Intelligent Design Naturalism Origin Of Life

Origin of life: Rob Sheldon on “lies, damn lies, and models”

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Image result for origin of life NASA Pos-Darwinista writes to draw our attention to the following Abstract:

Universal biology and the statistical mechanics of early life

Nigel Goldenfeld, Tommaso Biancalani, Farshid Jafarpour

Published 13 November 2017.DOI: 10.1098/rsta.2016.0341

All known life on the Earth exhibits at least two non-trivial common features: the canonical genetic code and biological homochirality, both of which emerged prior to the Last Universal Common Ancestor state. This article describes recent efforts to provide a narrative of this epoch using tools from statistical mechanics. During the emergence of self-replicating life far from equilibrium in a period of chemical evolution, minimal models of autocatalysis show that homochirality would have necessarily co-evolved along with the efficiency of early-life self-replicators. Dynamical system models of the evolution of the genetic code must explain its universality and its highly refined error-minimization properties. These have both been accounted for in a scenario where life arose from a collective, networked phase where there was no notion of species and perhaps even individuality itself. We show how this phase ultimately terminated during an event sometimes known as the Darwinian transition, leading to the present epoch of tree-like vertical descent of organismal lineages. These examples illustrate concrete examples of universal biology: the quest for a fundamental understanding of the basic properties of living systems, independent of precise instantiation in chemistry or other media. [To be published December 28, 2018, as part of the themed issue ‘Reconceptualizing the origins of life’.]

Rob Sheldon writes to say,

There’s a lot of circular reasoning in this abstract. We know that homochirality is needed to get alpha-helices and beta-sheets to form. These are the building blocks of enzymatic bonding sites. So if different chiralities were present, cells would have a terrible time making enzymes.

How to turn that design into a law?

“minimal models of autocatalysis show that homochirality would have necessarily co-evolved along with the efficiency of early-life self-replicator.”

Make it into a model. Voila! It had to be that way. No design needed. Models are the new statistics. Twain’s adage is now “lies, damn lies, and models”

Sheldon is riffing off “lies, damn lies, and statistics,” a phrase he attributes to Mark Twain but whose origin is — a quibble here — actually uncertain.

Rob Sheldon is the author of Genesis: The Long Ascent

See also: What we know and don’t know about the origin of life

6 Replies to “Origin of life: Rob Sheldon on “lies, damn lies, and models”

  1. 1
    Nonlin.org says:

    As if the model builds itself. They never recognize themselves as “gods” of the model.

    Also, if life were a simple random process in the presence of the right environment, Abiogenesis would be easily duplicated as life supporting environments are everywhere on Earth. Organisms from different abiogenesis episodes would not be all related, but instead would probably take different forms – perhaps some based on alternative chemistry, or with different DNA molecule, or with different cell structures, etc.

    Furthermore, there’s no need to start Abiogenesis from scratch – just try to bring back to life the recently dead. Just make sure it was truly dead before claiming success.

  2. 2
    LocalMinimum says:

    How to pretend your postulates are actually theorems: If you can’t get math underneath, pile it on top and all around. If they find it in the mess, sitting flat on the dirt, tell them to keep looking.

    Brings to mind the epic tale of Euclid’s 5th, of which even Euler, “master of us all” (mathematicians) didn’t dare spoil the ending; though he would discuss it with those who could find it for themselves.

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    In real science, empirical evidence is suppose to separate reality from imagination. For the atheistic materialist, imagination is empirical evidence.

  4. 4
    qedlin says:

    Ron Sheldon is correct to expose the incoherence of the abstract to posit that non-homochirality has any origin of life viability. Of equal irrationality is the speculation about chemical evolution, which is a myth like Darwin’s “warm little ponds” and Oparin-Haldane prebiotic soup. There are no naturalistic processes capable of abiotic chemical assembly.

    The ludicrous propositions are non-scientific and intellectually insulting.

  5. 5
    Seversky says:

    bornagain77 @ 3

    In real science, empirical evidence is suppose to separate reality from imagination. For the atheistic materialist, imagination is empirical evidence.

    Not exactly. In real science, evidence is used to discriminate between competing explanations. Imagination is vital in science as a means of creating alternative explanations which can then be tested against data.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Well Seversky, seeing as the question of whether you really exist as a real person, or whether you are merely a neuronal illusion, is very much an open question as far as your atheistic materialism is concerned, I guess I can see why you would be so keen on having that which is imaginary play a far more important role in science than is warranted.

    After all, if it turns out that ‘you’ are imaginary then ‘you’ certainly wouldn’t want empirical evidence to come along and rule ‘you’ out as a viable hypothesis would ‘you,??? 🙂

    That’s funny, I don’t care who ‘you’ are. 🙂
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RFlCD5CYAcU

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