Intelligent Design

What Origin of Life Research Really Tells Us

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Here is an experiment you can try next time you clean out your refrigerator. When you excavate that old jar from way in the back of your refrigerator which long ago held something edible but is now covered with growths of various colors, scrape off some of that growth and put it into a pot of boiling water. After boiling for several minutes let the water cool off and then pour the water into a little pond that has no living organisms and mimics the conditions of the early Earth. Do you think that those organic chemicals from the refrigerator will eventually reassemble and produce new living cells? Evolutionists do. In fact it’s worse. Evolutionists believe life will spontaneously appear even without the benefit of adding that full complement of boiled over organic ingredients. In order to understand fully the extent to which evolution abuses science one must understand two things: what the science really says and what evolutionists really say.  Read more

14 Replies to “What Origin of Life Research Really Tells Us

  1. 1
    nightlight says:

    Lifelike self-replicating patterns can be produced via artificial cellular automata which are much simpler building blocks than atoms and molecules. Hence, it wouldn’t be overly surprising if the right model of life with real world building blocks is found. Note that networks of cellular automate can form universal computers and the latter can generate any sequence of finitely describable patterns, whether these belong to a chess game or to a lifeform.

    Namely, if some such networked automata models of artificial universes which yield life-like patterns can also replicate the regular laws of physics in their ‘large’ system scale or ‘continuum’ limit, then our present laws of physics and chemistry could be understood as being merely a coarse grained approximation of patterns computed by the automata networks at a much smaller scale (such as Planck scale). Hence, such models would simultaneously provide a more economical, deeper model of physics, including the fine tuning of its laws for life, as well as how the resulting process can yield life.

    The above developments are a matter of time and research efforts not of any defects in principles. While building a model of origin of life using laws of physics and chemistry as presently understood, under assumptions of simple stochastic initial and boundary conditions is likely not possible, such models will become possible using the computed finer laws with computed initial & boundary conditions. The computational foundations approach (named NKS by Stephen Wolfram; see also a recent post at UD which relates it to our subject) does not generate simple stochastic distributions for the initial and boundary conditions at the level of its coarse grained approximation of presently understood physical laws, but rather the patterns of arbitrary complexity.

    Hence the “part time” intelligent agency of DI’s ID advocated in the article, which jumps in to fix the problems only when the “natural laws” are insufficient for some “irreducibly complex” task (aka ‘god of gaps’) is likely to suffer in not too distant future yet another major contraction of its dominion, becoming obsolete for the origin of life and fine tuning problems. In contrast, the “full time” intelligent agency of the computational/NKS perspective, which operates continuously to uphold the universe at all times and in every point of space, gets its dominion expanded with any new scientific models for the observed phenomena.

  2. 2
    Cornelius Hunter says:


    Hence the “part time” intelligent agency of DI’s ID advocated in the article

    The article advocated no such thing.

  3. 3
    Mung says:

    …scientists “have found compelling evidence that life could have evolved into a DNA-based microbe in a series of steps.”

    Evolved, sure, but in a non-Darwinian way.

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    University of Iowa Chemist Rebuked by Faculty for Acknowledging “Holes” in Darwinian Theory – David Klinghoffer October 4, 2013

  5. 5
    nightlight says:

    @Cornelius Hunter #2

    Hence the “part time” intelligent agency of DI’s ID advocated in the article

    The article advocated no such thing.

    Not in those words but by what is excluded and what is left as a possible explanation. For example, the basic refrain played out in the article several times with variations is (emphasis added):

    I would be delighted to discover that life can spring up spontaneously. How fascinating that would be.

    So what does that leave as the alternative explanation i.e. what might explain the origin of life (which obviously exists hence needs explaining)? What is the implied “non-spontaneous” method by which life could originate from non-life (since you exclude the “spontaneous” method)? That article doesn’t say it explicitly, but from the context permeating numerous other blog articles, the alternative left are actions of an “intelligent agency” (IA).

    So what kind of “intelligent agency” (for brevity I will label it DI-IA) is being conceived here? Although the article doesn’t work out any details of the DI-IA operation, it does suggest that should lab experiments produce life from basic non-live molecules, that would render the “non-spontaneous” method, the actions of DI-IA unnecessary. So, the DI-IA apparently may engage itself to help along the “natural laws” in some occasions while remaining inactive at other times or places.

    One can also see the same ON/OFF activation of DI-IA in the distinction it emphasizes between the “micro-evolution” which DI’s variant of ID concedes to “natural laws” and the “macro-evolution” or the “origin of life” which DI-ID maintains require intervention of DI-IA.

    Hence, DI-IA is a part time intelligent agency since it acts occasionally to fill in as explanation for otherwise unexplained phenomena, and keeps out of the business of nature the rest of the time, for the phenomena we can explain via natural laws. This kind of capricious IA is incoherent as the explanatory technique, or at best it is an ugly kludge, a verbal filler. It is also an extremely weak position, condemned to permanently continue retreating beyond the ever expanding domain of the “explained” phenomena or phenomena reproducible in the lab.

    DI-ID is essentially a modernized version of “spirits of nature” explanatory technique of the stone age people, where some sky god was needed to explain the origin and workings of lightening, but there was no need to invoke gods to explain something simple, easily reproducible at will, such as rock sinking when dropped into the water. Another historical term for this explanatory technique is “god of gaps.”

    An alternative possibility for IA is the IA that is always active, computing everything that happens at all times, in all places, at all scales, the CP-IA (computational process IA or “full” time IA or ‘lawful IA’; it is an element of CP-ID perspective, the computational process ID).

    In contrast to DI-ID, the CP-ID doesn’t make distinction in the mechanism behind “micro” and “macro” evolution and maintains that the neo-Darwinist model (“random” aimless mutations + natural selection i.e. RM+NS) is incapable of explaining either.

    Namely, from CP-ID perspective, the lab demonstration of “micro-evolution” does not confirm the neo-Darwinist RM+NS mechanism since no one has ever computed what “random, aimless mutation” adds up to probabilistically in order to compare the computed odds with the empirically observed phenomena of “micro-evolution”. The neo-Darwinist simply handwave RM+NS magic wand as soon as one can reproduce phenomenon in the lab.

    Further, any observed evolutionary phenomenon in biology pointed by neo-Darwinists as a proof of the RM+NS model of evolution (micro or macro) has close analogues in evolution of technologies, sciences, languages, etc. For example, the “genetic distance” methods used in biology to classify and date species have the close counterparts in “linguistic distance” methods used to classify and date languages.

    Since the latter instances of evolution (technologies, languages, etc) are results of intelligent/computational processes (simpler forms can even be simulated on digital computers), observing analogous phenomena in biology cannot possibly serve as a proof that could exclude intelligent (computational) processes in favor of RM+NS conjecture. In fact, RM+NS are a special case of one of the simplest and least efficient among the search algorithms, the random trial and error. Hence, the CP-ID expands the modeling space to that of general algorithms, including those which are far more efficient than neo-Darwinian random trial and error.

    Note that we already have empirically well established instances of such far more powerful biochemical algorithms in action e.g. embryogenesis, which is a process which computes and constructs complex organism from a single fertilized cell, a feat vastly more complex than any human technology could dream of. Yet, it is an easily reproducible phenomenon, even by those who have no knowledge beyond how to carry out a bit of pleasant activity which leads to the fertilization of the egg.

    From the CP-ID perspective, the latter ‘pleasant activity’ is in the same relation to the complex underlying algorithms of embryogenesis, as that of a scientist demonstrating some phenomenon of micro-evolution in the lab to the underlying complex computational processes that are actually doing the main job. In neither case the humanly visible and understood snippet of action is even remotely the explanation of the complex computational processes and algorithms that are needed to carry it out in the full gory details of actions of molecules, atoms, electrons and beyond.

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    Evidence indicating God’s, yes God’s, involvement in the origin of life:

    As Stephen Meyer points out here,,,

    The DNA Enigma – Where Did The Information Come From? – Stephen C. Meyer – video

    and also points out here,,,

    Dr. Stephen Meyer: Chemistry/RNA World/crystal formation can’t explain genetic information – video

    ,, the primary problem for Origin of Life research (and the ‘random’ evolution of organic life in general) always boils down to an ‘information problem’. Yet the only source that we know of that is capable of generating functional information is mind. Thus to address the ‘information problem’ properly it is first necessary to see if mind might have preceded the formation of organic life on Earth. One might imagine, as the late Francis Crick did,,

    At the 37 min. 15 sec. mark of this following video, Dr. Walter Bradley talks a little bit about the OOL problem and Watson and Crick’s, the co-discoverers of the DNA helix, disbelieving reactions to the DNA, RNA, Protein, ‘translation complexity’ they found themselves to be dealing with:

    Evidence for an Engineered Universe – Walter Bradley – video

    ,,,and as Richard Dawkins also does in the movie EXPELLED,,

    Ben Stein vs. Richard Dawkins Interview – video

    ,,,one might imagine, as Crick and Dawkins did, that some type of Extra-Terrestrial aliens (ETs) created the first life on Earth and thus try to circumvent the ‘information problem’. It would hardly be observational science but one could imagine that scenario. On the other hand if one demanded a little more rigor to one’s science then one could look to the cutting edge of science in quantum mechanics and find that breakthroughs in quantum mechanics have given us clear, unambiguous, evidence that mind/consciousness precedes not only life on earth but precedes all of material reality in the universe altogether.

    A team of physicists in Vienna has devised experiments that may answer one of the enduring riddles of science: Do we create the world just by looking at it? – 2008
    Excerpt: In mid-2007 Fedrizzi found that the new realism model was violated by 80 orders of magnitude; the group was even more assured that quantum mechanics was correct.

    1. Consciousness either preceded all of material reality or is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality.
    2. If consciousness is a ‘epi-phenomena’ of material reality then consciousness will be found to have no special position within material reality. Whereas conversely, if consciousness precedes material reality then consciousness will be found to have a special position within material reality.
    3. Consciousness is found to have a special, even central, position within material reality.
    4. Therefore, consciousness is found to precede material reality.

    Four intersecting lines of experimental evidence from quantum mechanics that shows that consciousness precedes material reality (Wigner’s Quantum Symmetries, Wheeler’s Delayed Choice, Leggett’s Inequalities, Quantum Zeno effect):

    Colossians 1:17
    And he is before all things, and by him all things consist.

    Quantum Enigma:Physics Encounters Consciousness – Richard Conn Henry – Professor of Physics – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: It is more than 80 years since the discovery of quantum mechanics gave us the most fundamental insight ever into our nature: the overturning of the Copernican Revolution, and the restoration of us human beings to centrality in the Universe.
    And yet, have you ever before read a sentence having meaning similar to that of my preceding sentence? Likely you have not, and the reason you have not is, in my opinion, that physicists are in a state of denial…

    Lecture 11: Decoherence and Hidden Variables – Scott Aaronson
    Excerpt: “Look, we all have fun ridiculing the creationists who think the world sprang into existence on October 23, 4004 BC at 9AM (presumably Babylonian time), with the fossils already in the ground, light from distant stars heading toward us, etc. But if we accept the usual picture of quantum mechanics, then in a certain sense the situation is far worse: the world (as you experience it) might as well not have existed 10^-43 seconds ago!”

    Moreover, as if that was not enough to refute any materialistic/atheistic origin of life scenario, it is now found that not only have material processes never been observed to generate functional information,,

    The Capabilities of Chaos and Complexity: David L. Abel – Null Hypothesis For Information Generation – 2009
    To focus the scientific community’s attention on its own tendencies toward overzealous metaphysical imagination bordering on “wish-fulfillment,” we propose the following readily falsifiable null hypothesis, and invite rigorous experimental attempts to falsify it: “Physicodynamics cannot spontaneously traverse The Cybernetic Cut: physicodynamics alone cannot organize itself into formally functional systems requiring algorithmic optimization, computational halting, and circuit integration.” A single exception of non trivial, unaided spontaneous optimization of formal function by truly natural process would falsify this null hypothesis.
    Can We Falsify Any Of The Following Null Hypothesis (For Information Generation)
    1) Mathematical Logic
    2) Algorithmic Optimization
    3) Cybernetic Programming
    4) Computational Halting
    5) Integrated Circuits
    6) Organization (e.g. homeostatic optimization far from equilibrium)
    7) Material Symbol Systems (e.g. genetics)
    Any Goal Oriented bona fide system
    9) Language
    10) Formal function of any kind
    11) Utilitarian work

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    But it now also found that material particles reduce to functional ‘quantum’ information,

    Quantum Entanglement and Information
    Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy, associated with the peculiar nonclassical correlations that are possible between separated quantum systems. Entanglement can be measured, transformed, and purified. A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems. The general study of the information-processing capabilities of quantum systems is the subject of quantum information theory.

    Quantum Entanglement and Teleportation – Anton Zeilinger – video

    Ions have been teleported successfully for the first time by two independent research groups
    Excerpt: In fact, copying isn’t quite the right word for it. In order to reproduce the quantum state of one atom in a second atom, the original has to be destroyed. This is unavoidable – it is enforced by the laws of quantum mechanics, which stipulate that you can’t ‘clone’ a quantum state. In principle, however, the ‘copy’ can be indistinguishable from the original (that was destroyed),,,

    Atom takes a quantum leap – 2009
    Excerpt: Ytterbium ions have been ‘teleported’ over a distance of a metre.,,,
    “What you’re moving is information, not the actual atoms,” says Chris Monroe, from the Joint Quantum Institute at the University of Maryland in College Park and an author of the paper. But as two particles of the same type differ only in their quantum states, the transfer of quantum information is equivalent to moving the first particle to the location of the second.
    – Per Free Republic

    Physicists set new record for quantum teleportation with matter qubits – Apr 16, 2013
    Excerpt: “The greatest significance of our work is the dramatic increase in efficiency compared to previous realizations of matter-matter teleportation,” Nölleke said. “Besides, it is the first demonstration of matter-matter teleportation between truly independent systems and constitutes the current record in distance of 21 m. The previous record was 1 m.”
    Per Physorg

    How Teleportation Will Work –
    Excerpt: In 1993, the idea of teleportation moved out of the realm of science fiction and into the world of theoretical possibility. It was then that physicist Charles Bennett and a team of researchers at IBM confirmed that quantum teleportation was possible, but only if the original object being teleported was destroyed. — As predicted, the original photon no longer existed once the replica was made.

    Quantum Teleportation – IBM Research Page
    Excerpt: “it would destroy the original (photon) in the process,,”

    Unconditional Quantum Teleportation – abstract
    Excerpt: This is the first realization of unconditional quantum teleportation where every state entering the device is actually teleported,,

    Quantum Computing – Stanford Encyclopedia
    Excerpt: Theoretically, a single qubit can store an infinite amount of information, yet when measured (and thus collapsing the Quantum Wave state) it yields only the classical result (0 or 1),,,

    Explaining Information Transfer in Quantum Teleportation: Armond Duwell †‡ University of Pittsburgh
    Excerpt: In contrast to a classical bit, the description of a (photon) qubit requires an infinite amount of information. The amount of information is infinite because two real numbers are required in the expansion of the state vector of a two state quantum system (Jozsa 1997, 1) — Concept 2. is used by Bennett, et al. Recall that they infer that since an infinite amount of information is required to specify a (photon) qubit, an infinite amount of information must be transferred to teleport.
    – Per Duwell

    In fact, in the following video, the theoretical feasibility of reducing an entire human to quantum information and teleporting him/her to another location in the universe is discussed:

    New Breakthrough in (Quantum) Teleportation – video
    Quote from video:
    “There are 10^28 atoms in the human body.,, The amount of data contained in the whole human,, is 3.02 x 10^32 gigabytes of information. Using a high bandwidth transfer that data would take about 4.5 x 10^18 years to teleport 1 time. That is 350,000 times the age of the universe.”
    for comparison sake:
    “The theoretical (information) density of DNA is you could store the total world information, which is 1.8 zetabytes, at least in 2011, in about 4 grams of DNA.” (a zettabyte is one billion trillion or 10^21 bytes of digital data)
    Sriram Kosuri PhD. – Wyss Institute

  8. 8
    bornagain77 says:

    In the preceding video they speak of having to entangle all the material particles of the human body on a one by one basis in order to successfully teleport a human. What they failed to realize in the video is that the human body is already ‘teleporatation ready’ in that all the material particles of the human body are already ‘quantumly entangled’:

    Does DNA Have Telepathic Properties?-A Galaxy Insight – 2009
    Excerpt: DNA has been found to have a bizarre ability to put itself together, even at a distance, when according to known science it shouldn’t be able to.,,, The recognition of similar sequences in DNA’s chemical subunits, occurs in a way unrecognized by science. There is no known reason why the DNA is able to combine the way it does, and from a current theoretical standpoint this feat should be chemically impossible.
    per Daily Galaxy

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.

    Also of note, quantum entanglement requires a non-local, beyond space and time, cause in order to explain its effect:

    Looking Beyond Space and Time to Cope With Quantum Theory – (Oct. 28, 2012)
    Excerpt: The remaining option is to accept that (quantum) influences must be infinitely fast,,,
    “Our result gives weight to the idea that quantum correlations somehow arise from outside spacetime, in the sense that no story in space and time can describe them,” says Nicolas Gisin, Professor at the University of Geneva, Switzerland,,,
    Per Science Daily

    The implications of finding ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, quantum information/entanglement in our body on a massive scale are fairly self evident:

    Does Quantum Biology Support A Quantum Soul? – Stuart Hameroff – video (notes in description)

    Quantum Entangled Consciousness (Permanence/Conservation of Quantum Information) – Life After Death – Stuart Hameroff – video

    One more line of evidence that God was directly involved in the formation of the first life on earth is photosythesis:

    The Sudden Appearance Of Photosynthetic Life On Earth – video

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012

    Evidence for wavelike energy transfer through quantum coherence in photosynthetic systems. Gregory S. Engel, Nature (12 April 2007)
    Photosynthetic complexes are exquisitely tuned to capture solar light efficiently, and then transmit the excitation energy to reaction centres, where long term energy storage is initiated.,,,, This wavelike characteristic of the energy transfer within the photosynthetic complex can explain its extreme efficiency, in that it allows the complexes to sample vast areas of phase space to find the most efficient path. —- Conclusion? Obviously Photosynthesis is a brilliant piece of design by “Someone” who even knows how quantum mechanics works.

    Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two Billion Years – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: “We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once — a quantum superposition state, or coherence — and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory.”,,, “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics,, billion(s) of years before humans,” says Scholes.

    Thus not only is God somehow directly involved in the formation of all the biological molecules of life on earth, but He is also ultimately responsible for feeding all higher life on earth since all higher life on earth is dependent on ‘non-local’ photosynthesis for food.

    Verse and Music:

    John 1:4
    In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.

    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection music video)
    lyric: “Death has lost and love has won!”,,

  9. 9
    Barry Arrington says:

    Dr. Hunter, nightlight is a truly evil man. He dismisses the ruthless murder of millions as nothing but the result of a “different evaluation” on the part of the murderers. If he can dismiss genocide with such insouciance, is it any surprise that he will also lie about the content of your post?

  10. 10
    Cornelius Hunter says:


    That article doesn’t say it explicitly, but …

    In fact what the article *does* say is that evolutionists misrepresent science. Question: Do you think they should rectify this situation? IOW, do you think the science should be represented accurately?

  11. 11
    nightlight says:

    @Cornelius Hunter #10

    In fact what the article *does* say is that evolutionists misrepresent science. Question: Do you think they should rectify this situation? IOW, do you think the science should be represented accurately?

    We all agree that they do, but not about the extent of that misrepresentation and what is needed to fix it.

    The view I support is that their fatal flaw is in the conjectured “random” (aimless) mutations (RM) as the source of biological novelty and that the minimum correction would replace it with intelligently, purposefully generated mutations.

    The minimum requirement for the latter is some computational process which can perform much more sophisticated search algorithms than the random trial and error of the neo-Darwinian RM conjecture. This position is quite similar to that of James Shapiro, although he doesn’t express the minimum fix in the abstract computational and algorithmic terms but in more concrete language of biochemical mechanisms. Others with similar positions include “Complexity Science” researchers (mostly at Santa Fe Institute) as well as physicists and computer scientists proposing computational basis for natural laws, from physical through biological and social (cellular automata, small world networks, Digital Physics, Wolfram’s New Kind of Science).

    While you and Discovery Institute (DI) folks also see a major problem with RM conjecture for the source of evolutionary novelty (e.g. that’s a centerpiece of the critique in most of articles on your blog), the fix proposed is at best a clumsy kludge and at worst incoherent.

    Namely, the DI’s proposed “fix” for the neo-Darwinian RM problem assumes “conscious, intelligent agency” which gets involved in the business of novelty generation only occasionally, by somehow jumping in and helping out the “natural laws” whenever they run into evolutionary problems beyond their solving capacity.

    That approach is a result of an overly greedy leap into the problems which are not only outside of the scope of evolutionary biology, but also beyond the horizons of the present natural science altogether, such as the origin of universe, nature of consciousness and of existence (why is there something rather than nothing). You and DI are needlessly piling up on neo-Darwists and on natural science the problems which are way out of their domain and seeking one simplistic, cheap answer for all of them in one far leap, then complaining why they are not following you over the edge into the void. The problem is there is nothing there, no stepping stones in sight, for the present natural science to land on where you are jumping (the misty realms of philosophy and theology).

    Hence, DI’s version of ID is like those early fliers, flapping their clumsy wood and fabric wings, leaping off the cliff.

  12. 12
    nightlight says:

    @Barry Arrington #9

    Dr. Hunter, nightlight is a truly evil man. He dismisses the ruthless murder of millions as nothing but the result of a “different evaluation” on the part of the murderers.

    We were discussing different subjects there. I was objecting to the critique of ‘consequentialism’ in the article, pointing out that such perspective is perfectly sound if one considers it as an attempt to see larger patterns in the universe that, among others, manifest as instances of “good” and “evil” in human affairs.

    After all, humans are a tiny blip in the space-time extent of the universe, and you and I are tiny blips in the space-time extent of the human blip. Hence, it is a natural question whether “good” and “evil” are some new custom, one off rules of the game puffed into existence just for this one space-time blip of the universe (humans), or are they a special case of some more general rules at work. If one looks at ‘consequentialism’ as an attempt to address that question, then it is a coherent answer as explained in that thread (post1, post2, post3 and post4).

    The “counter argument” amounted, in the language of the above context, to one space-time blip of a blip asking another space-time blip of a blip how does he feel about some other particular space-time blip. After the second blip of a blip declined to engage into the non sequitur diversion, the first blip of a blip deduced somehow that the second blip of a blip is “a truly evil” blip of a blip.

  13. 13
    Quest says:


    “New Breakthrough in (Quantum) Teleportation – video

    The above mentioned by you video no loner exist…

    Do you possibly have another link…?

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    Quest, here you go:

    Quantum Teleportation Of A Human? – video

    Merry Christmas!

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