesis overemphasized phyletic gradualism, then you might have a point.

  145. 145
    Jack Jones says:

    “We quoted Darwin directly on the subject.”

    Who is this we?

    You sound moronic using the term “we” to describe yourself.

    I quoted Darwin, he said that nature takes no leaps, Eldredge and Gould among others have pointed out that the fossil record is not consistent with gradualism.

    And the biological learning center of Arizona stated that neo darwinism is about evolution happening at a uniform rate and they pointed out that Darwin embraced a uniformity of rate.

    Punctuated equilibrium denies uniformity of rate.

    What Mr Arrington quoted was Darwin in the correct context.

    “As for the Modern Synthesis, it did emphasize phyletic gradualism. Now we know that this only explains some of the record. ”

    No, that means you are compartmentalizing your mind.

    You cannot hold to punctuated equilibrium which says evolution happens in leaps and hold to gradualism which says evolution happens at a uniform rate.

    You can’t hold to neo darwinism which emphasizes competition and survival of the fittest and hold to punctuated equilibrium where Eldredge says that the competition is removed through catastrophic events.

    “Never said it did. Indeed, we said quite the contrary several times. It’s a simple example of natural selection. ”

    Nobody disputed that you could use that as an example of NS you moron, You’re really dishonest in how you carry on.

    I granted predator prey relationships for the term selection, And I was the one that raised the example of peppered moths as an example where the term selection could be used, and you failed to show how it supports your evolutionary faith. I was asking you specific questions about evolution and what you were saying did not answer them.

    Why do you refer to yourself as “we” Have you got a screw loose or something?

    “Didn’t say it did. Natural selection is differential reproductive potential due to differences in heritable traits. ”

    That was your response to the peppered moth example, there was no evolution there.

    The death of the light moths did not mean the black moths constitute a new form of life and did not explain their existence.

    There is no evolution in that example at all to support your faith.

    You were dancing because you cannot answer the questions that me or mike asked you.

  146. 146
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: I quoted Darwin, he said that nature takes no leaps, Eldredge and Gould among others have pointed out that the fossil record is not consistent with gradualism.

    Punctuated equilibrium still entails phenotypic gradualism. Darwin included the rudiments of punctuated equilibrium in Origin of Species 1866.

    Jack Jones: And the biological learning center of Arizona stated that neo darwinism is about evolution happening at a uniform rate and they pointed out that Darwin embraced a uniformity of rate.

    A primary source, Darwin’s own words, trump a secondary source.

    Jack Jones: You cannot hold to punctuated equilibrium which says evolution happens in leaps and hold to gradualism which says evolution happens at a uniform rate.

    Punctuated equilibrium doesn’t posit that evolution happens in leaps. Rather, change occurs over many generations in small, isolated populations, that then overcome the parent population. This leaves steps in the fossil record.

    Jack Jones: You can’t hold to neo darwinism which emphasizes competition and survival of the fittest and hold to punctuated equilibrium where Eldredge says that the competition is removed through catastrophic events.

    Neodarwinism has been old hat since the 1960s. Where you been?

    Jack Jones: Then it is not dealing with what Mike and I were asking you.

    Yes. Gradual change, branching descent, and natural selection. Once we have those in place, we can proceed to answer the question, How do we empirically verify or falsify that the proposed mechanism can generate what occurred?

    Common descent provides the historical sequence that needs to be explained. We have direct observations of natural selection. To show natural selection’s historical role, we might be able to demonstrate incremental and selectable steps in that history. Can’t do that without agreement on the historical sequence, or without understanding natural selection.

  147. 147
    Andre says:

    Zachriel

    Natural selection is responsible for differentiation in populations…. not adaptation.

  148. 148
    Jack Jones says:

    “Punctuated equilibrium still entails phenotypic gradualism.”

    Eldredge and Gould disagree, they say the fossil record is inconsistent with this.

    “Punctuated equilibrium doesn’t posit that evolution happens in leaps.”

    “Gould began studying land snails for his doctoral research at Columbia University in the 1960s. His careful documentation of their structure over space and time helped to form the basis of the punctuated equilibrium model, which he developed with colleague Niles Eldredge in 1972. The model suggested that evolution HAPPENS IN LEAPS of change separated by long stretches of very little change, which they called stasis”

    Gould’s former assistant, Stephanie Keep ncse.

    What we actually see is that snails remain snails but still Gould was enthused about the fairy tale that he would later promote as an alternative to the failure of gradualism.

    “Neodarwinism has been old hat since the 1960s. Where you been? ”

    Well the evolutionary community is divided over just what the theory is, where have you been?

    Coyne claims it is the modern theory and others say it is dead.

    Coyne says punctuated equilibrium is Bunk.

    “Common descent provides the historical sequence”

    No, common descent is an explanation that you agree with for the sequence.

    Evolutionists accommodated the sequence that was there.

    “understanding natural selection.”

    Mike wasn’t asking you about natural selection, Nothing that you have said about natural selection in relation to the peppered moth example answers what Mike or I was asking you.

    You have done one thing though, You have derailed the thread from a discussion on the beginning of your faith with the ool.

  149. 149
    Phinehas says:

    Z:

    JJ: Using the peppered moth example, then explain to me the evolution that you believe occurred …

    Z: There was a change in the population due to differences in heritable traits, a.k.a. natural selection.

    According to the predation story, there would have been a change in the population whether the trait was heritable or not. There would also have been a change in the population whether there were two variants of the trait or not. When a bird eats a moth, there is a change in the population. Proving the bird ate the moth due to heritable vs. non-heritable traits seems problematic to me. Proving a single trait responsible for the impromptu meal also seems problematic to me. When you try to go beyond what survives, survives, the science falters as the speculation goes through the roof. The proffered “mechanism” starts to look a lot like Natural Speculation.

  150. 150
    Zachriel says:

    Andre: Natural selection is responsible for differentiation in populations…. not adaptation.

    Color is an adaptation in the peppered moth. It’s camouflage.

    Jack Jones: Eldredge and Gould disagree, they say the fossil record is inconsistent with this.

    Lieberman & Eldredge: “speciation typically takes on the order of 5,000 to 50,000 years to occur – far shorter than the average duration of species in the fossil record.”
    http://www.scholarpedia.org/ar.....equilibria

    In other words, the time is geologically brief, but still a very long time.

    Jack Jones: Mike wasn’t asking you about natural selection

    He was asking whether the proposed mechanisms were sufficient to explain the history of life. So, we have to determine the historical sequence, then examine the mechanism. Apparently, even a rudimentary understanding of natural selection, something you can look up in a book, evades this group.

    Phinehas: According to the predation story, there would have been a change in the population whether the trait was heritable or not.

    But if it wasn’t hereditary, then the next generation would have the same mix of white and black coloration. That’s not what is observed. Color is heritable in peppered moths.

    Phinehas: When a bird eats a moth, there is a change in the population.

    Only if there are differences within the population. In this case, the coloration can be shown to be under selection.

    Phinehas: Proving the bird ate the moth due to heritable vs. non-heritable traits seems problematic to me.

    That question has been researched in detail by several different studies, most recently by Cook et al., Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: the last experiment of Michael Majerus, Biology Letters 2012.

    The peppered moth’s color helps camouflage the moth from predation by birds. This leads to a change in heritable traits in the moth population.

  151. 151
    Jack Jones says:

    “Color is an adaptation in the peppered moth. It’s camouflage.”

    The increase of the black moths wouldn’t explain the origin of moths and provides no mechanism for a moth to give rise to a different type of life.

    “The peppered moth’s color helps camouflage the moth from predation by birds. This leads to a change in heritable traits in the moth population.”

    Increasing the amount of what already exists is not a mechanism for it to evolve to become a different type of life and did not explain how moths originated.

    You have provided no example of moths evolving into existence and you have provided no mechanism for moths to evolve and eventually give rise to a different type of life.

    You have provided no example of evolution and not answered what mike was asking you.

    Furthermore, you have derailed this thread from what Mr Anderson was asking.

  152. 152
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: The increase of the black moths wouldn’t explain the origin of moths and provides no mechanism for a moth to give rise to a different type of life.

    Didn’t say it did.

    Jack Jones: Increasing the amount of what already exists is not a mechanism for it to evolve to become a different type of life and did not explain how moths originated.

    Didn’t say it did.

    Jack Jones: You have provided no example of evolution …

    The change in the population of peppered moths is evolution.

    Jack Jones: and not answered what mike was asking you.

    No. The answer requires some fundamentals to be established. Are you okay with the history of generally gradual change and branching descent for many taxa? Are you okay with the definition of natural selection, and the observation of peppered moths as an example of natural selection? If not, then that has to be established first.

  153. 153
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    No need to give us the amino acids, we’ve already demonstrated they can form through early-earth models. No need for the amino acids to be non-racemic at the earliest stages of life either. No need for a precise relative percentage of these amino acids or for a precise concentration. No need to give us a specific energy environment, any old source of high temperature will do and the surrounding water will create a temperature gradient for us. Sure, things must be spatially and temporally linked, that represents somewhat of a challenge, but it can certainly be overcome. No need to prevent contaminating cross-reactions at this stage, just about every reaction is part of the random walk of molecular evolution. Sure, natural breakdown will always occur, but again, it can be overcome.

    Speaking of strawmen…

  154. 154
    Jack Jones says:

    “The change in the population of peppered moths is evolution.”

    No it is not and you failed to show how it is.

    ” Are you okay with the definition of natural selection, and the observation of peppered moths as an example of natural selection”

    I was the one that granted the term as being ok to use with predator prey and gave you peppered moths to work with.

    Increasing the amount of already existing black moths provides no evolutionary mechanism.

    If you gave me an example of black moths becoming yellow moths or green moths over time instead of just multiplying. You still would have failed to give any mechanism to support the idea of one type of organism to give rise to a different type as this does not create a new body plan over time.

  155. 155
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: No it is not and you failed to show how it is.

    It’s evolution by definition. It doesn’t answer mike1962’s question which concerns the long span of evolutionary change.

    Jack Jones: Increasing the amount of already existing black moths provides no evolutionary mechanism.

    The mechanism at work with the peppered moth is called natural selection.

    Jack Jones: You still would have failed to give any mechanism to support the idea of one type of organism to give rise to a different type as this does not create a new body plan over time.

    As already noted, that requires understanding the historical sequence of incremental change and branching descent, as well as an understanding of natural selection. At that point, it would only be necessary to show incremental and selectable pathways to various complex adaptations.

  156. 156
    Jack Jones says:

    “It’s evolution by definition.”

    Asserting it is not demonstrating it.

    You can stack apple upon apple all the way to the ceiling, you will never get an orange, in the same way, You can multiply black moths zillions of times, you will never get anything other than a moth.

    You provided no evolution for how moths originated and no mechanism for moths to become anything other than a moth over time.

    “The mechanism at work with the peppered moth is called natural selection”

    It was me that gave you the peppered moth as a legitimate use of the term. So why you are telling me that is very strange. You are odd.

    It is not however a means for your evolutionary faith.

    You keep claiming it is but you keep failing to demonstrate it.

  157. 157
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Asserting it is not demonstrating it.

    Wikipedia: “Evolution is change in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations.”

    USMP Glossary: “descent with modification”

    Dictionary: “change in the gene pool of a population from generation to generation”

    Jack Jones: You provided no evolution for how moths originated and no mechanism for moths to become anything other than a moth over time.

    Nor have we purported to do so. Rather, we are attempting to set a foundation to answer mike1962’s question.

  158. 158
    Jack Jones says:

    “Wikipedia: “Evolution is change in the heritable traits of biological populations over successive generations.””

    That in relation to the peppered moth that we have been discussing, has nothing to do with how moths originated and provides no mechanism for moths to become a new life form.

    Nothing to do with what mike asked and nothing to do with what I asked of you.

    You are falling back on equivocation because you cannot demonstrate what is being asked of you.

    “Nor have we purported to do so. Rather, we are attempting to set a foundation to answer mike1962’s question.”

    Why do you keep using the term “we” when talking about yourself?

    You really are deluded in how you keep saying “we”

    Me and Mike are not interested in your dancing with the foundation.

    We already accept that survivors survive, it does not explain the origin of moths and provides no basis for a new type of life to arise.

    You can dance, you can equivocate but you can’t demonstrate how it provides any means for moths to become a new type of life or how moths originated.

  159. 159
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: That has nothing to do with how moths originated and provides no mechanism for moths to become a new life form.

    You asked for support for the definition of evolution. That’s what you got.

    Jack Jones: We already accept that survivors survive,

    On the one hand you say you accept the standard definition of natural selection, then on the other hand, you reject the standard definition.

    Natural selection is a mechanism of evolution. To understand that statement, you have to know what the terms mean.

  160. 160
    Jack Jones says:

    “You asked for support for the definition of evolution. That’s what you got.”

    I am getting the fallacy of equivocation.

    “On the one hand you say you accept the standard definition of natural selection”

    There is no standard definition, I am pointing out what you have been arguing for the term and it does not support your faith.

    When it comes to the peppered moths then we can make an exception and use a literal definition and there is no evolution to support your faith.

    “Natural selection is a mechanism of evolution.”

    You failed to demonstrate how it explains the existence of moths or how they could become a different type of organism.

    You can equivocate with the term evolution, You can dance like a cat on a hot tin roof, You cannot show what me or mike has asked you.

  161. 161
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: I am getting the fallacy of equivocation.

    Just the standard definition.

    Jack Jones: There is no standard definition, there are loads of contradictory definitions.

    There’s the fact of evolution, and there’s the Theory of Evolution.

    Jack Jones: You failed to demonstrate how it explains the existence of moths or how they could become a different type of organism.

    First, you say you accept the standard definition, then you retreat to “survivors survive”. If you don’t understand the basics, then you won’t understand how these mechanisms explain long term evolutionary change.

  162. 162
    Jack Jones says:

    “Just the standard definition.”

    It’s a definition you have fallen back on in desperation, that does not support your faith, this is the fallacy of equivocation.

    Dancing with a definition is not showing how increasing the amount of black moths will give something other than a moth.

    “There’s the fact of evolution”

    There’s the fact of your equivocation.

    “and there’s the Theory of Evolution”

    There is no agreement on a theory of evolution, If you do not understand that basic fact then no wonder you are so ignorant that what you are appealing to does not answer what me or mike has been asking.

    “First, you say you accept the standard definition”

    I never used the term “standard definition” Now you are making things up to distract from the fact you cannot demonstrate what is being asked of you.

    When you are under the illusion that there is some “theory” in a singular sense that all evolutionists agree on then you are too short for the ride. You clearly are ignorant of the disagreem

    keep on dancing with your games, You failed to demonstrate what mike asked or I asked.

    I have been asking about evolution in regards to how moths could have originated and how a new type of life could emerge.

    Now you are back pedalling, the sense that you are now telling me that you are using the term does not answer what has been asked of you, You didn’t know what you are talking about and that is why you are back pedalling.

    Still waiting for you to show how increasing the black moth is going to provide a mechanism for a new type of life to emerge.

  163. 163
    Jack Jones says:

    That should be “ignorant of the disagreement about what the theory is”

  164. 164
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: It’s a definition you have fallen back on in desperation, that does not support your faith, this is the fallacy of equivocation.

    It’s the standard definition, and how it is used in the scientific literature. For instance, see Cook et al., Selective bird predation on the peppered moth: the last experiment of Michael Majerus, Biology Letters 2012: “The new data, coupled with the weight of previously existing data convincingly show that ‘industrial melanism in the peppered moth is still one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution* in action’.”

    Jack Jones: There is no agreement on a theory of evolution

    The fundamentals of evolutionary are well-established, but the fun stuff is always on the edges.

    Jack Jones: I have been asking about evolution in regards to how moths could have originated and how a new type of life could emerge.

    Great. To do so, let’s establish the historical record, primarily descent with variation from common ancestors. Then a clear definition of natural selection, which is the mechanism we’ll examine. From there, we then need to show instances of incremental and selectable progression.


    ETA: * For readers who frequent Uncommon Descent, notice the proper use of Darwinian evolution to refer to evolution by natural selection. This is a constant area of confusion for IDers.

  165. 165
    Jack Jones says:

    “melanism in the peppered moth is still one of the clearest and most easily understood examples of Darwinian evolution* in action”

    It’s an example of a feeble definition being used.

    It’s also an example that has nothing to do with how moths were created and provides no mechanism for moths to become something other than moths.

    * For readers who frequent Uncommon Descent, notice that the evolutionist did not realize that increasing the amount of what you already have ie: moths, does not explain how moths originated or provide a means for moths to give rise to a different type of life over time, This is a constant area of confusion for Evolutionists.

  166. 166

    What I am trying here is to build an argument in stages for the proposition

    Why the Abiogenesis Challenge cannot find any Challenger?

    The Argument Plan

    1. The argument is empirical based on reasonable analogies

    2. The First Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a house when all raw materials are available

    3. The Second Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a house when all construction materials (parts) are available.

    4. The Third Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a single function machine when all raw materials are available.

    5. The Fourth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a machine when all machine parts are available.

    6. The Fifth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a machine that manifest one organic-like sustained function.

    7. The Sixth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a self-supporting, autonomous machine.

    8. The Seventh Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a self-replicating machine

    The Argument

    1. The argument is empirical based on reasonable analogies.

    The nature of this argument is empirical and based on analogies.

    Although there are objections on taking an analogy approach, I believe that there is reasonable correspondence between the scenarios in the argument and what needs to happen for Inanimate Nature to produce the Simplest Organism.

    I sketched the plan for this argument in a sequence of stages – that are ordered in increased levels of requirements and perceived complexity. I am starting with only the First Stage and only Sketching the Core Ideas for the Following Stages – that I hope to develop later.

    2. The First Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a house when all raw materials are available

    We can think of a rather simple, plain house. Although a house is different than a (imagined) first primitive cell, there are some relevant similarities for the core objectives of this exercise. Both a house and a primitive cell are delimited, kind of “encapsulated constructions” with some internal observable structure and composition”. I believe we agree that the most primitive cell was not just a “blob of material”.

    The assumption here is that all raw materials needed for the construction of the house are available in sufficient quantities, even grouped and separated from each other but in the same limited area for proximity. The raw materials are in this case the primitive substances from which construction materials are made. For example, there is sand, lime, cement, pebbles and stones, tree trunks and branches, tar, petroleum, iron and copper ore, granite slabs and water.

    The expectations are that somehow natural events, occurrences and phenomena produce the proper mixtures from available raw materials, trigger some dynamics by which the tree trunks and branches are cleaned and shaped into beams and planks, sands and silica mixtures are heated by some local volcanic eruptions or rather by lighting and sheets of transparent glass appear, the iron, copper and zinc ore is somehow melted, refined and cast into proper shapes as nails, sheets of copper or metal or into metal braces or hinges.

    Then winds, earthquakes, thunderstorms, lightning, mudslides happen to put together some higher order assemblages like a window which is made up from wood panels, sheets of glass, nails or screws, hinges and locks assemblages from the raw materials synthesized previously.

    In the next round when all building assemblages (windows, doors, floors, sheet rock panels for walls) are in place or in process of being put together, another phenomena happen to put together the windows into the proper sized wholes into the house sides that are already in proper place, the doors go into the properly sized wall openings, the beams that support the ceilings and the house roof miraculously appear in the ideal places and connected through nails, screws or braces in a reasonable manner. The brick chimney is assembled from bricks and mortar with the proper vent pipe going through the house roof that itself got the proper sizes and fitted to the skeleton of the house.

    Challenges and Difficulties for this “Producing a House” Scenario

    • The “instruments of change” in the Inanimate Nature Toolbox are Blunt, Lacking Finesse, Selectivity and Accuracy. The available “instruments of change”: wind gusts, lightning, flood, volcanic eruption, unguided chemical reactions although some time may produce some glass from available sand and silica they may wreck havoc for the other raw materials in the vicinity. It’s hard to imagine how any lucky combinations of these “instruments of change” can produce the needed construction materials and parts from available raw materials or create (3D) geometrical, (rather) clean cut shapes that are useful (if not needed) in putting together a simple house.

    • By analogy it seems to me that chemical reactions and physical phenomena (like: diffusion, amalgamation, separation by weight/density, aggregation through humidity, etc.) that are expected to manifest in a “chemical pond” or in a deep water hot vent are also blunt, lack selectivity and finesse.

    • It is hard to imagine how the instruments of change somehow assemble (presumed) parts into a recognizable shape and structure of the simplest house: a floor, four walls, a door, a window, a ceiling and a roof.

    • Even if we assume that the instruments of change would have the versatility of common construction tools like: precision cutting, nailing, gluing, some assembly capabilities it is extremely improbable that without a plan, without a purpose anything that such “versatile instruments of change” may put together will look like a structure with a vague appearance of a house.

    3. The Second Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a house when all construction materials (parts) are available.

    In this Stage, it is assumed that ready-to-use construction materials are available in sufficient quantities. There are available: sheet rock panels, wood beams and wood plunks, nails, hinges, screws and braces, sheets of glass and sheets of metal, floor tiles and roof tiles, bricks and mortar, metal and plastic pipes, wires.

    4. The Third Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a single function machine when all raw materials are available.

    We talk here of a rather simple machine: a carriage, a rail car, something that can move on three or four wheels. Only raw materials are available in this case.

    5. The Fourth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a machine when all machine parts are available.

    In this scenario there are available all kinds of machine parts. The main challenge here is that inanimate nature manages somehow to put all proper machine parts in the proper places so that we come out with a functioning machine. Several questions are important in this case: are there natural “instruments of change” that can move, manipulate machine parts and engage them in proper relationship with other machine parts? Does the “order of assembly” counts? Can anything like a working machine can results from natural events and phenomena “operating” on the “machine parts junk yard”? A more subtle relevant assumption: there is no given that pairs or groups of machine parts are compatible between them. For example there is no guarantee that a machine screw size or thread is compatible with a nut size or thread.

    6. The Fifth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a machine that manifests one organic-like sustained function.

    In this scenario we consider how inanimate nature may produce a machine that manifests the organic-like function of growing like a plant. The machine is able to ingest some matter from its environment (or is supplied with some raw materials) then the machine appearance (like the stalk, branches and leaves of a growing plant) grows with preservation of its own 3D body shape.

    7. The Sixth Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a self-supporting, autonomous machine.

    In this scenario the machine is self-sufficient and function autonomously in its environment. It ingests whatever matter exists in its environment and uses this material to produce internal energy as well as for growing its own machine body.

    8. The Seventh Stage Analogy: Natural events and phenomena produce a self-replicating machine.

    In this scenario we consider how a machine that is autonomous, self-supporting and able to create replicas of itself can be “produced” by the inanimate nature with the inanimate nature having at its disposal the known “nature instruments of change” and a large supply of luck and fortuitous circumstances.

  167. 167
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @48:

    You might want to check out Szostak’s Lab. They’ve done a lot of research into abiogenetics.

    I’m familiar with his work, and have been for a long time. We’ve also discussed some of his work here at UD before. And nothing he has done gives the slightest confidence that the abiogenesis storyline holds water. I have checked out his lab. I believe they are doing good work and have some interesting results. But as for any kind of answer or path to abiogenesis, it is severely wanting. As with most abiogenesis research, the results simply underscore the difficulties with the materialistic paradigm.

    You have mentioned Szostak’s work before. If you want to point to a specific paper or a specific claim or result you think is particularly meaningful, I’m happy to elevate it for discussion. But general suggestions to go check out his work won’t cut it.

  168. 168
    Eric Anderson says:

    Andre @56:

    You should be even more surprised at the fact that a self replicating molecule happened for absolute no reason whatsoever.

    Ah, yes. The hypothetical, never-before-seen, stepping-stone to Darwinian evolution: the “self-replicating molecule.” I was reading something from Dawkins a while back in which he referred to such an entity. I almost fell out of my chair laughing.

    You are quite right that it beggars belief to think that such a thing happened for no reason whatsoever. The typical party line is that the initial self-replicating molecule must have been a very simple entity — that way the odds aren’t quite so astronomical and it becomes a bit more believable (as long as we don’t ask any hard questions).

    It is painful to see such things advanced as “science” when it is nothing more than a laughable, made-up story.

  169. 169
    mike1962 says:

    mike1962: “Species” in an imprecise term, and irrelevant in any case, since it they are an effect not a cause, and regardless of how precisely it is defined, new species are effects to be explain, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of new heritable traits.

    Zächrielein: If a single species divides into two species, then it is a mechanism that generates new species by branching descent.

    Species, whatever that means, is an effect to be explain, not a causal mechanism.

    mike1962: Branching descent in an effect in the fossil record, not a verifiable and falsifiable mechanism that is the cause of said branching descent.

    Zächrielein: There are mechanisms that bring about branching, but that doesn’t mean branching isn’t itself a mechanism.

    Yes it does. See previous posts.

    One species splits into two is a mechanism, just as much as one cell splits into two is a mechanism.

    See previous posts.

    We don’t have to know how the cell actually goes about splitting, it’s still a mechanism.

    I have no doubt that there are mechanisms in cells that cause the splitting. But splitting is not a mechanism, it is an effect caused by a mechanism.

    Apparently, you have trouble distinguishing between causes and effects.

    We might then look into the details of how cells split to determine the mechanics that make up the larger mechanism.

    Effects are never in the causal chain of themselves.

    mike1962: So I’ll ask (again), what is the verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms responsible for the heritable traits that survive?

    Zächrielein: Natural selection is one such mechanism.

    No it isn’t.

    To verify natural selection one would have to show that particular variations in heritable traits cause differential reproductive success.

    Again, “natural selection” is merely a tautological tag meaning “survivors survive” and “survivors survive that reproduce survivors that survive.” That tells us nothing about the mechanisms involved….

    Unless you want to make the whole universe a “mechanism.” In that case, everything is part of a “mechanism” one way or another. Of course, that just reduces the term “mechanism” to nothing in particular beyond the effects themselves. Calling a process whereby survivors survive and produce survivors that survive “natural selection” doesn’t reveal anything more beyond the fact that survivors survive and produce survivors that survive. So far, no mechanism is specified.

    mike1962: Survivors survive, regardless of the particulars.

    Zächrielein: Sure, but only when the change in the population is due to heritable traits is it considered natural selection. The environment changes making a trait advantageous, and it causes a change in the population.

    The only mechanism(s) involved are those that produce heritable traits. So far, you have offered no mechanism that is verifiable or falsifiable that produce them. Are you going to do so? I’ve been waiting patiently.

    Push here and it causes a change there.

    Traits survive if they can survive. Or to generalize, objects exist if they can exist. This is true of everything in the universe and offers no explanatory power beyond the effects themselves.

    If you have verifiable and falsifiable mechanisms to offer for the appearance of the heritable traits found in the fossil record, go ahead. I’ve been waiting. Otherwise, there’s no reason to continue.

  170. 170
    Mung says:

    kairosfocus @ 117:

    Mung, a self replicating molecule would not solve the problem, as the actual architecture of cell based life would have to be accounted for…

    I absolutely agree! The cell membrane itself is a barrier OOL theories seem incapable of crossing.

    But for some reason, the anti-ID circus seems to think that given a self-replicating molecule all else follows.

    Just look at the latest argument from brian douglas. If they can propose a mechanism, the details just don’t matter.

    But there’s still a slight hitch. Given such a molecule, it would be 3D and governed by the laws of physical dynamics. There is no “description” present, as pointed out by Upright BiPed.

    So now the OOL theorists need to explain the transition from one scheme of copying to the other. You may as well start out by assuming that life began as self-describing self-copying based on a linear sequence of symbols stored in a memory, as gpuccio has pointed out.

    Tryi8ng to imagine a transition from one to the other is at least as complex, if not more complex, than simply starting out with a system capable of translation.

  171. 171
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Speaking of strawmen…

    Speaking of people who don’t know what an enzyme is.

  172. 172
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Mungy, mungy, still waiting for you come up with the name of an enzyme that “detaches the amino acid from the tRNA so that it can be added to the peptide chain,” that isn’t “the ribosome.”

    And for the last time, since I know you’re still confused:
    Enzymes are protein catalysts
    Ribozymes are RNA catalysts

    Those are the correct definitions. Anything you look up that says different is either due to over-simplification, the word is being used colloquially, or they’re just flat-out wrong.

  173. 173
    Eric Anderson says:

    Jack Jones @62:

    Good points. The only way things like the peppered moth or some beetles dying can amount to proof of “evolution” is through conflation of concepts coupled with unsupported assumptions. Reminds me of our recent discussion here:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....t-process/

  174. 174
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @72:

    “Heterogeneous” is not a word UB thought up. It is a well known concept in chemistry and is obviously an apt adjective to describe the various components making up a cell.

    Or are you claiming that cells are homogeneous in structure?

  175. 175
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionosio @99:

    I hear you. Certainly there is an argument that time and resources would be better spent elsewhere.

    On the other hand, I’m not a complete utilitarian. I think there are several reasons to study and learn things about the world around us, including our own origins — out of sheer interest, because it expands our horizons, because we stumble upon other discoveries in the process, etc.

    For the most part I don’t begrudge scientists spending time and energy on abiogenesis research. It is a fascinating endeavor in its own right, and — ironically — the more we study the naturalistic storyline and learn about its problems and weaknesses the more solid becomes the design inference. I definitely agree, however, that we would be better off if the field were generally approached from a more objective viewpoint, rather than a set of naive materialistic presumptions.

  176. 176
    Eric Anderson says:

    kf @117:

    What it does is it exerts the poof magickal rhetorical power of “survivors survive (and drift)” which it is held axiomatically accounts for body plans through its powerful magick. Has that power of writing codes, systems and integrated body plans out of successively culled lucky noise been actually demonstrated? Nope, just imposed by the magick of evolutionary materialist scientism by the back door of a mere methodological constraint. Poof, smoke and mirrors, amazing as Mandrake famously gestures hypnotically.

    This is spot on.

    There is no rational reason to think that a self-replicating molecule (if such a thing actually existed) could ever lead to a functional cell, or a multi-celled organism, or new body plans, or anything even remotely resembling what we see in biology. Indeed, when we do observe a cascading abiotic process it simply runs headlong downhill until the physical medium is used up or until some equilibrium state is reached and the process stalls. Just as we would expect with any chemical reaction.

    So the materialist proposal on the table is that (i) a never-before-observed hypothetical entity, (ii) accidentally came on the scene, and then (iii) replicated in a manner never before observed in any chemical system.

    It is truly astounding in its sheer absurdity. We haven’t even gotten to the real difficult issues of information and semiotics and maintenance of far-from-equilibrium systems . . .

    The entire value of the hypothetical “self-replicating molecule” Dawkins and others talk about is that it provides what Darwinists imagine is a critical and powerful aspect of the evolutionary process: reproduction — through some unspecified process that you aptly describe as “magic”. Yes, they will admit, it is tough to get that first self-replicating molecule. But once reproduction is in place, then watch out, evolution can really take over and work its magic. Then anything is possible!

    Or so the thinking goes.

    The uncomfortable fact is that reproduction brings nothing of the sort to the table. I have had for some time an OP post sketched out in my mind on this very point. Hopefully before too long I’ll get some time to write it up . . .

  177. 177
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, you need to read Thaxton et al, and to reflect on cross reactions and concentration issues, to ponder UV and Oxygen and thermal issues, and to reflect on the phenomenon of homochirality vs the thermodynamics behind forming L/D forms in racemic proportions. Not to mention, reaction kinetics issues. Your remarks above come across as rather naive. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell will also help. KF

  178. 178
    kairosfocus says:

    Mung & EA: Yup, but once we see the Rational Wiki poof magick imposition — “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method . . . ” — in the eye of materialist faith, all else follows, as Mandrake gestures hypnotically. Meanwhile, above, the most serious engagement of the actual challenge (I initially thought, here is an actual attempt) is a rebuttal by comparative analogy. Telling, as the strawmen sit in the empty chair and doubtless the mockery- scapegoating- and- dismissal proceeds apace as spleens are vented aplenty in the objector sites. And BTW, a glance at one of these shows a good reason for a spam surge in my relevant email account. Including attempted interference. KF

    PS: Magick actually has a subtle distinction.

  179. 179
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    There’s the fact of evolution, and there’s the Theory of Evolution.

    Except there isn’t any theory of evolution

    The mechanism at work with the peppered moth is called natural selection.

    That is just a bald assertion. But we understand that is all you have.

  180. 180
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli @ 155:

    No need to give us the amino acids, we’ve already demonstrated they can form through early-earth models.

    reference please. The miller- urey experiment did not represent the early earth.

    No need for the amino acids to be non-racemic at the earliest stages of life either. No need for a precise relative percentage of these amino acids or for a precise concentration. No need to give us a specific energy environment, any old source of high temperature will do and the surrounding water will create a temperature gradient for us. Sure, things must be spatially and temporally linked, that represents somewhat of a challenge, but it can certainly be overcome. No need to prevent contaminating cross-reactions at this stage, just about every reaction is part of the random walk of molecular evolution. Sure, natural breakdown will always occur, but again, it can be overcome.

    No need for evidence either. No need for testable hypotheses. No need for science.

    Thank you.

  181. 181
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    * For readers who frequent Uncommon Descent, notice the proper use of Darwinian evolution to refer to evolution by natural selection.

    That is incorrect as Darwin also wrote of neutrality and its implications.

    * For readers who frequent Uncommon Descent, notice the Zachriel continually misrepresents reality.

  182. 182
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @175

    I see your strong argument. Thank you.

  183. 183
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: But as for any kind of answer or path to abiogenesis, it is severely wanting.

    There’s no workable theory of abiogenesis at this time; consequently, any proposed theory will have problems.

    Eric Anderson: As with most abiogenesis research, the results simply underscore the difficulties with the materialistic paradigm.

    Replicating vesicles and replicating RNA strands are non-trivial results. The key point is that abiogenetic research has been fruitful, guiding researching into many interesting areas. Intelligent Design is scientifically sterile.

    Eric Anderson: The only way things like the peppered moth or some beetles dying can amount to proof of “evolution” is through conflation of concepts coupled with unsupported assumptions.

    They are instances of evolution.

    Eric Anderson: “Heterogeneous” is not a word UB thought up.

    Sure, but “heterogeneous cell” seems to be a coined term. We have no problem with that, but Upright BiPed seemed to get upset when we asked exactly what it meant.

    Eric Anderson: obviously an apt adjective to describe the various components making up a cell.

    Then an RNA replicator in a lipid membrane is heterogeneous, but Upright BiPed indicated that his use of “heterogeneous cell” requires translation.

    Eric Anderson: we would be better off if the field were generally approached from a more objective viewpoint, rather than a set of naive materialistic presumptions.

    That’s wonderful. Let us know what happens. Until then, Intelligent Design remains scientifically sterile.

    Eric Anderson: There is no rational reason to think that a self-replicating molecule (if such a thing actually existed) could ever lead to a functional cell, or a multi-celled organism, or new body plans, or anything even remotely resembling what we see in biology.

    It’s hard to credit mere irrationality when the idea includes a lot of the world’s best biologists. Possible? Sure. Likely? No. Wrong? Possibly, but that is far from certain at this point, and all the interesting results are coming from abiogenetics, not Intelligent Design.

    Eric Anderson: Indeed, when we do observe a cascading abiotic process it simply runs headlong downhill until the physical medium is used up or until some equilibrium state is reached and the process stalls.

    Unless there’s an energy gradient.

    Hmm. That’s funny. Life works the same way.

    Mung: The cell membrane itself is a barrier OOL theories seem incapable of crossing.

    Hanczyc & Szostak, Replicating vesicles as models of primitive cell growth and division, Chemical Biology 2004.

  184. 184
    Phinehas says:

    AC:

    Sure, things must be spatially and temporally linked, that represents somewhat of a challenge, but it can certainly be overcome.

    Sure, natural breakdown will always occur, but again, it can be overcome.

    cf. Luke 7:9

  185. 185
    Phinehas says:

    IVV:

    We can think of a rather simple, plain house.

    You are underestimating the power of the Darwinist’s imagination. Their predicted response:

    A four-by-eight piece of plywood could get blown up against another stack of lumber, forming a primitive lean-to. This provides functional shelter. Given that we can also imagine self-replication, if this shelter provides a fitness advantage, we’ve got something on which natural selection can work its magic. Shingles get blown on top of the plywood and provide more of a fitness advantage. Imagine even more of that, over and over again for billions of years, and you’ve got your house.

    If intelligence is not allowed, surely it must have happened something like that.

  186. 186
    Jack Jones says:

    @183

    “They are instances of evolution.”

    It is an instance of a loss of information. To go from a moth to something that would be a new type of life requires new information for a new body plan over time and does not explain the origin of the moth.

    You have fallaciously argued ad infinitum about something that is not what Mike asked or what I asked, While not dealing with what Mr Anderson is asking in the abiogenesis challenge.

  187. 187
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: It is an instance of a loss of information.

    Natural selection generally reduces Shannon information, while sources of variation such as mutation increase it.

    Jack Jones: You have fallaciously argued ad infinitum about something that is not what Mike asked or what I asked,

    Be happy to, once we have established a few facts (incremental change and branching descent) and basic terminology (evolution and natural selection).

  188. 188
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Replicating vesicles and replicating RNA strands are non-trivial results.

    Replicating RNA strands were designed, as were the RNA strands used to replicate. That is a non-trivial fact.

    Intelligent Design is scientifically sterile.

    Only to a scientifically illiterate person. To the rest of the world the design inference opens up new questions which we will try to answer. And the design inference tells us that there is more to life than physics, chemistry and emergence. Only a fool would think ID is scientifically sterile.

    They are instances of evolution.

    Your equivocation causes confusion. Intelligent Design is not anti-evolution.

  189. 189
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    Be happy to, once we have established a few facts (incremental change and branching descent) and basic terminology (evolution and natural selection).

    We have already established that you don’t care about facts.

  190. 190
    Eric Anderson says:

    Dionosio @119:

    It could be approached in two phases:
    1. How could we do it, using all the knowledge and the latest cutting-edge technology available today.
    2. How could the solution to 1 occur without any intelligent assistance.

    We have to get phase 1 resolved before we can move on to phase 2.

    This is a useful approach and is, to some extent, the way we have to approach it. Indeed, if we look back to the great Miller-Urey experiment that kicked off a firestorm of excitement, we see precisely this approach. Using the lab and all the skill and intelligence they could bring to bear they were able to generate some amino acids, which was indeed exciting at the time. But subsequently trying to translate even that meager result into your #2 above, has turned out to be frustratingly problematic.

    One way the challenge I outlined in the OP could be fruitfully approached would be to take each concession I have made and turn it into a lab-controlled parameter. For example, start with a mixture of only left-handed amino acids — we eliminate the homochiralty problem by fiat. Then put into the mixture just the right proportional mix of the various amino acids. And so on. It should be possible in practice to control in the lab, if not all, then at least most of the concessions I have made.

    So my theoretical inquiry “what is your theory about how life formed?” can be turned into a practical lab-based inquuiry: “What happens even when all these parameters are intelligently controlled and guided in the right direction?” Let’s see if we can even start to get off the ground toward OOL with all of these parameters carefully controlled. If so, great. Then the next step is to see how we can start transitioning that lab result to the real world without intelligent control of the many parameters. But if not, then that should tell us something very foundational about the underpinnings of the abiogenesis theory.

  191. 191
    Eric Anderson says:

    Alicia Cartelli @153:

    You demonstrate an incredibly limited and naive understanding of the challenges for OOL. A flippant “Oh, that’s easy” attitude on issues that serious researchers in the field recognize as problematic. Yet even so, you still fall squarely within my challenge. For purposes of discussion I have already granted every one of the things you falsely claim are easily overcome. Great, now we have the concessions in place. So go for it:

    With all those concessions in place, what is your theory about how life formed?

  192. 192
    Eric Anderson says:

    InVivoVeritas @166:

    Thank you for the detailed and thoughtful comment.

    This is very helpful for people to start thinking through how much is being claimed by naturalistic abiogenesis. Although by analogy, it is easy to see that the natural forces just won’t cut it in the case of a macro structure or a macro machine that we have regular every-day experience with.

    A large part of the problem with OOL is that we are dealing with parts and interactions that are outside of our normal, every-day experience. The average person just does not have a good grasp of atoms and molecules, what they do, how they interact, and so on. Thus, when the “experts” claim that particles can come together by chance to form a living organism, the average person tends to say, “Well, sounds a bit strange, but OK. You’re the expert after all. I guess maybe it could happen.” In contrast, if the abiogenesis proponent were talking about a house or a car coming together by chance the average person would quickly see through the bluff and laugh the so-called expert out of the room.

    Much of what is proposed in OOL, and in evolution generally, is believable precisely because it is so vague and general in description. This leads me back to one of my key maxims about the debate over evolution, which can be generally stated thusly:

    The explanatory power of evolutionary theory is inversely proportional to the specificity of the discussion.

  193. 193
    Jack Jones says:

    “be happy to, once we have established a few facts (incremental change and branching descent) and basic terminology (evolution and natural selection)”

    You’re not happy too but you are happy to play games, I have asked you one thing consistently over and over again and nothing you have posted has had any relevance.

    How is increasing the amount of already existing black moths a mechanism for moths to give rise to something that is no longer a moth over time?

  194. 194
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: How is increasing the amount of already existing black moths a mechanism for moths to give rise to a new type of life over time?

    It doesn’t, as already answered @97, @122, @131, @144, @152, @157.

    However, we’d be happy to discuss the mechanisms of evolution that give rise to adaptation over the history of life. First, let us establish that history, which is characterized by largely incremental change and branching descent for many taxa. Second, let us agree to standard definitions of evolution and natural selection for the purposes of discussion. Then, we will show how these mechanisms explain particular instances of adaptive evolution.

  195. 195
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    EA, in your original post you “give” me all these things and ask how life arose. My point was that you don’t need to “give” me most of these things either because we have already shown how these molecules can arise from an early earth environment or because the earliest forms of life did not necessarily distinguish between different forms of these molecules, nor do things need to be as precise as you make them out to be. There are many ways to influence a chemical reaction and the early earth environment provides us with a nearly infinite number of reactant/condition combinations.

  196. 196
    Virgil Cain says:

    Earth to Alicia Cartelli– You miss the point, entirely, again. Even given everything that you think is required to get life from non-life via purely physicochemical processes, you couldn’t get a living organism. You don’t have anything in your Felix the Cat bag of a nearly infinite number of reactant/condition combinations that can pull it off.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  197. 197
    Jack Jones says:

    Darwin’s idea of “Evolution by natural selection” which was shown to be an empty idea with the peppered moth discussion as (the death of the light moths does not explain how moths came to be and provides no means for the black moths to evolve towards something that is no longer a moth over time). rejected change by leaps, Punctuated equilibrium which is a model about evolution in leaps is thus incompatible with Darwin.

    “As natural selection acts solely by accumulating slight, successive, favourable variations, it can produce no great or sudden modification; it can act only by very short and slow steps. Hence the canon of `Natura non facit saltum,’ which every fresh addition to our knowledge tends to make more strictly correct, is on this theory simply intelligible.” Charles Darwin, origin of species chapter 14.”

    Darwin rejected change in leaps. Punctuated Equilibrium is about change in leaps.

    Thus the two are incompatible ideas.

  198. 198
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: Darwin rejected change in leaps. Punctuated Equilibrium is about change in leaps.

    That is incorrect, as already explained @126, @131, @144, @146.

  199. 199
    Jack Jones says:

    “That is incorrect, as already explained @126, @131, @144, @146.”

    That is incorrect.

    As my quote @148 of Stephanie Keep who was an assistant to Gould shows.

    BTW….If you wanna carry on this discussion then you have to go to the relevant thread as I posted here by mistake in the previous post.

  200. 200
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @183:

    Unless there’s an energy gradient.

    You seem to be mindlessly throwing out talking points. Please explain how you think an energy gradient counters the point I made or how it provides any kind of avenue for a molecule to keep self-replicating long term.

    And one-liners don’t cut it. Either provide some substance or just admit you don’t know.

    —–

    As to the Szostak paper you cited, yes we have looked at his work before on the allegedly “replicating” vesicles. Doesn’t impress at all in terms of what is required for OOL. Doesn’t even scratch the surface. Simply underscores how pathetic and anemic purely natural processes are.

    Please stop mindlessly referring to Szostak’s lab as though they have some kind of answer in hand. I have offered you several chances before to provide your explanation and understanding of a reasonable path to abiogenesis. You are welcome to do so. You are also welcome to repose blind faith in some unidentified distant discovery that will overturn what we currently know about chemistry and biology and show that abiogenesis is feasible. You are welcome to your creation myth, but don’t expect others to be impressed by what essentially amounts to, “Well, we’re working on it.”

  201. 201
    Zachriel says:

    Jack Jones: As my quote @148 of Stephanie Keep who was an assistant to Gould shows.

    The leaps are the kind of leaps that take thousands of generations, per Eldredge. We’ll move to the other thread.

  202. 202
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Please explain how you think an energy gradient counters the point I made or how it provides any kind of avenue for a molecule to keep self-replicating long term.

    Your claim is that abiotic processes wind down.

    Eric Anderson: Indeed, when we do observe a cascading abiotic process it simply runs headlong downhill until the physical medium is used up or until some equilibrium state is reached and the process stalls.

    An abiotic system may or may not wind down, It depends on whether there is a continuous energy gradient. A river is an abiotic process that doesn’t wind down for as long as the sun shines and evaporates water and causes the wind to carry the water back to the headwaters.

    Turns out that life is the same in that respect. Cut off the energy supply, and the system winds down.

    Eric Anderson: Doesn’t even scratch the surface.

    A replicating vesicle is a far cry from a living organism, but is certainly more than a scratch. A replicating membrane is considered a requirement of any final abiogenetic theory.

  203. 203
    Barry Arrington says:

    Zachriel:

    Unless there’s an energy gradient.

    EA:

    You seem to be mindlessly throwing out talking points. Please explain . . .And one-liners don’t cut it. Either provide some substance or just admit you don’t know.

    Zach responds:

    Your claim is that abiotic processes wind down.

    As I’ve said before, my best bet is that Zach is really only pretending to play for the other side. He is actually a YEC fundamentalist agent provocateur shilling as a Darwinist.

    The only problem is that he continually ignores my advice to dial it back. Zach, again, you are laying it on too thick. You are getting to the point where your act is no longer believable.

  204. 204
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel @187:

    Natural selection generally reduces Shannon information, while sources of variation such as mutation increase it.

    This demonstrates a fundamental lack of understanding. Shannon so-called “information” is not what we are interested in for purposes of building a living organism.

  205. 205
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: Shannon so-called “information” is not what we are interested in for purposes of building a living organism.

    Jack Jones said selection for color in peppered moths was “a loss of information.” He presumably wasn’t referring to complexity. But, even if there were a difference in complexity between white and black moths, natural selection can drive the population in either direction, towards less complexity or towards more complexity.

  206. 206
    Virgil Cain says:

    Nature tends towards the less complex and Spiegelman’s monster supports that fact with respect to replicators.

  207. 207
    Eric Anderson says:

    What makes you think coloration of a moth is produced by Shannon information? Shannon information has nothing to do with what it takes to construct a moth or to color it.

    —–

    natural selection can drive the population in either direction, towards less complexity or towards more complexity

    Exactly. No particular directionality. 🙂 I’m glad you’ve finally come around. Natural selection might drive toward more complexity or toward less; toward larger creatures or smaller; toward this trait or that.

    The Great Evolutionary Explanation:

    Stuff Happens.

  208. 208
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: What makes you think coloration of a moth is produced by Shannon information?

    There is more Shannon information in a heterogeneous population than in a homogeneous population. Natural selection generally reduces variety, so it reduces Shannon information.

    Eric Anderson: Exactly. No particular directionality.

    That is not correct. The direction is particular, determined by the environment. In the peppered moth, color is camouflage from predation, and the environment determines which is more advantageous. If the coloration is due to some underlying complexity, it will still be advantageous in the particular environment, and will increase its prevalence. With peppered moths, black coloring became advantageous during early industrialization due to the prevalence of black soot on trees, while white coloring became advantageous after the environmental movement led to cleaner air and less soot.

  209. 209
    Box says:

    Zach: natural selection can drive the population in either direction, towards less complexity or towards more complexity

    Translation: “natural selection” is in fact “natural elimination” and can only eliminate stuff; for instance complex stuff and not so complex stuff. When it eliminates complex stuff and ignores the not so complex stuff then we evolutionists say that it “drives the population towards less complexity” — and vice versa.
    Note that “natural selection elimination” is not a creative force but a strictly destructive force which only removes information.

  210. 210
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    We’ve already demonstrated that many things you guys used to think were impossible are, in fact, quite possible, virgy.

    You guys just stay in the gaps and I’ll laugh as they get smaller and smaller around you.

  211. 211
    kairosfocus says:

    EA, see why I build on Orgel and Wicken with a dash of Hoyle and Thaxton et al, noting Dembski that in the biological world specificity pivots on function, and speak of functionally specific complex organisation and/or associated information. Shannon’s metric is best understood as information-carrying capacity on avg per symbol. KF

  212. 212
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia sez:

    We’ve already demonstrated that many things you guys used to think were impossible are, in fact, quite possible, virgy.

    You have aid that before and were mistaken then, too. Repeating that claim isn’t going to make it so.

    By your logic archaeology and forensics are just gap arguments. As if the more we know about geological processes Stonehenge will no longer require a designer.

    Nature tends towards the line of least resistance. Spiegelman’s monster is what can be expected of simple molecular replicators. The simpler the better.

  213. 213
    Virgil Cain says:

    The direction is particular, determined by the environment.

    The direction is determined by the surviving reproducers. That is influenced by the environment. A slight change in behavior can easily offset minor physical disadvantages, like moth coloration. And if the different varieties of coloration did not arise via happenstance/ accidental genetic change, it isn’t natural selection.

  214. 214
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Oh virgy, I’ve never been mistaken here at UD, don’t worry.
    Sure, forensics is built on filling in the gaps with what is already known. Normal people don’t have any problem making convictions despite not knowing every step the killer took, so why is it that you guys have such a problem accepting abiogenesis when we have already demonstrated that many of the reactions needed can occur in early earth models?

  215. 215
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Oh virgy, I’ve never been mistaken here at UD, don’t worry.

    LoL! And evidently you never will be. Even if you don’t know what an enzyme is.

  216. 216
    Mung says:

    Zachriel: Hanczyc & Szostak, Replicating vesicles as models of primitive cell growth and division, Chemical Biology 2004.

    Map. Territory.

  217. 217
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Nope Mungy, and I’m still waiting for that enzyme name!

  218. 218
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Nope Mungy, and I’m still waiting for that enzyme name!

    I think what you meant to say is that you’re ignoring it.

  219. 219
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Can’t ignore what ain’t there!

  220. 220
    mike1962 says:

    Alicia CartelliNormal people don’t have any problem making convictions despite not knowing every step the killer took, so why is it that you guys

    That implies that “us guys” are not normal. Fact not in evidence. I suggest that most normal people after having surveyed the situation would reject your wishful thinking as being what it is.

    …have such a problem accepting abiogenesis when we have already demonstrated that many of the reactions needed can occur in early earth models?

    Because the perp’s fingerprints in blood on the victims neck is convincing enough. The problem for your kind is that the “many of the reactions” you speak of do not rise to anything near anything like DNA or bloody fingerprints left at a crime scene. Your gaps are much much greater than your evidence. If you think your set of tinker toys are sufficient to explain the effect, then provide us with a testable model and let’s see if it works. That’s what real scientists do.

  221. 221
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Mikey, I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.
    Anyways, we’ve already demonstrated the production of nucleic acids under early earth conditions. You are completely clueless as to where the gaps are.

  222. 222
    Mapou says:

    Folks, Alicia is just drowning you with worthless crap to make herself look good and give the appearance that there is an actual important debate taking place here. This is a waste of time. As I keep saying everywhere, the combinatorial explosion kills her little dirt-worshipping religion dead. The math is annoyingly simple. Even Alicia could grasp it if she wasn’t always busy kissing an invisible Darwinist Arse in the sky.

    ahahaha…AHAHAHA…

  223. 223
    Andre says:

    Mapou….

    Its Whahahahahahahahahahahaha!

  224. 224
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    You’re right pouy, there is no debate.
    You can’t have a debate when one side is completely clueless.

  225. 225
    Mapou says:

    ffffttt!

    I knew it. All Darwinists are stupid. Lizzy does not understand simple math. I had no idea a simple concept like an exponential increase in search space would be so hard for some people to grasp. That is, until I met stupid Darwinists.

  226. 226
    kairosfocus says:

    Mapou (attn AC et al):

    Let us use light switches — an example I used to teach basic digital electronics, setting up parallel and series connected switches. (Set them up with Vcc+, a limit resistor, a red LED and the switch array to ground and you see NOR and NAND arrays and the issue of actuation as controlling. Then a transistor can be used as an electrically actuated switch, and voila, the door is opened to explain digital circuitry. Including flip flops as systems with digital feedback and thus past state reflexive influence on the next state.)

    One switch has two states, On/off (closed/open).

    With a second switch, for each of SW1’s states, there are two possible states of SW2.

    Add a third, and for each joint state of SW1 and SW2, there are two possible states of SW3.

    So: SW1 — 2 states; SW! + SW2 — 4 states; SW1 + SW2 + SW3 — 8 states. In general for n two bit elements we have 2^n possible configurations, defining a configuration space.

    An easy transition is to go to a linear array of one bit storage elements (a string):

    | b1 | b2 | b3 | . . . | bn | –> 2^n possibilities, thus combinatorial explosion of the scope of config space. For the thresholds I have commonly used, 500 bits –> 3.27*10^150 configs, and 1,000 bits –> 1.07*10^301 possibilities. The first of these would drown out the number of possible state observations of our sol system’s 10^57 atoms at ~10^14 state inspections per second for each atom, for 10^17 s.The latter would do much more than merely drown out for the 10^80 or so atoms in the observed cosmos.

    Beyond astronomical config spaces.

    Now, for D/RNA we have 4-state elements, G-C-A-T/U, and each element physically stores up to two bits of info. Also, for proteins or more generally biologically relevant amino acid strings, each element in the string holds up to 20 possibilities or 4.32 bits (this ignores some oddball cases.)

    Of course, both D/RNA and proteins come as strings.

    Also, when we have a functionally specific, wiring diagram based arrangement of coupled parts to achieve a function, such as in the Abu 6500 fishing reel I have commonly used as an example, this result can be expanded into a index of the information content of such FSCO/I. .

    Take the nodes and arcs wiring diagram, and reduce it to ordered strings in a description language, let us use bits for each element. The info content of the organised pattern is then the number of y/n q’s in the description language [of compact form] that specifies the wiring diagram. In effect, we here look forward to the work of a controlled construction element, such as we see in the ribosome.

    From this it son becomes patent that a “simple” cell is anything but, it is a smart gated, encapsulated, metabolic automaton [with a vastly complex integrated network of interacting chemistry that puts an oil refinery and synthesis plant to shame), with an integral von Neumann kinematic self replicator.

    That is what is to be explained at OOL, and it is obvious that the advocates of abiogensis have gone well beyond the data, often in a context controlled by the imposed evolutionary materialist ideology described by RationalWiki: “Methodological naturalism is the label for the required assumption of philosophical naturalism when working with the scientific method . . . ”

    So is this issue, mere god of the gaps reasoning, where a vaguely deistic god gets squeezed out by the inevitably progress of evo mat ideology controlled science?

    Actually, to put this that way shows the first problem: there is a confident manner promissory note here, and one not backed by demonstrated, observed adequate blind watchmaker chance and necessity causes.

    Worse, on inference to best current, empirically warranted explanation, all observationally relevant causes should be on the table. Ideological lockout as just highlighted is grand atheistical question begging while dressed in the lab coat. That is there is a fallacy of projection here.

    Second, FSCO/I has a long established, readily observed cause. Intelligently directed configuration, which can of course be automated, as those robotics factory experiments show. Trillions of observed cases in point.

    And, per the adequate cause/ vera causa test, we should not allow to the table,things snot shown to be capable of accounting for the relevant effect.

    So what we have had is a rigged inference, which locks out the actually observed cause of FSCO/I, and forces an explanation on causal factors that are only supported by gross extrapolation, highly speculative hypotheses and promissory notes joined to explaining away of inconvenient evidence.

    A sounder approach will see that there is no support for organised systems of molecular nanotech spontaneously forming and configuring itself to carry out the relevant pattern of functions. There is no evidence of spontaneous formation on realistic conditions of a self replicating RNA system that then proceeds to distill coded instructions and nanotech assemblers etc out of lucky noise, forming the sort of cell we see.

    The darwinist tree of life has been uprooted and in fact discovered not to have the proposed root.

    Design sits at the table as of right, not sufferance.

    KF

  227. 227
    EugeneS says:

    Alicia,

    “we’ve already demonstrated” [in relation to early-Earth models].

    You guys have not demonstrated anything. There can be no demonstration of anything relating to past. At best, it is possible to support certain hypotheses by experimentation. There can only be more or less plausible reconstructions of hypothetical past events.

    But abiogenesis is not even there. It is complete bluff. Non-telic causation driving the formation of telic systems is complete non sequitur.

  228. 228
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Translation: “natural selection” is in fact “natural elimination” and can only eliminate stuff; for instance complex stuff and not so complex stuff.

    By itself natural selection reduces diversity, but when in combination with sources of variation, even if that variation is random and non-adaptive, can actually increase overall diversity, as in diversifying selection.

    Box: Note that “natural selection elimination” is not a creative force but a strictly destructive force which only removes information.

    Glad you agree that selection generally removes information, presumably meaning Shannon information. There was some discussion of that above. On the other hand, it can mean complexity increases its predominance in a population.

    mike1962: The problem for your kind is that the “many of the reactions” you speak of do not rise to anything near anything like DNA or bloody fingerprints left at a crime scene.

    Plausible abiotic synthesis of ribonucleotides has been a long-standing problem due to the instability of the component parts. Powner et al. show an elegant and plausible prebiotic pathway that sidesteps this problem. See Powner et al., Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature 2009. Feel free to move the goalposts.

  229. 229
    Zachriel says:

    EugeneS: There can be no demonstration of anything relating to past. At best, it is possible to support certain hypotheses by experimentation.

    That’s what demonstrate means in science. For instance, the great age of the Earth is supported by the geological succession, and radiometric dating, among other lines of evidence. That the Earth is billions of years old is considered scientifically established.

  230. 230
    Box says:

    Zach: By itself natural selection reduces diversity (…),

    And so did Mao Zedong.

    Zach: (…) but when in combination with sources of variation, even if that variation is random and non-adaptive, can actually increase overall diversity, as in diversifying selection.

    Sure, this is all too obvious. Yes we see an increase in overall diversity when ‘natural selection elimination’ destroys less new variations than it ignores — assuming that the ignored new variations outnumber the elimination of established variations.

  231. 231
    Zachriel says:

    Box: Yes we see an increase in overall diversity when ‘natural selection elimination’ destroys less new variations than it ignores

    Given a stable population, diversifying selection will increase diversity within the population. This can occur even without new sources of variation, by increasing the proportion of variants that were previously rare.

  232. 232

    @box wrote: “natural selection” is in fact “natural elimination” and can only eliminate stuff; for instance complex stuff and not so complex stuff.

    In my opinion people who propose intelligent design should research intelligent design (duh). So you would have to explain things in regards to intelligent design, and actually intelligent design needs natural selection.

    This is because there aren’t any watches, cars, airplanes, or other complex objects of that sort found in nature. The fact these don’t exist implies a design principle focused on survival and reproduction.

    The mechanism of creation / intelligent design is choosing. With choosing a possibility, which is in the future, is made the present or not.

    Natural selection is a sorting mechanism. The highest sort out as the highest, the fittest sort out as the fittest, given the initial variables. That the outcome of natural selection is forced implies a future which is set, a future which can be chosen by intelligent design. Therefore intelligent design can use natural selection to search for forms that reproduce, and most efficiently reproduce, resulting in objects which have a design principle of reproduction and survival.

    I mean, YOU HAVE TO DO INTELLIGENT THEORY IF YOU PROPOSE INTELLIGENT DESIGN. Why are my fellow creationists not investigating theory on how things are chosen?

  233. 233
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia the bloviator:

    Oh virgy, I’ve never been mistaken here at UD, don’t worry.

    You are a legend in your own little-bitty mind. You are also mistaken. We noticed you never provided any evidence for your claim about our alleged impossibility claims. You must be a liar or a coward.

    so why is it that you guys have such a problem accepting abiogenesis when we have already demonstrated that many of the reactions needed can occur in early earth models?

    Nature can produce stones. Stones are the building blocks of Stonehenge. Bt Alicia’s logic nature can produce Stonehenges.

    Only imbeciles think that life can be reduced to chemical reactions, Alicia. Wipe your chin.

  234. 234
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    For instance, the great age of the Earth is supported by the geological succession, and radiometric dating, among other lines of evidence.

    The age of the MATERIALs that make up earth show a great age. Only a little-minded fool would think the age of the materials used = the age of the earth.

  235. 235
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Oh Eugey, you’ll understand science one day, don’t worry!
    Supporting hypotheses by experimentation and constructing models of how things occur(ed) is how virtually all of science is carried out.
    We hypothesize that the first biomolecules and the first living organism can be produced by early earth conditions and we’ve supported it. We cannot know if these are the exact events that occurred 4 billion years ago, but we are far from refuting abiogenesis on the early earth. We’ve gotten all the major biomolecules and are working on recreating plausible first replication systems. It’s only a matter of time.

  236. 236
    asauber says:

    We hypothesize that the first biomolecules and the first living organism can be produced by early earth conditions

    We speculate, you mean. And you don’t even know what early earth conditions were.

    Yawn.

    Andrew

  237. 237
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Supporting hypotheses by experimentation and constructing models of how things occur(ed) is how virtually all of science is carried out.

    Your position doesn’t have any testable hypotheses nor any models.

    We hypothesize that the first biomolecules and the first living organism can be produced by early earth conditions and we’ve supported it.

    That is a lie as no one has shown that living organisms can be produced by any earth, early or not. And those molecules were produced in lab conditions, not early earth conditions.

  238. 238
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    No, Andy, we hypothesize, and then try to refute that hypothesis. But guess what, numerous experiments done over the last 50 years have supported abiogenesis.
    And we can certainly speculate as to what early earth conditions were, as scientists in other fields have already studied this. We then test the most likely early earth environments, and guess what, we find that they can all produce the major biomolecules needed for life to arise.

  239. 239
    asauber says:

    we hypothesize, and then try to refute that hypothesis

    Alicia,

    If your hypothesis isn’t falsifiable, you’ll never refute it.

    Sigh.

    Andrew

  240. 240
    Eric Anderson says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    We note for the record your flippant and arrogant attitude, all the while failing to provide any evidence to support the naturalistic abiogenesis storyline.

    Simply making bald-faced claims about experiments that allegedly support abiogenesis or vague assertions about things that have been learned, why don’t you provide some specific details.

    The challenge in the OP remains. Go ahead and answer that challenge. I also extend to you the invitation I extended to Zachriel and others: If you have an idea how abiogenesis works, feel free to write it up and I will post it as a head post for discussion.

    If not, then for the sake of intellectual honesty please take a good look in the mirror, acknowledge the weaknesses in the theory, and stop making blatantly false and misleading statements.

  241. 241
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Andy, if we continually tested early earth models and they failed to produce biomolecules, that would certainly falsify abiogenesis. But instead, we have continually found production of them. The next step is testing scenarios of possible first replication systems.

    EA, go ahead and read up on some of this stuff. There’s a lot of information out there and this thing called the internet gives you access to it all.

    EA: Please stop with the bluffing. From what you have posted so far, it appears that I and others on this thread know orders of magnitude more about abiogenesis than you do. You are of course welcome to correct that impression. If you have something substantive to say, please do so. Continued bald-faced assertions, all the while failing to deal with the primary issues raised in the OP, demonstrates not only a lack of answers, but a profound lack of understanding of what the issues even are.

  242. 242
    Eric Anderson says:

    Zachriel to Box:

    Glad you agree that selection generally removes information, presumably meaning Shannon information.

    No. No. No. Not “presumably meaning Shannon information.” So-called Shannon information is essentially irrelevant for purposes of biological variation and innovation. Please take some time to reflect on this before mindlessly heading down the rabbit hole about Shannon information.

    I’m mostly just observing the conversation here as it is OT, so I won’t spend a lot of time on back and forth about natural selection in this thread. I do note in passing, however, that you are clearly missing the point that was raised by others: natural selection has nothing to do with producing new biological structures, systems, organisms, and so on. Nor does it have anything to do with the production of the information [note: not Shannon information] required for those biological systems. Natural selection is irrelevant to the task and the problem at hand.

    Yes, we all agree that some creatures can die off and reduce the available variety that was already in the population. Big deal. It doesn’t tell us one useful thing about how the biological innovation was produced.

    —–

    Finally, your continued assertions about the definition of “evolution” can serve as Exhibit A to my other recent post in which I noted the clueless (and occasionally purposeful) conflation of wildly different concepts under the same term. You are a prime example of someone who has fallen into this intellectual trap. Taking a charitable reading of the situation for a moment, I will assume you are doing this because you haven’t spent time to think through the issues clearly, rather than doing this because you are being intentionally deceptive. Take some time to think about it if you want to avoid further errors on this front.

  243. 243
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia spews:

    But guess what, numerous experiments done over the last 50 years have supported abiogenesis.

    Only in your little-bitty mind.

    We then test the most likely early earth environments, and guess what, we find that they can all produce the major biomolecules needed for life to arise.

    Actually we know it takes different environments to produce the different molecules. And you still can’t get a replicator and the path from molecular replicator to biological reproduction is impossible to travel via purely physicochemical processes.

  244. 244
    EugeneS says:

    Zachriel,

    “That’s what demonstrate means in science”.

    Demonstration of validity of a theory refers to something extraneous to the theory. If your purported demonstration uses the same assumptions, it does not qualify.

    E.g. measuring genome homology does not demonstrate common descent but rather assumes it.

    In order to demonstrate abiogenesis, one must obtain a living cell without recourse to controlled synthesis.

  245. 245
    asauber says:

    if we continually tested early earth models and they failed to produce biomolecules, that would certainly falsify abiogenesis

    This is an IF statement. It doesn’t demonstrate anything.

    Do you think that by presenting an IF statement, the statement becomes true?

    Andrew

  246. 246
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    You present an IF statement and then test it. This is how science works.

    If it’s continually supported, then you accept it, and if it’s refuted then you get rid of it.

    Abiogenesis is continually supported by early earth model experiments.

  247. 247
    asauber says:

    If it’s continually supported, then you accept it, and if it’s refuted then you get rid of it.

    You presented two more IF statements in support of your first one.

    So enough with the wishful thinking.

    What actually has been done?

    Andrew

  248. 248
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia baldly declares:

    Abiogenesis is continually supported by early earth model experiments.

    No, Alicia, there is a huge difference in showing the basic macromolecules can arise and producing a living organism. By your logic the geological formation of Stonehenge is supported by earth models that show stones are produced by nature.

    The different environments required means there needs to be some way of bringing them all together. Also deamination is your position’s enemy and cytosine just can’t help itself. But hey at least one of its byproducts is uracil.

  249. 249
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    They are IF statements because they are contingent on the experimental results. Do you know nothing about science or do you just love the word “IF?”

  250. 250
    J-Mac says:

    Alicia Cartelli,

    Please give as at least one example how this issue with the origins of life was experimentally resolve:

    Enzymes are needed to produce ATP. But energy from ATP is needed to produce enzymes. However, DNA is required to make enzymes, but enzymes are required to make DNA.
    However, proteins can be made only by a cell, but a cell can be made only with specific proteins.

    So, how have those obvious issues been resolved by the experiments YOU CLAIM to be in abundance?

    Please provide specific experiments. I can’t wait

  251. 251
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Here’s a very brief overview of the basic supporting work done on abiogenesis and I have taken it a step further for EA at the end and talk briefly about a simplified example of the evolution of the first living organism. Enjoy.

    Miller-Urey demonstrated that methane, ammonia, and hydrogen gases in a highly favorable early earth model could produce cyanide, formaldehyde, and amino acids. Subsequent studies demonstrated similar results in more realistic models. Amino acids are repeatedly produced by early earth models and have also been found in meteorites. Mimicking volcanic gases flowing through rock crevices produces amino acids and in fact, it tends to produce some of the natural amino acids over the other, unnatural residues. UV light in early earth models produce aldehydes, which are still important intermediates in amino acid synthesis. Polymerization of amino acids, although unfavorable, can be driven by certain conditions. Simply through energy input in the presence of minerals, researchers have demonstrated the formation of protein polymers. We have also observed amino acid polymerization at hydrothermal vents. Amino acids in cooler water have been shown to polymerize when carbon and sulfur-containing gases (commonly ejected by hydrothermal vents) are also present.

    Important reactants have been hypothesized to accumulate on layers of mineral deposits in the early earth environment; dissolved gases are attracted to these minerals which helps to concentrate them to drive chemical reactions. The minerals function as catalysts as they are reactive in solution and their importance can still be seen at the active site of many enzymes today.

    The production of acetic acid from dissolved carbon dioxide and hydrogen is spontaneous and still used today by bacteria. Acetic acid is also an important intermediate in the pathway that produces acetyl-CoA, a molecule still used by all living organisms. Recent research has shown that a variety of larger organic molecules can be produced by early earth models, including those important to the eventual synthesis of nucleotides.

    Free radical production is much more likely in the early earth atmosphere, where there is no ozone layer. Free radicals are highly reactive and computer models have demonstrated the formation of formaldehyde through these types of reactions. In the presence of heat or UV radiation, formaldehyde molecules are able to link together, forming more complicated organic molecules such as sugars. Both 5- and 6-carbon sugars are produced in these models and other studies have shown that enrichment of the 5-carbon sugars occurs on minerals outside of hydrothermal vents. 3-carbon ketoses and other molecules related to sugars have also been found in meteorites.

    Hydrogen cyanide was also likely produced in the early earth atmosphere as shown in Miller-Urey, and it is an important precursor for nucleic base production. Early earth atmospheric models eventually led to the production of all five nucleic bases. Prebiotic simulations have demonstrated activation of nucleotides through addition of phosphate groups, and further studies have shown that these nucleotides can polymerize in the presence of minerals. Even without nucleotide activation, polymerization of nucleic acids over 90 bases long has been demonstrated to occur when both heat and small lipids are included.

    Recent studies have shown that, starting with a ribozyme capable of joining two ribonucleotides together, random mutations and copying produces ribozymes capable of replication activity. This enzyme is now capable of using itself as a template, to copy fragments of itself. Other studies have demonstrated molecular evolution by starting with random pools of nucleic acids and selection of nucleic acids that connect uracil base to ribose sugar. After 11 rounds of selection, the ribozyme population was 1,000,000x better at catalyzing the reaction in comparison to the uncatalyzed reaction. Numerous other studies have produced ribozymes with a host of different catalytic activities.

    Simple lipids have been produced through early earth model systems using hydrogen, carbon dioxide and mineral catalysts. Lipids with amphipathic properties have also been discovered in meteorites. These molecules form simple membrane structures spontaneously due to the hydrophobic effect and provide an environment more suitable for life inside the first protocells. These early cell membranes provide the ability to concentrate reactants and protect products of chemical reactions. Membrane permeability of small molecules can be altered by simple proteins that span the hydrophobic layer and also by temperature changes. Simple vesicles can join together, in essence “growing” and vibrations of the surrounding media can cause them to replicate. Ions and ribonucleotides are known to diffuse through fatty acid membranes and the formation of these membranes is facilitated by minerals as well.

    It is hypothesized that the first replicating molecule did not consist of RNA, but instead was made up of simpler nucleic acids, which consisted of simpler nucleotide molecules. Nucleic acid-polypeptide hybrid molecules have been proposed, in which nucleic bases are connected by peptide bonds instead of phosphodiester bonds. These simpler molecules are capable of both catalytic activity and acting as a template; and their ability to direct synthesis of RNA as we know it today has been demonstrated, as they have similar 3D geometries. This would allow for evolution from a pre-RNA world to an RNA world. The catalytic repertoire of ribozymes seen in nature today is quite small, however synthetic ribozymes have demonstrated a wide variety of reactions, even rivaling proteins. The distinction between proteinaceous enzymes and ribozymes seems to be the efficiency with which they catalyze reactions, not the range of possible reactions. The ability of ribozymes to catalyze their own replication has been demonstrated, but only in fragments. Ribozymes able to ligate short nucleotide strands, which has already been demonstrated, would piece these fragments together, producing more replicating ribozymes. The efficiency of this ligation reaction would be increased by containing the replicating ribozyme and nucleic acid fragments within a membrane consisting of fatty acids or some derivative of these amphipathic molecules. This would be the first living cell.

    Sealing these ribozymes into protocells allows for evolution of these first organisms based on not just structure of subcellular components, but also how these components interact with each other. Replication of these protocells would be driven by physical agitation, unevenly splitting the intracellular components into new protocells and providing more variation for selection to act on.

    Experiments have demonstrated that selection from pools of random RNA molecules can produce RNA polymers that bind tightly to amino acids. These RNA molecules tend to have sequences identical to the codons still used by today’s translational system. This shows the potential for a limited genetic code, of which the remnants cans still be seen today. Synthetic ribozymes have been shown to catalyze tRNA charging, moving the early translational system closer to the more efficient system seen today. Evolution of this early translational system would make protein synthesis more efficient and eventually lead to a protein-dominated world.

  252. 252
    Virgil Cain says:

    J-Mac- The initial energy came from hydrothermal vents, alkaline vents- not the black smokers- that produced cell-like pores in the rocks that formed along the ridge. Allegedly that is what got the Krebs cycle going and forming ATP synthase was a breeze after that-> Nick Lane “Life Ascending” chapter 1 (2009)

    Allegedly that is the best they had 6 years ago.

  253. 253
    asauber says:

    Do you know nothing about science or do you just love the word “IF?”

    You’re the one who keeps using it. I’ll stop when you do.

    Andrew

  254. 254
    asauber says:

    Here’s a very brief overview of the basic supporting work done on abiogenesis

    Can you provide a reference link?

    Have you ever done this internet thing before?

    Andrew

  255. 255
    Box says:

    Eric Anderson #242:
    (…) natural selection has nothing to do with producing new biological structures, systems, organisms, and so on. Nor does it have anything to do with the production of the information [note: not Shannon information] required for those biological systems. Natural selection is irrelevant to the task and the problem at hand.

    Yes, we all agree that some creatures can die off and reduce the available variety that was already in the population. Big deal. It doesn’t tell us one useful thing about how the biological innovation was produced.

    Species selection does not account for the origin of the different anatomical traits that distinguish one species from another. Species selection, as conceived by the proponents of punctuated equilibrium, acts on species and traits that already exist. Indeed, when Stanley, Gould, and Eldredge envisioned natural selection acting to favor the most fit species over another in a competition for survival, they presupposed the existence of a pool of different species and, therefore, also the existence of some mechanism for producing the traits that characterize those different species. That mechanism, however, would necessarily need to generate those differentiating traits before species could enter into competition with each other. Species selection eliminates less fit species in a competition for survival; it does not generate the traits that distinguish species and establish the basis for interspecies competition.

    [Stephen Meyer, ch.7, Darwin’s Doubt]

  256. 256
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia ignores Spiegelman’s Monster, an experiment that supports nature’s tendency towards the more simple.

    Alicia:

    Recent studies have shown that, starting with a ribozyme capable of joining two ribonucleotides together, random mutations and copying produces ribozymes capable of replication activity.

    Right, but you can’t get that initial ribozyme without an intelligent designer.

    Perhaps someone needs to take Alicia’s proposal and put it to the test. Take all of the synthesized RNAs, ribozymes and amino acids you need, Alicia, put them into a lipid membrane vesicle and see what happens.

    Eric gave you all of that in the OP. Merely saying that you have what Eric gave you does not mean those ingredients can produce the product.

    BTW you still need to address the shopping cart issue- meaning the different biomolecules arise in different environments and you need to bring them together.

  257. 257
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “Right, but you can’t get that initial ribozyme without an intelligent designer.”

    False.

    Ribozyme is a strand of nucleic acid folded in on itself. As demonstrated above ,the early earth was capable of synthesizing nucleic acids and folding is a spontaneous process. The only requirement is the correct sequence to form an active site. Production of enough random nucleic acid sequences, in my opinion, will eventually produce a strand with catalytic activity. In the way that many of the amino acids of a protein can be swapped out while still retaining function, The nucleotides of these early ribozymes do not need to be perfectly conserved during molecular evolution and a number of variants can all produce a catalytic molecule. It is a small subset of the nucleotides that are the most important in this molecule.

  258. 258
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    J-Mac, your comment @250 is the perfect example of why the layman cannot talk about or understand abiogenesis.
    Thank you for that, I had a good laugh.

  259. 259
    Mapou says:

    Lizzy, the combinatorial explosion is the merciless killer of Darwinism. Abiogenesis is just chicken feather voodoo science. You lose and so do all the other math-challenged dirt worshipers.

  260. 260
    Jack Jones says:

    Mr Anderson.

    Are you going to do a follow up post on the results of your challenge?

    It doesn’t look good for those that believe in a living organism originating spontaneously from non living matter in a natural environment.

  261. 261
    Mung says:

    Has anyone even made an attempt yet? Reminds me of the challenge issued by KF. Naysayers by the score, but nary a brave soul in sight.

    Especially lacking, competent biologists.

  262. 262
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli: You present an IF statement and then test it.

    Yes, we’ve been trying that approach with you.

    IF you know what an enzyme is and IF you know what peptidyltransferase is THEN you would know that peptidyltransferase is an enzyme.

    But you failed. credibility. shot.

    Alicia Cartelli: Do you know nothing about science or do you just love the word “IF?”

    How wonderfully ironic of you.

    Troll less please.

  263. 263
    Mung says:

    Shannon information is important in biological systems, not because it tells us what information is, but because it provides is with a measure.

    Which is why I think a better term for it is the Shannon measure of information, or SMI. So what does SMI measure? As pointed out by KF above, carrying capacity.

    If we are in fact speaking of the transfer of recorded information, then information theory is of obvious relevance.

    The trick is to find the right way to talk about it.

    Not to try to take the thread off-track. 🙂

  264. 264
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    “Right, but you can’t get that initial ribozyme without an intelligent designer.”

    False.

    Ribozyme is a strand of nucleic acid folded in on itself.

    Let me see if I have this right. Any old bit of RNA that folds on itself is a ribozyme? No enzymatic activity required? You must think ribozyme is a complete misnomer.

    Or maybe you don’t know what an enzyme is.

  265. 265
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Still waiting for you come up with the name of an enzyme that “detaches the amino acid from the tRNA so that it can be added to the peptide chain,” that isn’t “the ribosome.”
    Any day now mungy.

  266. 266
    Mung says:

    Of course you are Alicia.

    You made a fool of yourself, and now you’re making your “last stand.” But we know you’re just here for amusement, isn’t that what you said? I can go look it up for you if you like.

    Just another troll, in a long line of trolls. But you’re special, in your own sort of weird way.

    1.) you don’t know what an enzyme is.

    2.) you don’t know that peptidyltransferase is an enzyme.

    3.) But you’re here to teach us all how we’re a bunch of ignoramuses.

    You go girl!

  267. 267
    Jack Jones says:

    @266 Mung laying the smack down on the troll.

  268. 268
    Mung says:

    Eric Anderson @ 240:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    We note for the record your flippant and arrogant attitude, all the while failing to provide any evidence to support the naturalistic abiogenesis storyline.

    Alicia is trolling.

    Check out her comment here:

    Everything in biology points to chemical/biological evolution producing life and eventually the diversity of species we see today. Why not informally hypothesize about what the earliest systems could have been. I’m just here for some friendly banter, but it’s tough to do when nobody else understands molecular biology. Guess I should’ve known better.

    Two birds. One stone. AC down. And I don’t mean feathers.

  269. 269
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Oh Mungy.
    When you come up with the name of an enzyme that “detaches the amino acid from the tRNA so that it can be added to the peptide chain,” that isn’t “the ribosome,” then I’ll respond.
    Until then, your not worth the breath.

  270. 270
    Mung says:

    Oh Alicia,

    Everything in biology points to chemical/biological evolution producing life and eventually the diversity of species we see today. Why not informally hypothesize about what the earliest systems could have been.

    Indeed. This is the thread for you, then. Or not.

  271. 271
    Mung says:

    Alica Cartelli: Until then, your not worth the breath.

    Where have I heard that before?

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Until you come up with the enzyme or admit that it doesn’t exist, I will not be responding to you. Toodaloo!

    Given that you would not be responding to me again until I came up with the name of the enzyme or admitted that it doesn’t exist…

    And given that you have indeed responded to me…

    Either I came up with the name of the enzyme…

    Or I admitted it doesn’t exist…

    Or… well… you figure it out.

  272. 272
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    I’m done with you Mungy, say whatever you want, just know that it’s probably wrong.

    I say that you find me irresistible.

    🙂

  273. 273
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Why do you think I commented here in the first place, Mungy?

    And your inability to come up with the enzyme name is equivalent to an admission that it doesn’t exist.

    I’m still waiting for some kind of a response to my comment @251. Should be interesting to see what a bunch of scientifically illiterate, biologically-challenged UDiots come up with.

    I’ll be patiently waiting!

  274. 274
    Mung says:

    In case anyone wonders what Alicia is nattering on about…

    AC:

    …there are really no “peptidyl transferase” enzymes…

    They don’t exist.

    AC:

    I’m done with you; you will not be able to find an enzyme that “detaches the amino acid from the tRNA so that it can be added to the peptide chain,” other then the ribosome (which as I said from the beginning is technically a ribozyme, despite incorrect usage of the term “enzyme” even by researchers).

    They do exist.

    Apparently it’s a disagreement over naming. And around and around we go. But isn’t that what trolls do?

    Mung:

    You claimed it did not exist. You are wrong. You also said you weren’t arguing about the name, but about whether or not it existed. It exists. Even you admit that. So now you all of a sudden want to argue about it’s name.

    Alicia loses. credibility shot. period.

    for the onlookers:

    peptidyltransferase – the ribosomal enzyme that catalyzes the elongation step in polypeptide synthesis

    Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

    The crystallographic structures compellingly confirmed that peptidyl transferase is an RNA enzyme.

    see also

    Anyways. Alicia has nothing in response to the OP, which is why she’s willing to discuss anything but the OP.

  275. 275
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    And your inability to come up with the enzyme name is equivalent to an admission that it doesn’t exist.

    What part of you already admitted that it exists do you not understand?

    What part of you’re not debating the name but the actual existence do you not understand?

    After denying it’s existence, and rejecting the claim that you were merely arguing over how it was named, you have no honest recourse to some alternate universe in which all that did not happen.

    Ugly. Facts.

  276. 276
    asauber says:

    Alicia is trolling.

    Makin’ Zachy jealous.

    Whoop! I went there!

    Andrew

  277. 277
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Enzymes are protein catalysts
    Ribozymes are RNA catalysts
    End of story.

    Those are the correct definitions. Anything you look up that says different is either due to over-simplification, the word is being used colloquially, or they’re just flat-out wrong.

    When someone wants to talk about my comment @251, which is an attempt to answer EA’s question (who has since disappeared), I’ll be here.

  278. 278
    Zachriel says:

    Eric Anderson: The challenge in the OP remains.

    Szostak’s Lab provides an overview of what is known, including challenges that remain.

    Eric Anderson: Not “presumably meaning Shannon information.”

    What kind of information is being “removed” when there is selection for color in peppered moths, per Box’s comment?

    Eric Anderson: Finally, your continued assertions about the definition of “evolution” …

    Call it Fred if it makes you feel any better. But in biology, evolution generally refers to change in heritable traits in populations. Numerous citations have been provided in support of this usage. What you want to talk about is complex adaptation, which is fine, but it’s very difficult to talk about scientific topics when words get redefined. You can’t even make sense of scientific research papers.

    EugeneS: There can be no demonstration of anything relating to past. At best, it is possible to support certain hypotheses by experimentation.

    We can demonstrate that dinosaurs roamed the Earth.

    Zachriel: That’s what demonstrate means in science.

    EugeneS: Demonstration of validity of a theory refers to something extraneous to the theory.

    In the case of the great age of the Earth, that evidence includes geological data and radiometrics, both otherwise independent of the age of the Earth. We also have strong support in astronomy for how planets form.

    EugeneS: E.g. measuring genome homology does not demonstrate common descent but rather assumes it.

    Homology is determined by finding evidence of ancestry. If silent mutations in a group of genes form a nested hierarchy, then it indicates homology.

    EugeneS: In order to demonstrate abiogenesis, one must obtain a living cell without recourse to controlled synthesis.

    It requires showing it could occur in plausible primordial conditions.

  279. 279
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia sez:

    As demonstrated above ,the early earth was capable of synthesizing nucleic acids and folding is a spontaneous process.

    Not all nucleic acids are borne from the same environment. Cytosine is prone to deamination.

    The only requirement is the correct sequence to form an active site.

    That is a big enough obstacle. Why hasn’t that been done in a lab?

    Production of enough random nucleic acid sequences, in my opinion, will eventually produce a strand with catalytic activity.

    Your opinion is neither evidence nor an argument. But thank you for proving all that you have are untestable opinions.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  280. 280
    Virgil Cain says:

    Zachriel:

    In the case of the great age of the Earth

    The age of the earth depends on how it formed.

    Homology is determined by finding evidence of ancestry

    Loser, homology is alleged evidence for common ancestry.

    If silent mutations in a group of genes form a nested hierarchy, then it indicates homology.

    What’s this nested hierarchy based on? What defines the levels and sets? Be specific or admit that you are a fool.

    It requires showing it could occur in plausible primordial conditions.

    Good luck with that.

  281. 281
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    “Not all nucleic acids are borne from the same environment. Cytosine is prone to deamination.”
    Good thing the hypothesis doesn’t require that the first living organism have all five nucleotides in use today, or for that matter, any of the nucleotides in use today; see the proposed precursor nucleotides mentioned above.

    “That is a big enough obstacle. Why hasn’t that been done in a lab?”
    Did you read what I wrote, or do you not understand what we are talking about?
    Many ribozymes have been generated in the lab, with a wide variety of functions. Polymerizing nucleotides will form a nucleic acid strand, this strand will fold on itself to form tertiary structure. This tertiary structure has the potential to catalyze just about any reaction. The problem would have been in finding sequences that produce tertiary structure which catalyze reactions important for the generation of biomolecules which would help to form the first living organism. While difficult to do, it is made easier by the fact that only a fraction of the nucleotides are important to form a specific catalytic site and also the fact that the ribozyme did not have to be highly efficient. At the earliest stages of life, the small increase in catalytic activity afforded by inefficient ribozymes, or enclosing membranes would be enough to drive evolution.

    “Your opinion is neither evidence nor an argument. But thank you for proving all that you have are untestable opinions.”
    You can call it whatever you want, but you have nothing to counter what I have said.

  282. 282
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia with more opinion and still no science:

    Good thing the hypothesis doesn’t require that the first living organism have all five nucleotides in use today, or for that matter, any of the nucleotides in use today; see the proposed precursor nucleotides mentioned above.

    The untestable proposal?

    Many ribozymes have been generated in the lab, with a wide variety of functions.

    Generated by us- ie by intelligent design.

    Why hasn’t anyone done what you said- put a ribozyme in a lipid membrane vesicle and see what happens? Does it do what you claimed?

    You can call it whatever you want, but you have nothing to counter what I have said.

    You have nothing to support what you said so there isn’t anything to counter.

    Spiegelman’s monster counters your claim.

  283. 283
    mike1962 says:

    Alicia Cartelli: Mikey, I hope I didn’t hurt your feelings.

    Not possible.

    Anyways, we’ve already demonstrated the production of nucleic acids under early earth conditions.

    Did I say anything about nucleic acid production?

    You are completely clueless as to where the gaps are.

    How do you know?

  284. 284
    mike1962 says:

    Zächriellen: Plausible abiotic synthesis of ribonucleotides has been a long-standing problem due to the instability of the component parts. Powner et al. show an elegant and plausible prebiotic pathway that sidesteps this problem. See Powner et al., Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature 2009. Feel free to move the goalposts.

    As if that comes anywhere close to demonstrating how DNA/ribosome machinery came into existence.

  285. 285
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Mikey @220 says:
    ‘The problem for your kind is that the “many of the reactions” you speak of do not rise to anything near anything like DNA.’

    Mikey @283 says:
    ‘Did I say anything about nucleic acid production?’

    That’s how I know you are clueless.
    Hint, do you know what DNA stands for?
    You should probably stay out of this one Mikey.

    No virgy, in fact we develop a lot of these ribozymes by mimicking evolution. We allow random mutation of initial sequences, copy them, and search for catalysis of certain reactions. There is little difference between this and what nature would do during molecular evolution.
    And why would we bother when geniuses like you will just turn and scream about how this protocell is “intelligently designed.” The experiment would be massively time-consuming and virtually impossible to carry out anyway. I wouldn’t expect someone with no research experience to know this though.
    And spiegelman’s monster is not an issue @251.

  286. 286
    Jack Jones says:

    Looks like the evolutionists have given up right from the start at showing a living organism originating spontaneously from non living matter in a natural environment .

    They are welcome to believe in it but it is nothing more than an evidence free fantasy.

  287. 287
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia Cartelli:

    No virgy, in fact we develop a lot of these ribozymes by mimicking evolution.

    That’s too vague and because of that it is meaningless.

    We allow random mutation of initial sequences, copy them, and search for catalysis of certain reactions. There is little difference between this and what nature would do during molecular evolution.

    That’s your opinion.

    And why would we bother when geniuses like you will just turn and scream about how this protocell is “intelligently designed.”

    That would be true so it would hardly take a genius to understand the obvious. However it would show A) what it takes to get a protocell and B) what a protocell could do.

    And why would we bother when geniuses like you will just turn and scream about how this protocell is “intelligently designed.”

    What a cowardly cop out.

    I wouldn’t expect someone with no research experience to know this though.

    I have research experience.

    And spiegelman’s monster is not an issue @251.

    Of course it is as it shows nature’s tendency for the more simple, which is contrary to what you are trying to imagine.

  288. 288
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Yes, we know you think science is meaningless Virgy, but you probably shouldn’t admit it like that. No, it’s not an opinion, and you obviously haven’t done research if you think funding a massive project like this is feasible. You are beyond clueless, and frankly, I’ve lost interest in your babble.

    When someone has something intelligent to say, I’ll return. Maybe get EA and tell him I’ve answered his question.

  289. 289
    mike1962 says:

    Alicia Cartelli: That’s how I know you are clueless. Hint, do you know what DNA stands for?

    Okie dokie.

  290. 290
    Box says:

    Alicia: When someone has something intelligent to say, I’ll return.

    Not a reason to come back for if you are a true believer in naturalism, since intelligence cannot exist under naturalism. You desperately want blind particles in motion to be your creator, however those non-rational clueless blind particles also do the “thinking” for “you” — and it shows.
    See here and here for a rigorous philosophical take-down of rationality under naturalism.

  291. 291
    Jack Jones says:

    @290 Box

    Your posts are excellent, You expose the folly of naturalism with panache. 🙂

  292. 292
    Virgil Cain says:

    Alicia something smelly- what is your malfunction? Your opinions and imagination are not science. And yes it is only your opinion that nature can produce ribozymes. And yes it is only your imagination that sez ribozymes inside lipid membrane vesicles are a start of life.

    You are beyond delusional and I will expose you as a poseur every time you post your nonsense.

    cheers,
    Virgil Cain

  293. 293
    Box says:

    Jack,

    thank you 🙂 It’s always nice to receive a compliment even though exposing naturalism is child’s play. Like shooting fish in a barrel.

  294. 294
    Jack Jones says:

    You’re welcome Box, it is not looking good for Alicia with the way that she is getting shredded by the other posters either. She must be a masochist.

  295. 295
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    You link to UD for “a rigorous philosophical take-down” of something?
    Get real.
    Thanks for the laugh though.

    I’ll be here if anyone wants to talk about my answer to EA’s question!

  296. 296
    Jack Jones says:

    “Nature can produce stones. Stones are the building blocks of Stonehenge. Bt Alicia’s logic nature can produce Stonehenges.”

    She is not very bright is she Mr Cain, Apparently she believes that Miller and Urey and others working in the lab were on the early earth, Apparently they are part of her ideas of life originating spontaneously in a natural environment.

    hahahahaha

    “Only imbeciles think that life can be reduced to chemical reactions, Alicia. Wipe your chin.”

    Yet she tells others that they are wrong, if we are determined chemistry which even humans would be on her faith, then it makes no sense to say we or anyone else are wrong.

    I wonder if she can name the chemical elements that she thinks are free.

    These Materialists don’t argue consistently with their faith.

  297. 297
    kairosfocus says:

    AC, 295:

    You link to UD for “a rigorous philosophical take-down” of something?
    Get real.

    This is both a case of a revealing genetic fallacy of contempt laced dismissiveness and is exemplifying of the way many advocates of evolutionary materialist scientism commonly refuse to take seriously a major and fatal foundational flaw in their worldview. One that was for instance pointed out by Haldane at the turn of the 1930’s and has been highlighted again and again since.

    Here is philosopher Nancy Pearcey in her book, Finding Truth, for a current case:

    A major way to test a philosophy or worldview is to ask: Is it logically consistent? Internal contradictions are fatal to any worldview because contradictory statements are necessarily false. “This circle is square” is contradictory, so it has to be false. An especially damaging form of contradiction is self-referential absurdity — which means a theory sets up a definition of truth that it itself fails to meet. Therefore it refutes itself . . . . An example of self-referential absurdity is a theory called evolutionary epistemology, a naturalistic approach that applies evolution to the process of knowing. The theory proposes that the human mind is a product of natural selection. The implication is that the ideas in our minds were selected for their survival value, not for their truth-value.

    But what if we apply that theory to itself? Then it, too, was selected for survival, not truth — which discredits its own claim to truth. Evolutionary epistemology commits suicide.

    Astonishingly, many prominent thinkers have embraced the theory without detecting the logical contradiction. Philosopher John Gray writes, “If Darwin’s theory of natural selection is true,… the human mind serves evolutionary success, not truth.” What is the contradiction in that statement?

    Gray has essentially said, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it “serves evolutionary success, not truth.” In other words, if Darwin’s theory is true, then it is not true.

    Self-referential absurdity is akin to the well-known liar’s paradox: “This statement is a lie.” If the statement is true, then (as it says) it is not true, but a lie.

    Another example comes from Francis Crick. In The Astonishing Hypothesis, he writes, “Our highly developed brains, after all, were not evolved under the pressure of discovering scientific truths but only to enable us to be clever enough to survive.” But that means Crick’s own theory is not a “scientific truth.” Applied to itself, the theory commits suicide.

    Of course, the sheer pressure to survive is likely to produce some correct ideas. A zebra that thinks lions are friendly will not live long. But false ideas may be useful for survival. Evolutionists admit as much: Eric Baum says, “Sometimes you are more likely to survive and propagate if you believe a falsehood than if you believe the truth.” Steven Pinker writes, “Our brains were shaped for fitness, not for truth. Sometimes the truth is adaptive, but sometimes it is not.” The upshot is that survival is no guarantee of truth. If survival is the only standard, we can never know which ideas are true and which are adaptive but false.

    To make the dilemma even more puzzling, evolutionists tell us that natural selection has produced all sorts of false concepts in the human mind. Many evolutionary materialists maintain that free will is an illusion, consciousness is an illusion, even our sense of self is an illusion — and that all these false ideas were selected for their survival value.

    [–> that is, responsible, rational freedom is undermined. Cf here William Provine in his 1998 U Tenn Darwin Day keynote:

    Naturalistic evolution has clear consequences that Charles Darwin understood perfectly. 1) No gods worth having exist; 2) no life after death exists; 3) no ultimate foundation for ethics exists; 4) no ultimate meaning in life exists; and 5) human free will is nonexistent . . . .

    The first 4 implications are so obvious to modern naturalistic evolutionists that I will spend little time defending them. Human free will, however, is another matter. Even evolutionists have trouble swallowing that implication. I will argue that humans are locally determined systems that make choices. They have, however, no free will [–> without responsible freedom, mind, reason and morality alike disintegrate into grand delusion, hence self-referential incoherence and self-refutation. But that does not make such fallacies any less effective in the hands of clever manipulators] . . . [1998 Darwin Day Keynote Address, U of Tenn — and yes, that is significant i/l/o the Scopes Trial, 1925]

    So how can we know whether the theory of evolution itself is one of those false ideas? The theory undercuts itself.

    A few thinkers, to their credit, recognize the problem. Literary critic Leon Wieseltier writes, “If reason is a product of natural selection, then how much confidence can we have in a rational argument for natural selection? … Evolutionary biology cannot invoke the power of reason even as it destroys it.”

    On a similar note, philosopher Thomas Nagel asks, “Is the [evolutionary] hypothesis really compatible with the continued confidence in reason as a source of knowledge?” His answer is no: “I have to be able to believe … that I follow the rules of logic because they are correct — not merely because I am biologically programmed to do so.” Hence, “insofar as the evolutionary hypothesis itself depends on reason, it would be self-undermining.” [ENV excerpt, Finding Truth (David C. Cook, 2015) by Nancy Pearcey.]

    BTW, this shows one way in which a humble mere blog comment can hold in it a serious response to an issue that ought not to be met with studious side-stepping, especially through genetic fallacies of belittling dismissiveness.
    KF

    PS: When you refer to us as “UDiots” that is further revealing of attitude, and that sets a context in which your dismissiveness of Mung’s point in 274 as incorrect or colloquial usage becomes especially revealing, given WHAT he cited:

    for the onlookers:
    peptidyltransferasethe ribosomal enzyme that catalyzes the elongation step in polypeptide synthesis
    Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

  298. 298
    kairosfocus says:

    F/N: Notice, still no serious, empirically founded answer to the challenge to ground the root of the Darwinist tree of life that can meet the observed adequate cause, vera causa test in explaining the FSCO/I in the living cell. The strawmen await due refutation. KF

  299. 299

    A Self-Replicating Molecule as A Primitive Form of Life Does Not Make Sense

    And a Reaction to Alicia Cartelli’s entry #251

    Kirosfocus at #29 quoting from Rational Wiki:

    Abiogenesis is the process by which life arises naturally from non-living matter. Scientists speculate that life may have arisen as a result of random chemical processes happening to produce self-replicating molecules.

    Eric Anderson at #55 and #74 talks about self replicating molecules as fictitious entities.

    Below I am proposing that a Self Replicating Molecule does not make sense as a primitive form of life.

    This thesis is somewhat connected to Alicia Cartelli’s entry at #251. You need not be a biochemist or biologist to understand that her recitation of the various research results are not at all successful to demonstrate the impossible: that there is a naturalistic origin of life.

    I have in mind several ways of arguing that her story at #251 is just another darwinist fantesies.

    As you may have guessed I am a non-specialist, although now-a-days it may be claimed that a systems software engineer may be in as good a position (if not even better) than a biologist or biochemist to weight the chances that naturalistic processes – being they of mechanical, meteorological, volcanic or physic-chemical nature – can produce an entity that is capable to self-replicate.

    But before proceeding to the main thesis of this blog entry, I can briefly state one of the many reasons why Alicia’s prose is just another darwinist fairy tale.

    I just want to mention that I studied a little bit the issue of origin of life and I developed some strong personal opinions about the topic:

    A Minimum Cell Model and the Origin of Life Problem
    The Design of the Simplest Self-Replicator

    It seems to me that any material entity that has the demonstrable capability to self-replicate is a super-super machine in a category far, far above any human-engineered artifact. In other words any living organism that exhibits this capability is a super-super machine. There are many additional reasons to consider living organisms as super machines besides their ability to self-replicate.

    At this time you may consider may view eccentric (if not crazy). But think about this: the fact that armies of biologists, biochemists, geneticists, embryologists, bioinformatics specialists are studying living organisms for decades (if not centuries) without any clear sign that their field of study with be exhausted in the next few years – isn’t this tremendous investigative and research effort the best justification of the view that living organisms are super-super machines that are super-super engineered?

    Now, any attempt – as Alicia arduously made – to persuade any rational being that a self-replicator super, super machine was “produced” by the blind forces of the inanimate nature: a volcanic erruption here, a hydrothermal vent there, some mineral polymerizing some amino acids elsewhere – is just an exercise in mesmerizing some adults with child fairy tales.

    Briefly, the Origin of Lide Problem is a challenge for our capacity to Reason and not so much a biology or biochemistry problem. Sure, having some basic molecular biology knowledge helps, but having also a sound high school or college education may suffice.

    Hopefully I’ll have time in a future blog entry to argue on alternative, more orthodox paths why Alicia’s proclamation of the “soon to come” solution for Abiogenesis is just lacking actual substance.

    Now I am going back to the stated objective of this blog entry.

    It can be easily proven that there is no such thing as a self-replicating molecule at least as a most primitive form of life. And here is a sketch of the reasoning for this.

    Let’s assume for the sake of argument that there exist a Self Replicating Molecule (SRM).

    The SRM cannot be a single component Primitive Form Of Life (PFOL) even if SRM has some ability to self replicate. And here are the reasons.

    If the mass of SRM is M1, at the end of self-replication another SRM: SRM2 will be produced that has a mass M2 approximately (if not exactly) equal to M1.

    But SRM2 did NOT exist as such (i.e. as a SRM) at the beginning of replication process but rather as one or more molecules of a different type and mass. This means that the primitive form of life MUST have besides SRM (at least one) another component which we will name: Metabolizer (M) and has the role of transforming some raw materials in the SRM environment into the primary (type of) molecules that are used by SRM as input for producing a replica of itself.

    To reformulate the above statement: SRM needs material input (with mass and chemical identity) from which to build a replica of itself.

    In order for the SRM to become a primitive form of life (PFOL), it needs an envelope, an enclosure to:

    * Isolate the fledgling organism from its (potentially dangerous, unfriendly) environment
    * Give it physical identity.

    So, lets name the Enclosure E. But in order for the PFOL to self-replicate some raw material (certain molecule types, material types) must cross the enclosure E and get into its interior in order to constitute starting material for self-replication. This means that the enclosure E must have some openings or some elements in the enclosure that can open in order to admit these input materials. Lets assume that there is just one such opening and we will call it, for convenience, Gateway G. And the Gateway G, the Enclosure E and the Self-Replicating Molecule (SRM) are the three components (identified so far) as making up the PFOL.

    But the objective fact that PFOL is multi-component means that somehow, in order that PFOL achieve self-replication, then:

    1. Either SRM is capable to create replicas only of itself BUT NOT of the whole PFOL. In this case we can conclude that SRM is kind of a chemical curiosity, a special something, but it is NOT a PFOL. This conclusion can be reformulated this way: if a genuine SRM exists, it is not a (primitive) form of life. If a genuine SRM exists, there are other components in the hypothetical PFOL that must exists besides the SRM (enclosure E and Gateway G t a minimum) but SRM cannot provide self-replication of this PFOL.

    2. Or if SRM is in fact capable to create a Replica of the assembly: (SRM, E, G), then SRM IS NOT really a self-replicating molecule, but something much more than that AND it is NOT a single-molecule Entity.

    Now lets consider that there existed a PFOL with the minimum composition:

    PFOL = {E, G, SRM}

    Now if the original (first generation) PFOL used some external form of energy (solar, heat, light, hydrothermal vents, etc.) when was not till encapsulated by E, we cannot assume the same is true about the 2nd generation PFOL and subsequent PFOL generations. These generations are already fully encapsulated by Enclosure E and have (at least one) Gateway G. However for these generations there is the question of what is the source of energy for the enclosure and especially Internal processes of PFOL that are synthesizing (building) a new generation PFOL from admitted raw materials through the Gateway G? Definitely the PFOL must have some means of producing (and using) local Energy or Power. Then it is reasonable to assume that we must have (at least) one other component namede – the Power Generator (PG). And again it is reasonable to hypothesizng inspired by the way biological cells work et some input materials are used (through some kind of transformation) for producing power.

    Another consideration on the line of identifying the minimum types of Components in the Hypothetical PFOL is the idea that whatever Type of Materials are accepted through PFOL Gateway G they are ready-to-be-used as input parts/molecules for the Self-Replication (i.e. for fabrication of all (now) known components of the PFOL: {SRM, E, G, PG}. This idea not being reasonable (realistic following the cell model) we are going to consider that the PFOL comprises another Component Type responsible to transform input raw materials into usable molecule types for PFOL self-replication. We are going to name this component type a Metabolizer M.

    As a consequence of our conclusions above about the Nature of SRM (the two alternatives) and going on the hypothesis at 2. Then SRM is not properly named: SRM. We are going to call it a Fabricator F with the idea that it is the main PFOL component that manufactures all the components of the Cloned PFOL during PFOL Replication.

    So, the chain of inferences above led us to the speculative conclusion that if ever there was a Primitive Form of Life (PFOL) then it must have been made with at least the component types below

    PFOL= {E, G, F, PG, M}

    It is natural and expected that as we conduct our analysis (or thought experiment) about what a hypothetical PFOL might have been made of to discover that it was a non-trivial assemblage of specialized parts. We can just speculate that continuing our analysis in the same manner we can identify some other reasonably hypothesized component types.

    But the important element here is that the REQUIRED self-replication capability of the PLOF leads to the necessity ihat F
    r appears as needing to be) a Universal Fabricator at least in the sense of having capability to fabricate all identified components in the PLOF including the Fabricator F itself.

    At this point in our story (or rather analysis) it is the “Elephant in the Room” that didn’t get any attention. The Most Important Component of the hypothetical PFOL is the Information Component I.

    But the Information component I of the PFOL deserves a future dedicated blog entry. Or you can get some idea about its profile on this page:

    A Minimum Cell Model and the Origin of Life Problem

  300. 300
    Zachriel says:

    mike1962: As if that comes anywhere close to demonstrating how DNA/ribosome machinery came into existence.

    You had asked about “the ‘many of the reactions’ you speak of do not rise to anything near anything like DNA”.

    Box: since intelligence cannot exist under naturalism.

    Most naturalists consider intelligence a function of the brain — or of computers, for that matter.

  301. 301
    Dionisio says:

    Eric Anderson @190

    I like the approach you suggest.

  302. 302
    J-Mac says:

    #258 Alicia Cartelli,

    Since you seem to be the expert on abiogenesis, instead of dismissing the problems I raised , please educate the layman. We are all pretty sure you have scientific evidence for what you laughed about and it is not one of your many delusions that you’ve fed us with on this thread. I’m willing to put a lot of money on the line, if you do.

  303. 303
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli @ 277:

    Enzymes are protein catalysts
    Ribozymes are RNA catalysts
    End of story.

    LoL. I repeat. Credibility. Shot.

    The catalytic mechanisms employed by RNA are chemically more diverse than initially suspected. Divalent metal ions, nucleobases, ribosyl hydroxyl groups, and even functional groups on metabolic cofactors all contribute in the various strategies employed by RNA enzymes. This catalytic breadth raises intriguing evolutionary questions about how RNA lost its biological role in some cases, but not in others, and what catalytic roles RNA might still be playing in biology.

    RNA Catalysis: Ribozymes, Ribosomes and Riboswitches

    But thanks for the laughs AC!

  304. 304
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Jmac, none of what you said is a problem for abiogenesis because every single one of your statements is false. Every single statement you make is disproven by something I have already said @251.

  305. 305
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Mungy, the part you quoted is an example of the authors over-simplifying things as I already said.
    If you read only about 10 lines further you’d see, “As a group, RNA enzymes, or ribozymes”
    Stop embarrassing yourself.

  306. 306
    Mung says:

    Alicia, you can’t be that stupid.

    Even in the text you quoted they clearly say RNA enzymes.

    So are you now back to quibbling over names? Really?

    A general analytical method for the detection of target ligands has been developed, based on a special class of self-replicating aptazymes. These “autocatalytic aptazymes” are generated by linking an aptamer domain to the catalytic domain of a self-replicating RNA enzyme.

    Ligand-dependent exponential amplification of self-replicating RNA enzymes.

    You’re funny Alicia, but not believable.

  307. 307
    Alicia Cartelli says:

    Again, an example of over-simplification. How many times do I have to say it?
    If you read a little further in the new paper you’ve cited, you’d see that the authors say “For example, the ligand-recognition (aptamer) domain of a riboswitch can be linked to an RNA enzyme (ribozyme)”

    Read a little further than the abstract one time for me. Please.

  308. 308
    Mung says:

    Alicia Cartelli: If you read a little further in the new paper you’ve cited, you’d see that the authors say “For example, the ligand-recognition (aptamer) domain of a riboswitch can be linked to an RNA enzyme (ribozyme)”

    So you’re arguing over names. That’s what I thought.

    Alicia Cartelli:

    Enzymes are protein catalysts

    There are RNA enzymes, dear. Everyone but you seems to be aware of that fact.

    RNase P … the first nonprotein enzymatic activity to be discovered.

    I know it hurts, you’ll get over it.

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