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Abiogenesis


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#1 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 04:51 PM

I find it interesting that evolutionists claim that abiogenesis is not a factor in evolution.

If evolution posits that all of life evolved from a single simple organism, then that organism had to come about somehow. If abiogenesis is destroyed, then so is evolution, since it has no foundation to work from. The existance of life is the Genesis of Evolution....

I think abiogenesis is confronted with 3 main inconctractable issues:

1) Biochemistry, e.g Chirality.
2) Information, e.g. codes systems require a mental source, and do not arise by chance materialistic processes.
3) The Biogenetic Law: The fact that life is only known to come from life as demonstrated by Pasteur.

Terry

#2 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:27 PM

92g

I agree with your cogently worded case. Are you a student of logic? I admire your mind.

Sure, the argument for mud-to-man evolution can be split arbitrarily so that the mud is made a separate topic.

And it is a in one REAL sense a truly separate topic in the sense that forward-going evolutionary mechanisms (eg mutations, natural selection) did not create the first life from mud.

But it is really sheer nominalism to claim that abiogenesis is a different word therefore its implications are void as affecting the viability and premises of evolution.

In fact, the current issue of Skeptical Inquirer has an article on evolution that states this separation as "the origin or life is .....utterly irrelevant as far as the veracity of natural selection is concerned". (ref 1)

You aced it, 92g.

The origin of life is the first of a series. The terms of reference for the first of a series can never be utterly irrelevant in establishing a sequence or series if you establish that no such first term of the series could exists when constrianed by such terms of reference.

Good reasoning there!

I would add this. It cannot be utterly irrelevant if the same premises (e.g. exclusive material naturalism) that are assumed to be fully valid AFTER the first event, fail to be workable DURING the first event. That would only be valid IF the hypothesis of a real premise-boundary were first shown to be at least a plausible (not ad-hoc) assumption.


By the way, you always know where the argument is especially weak because the advocate invents reasons for separating the discussion on that point.


(ref 1) "One Lonesome Argument" Dennis R. Trumble - Sr Bioengineer Allegheny Hospital - see p 20 (top left) Skeptical Inquirer March/April 2005

#3 OC1

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:41 PM

I find it interesting that evolutionists claim that abiogenesis is not a factor in evolution.


Why is that interesting? Evolutionary theory only strives to explain the diversity of life. The origin of life is not part of evolutionary theory. How life came into existence is irrelevant to evolutionary theory.

Abiogenesis is also not part of atomic theory, aerodynamic theory, plate tectonic theory...


WRT to the rest of your post:

1) Biochemistry, e.g Chirality.

Sorry, don't know what "chirality" is. (If it doesn't have anything to do with rocks and stuff, I'm pretty much lost.) :D


2) Information, e.g. codes systems require a mental source, and do not arise by chance materialistic processes.

I'm still waiting for someone to give me a simple, understandable definition of "information".


3) The Biogenetic Law: The fact that life is only known to come from life as demonstrated by Pasteur.

I believe pasteurs experiments disproved ideas like "maggots spontaneously grow out of rotting meat". Don't think he ever looked into abiogenesis, at least not as we define it today.

In any event, Pasteur lived over a hundred years ago. I'm pretty sure our understanding of many things has changed since then.

#4 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:51 PM

I agree with your cogently worded case.  Are you a student of logic? I admire your mind.


Thanks for the complement...:D I have a Master's in Mathematics, if that counts for anything... I think programming builds good logical thinking as well.

The origin of life is the first of a series.  The terms of reference for the first of a series can never be utterly irrelevant in establishing a sequence or series if you establish that no such first term of the series could exists when constrianed by such terms of reference.


Wow, now that's an excellent way of stating the issue!

By the way, you always know where the argument is especially weak because the advocate invents reasons for separating the discussion on that point.


Exactly.

Terry

#5 OC1

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 06:52 PM

92g
But it is really sheer nominalism to claim that abiogenesis is a different word therefore its implications are void as affecting the viability and premises of evolution. 


Is there something wrong with atomic theory because it doesn't explain the origins of electrons, protons, and neutrons?

Is there something wrong with the germ theory of disease because it doesn't explain the origin of germs?

Is there something wrong with the heliocentric theory of the solar system (yes- that is a theory) because it doesn't explain the origins of the planets, or the sun?

Is there something wrong with aerodynamic theory because it doesn't explain the origin of the atmosphere?

I think you get my point.

#6 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:03 PM

Sorry, I cant see any relevance to your specific analogies.

Evolution is about the ORIGIN and DEVELOPMENT of life forms.
Abiogenesis is an extension of that to the ORIGIN and DEVELOPMENT STEPS of the first life form.

Atomic theory is not about the origin of anything.
Why is that a good analogy?

Why are the other examples good analogies?

Sure, I can agree that YOUR analogical pairs of items represent unrelated assumptions and leaps of combination.

Why does any of those analogies block my being able to make a valid connection between life-form-origin theories?

I hope you get my point too.

#7 OC1

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:23 PM

Sorry, I cant see any relevance to your specific analogies.


The germ theory explains what germs do, not where they came from.

Atomic theory explains what atoms do, not where they came from.

Evolutionary theory explains what life forms do, not where they came from.


I'll give you a thought experiment:

Start with three identical, lifeless earths.

On earth one, a single-celled life form arises via abiogenesis.

On earth two, god creates an identical single-celled organism.

On earth three, aliens leave behind the same single-celled organism.

Now assume for a minute that evolution is true, and happens on all three earths.

Is there any difference as to what goes on on these three earths, each of which start out with the same life form?

If there is no difference, then it doesn't matter how the original life form came to be- so it has no bearing on evolutionary theory.

#8 chance

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:32 PM

I find it interesting that evolutionists claim that abiogenesis is not a factor in evolution.

If evolution posits that all of life evolved from a single simple organism, then that organism had to come about somehow.

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By 'definition' evolution is not abiogenesis, evolution is how life changes. But to think life starts with a sing organism is not a good way of thinking about abiogenesis because the precursor to life possibly had it’s own chemical evolution, something like this (it’s complete conjecture on my part but a possible scenario nevertheless):

1. Earth cools.
2. Free standing water and atmosphere.
3. Powered by heat, chemicals build up in all environments that are no too hot.
4. With no life processes, chemicals are only affected by the natural elements.
5. Rapid increase in quantity and complexity of chemicals.
6. Some simple chemicals are able to make crude copies of themselves.
7. Replicating chemicals dominate the earth’s wet environments.
8. Some replicating chemicals form more stable forms (simple DNA).
9. Simple DNA, out evolves, all other replicating chemicals, and dominates the wet environments.
10. Simple DNA evolves into countless billions of forms.
11. Simple DNA evolves into complex forms by combining with other chemicals and other forms of DNA (Symbiotic or Prey).
12. Complex DNA becomes ‘super complex’ and is able to form stable structures to protect it’s self from the environment (Simple life).
13. Complex forms of Simple life dominate the earth’s wet environments.
14. Complex life, form symbiotic relationships with other forms of Complex life.
15. An explosion of Complex life (equivalent to Virus and ‘components of single cells’) dominates the Earth’s wet environments.
16. Symbiotic processes become unstoppable. Countless billions of different forms of life evolve.
17. Single Cell Life becomes Stable. Everything else is either food or a building block of life.
18. Two dominant life forms evolve (Plants and Animals).
19. Multi cellular structures survive, and evolve into all forms of life as we know it.

#9 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 07:48 PM

OC1

A time out ... to ensure that we do not talk at cross=purposes.

I too can see the valid need to guard against a gross over-statement on the part of creationists, such as "Natural selection and mutations do not occur at all... simply because no satisfactory origin of life has been found".

Please do not assume that any such over-statement is buried in what 92g and I are saying.

I for one accept that natural selection and mutations alter populations proportions and gene pool distributions, - and can gradually lead to the extinction of specific species and varieties. I also accept that intelligently directed breeding does not depend on origin theory.

But you must consider that such effects are a far cry from proclaiming the "final" extrapolation of that ... all the way to mud-to-man evolution ... (I.E. all life forms have a common origin and all their organic structures and distinctions arose soley from these forces).... as a slam-dunk conclusion.

At minimum such an extrapolation must meet the inherent limitations of its own internal mechanisms (mutation rates, adequate time for gradualism, reasons to assume and constrain non-gradual effects), PLUS the restrictions imposed by real world physical and chemical laws, PLUS correspondence with external evidence.

I would add that a good line of proof should ALSO overcome the logistic constraints found in any developmental model (painting into a corner, dead ends, running out of steam before vital resupply, long periods of stasis - rest with no development, back-tracking, waves of losses and wins cancelling each other out, incompatible parallel developments leading to ecological partnership loss, etc.). Gould's "Climbing Mount Improbable" BTW addressed some of these issues at least, but not entirely convincingly to me.

IMO Typical "computer simulations" treat only the barest of internal mechnisms as constraints - rather than the "full house" of obstacles to overcome..

I think some evolutionists seem to have an optimism ... that there are few such constraints to overcome.

One reason for this optimism is that we can imagine (or with morphing software actually see in small stages) how gradual change can occur pictorially.

Alas, it is an imaginary visual accomplishment.

In the real world ... You cannot in any way morph any living thing into any other living thing as easily as you can morph pictures.

Since pictures contain pixels that do not mutually depend on each other for viability, morphing is indeed easy and non-destrictive of the organic picture in transitional stages. Indeed, most morphing is goal-directed so that successive gradual stages can be predicted as a % of the final target picture.

Nothing of the kind can be said for living organisms dependent of life-bonds and life-processes to remain a living organism.

Nothing of the kind of inevitable change can be brought about by mindless mechanical change without goal or purpose.

The "morphing" analogy is purely superficial.

#10 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 17 March 2005 - 08:00 PM

Chance

It is a good set of steps. But I fear that some "real steps" ... may be mixed in with just-so stories and hopeful extrapolations from limited data.

For the crucial steps 6 to 13...

How many of them are founded on experimental proof showing such a complete step flowing into the next step, closely copying a likely real-world transition stage?

How many are best-guess speculative stories founded on science BUT ... that has a very long path to travel before concluding

(a) the step is viable in detail, with known mechanisms
- that are proven fully capable under plausible real-world conditions
- that wont stop the process at known obstacles
- that produce resuts that are dont diminish progress thru negative feedback or other logistical barriers
- that are consonant with evidence and remain plausibility after close examination

(:D the step completes and has been shown to flow seamlessly to the next one

#11 Method

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 11:25 AM

I would like to jump in here.

The theory of evolution, as noted by George and others, does not require that we know the source of the First Life. This is correct. What abiogenesis and evolution do have in common is methodological naturalism. That is, the explanation for the beginning of life and the evolution of subsequent life needs to be explained by a theory/hypothesis that is testable and empirical (ie methodological naturalism).

Perhaps the best analogy for abiogenesis and evolution that I can think of is mining and car making. Do you have to know where the steel came from in order to make a car? Nope, all you need to know is if the steel meets your requirements. For mining, do we need to know where the atoms came from to be able to find iron ore? Of course not.

And just a side comment, isn't mud-to-man (via magic) something that creationists believe in?

Some quick comments to different posters.

3) The Biogenetic Law: The fact that life is only known to come from life as demonstrated by Pasteur.


Pasteurs experiments proved that COMPLEX life could not arise in one step. This is still accepted. Current theories of abiogenesis hypothesize that imperfect replicators were simple chemical reactions. Last I read, Pasteur did not test for chemical replicators involving shorts strecthes of catalytic RNA.

By the way, you always know where the argument is especially weak because the advocate invents reasons for separating the discussion on that point.


Abiogenesis is in it's infancy. We have only recently started researching catalytic RNA, for example. However, evolution, a separate theory, has mountains of evidence behind it and is well defined. Both theories deal with different realms of evidence and are really in different fields. Abiogenesis is more in the realm of chemistry while evolution is fully in the field of biology.

Evolution is about the ORIGIN and DEVELOPMENT of life forms.


No it is not. Evolution is about life changing. Abiogenesis is about life starting. Darwin wrote "Origin of Species" not "Origin of Life". Darwin tried to describe why life forms are different, hence how species came about. There was no such thing as species when all you have is the original life form.

But it is really sheer nominalism to claim that abiogenesis is a different word therefore its implications are void as affecting the viability and premises of evolution.


It seems like a pretty big difference to me, between life changing and life starting. Evolution is descent with modification. How can this be applied to something that doesn't replicate?

#12 Guest_92g_*

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Posted 18 March 2005 - 07:31 PM

Perhaps the best analogy for abiogenesis and evolution that I can think of is mining and car making.  Do you have to know where the steel came from in order to make a car?  Nope, all you need to know is if the steel meets your requirements.  For mining, do we need to know where the atoms came from to be able to find iron ore?  Of course not. 


There is a fatal flaw with this analogy. I can see the steel in front of my eyes, so its origin is not an issue in understanding how a car came to exists.

I can go to a car plant and watch the assembley process, so how the car came into being is not an issue. I've done this a couple of times, its really cool.....

Evolution attempts to explain what happened in the past with little to no evidence that can be observed real time that fits the model.

Evolution demands a simple life form that formed on its own to maintain the illusion that purely naturalistic processes can account for the variation and existance of life.

If that simple life form was created by the supernatural, then we need to understand the supernatural to understand the world we live in.

And just a side comment, isn't mud-to-man (via magic) something that creationists believe in?


An intelligent being creating life is not magic. OTH, random undirected materialistic process creating life could easily qualify as magic,...., at least as a miracle.

Some quick comments to different posters.
Abiogenesis is in it's infancy.  We have only recently started researching catalytic RNA, for example. 


I They thought they had it all figure out with the Miller experiments....

Terry

#13 chance

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 02:18 PM

Chance

It is a good set of steps.  But I fear that some "real steps" ... may be mixed in with just-so stories and hopeful extrapolations from limited data.

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Agreed, the main reason I posted the steps was to demonstrate that abiogenesis does not start with “the first cell” as is often portrayed. It is not meant as some definitive “this is how it happened”, just an example of the intermediary steps to get from no life to complex life.

#14 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 03:38 PM

2) Information, e.g. codes systems require a mental source, and do not arise by chance materialistic processes.

Then I guess Schneider's ev program was touched by the hand of the intelligent designer. It's a miracle!

~~ Paul

#15 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 06:22 PM

You may want to be careful of showing that you accept Schneider's black box program as proof of anything.

Wasn't Schneider's ev program discredited in a substantial peer-reviewed study (2004) because ev's results were wholly embedded in its own presuppositions? I seem to recall reading about 50 pages of mathematical and biological critique that demolished ev. (NOT reported on Creationist sites, alas, but on Schneider's own site. At one time the entire study was available to the public without fee.)

Ev is another example of circular reasoning through a computer mid-wife.

The critique study was referenced in Schneider's website last April - I would be surprised if it were not referenced there even today (with a promised but missing in-depth response from Schneider).

#16 Guest_George R_*

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Posted 20 March 2005 - 06:49 PM

FORT THE RECORD

Golly guess what... I couldnt find the reference any more on Schneider's website

http://www.lecb.ncifcrf.gov/~toms/

and my original URL to the important study now says "Not Available".

And I was incorrect, the paper I referred to was released in June 2003 not 2004.


Since I am not a conspiracy type, I guess it is just an ovesite on my part.

In any case the study was at:

http://www.iscid.org...tion_062803.pdf

and I am on the record as having pointed it out here:

http://www.evolution...book_page18.htm

and earlier

http://www.evolution...book_page17.htm

Name: george r
Email:
From: toronto
Referral: I heard its the coolest place on the net!
EvolutionistStockAnswer: --
Remote Name: 216.240.199.1
Date: 15 Jul 2003
Time: 22:17:32


Comments
This is big. Remember the computer program that supposedly simulated evolution - complete with genetic information arising randomly? On July 7 2003, a Thomas D Schneider posted a reference (to his credit) that rebuts the infamous paper by Dr Thomas D Schneider. In his famous paper "Evolution of Biological Information" he touts his program (called ev) as randomly creating genetic-style information, from scratch, with no external intervention - contrary to Dembski. Schneider's widely quoted paper is now under a dark cloud, leaving evolutionists scrambling for cover. Schneider's informative but blatantly anti-Creationist website ridicules William Dembski (who he calls a "poser") unmercifully for making the same claim that appears now in a formal scientific critique. I take no joy personally (I find Dr Schneider's website a deligh to read with all its bias intact) but under the circumstances I hope Dr Dembski is raising a glass of wine in vindication. The Thomas Schneider webpage on ev is at http://www.lecb.ncif...~toms/paper/ev/ . . . BY THE WAY -- you will find some of his ridicule of Dembski on the same page. Schneider's ridicules of creationists, including Fred Williams, can be found on the Tom Schneider "Rebutting Creationists" page at http://www.fred.net/...reationism.html . Fred is once again in good company today!


NOTE: Nothing on the web ever disappears. I will check various web archives for undoctored copies of Schneider's web page at the time I found the reference, and for the pdf that seems to be missing now. If anybody has a current reference to it I would appreciate your research in this matter. Thanks

#17 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 21 March 2005 - 07:18 AM

Various critiques of ev and Schneider's responses are available here:

http://www.lecb.ncif...ev/blog-ev.html

Strachan's paper is referenced and some of his points addressed.

Remember, ev only addresses the question of whether information can be gained through a process of mutation and selection.

~~ Paul

#18 Modulous

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 06:45 PM

I think we may have come to a consensus here, but I think its important to reiterate. Evolution deals with how life evolves. The Theory of Evolution makes no prediction regarding which genesis took place (abio, xeno or theo etc), it only makes the assumption that at some point it did.


Naturalism makes the prediction that it will be abio genesis or possibly xeno genesis, but that the xenomorphs responsible somewhere along the line must have appeared by abiogenesis.

Supernaturalism either assumes it was some sort of theogenesis that created life. Or that some supernatural entity created the universe, and life came about by abiogenesis.


So, if we disprove naturalism (by demonstrating there is a supernatural entity responsible for some observed phenomena) we have still not proven the Theory of Evolution as being wrong, unless we also discover that the supernatural entity created life as we know it, without (macro) evolution needed to do it AND that the micro evolution we observe cannot ever achieve so called macroevolution levels of change.

#19 chance

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Posted 13 April 2005 - 06:53 PM

Just as an aside I found this link to Abiogenisis

It givs an up-to-date opinion on current thoughts of abiogenesis. Admittedly the current topics is still in the conjecture phase, yet to reach a hypothesis, but there are defiantly scientific avenues to pursue.

#20 Guest_Paul C. Anagnostopoulos_*

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Posted 14 April 2005 - 08:43 AM

Abiogenesis isn't a factor in Intelligent Design either, is it? How did the designer create life to begin with?

~~ Paul




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