Cell biology Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Origin of life specialist suggested that ID folk should focus on the ribosome

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A friend reached deep into the memory hole and dug out this 2007 roundtable from Edge:

The event took place at Eastover Farm in Bethlehem, CT on Monday, August 27th (see below). Invited to address the topic “Life: What a Concept!” were Freeman Dyson, J. Craig Venter, George Church, Robert Shapiro, Dimitar Sasselov, and Seth Lloyd, who focused on their new, and in more than a few cases, startling research, and/or ideas in the biological sciences.

Life: What A Concept!” at Edge

Here are the comments from George Church of Harvard:

The ribosome, both looking at the past and at the future, is a very significant structure — it’s the most complicated thing that is present in all organisms. Craig does comparative genomics, and you find that almost the only thing that’s in common across all organisms is the ribosome. And it’s recognizable; it’s highly conserved. So the question is, how did that thing come to be? And if I were to be an intelligent design defender, that’s what I would focus on; how did the ribosome come to be?

The only way we’re going to become good scientists and prove that it could come into being spontaneously is to develop a much better in vitro system where you can make smaller versions of the ribosome that still work, and make all kinds of variations on it to do really useful things but that are really wildly different, and so forth, and get real familiarity with this really complicated machine. Because it does a really great thing: it does this mutual information trick, but not from changing something kind of trivial, from DNA to RNA; that’s really easy. It can change from DNA three nucleotides into one amino acid. That’s really marvellous. We need to understand that better.

Life: What A Concept!” at Edge

Robert Shapiro (1935–2011) of New York University offered a comment:

SHAPIRO: I can only suggest that a ribosome forming spontaneously has about the same probability as an eye forming spontaneously.

CHURCH: It won’t form spontaneously; we’ll do it bit by bit.

SHAPIRO: Both are obviously products of long evolution of preexisting life through the process of trial and error.

CHURCH: But none of us has recreated that any. SHAPIRO: There must have been much more primitive ways of putting together catalysts.

CHURCH: But prove it.

Life: What A Concept!” at Edge

One wonders what the participants in the roundtable would say about New Scientist’s chemical Big Bang origin of life?

Note: The downloadable pdf of the roundtable doesn’t seem to be available any longer.

See also: Dave Coppedge comments on New Scientist’s “Big Bang” origin of life theory. Coppedge: Marshall and the evolutionists he marshals together know full well that any of the basic requirements for life – metabolism, a container and a code – are unlikely to spontaneously form separately, much less together at the same time and place.

and

At New Scientist: Origin of life happened all at once in a chemical Big Bang. It’s basically a rehash of many wishful theories, united by a single drive: To somehow get an origin of life out of a mindless cosmos. The best thing about such theories is their inventiveness.

3 Replies to “Origin of life specialist suggested that ID folk should focus on the ribosome

  1. 1
    Joseph B Fischer says:

    Found the text of Prof. George Church’s discussion. He sounds like he knows the basic concepts of ID and irreducible complexity. He even suggests that the participants treat ID as a serious challenger, worth disproving by creating artificial life and demonstrating macro (not micro) evolution in a lab!
    https://www.edge.org/conversation/george_church-george-church%E2%80%94life-what-a-concept

    The .pdf of the transcript of entire “conversation” is gone, but the separate sessions of each participant are on the website. I did a Google search for “edge.org life what a concept george church.”

    Re: Note: The downloadable pdf of the roundtable doesn’t seem to be available any longer.

  2. 2
    bornagain77 says:

    As to:

    “The ribosome, both looking at the past and at the future, is a very significant structure — it’s the most complicated thing that is present in all organisms. Craig does comparative genomics, and you find that almost the only thing that’s in common across all organisms is the ribosome. And it’s recognizable; it’s highly conserved.”
    George Church – 2007

    Actually, we now know that the ribosome is not ‘highly conserved’

    Ribosomes
    Excerpt: Ribosomes from bacteria, archaea and eukaryotes (the three domains of life on Earth) differ in their size, sequence, structure, and the ratio of protein to RNA.
    https://sites.google.com/site/jjohnsonelps301/home/animal-cell-structure/ribsomes

    The post-Darwinist rhizome of life – Didier Raoult – January 09, 2010
    Excerpt: Comparative genome analysis shows not only a substantial level of plasticity in the gene repertoire, but also provides evidence that nearly all genes, including ribosomal genes, have been exchanged or recombined at some point in time.
    https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140673609619589/fulltext?rss=yes

    It is also interesting to note that the Ribosome of the cell is found to be very similar to a CPU in an electronic computer:

    Dichotomy in the definition of prescriptive information suggests both prescribed data and prescribed algorithms: biosemiotics applications in genomic systems – 2012?David J D’Onofrio1*, David L Abel2* and Donald E Johnson3
    Excerpt: The DNA polynucleotide molecule consists of a linear sequence of nucleotides, each representing a biological placeholder of adenine (A), cytosine (C), thymine (T) and guanine (G). This quaternary system is analogous to the base two binary scheme native to computational systems. As such, the polynucleotide sequence represents the lowest level of coded information expressed as a form of machine code. Since machine code (and/or micro code) is the lowest form of compiled computer programs, it represents the most primitive level of programming language.,,,
    An operational analysis of the ribosome has revealed that this molecular machine with all of its parts follows an order of operations to produce a protein product. This order of operations has been detailed in a step-by-step process that has been observed to be self-executable. The ribosome operation has been proposed to be algorithmic (Ralgorithm) because it has been shown to contain a step-by-step process flow allowing for decision control, iterative branching and halting capability. The R-algorithm contains logical structures of linear sequencing, branch and conditional control. All of these features at a minimum meet the definition of an algorithm and when combined with the data from the mRNA, satisfy the rule that Algorithm = data + control. Remembering that mere constraints cannot serve as bona fide formal controls, we therefore conclude that the ribosome is a physical instantiation of an algorithm.,,,
    The correlation between linguistic properties examined and implemented using Automata theory give us a formalistic tool to study the language and grammar of biological systems in a similar manner to how we study computational cybernetic systems. These examples define a dichotomy in the definition of Prescriptive Information. We therefore suggest that the term Prescriptive Information (PI) be subdivided into two categories: 1) Prescriptive data and 2) Prescribed (executing) algorithm. It is interesting to note that the CPU of an electronic computer is an instance of a prescriptive algorithm instantiated into an electronic circuit, whereas the software under execution is read and processed by the CPU to prescribe the program’s desired output. Both hardware and software are prescriptive.
    http://www.tbiomed.com/content.....82-9-8.pdf

  3. 3
    jawa says:

    BA77,

    Excellent!

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