Darwinist rhetorical tactics Design inference Origin Of Life

“In the Beginning Were the Particles” – Thoughts on Abiogenesis

Spread the love

Recently we have been discussing Dr. Sewell’s thermodynamics-related paper/video on this thread.  In addition to some excellent discussion on the Second Law, the question of abiogenesis has naturally arisen.  Though related to the Second Law issue (by way of the compensation argument), I would like to move discussion of the abiogenesis question to this new thread, both so we can keep the other thread more focused on the Second Law, and also so we can have a more in-depth discussion here on this most fascinating topic of abiogenesis.

—–

I find posts that go on for dozens of pages to be rather tedious.  Notwithstanding my original intent, this post grew in length as I laid out the various points.  In the spirit of the great statesmen of old: I apologize for the length.  If I had had more time I would have made it shorter.

I. Asking the Right Questions

This topic of abiogenesis came up again on a different thread when AVS asserted that, given the Earth is an open system and receives energy from the Sun, “the generation of life was inevitable.”  Several commenters picked up on this, and I underscored that receipt of energy from the Sun doesn’t get us anywhere near the origin of life:

The compensation argument in regards to OOL and evolution is nonsensical because (i) OOL and evolution are not primarily thermal problems, (ii) even to the extent that energy is needed for OOL and evolution, simply pouring energy into the system isn’t helpful; there needs to be a directing process to channel the energy in useful ways, and (iii) no-one doubts that there is plenty of energy available, whether it be lightning strikes, volcanic vents, the Sun, deep sea vents, or otherwise; energy (at least in terms of raw quantity) has never been the issue.

I have also offered this challenge on more than one occasion, including in the recent discussions:

I’m willing to grant you all the amino acids you want. I’ll even give them all to you in a non-racemic mixture. You want them all left-handed? No problem. I’ll also grant you the exact relative mixture of the specific amino acids you want (what percentage do you want of glycine, alanine, arganine, etc.?). I’ll further give you just the right concentration to encourage optimum reaction. I’m also willing to give you the most benign and hospitable environment you can possibly imagine for your fledgling structures to form (take your pick of the popular ideas: volcanic vents, hydrothermal pools, mud globules, tide pools, deep sea hydrothermal vents, cometary clouds in space . . . whichever environment you want). I’ll even throw in whatever type of energy source you want in true Goldilocks fashion: just the right amount to facilitate the chemical reactions; not too much to destroy the nascent formations. I’ll further spot you that all these critical conditions occur in the same location spatially. And at the same time temporally. Shoot, as a massive bonus I’ll even step in to prevent contaminating cross reactions. I’ll also miraculously make your fledgling chemical structures immune from their natural rate of breakdown so you can keep them around as long as you want.

Every single one of the foregoing items represents a huge challenge and a significant open question to the formation of life, but I’m willing to grant them all.

Now, with all these concessions, what do you think the next step is?

Go ahead, what is your theory about how life forms?

In fairness, AVS has since backed down and said that his comment was just a “thought experiment”.  Later, when queried on the details, he further acknowledged that OOL is “not a simple feat” and “no simple task”.  Eventually, when Upright BiPed pressed on the informational and organizational aspects, AVS accused him of “moving the goalposts” and complained that even if he provided a mechanism for OOL we would “just sneer” and dismiss it.

I don’t mean to pick on AVS in particular.  We have seen this play out with more than one commenter over the years, and AVS’s frustration is understandable.  The abiogenesis story resides at the level of vague generalizations, questionable assumptions, and wild speculations.  It would be frustrating for any of us to have to provide a plausible naturalistic scenario.  Furthermore (and note, I am not saying this is the case with AVS necessarily), when someone thinks that life arose by purely natural processes – convinced even to the point of it forming an important part of their personal belief system – a challenge to that story becomes an attack on that person’s belief system, to their creation story, to their “Where did we come from?” and “Why are we here?” questions.

Finally, as is so often the case, when someone holds a strong belief in abiogenesis, they tend to assume the answers are out there somewhere – certainly at least the broad outlines, with the details soon to be filled in by noble scientists diligently dedicated to the task.  When that individual is forced to actually look into the details, however, it is understandably frustrating for them to discover that the answers aren’t out there and to be confronted by the fact that the abiogenesis story is riddled with holes . . . a dozen haunting questions springing up in the face of each minor issue addressed.  This is not only frustrating, but completely disconcerting – the original confidence giving way to quiet whispers of doubt, and the quiet whispers of doubt slowly building into a cacophony of cognitive dissonance.

billmaz offered a more realistic assessment of origin of life research:

Nobody has figured out abiogenesis. Let’s start with that. But it is also unscientific to immediately turn to deus ex machina to explain it. It is still a work in progress. The issue, as I see it, is not that certain molecules can spontaneously combine to form proteins, or RNA, but how did they “evolve” to actually correspond to information exchange? Which came first, the RNA or the proteins? And how did a code in the RNA come to correspond to a specific protein? And how the heck did all the other proteins evolve that are needed to translate the code from RNA (or later DNA) into proteins without there being an evolutionary advantage in any of the intervening steps? Damn difficult questions, but that doesn’t drive me to design yet. It’s just a challenge to exhaust all the known forces to explain it before I go hunting for an other-wordly one.

billmaz is at least highlighting some of the right questions.  And his comment raises two important issues:

1. What is the inference?  billmaz characterized the inference, essentially as, “We don’t know how life arose.  Therefore God did it.”  This is incorrect.  As I stated:

And the inference is not: “Abiogenesis is hard, so deus ex machina.”

The inference is: (i) naturalistic abiogenesis fails on multiple accounts, based on the current state of knowledge, (ii) there are good scientific reasons to conclude it isn’t possible given the resources of the known universe, furthermore (iii) we do know of a cause that can produce the kinds of effects at issue (the kinds of things you note in your #121). Even then, we can’t conclude that “God dunnit”; but, yes, we can draw a reasonable inference that some intelligent cause was responsible.

2. Can we draw the inference yet?  As to the question of whether we should hold off drawing an inference to design or wait until we have “exhausted” all other avenues of research, I think there can be a fruitful discussion.  I happen to think that there is plenty of evidence to draw a reasonable inference.  Others, I grant, may disagree.  But I fear perhaps some disagree precisely to avoid drawing an inference.

In other words, the following scenario quite often plays out:

If I acknowledge OOL is a hard problem, then I am at least being realistic and looking some of the facts squarely in the face.  Furthermore, if I say that design is a possible explanation, then I manifest my reasonableness in being open to alternative explanations.  But if I then couple my apparent reasonableness with a claim that design can only be seriously considered if and when – at some unspecified distant future, one that, conveniently, is far enough off to not present any present-day implications – all naturalistic possibilities (again, typically vague and unspecified) have been exhausted, then I have essentially foreclosed the realistic possibility of ever inferring design.  Design becomes some distant hypothetical, one that I can acknowledge in the spirit of appearing reasonable, while still keeping myself firmly planted in the “there is likely a natural explanation” camp.

I do not know if billmaz is using the “exhaust” all natural possibilities as a way to avoid drawing an uncomfortable conclusion about OOL.  Surely some are, but let’s assume for a moment that billmaz is truly willing, here and now, to consider design as a reasonable explanation, but just doesn’t think the science supports it.  Only billmaz can answer that question by looking hard in the mirror.  But fine.  I can live with that approach from an integrity standpoint.  I happen to disagree with billmaz and think that the science is quite clear on this issue, and that a reasonable inference can be drawn, but I remain open to the theoretical possibility of some new discovery that would change my mind.

On this issue of whether we know enough now to draw a reasonable inference or need to await future discoveries, Joe sarcastically responded to billmaz:

I’m with billmaz on this.  Science gave up way to[o] soon on Stonehenge.  Heck it’s only rocks and mother nature makes rocks in abundance.  So there isn’t any reason why mother nature, give[n] billions of years, couldn’t have produced many Stonehenge-type formations.

. . . We are just rushing to judgment with our meager “knowledge”.  Obviously the we of today don’t know anything but the we of tomorrow will figure it all out.

The science of today is meaningless and should just stay out of the way of the science of tomorrow.

Joe raises a good point, though.  Why are so many people willing to consider the possibility of design – nay, going so far as to conclude the fact of design – in the case of something like Stonehenge, but refuse to even consider the possibility of design in the origin of life?  It certainly cannot be because natural processes are more likely to have produced a living organism than Stonehenge.  Quite the contrary.

Is it because things like stones are more (no pun intended) concrete and easier to grasp for most people than harder-to-understand concepts like amino acids, homochiralty, interfering chemical reactions, etc.?

Is it because the origin of life resides in such a murky and distant past that the imagination can take over our rational faculties and produce fantasies of the “Who knows?  It might have happened.” variety?

Is it, as some argue, because we know humans exist and understand how humans might have created Stonehenge, but it is less definitive who or what could have created life?

Is it because of the constant propagandistic drumbeat of the truth of abiogenesis that pervades our schools and institutions of higher learning?

Is it because of a commitment to naturalistic explanations, no matter how absurd, and an unwillingness to consider intelligent causes, for fear of the implications?

Or a combination of the above?

I agree with billmaz that there is value in continuing the research and trying to find the answers.  No quibble there.  So perhaps it is more a question of where we are each at on the spectrum (see “Attitudes Toward Abiogenesis” below).

II. The Value of Origin of Live Research?

A fair amount of money is currently spent on origin of life research.  Some view a naturalistic origin of life as one of the great remaining questions that will undoubtedly (eventually) be answered by science.  Others view it as a fool’s errand, a waste of time and money.

Personally, I think there is value in origin of life research.  Certainly in the biochemical bench science aspect.  Even in some of the more intangible research questions – those surrounding how information arises, what protocols and hierarchies exist in the cell, and so on.  Not because I expect any of these efforts to yield a naturalistic explanation for the origin of life (quite the opposite), but because of the additional insights such efforts will yield to help us better understand exactly what we are up against in the creation of initial life.

I also expect origin of life research can be helpful in increasing our understanding of how simple organisms work (if not quite getting to the answer of how they arose), what parameters need to be taken into account, what engineering solutions can be brought to bear.  Finally, origin of life research can also provide insights into specific issues that can have application in biology beyond the strict “where did it come from” question.

Please don’t misunderstand.  I’m talking about real, objective, substantive scientific research.  I give no countenance to “research” or “studies” that consist of career-padding published papers filled with unfounded assumptions, wild speculations, attacks on design or religion, or philosophical propaganda about how life just surely must have arisen by purely natural means.

III. Attitudes Toward Abiogenesis

What then is the appropriate attitude toward naturalistic abiogenesis?

There are many possible approaches, but I believe the following offers a decent spectrum of possible attitudes:

1. Abiogenesis is true and we have a pretty good idea how it happened, just some details remain to be worked out.

2. Abiogenesis is true, but we don’t have a good idea how it happened.  However, with more time and additional study we will no doubt discover the details.

3. Abiogenesis is probably true, but we don’t know how it happened.  Nevertheless, science should focus on naturalistic explanations.

4. Abiogenesis may or may not be true.  There is much that we don’t know.  We should continue to exhaust all possible naturalistic explanations, but if those don’t pan out after a lot more study and research for several more decades, at some future point we may need to consider the possibility of design.

5. Abiogenesis may or may not be true.  We should continue to exhaust all possible naturalistic explanations, but in the meantime we should also be open to the possibility of design.

6. Abiogenesis may or may not be true.  It is too difficult a problem and too distant in the past for us to really study properly.  We’ll never know, and in the absence of specific empirical evidence we shouldn’t draw conclusions one way or another.

7. Abiogenesis is likely false.  There is good evidence that it cannot work within the resources of the known universe.  While we should continue to exhaust all possible naturalistic explanations, we should consider the possibility of design.

8. Abiogenesis is almost certainly false.  There are multiple and compounding problems with the abiogenesis story and strong evidence that it cannot work within the resources of the known universe.  Furthermore, there is good evidence for design and we can draw a reasonable inference to design.  However, we should continue to exhaust all possible naturalistic explanations.

9. Abiogenesis is false, with essentially the same level of certainty that anything can be said to be false.  There are multiple and compounding problems with the abiogenesis story and powerful evidence that it cannot work within the resources of the known universe.  Furthermore, the evidence points strongly to design and we can draw a reasonable inference of design.  However, we should continue to carry out origin of life research, as such research could change our assessment of the evidence and/or provide answers to other important biological questions in the process.

10. Abiogenesis is false, with essentially the same level of certainty that anything can be said to be false.  Furthermore, it is a fool’s errand and we should stop wasting money on origin of life research.

—–

What Do You Think?

A. Which of the above approaches to abiogenesis most closely represents your view, or is there another one you would like to share?

B. In addition to the challenges to a naturalistic abiogenesis that I have outlined in section II above, what other aspects of the abiogenesis story are problematic?

C. If you had a chance to give a 30-second “elevator pitch” to someone, what would you say in those few brief words to help them catch a glimpse of the challenges with the naturalistic abiogenesis story and, potentially, consider the possibility of design in the origin of life?

205 Replies to ““In the Beginning Were the Particles” – Thoughts on Abiogenesis

  1. 1
    NeilBJ says:

    I favor position 9. As I see it, origin of life research has to answer the following questions.

    1. Can unaided nature conceptualize a code?

    2. Can unaided nature then build the machinery to implement that code?

    3. Finally, can unaided nature, using that code, provide the information necessary to create the first reproducing entity?

  2. 2
    Dionisio says:

    After reading about all the ‘solid’ evidences supporting this theory, two serious phases came up to my mind:

    1. Where’s the beef? (1984 Wendy’s commercial)

    2. Show me the money! (1996 movie Jerry Maguire)

  3. 3
    Jon Garvey says:

    Once upon a time the pinciple of uniformity was in favour of abiogenesis, because for many centuries spontaneous generation of life was held to occur. And the reason was, it could be readily observed, even under experimental conditions.

    Eventually it began to be doubted, on the basis that only life begets life, buit it wasn’t until the late 19th century that spontaneous generation was finally disproved, because of more rigorous experimental design. Accordingly all scientific experience has shown that life only comes from life, and abiogenesis is now known never to have been witnesses.

    To insist that there must be a naturalistic cause and that we must just trust that evidence will, someday, be forthcoming is pure sub-prime science – investing heavily in the future without any known assets. If it’s bad economics, it sure as hell is bad science.

  4. 4
    Dionisio says:

    In the Beginning Were the Particles

    In the beginning was the Word.

  5. 5
    AVS says:

    I love how you ignore my half of the story here, EA. You provide all of your relevant posts from the conversation, but completely ignore any of my posts. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised by this type of behavior here in the UD circle, though. Not only do I explain myself and my original idea, but in comments 86, 94, and 100 of the “Thoughts on the second law” post I answer your challenge. I confess, it is not a detailed answer to your question, but it is my basic idea of what the next steps would be.

    I like the classification system of attitudes toward abiogenesis and would venture a guess that 99% of people who accept evolution would consider themselves a 2, 3, or 4. Also, anyone who considers themselves a 9 or 10 is basically admitting they have no idea what they are talking about because there has been no scientific study or collection of studies that falsifies abiogenesis. There have only been studies aimed at trying to figure out one piece of the abiogenesis puzzle, some of which have failed, some of which have provided supporting evidence. There is no simple way to test the actual production of what we would call a living cell from abiotic material, in fact it would be near impossible to do so with today’s limited technology. To my knowledge, we currently can only look at the possible chemical interactions that would lead up to the formation of the components of the first cell. I can’t think of a technique, method, or procedure that would allow scientists to look for the production of a single “cell” that we would be able to then test and classify as living. If you have any ideas, let me know.

  6. 6
    Joe says:

    AVS:

    Also, anyone who considers themselves a 9 or 10 is basically admitting they have no idea what they are talking about because there has been no scientific study or collection of studies that falsifies abiogenesis.

    LoL! There is absolutely no evidence to support it. Science is about supporting/ positive evidence. So people can be a 9 or 10 and still know what they are talking about. However it is clear that AVS is just a raw spewer.

  7. 7
    Moose Dr says:

    AVS, “anyone who considers themselves a 9 or 10 is basically admitting they have no idea what they are talking about because there has been no scientific study or collection of studies that falsifies abiogenesis.”

    Ok, so, like how the heck do you falsify abiogenesis again?!

  8. 8
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    I love how you ignore my half of the story here, EA.

    You’ve got a whole half of the story have you?

  9. 9
    Moose Dr says:

    “AVS asserted that, given the Earth is an open system and receives energy from the Sun, “the generation of life was inevitable.””

    If Dr. Sewell’s assertions are in error, if the only thing required to overthrow the second law, then I think AVS is right. AVS, however, has a problem. We have explored mars somewhat and have not found life. Energy in = life does not seem valid on mars. Europa seems potentially habitable. No evidence of life there so far. Energy = life does not seem valid on europa either.

    Could it be that Dr. Sewell is right, that even when energy is applied to a system, the system deteriorates to randomness or to a simple structure. Could it be that information is destroyed, not created, by unfocused energy input.

  10. 10
    AVS says:

    As I have alluded to, numerous studies have already been done that support abiogenesis. They have demonstrated the formation of early biomolecules, such as amino acids, sugars, lipids, amphipathic molecules, and amino acid polymers with catalytic activity from inorganic molecules. Formaldehyde has been identified as a likely candidate for the generation of larger organic molecules and is a well-known product in the reaction of carbon dioxide and hydrogen gas in the presence of light. Other reactive molecules have been shown to be likely precursors for biomolecules, such as hydrogen cyanide, and acetic acid is an interesting molecule because it is easily formed in likely early earth conditions and is an important intermediate in cell metabolism today. Also bicelles have been shown to form spontaneously by putting amphipathic molecules in water, and they are also capable of replicating due to the instability as their size increases or vibrations in the water.
    If these experiments had resulted in the opposite conclusions, it would be a substantial refutation of abiogenesis. But completely falsifying the theory is currently just as difficult as proving a certain model to be correct. As I have said, current technology does not allow for either.

  11. 11
    Moose Dr says:

    I’m a 9. Something valuable may come out of abiogenesis research. The discovery of functional RNA seems to have. Therefore I would be happy to see the research continue. However, the strong logical presumption from the current data is that unguided abiogenesis didn’t happen. The logical conclusion is that we should live our lives according to this evidence. Anything else is not logic but religious commitment.

  12. 12
    AVS says:

    Or could it be, moosey, that you are ignoring half of my argument: the fact that it is not only the input of energy in the form of light, but also the conditions on early-earth that drove the formation of life. The input from the sun just represents the lightest of light pushes toward the slightly more complex molecules of chemical evolution.

  13. 13
    AVS says:

    Thank you for admitting that you have no idea what you are talking about Moosey.

  14. 14
    Mung says:

    Look on the bright side AVS, if scientists can successfully simulate abiogenesis and create life in the lab it will demonstrate that life can arise via intelligent design.

    What it won’t demonstrate is that life was inevitable.

  15. 15
    AVS says:

    Do you not realize that by saying that Mung, you are admitting your complete bias and unwillingness to look at the results of a set of experiments and draw conclusions from them? This is what I mean when I say you guys are a bunch of scientifically illiterate fools whose minds are already made up about something you know nothing about. Thank you for proving it Mung.

  16. 16
    Joe says:

    AVS:

    As I have alluded to, numerous studies have already been done that support abiogenesis.

    And you are sadly mistaken, as usual.

    They have demonstrated the formation of early biomolecules, such as amino acids, sugars, lipids, amphipathic molecules, and amino acid polymers with catalytic activity from inorganic molecules.

    And they know one environment doesn’t satisfy all of those molecules- ie they all require different environments to form.

    They have not demonstrated that a living organism can emerge from matter and energy. Science only knows life begets life.

  17. 17
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    Do you not realize that by saying that Mung, you are admitting your complete bias and unwillingness to look at the results of a set of experiments and draw conclusions from them?

    Only a twisted coward on an agenda could come to that “inference” from Mung’s posts.

  18. 18
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    Do you not realize that by saying that Mung, you are admitting your complete bias and unwillingness to look at the results of a set of experiments and draw conclusions from them?

    Only a twisted coward on an agenda could come to that “inference” from Mung’s posts.

  19. 19
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    Do you not realize that by saying that Mung, you are admitting your complete bias and unwillingness to look at the results of a set of experiments and draw conclusions from them?

    Only a twisted coward on an agenda could come to that “inference” from Mung’s posts.

  20. 20
    AVS says:

    Everything I had said is a fact Joe. Just because you say I am mistaken, doesn’t make it so. The experiments were all done by modeling the early Earth. While I’m sure they were not all the same, if you step outside your front door you’ll notice that the environment itself is not static. In fact it overlaps and mixes in just about every combination possible. Saying “they haven’t demonstrated that a living organism can emerge from matter” is a piss poor argument and demonstrates that you know nothing of the current state of experimental science.

  21. 21
    Mapou says:

    Abiogenesis is not science because it makes no prediction that can be falsified. It is just pure superstition and wishful thinking coming from a bunch of brain-dead religionists who feel threatened by the religions of others.

  22. 22
    AVS says:

    Poo, every single step of abiogenesis is a prediction that needs to be falsified. Some have been falsified, some have not as I have said. the one’s that fail to be falsified are the ones that become a part of the model of abiogenesis. This is how science works incase you guys didn’t know.

  23. 23
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    Everything I had said is a fact Joe.

    It is what you didn’t say that is the problem. I helped out. You are welcome

    The experiments were all done by modeling the early Earth.

    Imbecile. Each macromolecule required different environments. You would need to somehow bring them all together without destroying them.

    Saying “they haven’t demonstrated that a living organism can emerge from matter” is a piss poor argument

    LoL! It’s a fact, not an argument.

    and demonstrates that you know nothing of the current state of experimental science.

    Just because you can overstate the current state of experimental science, most likely because you don’t understand it, isn’t a reflection on me.

  24. 24
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    every single step of abiogenesis is a prediction that needs to be falsified.

    No one knows what the steps were. All people like you have are promissory notes that you have no intention of paying off.

  25. 25
    Joe says:

    Supporting the creation of biomolecules is worlds away from supporting abiogenesis.

  26. 26
    AVS says:

    Thank you, once again, for proving you are not only scientifically illiterate, but also illiterate in general. Not only do you have no idea what you are talking about but do you actually think I was “overstating” current experimental science? If you had above a 5th grade reading ability you would have realized I was saying that the current state of experimental science is not even close to the level it needs to be to be able to prove abiogenesis. Especially to you and your half-wit friends, who require direct observation of anything to believe it. It’s funny actually, that is always the requirement for you guys, even when your beliefs are completely based on something you have never seen.

  27. 27
    Mapou says:

    The biggest ignorant moron here is you, AVS. Stop accusing others of not understanding what you think science is. Some of us can teach you a thing or two about what true science really is. The biggest ingredient in science is guts. Your science is a mountain of gutless BS. That’s all it is.

    There is no model of abiogenesis that leads to living organisms. How do you know that the so-called steps in your pathetic little model are the correct ones? Infantile superstition, that is what your dumb little religion is all about. Give it up and grow up for a change.

  28. 28
    AVS says:

    Joe: “No one knows what the steps were”
    That would be why I said they are a prediction that must be falsified.
    Joe, I think I may have been overstating your reading level actually.

  29. 29
    Joe says:

    AVS/ PMS- quick with the post and always short on the supporting evidence.

    And if they didn’t know what the steps were then there isn’t any “they are a prediction that must be falsified”. You are a moron as that doesn’t even make sense given my context.

  30. 30
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    If you had above a 5th grade reading ability you would have realized I was saying that the current state of experimental science is not even close to the level it needs to be to be able to prove abiogenesis.

    Then you contradicted yourself because I was responding to what you said in SUPPORT of abiogenesis.

  31. 31
    AVS says:

    “Some of us can teach you a thing about what science truly is”
    Who exactly are you talking about Poo? I know it’s not you and Joe.
    I never claimed to know which of the steps in any of the models of abiogenesis are correct. If you and Joe had half a brain you would know this. I have explained the current thoughts on abiogenesis, why we cannot currently prove it or falsify it, and in the process have explained the basic process of science. When you guys have something intelligent to say about any of that, let me know.

  32. 32
    AVS says:

    Joe, you don’t even know what you are responding to, nevermind what you are saying.
    I’m really glad you two are constantly here to represent UD though, it makes me feel great. =)

  33. 33
    AVS says:

    Feel free to tell me how I contradicted myself

  34. 34
    Mapou says:

    AVS:

    I have explained the current thoughts on abiogenesis, why we cannot currently prove it or falsify it

    So on the basis of a pseudoscientific theory that can be neither falsified nor proved, you morons are spending the public’s money looking for life under every rock in the solar system and elsewhere. You have no science of abiogenesis but you’re sure it happened both on earth and elsewhere in the universe. You morons even have come up with a probability of finding living organisms on other worlds that, supposedly, arrived abiogenetically.

    If this is not one of the most superstitious religions ever created by humanity, then science is a farce.

  35. 35
    AVS says:

    Again, with the illiteracy. I didn’t say that it can never be falsified or proven. I said that current experimental science cannot get us to either of these conclusions beyond a doubt.
    And yep, we get to spend your money doing all this science stuff that you hate. How’s it feel? How’s it feel to know there’s nothing you can do and that you are paying for your own slow demise? =)

  36. 36
    Mapou says:

    And yep, we get to spend your money doing all this science stuff that you hate.

    But you ain’t doing science. You might well be burning chicken feathers to ward off evil spirits. Chicken feather voodoo science is what you practice.

    How’s it feel? How’s it feel to know there’s nothing you can do and that you are paying for your own slow demise? =)

    Well, just pray that the people are too preoccupied being slaves in this crazy world to confront all of you jackasses who have hijacked the people’s science, among other things. Just pray that they don’t rise up and demand accountability. Revolutions have happened many times before in this world.

  37. 37
    AVS says:

    That’s funny because the rest of the scientific world agrees that it is science. In fact it is the only scientific explanation for the existence of life, no matter how much you yell and scream about ID being scientific.
    Pray? You know how that goes: spit in one hand and wish in the other, we’ll see which one fills up first.
    I wouldn’t hold my breath for this revolution if I were you. Last I heard, the headcount of the average church was in the toilet.

  38. 38
    Mapou says:

    That’s funny because the rest of the scientific world agrees that it is science.

    So what? What does that prove? It has happened many times in the past that the entire scientific community embraced a paradigm only to be proven 100% wrong. The last time this happened (AFAIK) was at the end of the last century. 20th century scientists, a couple of Nobel Prize Winners among them, were adamant that intelligence is just symbol manipulation. They dismissed criticisms that pointed out that they were ignoring psychology and neuroscience. They vilified their critics just as the evolutionist bozos in academia are doing. Now everybody in AI agrees that symbolic AI was a pile of BS from day 1. And guess what, they’re well on their way to repeating the same mistake with the AI models du jour. Stupidity is contagious, especially among cowards.

  39. 39
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    Do you not realize that by saying that Mung, you are admitting your complete bias and unwillingness to look at the results of a set of experiments and draw conclusions from them?

    No, I don’t realize that. Get your hands on a copy of Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter and let’s discuss.

    This is what I mean when I say you guys are a bunch of scientifically illiterate fools whose minds are already made up about something you know nothing about.

    And you got all that from what little I wrote? Amazing!

    Thank you for proving it Mung.

    And thank you for proving how little it takes to “prove” something to you!

  40. 40
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    Saying “they haven’t demonstrated that a living organism can emerge from matter” is a piss poor argument and demonstrates that you know nothing of the current state of experimental science.

    Except that’s not what I argued. I welcome the day that scientists create life in the lab, because it will tell us much more about what life is than what we currently know.

    My argument that is that when we do create life in the lab, it won’t prove what you think it does. Every step of the process will have been designed, guided, planned. That’s a prediction.

    Leaving the creation of life up to chance is not a viable way to demonstrate that life can arise from non-living matter without intelligent guidance.

  41. 41
    AVS says:

    Yes, Mapou, because there was a shift in paradigm in the definition of intelligence we can now assume every scientific theory in every field is on the ropes. Typical UDer train of thought. Anyway, the Nobel winners you mention, who were they overturned by? Other scientists. Because there was division between scientists on the subject. Unfortunately for you, as I said, there is no division in science on the subject of abiogenesis.
    The vast majority of scientific paradigms are not disputed.
    You’re missing the point anyways, if we are still talking solely about abiogenesis. Abiogenesis itself is not a scientific paradigm, at least not yet. We know next to nothing about it. It is simply the only possible explanation as far as science is concerned. Science cannot test the supernatural. When you guys find some evidence for the existence of a god, then you can invent your own branch of science that deals with the supernatural.
    If you’re talking about evolution, I daresay no scientific paradigm as well-proven as evolution has ever been overturned. But then again, experimental science has been widespread for only a few hundred years.

  42. 42
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    That’s funny because the rest of the scientific world agrees that it is science. In fact it is the only scientific explanation for the existence of life, no matter how much you yell and scream about ID being scientific.

    What is it that you assert is “the only scientific explanation for the existence of life”? Abiogenesis?

  43. 43
    AVS says:

    Well, when I can directly observe something, it doesn’t take much to prove it.
    And as to your second point, that was what Joe argued.
    Also, you are wrong about “it won’t prove what you think it does. Every step of the process will have been designed, guided, planned. That’s a prediction.” The experimental design is the only the only part that is designed in origin of life studies. Whenever we get to the point of having a definitive model for the generation of life, it will have been based entirely on experiments that are designed to model the early earth environment. The processes that are actually generating the living organism are completely natural. And yet I am sure your future UDers will still scream that it only means this living organism was directly designed by intelligence.

  44. 44
    AVS says:

    Yes, Mung, abiogenesis is the only scientific explanation for the existence of life. And it is the only scientific explanation that will ever exist for the formation of life as long as science is still defined as it is today.
    As I said, if you guys can get some scientific evidence for the existence of a god, then you can come up with your own branch of science and start proving your intelligent design hypothesis.

  45. 45
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    Abiogenesis itself is not a scientific paradigm, at least not yet. We know next to nothing about it [abiogenesis]. [Yet] It is simply the only possible explanation as far as science is concerned.

    I hope you’re not being dogmatic about that!

    AVS:

    Feel free to tell me how I contradicted myself.

    a. Abiogenesis itself is not a scientific paradigm.

    b. Abiogenesis is simply the only possible explanation as far as science is concerned.

    If you cannot see the inherent contradiction, please explain how something that can be “the only possible explanation as far as science is concerned” and yet not qualify as a “scientific paradigm.”

  46. 46
    Mung says:

    gah. someone kick me.

    why do i bother.

  47. 47
    AVS says:

    A scientific paradigm is a model of something in the natural world that is well proven and well understood. As i said, abiogenesis is neither.

  48. 48
    Mung says:

    AVS, if something is the only possible explanation, what more proof do you require?

    If abiogenesis is not a paradigm, why do scientists proceed as if it is? IOW, your argument is refuted both logically and by the empirical facts.

    Can I assume you just won’t be interested in discussing the book I mentioned because it can only prove how wrong you are?

  49. 49
    AVS says:

    I want proof of every single step of abiogenesis too Mung, don’t worry. I want to know if it was organic molecules riding a meteor, or hydrothermal vents, or the prebiotic soup, or all three or none of the above. I want answers, and the only way we get answers is through science. The only difference between you and me is that I am content without it and willing to still accept that it is the most likely explanation for the existence of life.
    Scientists proceed as if it is paradigm because as I said, it is the only explanation that can be studied by science today. Scientists who study the origin of life have nothing else to work with, so they try to put together their piece of the puzzle.
    You can give me a couple of the most damning facts from the book and we can talk about them.

  50. 50
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    You can give me a couple of the most damning facts from the book and we can talk about them.

    There are no “damning facts” in the book. That’s quite the point of the exercise I proposed.

    And I’ll quite understand if you don’t understand and prefer instead to just continue to hurl insults.

  51. 51
    AVS says:

    You just said the book proves “how wrong I am.” Literally one post ago. So tell me some of the facts that prove me wrong. Or were you just hoping to sneak one by me?

  52. 52
    Andre says:

    AVS

    Why don’t you write a guest post on abiogenesis, since you have all the information and since you seem confident that research is on the right track, state your case appropriately. We can then discuss it once your article has been laid out. I’m looking forward to a real possible natural explanation for abiogenesis.

  53. 53
    AVS says:

    Did you read anything I said Andre? All we know is small pieces to the puzzle, I definitely do not have all the information, but I do know some of the basic research behind the topic.
    By “we can then discuss it” do you mean “we can then scream that its an impossible just-so story”? Good one. Where’d Mung go anyway, I asked him to tell me about the science he claims “proves me wrong” and he disappears.
    I guess I shouldn’t really be surprised.

  54. 54
    Andre says:

    AVS

    I’m extending a hand here so that you have a platform to lay out the evidence. If it’s too much of an issue for you then do you have a case at all? You seem so sure in your convictions and I for one look forward to a coherent and plausible explanation. Can you deliver or do we move on and keep missing each others points? What say you?

  55. 55
    AVS says:

    I’ve already given my outline of the basic concepts of chemical evolution and and the formation of the first living organisms, and repeated myself multiple times. You can find them strewn across a few different posts.

  56. 56
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    You just said the book proves “how wrong I am.” Literally one post ago. So tell me some of the facts that prove me wrong. Or were you just hoping to sneak one by me?

    You’re utterly correct. How foolish of me it was to attempt to sneak a meal past a troll.

    Get the book and we’ll talk. You’re not up to date on the latest scientific research and you are ignorant of the current scientific paradigm. Until then you’re just so much hot air.

  57. 57
    Andre says:

    AVS

    Strewn all over means non coherent and not easily understandable or accessible, because well it’s all over. Please mate, I’m asking you nicely put it in a proper format and lets discuss it.

  58. 58
    AVS says:

    I have no need to spend $70+ dollars on the book when you have it in front of you. You tell me what evidence is in the book that proves me wrong and I have access to the every journal article the book likely references. No worries.
    Now go for it, explain how the book proves me wrong.

  59. 59
    AVS says:

    It’s on three posts Andre. Comments 86, 94, and 100 of the entropy post is where I started, if my memory serves me correctly and on a couple other posts. Just go through the more recent ones I have commented on. It really shouldn’t be that hard if you have half a brain.

  60. 60
    Andre says:

    AVS

    Do you believe my request for a proper article is unfair? If so why insult me? How can we learn from each other if this is the way you treat people that are genuinely interested in what you have to say?

    Don’t feel ashamed by your behavior I guess the fact that you don’t have any free will relieves you from being being civil and courteous to others.

    I know its not your fault.

  61. 61
    AVS says:

    Unfair? No, I have better things to do than put all the stuff I’ve already said together, making it the third or fourth time I’ve said most of it.
    If you are interested in what I have to say, then put some effort in and go through the few posts. I already did my part twice over. I honestly do not care if you want to learn what I know, I am not here to teach.
    What on earth do I have to be ashamed of?

  62. 62
    tjguy says:

    AVS says:

    Abiogenesis is simply the only possible explanation as far as science is concerned.

    Basically what you mean here is abiogenesis is the only explanation that fits the standards of Naturalism.

    Now if you could only validate your faith in Naturalism, you would really have something!

    So, because you rule out the possibility of an Intelligent Designer a priori, of course you are right. It is the only “scientific” explanation, but that has absolutely no bearing on the accuracy of the explanation. It might be way off, even though it fits your criteria of being a Naturalistic explanation.

    The minute you allow a role for the supernatural, so, for you, that makes it a “non-scientific” explanation. If you take this stance though, you are forced to admit that there may be NO “scientific” explanation for the universe. Why? Because you reject any and all explanations that invoke a Designer as unscientific and yet you cannot show that no Designer exists nor can you give a satisfactory explanation on your own terms.

    Although you claim that abiogenesis is a “scientific” EXPLANATION, I challenge claim that unless you call “life came from non-life by totally natural processes” a “scientific” explanation. Is that all you mean?

    I wouldn’t call that an explanation. A true explanation should actually EXPLAIN something.

    But you yourself admit that abiogenesis is not well understood!

    How can you call that a true explanation?

    You are stretching it here or else using the word “explanation” in two different ways to make it sound more viable.

    I would think it is kind of hard to defend something scientifically that “is not well supported or well understood”.

    To be more honest/accurate, you should clearly state that you have a number of hypotheses, but no real viable explanation.

    Calling abiogenesis “the only scientific explanation” is misleading.

    Having outlawed Design, abiogenesis of one variation or another is the only possible explanation that your version of science allows. However, you are still hoping to come up with a viable explanation that fits your criteria. Good luck with that!

  63. 63
    AVS says:

    Calling abiogenesis the only scientific explanation for the existence of life is not misleading, because it is exactly that. There is no “my version” of science. There is science and then there is “not science.” By today’s definition of science, there is no other mechanism by which life can arise other than a mechanism that would fall under abiogenesis. That is what I mean, do not try to tell me “basically what I mean.”

  64. 64
    AVS says:

    Science by today’s definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural. Therefore, a person who completely immerses them self in the scientific world acknowledges that everything can be explained naturally, including formation of life.

  65. 65
    AVS says:

    Welp, it’s been interesting as always guys. Adios.

  66. 66

    Entropy can decrease in open systems if external energy is available and there is a mechanism to capture that energy and use it to decrease local entropy. Living cells have such mechanisms, but how could those mechanisms have come into existence without in themselves representing a violation of the second law of thermodynamics? Wouldn’t there need to be a preceding mechanism to generate that one, and another before that etc. in an infinite regress?

    Can anyone identify an energy capturing and utilizing mechanism that could come into existence without itself being a violation of the second law of thermodynamics? Or without being dependent on preceding mechanisms with such characteristics in an infinite regress?

    In other words, provide experimentally demonstrable examples of spontaneous self-organization of energy-acquiring and utilizing systems (which to occur would require the release of energy when they come into existence, analogous to what happens when liquids freeze and in crystallization)? Life itself can’t be the answer to this question, because no one has ever been able to experimentally demonstrate a process where matter spontaneously organizes itself into living organisms.

  67. 67
    groovamos says:

    AVS:

    This is what I mean when I say you guys are a bunch of scientifically illiterate fools whose minds are already made up about something you know nothing about. Thank you for proving it Mung

    Science by today’s definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural. Therefore, a person who completely immerses them self in the scientific world acknowledges that everything can be explained naturally, including formation of life.

    You don’t seem to realize that there are people regularly posting here who have advanced degrees in the sciences, engineering and mathematics, including myself. Thus the first sentence, second phrase I quote you on applies laughingly to yourself.

    The second quote can be answered in numerous ways. Speaking of ignorance, you are obviously ignorant of the beliefs of Heisenberg, Newton, Planck, Boyle and hundreds of other founders of modern science, some theists, and all of them (per my example) acknowledging that nature had to have come from something outside of nature. And that something superior to it. And you are probably ignorant of two scientific heroes of my hometown Rice University, Richard Smalley and his colleague James Tour. Tour and Francis Collins are both living; Collins the head of NIH; all three men theists, look it up.

    I assume you are a philosophical illiterate, not understanding that the limits to science cannot be described or explored by science. Any argument to the contrary cannot be tested and thus must be based on faith. The argument that “everything can be explained naturally” certainly hasn’t worked out too well for people wanting to understand the recent multiple murder at Ft Hood. Try to explain to us how science can alleviate the long-term existence of ANY human suffering due to personality disorders, since you seem inclined to “explain” anything. This is a major area of human inquiry in which science has been totally useless, and any claim otherwise is untestable. Here is a test for you: give me a scientific reason for the emotional power of a Beethoven symphony. Give me a scientific explanation, fully tested at the cellular level, of the emotional trigger of a lump of flesh, the female breast, on males.

    The last sentence I quote you on is totally false as I showed above, but I can refer to it again in this way: … a person who completely immerses them self (sic) in the scientific world is at risk of culturally adopting scientific materialism as a working life philosophy. Thus we have the hilarious spectacle of Stephen Hawking declaring that philosophy is not only useless but dead. Not getting that he lives his life philosophy quite publicly

  68. 68
    Dr JDD says:

    Maybe I am naive, but I have never understood the rationale behind saying that ID is not scientific. Oxford dictionary definition of science:

    1 The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

    If you observe both intellectually and practically, systematically study structure and behaviour of biological systems, and, taking into account all of the laws of science (not just biological ones – chemistry, physics, mathematics as well) come to the conclusion that there is a high degree of probability that natural things had design input, then how is this not sience? That is a ludicrous statement to say that abiogenesis is the only scientific approach to the OOL.

    What it seems many atheists confuse ID with is religion. By inferring that something required design, you are not inferring anything scientific about the designer, except that perhaps (maybe you could argue due to the nature of universal contingency and the laws of energy creation/destroy) that this “designer” may have to be outside of our universe. Even that does not have to be inferred. You have made an observation – that design is present, and that is science.

    When people say “Science cannot anlayse god/God so it is not scientific” they have taking ID further than it intended to. sure, a lot of IDists are religious, but the approach of understanding/describing a designer (“god”) is not science – that is religion or maybe a bit of philosophy, etc. I don’t think most IDers claim this is what ID is. So why is this argument used? Why does Dawkins spend a lot of time in his books attacking the gods of religion as being evil and killing people and using that as evidence against a designer? THAT is more unscientific than what IDers represent.

    If something is a truth, i.e. if we establish that abiogenesis could not have happened (hard to see how you can definitively prove that as with most science, definitive proof is a tall order and often impossible) then if the only possibility left is an intelligent designer, do we still say this is unscientific? No, of course not – because science is not trying to describe this designer, just say that design occurred. Then science is advanced by this (when we see something we do not understand we do not attribute it to “junk” or left over product of abiogenesis/evolution, but we try to determine why it is there as a designer had a purpose for it, probably).

    Furthermore, many of the things people say support abiogenesis often omit important details (chirality is a big one), however I agree that if we can replicate the exact conditions apparently present at the start of the OOL and somehow show generation of life, it could strongly support abiogenesis. However, AVS like many atheistic evolutionists forget one important SCIENTIFIC aspect – just because something supports a theory does not make the theory true nor does it allow it to overcome other large stumbling blocks in that theory. Yes something could happen this way, it doesn’t mean it did. Therefore there should be give on both sides in the event of abiogenesis “proof” – I know there would not be give on the naturalistic side as there is never any admission that some data could have more than one interpretation, when it comes to ID. E.g. homology = common ancestory can also be interpreted scientifically homology = common designer. That is valid – yet homology is the overriding “proof” of naturalists that ID is false. Yet apparently, that is science!!

    JD

  69. 69
    gpuccio says:

    Eric:

    Very interesting OP. I have not had the time to read all the posts here. Obviously, I fundamentally agree with you.

    I want just to say that my position is rather radical. For me, even a single functional protein cannot be explained without design.

    OOL is a much bigger problem , quantitatively (you need hundreds of complex functional proteins to implement even the simplest known living being). But the essential qualitative problem is exactly the same: you cannot have complex functional information without a conscious designer.

    The problem of “life” could in principle be a little different. I am not sure (and I think that nobody can really be sure) that information is all that is needed for life. The simple fact that life only comes from life is still there. The thought experiment of having all the components from one prokaryote, and still not being able to generate a living cell, is still valid.

    But there is no doubt that we do need a lot of functional information for life, whatever it is, to be present.

  70. 70

    I think we need to get detached a little and get another perspective on this topic.

    All of the arguments for abiogenesis have been categorically refuted for years. Let’s mention only William Paley watchmaker argument, The Mystery of Life’s Origin by Charles Thaxton, Walter Bradley, and Roger Olsen, The Signature in the Cell by Stephen Mayer.

    Let’s do some reasoning together.

    Life requires self-replication ability.

    The self-replication when inspected carefully is a very hard technical problem. My claim: the best scientists or biotechnology labs of today will not be able to build an artificial self-replicator. Self-replication requires a very sophisticated internal organization, extremely sophisticated processes and information-driven approaches. The mollecular biologists have a rather basic understanding of how self-replication happens in the cell (meiosis and mitosis).

    A biological self-replicator is equivalent with a very sophisticated machinery with many, complex parts and processes that are very well and precisely integrated, choreographed and are effective in producing functioning, living descendants – that themselves carry over the self-replication ability.

    It is rather clear that self-replication surpasses technically in complexity most of the human artifacts ever constructed.

    But some believe that self-replication and life itself is the result of some random processes in nature.

    Let me reformulate this in simpler terms: they believe that matter created life. They believe that matter is extremely intelligent. Matter is unbelievable more intelligent than humans, because matter created life, but humans have no clue how to create life themselves.

    If you don’t believe that matter has intelligence and super creative powers you are a religious fanatic and you have an insane belief that only God could have created life.

    It is time to cool off and think. Who among us have insane beliefs? Wouldn’t be a sign of sanity on our side to ignore the aberrations of insane minds and insane perorations? Maybe pay attention only if they bring anything new, not already dismissed a thousand times as an aberration.

    But a sane thinking tells us that logically they cannot bring anything of substance that deserves attention.

    Because of their distorted view of science. Their definition of science is an aberration. There is then no surprise that they are stubborn in pursuing absurdities. How can we expect to have any agreement or fruitful dialog when our starting premises are in total opposition? They exclude from their starting premises the chance to approach the truth.

    Here is a link to a page were an empirical analysis of a self-replicator leads rather clearly to the conclusion that abiogenesis is logically and practically impossible.

    The self-replication as an idea is transcendental, which means that it has not an earthly origin. I mean by this that, if we were not seeing self-replication in nature we would not have even dreamed of it.

    How come than we even take seriously the proposition that inanimate matter created life?

  71. 71

    Eric,

    On your 1-10 scale of possible attitudes toward abiogenesis I am somewhere in the 1000-10000 range (if that was not made clear in my previous entry).

  72. 72
    bornagain77 says:

    Podcast – The Universe Next Door with Tom Woodward: Featuring Casey Luskin
    – Luskin explains the mystery of the Cambrian explosion, gives examples of human designs that copy designs in nature, and gives 5 major problems with current theories about the chemical origin of life.
    http://intelligentdesign.podom.....0_53-07_00

  73. 73
    bornagain77 says:

    AVS claims:

    Science by today’s (materialistic/atheistic) definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural. Therefore, a person who completely immerses them self in the scientific world acknowledges that everything can be explained naturally, including formation of life.

    Yet, Dr JDD at 68 gives the Oxford’s more correct definition of science:

    1 The intellectual and practical activity encompassing the systematic study of the structure and behaviour of the physical and natural world through observation and experiment

    i.e. The practice of science assumes a ‘supernatural’ perspective outside the ‘natural’ material order that is able to observe and reason about what the material order is observed to be doing! Without that assumed ‘supernatural’ perspective outside the the ‘natural’ material order the practice of science would collapse into a epistemological pit of logical absurdities. This fact is made evident by Boltzmann’s Brain and by Plantinga’s Evolutionary Argument Against Naturalism:

    A Matter of Considerable Gravity: On the Purported Detection of Gravitational Waves and Cosmic Inflation – Bruce Gordon – April 4, 2014
    Excerpt: Thirdly, at least two paradoxes result from the inflationary multiverse proposal that suggest our place in such a multiverse must be very special: the “Boltzmann Brain Paradox” and the “Youngness Paradox.” In brief, if the inflationary mechanism is autonomously operative in a way that generates a multiverse, then with probability indistinguishable from one (i.e., virtual necessity) the typical observer in such a multiverse is an evanescent thermal fluctuation with memories of a past that never existed (a Boltzmann brain) rather than an observer of the sort we take ourselves to be. Alternatively, by a second measure, post-inflationary universes should overwhelmingly have just been formed, which means that our existence in an old universe like our own has a probability that is effectively zero (i.e., it’s nigh impossible). So if our universe existed as part of such a multiverse, it would not be at all typical, but rather infinitely improbable (fine-tuned) with respect to its age and compatibility with stable life-forms.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....84001.html

    Scientific Peer Review is in Trouble: From Medical Science to Darwinism – Mike Keas – October 10, 2012
    Excerpt: Survival is all that matters on evolutionary naturalism. Our evolving brains are more likely to give us useful fictions that promote survival rather than the truth about reality. Thus evolutionary naturalism undermines all rationality (including confidence in science itself). Renown philosopher Alvin Plantinga has argued against naturalism in this way (summary of that argument is linked on the site:).
    Or, if your short on time and patience to grasp Plantinga’s nuanced argument, see if you can digest this thought from evolutionary cognitive psychologist Steve Pinker, who baldly states:
    “Our brains are shaped for fitness, not for truth; sometimes the truth is adaptive, sometimes it is not.”
    Steven Pinker, evolutionary cognitive psychologist, How the Mind Works (W.W. Norton, 1997), p. 305.
    http://blogs.christianpost.com.....ism-12421/

    Metaphysical Naturalism (Atheism/Materialism) is simply completely incoherent as to explaining a person’s own experience as to his own existence, mush less providing a solid epistemological basis from which to practice science. The following short video reveals just how absurd the Atheist’s position actually is in that regards:

    Is Metaphysical Naturalism Viable? – William Lane Craig – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HzS_CQnmoLQ

    Existential Argument against Atheism – November 1, 2013 by Jason Petersen
    1. If a worldview is true then you should be able to live consistently with that worldview.
    2. Atheists are unable to live consistently with their worldview.
    3. If you can’t live consistently with an atheist worldview then the worldview does not reflect reality.
    4. If a worldview does not reflect reality then that worldview is a delusion.
    5. If atheism is a delusion then atheism cannot be true.
    Conclusion: Atheism is false.
    http://answersforhope.com/exis.....t-atheism/

    Supplemental notes:

    The God Particle: Not the God of the Gaps, But the Whole Show – Monday, Aug. 2012
    Excerpt: C. S. Lewis put it this way: “Men became scientific because they expected law in nature and they expected law in nature because they believed in a lawgiver.”
    http://www.christianpost.com/n.....how-80307/

    The Laws of Nature (Have Never ‘Caused’ Anything) by C.S. Lewis – doodle video
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_20yiBQAIlk

    Science and Theism: Concord, not Conflict* – Robert C. Koons
    IV. The Dependency of Science Upon Theism (Page 21)
    Excerpt: Far from undermining the credibility of theism, the remarkable success of science in modern times is a remarkable confirmation of the truth of theism. It was from the perspective of Judeo-Christian theism—and from the perspective alone—that it was predictable that science would have succeeded as it has. Without the faith in the rational intelligibility of the world and the divine vocation of human beings to master it, modern science would never have been possible, and, even today, the continued rationality of the enterprise of science depends on convictions that can be reasonably grounded only in theistic metaphysics.
    http://www.robkoons.net/media/.....ffd524.pdf

    Not Understanding Nothing – A review of A Universe from Nothing – Edward Feser – June 2012
    Excerpt: A critic might reasonably question the arguments for a divine first cause of the cosmos. But to ask “What caused God?” misses the whole reason classical philosophers thought his existence necessary in the first place. So when physicist Lawrence Krauss begins his new book by suggesting that to ask “Who created the creator?” suffices to dispatch traditional philosophical theology, we know it isn’t going to end well. ,,,
    ,,, But Krauss simply can’t see the “difference between arguing in favor of an eternally existing creator versus an eternally existing universe without one.” The difference, as the reader of Aristotle or Aquinas knows, is that the universe changes while the unmoved mover does not, or, as the Neoplatonist can tell you, that the universe is made up of parts while its source is absolutely one; or, as Leibniz could tell you, that the universe is contingent and God absolutely necessary. There is thus a principled reason for regarding God rather than the universe as the terminus of explanation.
    http://www.firstthings.com/art.....ng-nothing

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    “If the price of avoiding non-locality is to make an intuitive explanation impossible, one has to ask whether the cost is too great.”
    David Bohm et al. Physc. Rep. 144, 321 (1987)

  74. 74

    Great post. Your willingness to simply give naturalists everything they need in the right place at the right time and then say “go! create life!” made me think of an interesting comparison – forensic investigations.

    Simply finding gas cans or an accelerant that wouldn’t normally otherwise be at location, along with a certain pattern of fire spreading through a building not normally expected in an accidental fire, is enough for a finding of arson – that the fire was deliberately set by an intelligent agency.

    What you have in abiogenesis theory is a bunch of forensic investigators with an a priori commitment that the fire was accidental (as AVS has admitted), trying to concoct rube-goldberg theories on how the accelerant could have gotten on location and spread throughout the building by accident, with a fire spontaneously combusting in the same time frame in the same building near the accelerant by chance.

    Only, abiogenesis theorists have far, far more elements, that are far more unlikely, to account for.

    Now, imagine the conversation between an ID theorist and the naturalist forensic investigator:

    ID: “Maybe someone set that fire on purpose?”

    Naturalist: “There’s no evidence of anyone being in the area at the time.”

    ID: “Aren’t the accelerant cans, the patterns of the fire, and the accelerant distribution in the building evidence that someone was in the area at the time?”

    Naturalists: “No. That’s only evidence that what appears to be a very unlikely set of accidental or natural events occurred.”

    ID: “It doesn’t seem credible to me that accelerant was on the scene, was distributed through the building and caught on fire by chance.”

    Naturalist: “That’s an argument from incredulity. Just because you are incredulous that it’s an accidental fire is not evidence it is not 0an accidental fire.”

    ID: “What about the coded notes [DNA] you find at all these fires that contain instructions about how to find and spread accelerant and start fires?”

    Naturalist: “Obviously, since we only find those notes at accelerant-aided fires, they must be a naturally-occuring product of accelerant-aided fires.”

    ID: “uuuuhhhhh …. that sounds a bit circular …”

    Naturlist: “Shut up. You obviously don’t understand forensic investigation.”

  75. 75
    gpuccio says:

    William J Murray:

    🙂

  76. 76
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    Science by today’s definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural. Therefore, a person who completely immerses them self in the scientific world acknowledges that everything can be explained naturally, including formation of life.

    Very interesting indeed.

    So, let me understand that better.

    Science “excludes” the existence of a god. That could still make sense. But why? That is more interesting: “because it has no way of testing the supernatural”.

    What a perfect logic! It’s like saying that I exclude the existence of English people because I have no way to know if they exist or not. My compliments.

    So, with such a concept of science, it comes as no surprise that “a person who completely immerses them self in the scientific world” (poor guy, that seems really terrible)

    “acknowledges” (strange word)

    what? : “that everything can be explained naturally”.

    So, if I understand well, I exclude that A exists because I have no way to test if it exists or not, and then I “acknowledge” that everything can be explained without A. Again, what a remarkable logic.

    What can I say? I am just grateful that I have not “completely immersed myself in the scientific world”. There are many practical advantages. I can live my personal life, and, last but not least, I have no need to “acknowledge” bizarre things.

  77. 77
    Joe says:

    AVS/ PMS is an ignorant coward who doesn’t understand science.

  78. 78
    Joe says:

    PMS:

    Science by today’s definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural.

    Wrong again. Science, by all definitions, only cares about REALITY, whatever that is. BTW there isn’t any way to test the claim that matter, energy and what emerges from their interactions is all there is.

  79. 79
    Joe says:

    PMS @ 32:

    Joe, you don’t even know what you are responding to,

    Seeing that I am responding to your raw spewage, what you said could be true.

  80. 80
    bornagain77 says:

    William J Murray, I’m surprised that you, of all people, would be pleased with Eric’s charitability:

    Great post. Your willingness to simply give naturalists everything they need in the right place at the right time and then say “go! create life!”

    Is this the same William J Murray who stated this???:

    “If you do not assume the law of non-contradiction, you have nothing to argue about. If you do not assume the principles of sound reason, you have nothing to argue with. If you do not assume libertarian free will, you have no one to argue against. If you do not assume morality to be an objective commodity, you have no reason to argue in the first place.”
    – William J Murray

    Perhaps you were caught up in the humor of Eric’s ‘thought experiment’, but I miss the old William who conceded not one iota to materialists. The old William who conceded not the house (i.e. the atom) to materialists,,

    “As a man who has devoted his whole life to the most clear headed science, to the study of matter, I can tell you as a result of my research about atoms this much: There is no matter as such. All matter originates and exists only by virtue of a force which brings the particle of an atom to vibration and holds this most minute solar system of the atom together. We must assume behind this force the existence of a conscious and intelligent mind. This mind is the matrix of all matter.”
    Max Planck – The Father Of Quantum Mechanics – Das Wesen der Materie [The Nature of Matter], speech at Florence, Italy (1944) (from Archiv zur Geschichte der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft, Abt. Va, Rep. 11 Planck, Nr. 1797)(Of Note: Max Planck Planck was a devoted Christian from early life to death, was a churchwarden from 1920 until his death, and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God.

    Does the atom have a designer? When science and spirituality meet – LAKHI GOENKA an Engineer – May 2012
    Excerpt: Atoms are machines that enable the physical, electromagnetic (including light), nuclear, chemical, and biological (including life) functioning of the universe. Atoms are a complex assembly of interacting particles that enable the entire functioning of the universe. They are the machine that enables all other machines. It is virtually impossible to explain the structure, complexity, internal dynamics, and resulting functionality of the atom from chance events or through evolutionary mechanisms. The atom is a machine that provides multiple functions, and every machine is the product of intelligence. The atom must have a designer.
    http://www.annarbor.com/news/o.....-designer/

    Nor was the old William even willing to concede the fire (i.e. the energy) to materialists:

    Falsification of Local Realism without using Quantum Entanglement – Anton Zeilinger – video
    http://vimeo.com/34168474

    ‘Quantum Magic’ Without Any ‘Spooky Action at a Distance’ – June 2011
    Excerpt: A team of researchers led by Anton Zeilinger at the University of Vienna and the Institute for Quantum Optics and Quantum Information of the Austrian Academy of Sciences used a system which does not allow for entanglement, and still found results which cannot be interpreted classically.
    http://www.sciencedaily.com/re.....111942.htm

    Put more simply, a photon is not a self existent entity but is always dependent on a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its continued existence within space-time. i.e. as Theists have always held, God ‘sustains’ the universe!

    “The ‘First Mover’ is necessary for change occurring at each moment.”
    Michael Egnor – Aquinas’ First Way
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....first.html

    Of related interest to ‘the first mover’ argument, in the following video Anton Zeilinger, whose group is arguably the best group of experimentalists in quantum physics today, ‘tries’ to explain the double slit experiment to Morgan Freeman:

    Quantum Mechanics – Double Slit Experiment. Is anything real? (Prof. Anton Zeilinger) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayvbKafw2g0

    Prof. Zeilinger makes this rather startling statement in the preceding video that meshes perfectly with the ‘first mover argument’::

    “The path taken by the photon is not an element of reality. We are not allowed to talk about the photon passing through this or this slit. Neither are we allowed to say the photon passes through both slits. All this kind of language is not applicable.”
    Anton Zeilinger

    All this reminds me of the old joke ‘Get your own dirt!’

    Get you own dirt!
    http://www.getyourowndirt.com/

    Verse and Music:

    Acts 17:28
    For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

    The Afters – Every Good Thing (Lyrics)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l1mMgPA0iJE

  81. 81
    Barry Arrington says:

    BA77 @ 80. I take it that Eric is not conceding any of these things in principle. He is merely conceding them for the sake of argument.

  82. 82
    The Karaite Heretic says:

    “Science by today’s definition excludes the existence of a god because it has no way of testing the supernatural.”

    Actually, the God of Abrahamic Monotheism is not ‘supernatural’: https://www.facebook.com/notes/sri-ha-limmud/is-god-supernatural/1453742964861891

  83. 83
    bornagain77 says:

    Mr. Arrington, it was all in good fun towards WJM. i.e. it was basically a ‘ball fake’ to get the essential point of ‘non-locality’ across:

    Michael Jordan Ball Fake Compilation
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JKTx1F3ml5U

    “In any philosophy of reality that is not ultimately self-defeating or internally contradictory, mind – unlabeled as anything else, matter or spiritual – must be primary. What is “matter” and what is “conceptual” and what is “spiritual” can only be organized from mind. Mind controls what is perceived, how it is perceived, and how those percepts are labeled and organized. Mind must be postulated as the unobserved observer, the uncaused cause simply to avoid a self-negating, self-conflicting worldview. It is the necessary postulate of all necessary postulates, because nothing else can come first. To say anything else comes first requires mind to consider and argue that case and then believe it to be true, demonstrating that without mind, you could not believe that mind is not primary in the first place.”
    – William J. Murray

  84. 84
    Barb says:

    specially to you and your half-wit friends, who require direct observation of anything to believe it. It’s funny actually, that is always the requirement for you guys, even when your beliefs are completely based on something you have never seen.

    Isn’t direct observation how science is done? And plenty of people believe in things they haven’t seen. I believe in gravity and electromagnetism, although I haven’t directly seen either of them.

  85. 85
    jerry says:

    Eric,

    Do us all a favor. Take every comment by AVS and put it and those who respond to his comments on a separate thread. That way AVS can have his say and all his comments and those who want to respond to him can have a separate and maybe relevant discussion. As it is, interesting topics get hijacked by nonsense.

    We could have a series of AVS threads.

  86. 86
    jerry says:

    Science “excludes” the existence of a god. That could still make sense. But why? That is more interesting: “because it has no way of testing the supernatural”.

    The supernatural will always be a hypothesis. It must be that way. It it were certainty one way or the other, then life as we know it would be completely different and meaningless.

    One way to get at this hypothesis is to take La Place’s approach to God along with LaGrange’s response:

    Napoleon to Laplace – ‘M. Laplace, they tell me you have written this large book on the system of the universe, and have never even mentioned its Creator.’ Laplace, answered bluntly, Je n’avais pas besoin de cette hypothèse-là. (“I had no need of that hypothesis.”) Napoleon, greatly amused, told this reply to Lagrange, who exclaimed, Ah! c’est une belle hypothèse; ça explique beaucoup de choses. (“Ah, it is a fine hypothesis; it explains many things.”)

    Two centuries later we are at the same point. Science can indeed explain many things but it is also incredibly silent on others. So the creator hypothesis has support at one level and non-support at another level. That is the way it will always be because it was designed that way.

  87. 87
    bornagain77 says:

    The Return of the God Hypothesis – Stephen Meyer
    Abstract: Historian of science Frederic Burnham has stated that the God hypothesis is now a more respectable hypothesis than at any time in the last one hundred years. This essay explores recent evidence from cosmology, physics, and biology, which provides epistemological support, though not proof, for belief in God as conceived by a theistic worldview. It develops a notion of epistemological support based upon explanatory power, rather than just deductive entailment. It also evaluates the explanatory power of theism and its main metaphysical competitors with respect to several classes of scientific evidence. The conclusion follows that theism explains a wide ensemble of metaphysically-significant evidences more adequately and comprehensively than other major worldviews or metaphysical systems. Thus, unlike much recent scholarship that characterizes science as either conflicting with theistic belief or entirely neutral with respect to it, this essay concludes that scientific evidence actually supports such belief.
    http://www.arn.org/docs/meyer/sm_returnofgod.pdf

    The Return of the God Hypothesis – Stephen Meyer – video lecture:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueEpWIfXao8

  88. 88
    Mapou says:

    Joe @77:

    AVS/ PMS is an ignorant coward who doesn’t understand science.

    Bravo, Joe. The gutless butt kissers in the Darwinian/materialist and anti-God camp can’t stand it when they get no respect. It’s like holy water to a vampire. Elitism promotes stupidity because the elite have a false sense of superiority. No rest for the wicked. LOL.

    To Eric: Please do not delete the comments in this thread.

  89. 89

    BA77:

    Get your own quantum states! Tune your own physics!

  90. 90
    bornagain77 says:

    WJM

    Get your own quantum states! Tune your own physics!

    LOL, For some reason that quip reminds me of Plantinga’s old solipsist jokes that he warms audiences with:

    Solipsist Humor from Plantinga
    ,,,At a recent Lecture I attended by Philosopher Alvin Plantinga, he warmed up the crowd with a few solipsist jokes.,,,
    FYI, solipsism is the rather odd idea that there is only one individual in the universe and that you are it. Everyone else is just a figment of your imagination.
    1. British philosopher Bertrand Russell was a solipsist for a time (why does that not surprise me?), and he once received a letter from a woman who found his arguments very convincing. Well, I suppose it’s not so hard to convince a figment of your imagination that your arguments are brilliant. Anyway, the woman commented in her letter that his description of solipsism made a lot of sense and that, “I’m surprised there aren’t more of us.”
    2. Plantinga also told of an accomplished academic who was a well-known solipsist (I forget the guys name). And Plantinga thought it would be fun to meet a real life solipsist, so he went to visit him. He was treated fairly well considering he was only figment. I mean, it’s not a given that a solipsist would feel the need to be polite to his imaginary friends. After a brief conversation, Plantinga left and on the way out one of the man’s assistants said, “We take good care of the professor because when he goes we all go.”
    http://www.fellowtravelerblog......plantinga/

    WJM, I’m pretty sure you know that Plantinga considers Theism a ‘properly basic belief’:

    Another interesting argument comes from the leading philosopher and Christian, Alvin Plantinga—he asked, what evidence does anyone have for the existence of other people’s minds? He argued cogently that the evidence for God is just as good as the evidence for other minds; and conversely, if there isn’t any evidence for God, then there is also no evidence that other minds exist—see God and Other Minds, Cornell University Press, repr. 1990.
    http://creation.com/atheism-is-more-rational

    Belief in God is a Properly Basic Belief (Alvin Plantinga) – video
    http://www.closertotruth.com/v.....inga-/1261

    Of related note, it is interesting to see how this ‘properly basic belief’ of ‘the evidence for God is just as good as the evidence for other minds’ played out in quantum mechanics with Leggett’s Inequality:

    Alain Aspect and Anton Zeilinger by Richard Conn Henry – Physics Professor – John Hopkins University
    Excerpt: Why do people cling with such ferocity to belief in a mind-independent reality? It is surely because if there is no such reality, then ultimately (as far as we can know) mind alone exists. And if mind is not a product of real matter, but rather is the creator of the “illusion” of material reality (which has, in fact, despite the materialists, been known to be the case, since the discovery of quantum mechanics in 1925), then a theistic view of our existence becomes the only rational alternative to solipsism (solipsism is the philosophical idea that only one’s own mind is sure to exist).
    (Dr. Henry’s referenced experiment and paper – “An experimental test of non-local realism” by S. Gröblacher et. al., Nature 446, 871, April 2007 – “To be or not to be local” by Alain Aspect, Nature 446, 866, April 2007 (Leggett’s Inequality: Verified to 80 orders of magnitude)
    http://henry.pha.jhu.edu/aspect.html

    Music:

    You Won’t Let Go – Michael W. Smith
    http://myktis.com/songs/you-wont-let-go/

  91. 91
    billmaz says:

    I agree with much of what bornagain quotes about quantum physics and matter. Andre Linde, professor of physics at Stanford and one of the originators of the multiverse model and eternal inflation, even goes so far as to arrive at the conclusion of an eternal Mind or consciousness as the ultimate force of the universe.

    The problem I have is mixing up evolution and abiogenesis with first order questions of the origin of the universe. For the life of me, even after all these years, I still don’t quite understand the enmity against evolution and abiogenesis from those who believe in God (as I do). Does it come from the Biblical statements that God created man in His image? Surely one doesn’t take that literally. God doesn’t need a body. If we find intelligent life on other planets, which we surely must since there are billions and billions of them, does one think they’ll look like us? If not, does one think that they are not ‘God’s creatures?’

    I have no problem in envisioning a god who created the forces of the universe and then let the universe unfold to eventually create intelligent beings, in all their forms, on billions of planets and in multiple universes. I don’t need to envision a god who constantly tinkers with life, sometimes here, sometimes there, but not consistently and certainly not always for man’s welfare. It doesn’t make inherent sense to me. You might say it doesn’t have to make sense to me, God does what He wants. But, like Einstein was so surprised to observe, the universe seems to make sense. Occasional intervention by God doesn’t.

  92. 92
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    I’ve already given my outline of the basic concepts of chemical evolution and the formation of the first living organisms

    Yes, you have. You’ve argued that sunlight, agitation, and a natural membrane are the key insights to the creation of the first living organism – which you describe as inevitable. In contrast, I have argued that you’ve thus far failed to address any of the critical material conditions required to organize a living cell. And while respected origin of life researchers write about the primacy of a functional information system, it appears you are determined to avoid any discussion whatsoever of such systems.

    This represents something of an intellectual contradiction on your part. On the one hand, you personally want nothing to do with explaining the rise of the critical translation apparatus (indeed you never mention it in your origins ideas), then on the other hand you argue (with an entirely misplaced, out-of-touch, unnecessary, condescending style) that virtually everything in the cell is the direct result of the translation of informational scripts and sequences.

    Of course, none of this is surprising. The translation apparatus is at the very center of the design argument, which is why you refuse to address it. You seem to intuitively know if you enter into a genuine conversation about what is vital to cellular organization, your ideas will come up completely empty – which they are. In response, you position this situation as ID proponents “moving the goalposts” if they expect your ideas to address these critical aspects of organizing the cell.

    It’s all rather embarrassing for you, which I suspect is the reason you fog every conversation with bigotry and disdain.

  93. 93
    bornagain77 says:

    billmaz, it is interesting that you concede that the empirical evidence from quantum mechanics itself is compelling to the proposition that there is a God (which it is), but then, instead of arguing from empirical evidence for other life in the universe (which is slim to none), you effortlessly switch gears and argue from your own personal Deistic/Theistic beliefs as to how you think God ought to act.,,, Not to be too condescending, but if I wanted a argument from someone else as to their personal druthers about how God should and should not act in this universe, I would do just as well reading Darwin’s ‘Origin’ and not questioning the unwarranted Theistic premises based therein:

    Charles Darwin, Theologian: Major New Article on Darwin’s Use of Theology in the Origin of Species – May 2011
    Excerpt: The Origin supplies abundant evidence of theology in action; as Dilley observes:

    I have argued that, in the first edition of the Origin, Darwin drew upon at least the following positiva theological claims in his case for descent with modification (and against special creation):

    1. Human begins are not justfied in believing that God creates in ways analogous to the intellectual powers of the human mind.

    2. A God who is free to create as He wishes would create new biological limbs de novo rather than from a common pattern.

    3. A respectable deity would create biological structures in accord with a human conception of the ‘simplest mode’ to accomplish the functions of these structures.

    4. God would only create the minimum structure required for a given part’s function.

    5. God does not provide false empirical information about the origins of organisms.

    6. God impressed the laws of nature on matter.

    7. God directly created the first ‘primordial’ life.

    8. God did not perform miracles within organic history subsequent to the creation of the first life.

    9. A ‘distant’ God is not morally culpable for natural pain and suffering.

    10. The God of special creation, who allegedly performed miracles in organic history, is not plausible given the presence of natural pain and suffering.
    http://www.evolutionnews.org/2.....46391.html

    Darwin’s objection to design inferences were theological. And in addition, Darwin overlooked many theological considerations in order to focus on the one. His one consideration was his assumption about what a god would or wouldn’t do. The considerations he overlooked are too numerous to mention here, but here’s a few:

    1) God’s purpose in creation (according to scripture) is more than simply to set nature and evolution in motion, but to bring about a spiritual relationship between sentient beings (humans) with nature, other humans, and with God. Two books might help here, one is Francis Schaeffer’s “The God Who is There,” where he talks about the planes of human relationships (horizontal and vertical), and “The End of Christianity.”

    2) The fall and the presence of human sin. The present conditions of nature in light of the fall – “the Earth groans,” etc…

    3) General revelation as in nature manifesting the attributes of God.

    4) Special revelation as in Scripture manifesting the attributes and the purposes of God in creation.

    5) The incarnation of Christ in the world in line with God’s purposes in creation.

    6) Future prophetic prophecies, which point to the fulfillment of God’s purposes in creation.

    All of these things, and many others, Darwin overlooked in order to posit a theological objection to design as if God was finished with all his purposes in creation. Darwin was quite the theological ignoramus in light of all these, and hundreds of other theological considerations.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-362918

  94. 94
    billmaz says:

    Belief in God, since He cannot be proven to exist (therefore, a belief) is personal. Therefore, my opinion of what and who God is, as well as yours, is just as valid as Darwin’s. I don’t need quotes from scripture (which are written by men, and perhaps a woman, a hundred or so years after the fact and have untold contradictions). My concept of God has evolved, which I suggest is a good thing. I don’t need to believe in the Biblical story of God in order to think there is a higher being. And my ‘conceding’ anything is an inflammatory word. I don’t remember us having any discussion about my denying a higher power. As to any empirical evidence about other life forms in the universe, we have only statistics. If there are billions of planets in the “goldilocks” zone of planetary distance from suns, the “evidence,” such as it is for now, is that there is a very high probability of intelligent life forms on many other planets. I think most planetary scientists would agree with that statement.

    My main question, which you didn’t address, is why are certain theists, certainly not all, so much against evolution? Why can’t evolution, which can be viewed as just another part of ‘nature’s laws,’ be part of God’s laws? What’s the theological problem? Even the Pope, as well as the Anglican church, refused to deny evolution.

    You also refused to address my problem with the idea of a god interfering with His creation at every little step. If we are all created in His image, then rational thought should certainly be a part of what we inherited from Him. Therefore Darwin’s #1 contradicts that point.

  95. 95
    seventrees says:

    Greetings

    Billmaz at 91

    I don’t need to envision a god who constantly tinkers with life, sometimes here, sometimes there, but not consistently and certainly not always for man’s welfare. It doesn’t make inherent sense to me. You might say it doesn’t have to make sense to me, God does what He wants. But, like Einstein was so surprised to observe, the universe seems to make sense. Occasional intervention by God doesn’t.

    Not everyone believes that the designer constantly (emphasis mine) tinkers with life. And even if the Creator (or creators, whatever anyone believes) intervenes, why is it a problem? Why would anyone expect an entity who has a will and thoughts not to intervene when the entity sees fit? Your thoughts are basically philosophical. And I do not agree with such logic as it is a faulty presupposition.

  96. 96
    bornagain77 says:

    billmaz, you state

    “As to any empirical evidence about other life forms in the universe, we have only statistics. If there are billions of planets in the “goldilocks” zone of planetary distance from suns, the “evidence,” such as it is for now, is that there is a very high probability of intelligent life forms on many other planets. I think most planetary scientists would agree with that statement.”

    not to deflate your unrestrained imagination in UFOs and such, but the ‘statistics’ in favor of your preferred belief as to how you want God to act in this universe are not as hopeful as you have misled yourself to believe,,,,,

    Linked from Appendix C from Dr. Ross’s book, ‘Why the Universe Is the Way It Is’;
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters approx. 10^-1333
    dependency factors estimate approx. 10^324
    longevity requirements estimate approx. 10^45
    Probability for occurrence of all 816 parameters ? 10^-1054
    Maximum possible number of life support bodies in observable universe approx. 10^22

    Thus, less than 1 chance in 10^1032 exists that even one such life-support body would occur anywhere in the universe without invoking divine miracles.
    http://www.reasons.org/files/c....._part3.pdf

    Hugh Ross – Evidence For Intelligent Design Is Everywhere (10^-1054) – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/4347236

    “If some god-like being could be given the opportunity to plan a sequence of events with the expressed goal of duplicating our ‘Garden of Eden’, that power would face a formidable task. With the best of intentions but limited by natural laws and materials it is unlikely that Earth could ever be truly replicated. Too many processes in its formation involve sheer luck. Earth-like planets could certainly be made, but each would differ in critical ways. This is well illustrated by the fantastic variety of planets and satellites (moons) that formed in our solar system. They all started with similar building materials, but the final products are vastly different from each other . . . . The physical events that led to the formation and evolution of the physical Earth required an intricate set of nearly irreproducible circumstances.”
    Peter B. Ward and Donald Brownlee, Rare Earth: Why Complex Life is Uncommon in the Universe (New York: Copernicus, 2000)

    Compositions of Extrasolar Planets – July 2010
    Excerpt: ,,,the presumption that extrasolar terrestrial planets will consistently manifest Earth-like chemical compositions is incorrect. Instead, the simulations revealed “a wide variety of resulting planetary compositions.
    http://www.reasons.org/composi.....ar-planets

    even the chemical composition of Mars, which is widely imagined to be similar to the Earth’s chemical composition, is not fit for supporting life:

    Early Mars Water Was Salty, Toxic Stew – 2008
    Excerpt: But data from the rover Opportunity is already suggesting that water on early Mars billions of years ago may have been fit for pickling—not supporting—life. That’s because the water was thick with salt and other minerals, making it far too briny for life as we know it, according to a new study.
    Nicholas Tosca of Harvard University and colleagues studied mineral clues from the surface of Mars sent back by the rover and used computers to turn back the clock.
    “Our sense has been that while Mars is a lousy environment for supporting life today, long ago it might have more closely resembled Earth,” said Andrew Knoll, a study co-author also from Harvard. But instead the team found that the soil’s mineral content would have made that liquid a salty, toxic stew. “No matter how far back we peer into Mars’s history, we may never see a point at which the planet really looked like Earth,” Knoll said.
    http://news.nationalgeographic.....salty.html

    as to this comment of yours billmaz:

    “I don’t need quotes from scripture (which are written by men, and perhaps a woman, a hundred or so years after the fact and have untold contradictions)”

    It might interest you to know:

    Isaiah 53 and the Dead Sea Scrolls – verified prophecy before the birth of Christ
    http://www.allaboutarchaeology.....olls-2.htm

    “In Extraordinary ways, modern archaeology has affirmed the historical core of the Old and New testaments – corroborating key points of the stories of Israel’s patriarchs, the Exodus, the Davidic monarchy, and the life and times of Jesus.”
    Jeffery Sheler – ‘Is The Bible True’, U.S. News and World Report, Oct. 25th, 1999, pg.52

    The Physical Ashen Remains Of Sodom and Gomorrah – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FwTVFk1HK3Y

    This is a gem of a quote from a Bible skeptic who thought it unfair to use the Bible as a guide in archeology since it was sure to lead to successful searches,,,::

    ‘he knew immediately that, proceeding in this way (using the Bible as a guide), “she would certainly find that building”
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-it-makes/

  97. 97
    bornagain77 says:

    Alleged contradictions are addressed here:

    Alleged Contradictions in the Gospels by Dr. Timothy McGrew – lecture
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJizWvoGCIg

    Compared to other ancient texts, nothing else is even in the same ballpark as the bible is as to reliability:

    How Reliable Is the New Testament? – Dr. Daniel Wallace (16:30 minute mark of video “The New Testament has an ‘embarrassment of riches’ compared to other ancient texts”) – video (Dr. Wallace publicly debated Bart Ehrman 3 times)
    http://www.watermark.org/media.....ment/2305/

    Further notes of interest:

    Accuracy Of The Bible – Feeding 5000 – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/6745194

    Undesigned Coincidences (evidence for the historicity of the Gospels) – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sGVLeC5HbSQ

    Verse and Music:

    Isaiah 45:18-19
    For thus says the Lord, who created the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who established it, who did not create it in vain, who formed it to be inhabited: “I am the Lord, and there is no other. I have not spoken in secret, in a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘seek me in vain’; I, the Lord speak righteousness, I declare things that are right.”

    Casting Crowns – The Word Is Alive – Live
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X9itgOBAxSc

  98. 98
    bornagain77 says:

    also of note:

    Radio Astronomy reveals privileged position for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/abs/1305.4134
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf

    Of note: The preceding article was written before the Planck data (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles were actually verified by Planck.

    A Large Scale Pattern from Optical Quasar Polarization Vectors – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.6118.pdf

    Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.0924.pdf

    and:

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History (To see the Cosmic Background Radiation) – Hugh Ross – video
    http://vimeo.com/31940671

    Cosmic GDP crashes 97% as star formation slumps – November 6, 2012
    Excerpt: If the measured decline continues, then no more than 5% more stars will form over the remaining history of the cosmos, even if we wait forever.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-11-c.....lumps.html

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and Anthropic Inequality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8494065

    At the 38:10 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Huterer speaks of the ‘why right now? coincidence problem’ for dark matter and visible matter:

    Dragan Huterer – ‘coincidence problem’ – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qTJc1Y7duM#t=2290

  99. 99
    bornagain77 says:

    also of note:

    Radio Astronomy reveals privileged position for Earth in relation to the quasar and radio galaxy distributions in the universe:

    Is there a violation of the Copernican principle in radio sky? – Ashok K. Singal – May 17, 2013
    Abstract: Cosmic Microwave Background Radiation (CMBR) observations from the WMAP satellite have shown some unexpected anisotropies (directionally dependent observations), which surprisingly seem to be aligned with the ecliptic\cite {20,16,15}. The latest data from the Planck satellite have confirmed the presence of these anisotropies\cite {17}. Here we report even larger anisotropies in the sky distributions of powerful extended quasars and some other sub-classes of radio galaxies in the 3CRR catalogue, one of the oldest and most intensively studies sample of strong radio sources\cite{21,22,3}. The anisotropies lie about a plane passing through the two equinoxes and the north celestial pole (NCP). We can rule out at a 99.995% confidence level the hypothesis that these asymmetries are merely due to statistical fluctuations. Further, even the distribution of observed radio sizes of quasars and radio galaxies show large systematic differences between these two sky regions. The redshift distribution appear to be very similar in both regions of sky for all sources, which rules out any local effects to be the cause of these anomalies. Two pertinent questions then arise. First, why should there be such large anisotropies present in the sky distribution of some of the most distant discrete sources implying inhomogeneities in the universe at very large scales (covering a fraction of the universe)? What is intriguing even further is why such anisotropies should lie about a great circle decided purely by the orientation of earth’s rotation axis and/or the axis of its revolution around the sun? It looks as if these axes have a preferential placement in the larger scheme of things, implying an apparent breakdown of the Copernican principle or its more generalization, cosmological principle, upon which all modern cosmological theories are based upon.
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1305.4134.pdf

    Why is the solar system cosmically aligned? BY Dragan Huterer – 2007
    The solar system seems to line up with the largest cosmic features. Is this mere coincidence or a signpost to deeper insights?
    Caption under figure on page 43:
    ODD ALIGNMENTS hide within the multipoles of the cosmic microwave background. In this combination of the quadrupole and octopole, a plane bisects the sphere between the largest warm and cool lobes. The ecliptic — the plane of Earth’s orbit projected onto the celestial sphere — is aligned parallel to the plane between the lobes.
    http://www-personal.umich.edu/.....uterer.pdf

    Of note: The preceding article was written before the Planck data (with WMPA & COBE data), but the multipoles were actually verified by Planck.

    A Large Scale Pattern from Optical Quasar Polarization Vectors – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1311.6118.pdf

    Testing the Dipole Modulation Model in CMBR – 2013
    http://arxiv.org/pdf/1308.0924.pdf

    and:

    We Live At The Right Time In Cosmic History (To see the Cosmic Background Radiation) – Hugh Ross – video
    http://vimeo.com/31940671

    Cosmic GDP crashes 97% as star formation slumps – November 6, 2012
    Excerpt: If the measured decline continues, then no more than 5% more stars will form over the remaining history of the cosmos, even if we wait forever.
    http://phys.org/news/2012-11-c.....lumps.html

    Anthropic Principle: A Precise Plan for Humanity By Hugh Ross
    Excerpt: Brandon Carter, the British mathematician who coined the term “anthropic principle” (1974), noted the strange inequity of a universe that spends about 15 billion years “preparing” for the existence of a creature that has the potential to survive no more than 10 million years (optimistically).,, Carter and (later) astrophysicists John Barrow and Frank Tipler demonstrated that the inequality exists for virtually any conceivable intelligent species under any conceivable life-support conditions. Roughly 15 billion years represents a minimum preparation time for advanced life: 11 billion toward formation of a stable planetary system, one with the right chemical and physical conditions for primitive life, and four billion more years toward preparation of a planet within that system, one richly layered with the biodeposits necessary for civilized intelligent life. Even this long time and convergence of “just right” conditions reflect miraculous efficiency.
    Moreover the physical and biological conditions necessary to support an intelligent civilized species do not last indefinitely. They are subject to continuous change: the Sun continues to brighten, Earth’s rotation period lengthens, Earth’s plate tectonic activity declines, and Earth’s atmospheric composition varies. In just 10 million years or less, Earth will lose its ability to sustain human life. In fact, this estimate of the human habitability time window may be grossly optimistic. In all likelihood, a nearby supernova eruption, a climatic perturbation, a social or environmental upheaval, or the genetic accumulation of negative mutations will doom the species to extinction sometime sooner than twenty thousand years from now.
    http://christiangodblog.blogsp.....chive.html

    Hugh Ross – The Anthropic Principle and Anthropic Inequality – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/w/8494065

    At the 38:10 minute mark of the following video, Dr. Huterer speaks of the ‘why right now? coincidence problem’ for dark matter and visible matter:

    Dragan Huterer – ‘coincidence problem’ – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9qTJc1Y7duM#t=2290

  100. 100
    billmaz says:

    bornagain, you have a great deal of quotes which I have no time to follow but the last one caught my eye. So this Hugh Ross thinks that the human species, or any species, can “only” last 10 million years. Right. So let’s see, within roughly 200 years we’ve learned about quantum theory, the big bang, even multiverses, and have been able to travel to other planets with our robots and put a man on the moon. 200 years! Seeing that knowledge increases exponentially, what do you think the human race will know within, say, a thousand years? How about a million years? Do you think that perhaps we’ll be able to travel to other planets? Other solar systems? Other galaxies? And don’t tell me about not being able to reach other planets because we can’t travel faster than light. I think that within a few million years we’ll be able to figure that one out.

    It’s one thing to be able to quote others, it’s another to think for oneself.

  101. 101
    bornagain77 says:

    Why sure billmaz, why not even imagine that humans evolve to the point someday to create universes?

    Anthropic Principle – God Created The Universe – Michael Strauss PhD. – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vvr9q_2sSxs
    This preceding video, at the 6:49 mark, has a very interesting quote:

    “So what are the theological implications of all this? Well Barrow and Tipler wrote this book, The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, and they saw the design of the universe. But they’re atheists basically, there’s no God. And they go through some long arguments to describe why humans are the only intelligent life in the universe. That’s what they believe. So they got a problem. If the universe is clearly the product of design, but humans are the only intelligent life in the universe, who creates the universe? So you know what Barrow and Tipler’s solution is? It makes perfect sense. Humans evolve to a point some day where they reach back in time and create the universe for themselves. (Audience laughs) Hey these guys are respected scientists. So what brings them to that conclusion? It is because the evidence for design is so overwhelming that if you don’t have God you have humans creating the universe back in time for themselves.”
    – Michael Strauss PhD. – Particle Physics

    Perhaps just a touch of restraint should be in order???

  102. 102
    Eric Anderson says:

    AVS @5:

    I am perfectly happy to recommend that readers look at your posts on the other thread, as they will see that your statements there were little more than a restatement of the abiogenesis storyline. As I said at the time:

    Thank you for taking time to lay it out. What you have written, however, is not an explanation, but rather just a restatement of the hypothetical abiogenesis story: start with a few molecules, they react, over time they become more complex, eventually they turn into simple life.

    Everybody on this site who is critiquing abiogenesis is familiar with the basic outline of the idea. The devil, as they say, is in the details. There are numerous insurmountable problems with the materialistic abiogenesis story.

    Then after you said: “I have outlined what I think is a plausible mechanism for the generation of the first living organisms,” I pointed out:

    No you haven’t. You haven’t outlined any plausible mechanism. You have just restated a vague, detail-free, unspecified, hypothetical just-so story. It isn’t remotely plausible.

    In any event, I encourage any who are interested in the exchange to circle over to the other thread, but the reason for creating this thread was to provide a chance to discuss your, and anyone else’s, ideas on abiogenesis in more detail.

    —–

    At 5 you wrote:

    There is no simple way to test the actual production of what we would call a living cell from abiotic material, in fact it would be near impossible to do so with today’s limited technology. To my knowledge, we currently can only look at the possible chemical interactions that would lead up to the formation of the components of the first cell. I can’t think of a technique, method, or procedure that would allow scientists to look for the production of a single “cell” that we would be able to then test and classify as living. If you have any ideas, let me know.

    What technology is needed? There wasn’t any technology back when abiogenesis happened. All we need to do is get the right atoms together in our artificial “warm little pond” or mud globule or crystal lattice, and we should see the magic begin.

    And by “techniques, methods or procedures,” presumably you are just talking about the techniques, methods or procedures of setting up an experiment that would mimic natural conditions? Because we can’t bring intelligently-guided techniques, methods or procedures into the actual production of the alleged proto-life.

    What you seem to be saying is that we can’t confirm abiogenesis? Quite true. But it isn’t due to a lack of lab capabilities or materials or techniques. It is because it doesn’t work. We have virtually every chemical component at our disposal and can recreate numerous different lab conditions. It should be very doable to put some chemicals together and see what happens (indeed, many researchers have done so, and the results have been less than impressive). If abiogenesis is true, there really is no excuse for the failure to produce at least a self-replicating molecule or the early sparks of life at this point.

    Unless, of course, one wants to complain about the lack of time. Ah, yes, time. That ultimate refuge of the materialist. It can always be invoked to “explain” the lack of evidence. No formation of self-replicating molecules in the lab? Not enough time. No organization of information-bearing molecules on their own? Not enough time. No evidence that a bacterium or a fruitfly can turn into something else? Not enough time.

    So, yes, one could punt due to the lack of time and repose faith in the unseen past eons, deeply obscured by the mists of time, when surely (so the thinking goes) there must have been enough time for all of this wonderful creative work to come about by purely natural processes.

    But let’s not brush aside the dedicated and persistent effort of decades of researchers to produce something — anything — even approaching the first hint of life. Let’s be willing to consider that it isn’t the lack of effort, or the lack of techniques, methods or procedures, or the lack of equipment and technology. Let’s be willing to consider that it is because abiogenesis is a failed paradigm, that it doesn’t work.

  103. 103
    Eric Anderson says:

    Mapou @21:

    Abiogenesis is not science because it makes no prediction that can be falsified. It is just pure superstition and wishful thinking coming from a bunch of brain-dead religionists who feel threatened by the religions of others.

    I’m not sure that is the best way to look at it. I understand what you’re saying, at least in terms of the oft-expressed a priori philosophical assumption that underlies the materialistic storyline. But I think abiogenesis makes some general predictions. True, the story is so vague and general that it is hard to pin anything down, but some general outlines can be investigated and tested.

    For example, abiogenesis argues that (i) unguided, essentially random, chemical reactions will result in a self-replicating molecule, (ii) a self-replicating molecule will undergo mutations that allow it to replicate more and more successfully (meaning, one presumes, faster and faster), or perhaps, it will just get better by chance, (iii) at some point this self-replicating molecule will become a complex of molecules working together, (iv) at some point the molecules will start to form functional molecular structures, or wait, was it information first?, (v) at some point information-rich structures will arise, (vi) eventually a fully autonomous, self-replicating cell will emerge.

    Sheesh. Even writing the above was an exercise in fantasy literature. But you get my point, there are some predictions/claims that can be tested. And so far (i) has been shown to not happen, (ii) is undemonstrated and chemically problematic, (iii)-(iv) don’t make any sense practically, (v) is a joke, and (vi) is wild speculation.

    So I think abiogenesis does make claims. Claims that, based on our current understanding of chemistry and physics and what is required for functional living systems, have for all practical purposes been falsified.

  104. 104
    Eric Anderson says:

    gpuccio @69:

    The problem of “life” could in principle be a little different. I am not sure (and I think that nobody can really be sure) that information is all that is needed for life. The simple fact that life only comes from life is still there. The thought experiment of having all the components from one prokaryote, and still not being able to generate a living cell, is still valid.

    But there is no doubt that we do need a lot of functional information for life, whatever it is, to be present.

    Excellent point.

    And I should add (in agreement with you): No-one should take away from our regular focus on information, and DNA, and molecular machines, and analogies from human design, that living organisms are just machines. We don’t know that. If we ever design a bacterium in the lab and it actually behaves just like a natural living bacterium, then — perhaps — we could move in that direction, at least for non-sentient life. But for now, we don’t know.

    It is clear, however, that while an organism may not be just a machine, that an organism has machines, and is physically made up of machines, and uses machines in its function and operation. So we focus on that aspect and try to at least understand the functional, information, and engineering considerations that go into living organisms.

  105. 105
    Eric Anderson says:

    Folks, let’s keep the conversation civil. I’ve just now had time to look at some of the comments, so I apologize for not moderating a bit sooner.

    Joe, please refer to AVS by his screenname.

    AVS, the name calling and pronouncements of your scientific superiority and our scientific illiteracy are not helpful, and do not support your case. Many of us have read your comments on the other thread and find them lacking in substance. That said, you are welcome to do a guest post that lays out your case for abiogenesis. Furthermore, notwithstanding the rabbit-hole literature bluffs folks have sent us down on numerous occasions, if you feel there is a particular article or study that supports abiogenesis, please let us know and I’m sure a couple of us would be happy to look at it (if it isn’t behind a paywall).

    Thanks, everyone, for a lively discussion.

  106. 106
    billmaz says:

    bornagain, in fact , scientists are seriously considering the possibility of creating a universe. Look at the following article:

    http://www.casavaria.com/senti.....iverse.htm

    “A radical new project could permit human beings to create a “baby universe” in a laboratory in Japan. While it sounds like a dangerous undertaking, the physicists involved believe that if the project is successful, the space-time around a tiny point within our universe will be distorted in such a way that it will begin to form a new superfluid space, and eventually break off, separate in all respects from our experience of space and time, causing no harm to the fabric of our universe.”

    And on http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....Id=6545246, Columbia physicist Brian Greene contemplates the same thing:

    “This is not going to happen tomorrow. Not even close. But according to Columbia University physics professor Brian Greene, it is theoretically not impossible (which is his way of saying the possibilities are not zero) that one day, a person could build a universe.”

    (Sorry about not knowing how to use HTML tags)

    Also, in

    Arjun Bagchi, Stephane Detournay, Daniel Grumiller, Joan Simón. Cosmic Evolution from Phase Transition of Three-Dimensional Flat Space. Physical Review Letters, 2013; 111 (18) DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.111.181301

    “When time and space are heated, an expanding universe can emerge, without requiring anything like a “Big Bang.” This phase transition between a boring empty space and an expanding universe containing mass has now been mathematically described by a research team at the Vienna University of Technology, together with colleagues from Harvard, the MIT and Edinburgh. The idea behind this result is a remarkable connection between quantum field theory and Einstein’s theory of relativity.”

    So creating a universe is not a crazy as you may think. Why do it? Good question. Just to see if you can?

  107. 107
    Barb says:

    billmaz writes,

    Why can’t evolution, which can be viewed as just another part of ‘nature’s laws,’ be part of God’s laws?

    Simply put, the Bible presents mankind as getting further and further away from perfection (devolving, if you will). Evolution presents mankind as getting closer and closer to perfection, or becoming better. The two beliefs are at complete odds with each other.

  108. 108
    bornagain77 says:

    “So (humans) creating a universe is not a crazy as you may think.”

    No actually from theoretical concerns, and from purely philosophical concerns, it is still as crazy as I think.

    Genesis 3:5
    “For God knows that when you eat from it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”

    of note, Perhaps they should first figure out how this particular universe is actually constructed with a ‘theory of everything’ before they seek to create brand new universes in the lab??? 🙂 Just a piece of unsolicited advice!

    Quantum Mechanics and Relativity – The Collapse Of Physics? – video – with notes as to plausible reconciliation that is missed by materialists
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/6597379/

    THE MYSTERIOUS ZERO/INFINITY
    Excerpt: The biggest challenge to today’s physicists is how to reconcile general relativity and quantum mechanics. However, these two pillars of modern science were bound to be incompatible. “The universe of general relativity is a smooth rubber sheet. It is continuous and flowing, never sharp, never pointy. Quantum mechanics, on the other hand, describes a jerky and discontinuous universe. What the two theories have in common – and what they clash over – is zero.”,, “The infinite zero of a black hole — mass crammed into zero space, curving space infinitely — punches a hole in the smooth rubber sheet. The equations of general relativity cannot deal with the sharpness of zero. In a black hole, space and time are meaningless.”,, “Quantum mechanics has a similar problem, a problem related to the zero-point energy. The laws of quantum mechanics treat particles such as the electron as points; that is, they take up no space at all. The electron is a zero-dimensional object,,, According to the rules of quantum mechanics, the zero-dimensional electron has infinite mass and infinite charge.
    http://www.fmbr.org/editoral/e....._mar02.htm

  109. 109
    billmaz says:

    barb, I am not a Biblical scholar so I’ll take your word for what the Bible says. However, I must make the point that evidence shows that our species is getting better, not worse, especially when it comes to violence. Steven Pinker, author of The Better Angels of Our Nature, and Joshua Goldstein, author of Winning the War on War, when interviewed on NPR make the following points:

    http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/.....dern-times

    “Joshua Goldstein argues that despite Iraq and Afghanistan, Congo and Sudan, the past 10 years have seen fewer war deaths than any decade in the past 100 years. And Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker goes even further. We may be living in the most peaceful period in the history of our species.”

    And,

    “Yes, the decline of war that scholars such as Joshua Goldstein have documented is one of a number of historical declines of violence. Others include the plummeting of rates of interpersonal violence, one-on-one homicides, which have fallen by about a factor of 35 since the Middle Ages in every European country for which statistics are available.

    Another example is the abolition of cruel and barbaric institutionalized practices like human sacrifice, like chattel slavery, like the use of the death penalty for trivial infractions, the burning of heretics, bear-baiting, the list goes on.”

    I suggest that all of those trends are evidence that the human race is actually improving.

  110. 110
    billmaz says:

    bornagain, I am well aware of the problems with quantum mechanics and relativity. However, you must also be aware that there are several theories which try to deal with reconciling them (supersymmetry, string theory), which may or may not be right. I have no doubt that at some point they will find the answers, seeing the incredible progress they have made in the past century. What then? Does that mean anything with respect to God? I say no. Just because we discover God’s laws and try to mimic them says nothing about His existence. Knowledge, in and of itself, says nothing about ultimate origins.

    The same goes with abiogenesis. If we ever do find a physical answer to how life began, does that say anything about God? I say no again. The question is not whether we can learn and use the laws of the universe, but how did they get there in the first place? That’s where we should focus our attention.

  111. 111
    Upright BiPed says:

    The same goes with abiogenesis.

    Bill, you use the term abiogenesis as a foregone conclusion instead of the unsupported presumption that it actually is (in the face of universal evidence to the contrary). Further, you sometimes say these things as if ID proponents were bringing evidence to the table that was illegitimate in some sense. Living things on earth are largely dependent on a semiotic system of information processing that has identifiable physical properties which are not demonstrated anywhere in the physical world except during the translation of language, mathematics, and in the genome.

  112. 112
    bornagain77 says:

    billmaz,

    I have no doubt that at some point they will find the answers (for the theory of everything), seeing the incredible progress they have made in the past century. What then? Does that mean anything with respect to God? I say no.

    Actually billmaz, contrary to your apparent knee-jerk reaction, the ‘correct’ theory of everything has everything to do with God:

    Gravity, despite intense effort by many brilliant minds,,,,

    Bohemian Gravity – Rob Sheldon – September 19, 2013
    Excerpt: (the video) has gone viral–the one man a cappella production of “Bohemian Gravity”.,,,,
    ,,,there’s a large contingent of physicists who believe that string theory is the heroin of theoretical physics. It has absorbed not just millions of dollars, but hundreds if not thousands of grad student lifetimes without delivering what it promised–a unified theory of the universe and life. It is hard, in fact, to find a single contribution from string theory despite 25 years of intense effort by thousands of the very brightest and best minds our society can find.
    http://rbsp.info/PROCRUSTES/bohemian-gravity/

    ,,,despite all this effort, Gravity still refuses to be unified with Quantum Mechanics (which really should not be all that surprising given Godel’s incompleteness theorem). In light of this dilemma that the two very different eternities present to us spiritually minded people,

    Two very different eternities revealed by physics
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....ent-490689

    and the fact that Gravity is, in so far as we can tell, completely incompatible with Quantum Mechanics, it is interesting to point out a subtle nuance on the Shroud of Turin. Namely that Gravity was overcome in the resurrection event of Christ:

    A Quantum Hologram of Christ’s Resurrection? by Chuck Missler
    Excerpt: “You can read the science of the Shroud, such as total lack of gravity, lack of entropy (without gravitational collapse), no time, no space—it conforms to no known law of physics.” The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically. Dame Piczek created a one-fourth size sculpture of the man in the Shroud. When viewed from the side, it appears as if the man is suspended in mid air (see graphic, below), indicating that the image defies previously accepted science. The phenomenon of the image brings us to a true event horizon, a moment when all of the laws of physics change drastically.
    http://www.khouse.org/articles/2008/847

    THE EVENT HORIZON (Space-Time Singularity) OF THE SHROUD OF TURIN. – Isabel Piczek – Particle Physicist
    Excerpt: We have stated before that the images on the Shroud firmly indicate the total absence of Gravity. Yet they also firmly indicate the presence of the Event Horizon. These two seemingly contradict each other and they necessitate the past presence of something more powerful than Gravity that had the capacity to solve the above paradox.
    http://shroud3d.com/findings/i.....-formation

    Particle Radiation from the Body – July 2012 – M. Antonacci, A. C. Lind
    Excerpt: The Shroud’s frontal and dorsal body images are encoded with the same amount of intensity, independent of any pressure or weight from the body. The bottom part of the cloth (containing the dorsal image) would have born all the weight of the man’s supine body, yet the dorsal image is not encoded with a greater amount of intensity than the frontal image. Radiation coming from the body would not only explain this feature, but also the left/right and light/dark reversals found on the cloth’s frontal and dorsal body images.
    http://www.academicjournals.or.....onacci.pdf

    Moreover, as would be expected if Gravity and Quantum Mechanics were truly unified in the resurrection event of Jesus Christ, the image on the Shroud of Turin was formed by a quantum process not by a classical process:

    The absorbed energy in the Shroud body image formation appears as contributed by discrete values – Giovanni Fazio, Giuseppe Mandaglio – 2008
    Excerpt: This result means that the optical density distribution,, can not be attributed at the absorbed energy described in the framework of the classical physics model. It is, in fact, necessary to hypothesize a absorption by discrete values of the energy where the ‘quantum’ is equal to the one necessary to yellow one fibril.
    http://cab.unime.it/journals/i.....802004/271

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: After years of work trying to replicate the colouring on the shroud, a similar image has been created by the scientists.
    However, they only managed the effect by scorching equivalent linen material with high-intensity ultra violet lasers, undermining the arguments of other research, they say, which claims the Turin Shroud is a medieval hoax.
    Such technology, say researchers from the National Agency for New Technologies, Energy and Sustainable Economic Development (Enea), was far beyond the capability of medieval forgers, whom most experts have credited with making the famous relic.
    “The results show that a short and intense burst of UV directional radiation can colour a linen cloth so as to reproduce many of the peculiar characteristics of the body image on the Shroud of Turin,” they said.
    And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”
    http://www.independent.co.uk/n.....79512.html

    “In mathematics there are two ways to go to infinity. One is to grow large without measure. The other is to form a fraction in which the denominator goes to zero. The Cross is a path of humility in which the infinite God becomes finite and then contracts to zero, only to resurrect and thereby unite a finite humanity within a newfound infinity.”
    William Dembski PhD. Mathematics – The End Of Christianity – Finding a Good God in an Evil World – Pg.31

    The Center Of The Universe Is Life – General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, Entropy and The Shroud Of Turin – video
    http://vimeo.com/34084462

    Verse and Music:

    Colossians 1:15-20
    The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

    Kari Jobe – Revelation Song –
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FObjd5wrgZ8

  113. 113
    Eric Anderson says:

    InVivoVeritas @70:

    Let’s do some reasoning together.

    Life requires self-replication ability.

    I’m not sure that life, in and of itself, requires self-replication/reproduction. We could certainly conceive of an organism that does not reproduce itself (for sterility reasons or otherwise) that would still be considered alive.

    That said, I understand your broader point about the challenging requirements for self-replication — the self-replication that is a characteristic of essentially every life form we study. I’m currently in the process of putting together a related follow-on post, which I hope to have up in a few days, and would love your thoughts on it.

    Also, thank you for the reference to your excellent page on a minimum cell model. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this issue as well the past few years and it is an exceedingly interesting issue. I’ll definitely try to read through your essay in more detail (I know we discussed it a while back, but I want to refresh my memory of the issues you brought up).

  114. 114
    Eric Anderson says:

    WJM @74:

    Thanks for the post. Gave me a good chuckle!

  115. 115
    bornagain77 says:

    billmaz, in regards to your Pinker link, I suggest you really need to stop getting your scientific information about how humans are improving from an atheist who currently supports infanticide:

    Australia Awards Infanticide Backer Peter Singer Its Highest Honor – 2012
    Excerpt: Singer is best known for advocating the ethical propriety of infanticide. But that isn’t nearly the limit of his odious advocacy. Here is a partial list of some other notable Singer bon mots:
    – Singer supports using cognitively disabled people in medical experiments instead of animals that have a higher “quality of life.”
    – Singer does not believe humans reach “full moral status” until after the age of two. Singer supports non-voluntary euthanasia of human “non-persons.”
    – Singer has defended bestiality.
    – Singer started the “Great Ape Project” that would establish a “community of equals” among humans, gorillas, bonobos, chimpanzees, and orangutans.
    – Singer supports health-care rationing based on “quality of life.”
    – Singer has questioned whether “the continuance of our species is justifiable,” since it will result in suffering.
    – Singer believes “speciesism” — viewing humans as having greater value than animals — is akin to racism.
    http://www.lifenews.com/2012/0.....est-honor/

    Moreover, the stats Singer cited are bogus:

    Steve Pinker’s bogus statistics (against Christianity being a force for good in the world): – August 2013
    Pinker’s Claim:: World War I, as I recall, was a war fought mostly by Christians against Christians. As for World War II and its associated horrors, see my answer to the previous question.
    True or False? Utterly irrelevant to the question of whether religion is a force for violence. Matthew White has this to say on the matter:
    Q: Is religion responsible for more violent deaths than any other cause?
    A: No, of course not — unless you define religion so broadly as to be meaningless. Just take the four deadliest events of the 20th Century — Two World Wars, Red China and the Soviet Union — no religious motivation there, unless you consider every belief system to be a religion.
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-part-one/

    Steve Pinker’s bogus statistics: A critique of The Better Angels of Our Nature (Part Two)
    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....art-one-2/

  116. 116
    Eric Anderson says:

    Barry @81:

    BA77 @ 80. I take it that Eric is not conceding any of these things in principle. He is merely conceding them for the sake of argument.

    Exactly correct. I hope that was clear from the OP, but apologies to everyone if I wasn’t quite explicit enough.

    As I said:

    Every single one of the foregoing items represents a huge challenge and a significant open question to the formation of life, but I’m willing to grant them all.

    Now, with all these concessions, what do you think the next step is?

    Go ahead, what is your theory about how life forms?

    The purpose of this challenge is to cut through all the red tape and the side roads about this or that development in abiogenesis research and focus on the most fundamental issues: that of information infusion and control mechanisms.

    Materialist abiogenesis proponents get all excited when there is an announcement about some amino acid found in a comet or a “biological” molecule that was created from simple precursors in the lab. In their unabated enthusiasm they tend to think “progress” is being made toward the materialist creation story.

    At the time I issued the challenge my purpose was to avoid getting bogged down in all these kinds of questions — what the early atmosphere was like, whether it was RNA-first or something else, whether it was mud globules or volcanic vents or warm little ponds. I granted for purposes of argument all of the physical conditions and material elements necessary for life . . . every single one of them. And the question is, even with all of that, how does life get started?

    Crickets . . .

  117. 117
    bornagain77 says:

    billmaz, I admire your enthusiasm for the progress of science, but the future of science may be far different than just ‘more of the same’ as you seem to envision it:

    Dr. Eben Alexander Says It’s Time for Brain Science to Graduate From Kindergarten – 10/24/2013
    Excerpt: As long as scientists hold onto that simplistic (materialistic) thinking they are going to be mired down to never, ever explain consciousness or the enigmas of quantum mechanics. But there are a lot of scientists out there who do get it,,,
    The pure scientific materialist model that I worshiped for so many years has absolutely nothing to offer up in terms of explaining how consciousness might emerge from the physical brain.,,,
    consciousness is a far deeper, more profound mystery than “kindergarten level” scientific materialism offers up. Now that’s why I include in my book the hard problem of consciousness and the enigma of quantum mechanics.,,,
    It’s time for brain science, mind science, physics, cosmology, to move from kindergarten up into first grade and realize we will never truly understand consciousness with that simplistic materialist mindset.
    Of note: Dr. Alexander is working on a new book he says will unpack the science behind his recently adopted theories on brain, consciousness, and spirituality.
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/.....51093.html

  118. 118
    billmaz says:

    Unlike some, I am open to anything and everything, bornagain. In fact, I would love it. To me “science” does not mean “materialism.” If Alexander has something to show, great. The note at the end is puzzling: to “unpack the science” means he still follows the scientific method.

  119. 119
    bornagain77 says:

    “Unlike some, I am open to anything and everything,”

    I’ve noticed. 🙂

    Exactly why should the note at the end be puzzling? Is the scientific method not a part of consciousness?

  120. 120
    Mung says:

    Upright BiPed:

    Yes, you have. You’ve argued that sunlight, agitation, and a natural membrane are the key insights to the creation of the first living organism – which you describe as inevitable.

    AVS:

    I have no need to spend $70+ dollars on the book when you have it in front of you.

    AVS won’t discuss “the critical translation apparatus ” with UBP and won’t discuss protocells with me. Go figure.

    Bluff called. AVS folds:

    Welp, it’s been interesting as always guys. Adios.

    Interesting for you maybe. Same old same old for us.

  121. 121
    AVS says:

    Mung, still waiting for you to mention one thing in the book that “proves me wrong,” as you said.
    Saying I “don’t want to discuss protocells” with you is an outright lie, as I’ve tried to get you to talk about this topic, and your book, multiple times now.
    You’re right it is the same-old psychobabble, quote-mining nonsense as usual from you guys.

  122. 122
    Joe says:

    OK can someone get a protocell thread going, please?

    AVS check back, it could happen. If you promise to engage Mung and Upright Biped in good faith, which means being the evidence, I promise to stay out of it (on this forum) and let you guys have at it. But if you are just going to spew your usual evidence-free drivel then all bets are off, so to speak.

  123. 123
    AVS says:

    “There wasn’t any technology back when abiogenesis happened.”
    Really EA? You don’t say. Did you make that statement for the benefit of all the people here at UD who are still in the second grade? You must have, since there are so many.

    “All we need to do is get the right atoms together in our artificial “warm little pond” or mud globule or crystal lattice, and we should see the magic begin.”
    And that is where the issue is. We can’t “see” the magic begin. We don’t have any scientific methods that would allow us to look at this cell we’ve produced. You guys have no knowledge of experimental biology, and that is why you don’t see the problem with asking us to directly demonstrate the production of the first living cell.

  124. 124
    AVS says:

    Joe, I do not have the time to go on and on with multiple people about protocells. All I want is Mung to produce a single thing from this book (that I doubt he’s even read)that “proves me wrong.” The only person that I think is bluffing here is Mung.
    Well, and you Joe.

  125. 125
    AVS says:

    Upright, you think pointing out that I can’t demonstrate how a system of organization would arise is winning you the argument. It’s not. It’s only demonstrating that you can ask questions which no one knows the answer to. Congratulations. My original idea was only meant to outline the formation of the first living cell. I am not prepared to really get into how the transcription/translation system we see today originated, and neither is anyone else. We still don’t know everything about how the system even works today.
    Good job adding nothing to the conversation as usual.

  126. 126
    Joe says:

    AVS- You are all bluff. I just wanted to see you crash and burn, again.

    What are you- first year biology student?

  127. 127
    Joe says:

    AVS, if no one knows the answer then don’t call it science. To say unguided evolution produced transcription and translation is dogmatic bull. THAT should be a major problem for anyone remotely interested in science.

  128. 128
    Joe says:

    And as for experimental biology, again if the claims of your position cannot be tested and have to hide behind the curtain of father time, then don’t call it science. And don’t blame us. We are just asking how to test your position’s claims.

  129. 129
    AVS says:

    Joe, I know it’s a lot to ask but please, for once in your life, read something for understanding. I am not saying that abiogenesis cannot be tested. I am saying that we cannot directly demonstrate and “see” it, as you guys say we must do, with today’s today’s technology.
    If you were to tell me what it is that you need to see, to accept that abiogenesis is the best explanation for the formation of life, I would be able to give you at least ten reasons why it is not feasible with technology today.

  130. 130
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    Upright, you think pointing out that I can’t demonstrate how a system of organization would arise is winning you the argument. It’s not.

    My comments to you, as I’ve already said, were intended to demonstrate that your belligerent certainty has no basis in physical science. A possible side benefit would be that you mediate your childish belligerence (if not your certainty) once you come to realize that your ideas have nothing whatsoever to do with organizing the cell.

    It’s only demonstrating that you can ask questions which no one knows the answer to. Congratulations.

    Many ask these questions, AVS. They do it for a valid reason. This should be obvious.

    My original idea was only meant to outline the formation of the first living cell. I am not prepared to really get into how the transcription/translation system we see today originated, and neither is anyone else.

    Firstly, your original idea does neither “form” nor “organize” a “first living cell”.

    Secondly, you are seriously mistaken about real OoL researchers. They are intensely interested in how the translation system originated. Unlike yourself, they know it’s the key to organizing the cell.

    We still don’t know everything about how the system even works today. Good job adding nothing to the conversation as usual.

    Complaining about my contribution on topics you refuse to discuss is entirely pointless outside whatever rhetorical comfort you may draw from it.

    AVS, do yourself a favor. If you are studying to be a bench scientist, don’t go through your entire career with this level of adolescent reasoning. Try to improve your ability to connect what can be shown to what can be said. My guess is you’ll talk less and say more.

  131. 131
    AVS says:

    Yes, the people that legitimately ask these question’s are the ones that are working in their lab, trying to find the answer. However, when you and your friends on here ask the same questions and expect an answer, despite knowing there is no current answer, you end up only succeeding in making yourself look like an idiot. Everything I said has a basis in science that has already been conducted. As I said multiple times, I did not originally intend to try to explain the complex organization we see today. I only intended to very briefly describe the origin of the most basic organization of the cell: the separation of extra/intra-cell environments and state the current ideas of an early metabolic system.
    You were the one to join the conversation claiming that I cannot explain the origin of a complex translation and replication system, when I never intended to do so.
    I would say the formation of a membrane enclosed cell, with simple metabolic activity represents the organization of something pretty organized.
    Also, no where do I say that researchers are not interested in the origin of a translation system. What I said is that they have no idea how it occured.
    You have the same ability to read for understanding as Joe does I’m sorry to say.
    You should worry about your own ability to reason, not mine.

  132. 132
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    You’re right it is the same-old psychobabble, quote-mining nonsense as usual from you guys.

    Give that I have not provided a single quote from the book, I fail to see how the “quote-mine” charge can be relevant. You appear to have your mind made up already, regardless.

    Is there some topic you are NOT dogmatic about?

  133. 133
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    I would say the formation of a membrane enclosed cell, with simple metabolic activity represents the organization of something pretty organized.

    So?

    Protocells: Bridging Nonliving and Living Matter

    Please direct us to the chapter that demonstrates the experimental formation of a membrane enclosed cell with simple metabolic activity.

    If you can.

  134. 134
    Mung says:

    AVS:

    Everything I said has a basis in science that has already been conducted.

    lol

  135. 135
    Upright BiPed says:

    I would say the formation of a membrane enclosed cell, with simple metabolic activity represents the organization of something pretty organized.

    Has it occurred to you that this “organization” you propose must be encoded into a medium and subsequently translated (while preserving the discontinuity between the medium and the organization) in order to replicate itself with Darwinian heredity? You are suggesting an entity that perpetuates itself into the future, are you not?

  136. 136
    AVS says:

    Mung, you took my “I have no need to spend $70” quote and made it seem like I was avoiding talking to you about the book. Despite my asking multiple times for you to talk to me about the book. Which, you are still yet to do. I am still waiting for you to back up your claim that the book “proves me wrong.” Any day now…

    Upright, as for the existence of a membrane itself, it does not need to be encoded in a medium. It is simply passed on through successive growth/division cycles which, as I said, can be driven by the partitioning of more amphipathic molecules into the early membrane. What needs to be encoded and then translated are the proteins that are modify the make-up of the membrane along with many other functions. But the membrane is able to serve its purpose in these simple cells without complex modification of the membrane leaflets.
    I completely understand where you are coming from. Yes, at some point, the simple functions of early cells need to begin being represented as a form of information that can be passed on to successive daughter cells. And as I have said multiple times, I have no idea how this happened, therefore I am not even going to try to start explaining it. I’m sure someone who works with gene regulation can give you a just so story that explains the basics of how a system might have a risen, and I’m sure that someone who specifically works on OOL and this issue can give you an even more descriptive story. But in the end, no one really knows how it happened and were not even close to understanding how it might have happened.

  137. 137
    Mung says:

    AVS, you’ve made it clear that anything I can provide from the book would be regarded by you as a “quote-mine,” to be equated with “psychobabble” and “nonsense.”

    The onus is now upon you to demonstrate that you know what you’re talking about and that you’re not simply trolling.

    What do you know about cell membranes, if anything?

    What do you know of what is required to get to a current cell membrane from an environment without cells or cell membranes, if anything?

    Your claim appears to be reducible to “it’s possible” without knowing what “it” is.

  138. 138
    AVS says:

    No, no no no, Mung. So you’re going to try to weasel your way out of this one?
    If you can provide something from this book, I will analyze it 100% unbiased. The only things I regard as psychobabble are the things that come straight out of the mouths of you and your friends here, and what I regard as quote mines, are usually just that, as I have just demonstrated yours.
    Do not try to shift anything onto me. I am still waiting for you to provide a single word from this book. And if you honestly think I have not demonstrated that I now what I am talking about, then I don’t know what to say. I’d say I know a pretty good amount about anything you can think of cell biology related.
    And again, to get a “current” cell membrane from an environment without cells, I know next to nothing.
    But, to get a very simple membrane that would function in the most basic way, I know is not a very difficult process once you have a pool of amphipathic molecules in water. It’s driven by entropy actually, google the “hydrophobic effect.” Maybe you’ll learn something.
    I doubt it.

  139. 139
    Mung says:

    AVS:
    Upright, as for the existence of a membrane itself, it does not need to be encoded in a medium. It is simply passed on through successive growth/division cycles which, as I said, can be driven by the partitioning of more amphipathic molecules into the early membrane.

    Your claim is that a cell membrane does not need to be encoded in a medium.

    Your claim is that a cell membrane is “simply passed on through successive growth/division cycles.”

    not true

  140. 140
    AVS says:

    Hmmm, Mung telling me I am wrong again? Got anything to prove it? You sound so sure of yourself.

  141. 141
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    It seems you missed the central issue again. Allow me to repeat it.

    Whatever organization you propose must be encoded into a medium and subsequently translated (while preserving the discontinuity between the medium and the organization) in order to replicate itself with Darwinian heredity.

    In other words, the “simple metabolic activity” you suggest must (as a physical necessity) include the capacity to encode its make-up and structure into a medium, and pass that medium along with the means to translate it into a descendent cell. It must do this while maintaining the physical discontinuity between the arrangement of the medium and the product of its translation. Without this, you do not have what any serious researcher would claim to be a Darwinian-capable self-replicating cell.

    Diverting to observations of non-biotic membranes and assumed gaps in our knowledge that confirm the materialist paradigm do not change the physical necessities of the cell.

  142. 142
    AVS says:

    How did I miss the central issue? I admitted that the functions of the cell must at some point be encoded into a medium of information. And I also said I have no idea how this happened.
    The simple metabolic activity of the first cell I proposed is based on chemical reactions common in the environment, meaning they do not need to be encoded in a medium. They occur no matter what in or outside the cell. The intracellular environment allows slight alterations to the possible reactions that would occur outside of the cell.
    For the last time, I am not going to get into the formation of a information translation system, as I have already said I am not equipped to do so.

  143. 143
    Eric Anderson says:

    AVS @123:

    We can’t “see” the magic begin. We don’t have any scientific methods that would allow us to look at this cell we’ve produced.

    What does this even mean? If we’re working with chemicals in the lab and producing molecules we don’t have any “scientific methods” to look at what we’re producing? How can we produce a cell if there is no scientific method for looking at it?

    You guys have no knowledge of experimental biology, and that is why you don’t see the problem with asking us to directly demonstrate the production of the first living cell.

    No-one has asked you to directly demonstrate the production of the first living cell. I certainly haven’t even asked you to produce any living cell. Most abiogenesis critics would be impressed with even one relatively complex self-replicating molecule, or an information-rich molecule, or a functional protein complex. Forget a complete cell; let’s just start with the baby steps.

    No-one is asking for an account of what actually happened. Just a coherent, rational, supportable, proposal for what could happen. Something more than vague generalizations and wild speculations. Something that has enough substance to be taken seriously. Something that at least addresses the known issues in the formation of a living cell.

    Shoot, most of us would be duly impressed with something that is even reasonably plausible. Something that is even semi-detailed.

    Something that passes the laugh test.

  144. 144
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    The simple metabolic activity of the first cell I proposed is based on chemical reactions common in the environment, meaning they do not need to be encoded in a medium. They occur no matter what in or outside the cell. The intracellular environment allows slight alterations to the possible reactions that would occur outside of the cell.

    I can assure you that everyone here completely understands these words. The problem is that they do nothing whatsoever to illuminate the origin of a Darwinian-capable self-replicating cell. Yet, you repeatedly call this a “living organism”.

    Perhaps we can cut this exchange down to something fitting its nature. You say you can reach a “living organism” without recorded information. How do you define a living organism? And in answering this question, do us the favor of imagining that Crick, Nirenberg, Hoagland, Venter, and Szostak were here to judge what you say. Surely you envision a “living organism” as something more than what you’ve argued for thus far – a “common” chemical reaction inside a non-biotic membrane.

    Note: I am giving you the opportunity to un-ass yourself from your careless remarks. Consider taking that opportunity.

  145. 145
    AVS says:

    Upright, I’ve already defined what a living organism is here. Here it is at the most basic level; something that separates the external and internal environment, has metabolic activity, can reproduce, and can evolve.

  146. 146
    AVS says:

    EA, I understand your confusion, as I have already said, this confusion stems from a complete lack of knowledge on the topic of experimental biology. If we are “producing molecules in the lab” we are mass producing them and have various ways to look at these molecules. If a scientist were to try to produce the first living cell in an Earth-like environment, how do you suggest he looks for this cell? You do realize how small cells are right? You can’t just wade into a prebiotic soup environment and pluck out your first cell.
    I think there have been RNA molecules that are self-replicating, both carrying out catalytic activity and holding the information for its own synthesis at the same time. And functional protein-like amino acid polymers have already been demonstrated to form on their own under certain conditions and have catalytic activity. Catalytic activity doesn’t even require a complex protein or RNA molecule, are you aware of this?

  147. 147
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    If that is the case, then your “living organism” can neither: reproduce itself nor can its progeny evolve (because there won’t be any).

    If you believe otherwise, then describe whatever metabolic activity you have in mind to sustain your original “living cell” (i.e. the production and/or distribution of energy, for instance) along with the constituents in your original cell related to this activity (to whatever degree you wish to describe them) and then tell us how they reproduce themselves in another membrane.

  148. 148
    AVS says:

    I already told you Upright, reproduction of the first cell I have proposed is driven by instability of the membrane as it increases in size and/or by outside energy input. The daughter cells may not have the exact same quantity of what was in the original cell, but they are all likely to be present in some amount. Also, as I have just said the metabolic system is based on chemical reactions that occur naturally, producing formaldehyde, which is a good candidate for the formation of more complex molecules through subsequent condensation reactions. The membrane also provides a possible energy storage site in the form of a chemical, electrical, or electrochemical gradient similar to how it does in cells now. Diffusion of these molecules throughout the parent cell ensures that they are relatively evenly distributed in the daughter cells when replication occurs via the the mechanisms I mention above.

  149. 149
    Upright BiPed says:

    Let me help you out AVS:

    Proteins A, B, C, and D arose and contribute to the transport of energy in my original cell. They replicate themselves in a new cell by …

  150. 150
    AVS says:

    I haven’t even mentioned the existence of proteins in my cell and why would I need to transport energy?
    I know what you are doing. You are trying to get me to commit to the existence of a protein molecule so that you can then ask how that molecule was encoded into an information medium. For the last time, I’m not going there.

  151. 151
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    I suppose you refer to something like this:

    “Selection of an improved RNA polymerase ribozyme with superior extension and fidelity”

    http://rnajournal.cshlp.org/co.....7.full.pdf

    Well, let’s see:

    Guided by the catalytic mechanisms utilized by protein polymerases, attempts have focused on isolating ribozymes that are capable of polymerizing a primer in a template-dependent manner as a key first step in the creation of a replicase ribozyme

    No approach has been more successful than the efforts that resulted in the 189 nucleotide (nt)-long Round-18 polymerase, which was selected from a pool built by appending a 76-random-nucleotide accessory sequence to the class I ligase

    Emphasis mine.

    So, to sum up:

    a) The Round 18 polymerase has been built by intelligent selection (it’s not a case that Szostak was part of the team). In no way it arose ib “a prebiotic soup environment”, or anything like that. It is the product of intelligent design.

    b) The Round 18 polymerase is 189 nucleotides long! That means that its total complexity is 6*10^113, IOWs 378 bits! Maybe it is not the most complex RNA molecule we have, but its is certainly not simple. It corresponds to a protein of 63 AAs, and it could well be beyond my threshold of 150 bits for our planet as a biological system.

    But let’s go on. Let’s see what this product of human intelligent RNA engineering can do:

    This polymerase can extend an RNA primer-template (PT) complex by up to 14 nt in a template-directed manner after 24 h of incubation. Nonetheless, the ability of the Round-18 ribozyme to polymerize more than one RNA helical turn is limited; more typically the Round-18 polymerase adds only a few nucleotides to a given PT complex. This poor polymerization ability has been attributed to weak and highly variable PT recognition

    IOWs, we are really, really distant from any chance of “self-replication”. Do you agree? These human designers are certainly clever, but not so clever as we would like 🙂

    So, what is needed? The answer is simple enough: more design, better design.

    Therefore, the efficiency of this polymerase must be greatly improved in order to create an RNA system with true autoreplicative potential. Achieving this goal will require a complex combination of improved PT recognition, processivity, fidelity, and NTP utilization. As these polymerase properties are interdependent, it will be increasingly difficult to optimize these properties simultaneously using standard selection methods. Indeed, recent attempts to isolate superior polymerase ribozymes from the same pool that was used to isolate the Round-18 polymerase using conventional in vitro selection techniques have not yet proven fruitful

    Emphasis mine. What an informative paper, would you agree? Good science.

    But the intelligence is certainly stimulated by the challenge:

    Recently, in vitro compartmentalization (IVC) has been used as an alternative for conventional in vitro selection in the direct isolation of trans-ribozymes performing multiple-turnover chemistries

    In this study we have developed a large-scale IVC system
    to select for an improved RNA polymerase ribozyme from a mutagenized library based on the Round-18 ribozyme and with a diversity of ~ 9 * 10^14 sequences. After six rounds of selection, where ribozyme polymerases were required to act in a completely trans-fashion, we isolated a sequence that had extension properties superior to the Round-18 ribozyme in every assay tested.

    Again, emphasis mine. Again, good intelligent engineering. That was really difficult, I suppose. We should really admire those intelligent and motivated scientists 🙂

    So, let’s see again what the new production can do:

    B6.61 incorporates > 20 nt of sequence

    Although both the WT and the B6.61 polymerases extended the PT(P7:T21) by 14 nt, B6.61 polymerized extension of > 9 nt about threefold faster than the WT (Fig. 7). More interesting was the finding that B6.61 extended PT(P7:T31) beyond the 14-nt limit, reaching a total extension of > 20 nt

    B6.61 is more accurate

    A clue to B6.61’s superiority was revealed by observing that B6.61 had improved fidelity

    OK, we should be satisfied. After years of intelligent design and intelligent application of lab resources and human creativity, our scientists succeeded in creating a molecule that can elongate a template of 20 nt with godd fidelity. We are still very distant from any chance of self-replication (the polymerase is nore than 180 nt long!).

    But the story goes on. In 2011, we have new results:

    “Ribozyme-Catalyzed Transcription of an Active Ribozyme”

    Of this, I can only give the abstract:

    A critical event in the origin of life is thought to have been the emergence of an RNA molecule capable of replicating a primordial RNA “genome.” Here we describe the evolution and engineering of an RNA polymerase ribozyme capable of synthesizing RNAs of up to 95 nucleotides in length. To overcome its sequence dependence, we recombined traits evolved separately in different ribozyme lineages. This yielded a more general polymerase ribozyme that was able to synthesize a wider spectrum of RNA sequences, as we demonstrate by the accurate synthesis of an enzymatically active RNA, a hammerhead endonuclease ribozyme. This recapitulates a central aspect of an RNA-based genetic system: the RNA-catalyzed synthesis of an active ribozyme from an RNA template.

    Again, emphasis mine.

    Well, great progress has been done. Our new molecule cannot yet self-replicate, but it can replicate a natural ribozyme 🙂

    To sum it up: interesting and complex intelligent research about RNA intelligent engineering has been able, in many years, to demonstrate the following truth:

    We can intelligently design complex functional molecules, but it’s not that easy!

    Ah, by the way, all that is used as propaganda for a natural origin of those molecules, but I really cannot understand why… 🙂

  152. 152
    AVS says:

    I was referring to Ribozymes in general. Some can catalyze peptide bonds, some can catalyze phosphodiester linkages, they can serve numerous functions.

  153. 153
    Upright BiPed says:

    AVS,

    You are trying to get me to commit to the existence of a protein molecule so that you can then ask how that molecule was encoded into an information medium.

    No, actually I was interested in you describing how the constituents of the metabolic pathways in your original “living organism” replicate themselves in another.

    For the last time, I’m not going there.

    goodnight

  154. 154
    AVS says:

    As I said upright, any molecules in the parent cell partition into the two daughter cells. The metabolic system in my early cell(s) is not based on enzyme-catalyzed reactions, but reactions that are more favorable and less complex.
    Goodnight.

  155. 155
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    You stated (#146):

    I think there have been RNA molecules that are self-replicating, both carrying out catalytic activity and holding the information for its own synthesis at the same time. And functional protein-like amino acid polymers have already been demonstrated to form on their own under certain conditions and have catalytic activity. Catalytic activity doesn’t even require a complex protein or RNA molecule, are you aware of this?

    Well, do you agree that true self replication of a ribozyme from nucleotides (not from appropriately engineered oligonucleotides) has not yet been achieved, not even by intelligent design? And do you agree that all the imperfect examples we have, and that I have cited, are the product of intelligent design, and are not simple?

    Remember, any self-replicating system should originate by chance alone. No kind of selection, not even NS, is possible until you get self-replication of information.

    Your thoughts?

  156. 156
    Upright BiPed says:

    So if something in the original cell happens to appear by chance in a second cell, you see that as the original cell “replicating” itself.

    good grief

  157. 157
    AVS says:

    No, upright, I’m saying that whatever molecules are in the original cell when the membrane is partitioned into two new cells, will be split between the two new cells. Both cells will now have the same or very similar capabilities as the original.

  158. 158
    gpuccio says:

    UB:

    I am really amazed at how intelligent people can really believe in the myth of RNA world. I have never seen a more “ad hoc”, irrational scientific hypothesis in my whole life.

    I believe that only the psychological pressure of having to explain what is impossible, but is believed by faith, can explain how a whole generation of scientists is wasting time and resources in the doomed attempt to support a theory which has no rationale.

  159. 159
    Upright BiPed says:

    So instead of “No Upright”, you actually mean “Yes Upright”

    If something in the original cell happens to appear by chance in a second cell, you see that as the original cell “replicating” itself.

  160. 160
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    I suppose you are aware of how complex and delicate a process is cell division, with an equal division of cell resources between the two daughter cells. Can you really believe that such a thing would happen by itself, without any complex controlling mechanism?

  161. 161
    AVS says:

    Yes, gpucc, we have engineered inefficient ribozymes. Is that our point?

  162. 162
    Upright BiPed says:

    GP, agreed.

  163. 163
    Upright BiPed says:

    GP, he’s not even talking about a biotic membrane under the constraint of the cell.

    I’m giving him all the room I can and he still can’t make a coherent case.

  164. 164
    AVS says:

    It seemed you thought that I was saying that what arose in the first cell, arose again on its own in the new cell. This is not what I was saying.
    It is not a matter of chance that what is in the original cell, is also in the new cells. It is a certainty. As I already said, whatever is in the original cell diffuses throughout it and when the cell partitions into two cell, the contents are split between the two new cells.
    The two new cells have the same or very similar capabilities as the parent cell, so yes I see that as the old cell replicating itself into two cells.

  165. 165
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    And I suppose that your “cell” should contain both the complex ribozyme and a sufficient concentration of the substrates (the nucleotides). How do you think that a high concentration of nucleotides (molecules which are extremely difficult to generate) should be contained in the inner space of an inert membrane? Do you really believe that?

    In living beings, high concentrations of components inside the cell are obtained only at the expense of very complex transport mechanisms, and energy. And yet you imagine a “cell” with a membrane which, I suppose, is not generated by the cell “genome” (which, at this point, would be the complex ribozyme and nothing else), butr coems “naturally” from the environment. Such a natural membrene, however, should be able to:

    a) Maintain the ribozyme (we will not ask here how it was generated and how it got into the “cell”

    b) Ensure a high concentration of very rare (is at all existing in the environment) components, the nucleotides.

    c) Ensure some form of special energy support to the inner environment

    d) Divide itself intro two daughter cells, each with its own membrane, sharing each the complete resources which will allow the cell is alive and working.

    Magic? Fairy tales? Imagination?

    Do you really believe all that, and have faith that science will some day support such a scenario?

    A simple “yes” will do 🙂

  166. 166
    AVS says:

    Gpucc, mitosis is only such a complex process in today’s cells because the cells themselves are so incredibly complex. The first cells obviously were much simpler, not requiring the perfect division of chromosomes or partitioning of organelles or anything like that.

  167. 167
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    And I have not even mentioned how proteins should enter this scenario, how the ribozyme which replicates itself into a ribozyme should, by RV and NS, start coding for proteins from AAs which have suddenly entered our cell, and find at the same time a symbolic code to connect codons to aminoacids, a new enzymatic system which syntesizes proteins from AAs guided by that nucleotide sequence, and so on…

    Maybe I am too good. Maybe I just feel compassionate 🙂

  168. 168
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    OK, but these simple cells must have divided regularly and with some order, I suppose. How? Were the membranes simply shaken by forces, like a tornado in the junkyard, and then instead of rupturing they just divide and replicate?

    OK, OK, you can imagine what you like. As I said, if one is bound to believe something by faith, there is nothing that can be done.

  169. 169
    AVS says:

    Pucc, the use of ribose sugars as a substrate has already been shown to be possible for nucleotide synthesis. Activation of nucleotides has been seen when prebiotic conditions are simulated. Also the sugar and nucleotide base structure are cyclic, meaning they are able to cross the hydrophobic core of a membrane. I’m not sure what your point is about “energy support.” And I’ve already explained the division of the cell contents.

  170. 170
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    “Yes, gpucc, we have engineered inefficient ribozymes. Is that our point?”

    Our point, or at least my point, is that the only ribozymes we know that can build other long RNA molecules from nucleotides are:

    a) Complex

    b) Engineered

    c) Could never arise by chance in a prebiotic soup, least of all be selected in a membrane with the resources to do what they can do when they have the resources in a lab.

    IOWs, the RNA world scenario is completely irrational.

  171. 171
    AVS says:

    I’ve already told you guys about the studies done on bicelles and their ability to replicate. The hydrophobic effect is a pretty powerful force, holding the membrane together and driving protein folding in cells today.

  172. 172
    AVS says:

    As I said, prebiotic simulations have generated activated nucleotides and mixing these molecules with minerals has produced nucleotide molecules up to 50 bases in length. More recent work has shown the length can get up to 100 nucleotides even without activated nucleotides. This was done simply by introducing heat and small nonpolar molecules to a solution of nucleotide monomers.

  173. 173
    Upright BiPed says:

    Protein folding? There are no proteins in your scenario, remember?

  174. 174
    AVS says:

    Don’t get your panties in a bunch Upright. I was merely using it as an example of the hydrophobic effect. If you knew how to read, you would have seen the word “today” at the end of my sentence.

  175. 175
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    You seem to ignore the difference between “crossing the hydrophobic core of a membrane” and “being highly concentrated into a cell”.

    The synthesis of new RNA macromolecules requires high concentrations of substrates, not just a few random molecules which by chance crossed the membrane.

    Unless you are imagining a primordial ocean literally repleted with nucleotides, a “nucleotide world”! Is that your idea?

    And you know, the synthesis of macromolecules requires energy. In cells, it is given by ATP. To show you how the energy problem is realy important, I quote here from a very recent paper:

    “A ribozyme that triphosphorylates RNA 5?-hydroxyl groups”

    “The polymerization of RNA is entropically unfavorable in aqueous environments. Strategies to energetically drive RNA polymerization may have been different in two phases of the RNA world. First, in the prebiotic phase and perhaps in an early phase of the RNA world, RNA polymerization may have been driven by the evaporation of water from a solution (20) and from lipid encapsulations (21), or by the activation of the nucleotide’s 5?-phosphate with a wide range of leaving groups (22) such as adenine (23), cyanide (24), imidazole (25,26), or 2-methylimidazole (27). Importantly, these activation groups lead to hydrolysis in aqueous environment within hours. Second, in later phases of the RNA world, when lipid vesicles presumably encapsulated aqueous droplets of self-replicating RNA systems (9,28–30), kinetically more stable activation groups would have been important. This requirement is fulfilled by nucleoside triphosphates, the universal energy currency in all known life forms.

    Nucleoside triphosphates can be generated from nucleosides and cyclic trimetaphosphate (TMP) (31). TMP is a prebiotically plausible compound because it can be generated by volcanic activity (32), by the erosion of phosphide minerals (33) and by heating of phosphate in the presence of urea (34). Additionally, TMP results from the self-reaction of the termini of linear polyphosphates in aqueous medium (35). The prebiotic availability of TMP is supported by the recent finding of abundant, reactive and reduced phosphorus species in sediments of 3.5 billion-year-old marine sediments (36). These phosphorus species can form polyphosphates including TMP if sources such as lightening provide hydroxyl radicals (33). Although TMP is the most reactive polyphosphorylating reagent of alcohols among all polyphosphates (37), the reaction between nucleoside 5?-hydroxyl groups and TMP proceeds efficiently only at pH values >12 (31). At such high pH, RNA world organisms would hydrolyze quickly. Therefore, RNA world organisms would require a catalyst to use TMP as energy source.”

    So, as you can see, the problem of energy is a big problem. We need abundant energetic molecules (such as TMP) in the environment, and concentrated into the cell. And we need ribozymes to catalyze that energy so that it can be used by the ribozyme which polymerazes the concentrated nucleotides.

    Fairy tales, fairy tales…

  176. 176
    Upright BiPed says:

    Oh, I saw the word just fine.

    It’s just a reminder that you committed to the full suite of the metabolization pathways of a self-replicating living organism with no protein.

  177. 177
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    “As I said, prebiotic simulations have generated activated nucleotides and mixing these molecules with minerals has produced nucleotide molecules up to 50 bases in length. More recent work has shown the length can get up to 100 nucleotides even without activated nucleotides. This was done simply by introducing heat and small nonpolar molecules to a solution of nucleotide monomers.”

    Give the references, and let’s see how likely is that such a thing happens in a natural prebiotic environment.

    And, is it happens, the sequence would be random. So, are you thinking that such a “natural”, undirect synthesis happened billions and billions of times, so that a functional sequence was generated? And then that functional sequence started to self-replicate, was included in a membrane, and so on?

    In your scenario, it seems that the primordial ocean was busy only with generating the RNA world! It was repleted with free nucleotides, and with volcanoes providing tornados (ehm, I apologize, energy), and very careful not to miss the first ribozyme generated against all probabilities, so that it could be preserved and efficiently incapsulated in membranes, of which obviously the same ocean was fully repleted.

    And so on, and so on…

  178. 178
    AVS says:

    The environment of hydrothermal vents has already been shown to be conducive to the formation of nucleotides. Inactivated nucleotides can cross the membrane, and upon activation lose their ability to cross back out of the cell. This effectively increases their concentration within the cell. No matter what you learn, your just going to scream that it’s a just-so-story, so why bother.

  179. 179
    AVS says:

    I don’t think that oligonucleotide synthesis had to occur billions of times to get a functional sequence. A short oligonucleotide sequence that catalyzes the phosphodiester bonds of more oligonucleotide sequences would be allow the cell to explore various sequences for various functions.
    Here’s a couple articles on the abiotic synthesis of oligonucleotide chains, enjoy.

    A.R. Hill, C. Böhler, L.E. Orgel
    Polymerization on the rocks: negatively charged ?-amino acids
    Orig. Life Evol. Biosph., 28 (2001), pp. 235–243

    J.P. Ferris
    Montmorillonite catalysis of 30–50 mer oligonucleotides: laboratory demonstration of potential steps in the origin of the RNA World
    Orig. Life Evol. Biosph., 32 (2002), pp. 311–332

    S.J. Sowerby, C.-M. Mörth, N.G. Holm
    Effect of temperature on the adsorption of adenine
    Astrobiology, 1 (2001), pp. 481–487

    R. Liu, L.E. Orgel
    Polymerization of ?-amino acids in aqueous solution
    Orig. Life Evol. Biosph., 28 (1998), pp. 47–60

  180. 180

    Eric Anderson at #113:

    I’m not sure that life, in and of itself, requires self-replication/reproduction. We could certainly conceive of an organism that does not reproduce itself (for sterility reasons or otherwise) that would still be considered alive.
    That said, I understand your broader point about the challenging requirements for self-replication — the self-replication that is a characteristic of essentially every life form we study.

    The Hypothetical First Cell (HFC) created through abiogenesis must have been a successful self-replicator.

    I’m currently in the process of putting together a related follow-on post, which I hope to have up in a few days, and would love your thoughts on it.
    Also, thank you for the reference to your excellent page on a minimum cell model. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this issue as well the past few years and it is an exceedingly interesting issue. I’ll definitely try to read through your essay in more detail (I know we discussed it a while back, but I want to refresh my memory of the issues you brought up).

    I am glad that you liked my Minimum Cell Model. And also I am looking forward to your future post on this topic.

    I would like to add that the Minimum Cell Model was a simplified and more focused version of my presentation on the Simplest Self Replicator at the Engineering and Metaphysics conference in 2012 in Tulsa, OK.

    The conference presentation (you can see both the video of the presentation and the slides on the above link) was farther developed and extended into the last three chapters of the recently published book Engineering and the Ultimate edited by Jonathan Bartlett, Dominic Halsmer, and Mark R. Hall

    The Minimum Cell Model (MCM) demonstrates that natural laws and random circumstances are absolutely incapable to produce all required elements of the Hypothetical First Cell (HFC) in the same place, at the same time, arranged in highly specified ways, satisfying particular interfaces and interacting rules and having their behavior very well coordinated and being fundamentally information-driven.

    The analysis performed in the MCM essay leads to the conclusion that any hope that current or future research in abiogenesis is going to be successful is not founded on reason but has fundamentally a religious and superstition motivation. We talk here about the superstition hold dear by materialists and evolutionists that inanimate matter created life. This is just a plain ridiculous superstition, an absurd faith in in the gods of the matter, a religion worshiping chance, inanimate matter and going against reason, against clear thinking and against objective realities.

    Life is for many practical purposes a miracle – even in its simplest forms. It is a miracle because we understand that life has many elements that are much beyond our understanding and reach.

    Self-replication is being revealed at an attentive analysis to be a very sophisticated and complex capability that is observed for material, concrete entities only in the living world.

    The same analysis concludes that any attempt by scientific, nanotechnology labs to implement, real concrete self-replicators will be destined to failure because such a project poses insolvable technical difficulties.

    In light of this hard to contest realities, after considering the analysis in the Minimum Cell Model essay, the belief that inanimate matter and happenstance can create a self-replicator and life is just absurd, devoid of any sane reasoning or balanced evaluation of what is feasible or not.

    Let’s step backwards and have a look at this picture. The scientists, molecular biologists, Nobel laureates are using clever means, techniques and devices trying to achieve only limited mechanisms that are supposed to support abiogenesis – like an RNA that contains an information template and is a self-replicator at the same time. They made some progress on only partial objectives but failure is the general refrain that is heard from the OOL research labs.

    And then our Martian thinkers like AVS have an unshaken belief that inanimate matter did the job. Failures in lab, failures on a logical analysis – like that done in the MCM assays, DO NOT MATTER. Their belief is unshaken. Have you heard of any more dedicated religious zealots than these poor souls?

    And some of them have the arrogance to insult and blaspheme anybody that has beliefs solidly confirmed by untainted reason, by real science and by the miracles around us that tell that there is a supreme Designer.

    Do we really need to support the insults, arrogance and blasphemies of this AVS character? Is there any way to sanitize this blog?

  181. 181
    tjguy says:

    Billmaz said:

    If there are billions of planets in the “goldilocks” zone of planetary distance from suns, the “evidence,” such as it is for now, is that there is a very high probability of intelligent life forms on many other planets.

    Bill, there could be billions of planets in the goldilocks zone and it might very possibly not mean anything for the existence of life. The problem is that you do not know yet whether life evolved from chemicals without any intelligence involved. You don’t know if it is even possible. If it is possible, then yes that could be interpreted as you have done, but we just don’t know that.

    And, being in the goldilocks zone is not near enough anyway. There are at least 11 conditions that have to be met by a planet to be able to support life.

    Please read this article!
    http://crev.info/2012/01/tilt-.....itability/

    Here they are:

    Galactic Habitable Zone, where a star must be located (09/29/2009)

    Circumstellar Habitable Zone, the right radius from the star where liquid water can exist (10/08/2010)

    Continuously Habitable Zone, because too much variety can be lethal (7/21/2007)

    Temporal Habitable Zone, because habitable zones do not last forever (10/27/2008)

    Chemical and Thermodynamic Habitable Zone, where water can be liquid (12/30/2003)

    Ultraviolet Habitable Zone, free from deadly radiation (8/15/2006)

    Tidal Habitable Zone, which rules out most stars that are small (02/26/2011)

    Stable Obliquity Habitable Zone (1/12/2012)

    Stellar Chemistry Habitable Zone (9/08/12)

    Stellar Wind Habitable Zone (9/19/13)

    Cosmic Ray Habitable Zone, protected by magnetic field and atmosphere (11/23/13)

    See more at: http://crev.info/2013/11/cosmi.....bTNqQ.dpuf

  182. 182
    Joe says:

    OK if engineered ribosomes have the same exact parts as ribosomes that are in living cells, and yet dod not function like them, that should be evidence that there is more to ribosomes than their chemical/ physical make-up.

  183. 183
    Joe says:

    AVS:

    The environment of hydrothermal vents has already been shown to be conducive to the formation of nucleotides.

    A watery environment is the wrong environment for the OoL. Too much water will disperse the chemicals. Does AVS really think things just hang around? Really? How about cytosine which has a short deanimation time especially with high temps?

  184. 184
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    And how would nucleosides be activated inside the cell? Please, explain.

    Moreover, I call just so stories those stories which are really just so stories. I have great respect for reasonable stories.

  185. 185
    gpuccio says:

    AVS:

    Papers #1 and #4 are about aminoacids, they have nothing to do with RNA.

    Paper #2 and #3 just show the possibility of clay or similar to polymerize nucleotides.

    I really can’t see how that kind of experiments may give support to your statement:

    “I don’t think that oligonucleotide synthesis had to occur billions of times to get a functional sequence.”

    How do you think that the supposed self-replicating ribozyme was found (189 nt long, remember!) without testing sequences? By sheer luck?

    And how would a cell which is not even a cell, which has no self-replicating activity, which has no information to be replicated, but only mechanical membranes which are shaken and ruptured by vents, and can undergo no selection process, how would such strange entity “be allowed to explore various sequences for various functions”? That’s really beyond my comprehension.

    So yes, it’s really a just so story. Not even a good one.

  186. 186
    Upright BiPed says:

    GP… its worse than just a bad story. He started with an inorganic membrane and light energy, which may now be a hydrovent instead. Perhaps his cell starts in one place and ends in another? Of course, the production of energy from light will be achieved without proteins. Perhaps he envisions some proto-chlorophyll complex made strictly from nucleotides. 🙂

    And of course, as he himself has indicated, the only real reason he is avoiding proteins in this “living organism” is not because it makes any biological sense, but because he doesn’t want to have to explain how he reproduces a protein without information and translation.

  187. 187
    bornagain77 says:

    Stephen Meyer – Functional Proteins And Information For Body Plans
    https://vimeo.com/91289076

  188. 188
    Upright BiPed says:

    A short oligonucleotide sequence that catalyzes the phosphodiester bonds of more oligonucleotide sequences would be allow the cell to explore various sequences for various functions.

    AVS, just so you understand, an RNA script that can catalyze other RNA scripts does nothing to achieve translation. One result is based upon purely deterministic forces and the other bridges a discontinuity between the medium and its physical effect (while preserving that discontinuity). The organization of the translation system requires it in order to function.

  189. 189
    Eric Anderson says:

    All, thanks for the many comments and the valuable discussion.

    As promised, I’ve started another thread to delve in detail into the self-replication issue:

    http://www.uncommondescent.com.....-paradigm/

  190. 190
    AVS says:

    Gpucc, nucleosides are activated by the addition of phosphate moieties.
    You don’t realize that amino acids, especially those negatively charged as in articles 1 and 4 that I posted, are not only very similar in structure, but they are directly linked to salvage pathways of nucleotides in cells today. These amino acids consist simply of carbon chains, amino/carboxyl groups, and OH groups. They are reactive and their ability to aggregate on mineral-rich sediments suggests a mechanism by which they can oligomerize to form nucleotides similar to those we see today. You obviously just read the titles of the paper and drew conclusions about what they said, no surprise there. Also, you are assuming that these oligonucleotides being formed had to be as complicated and serve the same function as the self-replicating ribozyme with extremely high fidelity that you mention. They did not. The nucleotide oligomers at this stage are only providing basic catalytic activity, whether its peptide bond formation, phosphodiester bond formation, or a different reaction. The experiment that you have brought up is an example of scientists trying to come up with a ribozyme that almost perfectly replicates itself; I would argue that at early stages, this perfect replication is not required. In fact, duplication with slight differences allows molecules to explore different shapes and functions and would be an integral part of molecular evolution. These early cells that arise can be selected and evolve through their ability to catalyze certain reactions in different combinations, providing the cell with more complex molecules that have various functions. You guys don’t realize how similar the basic biomolecules of life are and how simple their monomer units are, they are all based on carbon chains of varying lengths with different functional groups. The complexity comes from the shapes formed when they are combined into oligomers.

    “The production of energy from light,” Upright? There is no need to “produce” energy from light, light IS energy and can directly catalyze chemical reactions.

    You guys simply do not have the science background to talk about this stuff, sorry.

  191. 191
    Upright BiPed says:

    There is no need to “produce” energy from light

    Well lets rip that capacity from the cyanobacteria and tell our oldest fossils they really didn’t need to convert sunlight into a useable form of energy. There’s a brilliant first-year biology student from 4 billion years in your future, says you don’t need it.

    😉

  192. 192
    AVS says:

    Again with the word twisting. I didn’t say they don’t need the ability to CONVERT light energy. I said that they are not actually “producing” energy, as you stated. I’m sure you are familiar with the law of conservation of energy. Thank you for correcting your word choice, and I suggest you be more careful in the future.
    At least when dealing with someone who knows what they are talking about. I’m sure you will continue to incorrectly present science to your friends here, bending it as you see fit. I wouldn’t expect anything less from UD.
    =)

  193. 193
    Upright BiPed says:

    Ahh.

    AVS, I certainly didn’t mean to offend your vast intellect by using the common phrase “produce energy from light”.

    Please accept my deepest apologies, I thought the obvious transformation of light to a useful form of cellular energy was abundantly clear, since that’s what cyanobacteria are famous for.

    … but wait ?!?!

    From Google Scholar (biological sciences):

    “It is well known that an ability to produce energy from light is expected to lower…”

    “but their ability to produce energy from light provides them with a significant survival advantage”

    “Proteorhodopsin is associated with processes that produce energy from light (but not via”

    “They produce energy from light and are named for their green pigment”

    “photochemical reactions that produce energy from light, and the carbon-fixation”

    “Chloroplasts produce energy from light by photosynthesis, and were also originally symbiotic”

    “photosynthetic bacteria in order to 4 Page 23 produce energy from light. In both cases”

    How is it even possible that these people cummunicate? 🙂

    – – – – – – – – – –

    (note to AVS, when you are reduced to being a pedantic ass, it really really really shows. It’s never a good look).

  194. 194
    AVS says:

    You should strive to present science in the most clear and effective manner possible, Upright. Especially since you present it to the scientifically illiterate community here at UD. In doing this, it is extremely important to spell out every detail, and allow for as little room for misunderstanding as possible. I was only trying to help. =)
    Yes even scientists can be ineffective at presenting science, in fact some of them are terrible at it. I’ve read some pretty terribly written papers. The bottom line is, when presenting science to someone not in the field, and especially when they’re not in any scientific field you should be precise as precise with your words as possible. Just a suggestion. I’m so glad our conversation has devolved to this point.
    Have a nice day.

    Mung, let me know if you ever read that book, I’m still waiting to hear from you.
    Bye ladies. <3

  195. 195
    Joe says:

    AVS, if you consider yourself to be scientifically literate then I am glad to be scientifically illiterate because you don’t know jack about science.

    First year biology student AVS. Joke

  196. 196
    Upright BiPed says:

    You should strive to present science in the most clear and effective manner possible, Upright. In doing this, it is extremely important to spell out every detail, and allow for as little room for misunderstanding as possible.

    Frankly AVS,

    I thought we were in a mode of more relaxed phraseology anyway – particularly given the fact that you call a “common” unspecified chemical reaction taking place inside a non-biotic membrane a “living organism” … or … that a non-biotic membrane containing such a reaction which happens to become agitated and forms an adjacent membrane and by luck of the draw captures some undetermined portion of the constituents of the origin cell is referred to you as “self-replication”.

    Yes even scientists can be ineffective at presenting science, in fact some of them are terrible at it. I’ve read some pretty terribly written papers.

    I’m sure the authors of those papers will be glad to heed your advice. I’ll post a note.

    I’m so glad our conversation has devolved to this point.

    The moment you traded science for political posturing (*I won’t talk about proteins because I’ll have to explain how they get replicated*) there was little else for it to do.

    cheers

  197. 197
    Upright BiPed says:

    One last thing…

    Especially since you present it to the scientifically illiterate community here at UD.

    I’m merely a second stringer around here AVS. There are supremely well-educated and experienced contributors who post here. Your self-serving bigotry be damned. As for me, I’m a Research Director in the major media. I am content to be a reader from all sorts of sources, a fairly successful judge of content, and intelligent enough to see through fog like yours.

    But hey!! …that thing that happened to you last night. That was a UD first stringer who came in and cleaned your clock. Don’t fool yourself otherwise (famous last words, of course).

  198. 198
    AVS says:

    Cleaned my clock? I’m not even sure who you are referring to. I haven’t gotten a decent response out of anyone.
    Maybe you’re referring to Joe. 😉
    See ya.

  199. 199
    Upright BiPed says:

    I haven’t gotten a decent response out of anyone.

    yawn. who’da guessed complete denial from the guy afraid to add a protein to a cell.

  200. 200
    Joe says:

    Upright Biped- AVS is a joke of a first year biology student who thinks he knows everything.

  201. 201
    gpuccio says:

    Have I understood well what AVS is saying in post #190? That the polymerization of aminoacids would generate nucleosides?

    No comment.

    Regarding his severe accusation:

    “You obviously just read the titles of the paper and drew conclusions about what they said, no surprise there.”

    I read the abstracts of papers #1 and #4 (I could not find the full text online). Here they are:

    #1: Polymerization on the rocks: negatively-charged alpha-amino acids. (1998)

    “Oligomers of the negatively-charged amino acids, glutamic acid, aspartic acid, and O-phospho-L-serine are adsorbed by hydroxylapatite and illite with affinities that increase with oligomer length. In the case of oligo-glutamic acids adsorbed on hydroxylapatite, addition of an extra residue results in an approximately four-fold increase in the strength of adsorption. Oligomers much longer than the 7-mer are retained tenaciously by the mineral. Repeated incubation of short oligo-glutamic acids adsorbed on hydroxylapatite or illite with activated monomer leads to the accumulation of oligomers at least 45 units long. The corresponding reactions of aspartic acid and O-phospho-L-serine on hydroxylapatite are less effective in generating long oligomers, while illite fails to accumulate substantial amounts of long oligomers of aspartic acid or of O-phospho-L-serine.”

    #2: Polymerization of beta-amino acids in aqueous solution. (1998)

    “We have compared carbonyl diimidazole (CDI) and 1-ethyl-3-(3-dimethylaminopropyl) carbodiimide (EDAC) as activating agents for the oligomerization of negatively-charged alpha- and beta-amino acids in homogeneous aqueous solution. alpha-Amino acids can be oligomerized efficiently using CDI, but not by EDAC. beta-Amino acids can be oligomerized efficiently using EDAC, but not by CDI. Aspartic acid, an alpha- and beta-dicarboxylic acid is oligomerized efficiently by both reagents. These results are explained in terms of the mechanisms of the reactions, and their relevance to prebiotic chemistry is discussed.”

    I could not find any reference to nucleotides in them. Can anyone here?

    I think that’s enough with AVS. Calling the rest of that post “fairy tales” would be to do him a favor (that I am not sure he deserves), and offending the noble tradition of fairy tales.

  202. 202
    AVS says:

    Pucc, apparently you are unaware that nucleotide synthesis in today’s cells is derived from amino acids, as is many other molecules. The other two articles I cited are about oligonucleotide polymerization and those two are about amino acid oligomerization. You asked for references, I gave them. And now all you do is point out how half of them don’t talk about nucleotides, but talk about amino acids instead. I’m not sure how that helps your case, not only did I provide references for my claim but also for amino acid oligomerization. As I said, this conversation is pointless because you refuse to learn. Seems to be a common theme here at UD.
    I guess you can’t fix stupid.
    Mung I’m sorry we couldn’t talk about that book, maybe we could have if you actually read it.
    Joe, you’re my favorite and don’t you forget it!

    Just know that despite all your efforts on here, both abiogenesis and evolution is increasingly being taught at the college level. Sorry, guys.
    Have a nice day! <3

  203. 203
    Joe says:

    What is being taught? Definitely nothing with actual evidence…

  204. 204
    wallstreeter43 says:

    It seems like AVS is living in his own hypocritical fantasy land where he nitpick a saying that people should be more consice when he is all over the place .
    A classic troll in action lol

  205. 205
    Querius says:

    I also want to add my thanks to Eric’s for all the terrific posts.

    I guess I also have to say that AVS did us a favor by volunteering to becoming a pinata for gpuccio, Upright BiPed, and the others here. In fact I haven’t seen a beating this bad since I saw the Rodney King beating by the LAPD on TV. 😉

    But seriously, this has really been informative. Thank you all.

    -Q

Leave a Reply