practically valid?

33


Discussion by: sbijapure
To begin with, can you create a simple replicator in a simple chemical soup of your choice?
Can it be done in laboratory? You may not have the atmospheric conditions of the earth billions of years ago and you may conduct the experiment in today’s atmospheric conditions.
Please be specific about the chemical formula of the replicator and the chemicals in the soup, and also the temperature and pressure of the surrounding atmosphere.
What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?
Here the word chemical is used to exclude computer viruses in digital soup and also memes in social brain soup.

33 COMMENTS

  1. Can it be done in the laboratory? Well DNA can be synthesised in the lab, this replicates.

    “What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?”

    No-one knows what the simplest replicator and soup would be. However, if you are thinking about the origin of life I think this is the wrong question. It seems to me more likely that it began with sets of molecules that mutually generate each other, rather than the harder task of a self-replicator.
    e.g a soup where A generates B, B generates C and C generates A but more messy and error prone.

  2. You may not have the atmospheric conditions of the earth billions of years ago and you may conduct the experiment in today’s atmospheric conditions.

    But that’s not how it happened. You might as well tell us we can’t use Earth’s conditions but can instead use those of Venus.

  3. In reply to #1 by conmeo:

    Can it be done in the laboratory? Well DNA can be synthesised in the lab, this replicates.”What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?”No-one knows what the simplest replicator and soup would be. However, if you are thinking about the origin of life I think this is the wrong question. It seems to me more likely that it began with sets of molecules that mutually generate each other, rather than the harder task of a self-replicator. e.g a soup where A generates B, B generates C and C generates A but more messy and error prone.

    But the problem is you must first create the molecule of DNA. And if you had DNA, it is not able to replicate itslef if it is not a part of the cell.
    And creating DNA is a problem as you need comlex enzimes to create DNA but you can not get this enzymes without having DNA as their structure is encoded in the DNA – so chicken and egg problem.

  4. In reply to #3 by Robert Kubik:

    In reply to #1 by conmeo:Can it be done in the laboratory? Well DNA can be synthesised in the lab, this replicates.”What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?”No-one knows what the simplest replicator and soup would be. However, if you are thinking about the origin of life I think this is the wrong question. It seems to me more likely that it began with sets of molecules that mutually generate each other, rather than the harder task of a self-replicator. e.g a soup where A generates B, B generates C and C generates A but more messy and error prone

    But the problem is you must first create the molecule of DNA. And if you had DNA, it is not able to replicate itslef if it is not a part of the cell. And creating DNA is a problem as you need comlex enzimes to create DNA but you can not get this enzymes without having DNA as their structure is encoded in the DNA – so chicken and egg problem.

    I think you’ve mixed up synthesising DNA in a modern lab – which can be done because of what we know and have to hand – with early life where it was unlikely to have been done that way Robert. If you read the rest of Conmeos post and some of the genuine and fruitful real research into abiogenesis you’ll find that it assumes a far simpler start than complex interconnected DNA, RNA or enzymes. He’s right the person is asking the wrong question. Its likely to have been much simpler replicators and metabolizers, at the level of organic or even inorganic chemistry for a long time. Not the sudden appearance of DNA – just simpler precursors for a while. Go look for some of the stuff it is not improbable at all.

    I may be mistaken but I suspect you’ve been reading creationist or ID literature as those are the sorts of erroneous comments they make – they just love the fake chicken and egg dillemma. But the realities are far more interesting – and easy to find, even wikkipeadia is good for starters. And there are far better qualified people than me here to point you in the right direction.

    I know the other ID favourite is to look at complex things that have been designed, like cars, and say obviously they had an intelligent designer they can’t have just appeared. So if it helps, think of the DNA problem as more like technology than magicking things into existence to explain something that looks quite complex after 3.5 billion years of slow change. All the complex things we have today can be explained as the cumulation of tiny improvements and increases in knowledge over thousands of years from very simple things like the wheel and fire. Which, I suspect, were happy accidents in our past.

    Engineers aren’t like IDs intelligent designers they just make tiny little alterations to what we have to make them slightly better or adapting them for use in a different way. Just like evolution but with a goal rather than undirected. And it might interest you to know that the electronics and pharmaceuticals are now using algorithms that mimic evolution to come up with new designs they would never have thought of.

  5. @OP – To begin with, can you create a simple replicator in a simple chemical soup of your choice?
    Can it be done in laboratory?

    Before going further, anyone interested in this subject should look look at the current science on this video:-

    The Origin of Life – Abiogenesis by Dr. Jack Szostak – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J1XWtezOTvY

    This has been CONFIRMED in Dr. Jack Szostak’s LAB. 2009 Nobel Laurette in medicine for his work on telomerase.

    It’s been 55 years since the Miller-Urey Experiment, and science has made enormous progress on solving the origin of life. This video summarizes one of the best leading models. Yes there are others. Science may never know exactly how life DID start, but we will know many ways how life COULD start. Don’t be fooled by creationist arguments as even a minimal understanding of biology and chemistry is enough to realize they have no clue what they are talking about.

    No scientists suggest that life started with DNA.

    DNA evolved from organic chemicals formed in millions of places over millions of years, and from earlier simpler replicators.

  6. You do not need to go right to DNA. The original replicator could have been a very very simple chemical. Probably one that could catalyze it’s own replication. Years ago (in the early 1980′s), Thomas Cech (spelling???) showed that these molecules exist and demonstrated their properties. Subsequently, it was shown that they could be synthesized in the lab under conditions like the Miller Urey experiment imposed.

    Today, Szostak is one of the leading researchers in the area. His lab, in the 1990′s, piggybacked on Cech’s work and actually got RNA (capable of governing it’s own replication) to evolve in a beaker (or test tube).

    I’d also call your attention to Speigleman (woking in the late 1990′s) and his unbelievable “Spiegleman’s Monster”.

    This research is not new, not cutting edge, not esoteric or hidden. It is current and reproducable. it is yielding progress and results. It generates predictability.

    Argument from personal incredulity can only be overcome by personal education. So, if you cannot “fathom” how organic chemical evolution could possibly have happened ad therefore jump to the necessity of a creator (which is a bullshit jump, in itself) You have a lot of reading to do!!!!

    When you catch up, you’ll realize the amount of “egg on your face”.

  7. In reply to #1 by conmeo:

    Can it be done in the laboratory? Well DNA can be synthesised in the lab, this replicates.

    “What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?”

    No-one knows what the simplest replicator and soup would be. However, if you are thinking about the origin of life I think this is the wrong question. It seems to me more likely that it began with sets of molecules that mutually generate each other, rather than the harder task of a self-replicator.
    e.g a soup where A generates B, B generates C and C generates A but more messy and error prone.

    e.g a soup where A generates B, B generates C and C generates A
    But can you give ANY particular example of such A, B, and C?

  8. PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE watch the TED talk given by Martin Hanczyc. It is 15 minutes long and well worth it!

    And, @ sbijpure, there are tons of examples, some have been given here. Things like RNA, DNA etc. I suggest you look into the Miller Urey experiment …. The authors of the experiment used inorganic starting materials, things like ammonia and carbon dioxide and they generated monomers of amino acids and fatty acids and monosaccharides… You can look up the ingredients, conditions, and results for yourself.

    However, from the way you word your comment, I am going to hypothesize that there will be no A + B = C that will satisfy you.

  9. To begin with, can you create a simple replicator in a simple chemical soup of your choice?

    No.

    Can it be done in laboratory?

    I don’t know.

    What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?

    I don’t know.

    Well, I hope that was helpful. Why did you ask?

  10. To begin with, can you create a simple replicator in a simple chemical soup of your choice?

    Yeah, it’s how they make meth. For that they use ephedrine, iodine crystals, cleaning materials, battery acid, and whatever else. More elaborate things are done with protocells, which are used for bioengineering.

    Can it be done in laboratory?

    Yup. If I knew how to make protocells I would be under NDA. You can google how to make meth.

    What would be the simplest replicator and the simplest soup?

    Probably helium from a hydrogen cloud, which generates a gravity fields which creates stars, and thus more helium.

  11. Answer would be YES, and you can find details for example here:

    Synthesis of activated pyrimidine ribonucleotides in prebiotically plausible conditions

    Matthew W. Powner, Béatrice Gerland & John D. Sutherland.
    Nature 459, 239-242 (14 May 2009) | doi:10.1038/nature08013; Received 11 December 2008;Accepted 24 March 2009

  12. Some of you keep saying that this first replicator was probably not as complicated as the process there is in living organisms today.

    But then you must solve the problem how could it have turned into the process of transcription and translation that is in every cell. Finding very easy replicator does not explain the giant leap between the first replicator and the process called the central dogma.

    So the replicator that appeared before DNA or RNA must have been similar to them.
    And it is impossible to create RNA, DNA or TNA (hypothetical first replicant that does not contain ribose or deoxyribose but threose/ because for creating purine nad pyrimidine bases you need cyanide but the cyanide kills everything and you can not create sugar /threose, ribose, deoxiribose/ if there is cyanide.

    And do not poin at Miller experiment please. Scientists rejected his experiment because the atmosphere he used was not the atmosphere of volcanoes. But if his atmosphere was the same as prebiotic atmosphere, and if the first amino acids had come into existence, they are not able to replicant themselves without nucleic acids.

  13. In reply to #15 by Robert Kubik:

    Some of you keep saying that this first replicator was probably not as complicated as the process there is in living organisms today.

    But then you must solve the problem how could it have turned into the process of transcription and translation that is in every cell. Finding very easy replicator does not explain the giant leap between the first replicator and the process called the central dogma.

    Oh dear! – Why don’t you look at the links to the scientific experiments? There were millions of years in millions of places for different possibilities to arise under various conditions – until one or more of them could replicate.

    And do not point at Miller experiment please. Scientists rejected his experiment because the atmosphere he used was not the atmosphere of volcanoes.

    Which “scientists”? I hope you are not quoting the pseudo-science muppets at “Twooof-in-Science”!
    SEE – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Urey-experiment – for some real science.

    But if his atmosphere was the same as prebiotic atmosphere, and if the first amino acids had come into existence, they are not able to replicant themselves without nucleic acids.

    You seem to be making this up as you go along. Personal incredulity is no evidence of anything!

    http://images.search.yahoo.com/search/images?_adv_prop=image&fr=ytff1-sunm&va=miller+urey+experiment – This experiment has been confirmed MANY times over decades!

    ▬▬▬▬▬▬▬

    @Duke link – There has been skepticism concerning Miller’s experiment, because it is now believed that the early earth’s atmosphere did not contain predominantly reductant molecules.

    But that does not preclude local conditions or external sources. There are local conditions of reductant volcanic gasses in caves and oceans (thousands of them) even with today’s oxygen atmosphere.

    http://www.chem.duke.edu/~jds/cruise-chem/Exobiology/miller.html

    Many of the compounds made in the Miller/Urey experiment are known to exist in outer space. On September 28, 1969, a meteorite fell over Murchison, Australia. While only 100 kilograms were recovered, analysis of the meteorite has shown that it is rich with amino acids. Over 90 amino acids have been identified by researchers to date. Nineteen of these amino acids are found on Earth. (table showing comparison of Murchison meteorite to Miller/Urey experiment) The early Earth is believed to be similar to many of the asteroids and comets still roaming the galaxy. If amino acids are able to survive in outer space under extreme conditions, then this might suggest that amino acids were present when the Earth was formed. More importantly, the Murchison meteorite has demonstrated that the Earth may have acquired some of its amino acids and other organic compounds by planetary infall.

  14. Finding very easy replicator does not explain the giant leap between the first replicator and the process called the central dogma.

    Robert, this process is called evolution. I’d read up on it a bit if I were you.

    In reply to #15 by Robert Kubik:

    Some of you keep saying that this first replicator was probably not as complicated as the process there is in living organisms today.

    But then you must solve the problem how could it have turned into the process of transcription and translation that is in every cell. Finding very easy replicator does not explain the giant leap between the first replicator and the process called the central dogma.

    So the replicator that appeared before DNA or RNA must have been similar to them.
    And it is impossible to create RNA, DNA or TNA (hypothetical first replicant that does not contain ribose or deoxyribose but threose/ because for creating purine nad pyrimidine bases you need cyanide but the cyanide kills everything and you can not create sugar /threose, ribose, deoxiribose/ if there is cyanide.

    And do not poin at Miller experiment please. Scientists rejected his experiment because the atmosphere he used was not the atmosphere of volcanoes. But if his atmosphere was the same as prebiotic atmosphere, and if the first amino acids had come into existence, they are not able to replicant themselves without nucleic acids.

  15. In reply to #15 by Robert Kubik:

    But then you must solve the problem how could it have turned into the process of transcription and translation that is in every cell.

    As you say, ‘we’ are working on the problem. What are you doing about it.

    Oh yeah, that’s right, there is no problem to begin with…

  16. First abot the Miller experimet. It was written in the science magazine in 1995 that the atmosphere in his experiment did not simulate the volcanic atmosphere. Biochemist Marcel Florkin was the first to point it out .

    About the issue where I got these informations about abiogenesis from. From university textbook for students of biochemistry, not from ID articles.

    But the point is that science did not solve the problem how life came into existence at all. Despite it they keep brainwashing our children that scientists know life came into existence spontaneously in an organic soup.

    But not just science did not solve the problem of life coming into existence, idea of spontaneous life coming into existence is uncsientific too. Luis Pasteur proved that only life can create life.

  17. In reply to #19 by Robert Kubik:

    But not just science did not solve the problem of life coming into existence, idea of spontaneous life coming into existence is uncsientific too. Luis Pasteur proved that only life can create life.

    The only thing this comment proves is that you got this from some ignoramus pseudo-science creationist source, and do not have the slightest clue what you are talking about.

    Pasteur’s work on Germ Theory has nothing whatever to do with abiogenesis.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Germ-theory-of-disease

    The more formal experiments on the relationship between germ and disease were conducted by Louis Pasteur between 1860 and 1864. He discovered the pathology of the puerperal fever[7] and the pyogenic vibrio in the blood, and suggest using boric acid to kill these micro organisms before and after confinement.

    Louis Pasteur further demonstrated between 1860 and 1864 that fermentation and the growth of microorganisms in nutrient broths did not proceed by spontaneous generation. He exposed freshly boiled broth to air in vessels that contained a filter to stop all particles passing through to the growth medium: and even with no filter at all, with air being admitted via a long tortuous tube that would not pass dust particles. Nothing grew in the broths, therefore the living organisms that grew in such broths came from outside, as spores on dust, rather than being generated within the broth.

    This work in 1860 – 1864, is long established history of science! You really need to get up to date with biology.

    First abot the Miller experimet. It was written in the science magazine in 1995 that the atmosphere in his experiment did not simulate the volcanic atmosphere. Biochemist Marcel Florkin was the first to point it out .

    It would be quite amazing if ANYONE could show what the entire composition of the changing atmosphere over the whole of the early Earth, its oceans, and its underground caves was, over a period of millions of years.

    There is no such thing as “A GLOBAL VOLCANIC ATMOSPHERE”. The gasses from various volcanoes are vented in different mixtures and compositions, depending on the rocks from which they are derived.

    Even if the atmosphere was different, (and the Miller-Uray experiment has been repeated many times), there is still the issue of the infall of organic molecules into Earth’s atmosphere from space both during and after planetary formation.

    About the issue where I got these informations about abiogenesis from. From university textbook for students of biochemistry, not from ID articles.

    You certainly did NOT get the Pasteur quote from any reputable or competent source. That is a schoolboy error, which no university biologist would make. The claims about the early atmosphere also sound simplistic an naive.

    But the point is that science did not solve the problem how life came into existence at all.

    Science does not claim to have solved the whole problem yet. It only has partial answers and partial evidence from top experts.
    Your “god-did-it-by-magic”, however is no answer at all!

    Despite it they keep brainwashing our children that scientists know life came into existence spontaneously in an organic soup.

    Gazzzoing!

    That is the best scientific hypothesis we have, but it is quite likely that further confirmations will continue as research progresses. There are plenty of links on this discussion to explain the progress so far.

    Perhaps you would like to claim your Nobel prize by explaining exactly how “god-did-it” 3.7 billion years ago on the early Earth – After you have studied enough biology to tell Germ Theory, and spontaneous generation, from abiogenesis.

  18. Just to explain my previous comment that seemed to be a bit agressive. I have no problem that scientists are trying to find out how life came into existence spontaneously. It is OK. But telling a lie is not OK. Children and people who are not educated in the biochemistry and molecular biology are told in popular books and programmes and schools that scientists KNOW life came into existence spontaneously. Why don`t they admit the truth – the truth is that we have not solved this problem and the more we know about the cell the more problems there are how it came into existence.

  19. Alan4discussion,

    Science can not prove creation as science is based on observation and experiments. You can not observe God creating or put God into laboratory and make experiments with Him. I admitt I believe in creation.
    But observation and experiments poved that only life can create life and life can not come into existence from non-living matter. Perhaps they will solve this problem in the future but they have not so far. So you can not prove God scientificaly but you can prove scientificaly that faith in life coming into existence is impossible.

  20. In reply to #20 by Alan4discussion:

    We don’t even have to leave this site for some answers.

    The ingredients for RNA are potentially available in outer space naturally. However, even if RNA wasn’t the original replicator, there are plenty of candidates:

    http://old.richarddawkins.net/articles/645659-synthetic-xna-molecules-can-evolve-and-store-genetic-information-just-like-dna

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2012/11/11/scientists-discover-possible-building-blocks-of-ancient-genetic-systems-in-earth-s-most-primitive-organisms

    There’s also plenty of work going on about how the chemicals might have arisen:

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2012/11/27/model-sheds-light-on-chemistry-that-sparked-origin-of-life

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2012/12/21/origin-of-life-hypothesis-traces-first-protocells-back-to-emergence-of-cell-membrane-bioenergetics

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2012/12/12/was-life-inevitable-new-paper-pieces-together-metabolism-s-beginnings

    http://www.richarddawkins.net/newsarticles/2012/8/24/dna-could-have-existed-long-before-life-itself

    And, of course, Wikipedia has some quite extensive articles on the subject:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miller%E2%80%93Ureyexperiment

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNA_world_hypothesis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iron%E2%80%93sulfur_world_theory

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/PAH_world_hypothesis

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cell(biology)#Originofthefirstcell

    These are some good starting points for research. Anyone interested, knock yourself out.

  21. I would ordinarily leave this to Alan, but a couple of things catch my interest.

    In reply to #22 by Robert Kubik:

    I admitt I believe in creation.

    Why? It’s an even worse explanation than the one you’re trying to discredit.

    But observation and experiments poved that only life can create life and life can not come into existence from non-living matter.

    This is untrue. DNA and RNA molecules are the bases for all living creatures, including viruses. Yet these things are simply chemicals with the property of creating copies of themselves when exposed to the necessary material (phosphorus, carbon, and so on). The fact that animals reproduce and create more animals does not mean that life can only arise in this way. That’s a hasty generalization.

    As for life coming into existence from non-living matter, it does so all the time. All the molecules in your body came from – technically are – non-living matter, and the hydrogen and carbon in your blood cells and DNA molecules are no different from those in minerals and rocks around the planet. The whole point of eating and breathing is to gather the necessary carbon and hydrogen and oxygen atoms required to build the body.

    In any case, there’s no such thing as a hard line between living and non-living things, as sponges, amoebas, bacteria, protists, archaeans, viruses, and replicator molecules all present ambiguous cases. There’s a spectrum going from simple rocks and minerals through replicator molecules and cells to complex multicellular life like humans.

  22. In reply to #21 by Robert Kubik:

    Just to explain my previous comment that seemed to be a bit agressive. I have no problem that scientists are trying to find out how life came into existence spontaneously. It is OK. But telling a lie is not OK. Children and people who are not educated in the biochemistry and molecular biology are told in popular books and programmes and schools that scientists KNOW life came into existence spontaneously. Why don`t they admit the truth – the truth is that we have not solved this problem and the more we know about the cell the more problems there are how it came into existence.

    Perhaps you can point out a few examples of such popular books and programmes?

    Also, the truth is that scientists in biology and biochemistry have the strongest case for having the correct explanation for the origin of life because they have the most rigorously justified theories to account for the data. The fact that scientists don’t “know” for certain is no more severe than the fact that a crime scene investigation squad doesn’t “know” who committed the crime, with the added benefit that the biologists’ case has even better support than an average CSI. They still have lots of evidence pointing to the most likely suspect.

    The ways to rule out abiogenesis are:

    1. Prove it’s internally contradictory or contradicts a better established fact.

    2. Provide a rival, better-supported theory to account for the data.

    So far, you have done neither, which suggests to me you’re using a form of Perfect Solutions Fallacy: either the abiogenesis theory must explain everything perfectly or it’s dismissed.

  23. In reply to #22 by Robert Kubik:

    Science can not prove creation as science is based on observation and experiments.

    That is precisely how science does work on proof. No other methods give consistently reliable testable results.

    You can not observe God creating or put God into laboratory and make experiments with Him.

    Some neuroscientists think they have already done so, in scanning human brains for spots of “spiritual god activity” – Like abiogenesis this is work in progress, but it has much more evidence and is much more credible than any “immaterial” theist claims. Those cannot even put together a consistent or coherent definition.

    You show no signs of have looked at, or understood, the work of Dr. Jack Szostak which I linked @ comment 5.

    Children and people who are not educated in the biochemistry and molecular biology are told in popular books and programmes and schools that scientists KNOW life came into existence spontaneously. Why don`t they admit the truth

    In the books I have read, readers are informed that abiogenesis is the most likely scientific explanation for the origins of life on Earth. Can you name the books which claim certainty?

    Your quoting of Pasteur, suggests that you have been taking information from comically incompetent, scientifically illiterate, creationists.

    He is a favourite quote on the web-sites of creationist science-duffers who confuse spontaneous generation and abiogenesis, because they they cannot even understand school level biology.

    @21 – But observation and experiments proved that only life can create life and life can not come into existence from non-living matter. the truth is that we have not solved this problem and the more we know about the cell the more problems there are how it came into existence.

    This is simply wrong. Life has shown that it can reproduce life, but that does not exclude other means of generation. Increasing information about cells is what is establishing the credibility of abiogenesis hypothesis.

    Perhaps they will solve this problem in the future but they have not so far.

    The available evidence indicates a steady progression towards this objective.

    So you can not prove God scientificaly

    Theists have tried for centuries without success, so the only evidence, is in the work of neuroscientists identifying the god-delusion in the brains of those who let it dominate their minds.

    but you can prove scientificaly that faith in life coming into existence is impossible.

    This is just a nonsensical assertion, for which there is no evidence whatsoever! (I can’t / won’t believe this so it must be wrong!)
    It is the fallacious asserted argument from personal incredulity.

    http://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Argument_from_incredulity

    The argument from incredulity is a logical fallacy that essentially relies on a lack of imagination in the audience.

    Another form, the argument from personal incredulity, takes the form “I can’t believe P, therefore not-P.” Merely because one cannot believe that, for example, homeopathy is no more than a placebo does not magically make such treatment effective.

    I see Zeuglodon has provided even more links to discussions and reference materials on this subject.

  24. In reply to #21 by Robert Kubik:

    Science can not prove creation as science is based on observation and experiments. You can not observe God creating or put God into laboratory and make experiments with Him.
    ect…

    Inversing the burden of proof, yet again.

    And again, you don’t seem to be interested to prove your hypothesis, only to dismiss what you don’t like and see as impossible. That’s called argument from incredulity.

    And saying you can’t because only God can, is a complete non-sequitur.

    Like we’re not getting tired of hearing the same arguments again and again…

    :/ Enough of the trolls.

  25. Actually, I can’t let this one pass unnoticed either:

    In reply to #22 by Robert Kubik:

    Science can not prove creation as science is based on observation and experiments. You can not observe God creating or put God into laboratory and make experiments with Him.

    Science is not exclusively about observation and experiments. Science is a methodology or set of methodologies for establishing facts about the real world, and while observation and experiments do form a large part of that, so do logical deduction, inference, and the proposing and criticizing of rival hypotheses to account for the data. Science relies on reason to establish its body of knowledge, but also exchanges ideas with mathematics and logic and rational philosophy. For instance, peer review is one means of forcing submitted papers through a stringent criticizing process which requires knowledge of statistical techniques and the burden of proof, and much of evolutionary thinking is the simulation and logical extrapolation of the basic tenets of evolution by natural selection, which has been proven beforehand.

    If a god interacts with real world matter – for instance, to create living organisms – then it is in principle possible for a scientist to detect its presence by proxy. If a scientist found a way to bridge the gap – in a similar manner to how scientists uncovered the world of UV light without being able to see it themselves – then it would be possible to confirm it directly. Of course, this works best when the god-influenced activity occurs regularly (for replication of experiments) and isn’t identical to a process which doesn’t need it. But on the other hand, you can’t claim the veracity of god-influence in the absence of any evidence for it, otherwise that would be an argument from ignorance.

    If a process can be explained perfectly fine without invoking a god, then why invoke the god at all? You need reasons for positing the existence of such a thing, and science, or at least reason, demands that you cannot appeal to our ignorance of events to claim to have knowledge or ideas about them when you can’t justify those ideas otherwise.

    Which is why I’d be interested to know why you believe in creation as opposed to abiogenetic alternatives.

  26. In reply to #28 by Zeuglodon:

    Actually, I can’t let this one pass unnoticed either:

    In reply to #22 by Robert Kubik:

    Which is why I’d be interested to know why you believe in creation as opposed to abiogenetic alternatives.

    There is little evidence on any of these threads that Robert actually understands the topics – and he has just been caught pasting stuff from junk websites @42 &; @ 43 on this other thread – http://www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/1/17/non-believer-to-beliver# – Where his (200years out of date apologetics “historian”) is said to have had a bigger academic badge than modern historians.

    Those theist blinker specs really can filter out whatever evidence does not appeal – as they earlier did on this discussion about biblical literalism! http://www.richarddawkins.net/news-articles/2013/1/22/public-school-bible-classes-plagued-with-religious-bias?category=Religion#

  27. I have read all your comments. Just to explain again. I have no problem when scientists are trying to find a way how life came into existence. But they have not found any solutions. Sometimes they manage to create some chemicals needed for life, that is all. And in the same environment they are not able to create different chemicals that are needed for life too. I mentioned purine, pirimidine, sugar, enzymes etc – all of them require different chemical environmnet.

    But in textbooks and popular programmes they use phrases like this: Life came into existence spontaneously 4 bill. years ago.

    You were right that science is based on logical deduction based on experience too. DNA contains digital code so logical explanation is ID. Cell consists of more than hundred components that must be at the right place and that are not stable so they must come into existence at the same time at the same place. So logicla explanation is ID.

    Your problem is that you have decided to reject any possibility there could be God. I was different. I have always been open to the idea there could be God and when I had enough evidence for God I accepted Him.

  28. In reply to #30 by Robert Kubik:

    I have read all your comments. Just to explain again. I have no problem when scientists are trying to find a way how life came into existence. But they have not found any solutions.

    You clearly have NOT READ and understood the links.

    Sometimes they manage to create some chemicals needed for life, that is all. And in the same environment they are not able to create different chemicals that are needed for life too.

    Nobody has suggested that ALL the needed chemicals were formed at the same time in the same place. I even pointed out the in-fall from space where such chemicals have been forming for billions of years.

    I mentioned purine, pirimidine, sugar, enzymes etc – all of them require different chemical environmnet.

    You show no sign of having studied the subject matter, but seem to be getting your information from creationist pseudo -science – “science cannot answer lists”, quoting from some science-duffer websites, where the writers would fail school biology and geology.

    But in textbooks and popular programmes they use phrases like this: Life came into existence spontaneously 4 bill. years ago.

    That is what the geology and fossil record shows. Signs of life first appear in the rocks 3.7 billion years ago.

    You were right that science is based on logical deduction based on experience too. DNA contains digital code so logical explanation is ID.

    Errr No! ID just shows that those making such claims of simplistic magical big jumps, have no understanding of the slow progressive nature of evolution, gradually building up complexity one step at a time by adapting to their environment under selection pressure.

    Cell consists of more than hundred components that must be at the right place and that are not stable so they must come into existence at the same time at the same place.

    No they don’t! This is just ignorance of the gradual building of the phenotypical features of organisms, over very long time scales.

    So logicla explanation is ID.

    ID has nothing to do with logic or evidence, and a great deal to do with ignorance! (No understanding so it must be magic) Even the main Xtian churches (C of E & RCC) say that ID is nonsense!

    Your problem is that you have decided to reject any possibility there could be God.

    This is simply a reverse projection of YOUR view.

    By faith (that is belief without evidence) you have not only decided to believe in a particular biblical god from the thousands available http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_deities, but have decided to ignore and deny scientific evidence of how material reality works.

    I was different. I have always been open to the idea there could be God and when I had enough evidence for God I accepted Him.

    Which simply shows that you do not know that “evidence”, is not simply choosing what you would like to believe. Scientific evidence requires that it can be confirmed by repeat testing to independently produce consistent results.
    Followers of the same god cannot even agree on a clear joint definition of a god, and they offer no explanations as to HOW this fairy-tale god does anything!

    “Abracadabra life” is not a credible explanation.

    I see you have recognised on this other discussion http://www.richarddawkins.net/discussions/2013/2/12/starting-simple-and-building-up-complexity-over-time#comment-box-16, that it requires a good knowledge of physics. Perhaps you will recognise that this discussion requires a good knowledge of biology, and that scientific discussions in general require a good knowledge of scientific methodology and logical reasoning.

  29. In reply to #30 by Robert Kubik:

    I have read all your comments. Just to explain again. I have no problem when scientists are trying to find a way how life came into existence. But they have not found any solutions.

    You are ignoring the links provided previously. They have so many viable solutions that the research is focused on how exactly the molecules of RNAs, XNAs, and so on could have formed. They have good grounds for pursuing this line of enquiry because of the findings of evolutionary biology, geology, chemistry, and microbiology, which provide good grounds for thinking that they did form naturally.

    Sometimes they manage to create some chemicals needed for life, that is all. And in the same environment they are not able to create different chemicals that are needed for life too. I mentioned purine, pirimidine, sugar, enzymes etc – all of them require different chemical environmnet.

    You do realize that the DNA and RNA molecules and the proteins they manufacture synthesize these in the cell all the time, don’t you? A “chemical environment” is whether or not smaller molecules or elements are present for the molecular synthesis of proteins and cell structures, which the cell has to manufacture every time there’s cell division and large-scale growth of the multicellular body. Amino acids, ribose, and the smaller constituents of purines and pyrimidines can occur naturally, as some of them have been found in deep space objects far away from Earth. We may not know the details of how they arose, any more than we know the details of how any particular species evolved, but that they arose (and that the species evolved) is uncontested (because there’s good evidence elsewhere for making these claims), and fully commensurate with both the findings of biochemists and our knowledge of earth science.

    But in textbooks and popular programmes they use phrases like this: Life came into existence spontaneously 4 bill. years ago.

    See Alan for that.

    You were right that science is based on logical deduction based on experience too. DNA contains digital code so logical explanation is ID.

    This is a non-sequitur. You haven’t provided any evidence that a designer exists, and are conspicuously sidestepping the issue I raised of there being a third alternative yet undiscovered to account for the data. Even if you had discredited Hypothesis A, that does not count as evidence for bolstering the case of Hypothesis B.

    Cell consists of more than hundred components that must be at the right place and that are not stable so they must come into existence at the same time at the same place. So logicla explanation is ID.

    Actually no. The components within a cell are manufactured at different times in different parts of the cell, and it’s perfectly possible that they arose at different times in evolutionary history. It’s not all or nothing. DNA and RNA can manufacture 20 amino acids, which form the building blocks for larger proteins. There is no chicken and egg problem because it’s perfectly possible for other compounds to precede and perform similar jobs to the current ones, and they arose from mutations of the genes, same as large-scale phenotypes do. They didn’t have to be perfect at it. They had to be better than rival alleles, which may have done an even worse job than they did. You simply extrapolate that back to the original replicating molecule (before the first mutation created the first allele) that could synthesize or recruit an amino acid from the nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon etc. available in the environment.

    The interesting question now is how RNA could form in nature, under what conditions, and where from. There are also other candidates for predecessor replicators that require the same investigation. Based on the strength of the case of evolution by natural selection alone, we would be entitled to consider this the best explanation for the origin of life.

    By contrast, assuming intelligent design is positing a designer and failing to explain how that designer overcomes the issues that the alternative apparently can’t. It’s a worse suggestion because:

    A) in everyday biology, DNA and RNA demonstrably enable living things to self-assemble, and no one has ever observed a designer intervening at any part in the process

    B) there’s no evidence for the designer’s existence, which you must prove independently to avoid a circular argument

    C) you use a current lack of knowledge as justification for positing your rival idea, which is an argument from ignorance

    D) you have not provided positive evidence which would support your rival idea over a third, as yet unknown, idea

    E) your dismissal is based on personal incredulity, ignorance of natural selection, and assumptions you have not justified; at no point do you actually point out a flaw

    F) more indicative than conclusive, this one; your comments suggest you have a preconceived religious bias and a poor grasp of the issues under discussion.

    Your problem is that you have decided to reject any possibility there could be God. I was different. I have always been open to the idea there could be God and when I had enough evidence for God I accepted Him.

    Actually, I hold no problem with the hypothesis of a designer being true. If, for example, scientists discovered that a being physically moved matter into position to make cells, that would be interesting evidence and would open up a new field of enquiry. The problem is that people assert such things without evidence and with astonishing ignorance of how natural selection works. Speculation can go anywhere, but the moment you try to make a case for it, you are subject to criticism. If you don’t meet the criteria of science, then complaining about a lack of open-mindedness proves nothing.

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