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At Phys.org: Earth can regulate its own temperature over millennia, new study finds

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Jennifer Chu writes:

The Earth’s climate has undergone some big changes, from global volcanism to planet-cooling ice ages and dramatic shifts in solar radiation. And yet life, for the last 3.7 billion years, has kept on beating.

earth
Credit: CC0 Public Domain

Now, a study by MIT researchers in Science Advances confirms that the planet harbors a “stabilizing feedback” mechanism that acts over hundreds of thousands of years to pull the climate back from the brink, keeping global temperatures within a steady, habitable range.

Just how does it accomplish this? A likely mechanism is “silicate weathering”—a geological process by which the slow and steady weathering of silicate rocks involves chemical reactions that ultimately draw carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and into ocean sediments, trapping the gas in rocks.

Scientists have long suspected that silicate weathering plays a major role in regulating the Earth’s carbon cycle. The mechanism of silicate weathering could provide a geologically constant force in keeping carbon dioxide—and global temperatures—in check. But there’s never been direct evidence for the continual operation of such a feedback, until now.

The new findings are based on a study of paleoclimate data that record changes in average global temperatures over the last 66 million years. The MIT team applied a mathematical analysis to see whether the data revealed any patterns characteristic of stabilizing phenomena that reined in global temperatures on a geologic timescale.

They found that indeed there appears to be a consistent pattern in which the Earth’s temperature swings are dampened over timescales of hundreds of thousands of years. The duration of this effect is similar to the timescales over which silicate weathering is predicted to act.

The results are the first to use actual data to confirm the existence of a stabilizing feedback, the mechanism of which is likely silicate weathering. This stabilizing feedback would explain how the Earth has remained habitable through dramatic climate events in the geologic past.

Stability in data

Scientists have previously seen hints of a climate-stabilizing effect in the Earth’s carbon cycle: Chemical analyses of ancient rocks have shown that the flux of carbon in and out of Earth’s surface environment has remained relatively balanced, even through dramatic swings in global temperature. Furthermore, models of silicate weathering predict that the process should have some stabilizing effect on the global climate. And finally, the fact of the Earth’s enduring habitability points to some inherent, geologic check on extreme temperature swings.

“You have a planet whose climate was subjected to so many dramatic external changes. Why did life survive all this time? One argument is that we need some sort of stabilizing mechanism to keep temperatures suitable for life,” Arnscheidt says. “But it’s never been demonstrated from data that such a mechanism has consistently controlled Earth’s climate.”

Arnscheidt and Rothman sought to confirm whether a stabilizing feedback has indeed been at work, by looking at data of global temperature fluctuations through geologic history. They worked with a range of global temperature records compiled by other scientists, from the chemical composition of ancient marine fossils and shells, as well as preserved Antarctic ice cores.

“This whole study is only possible because there have been great advances in improving the resolution of these deep-sea temperature records,” Arnscheidt notes. “Now we have data going back 66 million years, with data points at most thousands of years apart.”

Speeding to a stop

To the data, the team applied the mathematical theory of stochastic differential equations, which is commonly used to reveal patterns in widely fluctuating datasets.

“We realized this theory makes predictions for what you would expect Earth’s temperature history to look like if there had been feedbacks acting on certain timescales,” Arnscheidt explains.

Without stabilizing feedbacks, fluctuations of global temperature should grow with timescale. But the team’s analysis revealed a regime in which fluctuations did not grow, implying that a stabilizing mechanism reigned in the climate before fluctuations grew too extreme. The timescale for this stabilizing effect—hundreds of thousands of years—coincides with what scientists predict for silicate weathering.

Interestingly, Arnscheidt and Rothman found that on longer timescales, the data did not reveal any stabilizing feedbacks. That is, there doesn’t appear to be any recurring pull-back of global temperatures on timescales longer than a million years. Over these longer timescales, then, what has kept global temperatures in check?

“There’s an idea that chance may have played a major role in determining why, after more than 3 billion years, life still exists,” Rothman offers.

In other words, as the Earth’s temperatures fluctuate over longer stretches, these fluctuations may just happen to be small enough in the geologic sense, to be within a range that a stabilizing feedback, such as silicate weathering, could periodically keep the climate in check, and more to the point, within a habitable zone.

“There are two camps: Some say random chance is a good enough explanation, and others say there must be a stabilizing feedback,” Arnscheidt says. “We’re able to show, directly from data, that the answer is probably somewhere in between. In other words, there was some stabilization, but pure luck likely also played a role in keeping Earth continuously habitable.”

Full article at Phys.org.

Effective climate-stabilizing feedback mechanisms to keep Earth’s temperature within a habitable zone over the 3.7-3.8 billion year timescale that life has been present on Earth are rather strongly consistent with intelligent design. I’ve never been impressed with “chance” as a scientific explanation for anything.

60 Replies to “At Phys.org: Earth can regulate its own temperature over millennia, new study finds

  1. 1
    asauber says:

    “I’ve never been impressed with “chance” as a scientific explanation for anything.”

    Yes, perpetually appealing to an innumerable series of perfectly arranged accidents is boring.

    Andrew

  2. 2
    Sir Giles says:

    Effective climate-stabilizing feedback mechanisms to keep Earth’s temperature within a habitable zone over the 3.7-3.8 billion year timescale that life has been present on Earth are rather strongly consistent with intelligent design.

    But, in truth, anything can be interpreted as being consistent with design.

  3. 3
    relatd says:

    SG at 2,

    That’s not how to present design. There is biological design, as in all living things are designed. Then there is the evidence for design in the Earth, the solar system and the Universe. The goal of some here is to say order came out of chaos. Not so, especially as more and more evidence accumulates. One does not create a large number of mistakes on the way to putting them in order. Instead, order existed from the beginning of Creation.

  4. 4
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: That’s not how to present design.

    I am not making a recommendation on how best to present ID. I am just stating that for those with an ideologically based belief in design, everything they observe will be interpreted as design.

  5. 5
    relatd says:

    SG at 4,

    Ideological? There’s too much evidence for design. It’s science.

  6. 6
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: Ideological? There’s too much evidence for design. It’s science.

    Yes, ideological. If you are indoctrinated from an early age to believe that the universe and everything in it, including life, was designed/created, you are likely to interpret everything you see as evidence of design/creation.

  7. 7
    martin_r says:

    Sir Giles

    to hear complains about an indoctrination/ ideology from a Darwinist is pretty absurd.
    Let me remind you on a tiny detail – you Darwinists, the smartest people on this planet, still did not prove that life can emerge without a creator :)))))) Such a small detail. (of course, you never NEVER will)

    So, so far, our indoctrination still makes sense and does hold water … unlike your indoctrination :))))))))

    PS:

    But, in truth, anything can be interpreted as being consistent with design.

    sure, because everything you look at was designed :)))))

  8. 8
    martin_r says:

    “I’ve never been impressed with “chance” as a scientific explanation for anything.”

    Yes, perpetually appealing to an innumerable series of perfectly arranged accidents is boring.

    Beautiful …

  9. 9
    martin_r says:

    The Earth’s climate has undergone some big changes, from global volcanism to planet-cooling ice ages and dramatic shifts in solar radiation. And yet life, for the last 3.7 billion years, has kept on beating.

    :)))))

    No problem for a naive Darwinian biologist … but a pretty huge problem for an engineer.

  10. 10
    relatd says:

    SG at 6,

    It’s science.

    https://intelligentdesign.org/

  11. 11
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: It’s science.

    I agree that it could be. But ID has done nothing to demonstrate this.

  12. 12
    chuckdarwin says:

    Martin_r/7

    [Y]ou Darwinists, the smartest people on this planet, still did not prove that life can emerge without a creator :)))))) Such a small detail. (of course, you never NEVER will)

    Darwin did not address the origin or “emergence” of life. He addressed how natural selection acts upon already existing life forms to produce fitness.
    As you say, “such a small detail……….”

  13. 13
    jerry says:

    Darwin did not address the origin or “emergence” of life. He addressed how natural selection acts upon already existing life forms to produce fitness.

    Yes, he only addressed genetics.

    Genetics wasn’t an organized science in Darwin’s day. But his ideas of variation, inheritability and selection became essentials in genetics.

    Somewhere along the line he took his ideas further than justified. His beloved finches were great examples of genetics but never Evolution.

        Let’s Go Finches

  14. 14
    jerry says:

    There was a recent article by an expert in epigenetics who distinguished it from genetics.

    https://www.the-scientist.com/sponsored-article/one-sequence-many-variations-70588

    However, both disciplines are interested in the same things. So just consider modern genetics as just a super set including epigenetics. Both end up producing the same species but which may look different in some ways.

    Since Darwin’s finches are a just a product of both the old version of genetics and epigenetics and are the same species, they are truly great mascots for ID.

        Let’s Go Finches

  15. 15
    chuckdarwin says:

    Follow on comment from @12
    I continue to be perplexed that a significant number of commenters on this site do not understand the basic idea found in The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or the Preservation of Favored Races in the Struggle for Life given that it is explicit in the title. If I had a nickel for every time someone conflated Darwin and the origin of life, I wouldn’t need my Social Security check every month. I’m willing to wager that most of the folks dissing Darwin and evolution on this site have never read the Origin………..

  16. 16
    relatd says:

    CD at 15,

    If I had nickel for every time Darwinists insisted on an arbitrary dividing line between the origin of life and so-called evolution, I’d be rich. Who died and put any of you in charge? How is the origin of life a separate subject? ACCORDING TO WHO? Some idiot? Some Total Stranger (TM)? First, you need an origin of life. You NEED it. Got that? Without it, nothing follows. But evolutionists have nothing. They think they can hand wave the origin of life into a separate category. That is stupid. Really stupid.

    Darwin’s secular ‘holy’ book has been thoroughly discredited. It belongs in the dust bin.

  17. 17
    martin_r says:

    Chuckdarwin @12

    First off, thank you for correcting my English (again).
    You are very kind, it really means a lot to me. Really.

    back to your comment:

    Darwin did not address the origin or “emergence” of life.

    You should read more carefully (or perhaps it is because of my bad English),
    but, i was mentioning the origin-of-life for a particular reason…
    Sir Giles argued, that we (Creationists) were indoctrinated, that everything was created and so on…
    I just replied to Sir Giles, that YOU Darwinists, after 160 years of research, haven’t disproved the creation 🙂 I just replied to Sir Giles, that YOU guys still haven’t proved that life can emerge by itself and NO CREATOR WAS INVOLVED 🙂 This was that “small detail” … I didn’t talk about evolution at all … So, our indoctrination still holds water 🙂

  18. 18
    chuckdarwin says:

    Martin_r
    Your English is fine, I wasn’t trying to correct you. I put emergence in quotes simply because that is the word you used. In context, it means the same as origin. Contra Relatd, the distinction between the origin of life problem and Darwinian (natural) selection is extremely important, at least to the scientific community. My gut tells me that the OOL problem will someday be solved, but it will be quite aways down the road. In the meantime, I find the whole “God did it” narrative completely unhelpful. I would prefer to not have an answer versus having one that’s concocted and shallow, and, equally unprovable.

  19. 19
    Sir Giles says:

    Martin_r: I just replied to Sir Giles, that YOU Darwinists, after 160 years of research, haven’t disproved the creation ?

    They also haven’t disproved Santa Clause, leprechauns and unicorns. It is difficult to disprove something that you aren’t researching. And evolutionary biologists don’t research origin of life. That is a completely different field of study.

    I just replied to Sir Giles, that YOU guys still haven’t proved that life can emerge by itself and NO CREATOR WAS INVOLVED ?

    Please refer to my previous comment.

    But, conversely, nobody has proved that a creator was involved.

  20. 20
    relatd says:

    SG at 19,

    Prove? You want prove? I would suggest reading the Book of Genesis in the Bible. If not, I suggest keeping your options open. If that doesn’t work then I suggest prayer.

  21. 21
    Sir Giles says:

    Relatd: Prove? You want prove? I would suggest reading the Book of Genesis in the Bible.

    I have. If my memory serves me correct, god created light before the sun. And vegetation before the sun. Not exactly a compelling “proof”.

  22. 22
    martin_r says:

    Sir Giles …

    alright. can we get back to the indoctrination issue ?

    You previously said:

    you are indoctrinated from an early age to believe that the universe and everything in it, including life, was designed/created,

    So, in respect to our debate above, what is wrong with this indoctrination ?
    I don’t get it …

  23. 23
    martin_r says:

    Sir Giles @21

    Sir Giles: … If my memory serves me correct, god created light before the sun. And vegetation before the sun. Not exactly a compelling “proof”.

    if it suits you, you take Bible literally.

  24. 24
    relatd says:

    SG at 21,

    God can do what He likes including creating things out of ‘natural’ order. He’s God. Or does the concept of God you understand require Him to follow man-made rules as opposed to His?

    Psalm 14:1

    ‘The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” They are corrupt, they do abominable deeds; there is none who does good.’

  25. 25
    asauber says:

    No issue with creating light or vegetation prior to creating the sun.

    If there was other light prior to the sun maybe you don’t need the sun immediately for anything.

    Andrew

    P.S. you may ask about heat, but heat isn’t addressed at all, so…

  26. 26
    martin_r says:

    Chuck @18

    My gut tells me that the OOL problem will someday be solved,

    will be not. I as an engineer, I know what i see … I am 100% sure it will be not. I would stake my life on it. Anytime. Or, do you want to bet ? $10,000 ? $20,000 ? I would bet $1,000,000 but I need it at the moment 😉

    PS: from what I could understand, I really doubt that a synthetic cell / life in lab will be made from scratch within next 500 years … most likely never …. I talked to Dr. Tour a few week ago regarding this. I am sure you heard of him. I put him a question: What was the most complex molecular system made by humans except his nano ‘cars’. I was told, that these nano-‘cars’ is the most complex molecular system so far. I was shocked, because these nano-cars are very very primitive molecular system, made of few molecules … very very very hard to compare even with the most simplest parts of a cell. Not sure you heard of these nano-cars.
    Here is an animation of the nanocar so you have an idea.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11P2MBLA5qc

  27. 27
    Belfast says:

    The fact that Darwin avoided the origin of life in ‘Origin of Species’ is irrelevant to his belief in Abiogenesis.
    Darwin had held a belief in life from non-life for over forty years and had read Erasmus, his grandfather’s, notes. In 1825, when 16, Darwin enrolled at Edinburgh University along with his brother, Erasmus. There he became a disciple of Robert Grant who had cited Erasmus Darwin’s widely popular ‘Zoonomia’ in his, Grant’s, doctoral thesis
    Grant imparted to Darwin that basic units of life, which Grant called ‘monads’, were spontaneously generated. Spontaneous generation not a novel notion to Darwin; he had been well prepared to receive the message and it’s there in his notebooks.
    In letters, Darwin acknowledged to colleagues that spontaneous generation through chemistry (he named the actual chemicals) and ‘electricity’ was important to evolutionary theory, but at the current level of knowledge he would not live to see it established.
    If Darwin had lived three times as long as he did, he would still have not seen it.
    It may be fairly said that the origin of life is as much an awkwardness to evolutionary theory as the origin of the universe is to cosmological theory but Darwin when taxed about it evaded and indignantly complained that life’s origin was irrelevant; “This seems to me about as logical (comparing very great things with little) as to say it was no use in Newton showing laws of attraction of gravity & consequent movements of the Planets, because he could not show what the attraction of Gravity is.”
    After this irate flare-up, evolutionary theorists followed his stance and claim that how first life began is interesting, but immaterial to evolution after life began. A case of denying the self-evident.

  28. 28
    asauber says:

    “complained that life’s origin was irrelevant”

    Thus was begat the countless and unidentifiable “Precursors” which go back indefinitely into the cloudy mists of time to hide this embarrassing dodge.

    Andrew

  29. 29
    relatd says:

    Andrew at 28,

    Come on Andrew. Your great, great, etc. grandfather was a sea urchin. Right?

    https://education.nationalgeographic.org/resource/tree-life

  30. 30
    asauber says:

    Relatd at 29,

    Thanks for sharing that chart. As you can see, nothing identifiable in the trunk, all the way back to the Time of The Sloth Giants. What. A. Joke.

    Andrew

  31. 31
    relatd says:

    But, but… That’s how it happened! OK. Not really…

    🙂

  32. 32
    bornagain77 says:

    Martin at 28, “I talked to Dr. Tour a few week ago regarding this. I am sure you heard of him. I put him a question: What was the most complex molecular system made by humans except his nano ‘cars’. I was told, that these nano-‘cars’ is the most complex molecular system so far.”

    Wow, I first heard about these ‘primitive’ nano cars 10 or 12 years ago. It is very interesting that they are still the most sophisticated man-made molecular machines built from scratch.

    The bacterial flagellum, by itself, makes that man-made molecular machine look like Fred Flintstones’ car compared to a Formula 1 race car

    Bacterial Flagellum – A Sheer Wonder Of Intelligent Design – video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fFq_MGf3sbk

    “I build molecules for a living, I can’t begin to tell you how difficult that job is. I stand in awe of God because of what he has done through his creation. Only a rookie who knows nothing about science would say science takes away from faith. If you really study science, it will bring you closer to God.”
    – James Tour – one of the leading synthetic chemists in the world – Strobel, Lee (2000), The Case For Faith, p. 111

  33. 33
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, we are 160 years beyond Origin, it is time that we recognise that OoL is the root of the proposed Darwinist tree of life and that persistent trouble at that level affects everything thereafter. Similarly, it is highly significant that the Nat Geog tree is empty in the trunk and branches. That points to the systematic gaps that are the trade secret of paleontology. Tour’s remarks on the challenges of molecular synthesis should, similarly, be sobering. KF

  34. 34
    Seversky says:

    OoL is still a mystery although perhaps slightly less so than in Darwin’s day. It’s still a separate although related field of research. The lack of a theory of origins doesn’t impinge on our ability to study the evolution of the life we find around us or the traces left in the fossil record.

  35. 35
    Seversky says:

    Relatd/29

    Come on Andrew. Your great, great, etc. grandfather was a sea urchin. Right?

    Not exactly, what evolution says that, if you go back far enough, you will find modern sea urchins and human beings have a common ancestor. We share around 7,700 genes, apparently.

  36. 36
    Sir Giles says:

    KF: Folks, we are 160 years beyond Origin, it is time that we recognise that OoL is the root of the proposed Darwinist tree of life and that persistent trouble at that level affects everything thereafter.

    1) By that logic, cosmology and physics is on shaky ground because we don’t know what happened at the very beginning of the Big Bang.
    2) Darwin and evolutionary theory only deal with change over time of life.
    3) Not about the origin of life.
    4) If evolution is on shaky ground because we don’t know how life originated then ID is on equally shaky ground because they also don’t know how life originated.
    5) The difference is that scientists are researching the natural origin of life.
    6) ID researchers refuse to do this, arguing that it is not part of ID.

    Similarly, it is highly significant that the Nat Geog tree is empty in the trunk and branches.

    7) It is not significant at all.
    8) You full well know that the tree of life is a metaphor, using a tree to represent the history of life, with the branches representing finer distinctions.

    That points to the systematic gaps that are the trade secret of paleontology.

    9) And the god of the gaps argument raises its head.
    10) Every genus, species and individual (if it reproduces) is a transition.
    11) There are numerous transition fossils.
    12) Classification is a human construct.
    13) Whenever a transition fossil is found, an an additional gap is created.
    14) An example of ID trying to have its cake and eat it too.

    Tour’s remarks on the challenges of molecular synthesis should, similarly, be sobering.

    15) Yet the vast majority of molecular biologists don’t agree.

  37. 37
    Sir Giles says:

    Seversky: We share around 7,700 genes [with sea urchins], apparently.

    Interesting. That is around 35%. I read another article that -70% or urchin geneses have a human counterpart, far more than fruit flies.

  38. 38
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 35,

    Common ancestor? Baloney. Design. Design.

  39. 39
    relatd says:

    SG at 36,

    Just mindlessly repeating the same old thing.

    How evolution works:

    1) Hold up magic curtain.
    2) Wait millions of years.
    3) Tell people something happened behind the curtain.
    4) You end up with a rabbit.

  40. 40
    relatd says:

    Seversky at 34,

    The same old same old. You’ve got no evidence. Creature A turned into Creature B via “evolution”? Not as advertised in the Biology textbook.

  41. 41
    JVL says:

    Relatd: How evolution works:

    Well, what’s your alternative? Can you explain how design was implemented and how it ‘works’? To the level of granularity you expect from the unguided evolutionary theorists. Perhaps you’d like to start with the origin of life. How do you think life on Earth began? What form was it? How many were there? Were they all identical at first?

  42. 42
    bornagain77 says:

    Sev: “OoL is still a mystery although perhaps slightly less so than in Darwin’s day.”

    Actually, as Dr. Tour recently stated in the following lecture, when discussing the interactome, the more we learn about what is required for the OOL, the far worse the OOL ‘problem’ becomes. Certainly far, far, worse than Darwin ever imagined with his ‘warm little pond’

    Dr. Tour EXPOSES the False Science Behind Origin of Life Research – interactome 38:40 minute mark
    https://youtu.be/v36_v4hsB-Y?t=2321

  43. 43
    JVL says:

    Bornagain77: Actually, as Dr. Tour recently stated in the following lecture, we discussing the interactome, the more we learn, the far worse the OOL ‘problem’ becomes for Darwinian Atheists.

    So, what’s the design version of the origin of life on Earth? What form did it take?

  44. 44
    martin_r says:

    BA77 @42

    the more we learn about what is required for the OOL, the far worse the OOL ‘problem’ becomes.

    Exactly. This is what Darwinists don't want to understand. Or are unable to understand. Or both.
    They were so misled, that they don't realize the problem is much worse than 40 years ago when Jack Szostak started his research. That is the reason, why Jack Szostak made literally a zero progress in 40 years.

  45. 45
    JVL says:

    Martin_r: Exactly. This is what Darwinists don’t want to understand. Or are unable to understand. Or both.

    So, what’s the design version of the origin of life on Earth? What form did it take?

  46. 46
    martin_r says:

    Sir Giles and Co.

    i apologize, this is a bit off topic, but you haven’t answered my question on the ERVs.

    Is there any evidence, that the same ERV inserted into the human or any other genome more than once ? I couldn’t find this information on internet.
    (You said that ERVs insert randomly/ have millions of places where to insert, so i think my question makes sense … i would expect, to see many copies of the same retrovirus in human genome …)

  47. 47
    JVL says:

    Martin_r: Is there any evidence, that the same ERV inserted into the human or any other genome more than once ?

    I think you’ll find the following informative:

    Silencing and Transcriptional Regulation of Endogenous Retroviruses: An Overview

    https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7472088/

  48. 48
    martin_r says:

    JVL,
    thanks for the link…. Do you really want me to read through the paper to find out that it does not answer my question ?
    I have asked a very specific and a pretty simple question. Someone who is familiar with ERVs, can answer it right away, i think.

    You guys here seem to be well educated. So that is why i am asking ….

  49. 49
    martin_r says:

    JVL

    So, what’s the design version of the origin of life on Earth? What form did it take?

    i don’t understand your question. Could you be more specific ?

  50. 50
    JVL says:

    Martin_r: Do you really want me to read through the paper to find out that it does not answer my question ?

    I think it does answer your question.

    I have asked a very specific and a pretty simple question. Someone who is familiar with ERVs, can answer it right away, i think.

    Or, you could spend some time and read up on the science.

    i don’t understand your question. Could you be more specific ?

    IF we could go back in time to when life first emerged on Earth what do you think we would observe? What kind of life was ‘first’? From your ID perspective.

  51. 51
    bornagain77 says:

    BA77 at 42: Actually, as Dr. Tour recently stated in the following lecture, when discussing the interactome, the more we learn about what is required for the OOL, the far worse the OOL ‘problem’ becomes. Certainly far, far, worse than Darwin ever imagined with his ‘warm little pond’,,,

    JVL at 43: ,,, “So, what’s the design version of the origin of life on Earth? What form did it take?”

    It seems evident to me that the main, and fatal, flaw in the arguments of atheists against ID in general, and/or against God in particular, is that atheists, such as JVL, have simply refused to recognize Agent causality as legitimate cause in science. In fact, Darwinian atheists/materialists, in their attempt to stay ‘scientific’, deny the reality of free will altogether, and claim that free will, (and consciousness), is just an illusion.

    The Illusion of Free Will – Sam Harris – 2012
    Excerpt: “Free will is an illusion so convincing that people simply refuse to believe that we don’t have it.,,,”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://samharris.org/the-illusion-of-free-will/

    You Don’t Have Free Will By Jerry A. Coyne – March 18, 2012
    Excerpt: “Your decisions result from molecular-based electrical impulses and chemical substances transmitted from one brain cell to another. These molecules must obey the laws of physics, so the outputs of our brain—our “choices”—are dictated by those laws.”
    – Jerry Coyne
    https://www.chronicle.com/article/Jerry-A-Coyne-You-Dont-Have/131165

    Free Will: Weighing Truth and Experience – Do our beliefs matter? – Mar 22, 2012
    Excerpt: If we acknowledge just how much we don’t know about the conscious mind, perhaps we would be a bit more humble. We have so much confidence in our materialist assumptions (which are assumptions, not facts) that something like free will is denied in principle. Maybe it doesn’t exist, but I don’t really know that. Either way, it doesn’t matter because if free will and consciousness are just an illusion, they are the most seamless illusions ever created. Film maker James Cameron wishes he had special effects that good.
    https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/social-brain-social-mind/201203/free-will-weighing-truth-and-experience
    – Matthew D. Lieberman – neuroscientist – materialist – UCLA professor

    The supposedly ‘scientific’ denial of the reality of free will, i.e. agent causality, by Darwinian materialists/atheists, is simply self refuting nonsense,

    Specifically, the denial of free will leads to catastrophic epistemological failure of science. For instance, “if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.”

    Physicist George Ellis on the importance of philosophy and free will – July 27, 2014
    Excerpt: And free will?:
    Horgan: Einstein, in the following quote, seemed to doubt free will: “If the moon, in the act of completing its eternal way around the Earth, were gifted with self-consciousness, it would feel thoroughly convinced that it was traveling its way of its own accord…. So would a Being, endowed with higher insight and more perfect intelligence, watching man and his doings, smile about man’s illusion that he was acting according to his own free will.” Do you believe in free will?
    Ellis: Yes. Einstein is perpetuating the belief that all causation is bottom up. This simply is not the case, as I can demonstrate with many examples from sociology, neuroscience, physiology, epigenetics, engineering, and physics. Furthermore if Einstein did not have free will in some meaningful sense, then he could not have been responsible for the theory of relativity – it would have been a product of lower level processes but not of an intelligent mind choosing between possible options.
    I find it very hard to believe this to be the case – indeed it does not seem to make any sense. Physicists should pay attention to Aristotle’s four forms of causation – if they have the free will to decide what they are doing. If they don’t, then why waste time talking to them? They are then not responsible for what they say.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....free-will/

    Shoot, Darwinian atheists, in their denial of free will, are forced to claim that, “You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.”

    Do You Like SETI? Fine, Then Let’s Dump Methodological Naturalism
    Paul Nelson – September 24, 2014
    Excerpt: Epistemology — how we know — and ontology — what exists — are both affected by methodological naturalism. If we say, “We cannot know that a mind caused x,” laying down an epistemological boundary defined by MN, then our ontology comprising real causes for x won’t include minds.
    MN entails an ontology in which minds are the consequence of physics, and thus, can only be placeholders for a more detailed causal account in which physics is the only (ultimate) actor. You didn’t write your email to me. Physics did, and informed you of that event after the fact.
    “That’s crazy,” you reply, “I certainly did write my email.” Okay, then — to what does the pronoun “I” in that sentence refer?
    Your personal agency; your mind. Are you supernatural?,,,,
    You are certainly an intelligent cause, however, and your intelligence does not collapse into physics. (If it does collapse — i.e., can be reduced without explanatory loss — we haven’t the faintest idea how, which amounts to the same thing.) To explain the effects you bring about in the world — such as your email, a real pattern — we must refer to you as a unique agent.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2014/09/do_you_like_set/

    Aside from the fact that no one has a clue how unguided material processes can create even a simple sentence, much less an entire e-mail, (much less create the 10^12 bits of information encoded in the DNA of a ‘simple’ bacterial cell),,,

    This short sentence, “The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog” is calculated by Winston Ewert, in this following video at the 10 minute mark, to contain 1000 bits of algorithmic specified complexity, (i.e. functional information), and thus to exceed the Universal Probability Bound (UPB) of 500 bits set by Dr. William Dembski (and to thus be evidence for a ‘miracle’ on Hume’s definition of a miracle as being a violation of the laws of nature)
    Proposed Information Metric: Conditional Kolmogorov Complexity – Winston Ewert – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fm3mm3ofAYU

    ,,, aside from that pesky little detail, in their denial of reality of free will, Darwinian atheists have also forsaken any claim that they are making, and/or that they are even capable of making, a logically coherent argument,,

    The Medial Pre-Frontal Cortex Did It: Sam Harris’s Free Will
    Martin Cothran – November 9, 2012
    Excerpt: There is something ironic about the position of thinkers like Harris on issues like this: they claim that their position is the result of the irresistible necessity of logic (in fact, they pride themselves on their logic). Their belief is the consequent, in a ground/consequent relation between their evidence and their conclusion. But their very stated position is that any mental state — including their position on this issue — is the effect of a physical, not logical cause.
    By their own logic, it isn’t logic that demands their assent to the claim that free will is an illusion, but the prior chemical state of their brains. The only condition under which we could possibly find their argument convincing is if they are not true. The claim that free will is an illusion requires the possibility that minds have the freedom to assent to a logical argument, a freedom denied by the claim itself. It is an assent that must, in order to remain logical and not physiological, presume a perspective outside the physical order.
    ,,, If prior physical states are all that determine our beliefs, any one physical state is no more rational than any other. It isn’t rational or irrational, it just is.
    https://evolutionnews.org/2012/11/sam_harriss_fre/

    “It seems to me immensely unlikely that mind is a mere by-product of matter. For if my mental processes are determined wholly by the motions of atoms in my brain I have no reason to suppose that my beliefs are true. They may be sound chemically, but that does not make them sound logically. And hence I have no reason for supposing my brain to be composed of atoms. In order to escape from this necessity of sawing away the branch on which I am sitting, so to speak, I am compelled to believe that mind is not wholly conditioned by matter.”
    – J.B.S. Haldane – “When I am dead,” in Possible Worlds: And Other Essays [1927],

    “Supposing there was no intelligence behind the universe, no creative mind. In that case, nobody designed my brain for the purpose of thinking. It is merely that when the atoms inside my skull happen, for physical or chemical reasons, to arrange themselves in a certain way, this gives me, as a by-product, the sensation I call thought. But, if so, how can I trust my own thinking to be true? It’s like upsetting a milk jug and hoping that the way it splashes itself will give you a map of London. But if I can’t trust my own thinking, of course I can’t trust the arguments leading to Atheism, and therefore have no reason to be an Atheist, or anything else. Unless I believe in God, I cannot believe in thought: so I can never use thought to disbelieve in God.”
    – C.S. Lewis

  52. 52
    bornagain77 says:

    Moreover, as if that was not bad enough, nobody lives their life as if they do not have free will,

    The Heretic – Who is Thomas Nagel and why are so many of his fellow academics condemning him? – March 25, 2013
    Excerpt: ,,,Fortunately, materialism is never translated into life as it’s lived. As colleagues and friends, husbands and mothers, wives and fathers, sons and daughters, materialists never put their money where their mouth is. Nobody thinks his daughter is just molecules in motion and nothing but; nobody thinks the Holocaust was evil, but only in a relative, provisional sense. A materialist who lived his life according to his professed convictions—understanding himself to have no moral agency at all, seeing his friends and enemies and family as genetically determined robots—wouldn’t just be a materialist: He’d be a psychopath.
    https://www.sott.net/article/260160-The-Heretic-Who-is-Thomas-Nagel-and-why-are-so-many-of-his-fellow-academics-condemning-him

    Even leading Darwinian atheists themselves have honestly admitted that it impossible for them to live their lives as if they do not have free will,

    Darwin’s Robots: When Evolutionary Materialists Admit that Their Own Worldview Fails – Nancy Pearcey – April 23, 2015
    Excerpt: Even materialists often admit that, in practice, it is impossible for humans to live any other way. One philosopher jokes that if people deny free will, then when ordering at a restaurant they should say, “Just bring me whatever the laws of nature have determined I will get.”
    An especially clear example is Galen Strawson, a philosopher who states with great bravado, “The impossibility of free will … can be proved with complete certainty.” Yet in an interview, Strawson admits that, in practice, no one accepts his deterministic view. “To be honest, I can’t really accept it myself,” he says. “I can’t really live with this fact from day to day. Can you, really?”,,,
    In What Science Offers the Humanities, Edward Slingerland, identifies himself as an unabashed materialist and reductionist. Slingerland argues that Darwinian materialism leads logically to the conclusion that humans are robots — that our sense of having a will or self or consciousness is an illusion. Yet, he admits, it is an illusion we find impossible to shake. No one “can help acting like and at some level really feeling that he or she is free.” We are “constitutionally incapable of experiencing ourselves and other conspecifics [humans] as robots.”
    One section in his book is even titled “We Are Robots Designed Not to Believe That We Are Robots.”,,,
    When I teach these concepts in the classroom, an example my students find especially poignant is Flesh and Machines by Rodney Brooks, professor emeritus at MIT. Brooks writes that a human being is nothing but a machine — a “big bag of skin full of biomolecules” interacting by the laws of physics and chemistry. In ordinary life, of course, it is difficult to actually see people that way. But, he says, “When I look at my children, I can, when I force myself, … see that they are machines.”
    Is that how he treats them, though? Of course not: “That is not how I treat them…. I interact with them on an entirely different level. They have my unconditional love, the furthest one might be able to get from rational analysis.” Certainly if what counts as “rational” is a materialist worldview in which humans are machines, then loving your children is irrational. It has no basis
    within Brooks’s worldview. It sticks out of his box.
    How does he reconcile such a heart-wrenching cognitive dissonance? He doesn’t. Brooks ends by saying, “I maintain two sets of inconsistent beliefs.” He has given up on any attempt to reconcile his theory with his experience. He has abandoned all hope for a unified, logically consistent worldview.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....95451.html

    Even Richard Dawkins himself admitted that it would be ‘intolerable’ for him to live his life as if his atheistic materialism were actually true and that he had no free will, i.e. no moral agency,

    Who wrote Richard Dawkins’s new book? – October 28, 2006
    Excerpt:
    Dawkins: What I do know is that what it feels like to me, and I think to all of us, we don’t feel determined. We feel like blaming people for what they do or giving people the credit for what they do. We feel like admiring people for what they do.,,,
    Manzari: But do you personally see that as an inconsistency in your views?
    Dawkins: I sort of do. Yes. But it is an inconsistency that we sort of have to live with otherwise life would be intolerable.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....02783.html

    In what should be needless to say, if it is impossible for you to live as if your worldview were actually true then your worldview cannot possibly reflect reality as it really is but your worldview must instead be based on a delusion.

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    – per answers for hope

    And indeed the Atheist’s denial of free will does not ‘reflect reality as it really is’. Neuroscience itself, despite the atheist’s denial to the contrary, shows that we do have free will,

    Michael Egnor Shows You’re Not A Meat Robot (Science Uprising EP2)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rQo6SWjwQIk

    Michael Egnor: Is free will a dangerous myth? – October 6, 2018
    Excerpt: 4.,,, the neuroscientific evidence unequivocally supports the existence of free will. The first neuroscientist to map the brains of conscious subjects, Wilder Penfield, noted that there is an immaterial power of volition in the human mind that he could not stimulate with electrodes. The pioneer in the neuroscience of free will was Benjamin Libet, who demonstrated clearly that, while there is an unconscious material predisposition to acts as shown by electrical brain activity, we retain an immaterial “free won’t,” which is the ability to veto an unconscious urge to act. Many experiments have followed on Libet’s work, most of which use fMRI imaging of brain activity. They all confirm Libet’s observations by showing what is at most a loose correlation between brain activity and volition (for example, nearly half the time the brain activity that precedes the act is on the wrong side of the brain for the activity to determine the will)—the looseness of correlation being best explained as evidence for libertarian free will. Modern neuroscience clearly demonstrates an immaterial component to volition.
    Harari is wrong about free will. It is not a myth. Free will is a real and fundamental aspect of being human, and the denial of free will is junk science and self-refuting logical nonsense.
    https://mindmatters.ai/2018/10/is-free-will-a-dangerous-myth/

    In further demonstrating that the atheist’s denial of the reality of free will does not “reflect reality as it really is’, in quantum mechanics we also find that, via their free will, “humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level.,,,”

    The Trouble with Quantum Mechanics – Steven Weinberg – January 19, 2017
    Excerpt: The instrumentalist approach,, (the) wave function,, is merely an instrument that provides predictions of the probabilities of various outcomes when measurements are made.,,
    In the instrumentalist approach,,, humans are brought into the laws of nature at the most fundamental level. According to Eugene Wigner, a pioneer of quantum mechanics, “it was not possible to formulate the laws of quantum mechanics in a fully consistent way without reference to the consciousness.”11
    Thus the instrumentalist approach turns its back on a vision that became possible after Darwin, of a world governed by impersonal physical laws that control human behavior along with everything else. It is not that we object to thinking about humans. Rather, we want to understand the relation of humans to nature, not just assuming the character of this relation by incorporating it in what we suppose are nature’s fundamental laws, but rather by deduction from laws that make no explicit reference to humans. We may in the end have to give up this goal,,,
    Some physicists who adopt an instrumentalist approach argue that the probabilities we infer from the wave function are objective probabilities, independent of whether humans are making a measurement. I don’t find this tenable. In quantum mechanics these probabilities do not exist until people choose what to measure, such as the spin in one or another direction. Unlike the case of classical physics, a choice must be made,,,
    http://quantum.phys.unm.edu/46.....inberg.pdf

    Cosmic Bell Test Using Random Measurement Settings from High-Redshift Quasars – Anton Zeilinger – 14 June 2018
    Excerpt: This experiment pushes back to at least approx. 7.8 Gyr ago the most recent time by which any local-realist influences could have exploited the “freedom-of-choice” loophole to engineer the observed Bell violation, excluding any such mechanism from 96% of the space-time volume of the past light cone of our experiment, extending from the big bang to today.
    https://journals.aps.org/prl/abstract/10.1103/PhysRevLett.121.080403

  53. 53
    bornagain77 says:

    As newly minted Nobel Laureate Anton Zeilinger stated, “what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”

    “The Kochen-Speckter Theorem talks about properties of one system only. So we know that we cannot assume – to put it precisely, we know that it is wrong to assume that the features of a system, which we observe in a measurement exist prior to measurement. Not always. I mean in certain cases. So in a sense, what we perceive as reality now depends on our earlier decision what to measure. Which is a very, very, deep message about the nature of reality and our part in the whole universe. We are not just passive observers.”
    – Anton Zeilinger –
    Quantum Physics Debunks Materialism – video (7:17 minute mark)
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=4C5pq7W5yRM#t=437

    JVL has repeatedly asked how a designer might go about creating the first life as if that question, by itself, suffices to get him off the hook for the fact that Darwinists have no realistic clue how life could have possibly originated by unguided material processes, (in fact, as mentioned previously, the more we know about what is required to explain the OOL, the worse the OOL “problem” becomes for Darwinian atheists). And yet advances in quantum information theory, and thermodynamics, where it is now shown that “an object does not have a certain amount of entropy per se, instead an object’s entropy is always dependent on the observer”, have now shown that an ‘observer’, via his free will choices, has the capacity to impart information into a system in order to overcome the insurmountable ‘thermodynamic barrier’ that prevents unguided material processes from ever explaining the origin of life,

    July 2022 – And while this logical inference to God is certainly a perfectly valid, and solid, inference to make, it is necessary to dive a little more deeply into the exact nature of ‘information’ in order to more ‘scientifically’ link the information content in life more directly to God,
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/life-from-a-rock/#comment-761846

    Verse and quote:

    John 1:1-4
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    “The most fundamental definition of reality is not matter or energy, but information–and it is the processing of information that lies at the root of all physical, biological, economic, and social phenomena.”
    Vlatko Vedral – Professor of Physics at the University of Oxford, and CQT (Centre for Quantum Technologies) at the National University of Singapore, and a Fellow of Wolfson College –

    Of supplemental note: JVL, in his denial of free will, i.e. denial of agent causality, does not have nearly as good of a grasp on ’cause and effect’ relationships as he seems to believe that he has,

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.,,,
    ,,, To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    – J. Budziszewski – above quote taken at the 34:30 minute mark of the following lecture
    https://soundcloud.com/thomisticinstitute/atheism-to-catholicism-a-professors-journey-out-of-nihilism-prof-j-budziszewski

    Verse:

    Deuteronomy 30:19
    This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live

  54. 54
    kairosfocus says:

    BA77, attn JVL, 53: Why not try out my comment in L&FP 63, no 501:7 – 15. I clip, expanding on my remarks over years that we could look at a molecular nanotech lab a few generations beyond Venter et al (so, as usual, objectors have studiously ignored an answer already on the table):

    7: We can go on, noting that life forms use sophisticated numerically controlled molecular machines — analogy silliness again of course, but no it is clear what a Ribosome, a mRNA and a tRNA and enzymes are — to assemble AA chains for proteins.

    8: That is obviously expensive in materials and in being thermodynamically up the cliff, indeed so much that we see encapsulation, smart gating and a hugely complex wider metabolic network that supports this little corner of the framework that makes the proteins (including enzymes).

    9: This is a hugely interconnected fine tuned network of chicken-egg causal loops (thus, exhibiting tight zones . . . islands . . . of function or operation in vast clumped or scattered configuration spaces), raising questions of origin and of course highlighting that there is precisely one empirically observed cause of such FSCO/I, intelligently directed configuration.

    10: The sneers come up, don’t you dare say such things; obviously over the vulnerable target there will be busy flak batteries.

    11: But more, we are seeing clues on a plausible original causal process. The need for NC machinery, information, organisation and controlled environment was there ab initio. So, logically, start with lab scale nanotech machines and an established body of knowledge on relevant polymer chemistry . . . thus, heavy duty computational chemistry.

    12: Synthesise and assemble key components, starting with ribosomes, mRNA, tRNA that take you to molecular nanotech, filling in the supporting cast of other molecular machines as you go, building up the integrated network, finally encapsulating with smart gating.

    13: Test the first cells then release to terraform, maybe run systems to feed in more and more.

    14: Then as appropriate inject onward new body plans, until one has viable ecosystems that are robust, in a stable terrestrial biosphere.

    15: It would not make sense to put all eggs in one basket, why not run the exercise at galactic scale.

    KF

  55. 55
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, kindly, note the just above on what it could look like. KF

  56. 56
    bornagain77 says:

    Here is a more complete version of Prof. J. Budziszewski’s quote, that gets his point across much better than the short quote from him that I cited above

    A Professor’s Journey out of Nihilism: Why I am not an Atheist – University of Wyoming – J. Budziszewski
    Quote: “There were two great holes in the argument about the irrelevance of God. The first is that in order to attack free will, I supposed that I understood cause and effect; I supposed causation to be less mysterious than volition.
    If anything, it is the other way around. I can perceive a logical connection between premises and valid conclusions. I can perceive at least a rational connection between my willing to do something and my doing it. But between the apple and the earth, I can perceive no connection at all. Why does the apple fall? We don’t know. “But there is gravity,” you say. No, “gravity” is merely the name of the phenomenon, not its explanation. “But there are laws of gravity,” you say. No, the “laws” are not its explanation either; they are merely a more precise description of the thing to be explained, which remains as mysterious as before. For just this reason, philosophers of science are shy of the term “laws”; they prefer “lawlike regularities.” To call the equations of gravity “laws” and speak of the apple as “obeying” them is to speak as though, like the traffic laws, the “laws” of gravity are addressed to rational agents capable of conforming their wills to the command. This is cheating, because it makes mechanical causality (the more opaque of the two phenomena) seem like volition (the less). In my own way of thinking the cheating was even graver, because I attacked the less opaque in the name of the more.
    The other hole in my reasoning was cruder. If my imprisonment in a blind causality made my reasoning so unreliable that I couldn’t trust my beliefs, then by the same token I shouldn’t have trusted my beliefs about imprisonment in a blind causality. But in that case I had no business denying free will in the first place.”
    – J. Budziszewski – above quote taken at the 34:30 minute mark of the following lecture
    https://soundcloud.com/thomisticinstitute/atheism-to-catholicism-a-professors-journey-out-of-nihilism-prof-j-budziszewski

  57. 57
    Sir Giles says:

    Martin: You said that ERVs insert randomly

    I’m sorry. I don’t remember saying this. Could you please provide a link?

  58. 58
    JVL says:

    Kairosfocus: kindly, note the just above on what it could look like.

    Well, from what I could gather, you think some kind of cell was the first lifeform on Earth. Why would that be? I mean if the designer can create the whole universe why not just create Earth at a stage when it could sustain ‘higher level’ creatures like mammals and reptiles? I mean: what was the purpose of taking billions of years to get to the goal?

  59. 59
    whistler says:

    Bornagain77
    Moreover, as if that was not bad enough, nobody lives their life as if they do not have free will,

    :)) Not only that atheists have free will but they want to enforce their “non-existing” free will over others. Go figure!

  60. 60
    kairosfocus says:

    JVL, at no point have I suggested that the model is designed to be the actual case, only a reasonable reference; one pivoting on the logical point that setting up nanotech to manufacture cell components, with NC, makes good process logic sense, ribosomes are given as a strategic example. Next, as did Thaxton et al, the composition of life forms on earth is within the plausible reach of advanced technology of ourselves or other reasonably similar creatures, hence it does not distinguish art by a designer within our physical cosmos or beyond it; the issue is, observed biological life on earth. As to the time scale to effect a design, that has no bearing on signs or substance of design; indeed, front loading of life forms is a kind of design. What does point to a designer beyond the cosmos is cosmological fine tuning which sets it at an operating point for C-chem, aqueous medium, cell based life. As for some sort of cell, what do you call a metabolising automaton, with encapsulation and smart gating with self replication, but a cell? But, these are functional clusters for operations of life and are therefore objectively reasonable. As it is, I am supposing a pool of suitable chemicals for metabolism, i.e. ability to consume things reasonably present in a terrestrial planet amenable to terraforming. I have seen suggestions that a truly autonomous life form would be comparable to a lichen. Viruses are parasitic on life, they are not self replicating; a von Neumann kinematic self replicator seems to be a requisite. D/RNA without metabolic systems won’t work and transition to another architecture does not seem particularly plausible, and all of these being thermodynamically uphill, encapsulation and smart gating seem relevant too. KF

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