Alan McDougall

What are the Odds of Life evolving by chance alone?

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My intention was to argue how unlikely the idea of a creator actually is. Since the OP is arguing about the odds of life evolving from non-living ingredients "by chance alone", I'm arguing that the alternative, of a creator god, is in fact far more unlikely. 

If a god created the Universe 6,000 years ago, as it says in the bible, then he went to great lengths to make it LOOK far older, and also, he must have created life to LOOK like it evolved over billions of years. That's the problem for Young Earth Creationists. 

Other creationists have to explain where the creator came from, who created him, or alternatively explain how an infinitely old creator, that has always existed, could make any sense, and explain their evidence for it.

Almost all arguments for the existence of a god are using the "god of the gaps" argument. Find a gap in our current knowledge of the Universe, and just claim that a god did it. There's nothing impossible about it all. I'm just pointing out that the odds against it are in the region of infinity against.

Edited by mistermack

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1 hour ago, mistermack said:

My intention was to argue how unlikely the idea of a creator actually is. Since the OP is arguing about the odds of life evolving from non-living ingredients "by chance alone", I'm arguing that the alternative, of a creator god, is in fact far more unlikely. 

!

Moderator Note

Which is like the OP asking why the sky is blue, but your intention is to discuss why blue isn't a color in the first place. It's off-topic here, start your own thread. And if it involves gods, don't post it in a mainstream science section.

 

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!

Moderator Note

Subsequent posts on the hijacked topic have been split to the trash.

If you wish to mention a creator or supreme being TAKE IT SOMEWHERE ELSE.

 

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With regard to the probability of complex chemicals forming by chance over huge timescales, there may still be (almost certainly imo) other un seen/undiscovered mechanisms in play that 'might' have sped processes up. The formation of long chained organics which reproduce with chirality for example were previously though impossible, but have recently been shown to form in the platelet spaces between layers of silicon clays pretty quickly. What other catalysts and organisers played a part in the VERY complex process of the evolution of our life from chemical to biological? I am sure there must have been many more short cuts which shaved billions of years of our 'chance' evolution....  maybe we will discover these mechanisms as time goes on....  alas, I assume that most of us here and probably many generations of our offspring will not be around to find out.

 

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55 minutes ago, DrP said:

The formation of long chained organics which reproduce with chirality for example were previously though impossible, but have recently been shown to form in the platelet spaces between layers of silicon clays pretty quickly

The argument against that, is that the clays have had billions of years of contact with organic life to pre-load them with the chiral tendency. You would need some clays from a dead planet to be sure that it's genuinely happening unaided by previous life. 

I think that argument will always be trotted out, any time someone makes progress in the field using materials sourced on Earth.

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15 minutes ago, mistermack said:

The argument against that, is that the clays have had billions of years of contact with organic life to pre-load them with the chiral tendency. You would need some clays from a dead planet to be sure that it's genuinely happening unaided by previous life. 

I think that argument will always be trotted out, any time someone makes progress in the field using materials sourced on Earth.

Whether it's here or there, it's still abiogenesis. The geography is a minor detail compared to understanding the underlying mechanism.

Edited by StringJunky

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48 minutes ago, mistermack said:

The argument against that, is that the clays have had billions of years of contact with organic life to pre-load them with the chiral tendency. You would need some clays from a dead planet to be sure that it's genuinely happening unaided by previous life. 

I think that argument will always be trotted out, any time someone makes progress in the field using materials sourced on Earth.

Of course the materials (like clay) are sourced on Earth - where else would they be from if they are responsible for catalysing life on EARTH?

I don't see the clay changing it's behaviour from interaction with organics. It is still the same clay as far as I can tell (A geologist would tell you). I would assume there are hundreds of mechanisms and little quirks which sped the process up along the way. (none of them fast enough to get the job done in 6K years though). On a different planet you might get different rocks and different life forming...  or none at all as it is all so complex. But if there is clay...  and water... and heat...  and a mixture of other bits and bobs then how wouldn't it form? If it formed here it can form elsewhere that meet the Goldilocks conditions. Maybe the Goldilocks conditions are different for different forms of life.

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It's not my argument against, it's one that has been put forward. I don't know enough to give an opinion on whether it's a valid point. My own feeling is that panspermia is a real and very possible candidate for the origin of life on Earth. The evidence is that life got going very quickly after the planet cooled sufficiently. If that means that life is highly likely to arise through abiogenesis, then you would expect most other world with liquid water to be harbouring some sort of life. 

But the same goes for panspermia. If there are seeds of life floating around in space, then other worlds should encounter them too. Either way, the odds are that life should be common in the Galaxy, given how quickly it arose on Earth.

Maybe the Earth was special in some way that suited panspermia. Other planets might have too dense an atmosphere, causing everything to burn up on entry. Or too thin an atmosphere, causing everything to hit the surface at too high a speed. But anyway, if panspermia is the answer for Earth, it still needed abiogenesis to happen somewhere else.

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3 minutes ago, mistermack said:

It's not my argument against, it's one that has been put forward. I don't know enough to give an opinion on whether it's a valid point. My own feeling is that panspermia is a real and very possible candidate for the origin of life on Earth.

...

But anyway, if panspermia is the answer for Earth, it still needed abiogenesis to happen somewhere else.

Right — it just kicks the can down the road regarding the assertions of the OP. It doesn't matter if it arose here or somewhere else and moved here. The calculations are still bogus.

 

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On 7/23/2012 at 6:33 PM, immortal said:

The problem of origin of life is unsolvable by the positivism of science and hence the origin of life should be accepted as an axiom. Science doesn't know and cannot know how life originated through natural processes with its scientific methods.

 How are you able to say science can and will never know how life originated?

In actual fact and universally speaking, Abiogenesis appears to be really the only scientific answer as to how life arose.

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6 minutes ago, beecee said:

 How are you able to say science can and will never know how life originated?

In actual fact and universally speaking, Abiogenesis appears to be really the only scientific answer as to how life arose.

You're a bit slow replying... about 5 years :) 

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3 minutes ago, beecee said:

 How are you able to say science can and will never know how life originated?

In actual fact and universally speaking, Abiogenesis appears to be really the only scientific answer as to how life arose.

But abiogenesis doesn't tell us how life arose, does it? Isn't abiogenesis more of a hypothesis, or a framework for investigating how life began?

Saying abiogenesis is the "answer to how life arose" seems similar to saying Dark Energy is the answer to the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It may be technically true, but it doesn't really clear up many questions.

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23 minutes ago, zapatos said:

But abiogenesis doesn't tell us how life arose, does it? Isn't abiogenesis more of a hypothesis, or a framework for investigating how life began?

Saying abiogenesis is the "answer to how life arose" seems similar to saying Dark Energy is the answer to the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It may be technically true, but it doesn't really clear up many questions.

Abiogenesis is the study of how life arose and it's based on chemical pathways.

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17 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Abiogenesis is the study of how life arose and it's based on chemical pathways.

And at this point we have no data which allows us to say "we think life began this specific way", right?

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9 minutes ago, zapatos said:

And at this point we have no data which allows us to say "we think life began this specific way", right?

Nope, but you're welcome to guess.

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7 minutes ago, zapatos said:

And at this point we have no data which allows us to say "we think life began this specific way", right?

Well, you've either got that (chemically) or God did it

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3 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

Well, you've either got that (chemically) or God did it

But that's the point I'm getting at. Saying it was chemical is the same as saying Dark Energy fuels the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It is such a broad term that it means almost nothing. That is why I questioned beecee when he said "Abiogenesis appears to be really the only scientific answer as to how life arose." Abiogenesis is NOT the answer, it is a field of study LOOKING for the answer.

9 minutes ago, dimreepr said:

Nope, but you're welcome to guess.

Which is my understanding...

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1 minute ago, zapatos said:

But that's the point I'm getting at. Saying it was chemical is the same as saying Dark Energy fuels the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It is such a broad term that it means almost nothing. That is why I questioned beecee when he said "Abiogenesis appears to be really the only scientific answer as to how life arose." Abiogenesis is NOT the answer, it is a field of study LOOKING for the answer.

Yes. Bear in mind, there will likely be plenty of chemical pathway models but we here are just not conversant in them.

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1 minute ago, StringJunky said:

Yes. Bear in mind, there will likely be plenty of chemical pathway models but we here are just not conversant in them.

Okay, I get it. So any guesses? Are we likely to ever know how life began on earth? Or will we likely only know how life could have began on earth? I realize this is speculation, but I'm wondering if the clues to our origin are likely to be found in our chemical makeup.

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4 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Okay, I get it. So any guesses? Are we likely to ever know how life began on earth? Or will we likely only know how life could have began on earth? I realize this is speculation, but I'm wondering if the clues to our origin are likely to be found in our chemical makeup.

Probably the best we can do is know how it could have happened because to know how it did happen would be to know reality, which ain 't gonna happen.

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2 hours ago, StringJunky said:

You're a bit slow replying... about 5 years :) 

LOL! Benefit of the doubt... Maybe he's using IE as his browser

slow_internet_explorer_comic.jpg?200

  • Upvote 1

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1 hour ago, zapatos said:

Okay, I get it. So any guesses? Are we likely to ever know how life began on earth? Or will we likely only know how life could have began on earth? I realize this is speculation, but I'm wondering if the clues to our origin are likely to be found in our chemical makeup.

Ignoring the necromancy:

There are a number of competing hypotheses but a coherent view has not emerged as of yet (to my knowledge). But rather obviously our chemical makeup (which similar in all known life forms) tells us a lot about potential venues. That being said, AFAIK (and it is not my field) most of the work is focused on specific aspects (biological activity of simple organic and inorganic molecules, for example) that could help delimiting what may be the progenitor molecule(s) responsible for early life. It will take a while until the obtained data coalesces into a more unified view of things.

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5 hours ago, StringJunky said:

You're a bit slow replying... about 5 years :) 

Just snoozing :P

5 hours ago, zapatos said:

But abiogenesis doesn't tell us how life arose, does it? Isn't abiogenesis more of a hypothesis, or a framework for investigating how life began?

Saying abiogenesis is the "answer to how life arose" seems similar to saying Dark Energy is the answer to the acceleration of the expansion of the universe. It may be technically true, but it doesn't really clear up many questions.

While we certainly do not know the exact pathway and methodology, the fact is that at one time there was no life anywhere, then the next minute there was. Speaking scientifically, we can really only conclude Abiogenesis.

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This is my first post on this forum. I'm not sure if how and what I am posting will be appropriate for this site and this forum.

There is a one hour and twenty-four minute long Youtube video that I discovered that addresses the subject of abiogenesis on which I would like to hear comments. It is at the following site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4

I realize that there might be no replies if no one wishes to take the time to view this. But Dr. Tour seems to be taking a scientific approach. It raises questions regarding my quest to find answers about the origin of life and subsequently about evolution.

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