Alan McDougall

What are the Odds of Life evolving by chance alone?

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, GalvestonTommy said:

Which came first, abiogenesis or bacteria?

Abiogenesis came before bacteria. Those gazillions of opportunities to make complex chemisty made chemistry with enough attributes of life to become the living precursors to more complex forms.

Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting bacteria - which are complex and sophisticated lifeforms with a lot of evolutionary history - got assembled from primordal sea chemistry in one extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrance. Umm, that is unless you count the precursor life forms as extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrances.

Edited by Ken Fabian

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On 5/21/2018 at 11:41 PM, Ken Fabian said:

Abiogenesis came before bacteria. Those gazillions of opportunities to make complex chemisty made chemistry with enough attributes of life to become the living precursors to more complex forms.

Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting bacteria - which are complex and sophisticated lifeforms with a lot of evolutionary history - got assembled from primordal sea chemistry in one extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrance. Umm, that is unless you count the precursor life forms as extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrances.

I realized after posting my smart aleck response that you meant precursors. I think Dr. Szostak's videos tried to explain just what the non-living chemicals could have been that got together and formed the first living organism(s). My posted quotes on May 17 from his videos show that he believes modern lab scientists are still not close to pinpointing the exact chemicals and mechanisms involved. (Those videos were listed on Moontanman's post of Jan. 26).

[By the way, I did read (or at least browse) through this entire thread recently. Some earlier posts referred to other posts by a number. Where do I find the post number?]

Of course I know that with what has been recently discovered, scientists have been working on this only for the past century or less. This is a relatively minute time span compared to the calculated eons that nature has had. It's that deep-time-of-the-gaps explanation again, given enough time any thing can happen.

One last thing while talking about abiogenesis, I would be interested in knowing something about the background of some of the fellow posters. As mentioned, in addition to the last 8+ years studying biochemistry, etc., I have a degree in architecture, about 50 years in engineering type projects, some teaching in college, author of a textbook on a computer language which is a derivation of the lisp language (primary language used in artificial intelligence programs), co-author of a textbook on a major graphic and cadd software. Would any of you be willing to post any particulars that you might say stir your interest in this subject? Not trying to be too nosy, just interested.

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I'm an alien drone from Titan, damn it's hot here, don't you guys ever crank up the AC? 

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3 hours ago, GalvestonTommy said:

[By the way, I did read (or at least browse) through this entire thread recently. Some earlier posts referred to other posts by a number. Where do I find the post number?]

They disappeared with the last software upgrade. Don't know why the developers thought that was a good idea, but there you go.

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14 hours ago, Strange said:

They disappeared with the last software upgrade. Don't know why the developers thought that was a good idea, but there you go.

And then you surf... 

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On 5/21/2018 at 11:41 PM, Ken Fabian said:

Just to be clear, I wasn't suggesting bacteria - which are complex and sophisticated lifeforms with a lot of evolutionary history - got assembled from primordal sea chemistry in one extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrance. Umm, that is unless you count the precursor life forms as extraordinary and unlikely chemical occurrances.

Can you explain in technical terms (but not so technical that a layman can't understand) what were the chemicals and their reactions that got the whole thing of life started, life from non-life? The term precursor is kind of vague, sort of like some of Dr. Szostak's explanations on the first self reproducing organisms. You arrived at an enormous figure for available resources but what were they? While Dr. Szostak gave very enlightened speculations, he admits that the answer is yet to be discovered.

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Posted (edited)
32 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

Can you explain in technical terms (but not so technical that a layman can't understand) what were the chemicals and their reactions that got the whole thing of life started, life from non-life?

The chemicals are thought to have been organic chemicals possibly catalysts combined with inorganic chemicals (often clays are part of this) and an energy gradient. IMHO we will never know the exact process even if we manage to create life from scratch due us being too far in the future from the events and not knowing how many different ways life could come about..  

Quote

The term precursor is kind of vague, sort of like some of Dr. Szostak's explanations on the first self reproducing organisms. You arrived at an enormous figure for available resources but what were they? While Dr. Szostak gave very enlightened speculations, he admits that the answer is yet to be discovered.

Generally in this context a precursor is a simpler ancestor of something else. I doubt the exact chemicals will never be "found" unless of course there is only one very precise way for life to come about. The reason the figure for resources is not specific and assumed to be huge is that organic chemicals no doubt were part and parcel of an immeasurable number of organic molecules not only in variety but in numbers of each variety. Organics exist in space in amounts that can only be described as immeasurable, vast clouds of organic molecules, one example is ethanol, that contain many times the mass of the earth. These molecules rain down on the earth even today but are consumed by extant life forms before they can accumulate to the point of being able to trigger biogenesis. Yes the answer has yet to be discovered but as Dr. Szostak explains there could be more than one answer or a synergy of many different organic and inorganic chemicals coming together in innumerable ways over large amounts of time. No laboratory could possibly really do this in real time...  

Since you have asked about videos explaining this I hope I will not catch grief for this post but this video, one of many made for use in schools might help a bit. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdozVq81gog&t=79s

 

Edited by Moontanman

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1 hour ago, Moontanman said:

Since you have asked about videos explaining this I hope I will not catch grief for this post but this video, one of many made for use in schools might help a bit. 

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bdozVq81gog&t=79s

Nice informative video.

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Posted (edited)
22 hours ago, GalvestonTommy said:

Can you explain in technical terms (but not so technical that a layman can't understand) what were the chemicals and their reactions that got the whole thing of life started, life from non-life? The term precursor is kind of vague, sort of like some of Dr. Szostak's explanations on the first self reproducing organisms. You arrived at an enormous figure for available resources but what were they? While Dr. Szostak gave very enlightened speculations, he admits that the answer is yet to be discovered.

As my post says I just wanted to give a sense of perspective to what the odds of "unlikely" chemistry look like at the scale of a planetary ocean and hundreds of millions of years - take that view and it looks not all so unlikely after all. Not anywhere near so unlikely as to be impossible - which is what is suggested by the "but it's so unlikely it must need godly intervention" arguments.

I don't claim any expertise, so I don't know what specific chemical precursors. From my reading, a lot of what I would call complex organic chemicals are formed in vast quantities from non-biological processes - in space (precursor material to the Earth) and the waters of this planet - and these can and will react and interact in various ways under conditions that, whilst not universal, are still widespread and of long duration. Those conditions won't all apply to every ml of water (and when they do reactions may be occurring at much higher frequencies) but take a dozen zeros off my numbers and they are still enormous numbers.

Wikipedia is always a good start, for a general overview, with attention to the sources listed recommended if you are serious about it.

Edited by Ken Fabian

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On 12/13/2017 at 11:12 PM, iNow said:

Delusion? Self-deceit? Communities of likeminded lemmings?

Simply saying “goddidit” explains nothing, except (of course) the human proclivity for accepting simple inaccurate answers instead of facing hard truths and existing contentedly with uncertainties about challenging questions. 

Define “god.”

 

On 12/14/2017 at 3:36 AM, DrP said:

Huge - but not infinitely so - that is your error. We are closer and closer to explaining it...  your god of the gaps is getting smaller and smaller as we continue to explain things that were in the past unexplainable and attributed to god. These days he never shows up and is responsible for what exactly in creation? We know how natural selection guides evolution. We have a good idea of how life started through the many many complex steps that took place over billions of years..  Where is god supposed to actually BE in all of this? -  what has he actually done?  You can't just take all the things you do not understand and attribute them to god...  we have done that for thousands of years and our level of ignorance has shrunk...  along with the level of interaction we believe god has with us...  now it is zero outside of people's imaginations.

What seems 'blindingly obvious' isn't always the case. What is the 'blindingly obvious' reason that god hooked the laryngeal nerve all the way down and around the heart before routing all the way back up to the brain? Why did he do it for all animals from fish to the giraffe?  

God is a higher power at work in the universe, which is the hand that has guided creation every step of the way. From a philosophical point of view, it is not difficult to see how a higher power could have guided the evolution of the universe and life on earth, with humans as the result. The concept of a god has the potential to answer many philosophical questions, although not in a scientifically verifiable way.

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16 minutes ago, Endercreeper01 said:

From a philosophical point of view, it is not difficult to see how a higher power could have guided the evolution of the universe and life on earth, with humans as the result.

Could have. But with no evidence for that, it is just as plausible that it was hyper-intelligent white mice. Or the flying spaghetti monster. Or nothing.

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3 minutes ago, Strange said:

Could have. But with no evidence for that, it is just as plausible that it was hyper-intelligent white mice. Or the flying spaghetti monster. Or nothing.

With a different perspective, then existence itself is seen as the result of a higher power. This derives from a human understanding and a human perspective, which is different than a stricter perspective of reality.

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3 minutes ago, Endercreeper01 said:

With a different perspective, then existence itself is seen as the result of a higher power. This derives from a human understanding and a human perspective, which is different than a stricter perspective of reality.

Only if you believe in that higher power. So you are making a circular argument: those who believe in a higher power will see existence as a result of that higher power (and those who don’t, won’t).

And it is only some humans perspective. A lot of people don’t share it. 

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7 minutes ago, Strange said:

And it is only some humans perspective. A lot of people don’t share it. 

But most do, unfortunately, if you look globally.

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1 hour ago, Strange said:

Only if you believe in that higher power. So you are making a circular argument: those who believe in a higher power will see existence as a result of that higher power (and those who don’t, won’t).

And it is only some humans perspective. A lot of people don’t share it. 

 

56 minutes ago, StringJunky said:

But most do, unfortunately, if you look globally.

The perspective is not about the human, rather about the consciousness within the human that understands how everything around it exists as the result of a higher power, in order to allow it to exist within an external reality.

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2 hours ago, Endercreeper01 said:

 

The perspective is not about the human, rather about the consciousness within the human that understands how everything around it exists as the result of a higher power, in order to allow it to exist within an external reality.

Can you speak to the consciousness within anyone or anything outside of your own? 

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Self-replicating molecules might even be a necessity emerging from thermodynamics itself, as they are really good at dispersing an imbalance in energy distribution. If this imbalance is sustained for a sufficient amount of time, molecules that reproduce more efficiently get the upper hand. E voila: evolution. https://www.quantamagazine.org/a-new-thermodynamics-theory-of-the-origin-of-life-20140122/

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Endercreeper01 said:

The perspective is not about the human, rather about the consciousness within the human that understands how everything around it exists as the result of a higher power, in order to allow it to exist within an external reality.

But it is still just your personal belief. That doesn't make it real or true.

And the consciousness in this human doesn't understand or belief any such thing. As far as this consciousness is concerned, you are just making it up.

Edited by Strange

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21 minutes ago, Strange said:

And the consciousness in this human doesn't understand or belief any such thing. As far as this consciousness is concerned, you are just making it up

Second that. +1

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Strange said:

But it is still just your personal belief. That doesn't make it real or true.

And the consciousness in this human doesn't understand or belief any such thing. As far as this consciousness is concerned, you are just making it up.

It is not rooted in belief, but philosophical understanding. it is more of a unique perspective on reality than a claim of an absolute truth.

5 hours ago, Ten oz said:

Can you speak to the consciousness within anyone or anything outside of your own? 

 

Edited by Endercreeper01

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2 hours ago, Endercreeper01 said:

It is not rooted in belief, but philosophical understanding. it is more of a unique perspective on reality than a claim of an absolute truth.

So it is just your personal belief. No reason for anyone else to take it seriously. That's fine.

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35 minutes ago, Strange said:

So it is just your personal belief. No reason for anyone else to take it seriously. That's fine.

It's not rooted in belief, it is rooted in reasoning.

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Posted (edited)
38 minutes ago, Endercreeper01 said:

It's not rooted in belief, it is rooted in reasoning.

You have provided no reasoning other than repeating your beliefs. (In three different threads.)

Edited by Strange

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5 hours ago, Strange said:

You have provided no reasoning other than repeating your beliefs. (In three different threads.)

It has reasoning, but only from a certain perspective of understanding deriving from a specific idea.

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4 hours ago, Endercreeper01 said:

It has reasoning, but only from a certain perspective of understanding deriving from a specific idea.

understanding of stuff that people have made up and have no evidence for. That's not reason. That's fiction.

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