Origin of life is up there with why the space aliens haven’t landed and many people are getting tired of that.
It is time for a temporary time out. Why not admit what we cannot yet explain: the mass transfer of starting materials to the molecules needed for life; the origin of life’s code; the combinatorial complexities present in any living system; and the precise non-regular assembly of cellular components?
It would be helpful if leading researchers, among them very sophisticated synthetic chemists, were to step back, pause, and join forces. If the origins of life remain a mystery, two goals are within reach: an agreement about the rational standards by which OOL research should be judged, and a candid acknowledgment of the problems that remain to be overcome. A statement of this sort would be reassuring in its candor.James Tour, “Time Out” at Inference Review
See also: The Science Fictions series at your fingertips – origin of life What we do and don’t know.
A world-famous chemist tells the truth: There’s No Scientist Alive Today Who Understands Macroevolution
Note:If you think you’ve heard of Inference Review, you might have heard of this story in passing:
Inference Review did NOT set out to make a fool of Adam Becker
Also: At Inference review: Language is so much more than a system of signals
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17 Replies to “Chemist James Tour calls time out on implausible origin of life theories”
Well, if a time out has been called, who am I to question it. 🙂
Damn. You beat me to it. 🙂 🙂
Temporary time out? Materialists will NEVER be able to explain life in materialistic terms because it is an impossibility.
Scientists would have an easier time showing how nature produced Stonehenge,
“Materialists will NEVER be able to explain life in materialistic terms because it is an impossibility”
Are you sure?
There are many OOL explanations available in the scientific literature and more are being added quite often.
Yes, PavelU, I am sure. The only thing “they” have is that nature can produce some of the building blocks of life. But hey, nature can produce stones, too. But nature cannot produce something as simple as Stonehenge. And you want us to believe that nature can produce a living organism without even trying.
They can take all of the required building blocks, add energy an they still won’t produce a living organism.
According to this rare honest comment from atheistic OOL (origin of life) researchers, the main problem for OOL researchers require overcoming an information hurdle of superastronomical proportions, an event that could not have happened within the time frame of the Earth except, we believe, as a miracle.
As you can see, their solution for overcoming this “information hurdle of superastronomical proportions” is to increase their probabilistic resources and to move the OOL problem off the earth and appeal to the universe as a whole.
Couple of small problems. Number 1, the universe as a whole, and all the probabilistic resources contained therein, are still no where near enough probabilistic resources for atheists to appeal to in order to overcome this “information hurdle of superastronomical proportions”.
The probabilistic resources needed just to explain the ribosome itself vastly outstrip the probabilistic resources available in the entire universe:
Going beyond just the ribosome and trying to explain the OOL itself just makes the “information hurdle of superastronomical proportions” all that much worse for atheists.
Professor Harold Morowitz shows the Origin of Life ‘problem’ escalates dramatically over this 1 in 10^40,000 figure when working from a thermodynamic perspective:
Thus according to the math, we need to appeal to a cause that is beyond all of the space-time, matter-energy, of the entire universe.
Of related note, Math itself, since math itself exists in some type of beyond space and time ‘Platonic’ realm, also requires a beyond space-time, matter-energy, cause in order to explain its own existence, i.e. Godel’s incompleteness,
Moreover, besides the fact that the math itself now proves that life itself requires a cause that is beyond all the space-time, matter-energy probabilistic resources of the entire universe, (and besides the fact that it is now also proven, via Godel’s incompleteness theorem, that math itself requires a cause that is beyond all the space-time, matter-energy, of the entire universe), advances in quantum biology have now also empirically proven that life requires a cause that is beyond all the space-time, matter-energy, of the entire universe.
First it is important to note that Quantum non-locality, i.e. ‘spooky action at a distance’ as Einstein termed it, is one of the most enigmatic, and yet one of the most verified, aspects of Quantum Mechanics.
And while atheistic materialists are at a complete loss to explain how particles can be instantly correlated,,,
,,, And while atheistic materialists are at a complete loss to explain how particles can be instantly correlated, on the other hand Christian Theists readily have a beyond space-time, matter-energy, cause that they can appeal to in order to explain quantum non-locality:
And this ‘spooky action at a distance’ of ‘non-local’ quantum entanglement, which requires a cause which is beyond space-time, matter-energy, in order to explain its existence, is now found to be ubiquitous within molecular biology:
Moreover, as the following study found, the greater the number of particles in a quantum hypergraph state, (which is exactly the type of quantum coherence that we have with protein, DNA, and other molecules), the more strongly it violates local realism, with the strength increasing exponentially with the number of particles.
Moreover, experimental realization of the Maxwell’s demon thought experiment has now proven that, in quantum information theory, entropy is a property of an observer who describes a system. Here are a couple of videos that touch upon this line of evidence.
As the following 2017 article states: James Clerk Maxwell (said), “The idea of dissipation of energy depends on the extent of our knowledge.”,,,
quantum information theory,,, describes the spread of information through quantum systems.,,,
Fifteen years ago, “we thought of entropy as a property of a thermodynamic system,” he said. “Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
Again to repeat that last sentence,“Now in (quantum) information theory, we wouldn’t say entropy is a property of a system, but a property of an observer who describes a system.”,,,
The reductive materialism of current OOL research, and the reductive materialistic foundation of Darwinian evolution in general, is simply at a complete loss to explain such ubiquitous beyond space-time, matter-energy, effects within molecular biology. Much less do reductive materialists have a clue as to “Who” this beyond space-time, matter-energy ‘observer’ might be who is ‘describing’ these biological systems which are far, far, away from being in thermodynamic equilibrium.
Whereas again, the Christian Theist readily has a beyond space-time, matter-energy, cause, (more specifically, the Christian has a beyond space-time, matter-energy, ‘observer’), that he can appeal in order to be able to explain this quantum information in life and also explain why life became, and why it stays, so far out of thermodynamic equilibrium.:
One final note, it is also important to realize that quantum information is conserved. As the following article states, In the classical world, information can be copied and deleted at will. In the quantum world, however, the conservation of quantum information means that information cannot be created nor destroyed.
The implication of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, and ‘conserved’, quantum information in molecular biology on such a massive scale, in every important biomolecule in our bodies, is fairly, and pleasantly, obvious.
That pleasant implication, of course, being the fact that we now have very strong empirical evidence suggesting that we do indeed have an eternal soul that is capable of living beyond the death of our material bodies. As Stuart Hameroff states in the following video, the quantum information,,, isn’t destroyed. It can’t be destroyed.,,, it’s possible that this quantum information can exist outside the body. Perhaps indefinitely as a soul.”
I don’t think BA77 is observing Tour’s call for a timeout,
>There are many OOL explanations available in the scientific literature and more are being added quite often.
It is interesting that the more hypotheses they come up with, the more convinced people seem to be that we have “somehow” explained OOL. This despite the fact that nobody can say with more than rhetorical certainty which of the hypotheses is actually the one that supposedly happened. (Of course each researcher will staunchly defend their own idea, upon pain of not getting more funding next time.)
If scientists can’t generate life in the laboratory using appropriately/realistically impure chemicals by 2050 (pick your own date), we need agree that we will give up on it having spontaneously happened.
Even if scientists were trying to create life, which they aren’t, why would you expect scientist, using a few kilograms of raw materials to be able to do in a few decades what took nature millions of years to do with 5.972 × 10^24 kg of raw material?
Nature couldn’t do it if it had infinity to work with. And we would expect scientists to be able to do it because A) they are smarter than nature, B) they are trying to do it and C) they know what it takes to be a living organism.
Nature can’t even produce a Stonehenge. Why would anyone think it could produce a living organism?
Yes, thank you ET. Scientists most certainly are trying to bridge the innumerable gaps by trying to form the “building blocks”, membranes, etc., in the laboratory. (I overstepped by saying “create life”; they’re not trying to do it all in one experiment.)
Here you have a very unscientific ID paper publicly trashed:
Following publication of the article, readers raised a number of concerns about aspects of this work, particularly those relating to the phylogenetic tree and the divergence times based on synonymous substitution rates. The PLOS ONE Editors have consulted with two members of the Editorial Board who have conducted an independent re-evaluation of the paper, which found concerns regarding the study design, methodology, and interpretation of the data, such that the results of the study were determined to be unreliable
In response to this statement – “Materialists will NEVER be able to explain life in materialistic terms because it is an impossibility”, Pavel U says this:
“Are you sure?
There are many OOL explanations available in the scientific literature and more are being added quite often.”
Pavel, “explanations”, or to be more accurate, “hypotheses” are great, but there is absolutely no guarantee that any of them are correct. Pointing to the existence of lots of different “explanations”, really is not very reassuring. What it shows is that there is not much of a consensus whatsoever. And given the extent of the problem, how much are you willing to bet that any of these explanations/hypotheses are correct and accurately explain the problem?
Would you get on a rocket and take off for the moon based on the accuracy of any of these “explanations”? In other words, would you bet your life on the accuracy of any of them?
No way. Which shows the problem with historical science as opposed to experimental science where we can test our hypotheses and verify/falsify them.
You speak as if the evolution/emergence of life from dead molecules is a given – a fact, but it isn’t. It is simply what you believe happened. Good luck with that belief! This is one of the deductions that results from your worldview. You have to believe in abiogenesis by chance if you are going to hold that worldview. Again, it’s a free world and you are welcome to believe whatever you want, but there is no guarantee that your belief is correct.
No one needed to call a timeout in the field of alchemy. It became clear that it was a dead end, young natural philosophers quit pursuing it, and it died off one funeral at a time.