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RNA world would work if only life were simpler?


Evolution News and Views


Current thinking is that early life forms used RNA alone,  instead of DNA and RNA, in order to reproduce. The theory is, it would be marginally simpler for life to have got started that way.

Andy Ellington, on behalf of the RNA world origin of life hypothesis, tells us at U Berkeley’s Evolution 101: From Soup to Cells: “Origins is a huge knotty problem—but that doesn’t mean it’s an insoluble one.” It’s an interesting image because the knot problem, whether it is created by design or by chance, has this going for it: Patient untangling will usually work. That’s because the entire problem consists of one or several tangled strings. People more often lose patience than lose hope.

But an RNA origin of life is not like that. For one thing, opinions differ as to what would constitute a solution and how far we are from one. Some are convinced that much of the problem is solved already: A site for educators treats it almost as a historical problem, while calling it a hypothesis. And DNA from the beginning tells us:

RNA has great capability as a genetic molecule; it once had to carry on hereditary processes on its own. It now seems certain that RNA was the first molecule of heredity, so it evolved all the essential methods for storing and expressing genetic information before DNA came onto the scene. However, single-stranded RNA is rather unstable and is easily damaged by enzymes. By essentially doubling the existing RNA molecule, and using deoxyribose sugar instead of ribose, DNA evolved as a much more stable form to pass genetic information with accuracy.

Others say no, “ it is difficult to imagine how long RNA molecules could be formed initially by purely nonenzymatic means,” so they hypothesize precursors that have never been observed.

RNA world in general has never been observed. One supporter  calls it “ the worst theory of the early evolution of life (except for all the others).” Indeed, the very same people who called RNA world “the molecular biologist’s dream” also called it “the prebiotic chemist’s nightmare.”

Science journalists, however, are undeterred by these difficulties, which is likely why the rest of us do not often hear about them. And this is the five-star hotel of origin of life theories. As I noted in the series over at Evolution News & Views,

So as mathematician David Berlinski notes, the basic problem is that RNA world proposals are “dominated by references to a number of unspecified but mysteriously potent forces and obscure conditional circumstances …” The technical term for that is magic. Nevertheless, RNA world is the best fully natural origin of life scenario today. More.

See also:

Is there a good reason to believe that life’s origin must be a fully natural event?

Does nature just “naturally” produce life?

Can all the numbers for life’s origin just happen to fall into place?

Welcome to “RNA world,” the five-star hotel of origin-of-life theories

The Science Fictions series at your fingertips (origin of life)

Earth’s crust cooled only 160 million years after solar system formed, says new Australian zircon study (Life could have started shortly afterward.)

Back on topic (thanks, Jaceli123): RNA was proposed because the regular biotic world we see around us was deemed too improbable. But RNA-world still doesn't solve any of the key issues relating to OOL, including the origin of information. It is instructive to watch the RNA proponents and non-RNA proponents go at each other. Instructive because it highlights just how much of a failure all of the materialistic OOL theories are.
Origins is a huge knotty problem—but that doesn’t mean it’s an insoluble one.
True. But it doesn't mean it is soluble either. Additionally, there are lots of good reasons -- beyond just calling it a "huge knotty problem" -- to think that it is insoluble. At least in terms of a purely materialistic process operating within the time and resources of the known universe. Eric Anderson
Thanks Joe for the understanding sorry for arguing with you! Jaceli123
Joe I understand that no scientist can support evolution ...
That ain't what I said. Pay attention- the petition refers to a specific form of evolution, ie blind watchmaker evolution. That is most of the problem- people have no idea what is being debated. And that is because they just refuse to listen. Joe
We have all seen the Discovery Institutes list of scientists rejecting evolution.
That's a lie right there. That is not what the list is for. But anyway, with any petition there are bound to be discrepancies. And I don't trust anyone with an obvious agenda who starts an email with a lie. Joe
Joe I understand that no scientist can support evolution what im talking about is that the petition Discovery Institute here: http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org Has people who didnt sign the petition and that the Discovery Institute lied and put random people on there. In this video here: http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty1Bo6GmPqM The video maker emailed one of the head administrators about one of the signers on the dissent from darwinism site that I linked above! Heres the email the video maker sent: We have all seen the Discovery Institutes list of scientists rejecting evolution. I analyzed the list, and emailed its signees. The truth of the matter is, DI lied repeatedly when constructing the list, and, by their own admission, even IF the numbers are skewed hugely in favor or the creationists, this still leaves .0027% of scientists in the US rejecting evolution. Updates will be added periodically as I hear from these scientists. Update #1) - Heard about Marko Horb. This is an email I just received from the head of the dept. where he was listed as working: "Dear Whitney I have been away on leave so have only just found your email. I'm afraid I've never heard of Marko Horb. How is he connected to the University? Best wishes Gill Gill Smith Communications Officer Department of Corporate Communications University of Bath BA2 7AY" #2) Dr David A. DeWitt received a B.S. in biochemistry from Michigan State University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Case Western Reserve University. I was mistaken when I said "I think undergrad". #3) The figure I gave in the video is not intended to be used as a concrete % of scientists who reject evolution. Although it is close, I will specifically address this in my next video. That calculation was added moreso for amusement. Jaceli123
Methinks you have reading comprehension issues. And no scientist can support the claims of evolutionism. No one can. Who cares about debunking something tat can't be tested? Joe
No Joe did you not see the video I think Discovery Institute put people on their without them knowing. Also in signature of the cell Stephen Meyer referred to 44 per reviewed papers thats when NCSE jumped in and contacted all 44 when 36 responded saying that their work did not debunk evolution at all! http://ncse.com/creationism/general/analysis-discovery-institutes-bibliography-appendix What if there lying! Jaceli123
All scientists should be skeptical of that claim as there isn't any evidence to support it. So are all those scientists lying? Methinks so... Joe
Hey did discovery institute lie about the dissent of darwinism page that says: we are skeptical of the claims that natural selection can account for the complexity of life! I just saw a video were he said that these scientists did not sign this paper at all. Heres the video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UQx1U8eBz1o http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Ty1Bo6GmPqM Is the Discovery Institute lying? One of the you tubers emailed a administrator asking about a scientist on the list but the administrator had never heard of him! IDK but I hope the discovery institute isn't lying! Jaceli123
"In a classic experiment, Spiegelman in 1967 showed what happens to a molecular replicating system in a test tube, without any cellular organization around it. … these initial templates did not stay the same; they were not accurately copied. They got shorter and shorter until they reached the minimal size compatible with the sequence retaining self-copying properties. And as they got shorter, the copying process went faster." - Stephen Meyer - The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science (Wilmington, DE: ISI Books, 2011), p. 313–18.
This following link has a nice overview of the classic self-replicating experiment in 1967 by Spiegelman in which the self-replicating RNA molecule got simpler and simpler in an artificial environment,(i.e. from 4500 nucleotides to the 220 nucleotide 'Spiegelman's monster'), instead of evolving any new complexity that might have led to self sustaining capability;
Origins of Life – Freeman Dyson – page 75 http://books.google.com/books?id=aQ75QhwpXoEC&pg=PA75#v=onepage&q&f=false
Yet today, in spite of experiments like the preceding, we have PhD chemists trying, through extreme effort, to 'intelligently design' the right information into the RNA nucleotides so that it may finally self replicate on its own and then they hope to finally let Darwinian processes 'take over from there', all the while ignoring the fact that Darwinian processes, in the raw, always reduce information. In fact, if evolution were actually the truth about how life came to be on Earth then the only 'life' that would be around would be extremely small organisms with the highest replication rate, and with the most 'mutational firepower', since only they would be the fittest to survive in the dog eat dog world where blind pitiless evolution rules and only the 'fittest' are allowed to survive. The logic of this is nicely summed up here in this Dawkins interview:
Richard Dawkins interview with a 'Darwinian' physician goes off track - video Excerpt: "I am amazed, Richard, that what we call metazoans, multi-celled organisms, have actually been able to evolve, and the reason [for amazement] is that bacteria and viruses replicate so quickly -- a few hours sometimes, they can reproduce themselves -- that they can evolve very, very quickly. And we're stuck with twenty years at least between generations. How is it that we resist infection when they can evolve so quickly to find ways around our defenses?" http://www.evolutionnews.org/2012/07/video_to_dawkin062031.html
i.e. Since successful reproduction is all that really matters on a neo-Darwinian view of things, how can anything but successful reproduction be realistically 'selected' for? Any other function besides reproduction, such as sight, hearing, thinking, etc.., would be highly superfluous to the primary criteria of successfully reproducing, and should, on a Darwinian view, be discarded as so much excess baggage since it would slow down successful reproduction. notes:
"I have read R.A. Fisher’s “Genetical Theory of Evolution”, including Chapter 2, on the “Fundamental Theorem of Natural Selection.” I’ve looked all over for plausible mechanisms (in population genetics) in which NS (Natural Selection) can account for the rise in complexity that evolutionary theory requires. I have found none." PaV - UD blogger EXPELLED - Natural Selection And Genetic Mutations - video http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4036840 "...but Natural Selection reduces genetic information and we know this from all the Genetic Population studies that we have..." Maciej Marian Giertych - Population Geneticist - member of the European Parliament - EXPELLED Multiple Overlapping Genetic Codes Profoundly Reduce the Probability of Beneficial Mutation George Montañez 1, Robert J. Marks II 2, Jorge Fernandez 3 and John C. Sanford 4 - May 2013 Excerpt: It is almost universally acknowledged that beneficial mutations are rare compared to deleterious mutations [1–10].,, It appears that beneficial mutations may be too rare to actually allow the accurate measurement of how rare they are [11]. 1. Kibota T, Lynch M (1996) Estimate of the genomic mutation rate deleterious to overall fitness in E. coli . Nature 381:694–696. 2. Charlesworth B, Charlesworth D (1998) Some evolutionary consequences of deleterious mutations. Genetica 103: 3–19. 3. Elena S, et al (1998) Distribution of fitness effects caused by random insertion mutations in Escherichia coli. Genetica 102/103: 349–358. 4. Gerrish P, Lenski R N (1998) The fate of competing beneficial mutations in an asexual population. Genetica 102/103:127–144. 5. Crow J (2000) The origins, patterns, and implications of human spontaneous mutation. Nature Reviews 1:40–47. 6. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501. 7. Imhof M, Schlotterer C (2001) Fitness effects of advantageous mutations in evolving Escherichia coli populations. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 98:1113–1117. 8. Orr H (2003) The distribution of fitness effects among beneficial mutations. Genetics 163: 1519–1526. 9. Keightley P, Lynch M (2003) Toward a realistic model of mutations affecting fitness. Evolution 57:683–685. 10. Barrett R, et al (2006) The distribution of beneficial mutation effects under strong selection. Genetics 174:2071–2079. 11. Bataillon T (2000) Estimation of spontaneous genome-wide mutation rate parameters: whither beneficial mutations? Heredity 84:497–501. http://www.worldscientific.com/doi/pdf/10.1142/9789814508728_0006
Verse and Music:
Acts 2:24 because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. MercyMe - Finally Home http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rlxFee1mRtE
Well some people believe that the fact there is a 5 nucleotide RNA that is a catalyst (using only the inner 3 nucleotides) means the RNA world is a fact. Seriously... Joe

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