RSS 2.0 Feed

» Welcome Guest Log In :: Register

Pages: (4) < [1] 2 3 4 >   
  Topic: Has the Mystery of Life's Origin Been Solved?, Current status of abiogenesis< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,16:09   

What is the status of current abiogenesis research? Have plausible mechanisms been found for each of the major steps? Are the steps thermodynamically plausible?

The best creationist critique of abiogenesis is The Mystery of Life's Origin, but most of the references are seriously out of date. Nevertheless, it outlines many of the physical hurdles that any scenario must overcome. As far as I know, no one has successfully rebutted it.

This article summarises the current evidence, but does not discuss the possible mechanisms in any detail.

So does The Mystery of life's Origin retain its sting? If not, why not?

All productive criticism is appreciated.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
jeannot



Posts: 1200
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,16:30   

Quote
As far as I know, no one has successfully rebutted it.

This article summarises the current evidence, but does not discuss the possible mechanisms in any detail.

What's your position on this Paley?

Do you think that life originated on Earth through natural processes or do you take our current lack of detailed explanation as evidence of the contrary (argument from ignorance, as Behe's Irreducible Complexity)?

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,17:56   

Quote
Has the Mystery of Life's Origin Been Solved?


No.

Does this mean it can't be solved? No.

Does "rebutting" a book whose basic argument is "you haven't succesfully proved anything yet, so you are wrong" serve any purpose? No.

Is this thread meaningful in any way, if we are to discuss a creationist book? No (Unless you were bored and decided to set the troll loose again).

The only reason I see in participating in this thread is if we discuss all the recent efforts in figuring out a possible mechanism for abiogenesis, and comment on whether we believe they are on the right track or not (and if other possible mechanisms exist).

Otherwise, no dice.

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,18:25   

jeannot & Faid:

 
Quote
Do you think that life originated on Earth through natural processes or do you take our current lack of detailed explanation as evidence of the contrary (argument from ignorance, as Behe's Irreducible Complexity)?


 
Quote
The only reason I see in participating in this thread is if we discuss all the recent efforts in figuring out a possible mechanism for abiogenesis, and comment on whether we believe they are on the right track or not (and if other possible mechanisms exist).


First: I think that scientists will eventually discover a naturalistic mechanism for abiogenesis. However, I am skeptical that the current efforts achieve that goal --that's why I'm interested in learning from any expert in this field. If I'm wrong, I will be delighted to admit so, because I suspect that God is smart enough to create laws that permit the development of life from scratch. I would be a bit disappointed if God did not do this.

Second: I brought up the book because it lays out the problems with naturalistic scenarios. To my knowledge, the only serious rebuttal was from a talk origins contributor who didn't have the required expertise, and presented a flawed criticism that another poster (a non-creationist, by the way) had to debunk. Basically, I think serious efforts from creationists need to be addressed, because this encourages better dialogue on their part. Ignoring serious work makes us look cowardly IMHO.

I hope this helps.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,19:11   

Quote
First: I think that scientists will eventually discover a naturalistic mechanism for abiogenesis. However, I am skeptical that the current efforts achieve that goal

And you are right. There is no debate here. They try to, however, and are optimistic. That's all there is for now.
Quote
that's why I'm interested in learning from any expert in this field. If I'm wrong, I will be delighted to admit so, because I suspect that God is smart enough to create laws that permit the development of life from scratch. I would be a bit disappointed if God did not do this.

Then you should be glad, because scientists seem optimistic that they will get it eventually.
Quote
Second: I brought up the book because it lays out the problems with naturalistic scenarios.

If by "problems" you mean the issues that have to be resolved, we don't need a creo book to learn about them- the scientists know them, they're facing them every day.
Quote
To my knowledge, the only serious rebuttal was from a talk origins contributor who didn't have the required expertise, and presented a flawed criticism that another poster (a non-creationist, by the way) had to debunk.

I don't know about this rebuttal you speak of- I simply do ont think any "rebuttal" is necessary. From what I've read, this book does not give any valid, fundamental reasons why abiogenesis  cannot possibly work: Its author presents the thermodynamic hurdles, spending quite some time in them, and concludes that a "coupling mechanism" is needed -something accepted by scientists already (see here for instance). In fact, this mechanism (mineral catalysis, authocatalysation process, photocatalysis, combinations of those) is the very thing they are looking for.
The rest of his argument is basically "since they didn't reproduce it yet in the lab, it does not exist". See the conclusion of the last chapter. Same old, same old.

Quote
Basically, I think serious efforts from creationists need to be addressed, because this encourages better dialogue on their part. Ignoring serious work makes us look cowardly IMHO.

Of course they need to be addressed, when they are presented. Do you think "No point in looking for it, you should have already found it" is a serious argument, Ghost? If that is the case, then why are you not convinced too, and disbelieve in abiogenesis, in contrast to what you said before?


As for appearing "cowardly" when we don't address their blabber... Come on. We're talking creationists here. How can anyone appear cowardly to people who are so spineless, they have to deny reality for fear that their faith will crumble?


:p

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 06 2006,20:56   

Faid:

 
Quote
From what I've read, this book does not give any valid, fundamental reasons why abiogenesis  cannot possibly work: Its author presents the thermodynamic hurdles, spending quite some time in them, and concludes that a "coupling mechanism" is needed -something accepted by scientists already (see here for instance). In fact, this mechanism (mineral catalysis, authocatalysation process, photocatalysis, combinations of those) is the very thing they are looking for.


Correct. To further the discussion, here are a few of the book's objections:

   
Quote
Mineral Catalysis

Mineral catalysis is often suggested as being significant in prebiotic evolution. In the experimental investigations reported in the early 1970's15 mineral catalysis in polymerization reactions was found to operate by adsorption of biomonomers on the surface or between layers of clay. Monomers were effectively concentrated and protected from rehydration so that condensation polymerization could occur. There does not appear to be any additional effect. In considering this catalytic effect of clay, Hulett has advised, "It must be remembered that the surface cannot change the free energy relationships between reactants and products, but only the speed with which equilibrium is reached."16

Is mineral catalysis capable of doing the chemical work and/or thermal entropy work? The answer is a qualified no. While it should assist in doing the thermal entropy work, it is incapable of doing the chemical work since clays do not supply energy. This is why successful mineral catalysis experiments invariably use energy-rich precursors such as aminoacyl adenylates rather than amino acids.17

Is there a real prospect that mineral catalysis may somehow accomplish the configurational entropy work, particularly the coding of polypeptides or polynucleotides? Here the answer is clearly no. In all experimental work to date, only random polymers have been condensed from solutions of selected ingredients. Furthermore, there is no theoretical basis for the notion that mineral catalysis could impart any significant degree of information content to polypeptides or polynucleotides. As has been noted by Wilder-Smith,18 there is really no reason to expect the low-grade order resident on minerals to impart any high degree of coding to polymers that condense while adsorbed on the mineral's surface. To put it another way, one cannot get a complex, aperiodic-sequenced polymer using a very periodic (or crystalline) template.

In summary, mineral catalysis must be rejected as a mechanism for doing either the chemical or configurational entropy work required to polymerize the macromolecules of life. It can only assist in polymerizing short, random chains of polymers from selected high-energy biomonomers by assisting in doing the thermal entropy work.


 
Quote
Chemical Energy (Energy-Rich Precursors)

Because the formation of even random polypeptides from amino acids is so energetically unfavorable (G = 300 kcal/mole for 100 amino acids), some investigators have attempted to begin with energy-rich precursors such as HCN and form polypeptides directly, a scheme which is "downhill" energetically, i.e., G < 0. There are advantages to such an approach; namely, there is no chemical work to be done since the bonding energy actually decreases as the energy-rich precursors react to form more complex molecules. This decrease in bonding energy will drive the reaction forward, effectively doing the thermal entropy work as well. The fly in the ointment, however, is that the configurational entropy work is enormous in going from simple molecules (e.g., HCN) directly to complex polymers in a single step (without forming intermediate biomonomers).

The stepwise scheme of experiments is to react gases such as methane, ammonia, and carbon dioxide to form amino acids and other compounds and then to react these to form polymers in a subsequent experiment. In these experiments the very considerable selecting-work component of the configurational entropy work is essentially done by the investigator who separates, purifies, and concentrates the amino acids before attempting to polymerize them. Matthews39 and co-workers, however, have undertaken experiments where this intermediate step is missing and the investigator has no opportunity to contribute even obliquely to the success of the experiment by assisting in doing the selecting part of the configurational entropy work. In such experiments-undoubtedly more plausible as true prebiotic simulations-the probability of success is, however, further reduced from the already small probabilities previously mentioned. Using HCN as an energy-rich precursor, and ammonia as a catalyst, Matthews and Moser40 have claimed direct synthesis of a large variety of chemicals under anhydrous conditions. After treating the polymer with water, even peptides are said to be among the products obtained. But as Ferris et al.,41 have shown, the HCN polymer does not release amino acids upon treatment with proteolytic (protein splitting) enzymes; nor does it give a positive biuret reaction (color test for peptides). In short, it is very hard to reconcile these results with a peptidic structure.

Ferris42 and Matthews43 have agreed that direct synthesis of polypeptides has not yet been demonstrated. While some peptide bonds may form directly, it would be quite surprising to find them in significant numbers. Since HCN gives rise to other organic compounds, and various kinds of links are possible, the formation of polypeptides with exclusively alpha-links is most unlikely. Furthermore, no sequencing would be expected from this reaction, which is driven forward and "guided" only by chemical energy.

While we do not believe Matthews or others will be successful in demonstrating a single step synthesis of polypeptides from HCN, this approach does involve the least investigator interference, and thus, represents a very plausible prebiotic simulation experiment. The approach of Fox and others, which involves reacting gases to form many organic compounds, separating out amino acids, purifying, and finally polymerizing them, is more successful because it involves a greater measure of investigator interference. The selecting portion of the configurational entropy work is being supplied by the scientist. Matthew's lack of demonstrable success in producing polypeptides is a predictable indication of the enormity of the problem of prebiotic synthesis when it is not overcome by illegitimate investigator interference.


One note of optimism as far as HCN concentration levels are concerned.

Here's Moritz's summary:

 
Quote
In any case, minerals most likely provide the clue to a lot of the answers regarding the origin of life. They have been demonstrated to allow for the prebiotic synthesis of nucleotide precursors that have so far proven elusive, for example, the synthesis of ribose in sufficient purity – borate minerals stabilize ribose (Ricardo, A et al. 2004; see also press release; however, for a possible stereoselective synthesis of D-ribose catalyzed by amino acids, see below). Minerals have also been shown to catalyze polymerization of nucleotide-like molecules (Orgel 2004). Vesicle formation is aided by them as well, and mineral particles could have wound up inside vesicles and there exhibited catalytic properties (Hanczyc et al. 2003, Hanczyc et al. 2006).

In a different putative scenario, minerals also play an interesting role. Instead of in an aqueous "prebiotic soup" on or near the surface of the earth, it has been hypothesized that life may have begun in the depths of the ocean, in the unique environment of deep-sea hydrothermal vents. In high-pressure, high-temperature water as there, organic molecules show a level of (albeit not always particularly specific) chemical reactivity that is usually observed in "normal" aqueous environments only upon speeding-up of reaction rates by enzymes. See for example the review Hazen et al. 2002. For the physico-chemical properties of high-pressure, high-temperature water, see Basset M-P 2003 and Gen-e-sis: 1. Catalysis by minerals, such as those present in deep-sea hydrothermal vents, further enhances chemical reactions in such an aqueous environment. Degradation under these high-temperature and high-pressure conditions of synthesized organic molecules may be prevented by minerals as well – at least this has been shown for amino acids (see Hazen et al. 2002). Fatty acids, as a source of membrane-forming material, might have been synthesized there too (see Orgel 2004).


The bolded & italicised part doesn't address the book's concerns with configurational entropy. This source seems to agree:

 
Quote
Initial studies using thermal energy (heat) to drive the formation of polynucleotides and polypeptides from monomers were only marginally successful even if they were carried out in the absence of water. Polymer formation in the presence of water is a more plausible prebiotic scenario since it is likely that water was prevalent on the primitive Earth. Therefore, the only way to prepare RNA or proteins in the presence of water is to supply the required energy to "active" them (to change the structure by adding a reactive group) thus making polymer bond formation more favorable. While current theories suggest that RNA or protein was involved in early life, scientists have yet to provide a feasible explanation for how the individual activated monomers would have been formed on the early Earth.


I'm no chemist by any means, so any assistance is appreciated.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
pwe



Posts: 46
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,07:54   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 06 2006,16:09)
The best creationist critique of abiogenesis is The Mystery of Life's Origin, but most of the references are seriously out of date. Nevertheless, it outlines many of the physical hurdles that any scenario must overcome. As far as I know, no one has successfully rebutted it.

Well, I have read some chapters of the book, and for a layman like me, they appear to point at real problems. But then again, I am a layman, so what do I know?

And the book is hosted by Lambert Dolphin, who claims that the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics was part of the curse of the creation caused by Adam and Eve's eating of the forbidden fruit. And that the expansion of the universe is due to rebellious angels that abandoned their job of keeping the stars in place.

So, basically we are given the choice of still accepting prebiotic evolution or giving in to complete make-believe.


- pwe

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,08:49   

All,

1) I am unwilling to be drawn into a troll distraction and dishonesty game, which this surely is. Since this is my field I will make this one comment.

If anyone else wants to start a seperate thread on possible abiogenesis mechanisms in which the troll is not permitted to comment then I'm more than willing to join in. I'm not playing with mindless trolls any more. I am totally unwilling to provide the education in basic chemistry that the troll lacks, not least because I cannot be bothered with endless quote mining and google trawling from someone who has neither the knowledge or ability to understand the subject. Honest enquiry is a good thing, dishonest trolling, baiting and attention whoring isn't.

2) The creationist second law of thermodynamics claims are the usual baseless creationist red herrings, bullshit and baloney. Don't believe the hype! One factor that creationists always ignore when invoking the second law of thermodynamics in chemical systems is that they are dealing with open systems. Bond forming processes normally involve the release of energy, usually (although by no means exclusively) as electromagnetic radiation in the IR region of the spectrum. In the creationist canard, as the entropy of the system decreases by bonding (which is bullshit anyway, polymers have vastly greater degrees of freedom than their component monomers for example) they omit the comensurate increase of entropy of the overall system.  There is no thermodynamic barrier to abiogenesis in general any more than there is a thermodynamic barrier to chemical bonding in general. The problem isn't that we don't know how abiogenesis COULD happen, but that we don't know how it DID happen.

The book cited by the troll has no merit and never had merit or any sting to retain. Thraxton and buddies were talking out of their arses in the 70s and still are. The objection is basically: "because we don't know the exact path taken, it's impossible", all the bloviating about polymerisation not being possible on crystal surfaces etc was bollocks disproven by decades of surface science research before the book was even written. There's little point "rebutting" lies and distortions.

3) Yes we have well known mechanisms for all possible stages of abiogenesis, what we don't know is which of a massive variety of possible routes to self replicating systems (the key intermediate needed for an evolutionary scenario) were taken. We also don't know for certain what the Ur-replicator was. It certainly wasn't anything as "advanced" as DNA, or possibly RNA, although this latter is a possible candidate for a variety of reasons. Key mechanisms for abiogenesis involve polymerisation,  encapsulation, auto-catalysis, mutually coupled replicating systems, self replicating systems and a whole host of other properties exhibited by naturally occuring molecules both on earth and even in some cases in space.

4) There are a huge variety of astrochemicals of varying degrees of complexity. Some of the most vital molecules, such as simple sugars, simple amino acids and aromatic hydrocarbons, all key monomers for known chemical systems in living systems, are found in space. There are even some dipeptides etc found in interstellar ices etc. As for the origins of homochirality, one need look no further than autocatalysis and perhaps circular dichroism. The Soai reaction, for example, whilst not even suggested as a point on the abiogenetic pathway, is a good example of a simple system in which chiral products are produced from achiral strating materials and in which the products autocatalyse not only their own formation but also which enantiomer of product is produced. This is a fascinating reaction to explore btw. The understanding of chelation, mixing effects and a whole host of chemical processes involved is not for the faint hearted. Or indeed anyone wiithout a serious amount of undergraduate and postgraduate organic chemistry in their heads I'm sad to say. Which is annoying because it's a great little reaction!

5) Some groups/work I can think of off the top of my head that those with a chemical bent might want to check out are the Rebek group at Scripps (although his work in self replication is a few years old now), Nigel Mason's group at the Open University UK, John Brown's group at Oxford, obviously Leslie Orgel's work, Donna Blackmond at Imperial (I think she's still there, amazing lady, every time I see her lecture I am in awe of how dedicated and bloody smart she is). A great but relatively obscure journal "The Origins of Life and the Evolution of Biospheres" is also an interesting read, mainly because it's surprisingly philosophical and non-technical in places.

Argh huge field, too much to even begin to encompass in anything approaching the detail required.

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,09:05   

Quote
The best creationist critique of abiogenesis is The Mystery of Life's Origin
If you're interested in the topic, why start out with a creationist critique? These guys are completely discredited and unreliable. Why not start with something like Robert Shapiro's "Origins: a skeptic's guide to creation of life on earth"?

(Disclaimer: I haven't read either of these; Shapiro is "on my list", the other one isn't)

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
Alan Fox



Posts: 1365
Joined: Aug. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,11:13   

It's a shame Professor Shapiro was so roundly insulted when he made an appearance on PT a while back. i thought he was a real nice guy. BTW I'd link to the thread but the PT arguments thingie doesn't work like it used to. What's with that?

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,11:57   

Before discussing this issue further, I'd like to make a few points:

1) Mel is right when he says that I could use a few chemistry lessons. That's part of what this thread is about: (1) what is the current status of abiogenesis research (available in books, journals, and perhaps online), and (2) have the arguments in Mystery been addressed in the literature (difficult for nonspecialists to answer)? For example, do mineral substrates have organisational in addition to catalytic ability, and if they do, is it enough to code nonrandom polymers? A specialist might be able to answer this question. So I don't think this thread is pointless, because we can all learn a little bit about the subject.

2) Despite what Mel would have you believe, I really am willing to listen to good explanations. Rhetoric, insults, and "that's been answered in the literature, but I won't show you where" don't count as good explanations. This is one reason that I'm glad that Louis is not participating, because he's not going to give a straight answer to anything I ask. Please keep in mind that Charles Thaxton has a doctorate in physical chemistry, while Walter Bradley has a doctorate in materials science, so one can't dismiss their opinions and calculations with hand-waving.

3) Mel doesn't get to choose who comments in which threads.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,12:54   

Here is a better question:

What is the status of God research? Have plausible mechanisms been found for each of the major steps?  Obviously God could not just appear out of thin air.  You don't get something from nothing.

So what's the latest research on rescuing deities?  How could "he" have come to exist?  And what matter is he made up of?  

Bonus question, since the universe is billions of years old, and mankind has only been around for 10s of thousands of years (and the NFL has only been around for less than 100 years) what did God do to occupy his time for all those billions of years prior to mankind.

All productive criticism is appreciated.

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,13:02   

Think about it peeps, lifes "origin" didn't start at the first cell.  It started at the "emergence" of the first deity.  So identifying the deity (that dude who created life) is ground zero.

So like I was saying, what is the status of God research?

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
BWE



Posts: 1896
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,13:52   

Quote (Mr_Christopher @ Dec. 07 2006,13:02)
Think about it peeps, lifes "origin" didn't start at the first cell.  It started at the "emergence" of the first deity.  So identifying the deity (that dude who created life) is ground zero.

So like I was saying, what is the status of God research?

I think that might be a typo. Didn't you mean "Ditty" as in " the music of the spheres"?

--------------
Who said that ev'ry wish would be heard and answered
When wished on the morning star
Somebody thought of that, and someone believed it
Look what it's done so far

The Daily Wingnut

   
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,14:28   

I read somewhere that the difference between science and an ideology is that a science can answer a question like, "What evidence do you have for your position?" without resorting to jokes, insults and tu quoque retorts.

Does anyone have anything to offer than one of the above?

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Ved



Posts: 398
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,14:37   

No.

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,14:52   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 07 2006,14:28)
I read somewhere that the difference between science and an ideology is that a science can answer a question like, "What evidence do you have for your position?" without resorting to jokes, insults and tu quoque retorts.

Does anyone have anything to offer than one of the above?

Can you tell us what the status is on the God research?  
And you do see how the origin of life did not begin on planet Earth.  It began with God and then He created Earth and the little cells and stuff.  

So...Before we can answer how did Earth life begin, we must answer how did God begin.  

So...How is the God research coming along?  The bible clearly tells us what his mental state is (jealous, irritable, angry, two faced, dishonest, murderous, cruel, clearly NOT a good example for children)  But has anyone come up with a theory regarding what God might be made of.   I'm talking chemistry and biology here, peeps.  Does God have DNA or?

Paley, I believe this is your realm of expertise, no?  What is God comprised of, please.  At least what does the most recent scientific research suggest?

Thanks!

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,15:18   

Mr_Christopher:

 
Quote
Can you tell us what the status is on the God research?  
And you do see how the origin of life did not begin on planet Earth.  It began with God and then He created Earth and the little cells and stuff.  


How convenient. According to you, origin of life researchers don't have to answer the tough questions. All they have to say is, "Well, God isn't much of an explanation either!"

So not only does this field have the answers, it doesn't even have to sweat the questions. So when do I get a tax break?  :angry:

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
tiredofthesos



Posts: 59
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,15:29   

Since he has no entertainment value, I cannot fathom why anyone responds to anything GOP says except to, out of simple courtesy, remind him once again that he's a dishonest and pretentious ass who is completely full of shit.

 GOP!  You are COMPLETELY full of shit! :)

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,15:41   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 07 2006,15:18)
Mr_Christopher:

   
Quote
Can you tell us what the status is on the God research?  
And you do see how the origin of life did not begin on planet Earth.  It began with God and then He created Earth and the little cells and stuff.  


How convenient. According to you, origin of life researchers don't have to answer the tough questions. All they have to say is, "Well, God isn't much of an explanation either!"

So not only does this field have the answers, it doesn't even have to sweat the questions. So when do I get a tax break?  :angry:

What?

You still have not answered my questions.

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
Dr.GH



Posts: 1957
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,15:57   

The best book for general readers currently available is still;

Iris Fry,
2000 "The Emergence of Life on Earth: A Historical and Scientific Overview" Rutgers University Press

It really needs to be updated because the last 7 years have been more productive for OOL than the prior 20.

Old earth creationists Rana and Ross have a book out on OOL.  I have a critical review in the stack which should be published by NCSE in a month or two.  R&R set as one of their goals to update "The Mystery of Life’s Origin" (1984).  They needn't have bothered.

Edited by Dr.GH on Dec. 07 2006,15:58

--------------
"Science is the horse that pulls the cart of philosophy."

L. Susskind, 2004 "SMOLIN VS. SUSSKIND: THE ANTHROPIC PRINCIPLE"

   
Faid



Posts: 1143
Joined: Mar. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,16:30   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 07 2006,14:28)
I read somewhere that the difference between science and an ideology is that a science can answer a question like, "What evidence do you have for your position?" without resorting to jokes, insults and tu quoque retorts.

Does anyone have anything to offer than one of the above?

As opposed to what, Ghost?

Like I explained (and you agreed) there is no conflict here. Everyone agrees that the origins of life have not been discovered yet, and that research is underway. The creationist arguments of "since you haven't found it, you will never find it", are ridiculous, as I'm sure you agree... So, what's the point of this? The only meaningful debate we can have on this issue is on which method seems more promising, and on the latest research on the field (I would be interested to know about that myself, if anyone has the info).
Oh... And laugh at creationists, of course. :)

--------------
A look into DAVE HAWKINS' sense of honesty:

"The truth is that ALL mutations REDUCE information"

"...mutations can add information to a genome.  And remember, I have never said that this is not possible."

  
Louis



Posts: 6436
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,16:37   

Quote
Does anyone have anything to offer than one of the above?


Yes. But those of us who do are tired of casting pearls before swine

Louis

--------------
Bye.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,16:57   

Louis:

Quote
Quote
 
Does anyone have anything to offer than one of the above?



Yes. But those of us who do are tired of casting pearls before swine


I doubt you have anything to offer. I'm looking for straight answers, and you've always been short of those. Perhaps someone like this guy can shed some light.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
ericmurphy



Posts: 2460
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,17:56   

Quote (The Ghost of Paley @ Dec. 07 2006,15:18)
How convenient. According to you, origin of life researchers don't have to answer the tough questions. All they have to say is, "Well, God isn't much of an explanation either!"

I think you're missing the point, Bill, and I think Mr. C does make a good point here.

Creationists often take abiogenesis researchers to take because they haven't resolved all the riddles of how life could have arisen from non-life in an environment vastly different form anything on earth today, at a time billions of years in the past. It's almost as if creationists think any question science cannot at present answer is a win for their side.

Meanwhile, creationists not only don't have a single answer (other than the ever-popular "goddidt"), or even reasonable guess, for how life came to exist on earth; they don't have a single answer for how God (or any variety of "intelligent designer") could have caused life to spring into being, to say nothing of all the unanswered questions about the nature of God (or said "intelligent designers") itself. Or themselves.

One of my biggest problems with creationism and intelligent design is that they don't provide any answers that the conventional theories don't already provide. Intelligent design, as far as I can determine from its own proponents, is a claim that life is too complex to have arisen by unintelligent means. Okay, fine. Let's say, arguendo, that we grant that claim. Now, where does that leave us? Does it get any closer to an understanding of how life arose? No. I think it gets us further from an understanding, because now we not only have to try to figure out whatever methods God (or unnamed "intelligent designer") used; we also have to make some determinations as to the nature of that God (or "intelligent designer"). No naturally curious person is going to be satisfied with no knowledge whatsoever about that first cause, are they? I know I'm not.

--------------
2006 MVD award for most dogged defense of scientific sanity

"Atheism is a religion the same way NOT collecting stamps is a hobby." —Scott Adams

  
Mr_Christopher



Posts: 1238
Joined: Jan. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,18:12   

No more Mr Nice Guy from me!  

Quit acting like a snotty nosed, bratty, spoiled  little girl, Paley and tell us about the state of the current God research. Have they discovered him yet?  What is he comrised of?

How can ANYONE suggest God created the heavens and man when we haven't even discovered God?  I thought this was the subject you knew something about.  God?

I mean even you will admit to say God did ANYTHING without first having discovered God or at least having a solid scientific theory on God would be absolutely stupid beyond belief.  You're a smart guy so I know we can agree on that, Paley.

So, where are we in our quest to discover God?  This is important stuff!  Has science found him yet?  Do we even have a coherant and scientific God theory?  What the #### do you think he must be made of?  Carbon based or?

Good God man, answer my questions and stop playing opposum!

Chris

--------------
Uncommon Descent is a moral cesspool, a festering intellectual ghetto that intoxicates and degrades its inhabitants - Stephen Matheson

  
skeptic



Posts: 1163
Joined: May 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,18:42   

GoP, I heard a valid question even though the others missed it their hurry to be the first with a witty insult.

What is the status of abiogenesis?

The truth is it's no where at this point.  Louis is right in the sense that there are multitudes of possible mechanisms that can not be proven to have been involved but sure look interesting.

For me the big question still and always will remain how did the transition occur?

RNA -> protein -> DNA,
protein -> RNA -> DNA,
primitive molecule -> RNA, Protein -> DNA,
etc and so forth

The ability to produce precursors and amino acids or simple sugars in controled experiments get us no closer to understanding what really happened.  Maybe the best we can hope for is some potential scenarios that may give a comprehensive picture and to accept it and move on.  Certainly not very satisfing but it might be the only realistic solution.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,18:44   

eric:

     
Quote
One of my biggest problems with creationism and intelligent design is that they don't provide any answers that the conventional theories don't already provide. Intelligent design, as far as I can determine from its own proponents, is a claim that life is too complex to have arisen by unintelligent means. Okay, fine. Let's say, arguendo, that we grant that claim. Now, where does that leave us? Does it get any closer to an understanding of how life arose? No. I think it gets us further from an understanding, because now we not only have to try to figure out whatever methods God (or unnamed "intelligent designer") used; we also have to make some determinations as to the nature of that God (or "intelligent designer"). No naturally curious person is going to be satisfied with no knowledge whatsoever about that first cause, are they? I know I'm not.


OK, your point explains why theistic explanations bore scientists. I understand that. Heck, I even understand why people question my motives. I'm just surprised that no one's interested in exploring how close science is to a theory of life's origins. Personally, I don't care what the ID "explanation" is, and have no interested in God talk on this issue. Nevertheless, Thaxton and Bradley (despite their extensive biases) bring up some interesting points that are worth discussing IMHO. Why can't you guys look past your dislike for creationists for a second and use their criticisms as a springboard for a fruitful discussion? I'll admit that these guys could be full of crap -- perhaps they're using their expertise to snow laymen like myself. Heck, even if the book was honest and relevant for its time, modern research might very well have rendered their core objections obsolete. If so, great -- we all learn a little bit about the current evidence. If not -- well, the theistic explanation will still be vapid. Sounds like a win-win to me.

Christopher:

 
Quote
No more Mr Nice Guy from me!  

Quit acting like a snotty nosed, bratty, spoiled  little girl, Paley and tell us about the state of the current God research. Have they discovered him yet?  What is he comrised of?


I think that the latest discoveries in physics argue for a God who fine-tuned the universe. Beyond that, I have no idea.

See. The sky didn't fall in, now did it? Now quit being a pussy and discuss the actual topic of this thread. I promise your dink won't curl up and die.  ;)

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
The Ghost of Paley



Posts: 1703
Joined: Oct. 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,19:16   

Skeptic:

 
Quote
For me the big question still and always will remain how did the transition occur?

RNA -> protein -> DNA,
protein -> RNA -> DNA,
primitive molecule -> RNA, Protein -> DNA,
etc and so forth

The ability to produce precursors and amino acids or simple sugars in controled experiments get us no closer to understanding what really happened.  Maybe the best we can hope for is some potential scenarios that may give a comprehensive picture and to accept it and move on.  Certainly not very satisfing but it might be the only realistic solution.


I agree. I think there's a big piece missing from the puzzle. What do you think about the PNA "world"? This model might bridge a few gaps.

--------------
Dey can't 'andle my riddim.

  
Russell



Posts: 1082
Joined: April 2005

(Permalink) Posted: Dec. 07 2006,19:39   

Quote
OK, your point explains why theistic explanations bore scientists. I understand that. Heck, I even understand why people question my motives. I'm just surprised that no one's interested in exploring how close science is to a theory of life's origins.
I'm very interested. Fascinating topic. I love to ponder it in my spare time. And I'm grateful that the world has seen fit to fund this question to the extent that it has, given the fact that progress in the field, such as it is, is not going to cure baldness or make anyone rich. But I'm afraid that I'm just going to have to accept the likelihood that no one's going to have anything better than a vague, plausible-if-we're-lucky guess before my life is through.

--------------
Must... not... scratch... mosquito bite.

  
  106 replies since Dec. 06 2006,16:09 < Next Oldest | Next Newest >  

Pages: (4) < [1] 2 3 4 >   


Track this topic Email this topic Print this topic

[ Read the Board Rules ] | [Useful Links] | [Evolving Designs]