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Are the wheels coming off Harvard’s multi-million endowment to find the origin of life?

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File:Blacksmoker in Atlantic Ocean.jpg
deep sea black smoker, believed to have played role in origin/P.Rona

This one, where Harvard pledged $1 million annually in 2005. One gets that impression from Sophie Wharton’s “Searching for life’s origins, on Earth and beyond”, Undergraduate Research Journal ( Spring 2009):

After the $8 billion hit that Harvard’s endowment took a few months ago, there is fear that funding to the Origins of Life Initiative may suffer too. The progress of the Initiative is hindered by the lack of a dedicated space for labs, which are currently scattered throughout the University. Nevertheless, the development of a new science campus in Allston – on the other side of the Charles River – offers a promising solution.

But it’s not hard to see what the problem is:

Another group in the Initiative – Scot T. Martin’s lab – managed to demonstrate that in prebiotic conditions, a reverse version of the Krebs cycle (a key biochemical process in cellular respiration) might have produced the first biomolecules. The reaction may have been catalyzed by sunlight combining with a particular mineral that is thought to have existed in Earth’s early waters.

More research will likely turn up more “may haves” and “might haves.” The rational for spending money to arrive at more speculations is not clear.

Riffing off Harvard’s interdisciplinary move, Wharton notes,

And that fundamental knowledge cannot come about without scientific collaboration across many fields. The questions of whether we are alone in the universe or how we came to be here will most likely not be answered by a team composed solely of biologists or solely of astronomers. It will be up to teams of scientists from a variety of disciplines – like the Origins of Life Initiative – to take on that challenge.

So we will get different types of speculations? Why does all this put one in mind of a bad investment?

File under: “Maybe you wouldn’t be better off if you’d gone to Harvard … ? ”

Hi ellazimm, I've been a fan of Stanley L. Jaki for a long time. I think I have most or all of the books in the CTNS series, but I can't say I've read them all. http://www.ctns.org/ Polkinghorne and Peacocke are favorite authors. I have most or all of their books. Do I understand QM? NOT! Currently working my way through: Divine Action in the Framework of Scientific Thinking: From Quantum Theory to Divine Action Mung
BA77: That's not where I got the quote from. I only offered it to clarify Dr Planck's opinion. I'm not going to debate miracles or the relationship of QN to dualism or whether the mind can affect matter. Mung: I agree, the behaviour of matter can be described using statistical equations. ellazimm
ellazimm @16:
Well, QM says that while there is uncertainty in the system there are also statistical laws that matter holds to.
I thought that what QM states is not that there is uncertainty in the system but rather that there is uncertainty in our measurements of the system. I also thought that what QM states is not that there is such a thing as statistical laws that matter must adhere to, but rather that the behaviour of matter can be described using statistical equations. But what do I know :) Mung
cont. Quantum mind–body problem Parallels between quantum mechanics and mind/body dualism were first drawn by the founders of quantum mechanics including Erwin Schrödinger, Werner Heisenberg, Wolfgang Pauli, Niels Bohr, and Eugene Wigner http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quantum_mind%E2%80%93body_problem ======================= I find it extremely interesting, and strange, that quantum mechanics tells us that instantaneous quantum wave collapse to its 'uncertain' 3-D state is centered on each individual observer in the universe, whereas, 4-D space-time cosmology (General Relativity) tells us each 3-D point in the universe is central to the expansion of the universe. These findings of modern science are pretty much exactly what we would expect to see if this universe were indeed created, and sustained, from a higher dimension by a omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal Being who knows everything that is happening everywhere in the universe at the same time. These findings certainly seem to go to the very heart of the age old question asked of many parents by their children, “How can God hear everybody’s prayers at the same time?”,,, i.e. Why should the expansion of the universe, or the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe, even care that you or I, or anyone else, should exist? Only Theism offers a rational explanation as to why you or I, or anyone else, should have such undeserved significance in such a vast universe: Psalm 33:13-15 The LORD looks from heaven; He sees all the sons of men. From the place of His dwelling He looks on all the inhabitants of the earth; He fashions their hearts individually; He considers all their works. The expansion of every 3D point in the universe, and the quantum wave collapse of the entire universe to each point of conscious observation in the universe, is obviously a very interesting congruence in science between the very large (relativity) and the very small (quantum mechanics). A congruence that Physicists, and Mathematicians, seem to be having a extremely difficult time 'unifying' into a 'theory of everything'.(Einstein, Penrose). The conflict of reconciling General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics appears to arise from the inability of either theory to successfully deal with the Zero/Infinity problem that crops up in different places of each theory: THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today's physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. "The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common - and what they clash over - is zero.",, "The infinite zero of a black hole -- mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely -- punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.",, "Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge. http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/edit01_02/edit6_mar02.htm The following Physicist offers a very interesting insight into this issue of 'reconciling' the mental (conscious) universe of Quantum Mechanics with the space-time of General Relativity: How the Power of Intention Alters Matter - Dr. William A. Tiller Excerpt: Quantum mechanics and relativity theory are the two prime theoretical constructs of modern physics, and for quantum mechanics and relativity theory to be internally self-consistent, their calculations require that the vacuum must contain an energy density 10^94 grams per cubic centimeter. How much energy is that? To find out you simply use Einstein's equation: E=MC2. Here's how this comes out in practical terms. You could take the volume of, say, a single hydrogen atom (which is incredibly small, an infinitesimally small fraction of a cubic centimeter), and multiply that by the average mass density of the cosmos, a number which is known to astronomers. And what you find out is that within the amount of vacuum contained in this hydrogen atom there is, according to this calculation, "almost a trillion times as much energy as in all of the stars and all of the planets out to a radius of 20 billion light years!" If human consciousness can interact with that even a little bit, it can change things in matter. Because the ground state energies of all particles have that energy level due to their interaction with this stuff of the vacuum. So if you can shift that stuff of the vacuum, change its degree of order or coherence even a little bit, you can change the ground state energies of particles, atoms, molecules, and chemical equations.,,,, In conclusion Tiller states, "despite our attachment to it and our feeling of its solidity and persistence, what we think of as the physical universe is an almost incomprehensibly minuscule part of the immensity of All That Is." "Matter as we know it," Tiller concludes poetically, "is hardly a fragrance of a whisper." http://www.spiritofmaat.com/archive/mar2/tiller.htm Yet, the unification, into a 'theory of everything', between what is in essence the 'infinite Theistic world of Quantum Mechanics' and the 'finite Materialistic world of the space-time of General Relativity' seems to be directly related to what Jesus apparently joined together with His resurrection, i.e. related to the unification of infinite God with finite man. Dr. William Dembski in this following comment, though not directly addressing the Zero/Infinity conflict in General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, offers insight into this 'unification' of the infinite and the finite: The End Of Christianity - Finding a Good God in an Evil World - Pg.31 William Dembski PhD. Mathematics Excerpt: "In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity." http://www.designinference.com/documents/2009.05.end_of_xty.pdf Moreover there actually is physical evidence that lends strong support to the position that the 'Zero/Infinity conflict', we find between General Relativity and Quantum Mechanics, was successfully dealt with by Christ: The Center Of The Universe Is Life - General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/5070355 Turin Shroud Enters 3D Age - Pictures, Articles and Videos https://docs.google.com/document/pub?id=1gDY4CJkoFedewMG94gdUk1Z1jexestdy5fh87RwWAfg A Quantum Hologram of Christ's Resurrection? by Chuck Missler Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847 "Miracles do not happen in contradiction to nature, but only in contradiction to that which is known to us of nature." St. Augustine Philippians 2: 5-11 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. While I agree with a criticism, from a Christian, that was leveled against the preceding Shroud of Turin video, that God indeed needed no help from the universe in the resurrection event of Christ since all things are possible with God, I am none-the-less very happy to see that what is considered the number one problem of Physicists and Mathematicians in physics today, of a 'unification into a theory of everything' for what is in essence the finite world of General Relativity and the infinite world of Quantum Mechanics, does in fact seem to find a successful resolution for 'unification' within the resurrection event of Jesus Christ Himself. It seems almost overwhelmingly apparent to me from the 'scientific evidence' we now have that Christ literally ripped a hole in the finite entropic space-time of this universe to reunite infinite God with finite man. That modern science would even offer such a almost tangible glimpse into the mechanics of what happened in the tomb of Christ should be a source of great wonder and comfort for the Christian heart. Psalms 16:10 because you will not abandon me to the grave, nor will you let your Holy One see decay. It is also interesting to note that 'higher dimensional' mathematics had to be developed before Einstein could elucidate General Relativity, or even before Quantum Mechanics could be elucidated; The Mathematics Of Higher Dimensionality – Gauss & Riemann – video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6199520/ 3D to 4D shift - Carl Sagan - video with notes Excerpt from Notes: The state-space of quantum mechanics is an infinite-dimensional function space. Some physical theories are also by nature high-dimensional, such as the 4-dimensional general relativity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VS1mwEV9wA ellazimm, I think it should be fairly clear by now that, much contrary to the idea that 'miracles must retreat in the face of the progress of science', the findings of modern science are if fact very comforting to Theistic postulations in general, and even lends very strong support of plausibility to the main main miracle of Christianity which holds Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Matthew 28:18 And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and upon earth." bornagain77
ellazimm you also quote this from Planck; 'The belief in miracles must retreat step by step before relentlessly and reliably progressing science and we cannot doubt that sooner or later it must vanish completely.” But is this truly so??? Let's take a closer look at the biggest miracle in all of history, The resurrection of Christ from the dead as a propitiation and justification of man before the eyes of a infinitely holy, and just, God, and see if this 'retreat of miracles' in the face of the progress of modern science, which Planck referred to, is true in the strict absolute sense of denying the most important miracle of all; The resurrection of our Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ.,,, Bear with me as this takes a while to flesh out; First, 'Quantum wave collapse' is 'centered' on each unique observer in the universe,,, to prove this is so; ,,, First I noticed that the earth demonstrates centrality in the universe in this video Dr. Dembski posted a while back; The Known Universe - Dec. 2009 - a very cool video (please note the centrality of the earth in the universe) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17jymDn0W6U ,,, for a while I tried to see if the 4-D space-time of General Relativity was sufficient to explain centrality we witness for the earth in the universe,,, 4-Dimensional Space-Time Of General Relativity - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3991873/ ,,, yet I kept running into the same problem for establishing the sufficiency of General Relativity to explain our centrality in this universe, in that every time I would perform a 'mental experiment' of trying radically different points of observation in the universe, General Relativity would fail to maintain centrality for the radically different point of observation in the universe. The primary reason for this failure of General Relativity to maintain centrality, for different points of observation in the universe, is due to the fact that there are limited (10^80) material particles to work with. Though this failure of General Relativity was obvious to me, I needed more proof so as to establish it more rigorously, so i dug around a bit and found this; The Cauchy Problem In General Relativity - Igor Rodnianski Excerpt: 2.2 Large Data Problem In General Relativity - While the result of Choquet-Bruhat and its subsequent refinements guarantee the existence and uniqueness of a (maximal) Cauchy development, they provide no information about its geodesic completeness and thus, in the language of partial differential equations, constitutes a local existence. ,,, More generally, there are a number of conditions that will guarantee the space-time will be geodesically incomplete.,,, In the language of partial differential equations this means an impossibility of a large data global existence result for all initial data in General Relativity. http://www.icm2006.org/proceedings/Vol_III/contents/ICM_Vol_3_22.pdf and also 'serendipitously' found this,,, THE GOD OF THE MATHEMATICIANS - DAVID P. GOLDMAN - August 2010 Excerpt: Gödel's personal God is under no obligation to behave in a predictable orderly fashion, and Gödel produced what may be the most damaging critique of general relativity. In a Festschrift, (a book honoring Einstein), for Einstein's seventieth birthday in 1949, Gödel demonstrated the possibility of a special case in which, as Palle Yourgrau described the result, "the large-scale geometry of the world is so warped that there exist space-time curves that bend back on themselves so far that they close; that is, they return to their starting point." This means that "a highly accelerated spaceship journey along such a closed path, or world line, could only be described as time travel." In fact, "Gödel worked out the length and time for the journey, as well as the exact speed and fuel requirements." Gödel, of course, did not actually believe in time travel, but he understood his paper to undermine the Einsteinian worldview from within. http://www.faqs.org/periodicals/201008/2080027241.html But if General Relativity is insufficient to explain the centrality we witness for ourselves in the universe, what else is? Universal Quantum wave collapse to each unique point of observation! To prove this point I dug around a bit and found this experiment,,, This following experiment extended the double slit experiment to show that the 'spooky actions', for instantaneous quantum wave collapse, happen regardless of any considerations for time or distance i.e. The following experiment shows that quantum actions are 'universal and instantaneous': Wheeler's Classic Delayed Choice Experiment: Excerpt: Now, for many billions of years the photon is in transit in region 3. Yet we can choose (many billions of years later) which experimental set up to employ – the single wide-focus, or the two narrowly focused instruments. We have chosen whether to know which side of the galaxy the photon passed by (by choosing whether to use the two-telescope set up or not, which are the instruments that would give us the information about which side of the galaxy the photon passed). We have delayed this choice until a time long after the particles "have passed by one side of the galaxy, or the other side of the galaxy, or both sides of the galaxy," so to speak. Yet, it seems paradoxically that our later choice of whether to obtain this information determines which side of the galaxy the light passed, so to speak, billions of years ago. So it seems that time has nothing to do with effects of quantum mechanics. And, indeed, the original thought experiment was not based on any analysis of how particles evolve and behave over time – it was based on the mathematics. This is what the mathematics predicted for a result, and this is exactly the result obtained in the laboratory. http://www.bottomlayer.com/bottom/basic_delayed_choice.htm ,, and to make universal quantum Wave collapse much more 'personal' I found this,,, "It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness." Eugene Wigner (1902 -1995) from his collection of essays "Symmetries and Reflections – Scientific Essays"; Eugene Wigner laid the foundation for the theory of symmetries in quantum mechanics, for which he received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1963. http://eugene-wigner.co.tv/ Here is the key experiment that led Wigner to his Nobel Prize winning work on quantum symmetries: Eugene Wigner Excerpt: To express this basic experience in a more direct way: the world does not have a privileged center, there is no absolute rest, preferred direction, unique origin of calendar time, even left and right seem to be rather symmetric. The interference of electrons, photons, neutrons has indicated that the state of a particle can be described by a vector possessing a certain number of components. As the observer is replaced by another observer (working elsewhere, looking at a different direction, using another clock, perhaps being left-handed), the state of the very same particle is described by another vector, obtained from the previous vector by multiplying it with a matrix. This matrix transfers from one observer to another. http://www.reak.bme.hu/Wigner_Course/WignerBio/wb1.htm i.e. In the experiment the 'world' (i.e. the universe) does not have a ‘privileged center’. Yet strangely, the conscious observer does exhibit a 'privileged center'. This is since the 'matrix', which determines which vector will be used to describe the particle in the experiment, is 'observer-centric' in its origination! Thus explaining Wigner’s dramatic statement, “It was not possible to formulate the laws (of quantum theory) in a fully consistent way without reference to consciousness.” Please note; the 'mind' of man can 'gently' effect matter; Scientific Evidence That Mind Effects Matter - Random Number Generators - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4198007 I once asked a evolutionist, after showing him the preceding experiment, "Since you ultimately believe that the 'god of random chance' produced everything we see around us, what in the world is my mind doing pushing your god around?" =============== bornagain77
ellazimm, this book on Planck, The dilemmas of an upright man: Max Planck and the fortunes of German science http://books.google.com/books?id=d5zKH2Bx2AwC&pg=PA198#v=onepage&q&f=false ,,, is the book where the last quote you used came from, is a very interesting read in that it shows Planck was adamantly against the NAZI form of bastardized Christianity. A form of Christianity that was used for the sole purpose of ostracizing Jews from the rest of society. As well, he frustrated the Nazi's for not condemning 'Jew science'. For that 'bravery and independence of spirit' from Planck, I am impressed! He was definitely not cowed by 'consensus science' nor 'consensus religion' in the least. Quite an exceptional man.... This is an interesting quote from Planck in the book on page 184, the book which was your source: ,,,'Late in 1936, before the Leipzig section of the German Christmas Day 1930, he construed in favor of his usual argument that doing science requires belief in something 'extra-scientific'. Had people understood this requirement, he said, they would not have deserted the church for false prophets, who proclaimed a suppositionless science or a carefree hedonism. ,,, May 1937 ,,, The lecture grows around the question whether a man of science can be truly religious. By religion Planck meant 'binding of God to man'; religion, common to all men, rests on respect and awe before a superior power. What has set men at each others throats is not religion, but its trappings and arbitrary symbols, which are but the crudest form of grasping this power, or God. ,,, (Page 184 - The dilemmas of an upright man: Max Planck and the fortunes of German science) bornagain77
nulla salus, :-) I know it doesn't . . . and I've promised not to go down the designer defining/describing route. Must have been/is someone/something exceedingly clever and subtle though. ellazimm
ellazimm, My brain is only so elastic, please don’t make it snap. Maybe it needs to. If you think ID demands the existence of God, you have a poor understand of ID. I say this as someone who's ID-skeptical. nullasalus
nulla salus: "God isn't necessary. Non-mechanistic is not equal to God." (sticks fingers in ears) I'M NOT LISTENING TO YOU! LA LA LA LA LA LA LA!!! hahahahahahahahahahahahahaahahhahaha My brain is only so elastic, please don't make it snap. :-) ellazimm
I’ll leave God questions to you; you know him/her/it much better than me. God isn't necessary. Non-mechanistic != God. nullasalus
nulla salus: I like that! It's a very good moniker. Well done!! "You don't need mechanism to make prediction." THANKS A LOT! That's going to be bother me all day!! I stare off into space enough already!! :-) I'll leave God questions to you; you know him/her/it much better than me. ellazimm
ellazim, I’m not leaving God out but I don’t think you’d want God subject to laws that can be printed in a physics text book. Why not? Especially when those laws involve ontological non-physicality? God 'subject' to laws, no. God underwriting laws? That's a whole other question. And if it has predictive power (from what I hear amazing predictive power) then it’s mechanistic . . . yes? Not quite. You don't need mechanism to make prediction. Ah, I get it now. It’s not ‘nullasalus’, it’s “nulla salus’. My apologies for rendering incorrectly. I'm amazed that I was able to keep this handle for a decade, but only now people are marvelling at it. Go fig. ;) nullasalus
Ah, I get it now. It's not 'nullasalus', it's "nulla salus'. My apologies for rendering incorrectly. From Wikipedia: The Latin phrase Extra Ecclesiam nulla salus means: "Outside the Church there is no salvation". The most recent Catholic Catechism interpreted this to mean that "all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body." This expression comes from the writings of Saint Cyprian of Carthage, a bishop of the 3rd century. The axiom is often used as short-hand for the doctrine, upheld by both the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church, that the Church is absolutely necessary for salvation ("one true faith"). The theological basis for this doctrine is founded on the beliefs that (1) Jesus Christ personally established the one Church; and (2) the Church serves as the means by which the graces won by Christ are communicated to believers. ellazimm
nullasalus: (I must look that up one of these days) Well, QM says that while there is uncertainty in the system there are also statistical laws that matter holds to. If QM did not have defined 'laws' and predictions then it would not be as universally accepted as it is. And if it has predictive power (from what I hear amazing predictive power) then it's mechanistic . . . yes? I'm not leaving God out but I don't think you'd want God subject to laws that can be printed in a physics text book. ellazimm
ellazimm, BA77: I don’t see how QM is non-materialistic. Non-locality is real but that doesn’t make it transcendent any more than gravity. What does transcendence have to do with it? The problem with making QM 'materialistic' is that it seems to ultimately make 'materialism' into a believe that whatever happens, so long as it does not involve God (or specifically the Christian God), it is materialistic. Which I think evidences a retreat more than anything. If you consult the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, you'll see that panpsychism is now considered physicalism. Just about ANYthing is 'materialism / physicalism' now, so long as God is left out of the picture. That's one helluva state to be in. nullasalus
Mung: It must have been late. :-) BA77: I don't see how QM is non-materialistic. Non-locality is real but that doesn't make it transcendent any more than gravity. Planck also wrote: "...'to believe' means 'to recognize as a truth,' and the knowledge of nature, continually advancing on incontestably safe tracks, has made it utterly impossible for a person possessing some training in natural science to recognize as founded on truth the many reports of extraordinary contradicting the laws of nature, of miracles which are still commonly regarded as essential supports and confirmations of religious doctrines, and which formerly used to be accepted as facts pure and simple, without doubt or criticism.. The belief in miracles must retreat step by step before relentlessly and reliably progressing science and we cannot doubt that sooner or later it must vanish completely." Six months before his death a rumour started that Planck had converted to Catholicism, but when questioned what had brought him to make this step, he declared that, although he had always been deeply religious, he did not believe "in a personal God, let alone a Christian God." ellazimm
Mung: Quantum effects are present in all situations. What is the issue here? That we weren’t sure in some situations?
ellazimm, I have no idea why you think what you wrote in #11 above needs to be directed to me. :) Mung
ellazimm; 'I don’t see the need to refute anything. It all sounds perfectly mainstream to me.' Wow, decades of work, by premier scientists, establishing quantum non-locality as real, and totally demolishing our materialistic conception of reality, is refuted by ellazimm with a simple wave of the hand. Man that is some kind of power you got there ellazimm.,,, Kind of reminds me of this: Nothing to see here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rSjK2Oqrgic =================== "As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter." Max Planck - The Father Of Quantum Mechanics - Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944)(Of Note: Max Planck was a devout Christian, which is not surprising when you realize practically every, if not every, founder of each major branch of modern science also 'just so happened' to have a deep Christian connection.) http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Max_Planck Colossians 1:17 "He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together." ROYAL TAILOR - HOLD ME TOGETHER - music video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vbpJ2FeeJgw bornagain77
Mung: Quantum effects are present in all situations. What is the issue here? That we weren't sure in some situations? Honestly, are you really surprised at this result? Did you think that quantum effects were limited to certain situations? Fair enough, so they've been verified for this case. Cool. And, since quantum effects are mechanistic how does this result argue against a materialistic paradigm? Seriously, can you point to anything in this result that is not a logical follow on from the basic theory of quantum mechanics? I don't think there is really anything to explain here. Good to acknowledge a further verification of the basic theory. That's always nice. I don't see the need to refute anything. It all sounds perfectly mainstream to me. ellazimm
Ok Ellazimm here you go, I look forward to your peer review work refuting this, but I'm not going to hold my breath: Untangling the Quantum Entanglement Behind Photosynthesis - May 11 2010 Excerpt: "This is the first study to show that entanglement, perhaps the most distinctive property of quantum mechanical systems, is present across an entire light harvesting complex," says Mohan Sarovar, a post-doctoral researcher under UC Berkeley chemistry professor Birgitta Whaley at the Berkeley Center for Quantum Information and Computation. "While there have been prior investigations of entanglement in toy systems that were motivated by biology, this is the first instance in which entanglement has been examined and quantified in a real biological system." http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/05/100510151356.htm bornagain77
BA77: You said: "All you have to do to prove that the quantum non-locality found within life can be explained solely by materialistic means is to show this falsification, which was arrived at through decades of painstaking work, to be wrong:" Point me to a good, concise definition of "quantum non-locality found within life" and I will have a go. ellazimm
I never bought into the hidden variable scenario. it is most likely non-local or multi-worlds. pick your crazy. junkdnaforlife
All you have to do to prove that the quantum non-locality found within life can be explained solely by materialistic means is to show this falsification, which was arrived at through decades of painstaking work, to be wrong: The Failure Of Local Realism - Materialism - Alain Aspect - video http://www.metacafe.com/w/4744145 The falsification for local realism (materialism) was recently greatly strengthened: Physicists close two loopholes while violating local realism - November 2010 Excerpt: The latest test in quantum mechanics provides even stronger support than before for the view that nature violates local realism and is thus in contradiction with a classical worldview. http://www.physorg.com/news/2010-11-physicists-loopholes-violating-local-realism.html Quantum Measurements: Common Sense Is Not Enough, Physicists Show - July 2009 Excerpt: scientists have now proven comprehensively in an experiment for the first time that the experimentally observed phenomena cannot be described by non-contextual models with hidden variables. http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090722142824.htm (of note: hidden variables were postulated to remove the need for 'spooky' forces, as Einstein termed them — forces that act instantaneously at great distances, thereby breaking the most cherished rule of relativity theory, that nothing can travel faster than the speed of light.) Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA & Protein Folding - short video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/5936605/ Quantum entanglement holds together life’s blueprint - 2010 Excerpt: When the researchers analysed the DNA without its helical structure, they found that the electron clouds were not entangled. But when they incorporated DNA’s helical structure into the model, they saw that the electron clouds of each base pair became entangled with those of its neighbours (arxiv.org/abs/1006.4053v1). “If you didn’t have entanglement, then DNA would have a simple flat structure, and you would never get the twist that seems to be important to the functioning of DNA,” says team member Vlatko Vedral of the University of Oxford. http://neshealthblog.wordpress.com/2010/09/15/quantum-entanglement-holds-together-lifes-blueprint/ ,,, as well I remind that appealing to 'non-reductive' materialism to try to explain quantum non-locality in molecular biology destroys the possibility of doing science rationally; Michael Behe has a profound answer to the infinite multiverse (non-reductive materialism) argument in “Edge of Evolution”. If there are infinite universes, then we couldn’t trust our senses, because it would be just as likely that our universe might only consist of a human brain that pops into existence which has the neurons configured just right to only give the appearance of past memories. It would also be just as likely that we are floating brains in a lab, with some scientist feeding us fake experiences. Those scenarios would be just as likely as the one we appear to be in now (one universe with all of our experiences being “real”). Bottom line is, if there really are an infinite number of universes out there, then we can’t trust anything we perceive to be true, which means there is no point in seeking any truth whatsoever. https://uncommondesc.wpengine.com/intelligent-design/on-the-vastness-of-the-universe/#comment-362912 “The multiverse idea rests on assumptions that would be laughed out of town if they came from a religious text.” Gregg Easterbrook BRUCE GORDON: Hawking's irrational arguments - October 2010 Excerpt: For instance, we find multiverse cosmologists debating the "Boltzmann Brain" problem: In the most "reasonable" models for a multiverse, it is immeasurably more likely that our consciousness is associated with a brain that has spontaneously fluctuated into existence in the quantum vacuum than it is that we have parents and exist in an orderly universe with a 13.7 billion-year history. This is absurd. The multiverse hypothesis is therefore falsified because it renders false what we know to be true about ourselves. Clearly, embracing the multiverse idea entails a nihilistic irrationality that destroys the very possibility of science. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/oct/1/hawking-irrational-arguments/ bornagain77
We live in a culture that cannot even get hits origin of life by conception right... How on Earth would they know something that happened billions of years ago? ;p Tony
Quantum Mechanics is statistical. Some people think that means it's non-deterministic, some people don't. How could QM not affect biology? Mung
BA77: Are you saying that quantum mechanics are not . . . . mechanical? And does QM effects affect molecular biology. Surely the verdict is still out on that. ellazimm
No matter how much money anybody ever spends, no one will ever be able to explain the quantum non-locality we find in molecular biology by recourse to solely materialistic means. bornagain77
Look, the project is not going to discover a plausible naturalistic origin of life scenario. But I think it is imminently worthy as a scientific endeavor. Sure, there may be some faulty assumptions going in, but as long as they stick to the actual chemistry and physics the project has the potential to illucidate many open questions and bring to light more. Even if all they do is find out a hundred more problems with a naturalistic scenario, that will be well worth it. The origin of life is a very interesting question, and I think we have a prime opportunity to sit back and learn from Harvard's project about just how much foresight and planning is required for the origin of life. Also, I thought they were spending way more than $1M/year. Wasn't the original announcement for $100M? Eric Anderson
The progress of the Initiative is hindered by the lack of a dedicated space for labs, which are currently scattered throughout the University.
Sophie, the progress of the Initiative is not hindered by the lack of contiguous lab space but rather the lack of ability that law and chance have to generate something more complicated than any creation in human history. uoflcard
Why does all this put one in mind of a bad investment?
Doesn't seem like a bad investment to me. At least with a bad investment you might still have some hope of getting some return on your money, even if a poor one. Mung

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