Origin Of Life

Podcast: Origin of life is not like winning a lottery

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As Eric Anderson explains to Andrew McDiarmid:

In their conversation, Anderson suggests that there are engineering principles involved in the origin of life that may mean that a naturalistic origin is less like winning a long-odds lottery, and more like the chances of an inventor successfully building a perpetual motion machine. That is, it isn’t just a tough probability problem; there are reasons for concluding that it’s impossible in principle. Also, Anderson notes, the early Earth wasn’t the kinder, gentler place for simple self-replicators that Darwin or Dawkins has imagined.

Evolution News, “New ID Book Zeroes in on Evolution’s Zero-Probability Problem” at Evolution News and Science Today:


7 Replies to “Podcast: Origin of life is not like winning a lottery

  1. 1
    jawa says:

    Dr Cronin and Dr Szostak have promised to create a simple prokaryotic cell from scratch (unlike Dr Venter) in their labs and thus win the most coveted Evo2.0 OOL $10M prize, judged by Dr Denis Noble and Dr George Church.

  2. 2
    kairosfocus says:

    Lotteries are carefully designed to be winnable without bankrupting their sponsors. Perpetuum mobiles violating the second law appeal to statistical miracles.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    Designing and building a life form in the lab, to be taken as evidence of the power of non design???

  4. 4
    jawa says:

    “Designing and building a life form in the lab”?

    Well, let’s wait and see.

    Yes, agree that would not do much good to support the unguided OOL. But I’ll have to see it to believe it. Not holding my breath though.

  5. 5
    polistra says:

    We ought to be worrying more about EOL than OOL. Nearly all governments are now engaged in a concentrated final holocaust. Is there a way to slow it down?

  6. 6
    daveS says:

    That is, it isn’t just a tough probability problem; there are reasons for concluding that it’s impossible in principle.

    This is quite interesting. Based on the title, I assume they have an argument showing that it is literally impossible (and not just that the probability is zero).

  7. 7
    bornagain77 says:

    Since DaveS wants a ‘literal’ demonstration that life from non-life is impossible, and not just to be shown that the mathematical probability is for all intents and purposes zero, here is that ‘literal’ demonstration:

    Infinite monkey theorem
    Excerpt: “One computer program run by Dan Oliver of Scottsdale, Arizona, according to an article in The New Yorker, came up with a result on August 4, 2004: After the group had worked for 42,162,500,000 billion billion monkey-years, one of the “monkeys” typed, “VALENTINE. Cease toIdor:eFLP0FRjWK78aXzVOwm)-‘;8.t” The first 19 letters of this sequence can be found in “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”. Other teams have reproduced 18 characters from “Timon of Athens”, 17 from “Troilus and Cressida”, and 16 from “Richard II”.[24]
    A website entitled The Monkey Shakespeare Simulator, launched on July 1, 2003, contained a Java applet that simulates a large population of monkeys typing randomly, with the stated intention of seeing how long it takes the virtual monkeys to produce a complete Shakespearean play from beginning to end. For example, it produced this partial line from Henry IV, Part 2, reporting that it took “2,737,850 million billion billion billion monkey-years” to reach 24 matching characters:
    RUMOUR. Open your ears; 9r”5j5&?OWTY Z0d…”
    – per wikipedia

    Indeed, “Open your ears” DaveS!

    And for good measure, here are two “figurative” demonstrations that life from non-life is impossible.

    A Reasonable Argument for God’s Existence?
    by Moshe Averick
    Excerpt: To get a range on the enormous challenges involved in bridging the gaping chasm between non-life and life, consider the following: “The difference between a mixture of simple chemicals and a bacterium, is much more profound than the gulf between a bacterium and an elephant.”
    (Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry, NYU)

    Scientists Prove Again that Life is the Result of Intelligent Design – Rabbi Moshe Averick – August 2011
    Excerpt: “To go from bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium.”
    – Dr. Lynn Margulis

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