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Origin of life: New model may explain emergence of self-replication on early Earth

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schematic drawing of new theory/Maslov and Tkachenko

From ScienceDaily:

One question of the origin of life in particular remains problematic: what enabled the leap from a primordial soup of individual monomers to self-replicating polymer chains? A new model proposes a potential mechanism by which self-replication could have emerged. It posits that template-assisted ligation, the joining of two polymers by using a third, longer one as a template, could have enabled polymers to become self-replicating. More.

Not again. Yawn. Isn’t this a point where we should be asking fundamentally different questions?

For example:

When Charles Darwin published his seminal On the Origin of the Species in 1859, he said little about the emergence of life itself, possibly because, at the time, there was no way to test such ideas. His only real remarks on the subject come from a later letter to a friend, in which he suggested a that life emerged out of a “warm little pond” with a rich chemical broth of ions. Nevertheless, Darwin’s influence was far-reaching, and his offhand remark formed the basis of many origins of life scenarios in the following years.

Yes. And all were a waste of time. See Maybe if we throw enough models at the origin of life… some of them will stick? None did.

So who cares what Darwin thought anyway? Has anyone ever thought of challenging this crap on an evidence basis? Or is he the deity in whose name these guys fight?

Today, it is widely believed (though by no means universally accepted) that at some point in history, an RNA-based world dominated the earth. But how it got there — and whether there was a simpler system before it — is still up for debate. Many argue that RNA is too complicated to have been the first self-replicating system on earth, and that something simpler preceded it.

RNA-peptide world?

Like we said before, if we really wanted them to fail, we’d be sure to encourage them to keep on trying this stuff. But curiously, we aren’t the ones doing so.

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

and

Why origin of life is just a grantsman job at present

Here’s the abstract:

Self-replicating systems based on information-coding polymers are of crucial importance in biology. They also recently emerged as a paradigm in material design on nano- and micro-scales. We present a general theoretical and numerical analysis of the problem of spontaneous emergence of autocatalysis for heteropolymers capable of template-assisted ligation driven by cyclic changes in the environment. Our central result is the existence of the first order transition between the regime dominated by free monomers and that with a self-sustaining population of sufficiently long chains. We provide a simple, mathematically tractable model supported by numerical simulations, which predicts the distribution of chain lengths and the onset of autocatalysis in terms of the overall monomer concentration and two fundamental rate constants. Another key result of our study is the emergence of the kinetically limited optimal overlap length between a template and each of its two substrates. The template-assisted ligation allows for heritable transmission of the information encoded in chain sequences thus opening up the possibility of long-term memory and evolvability in such systems. Open access – Alexei Tkachenko and Sergei Maslov. Spontaneous emergence of autocatalytic information-coding polymers. The Journal of Chemical Physics, 2015 DOI: 10.1063/1.4922545

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68 Replies to “Origin of life: New model may explain emergence of self-replication on early Earth

  1. 1
    bornagain77 says:

    Fazale Rana, PhD. Biochemistry, posted this on facebook in response to this article:

    Are scientists one step closer to explaining the origin of life? If life can emerge via chemical evolution, what role does God Play? Is a Creator even needed?

    Ironically, this latest work undermines chemical evolutionary scenarios for the origin of life and actually demonstrates that intelligent agency must play a role in life’s origin…

    To learn why read:
    http://www.reasons.org/article.....art-2-of-2

  2. 2
    Mapou says:

    As long as the scientific establishment continues to promote unfalsifiable, just-so theories, Darwinism will continue flourish. May the ghost of Karl Popper torment them in their nightmares.

  3. 3
    OldArmy94 says:

    This is all so unbelievably ludicrous. To think that life could emerge from a pot of chemicals with no plan, no foresight, nothing, is the height of arrogant foolishness and an affront to common sense.

    YET, the fool in his heart hath said there is no God. He truly is a fool among fools if he can believe such insanity.

  4. 4
    Tom Robbins says:

    And Monkey’s MAY fly out of my butt – Good lord they just won’t quit – You don’t need to know much about organic chemistry to realize that without some goal to do so, and without consideration of all the connected and nested systems this would need to coordinate with, it is terribly irrational to go down this road – it always leads to a dead end… they will push any BS out to kill off God, but God is not budging..

  5. 5
    Tom Robbins says:

    It turns out that the doubling and quadrupling of RNA fragments is a fastidious process highly dependent upon temperature, pH, the size and the sequence of the RNA fragments, and the presence of coreactants. For example, the research team showed that formation of the duplexes and quadraplexes (needed to bring the appropriate chemical groups into close enough proximity to react) required lower temperatures and acidic or neutral pH values. At higher temperatures and alkaline pH the RNA complexes do not form. Additionally, the original chemical species chains must be 10 subunits or longer in order for the RNA fragments to couple to create duplexes and quadraplexes. The researchers also discovered that RNA fragments of unequal length form less-stable aggregates and are consequently less likely to combine. The investigators also discovered that they could improve the efficiency of the reaction by adding cofactors, small molecules with structures closely related to the structure of the subunits of the RNA fragments. It appears as if the cofactors help stabilize the RNA complexes.

    In other words, if not for the careful design and execution of the reactions under laboratory conditions–carefully controlled by the researchers–the RNA fragments won’t couple together. And from an evolutionary point-of-view this type of control wouldn’t have existed on early Earth. It’s as if the researchers fixed the bet for the RNA world scenario. The biochemists also observed that the degradation of the RNA fragments took place simultaneously with the coupling reactions. This observation means that any conditions that deviate from optimal will hamper the efficiency of the coupling reactions resulting in the net breakdown of the RNA fragments.

    There is one other concern. The researchers never accounted for the formation of the RNA fragments. As I pointed out earlier, the production of RNA chains requires chemically activated building blocks. These starting materials would never have existed on early Earth. In this study, the investigator used chemically synthesized RNA fragments. Production of RNA through this route, too, requires intelligent agency. (See a recent article I wrote about the chemical synthesis of DNA.)

    Given how much researcher involvement is required to generate RNA molecules with sufficient length to serve as a ribozyme, my bet is that a Creator brought life into being. Double or nothing, anyone?

  6. 6
    Seqenenre says:

    What did we know about (bio)chemistry 500 years ago?
    What will we know 500 years from now?

  7. 7
    Andre says:

    The defenition of insanity…..

  8. 8
    SLeBrun says:

    Incredible.

    You guys are always complaining that there is no coherent explanation of how self-recplicstion arose via unguided processes and then when someone shows work they’re doing towards figuring that out you just dismiss it as pointless and stupid.

    Yes. And all were a waste of time. See Maybe if we throw enough models at the origin of life… some of them will stick? None did.

    This is all so unbelievably ludicrous. To think that life could emerge from a pot of chemicals with no plan, no foresight, nothing, is the height of arrogant foolishness and an affront to common sense.

    And Monkey’s MAY fly out of my butt – Good lord they just won’t quit – You don’t need to know much about organic chemistry to realize that without some goal to do so, and without consideration of all the connected and nested systems this would need to coordinate with, it is terribly irrational to go down this road – it always leads to a dead end

    The defenition of insanity…

    Sounds like a lot of people have already decided what is true. Is that being open to the data and the research?

  9. 9
    Mapou says:

    SLeBrun:

    Sounds like a lot of people have already decided what is true. Is that being open to the data and the research?

    Nonsense. We already examined all the data we need to examine. The natural origin of life hypothesis has already failed the test of logic and evidence many times over. It’s a stupid hypothesis.

  10. 10
    Virgil Cain says:

    RNA is too unstable to be of any use in any origin of life scenario. But I understand that “they” need something and RNA is their best hope. Unfortunately RNA doesn’t offer any hope, not even to the hopeless.

  11. 11
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLe:

    You guys are always complaining that there is no coherent explanation of how self-recplicstion arose via unguided processes and then when someone shows work they’re doing towards figuring that out you just dismiss it as pointless and stupid.

    We are also saying that there isn’t any coherent explanation for the natural formation of Stonehenge. And no matter how many times geologists show that the stones used were made by nature no one is fool enough to leap to the inference nature made Stonehenge.

  12. 12
    Dionisio says:

    What’s the big deal?
    I would give them all the self-replicating polymers they want to begin with.
    Then what?
    Here’s a potential analogy:
    The director of the engineering design software development project I worked on for a quarter century is a brilliant engineer. Without his knowledge, experience, sharp mind and clear leadership, the software would not have been as successful as it was.
    I was just a mediocre programmer in the development team working under that guy’s direction.
    However, let’s assume a different scenario, where the best software developers of the world would have gotten together and tried to produce a similar product, without the direction of my former boss. What would have happened? For sure I wouldn’t have been in that picture. But what about the product? Would it have been as successful? I doubt it. What do you think?
    There’s something special about guidance, direction, etc. that’s priceless. Other things can be purchased with VISA or MasterCard.
    Hence, back to the topic, let them have all the self-replicating polymers they want. Give them the whole toolbox and the raw materials, then wait and see. Just don’t hold your breath, lest you turn blue and the SETI folks think you’re one of the ETs they’re looking for.

  13. 13
    SLeBrun says:

    Nonsense. We already examined all the data we need to examine. The natural origin of life hypothesis has already failed the test of logic and evidence many times over. It’s a stupid hypothesis.

    Like I said, it sounds like some of you have already decided.

    RNA is too unstable to be of any use in any origin of life scenario. But I understand that “they” need something and RNA is their best hope. Unfortunately RNA doesn’t offer any hope, not even to the hopeless.

    We are also saying that there isn’t any coherent explanation for the natural formation of Stonehenge. And no matter how many times geologists show that the stones used were made by nature no one is fool enough to leap to the inference nature made Stonehenge.

    What the comment about Stonehenge has to do with the thread is beyond me. But, again, it sounds like someone has already made up their mind.

    Hence, back to the topic, let them have all the self-replicating polymers they want. Give them the whole toolbox and the raw materials, then wait and see. Just don’t hold your breath, lest you turn blue and the SETI folks think you’re one of the ETs they’re looking for.

    I’ve seen no one comment on this blog to the effect of: Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there. Let’s see what they come up with.

    But you all INSIST that that’s how everyone should approach ID. “It’s a viable alternative, let’s see how it pans out.”

    You guys have a double standard. Anything comes from the un-directed camp: decry it and call it shit. On the other hand if it’s somehow connected to design: see, look, we were right.

    This blog isn’t about science, it’s about cheering on one (vague) point of view. Which is fine, go for it, it’s not my blog. But at least be honest. You’re not really attempting to consider all the data and evidence. Many of you have already decided what is true. And that’s not how science progresses. Is it?

  14. 14
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLe

    Anything comes from the un-directed camp: decry it and call it shit.

    The researchers need to develop some level of credibility in order to be taken seriously. Unfortunately, their failure to question their own assumptions about unguided outputs only kills off what little credibility they have.

    From the ID perspective, we play by their (the undirecteds) rules. Using their own research we can see the gaping holes in their claims as well as outright contradictions. Who in the undirected camp even admits how absurdly wrong they have been? OOL claims have been going forward for decades … now we finally have a true one?

    I read the posted article and it’s almost laughable. Supposedly, a cyclical environment (like night following day) is enough to create a self-replicating process.

    If there was something where we could really say “Hmm, how interesting”, I think we would.

  15. 15
    Sebestyen says:

    Like I said, it sounds like some of you have already decided.

    Since there’s still only hypotheses and no convincing evidence whatsoever after decades of research there’s no scientific valid reason not to, especially when the opposite (complex biological/mechanical systems have to be built and don’t just appear naturally) is practically self-evident.

    Not deciding or deciding for the natural origin of life is because of psychological/philosophical/ideological/theological reasons, certainly not scientific ones.

    What the comment about Stonehenge has to do with the thread is beyond me.

    It is very simple. Stonehenge is obviously a man-made (=built) structure and nobody with a clear mind would doubt that or much less attempt to explain its existence with natural processes.
    However, the same people who would send anyone who would try that to the looney bin are often entirely convinced that life as we know it came to existence by purely natural processes albeit the fact that even the simplest forms of life are many orders of magnitude more complex than Stonehenge.

    I can’t speak for the others but in my opinion scientists trying to explain the origin of life by purely natural causes do nothing more than wasting time and resources on a cockamamy idea. It’s like trying to sit in the corner of a circular room…

    Sebestyen

  16. 16
    Silver Asiatic says:

    This is the claim:

    That is, under certain environmental conditions, small polymers could be driven to bond to longer complementary polymer template strands, holding the short strands in close enough proximity to each other that they could fuse into longer strands. Through cyclic changes in environmental conditions that induce complementary strands to come together and then fall apart repeatedly, a self-sustaining collection of hybridized, self-replicating polymers able to encode the blueprints for life could emerge.

    That should be easy to test. They surely know the “certain environmental conditions”, right? Just create those in a lab environment. Then add the small polymers. Then cycle the changes. Self-replicating cells will emerge, supposedly.

    Their model switches between “day” phases, where individual polymers float freely, and “night” phases, where they join together to form longer chains via template-assisted ligation.

    It’s difficult to simulate “day” and “night” in a lab? Ok, you need a few billion years for some unmentioned reason. The very same concept can’t be accelerated to cycling conditions occuring thousands of times per day?

    Ok, it’s best not to actually try it in the lab because it works a lot better when you use your imagination. 🙂

  17. 17
    Upright BiPed says:

    I’ve seen no one comment on this blog to the effect of: Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there. Let’s see what they come up with.

    The paper in question doesn’t even address the issues at hand. It has been understood for more than half a century that the translation of information from DNA requires an irreducible system that is neither determined by local dynamics, nor its is derived from physical law. Yet, over and over again we hear something like…

    Through cyclic changes in environmental conditions that induce complementary strands to come together and then fall apart repeatedly, a self-sustaining collection of hybridized, self-replicating polymers able to encode the blueprints for life could emerge.

    Under what principle of empiricism are we to ignore demonstrated facts over long periods of time?

    – – – – – – – – – – – –

    I am wondering, if I can demonstrate to you that the translation of genetic information requires an irreducibly complex system of objects — and thus must appear in the record prior to the heterogenous living cell — will you say “Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there” or will you simply do all that you can do to deny and sabotage the lessons from Crick, von Neumann, Polanyi, Nirenberg, Pattee, and others?

  18. 18
    Mung says:

    I’m going with deny, deny, deny. It’s the American way!

  19. 19
    mike1962 says:

    Silver: Ok, it’s best not to actually try it in the lab because it works a lot better when you use your imagination. 🙂

    Hehehe. Well put.

  20. 20
    mike1962 says:

    It’s like trying to sit in the corner of a circular room…

    It’s like trying to find gold in a silver mine.

    It’s like trying to drink whiskey… from a bottle of wine.

    –Elton John

  21. 21
    Mung says:

    It’s like whizzing on a star…

    – Mung

  22. 22
    SLeBrun says:

    The researchers need to develop some level of credibility in order to be taken seriously.

    By your standards or the standards of their peers?

    Unfortunately, their failure to question their own assumptions about unguided outputs only kills off what little credibility they have.

    They’re trying to figure out a way for it to happen via unguided processes so I don’t understand your objection.

    I can’t speak for the others but in my opinion scientists trying to explain the origin of life by purely natural causes do nothing more than wasting time and resources on a cockamamy idea. It’s like trying to sit in the corner of a circular room…

    So, you have already decided.

    That should be easy to test. They surely know the “certain environmental conditions”, right? Just create those in a lab environment. Then add the small polymers. Then cycle the changes. Self-replicating cells will emerge, supposedly.

    Perhaps someone is doing that now. Perhaps the folks at the Discovery Institute would fund that research.

    The paper in question doesn’t even address the issues at hand. It has been understood for more than half a century that the translation of information from DNA requires an irreducible system that is neither determined by local dynamics, nor its is derived from physical law. Yet, over and over again we hear something like…

    Well, I guess not everyone accepts your claim of an irreducibly complex system. Or they just want to test to see if that’s true. What wrong with that? Or have you already decided that you’re right and they’re wrong?

    I am wondering, if I can demonstrate to you that the translation of genetic information requires an irreducibly complex system of objects — and thus must appear in the record prior to the heterogenous living cell — will you say “Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there” or will you simply do all that you can do to deny and sabotage the lessons from Crick, von Neumann, Polanyi, Nirenberg, Pattee, and others?

    I think it’s perfectly okay and well within acceptable scientific procedures to doubt some someone else claims and to test to see if they’re correct. You seem to think there’s a problem with that.

  23. 23
    Upright BiPed says:

    Well, I guess not everyone accepts your claim of an irreducibly complex system. Or they just want to test to see if that’s true. What wrong with that? Or have you already decided that you’re right and they’re wrong

    On the contrary, I’ve found very few people who want to challenge the notion that translation is irreducibly complex. The test is short and doesn’t end well. It’s much easier to just ignore it.

    I think it’s perfectly okay and well within acceptable scientific procedures to doubt some someone else claims and to test to see if they’re correct.

    Your think someone needs to test if Crick’s adapter hypothesis is correct?

    You seem to think there’s a problem with that.

    Hilarious. I’m the one willing to put my ability on the line to convince you that translation requires IC, and in turn you try to spin that around to where I have a problem with tests.

    Good grief.

  24. 24
    SLeBrun says:

    Your think someone needs to test if Crick’s adapter hypothesis is correct?

    Nothing stopping anyone from doing that.

    Hilarious. I’m the one willing to put my ability on the line to convince you that translation requires IC, and in turn you try to spin that around to where I have a problem with tests.

    Well, I guess we’ll see what the researchers come up with. Obviously they disagree with your contention of an irreducibly complex precursor. Or they’re willing to try and fail. Or succeed. We’ll see.

  25. 25
    Upright BiPed says:

    Don’t forget your ten foot pole when you leave.

  26. 26
    EugeneS says:

    It is dead easy: Brownian motion. That explains everything. Stones collide in space, hence organic molecules, a little bit of Brownian motion and bingo! we get amino acids, then a little more Brownian motion and we get proteins and finally man. Everything reduces to molecular collisions. No meaning is needed. Why bother!

  27. 27
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLe

    They’re trying to figure out a way for it to happen via unguided processes so I don’t understand your objection.

    My objection is that they haven’t questioned their own assumption of what an ‘unguided process’ is. That’s a very important point. If they questioned that assumption carefully, they would admit that life could not be the results of unguided processes.

    But more simply, they could show how unguided events can create ‘processes’.

    ID has no need to test that because it’s contradictory.

    So, before offering speculations, the researchers should state upfront that the processes give evidence of having been designed by intelligence. Failing that, they lack the intellectual depth to understand the issue. Or perhaps they’re dishonest, which is a possibility also.

    In either case, the assumptions have to be worked out and explained first, before any kind of speculation like this one could be offered.

  28. 28
    SLeBrun says:

    Don’t forget your ten foot pole when you leave.

    Are you willing to concede that you might be wrong? It is possible that unguided processes are all that is necessary?

    It is dead easy: Brownian motion. That explains everything. Stones collide in space, hence organic molecules, a little bit of Brownian motion and bingo! we get amino acids, then a little more Brownian motion and we get proteins and finally man. Everything reduces to molecular collisions. No meaning is needed. Why bother!

    I don’t understand you. No one says it’s that easy.

    Are you also saying you’ve already made up your mind and that the research is useless and doomed to fail? Are you willing to accept that you might be wrong?

    I’m finding this discussion baffling. We all want to know the truth so what’s wrong with checking out to see if unguided processes are sufficient?

  29. 29
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLe:

    What the comment about Stonehenge has to do with the thread is beyond me.

    Stonehenge is a simple rock formation compared to a living organism and nature makes rocks yet it can’t even produce Stonehenge. It shows that nature is very, very limited.

    You do realize that biological reproduction is irreducibly complex and nature has no chance at producing it.

    Well, I guess not everyone accepts your claim of an irreducibly complex system.

    It is science’s claim and the people who doubt it don’t have anything to explain it. No models, no testable hypotheses, nothing.

    Again it’s like someone trying to find a natural cause for Stonehenge. Would you fund such a project?

  30. 30
    Box says:

    SLeBrun: I’m finding this discussion baffling. We all want to know the truth so what’s wrong with checking out to see if unguided processes are sufficient?

    How many times do we have to randomly shake a box, filled with watch parts, to be convinced of the fact that a functional watch is not produced that way?

  31. 31
    SLeBrun says:

    My objection is that they haven’t questioned their own assumption of what an ‘unguided process’ is. That’s a very important point. If they questioned that assumption carefully, they would admit that life could not be the results of unguided processes.

    How do you know they haven’t? Because they haven’t ended up agreeing with you? What is wrong with the ideas being developed and to look for evidence of them being true?

    But more simply, they could show how unguided events can create ‘processes’.

    ID has no need to test that because it’s contradictory.

    Isn’t that what the research is doing, trying to figure out how a ‘process’ could have arisen via unguided chemical and physical processes? If they fail, they fail. Why not check it out?

    So, before offering speculations, the researchers should state upfront that the processes give evidence of having been designed by intelligence. Failing that, they lack the intellectual depth to understand the issue. Or perhaps they’re dishonest, which is a possibility also.

    Isn’t it better NOT to make assumptions about the processes and see if a designer is strictly necessary? I still do not understand your objection. You might not choose to do the research that way but there’s nothing wrong with it. See if the laws of physics and chemistry that we already have are sufficient to develop self-replicating life. It’s a scientific exploration surely. Trying to assume as little as possible about the causes that are present.

    In either case, the assumptions have to be worked out and explained first, before any kind of speculation like this one could be offered.

    Surely ‘unguided’ is the base-line assumption since they’re trying to see if it’s possible without a designer . . .

    You want to accept design before it’s proven! It seems to me. But surely it has to be established above and beyond all possible doubt and that hasn’t happened yet. At least not to most researchers satisfaction.

    I can understand you thinking the research is pointless but if someone DOES NOT accept that design has been detected then it’s a valid exploration. You think certain aspects show signs of design which means your research would follow a different path. I have yet to see what kind of path that would be but it would be different. But these researchers are assuming NO DESIGN and are proceeding accordingly. What’s the problem?

  32. 32
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLe:

    But these researchers are assuming NO DESIGN and are proceeding accordingly. What’s the problem?

    They don’t have a model. They don’t have any testable hypotheses. They don’t have any idea on how to proceed. All that means it is a waste of time, money and other resources.

    Again it’s like someone trying to find a natural cause for Stonehenge. Would you fund such a project?

  33. 33
    SLeBrun says:

    You do realize that biological reproduction is irreducibly complex and nature has no chance at producing it.

    These researchers clearly don’t accept that and are trying to see if they can account for things via unguided processes.

    Again it’s like someone trying to find a natural cause for Stonehenge. Would you fund such a project?

    In your opinion but clearly not in the opinion of the researchers or those paying their salaries. I still don’t get the problem. Except that you disagree with the assumptions.

    Stonehenge is designed AND BUILT by the designers (gotta have designers and implementers) but basic self-replicating life . . . let’s find out. Unless you’ve already made up your mind.

    Anyway, it’s no skin off your nose so why complain?

    How many times do we have to randomly shake a box, filled with watch parts, to be convinced of the fact that a functional watch is not produced that way?

    You don’t have to do anything. And NO ONE is saying it’s that easy.

    I still don’t get the problem. You seem terribly offended that a lot of researchers and funders are trying to determine if unguided chemical and physical processes are sufficient to bring about self-replicating life on earth. That’s what science is about isn’t it? Seeing what works and what doesn’t work?

  34. 34
    SLeBrun says:

    They don’t have a model. They don’t have any testable hypotheses. They don’t have any idea on how to proceed. All that means it is a waste of time, money and other resources.

    Well, the researchers and the people paying for them disagree with you. You’re free to pursue a different line of enquiry. There must be enough people who agree with you who’d be willing to stump up some cash. Is anyone trying that?

    No one is stopping the ID community from raising funds and doing their own research. So I don’t understand the problem. If something like a third of the US population rejects unguided evolution then surely there is money to fund ID research. Come up with a research agenda and start talking to some funding agencies. Talk to The Templeton Foundation. And Ken Ham’s organisation. Talk to the tele-evangelists who raise millions of dollars every month, see if they’ll fund some research.

  35. 35
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLe:

    These researchers clearly don’t accept that and are trying to see if they can account for things via unguided processes.

    It’s all science, Jerad. Science has shown that basic biological reproduction is IC. They would have a better chance showing Stonehenge was a product of geological forces.

    Well, the researchers and the people paying for them disagree with you.

    As if you know. What is their model and testable hypotheses? What is the model and testable hypotheses?

    The researchers are wasting their time. Dion’t you think research should be used for something helpful rather that futile?

    ID’s research is in the detection and study of intelligent design. And all scientists are doing it. Even the researchers looking into the OoL are doing it as they are confirming ID with every test.

  36. 36
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLeB

    If something like a third of the US population rejects unguided evolution then surely there is money to fund ID research. Come up with a research agenda and start talking to some funding agencies. Talk to The Templeton Foundation. And Ken Ham’s organisation. Talk to the tele-evangelists who raise millions of dollars every month, see if they’ll fund some research.

    It’s not just funding. More ID related scientific research will be accomplished when there are more credentialled ID scientists – like Kirk Durston …

    http://p2c.com/sites/default/f.....Myers_.pdf

    But it will take a while. Darwinian-ideology has a strong-hold on education and until that lightens up, it will remain difficult for pro-ID scientists to study and find work.

  37. 37
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLe

    Surely ‘unguided’ is the base-line assumption since they’re trying to see if it’s possible without a designer . . .

    You’re right – that’s the baseline, but that assumption is false. The assumption has to be supported by evidence, but the researchers haven’t done that. They need to show how unguided elements can produce order.

    But these researchers are assuming NO DESIGN and are proceeding accordingly. What’s the problem?

    They’re contradicting themselves. They assume NO DESIGN. Then they say, “ok, we’ll start our research with a designed process to prove NO DESIGN”.

    That’s a contradiction. Notice this in your own assumption …

    Isn’t that what the research is doing, trying to figure out how a ‘process’ could have arisen via unguided chemical and physical processes?

    You’re starting with chemical and physical PROCESSES.

    As I said, ordered processes are evidence of design.

    Disagree? Then show how chaos can produce processes or systems? You can’t merely start with integrated systems with ordered properties (chemical and physical) and then say all of that shows NO DESIGN.

    That’s cheating and incoherent. You have to start with no design, no order, no systems — just random chaos. Otherwise, you’re taking designed elements and actual integrated systems as your starting point.

    ID researchers could try to create ordered systems out of randomness all day long. Just trying to model random chaos without design is virtually impossible, but even so — how long does the experiment have to last?

  38. 38
    SLeBrun says:

    It’s all science, Jerad. Science has shown that basic biological reproduction is IC. They would have a better chance showing Stonehenge was a product of geological forces.

    Again, a lot of people disagree with IC conclusion.

    As if you know. What is their model and testable hypotheses? What is the model and testable hypotheses?

    I haven’t read the article or talked to the researchers. Why don’t you write them if you’re so interested?

    The researchers are wasting their time. Dion’t you think research should be used for something helpful rather that futile?

    YOU think they’re wasting their time. A lot of people disagree with you. Come up with your own research and get to work.

    ID’s research is in the detection and study of intelligent design. And all scientists are doing it. Even the researchers looking into the OoL are doing it as they are confirming ID with every test.

    Again, a lot of people disagree with you. Why don’t you write a book about all this, get it published and see what the reviews say?

    It’s not just funding. More ID related scientific research will be accomplished when there are more credentialled ID scientists – like Kirk Durston …

    http://p2c.com/sites/default/f…..Myers_.pdf

    But it will take a while. Darwinian-ideology has a strong-hold on education and until that lightens up, it will remain difficult for pro-ID scientists to study and find work.

    Whatever. Find some money, do some research, get it published. Two hundred years ago there was NO funding for evolutionary research now there’s lots. The notion of intelligent design has been around a lot longer than that so it should have a head-start when gaining academic support. Time to get cracking in the lab eh? The Discovery Institute funds a research facility, where are their peer-reviewed publications? What is there research agenda? Why aren’t they sponsoring conference to share results with others?

  39. 39
    SLeBrun says:

    You’re right – that’s the baseline, but that assumption is false. The assumption has to be supported by evidence, but the researchers haven’t done that. They need to show how unguided elements can produce order.

    I guess they and their funders disagree with you.

    They’re contradicting themselves. They assume NO DESIGN. Then they say, “ok, we’ll start our research with a designed process to prove NO DESIGN”.

    That’s a contradiction. Notice this in your own assumption …

    I disagree with you that certain things are designed.

    You’re starting with chemical and physical PROCESSES.

    As I said, ordered processes are evidence of design.

    I and a lot of other people disagree.

    Disagree? Then show how chaos can produce processes or systems? You can’t merely start with integrated systems with ordered properties (chemical and physical) and then say all of that shows NO DESIGN.

    But you can’t just start with assuming design (and therefore a designer) can you? Some undefined, undetected and unexplained being that seems strangely absent. Not a very good basis to build upon.

    That’s cheating and incoherent. You have to start with no design, no order, no systems — just random chaos. Otherwise, you’re taking designed elements and actual integrated systems as your starting point.

    Well, if there is no grand designer, no plan, then the laws of the universe arose out of the way it’s all put together. So I think it is fair to assume no design or designer until we know for sure otherwise.

    ID researchers could try to create ordered systems out of randomness all day long. Just trying to model random chaos without design is virtually impossible, but even so — how long does the experiment have to last?

    I still don’t get why the basic laws of chemistry and physics HAVE to be designed, not if they reflect the basic building blocks of the universe. But hey, we’ll just have to disagree about that. Doesn’t mean you’re right. And I do think you are making an assumption. I think you’re starting with design instead of proving it exists.

  40. 40
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLe:

    Again, a lot of people disagree with IC conclusion.

    Then they disagree with science.

    I haven’t read the article or talked to the researchers.

    So you are talking out of your arse. Figures.

    YOU think they’re wasting their time.

    They will never find what they are looking for but they will help to confirm ID.

    Again, a lot of people disagree with you.

    They disagree for personal rather than scientific reasons. And science confirms ID every day and no one can posit an alternative- one that can actually be tested.

    Two hundred years ago there was NO funding for evolutionary research now there’s lots.

    And no one has a clue as to how things evolved. No one has a testable hypothesis for unguided evolution. No one has a model. All this funding has been for naught.

    I think you’re starting with design instead of proving it exists.

    Then you are ignorant of the process and your ignorance is not an argument.

  41. 41
    Virgil Cain says:

    Basic biological reproduction is irreducibly complex:
    The cell divsion processes required for bacterial life

    I challenge SLeBrun to find any mistakes in that article.

  42. 42
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLe

    Well, if there is no grand designer, no plan, then the laws of the universe arose out of the way it’s all put together.

    But you’re saying that order ‘just arose’ out of chaos. What evidence do you have where that has ever happened? Even a small test should show — do some randomization for a while and see if specified order just arises out of it.

    The other option is that where we see order, laws, systems, specific properties for certain things, that’s evidence for Design. Why? Because we know a designing intelligence can create order, but we have zero evidence that chaos can.

    I still don’t get why the basic laws of chemistry and physics HAVE to be designed, not if they reflect the basic building blocks of the universe.

    Laws are principles of organization. They’re ordered and repeated and act in certain specific ways and not in other ways. Ordered, repeated, consistent, specific things can be created by intelligent design. Chaos cannot create them. So, when we see laws, that’s Design. Chaos cannot even create ‘building blocks’ of anything. What does it ‘build upon’? We could say ‘properties of molecules’, but when something has specific properties, that’s not randomness — that’s Design. Randomness is no-consistency, no-order, not-lawlike.

    I think you’re starting with design instead of proving it exists.

    I’m starting with what we observe. Laws, properties, order, processes, systems. We know Design can produce such things. We also know that non-design (chaos) does not produce them.

    We could test that. Take a look at chaos and then see if ordered processes, systems, laws, specific consistent properties arise at some point. But until then, we know it has never happened.

  43. 43
    Upright BiPed says:

    Obviously they disagree with your contention of an irreducibly complex precursor … A lot of people disagree with you … Again, a lot of people disagree with you … Again, a lot of people disagree with IC conclusion.

    My question wasn’t about other people. My question was about you. After all, you are the person on this blog throwing barbs at ID proponents, are you not? So it can hardly be said that you have some benign “let’s wait and see” position on the matter. And here now, you’ve demonstrated as clearly as you possibly could that you have no interest whatsoever in publically putting your doubt in IC on the line. You wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, yet, you’re still here throwing barbs, backpeddling, trying to distract attention away from your obvious unwillingness to engage the evidence and test your own assumptions. You failed a simple test of being called out.

    Try to remember that.

    cheers

  44. 44
    Box says:

    And even IF we have a replicator — a HUGE IF. But, let’s assume a replicator for a moment.
    It is replicating, but why would this lead anywhere? The environment doesn’t change in a certain direction. Where does the information come from?
    Then there is the problem with the fragility of the replicator. Why would it be able to sustain its existence? What power prevents it from falling apart?
    Assume a bunch of self-replicating watches at early earth. What force stops them from all breaking down?
    IOW what makes an organism ‘robust’ from a chemical perspective?

  45. 45
    SLeBrun says:

    Basic biological reproduction is irreducibly complex:
    The cell divsion processes required for bacterial life

    I challenge SLeBrun to find any mistakes in that article.

    This paragraph:

    “Let’s now consider our central question: Are the complex biochemical processes that control cell division representative of a minimal set of reactions that the cell requires for life, and are they irreducibly complex? There is good evidence to suggest that the process of cell division is indeed irreducibly complex, for the steps involved are interdependent and highly coordinated. For example, crucial steps such as DNA transcription require proteins (see Figure 1)—while protein synthesis in turn is dependent upon transcription. Moreover, evidence suggests that the processes involved in cell division are highly regulated and coordinated in a sequential fashion. For instance, in bacteria, cytokinesis does not proceed until DNA replication is complete, so that the DNA is precisely partitioned into the developing daughter cells. Each process itself is complex and if any one of the processes is inhibited, cell division ceases. This interdependence fits the criteria of an irreducibly complex system.”

    purports to examine whether the complex biochemical process in cells are irreducibly complex but it’s just hand waving and not a real examination of alternative explanations. AND, even if we have no explanation yet it doesn’t mean we won’t at some future time.

    But you’re saying that order ‘just arose’ out of chaos. What evidence do you have where that has ever happened? Even a small test should show — do some randomization for a while and see if specified order just arises out of it.

    I’m saying that the structures we see in the universe arose out of the way the root basic building blocks can and do bind together. Given the root structures and their properties the rest cascades down from there.

    The other option is that where we see order, laws, systems, specific properties for certain things, that’s evidence for Design. Why? Because we know a designing intelligence can create order, but we have zero evidence that chaos can.

    No one is saying chaos did any such thing. You’re arguing against the wrong argument.

    Laws are principles of organization. They’re ordered and repeated and act in certain specific ways and not in other ways. Ordered, repeated, consistent, specific things can be created by intelligent design. Chaos cannot create them. So, when we see laws, that’s Design. Chaos cannot even create ‘building blocks’ of anything. What does it ‘build upon’? We could say ‘properties of molecules’, but when something has specific properties, that’s not randomness — that’s Design. Randomness is no-consistency, no-order, not-lawlike.

    The (incomplete) laws of physics and chemistry that we have discerned are reflection of the ways we observed things to behave in the universe.

    You don’t know the basic properties and building blocks were designed. There may only be one way such things can exist. (I’m not a big fan of the multi-verse theories but I’ll wait to see if they come up with something.)

    I’m starting with what we observe. Laws, properties, order, processes, systems. We know Design can produce such things. We also know that non-design (chaos) does not produce them.

    We could test that. Take a look at chaos and then see if ordered processes, systems, laws, specific consistent properties arise at some point. But until then, we know it has never happened.

    No one is saying chaos created anything. We observe repeated behaviour and figure out a way to represent that as a mathematical statement or a basic principle. If there is only one way for the basic building blocks to arise then no design is necessary.

    The multi-verse idea says that there might be loads and loads of universes where the basic constants can vary in which case there would be universes with no life. But, as I said, they have a long ways to go to convince me.

    Chaos alone does nothing. Some random variation with selection can though.

    My question wasn’t about other people. My question was about you. After all, you are the person on this blog throwing barbs at ID proponents, are you not? So it can hardly be said that you have some benign “let’s wait and see” position on the matter. And here now, you’ve demonstrated as clearly as you possibly could that you have no interest whatsoever in publically putting your doubt in IC on the line. You wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, yet, you’re still here throwing barbs, backpeddling, trying to distract attention away from your obvious unwillingness to engage the evidence and test your own assumptions. You failed a simple test of being called out.

    I’m willing to wait and see but you guys have to come up with some hard research to prove your point. You can’t even agree on what is designed or when or how it was implemented. In the mean time I see no reason to assume a cause which has not been observed or has been proven necessary to explain things as we observe them. I do not know how some of the structures you claim are irreducibly complex came about but I see no reason to throw in the towel and say we’ll never find an explanation. I am open minded in that I say: we don’t know yet, let’s try and figure it out and, in the meantime, we’ll stick with the unguided processes which so far seem to explain things pretty well.

    Design implies a designer and a design implementer. You say you’ve detected design. most scientists disagree with you. And you haven’t got any other evidence that a designer exists or existed. Given that I’ll stick with undesigned and unguided.

    And even IF we have a replicator — a HUGE IF. But, let’s assume a replicator for a moment.
    It is replicating, but why would this lead anywhere? The environment doesn’t change in a certain direction. Where does the information come from?
    Then there is the problem with the fragility of the replicator. Why would it be able to sustain its existence? What power prevents it from falling apart?
    Assume a bunch of self-replicating watches at early earth. What force stops them from all breaking down?
    IOW what makes an organism ‘robust’ from a chemical perspective?

    What do you mean by ‘robust’? A replicator that wasn’t robust wouldn’t survive long enough to reproduce.

    Watching are inanimate objects, they do not self-replcate. It’s a chemical process not a mechanical one. Chemical binding and such happens without direction because of the nature of the atoms and molecules. The ’cause’ is in the nature of the things themselves.

    The replicators reproduce with variation. Some of the variants better exploit the natural resources of their environment. They leave more offspring, i.e. their ‘genes’ become more common in the overall population. Much variation leads to death or being less able to cope. ‘Bad’ variation is culled out quickly. Okay variation sticks around a bit. Positive variation ‘fixes’ in the population much more quickly. As the overall population grows more and more variation is generated sometimes in combinations.

    I don’t see the problem. The ‘information’ comes from the organisms being ‘groomed’ by the environment. AND the organisms can affect the environment by changing the chemical ratios for example.

    It’s cumulative selection of variation over millions of years. Millions of years. You might be right that that isn’t good enough. But you haven’t proven to most people’s satisfaction that there was a designer that had anything to do with it. No designer timeline, no workshops, no raw materials storage, no energy plants, no written records, no nothing. We do observe human designers in action but they leave traces of their work and existence aside from their designs. No such evidence exists for your undefined designer. So I find ID to be only an embryo hypothesis. Come up with something more robust and I’ll give it some consideration.

  46. 46
    Upright BiPed says:

    I’m willing to wait and see but you guys have to come up with some hard research to prove your point. You can’t even agree on what is designed or when or how it was implemented. In the mean time I see no reason to assume a cause which has not been observed or has been proven necessary to explain things as we observe them. I do not know how some of the structures you claim are irreducibly complex came about but I see no reason to throw in the towel and say we’ll never find an explanation. I am open minded in that I say: we don’t know yet, let’s try and figure it out and, in the meantime, we’ll stick with the unguided processes which so far seem to explain things pretty well.

    Everything you just said is completely irrelevant and nonsensical if you continue to avoid the evidence. All your overstatements, misrepresentations, and little opportunistic barbs amount to nothing. They are the pixie dust you use to distract yourself from the simple fact that you have no intentions whatsoever of putting your own personal assumptions up for a test. Apparently, as long as you have some authority figure that says what you want to hear, you are willing avoid any inconvenient facts. The only real question is: what the hell are you doing here pestering ID proponents?

    (edit: I suppose thats not even a difficult question, you are here to belittle the very thing you avoid. That should surprise no one).

    (shrugs)

  47. 47
    SLeBrun says:

    Everything you just said is completely irrelevant and nonsensical if you continue to avoid the evidence. All your overstatements, misrepresentations, and little opportunistic barbs amount to nothing. They are the pixie dust you use to distract yourself from the simple fact that you have no intentions whatsoever of putting your own personal assumptions up for a test. Apparently, as long as you have some authority figure that says what you want to hear, you are willing avoid any inconvenient facts. The only real question is: what the hell are you doing here pestering ID proponents?

    I have tested my criteria. And I have looked at the evidence. All of it. And at the best explanations.

    From my point of view you’re upset because I disagree with your point of view which you think is obvious and clear.

    I see hundreds, thousands of people over 150 years who accept a different point of view.

    Personally, I consider both ‘sides’ and what I see, honestly, is that the ID side is sadly lacking. It has no timeline. No coherent, clear hypothesis. No general acceptance amongst the scientific community. No evidence aside from the disputed artifacts. No research agenda. A really bad peer-reviewed publication record.

    But let me tell you what really bothers me. You ASSUME, because I disagree with you, that I haven’t tested my beliefs and my views. You ASSUME that I am just ascribing to the authority view.

    All because I disagree with you.

    You are wrong. You are mistaken. And you are more dogmatic and programmed than the people you argue with.

    I have tested my beliefs. I have spent time making sure and checking and listening to other views.

    And I ended up disagreeing with you.

    And you push me down and say I’m dishonest and wrong.

    Well done.

    Have fun trying to convince people that your point of view is correct.

  48. 48
    Upright BiPed says:

    A quick recap:

    SL: I’ve seen no one comment on this blog to the effect of: Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there … You guys have a double standard. Anything comes from the un-directed camp: decry it and call it shit … at least be honest. You’re not really attempting to consider all the data and evidence.

    UB: I am wondering, if I can demonstrate to you that the translation of genetic information requires an irreducibly complex system of objects — and thus must appear in the record prior to the heterogenous living cell — will you say “Hmmm, how interesting. Maybe they do have something there”

    SL: Well, I guess not everyone accepts your claim of an irreducibly complex system. Or they just want to test to see if that’s true. What wrong with that?

    UB: I’m the one willing to put my ability on the line to convince you that translation requires IC, and in turn you try to spin that around to where I have a problem with tests.

    SL: Well, I guess we’ll see what the researchers come up with. Obviously they disagree with your contention of an irreducibly complex precursor.

    UB: My question wasn’t about other people. My question was about you. After all, you are the person on this blog throwing barbs at ID proponents, are you not? So it can hardly be said that you have some benign “let’s wait and see” position on the matter. And here now, you’ve demonstrated as clearly as you possibly could that you have no interest whatsoever in publically putting your doubt in IC on the line.

    SL: I’m willing to wait and see but you guys have to come up with some hard research to prove your point.

    UB: Everything you just said is completely irrelevant and nonsensical if you continue to avoid the evidence.

    SL: I have tested my criteria.
    …And I have looked at the evidence. All of it
    … I have tested my beliefs. I have spent time making sure and checking and listening to other views
    … And I ended up disagreeing with you
    … And you push me down and say I’m dishonest and wrong
    … Well done.

    Don’t forget your ten foot pole.

  49. 49
    SLeBrun says:

    Don’t forget your ten foot pole.

    What is it exactly? That you think I’m lying or that you think I’m delusional?

    I tell you I have looked at all the evidence.

    I tell you that I have considered my view.

    I tell you I have decided to disagree with you.

    And you choose to disparage my conclusion. And to cast aspersions on my motivations.

    The first I can understand. The second I find confusing. Why do you have to make me out to be a fool or a knave? You seem to judge me solely on whether or not I agree with your conclusion over one single issue. Should I judge you in the same way?

    I think it’s best just to leave the matter as is. We disagree and that’s the end of it. Yes?

  50. 50
    Virgil Cain says:

    SLeBrun:

    purports to examine whether the complex biochemical process in cells are irreducibly complex but it’s just hand waving and not a real examination of alternative explanations.

    The evidence was thoroughly explained so the only hand waving is yours. AND there aren’t any other explanations. Imagination and wishful thinking, based on a need, isn’t evidence.

    AND, even if we have no explanation yet it doesn’t mean we won’t at some future time.

    THAT is how ALL science works. AND the science of today does not and cannot wait for what the science of tomorrow may or may not uncover.

  51. 51
    Box says:

    SLeBrun (to Upright BiPed): I tell you I have decided to disagree with you.

    However you are not able to articulate why you disagree with Upright BiPed.

  52. 52
    Upright BiPed says:

    I think it’s best just to leave the matter as is. We disagree and that’s the end of it. Yes?

    You have no idea what my position is, and thus, you have no idea what you are disagreeing with.

    You’re here to belittle ID and insult its proponents. You were upthread “disparaging” and “casting” just as pretty as you please. The last thing you want to do is deal with evidence — so I was pointing that out to you, but it now appears you’d like to not only insult us, you’d like us to shut up while you do it.

    This is a request I am prepared to grant you.

  53. 53
  54. 54
    Silver Asiatic says:

    SLeB

    No one is saying chaos created anything. We observe repeated behaviour and figure out a way to represent that as a mathematical statement or a basic principle. If there is only one way for the basic building blocks to arise then no design is necessary.

    To your credit, you seem to understand the problem and you know that chaos cannot produce integrated systems or processes. However, the choice remains – it’s either chaos or design. Chaos cannot even produce building blocks because those require laws and forces — which integrate materials in a consistent and predictable order.

    So, you’re trying to escape Design, but still retain Design as a starting-point. You really have to start with chaos and come up with a system with law-like processes.

    The multi-verse idea says that there might be loads and loads of universes where the basic constants can vary in which case there would be universes with no life. But, as I said, they have a long ways to go to convince me.

    Chaos alone does nothing.

    Here again, I give you credit for understanding this. There is no evidence that chaos can produce the order that is required. However, this time you also (understandably) moved to the multi-verse as a way to escape Design.

    But ask yourself, is this reasonable? A multiverse would be a highly integrated system of universes, each containing constants, matter, laws, and forces. We couldn’t explain the origin of such things in our one universe – so multiplying them only says that Chance could produce the fine-tuning we see in our universe. It doesn’t say that a multi-verse could be created by an initial starting point of Chaos.

    With that, I’d ask you to think about the options.

    On the one hand there’s a multi-verse that is imaginary, unobserved and unexplained in terms of its origin. It’s more complexity to explain, not less.

    On the other hand, there is Design by Intelligence. Let’s call it the Theistic view – with considerable explanatory power and evidence in its favor. It explains the origin of laws, forces and matter which combine into systems and processes. We can see intelligence producing similar things and we know chaos cannot do it.

  55. 55
    logically_speaking says:

    SLeBrun,

    “I have tested my criteria. And I have looked at the evidence. All of it. And at the best explanations”.

    However regarding the very article that relates to this topic SLeBrun told us,

    “I haven’t read the article or talked to the researchers”.

    Nuff said, SLeBrun is just a poor troll.

    I wonder if he has read the article yet?

  56. 56
    bpragmatic says:

    SLeBrun

    “I still don’t get the problem. You seem terribly offended that a lot of researchers and funders are trying to determine if unguided chemical and physical processes are sufficient to bring about self-replicating life on earth. That’s what science is about isn’t it? Seeing what works and what doesn’t work?”

    As a start, I would appreciate a sufficiently developed empirical discussion on what impact the factors of the early earth atmosphere/environment would have on things. Would the conditions of the early earth present probabilistic opportunities sufficient to overcome potential “frustration” conditions influencing the availability, combining, sustaining, developing etc. requirements of the chemicals necessary to achieve the products needed over an extended period of time?

    Seems to me you would have to take a pretty good stab at tying down some loose ends in that regard before you could claim:

    “unguided chemical and physical processes are sufficient ”

    The concept of seeing if something is even possible to achieve by any means (“unnatural” interference by highly intelligent humans in a highly regulated, resource laden lab”) I suppose is ok in principle.

    But how legitimate or “scientific” is a claim or inference even suggesting “unguided” without a relatively well developed empirically based discussion of the comparison of the conditions within a laboratory setting and the early earth’s conditions? And with the appropriate disclaimers that might be associated with that? Maybe their research covers that, but it wasn’t apparent to me upon scanning the Science News article.

    Fuz Rana says something to that effect. See BA77 and Tim Robbins above.

  57. 57
    Zachriel says:

    bpragmatic: But how legitimate or “scientific” is a claim or inference even suggesting “unguided” without a relatively well developed empirically based discussion of the comparison of the conditions within a laboratory setting and the early earth’s conditions?

    Abiogenetic research is very much concerned with plausible prebiotic conditions. See, for instance, this very interesting result; Powner et al., Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature 2009.

    The problem of abiogenesis is very difficult. The events occurred billions of years ago on an Earth very different from today’s Earth. Consequently, some experiments may be more removed from natural conditions, but they are all attempting to unravel the primordial process.

  58. 58
    Popperian says:

    @ bpragmatic

    What needs to be explained are current day replicators as they exhibit a very high degree of accuracy.

    However, the first replicators are thought to be highly inaccurate, and would therefore not exhibit the appearance of design. As such, they do not need to be explained in the sense implied.

    On the other hand, a designer of the biosphere would itself be well adapted to the purpose of designing organisms and therefore would exhibit the appearance of design. As such, it cannot be the explanation for the appearance of design.

  59. 59
    Popperian says:

    On the contrary, I’ve found very few people who want to challenge the notion that translation is irreducibly complex. The test is short and doesn’t end well. It’s much easier to just ignore it.

    Are you referring to the fact that Shannon’s theory of information suffers from the problem of infinite regress? If so, that is an artifact of our current conception of physics. Specifically, the idea that physics should try to predict outcomes based on a known starting point and the laws of motion.

    However, when we approach the problem from the prospective of which transformations are possible and impossible, we can bring information into fundamental physics.

    See Constructor Theory of Information.

  60. 60
    cornucopian says:

    The same old nonsense. I am tired of hearing just so stories but then they again you are arguing with religious fanatics. You can’t reason with them. Can someone show me how a single cell can form without some silly fantasy stories?

    It is a secular creation myth.

  61. 61
    bpragmatic says:

    Zachriel,

    “Abiogenetic research is very much concerned with plausible prebiotic conditions.”

    That “concern” may exist. But,to me, the issues regarding “plausible prebiotic conditions” and the practical problems thereof related to the OOL, do not seem to make the mainstream “popular culture” media coverage of the topics involved. Maybe my perception is incorrect. However, I am left with the impression popular media has an agenda that favors a particular position regarding OOL that has insufficient empirical evidence to support related assertions, as perhaps other positions on the topic. Why discriminate? Just admit that “scientifically” “nobody can say”. Be honest.

  62. 62
    Zachriel says:

    bpragmatic: That “concern” may exist. But,to me, the issues regarding “plausible prebiotic conditions” and the practical problems thereof related to the OOL, do not seem to make the mainstream “popular culture” media coverage of the topics involved.

    Journalism generally does a poor job with complex topics.

    bpragmatic: Just admit that “scientifically” “nobody can say”.

    The science, while tentative, is more than neutral on the subject of abiogenesis.

  63. 63
    Virgil Cain says:

    Powner et al., Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions, Nature 2009.

    It is only plausible if intelligent agencies were around. And by that “logic” mother nature produced Stonehenge as mother nature can produce stones.

    Also you cannot get from molecular replicators to a reproducing biological organism, not that you can get molecular replicators.

  64. 64
    Virgil Cain says:

    The science, while tentative, is more than neutral on the subject of abiogenesis.

    The science says it is impossible.

  65. 65
    bloodymurderlive says:

    Ok, maybe I’m a little confused here… the quote in the OP treats the following question as unanswered: “what enabled the leap from a primordial soup of individual monomers to self-replicating polymer chains?” But haven’t self-replicating polymer chains already been created? The site linked below notes several self-replicating molecules, including:

    1) Ghandiri’s self-replicating peptide
    2) the hexanucleotide self-replicator
    3) the SunY self-replicator
    4) Eckland’s RNA polymerase

    That first one is just 32 amino acids long – far more probable than Meyer’s 150-amino-acid protein (frustratingly, Meyer never justifies his “150” figure, even though Sagan was talking about a 100-amino-acid protein back in the 70’s… can anybody explain Meyer’s thinking to me? I digress…).
    http://www.talkorigins.org/faq.....oprob.html

    Why don’t these qualify as an answer to the question posed in the OP’s quote from the paper?

  66. 66
    Silver Asiatic says:

    That first one is just 32 amino acids long

    Where would the first 32-unit long chain of 100 % left-handed amino acid residues come from? Amino acids are not formed as easily as Lee et al. claim. If they form at all, they are extremely dilute and impure, as well as racemic (50–50 mix of left and right-handed forms). Such amino acids do not spontaneously polymerise in water.

    Where would a supply of the matching 15 and 17-unit chains come from? Not only does the objection above apply, but what mechanism is supposed to produce the right sequences? Even if we had a mixture of the right homochiral (all the same handedness) amino acids, the chance of getting one 15-unit peptide right is one in 2015 (= one in 3 x 1019). If it is not necessary to get the sequences exactly right, then it would mean that the ‘replication’ is not specific, and would thus allow many errors.

    The 15 and 17-unit peptides must be activated, because condensation of ordinary amino acids is not spontaneous in water. Lee et al. used a thiobenzyl ester derivative of one peptide. As they say, this also circumvents potential side reactions. The hypothetical primordial soup would not have had intelligent chemists adding the right chemicals to prevent wrong reactions!

    The particular 32-unit chain was an a-helix, where hydrogen bonds between different amino acid residues cause the chain to helicize. This common structure is more likely to be able to act as a template under artificial conditions. Lee et al. claim that b-sheets, which also depend on hydrogen bonding, might also be able to act as templates. This seems plausible. a-helices and b-sheets are known as the secondary structure of the protein.

  67. 67
    Mapou says:

    talkorigins.org is a den of liars and superstitious morons. Here’s why.

    First, just because the simplest self-replicating cell is simpler than say, a virus, does not mean that the search space is somehow suddenly smaller. A random search mechanism has no idea how big the search space is for anything. It also has no idea where anything is within the search space. So it must search everything.

    Second, random changes are many orders of magnitude more destructive than constructive. So, whatever you are blindly constructing will be quickly destroyed, period.

    The search space required for any mechanism to arrive at the human genome is 4 raised to 3 billion! Faced with such an impossibly huge search space, the idea that RM+NS can create anything other than toy stuff is laughable, in the not even wrong category.

    Abiogenesis by natural means is a fairy tale designed to put toddlers to sleep or scare them to death with overwhelming stupidity.

  68. 68
    EugeneS says:

    bloodymurderlive #65,

    I can give you a much simpler example of self-replication: crystals. So what? In order for a molecule to ‘play a role’ as an enzyme and/or memory, this role must first be prescribed. Self-replication is not just a magic word to solve every puzzle. A replication subsystem is a component of (heterogeneous) living systems. I.e. self-replication must be put in context as long as we want to discuss life. All living systems are programmed and processed. And that means prescription for potential functions, i.e. it means agency because nature is blind to potentialities or purpose. Agency is the only means to explain the tremendous initial complexity at the kick start of life. Long before evolution can even be discussed, there is an absolute need for prescriptions of how to integrate the various components into a coherent programmed and processed pragmatically functional living systems. Not only does Maxwell’s demon need to know about which type of molecules to pass through, most importantly, it needs to be able to make informed purposeful choices in order to achieve a heat differential (intended utility). It is all the more applicable to organisms.

    Nature cannot explain nature. Repeatably, we observe code processing in living systems which naturalistic means are just incapable of even starting to address. Chance and law-like necessity are not up to the task of explaining how the first program simultaneously and together with the first processor for it came about.

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