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He said it: On origin of life, “we now have an inkling of the magnitude of the problem”

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In one sense the origin of life problem today remains what it was in the time of Darwin — one of the great unsolved riddles of science. Yet we have made progress. Through theoretical scrutiny and experimental effort since the nineteen-twenties many of the early naive assumptions have fallen or are falling aside — and there now exist alternative theories. In short, while we do not have a solution, we now have an inkling of the magnitude of the problem.

– Carl Woese, microbiologist, and Gunter Wachtershauser, chemist and attorney, “Origin of Life” in Derek E. G. Briggs and Peter R. Crowther, eds., Paleobiology: A Synthesis (Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1990), 9

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GinoB, I agree with you that the quote is pretty old. If we take into account recent advances in OOL research, then we probably can't even say that we have an inkling of the magnitude of the problem. Eric Anderson
Youtube link: Theologian R.C. Sproul interviews Stephen C. Meyer http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kVHZrSuXZkY bornagain77
Theologian R.C. Sproul interviews Stephen C. Meyer - video http://networkedblogs.com/phlvd?a=share&ref=nf bornagain77
as to:
we now have an inkling of the magnitude of the problem.
The numbers one gets, from scientists in origin of life research, truly are beyond the reach of meaningful human comprehension: In fact Dean Kenyon, who was a leading Origin Of Life researcher as well as a college textbook author on the subject, admitted after years of extensive research:
"We have not the slightest chance for the chemical evolutionary origin of even the simplest of cells". Signature in the Cell - Book Review - Ken Peterson Excerpt: If we assume some minimally complex cell requires 250 different proteins then the probability of this arrangement happening purely by chance is one in 10 to the 164th multiplied by itself 250 times or one in 10 to the 41,000th power. http://www.spectrummagazine.org/reviews/book_reviews/2009/10/06/signature_cell
In fact years ago Fred Hoyle arrived at approximately the same number, one chance in 10^40,000, for life spontaneously arising. From this number, Fred Hoyle compared the random emergence of the simplest bacterium on earth to the likelihood “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 therein”. Fred Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining just one single functioning protein molecule, by chance combination of amino acids, to a solar system packed full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously. Professor Harold Morowitz shows the Origin of Life 'problem' escalates dramatically over the 1 in 10^40,000 figure when working from a thermodynamic perspective,:
"The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!" (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)
Dr. Don Johnson lays out some of the probabilities for life in this following video:
Probabilities Of Life - Don Johnson PhD. - 38 minute mark of video a typical functional protein - 1 part in 10^175 the required enzymes for life - 1 part in 10^40,000 a living self replicating cell - 1 part in 10^340,000,000 http://www.vimeo.com/11706014 Programming of Life - Probability of a Cell Evolving - video http://www.youtube.com/user/Programmingoflife#p/c/AFDF33F11E2FB840/9/nyTUSe99z6o Programming of Life - video playlist: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLAFDF33F11E2FB840
Dr. Morowitz did another probability calculation working from the thermodynamic perspective with a already existing cell and came up with this number:
DID LIFE START BY CHANCE? Excerpt: Molecular biophysicist, Horold Morowitz (Yale University), calculated the odds of life beginning under natural conditions (spontaneous generation). He calculated, if one were to take the simplest living cell and break every chemical bond within it, the odds that the cell would reassemble under ideal natural conditions (the best possible chemical environment) would be one chance in 10^100,000,000,000. You will have probably have trouble imagining a number so large, so Hugh Ross provides us with the following example. If all the matter in the Universe was converted into building blocks of life, and if assembly of these building blocks were attempted once a microsecond for the entire age of the universe. Then instead of the odds being 1 in 10^100,000,000,000, they would be 1 in 10^99,999,999,916 (also of note: 1 with 100 billion zeros following would fill approx. 20,000 encyclopedias) http://members.tripod.com/~Black_J/chance.html “The difference between a mixture of simple chemicals and a bacterium, is much more profound than the gulf between a bacterium and an elephant.” (Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, NYU) “To go from bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium.” - Dr. Lynn Margulis
Ilya Prigogine, an eminent chemist and physicist who received two Nobel Prizes in chemistry, Regarding the probability of life originating by accident, he said:
“The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.” Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28.
I would like to point out that the 'statistical probability' of life happening by accidental material processes truly is zero:
Falsification Of Neo-Darwinism by Quantum Entanglement/Information https://docs.google.com/document/d/1p8AQgqFqiRQwyaF8t1_CKTPQ9duN8FHU9-pV4oBDOVs/edit?hl=en_US
It is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place! But to try to get a grasp on just how incomprehensibly large these numbers are against any life 'accidentally' happening, I offer this article from a study on prophecy:
The Case for Jesus the Messiah — Incredible Prophecies that Prove God Exists By Dr. John Ankerberg, Dr. John Weldon, and Dr. Walter Kaiser, Jr. Excerpt: But, of course, there are many more than eight prophecies. In another calculation Stoner used 48 prophecies (even though he could have used 456) and arrived at the extremely conservative estimate that the probability of 48 prophecies being fulfilled in one person is one in 10^157. How large is the number 10^157? 10^157 contains 157 zeros! Let us try to illustrate this number using electrons. Electrons are very small objects. They are smaller than atoms. It would take 2.5 times 10^15 of them, laid side by side, to make one inch. Even if we counted four electrons every second and counted day and night, it would still take us 19 million years just to count a line of electrons one inch long. But how many electrons would it take if we were dealing with 10^157 electrons? Imagine building a solid ball of electrons that would extend in all directions from the earth a length of 6 billion light years. The distance in miles of just one light year is 6.4 trillion miles. That would be a big ball! But not big enough to measure 10^157 electrons. In order to do that, you must take that big ball of electrons reaching the length of 6 billion light years long in all directions and multiply it by 6 x 10^28! How big is that? It’s the length of the space required to store trillions and trillions and trillions of the same gigantic balls and more. In fact, the space required to store all of these balls combined together would just start to “scratch the surface” of the number of electrons we would need to really accurately speak about 10^157. But assuming you have some idea of the number of electrons we are talking about, now imagine marking just one of those electrons in that huge number. Stir them all up. Then appoint one person to travel in a rocket for as long as he wants, anywhere he wants to go. Tell him to stop and segment a part of space, then take a high-powered microscope and find that one marked electron in that segment. What do you think his chances of being successful would be? It would be one in 10^157. Remember, this number represents the chance of only 48 prophecies coming true in one person (there are 456 total prophecies concerning Jesus). http://www.johnankerberg.org/Articles/ATRJ/proof/ATRJ1103PDF/ATRJ1103-3.pdf
What recent advances? Are you talking about the recent advances that say no way? Joseph
Don't you think with all the recent advances in OOL research you shouldn't rely on a quote that is over 20 years old? Scientific quotes don't get better with age: "Heavier than air flying machines are impossible" - Lord Kelvin, President of the Royal Society of England, 1895. GinoB
Crap, I was replying to the murder thread, and it got sent here. Administrators, please move it. EvilSnack
Joseph asked the question that should have been asked first. I do wish people would quit confusing the words murder and killing. Another question that comes first is, "How should any conflict between the good of one person and the good of another be resolved?" Only the principle of non-aggression gives any appearance of a final resolution to this question. EvilSnack

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