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Alan McDougall

What are the Odds of Life evolving by chance alone?

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4 hours ago, GalvestonTommy said:

This argument applies mainly to evolution, but I think there is a similarity to understanding abiogenesis. As a lifelong doubter (questions keep nagging at me for reasons I cannot explain) I'm still seeking the scientific explanation I can understand.

One could say you are a hard, near impossible "task master" as the evidence for the theory  of the evolution of life, is probably as near certain as any reasonable logical intelligent person could ever hope for. And if we are speaking of universal abiogenesis, again logically speaking it is in fact the only real scientific answer available, [ignoring mythical supernatural and paranormal propaganda] even though we still lack evidence at this time.

 

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4 hours ago, GalvestonTommy said:

This argument applies mainly to evolution, but I think there is a similarity to understanding abiogenesis. As a lifelong doubter (questions keep nagging at me for reasons I cannot explain) I'm still seeking the scientific explanation I can understand.

Here's the problem with this. Anyone who has honestly delved into the scientific theory behind evolution would NOT be a "lifelong doubter". Also, the reasons those questions "keep nagging at" you is because you keep rejecting the best supported explanations for them, and for some reason refuse to honestly study the theory. You've come to prefer your imagined role as a skeptic, not realizing that true skeptics don't spend their whole lives on the fence.

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On 4/19/2018 at 2:45 PM, beecee said:

... as the evidence for the theory  of the evolution of life, is probably as near certain as any reasonable logical intelligent person could ever hope for. And if we are speaking of universal abiogenesis, again logically speaking it is in fact the only real scientific answer available, [ignoring mythical supernatural and paranormal propaganda] even though we still lack evidence at this time

And all this time I thought I was sorta nice, not a hard, unreasonable, illogical and unintelligent task master. But, as you said: "we still lack evidence." That kinda goes along with Tour's statement: "The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem."

This is with ignoring mythical supernatural and paranormal propaganda. It's only considering the scientific approach. When better scientific evidence arises that supports the theory of evolution, it would definitely gain many adherents.

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15 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

And all this time I thought I was sorta nice, not a hard, unreasonable, illogical and unintelligent task master. But, as you said: "we still lack evidence." That kinda goes along with Tour's statement: "The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem."

This is with ignoring mythical supernatural and paranormal propaganda. It's only considering the scientific approach. When better scientific evidence arises that supports the theory of evolution, it would definitely gain many adherents.

The mechanism of evolution is known beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's the actual mechanism of  abiogenesis that is unknown; the first steps.

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1 hour ago, StringJunky said:

The mechanism of evolution is known beyond a shadow of a doubt, it's the actual mechanism of  abiogenesis that is unknown; the first steps.

I stand corrected. I should have been talking about "The appearance of life on earth...", abiogenesis, not evolution.

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23 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

I stand corrected. I should have been talking about "The appearance of life on earth...", abiogenesis, not evolution.

Easily done.

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4 hours ago, GalvestonTommy said:

And all this time I thought I was sorta nice, not a hard, unreasonable, illogical and unintelligent task master. But, as you said: "we still lack evidence." That kinda goes along with Tour's statement: "The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem."

My crack re being a hard task master was in reference to the theory of evolution. That can be said to be done and dusted. How life first arose, is another matter: On Earth? Either some mechanism in relation to an ancient pond of goo and possible lightning strike, or some other variation, or via Panspermia: ie, Life arose elsewhere in the universe and was transported to Earth via asteroids/comets etc. 

But certainly as yet we have no evidence for any form of Abiogenesis, although as I said, scientifically speaking, it is the only answer .

 

Edited by beecee

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I would have to disagree that there is no evidence for how abiogenesis came about, there is considerable evidence just not absolute evidence. There are more than one possibility for many of the necessary processes the possibility exists that there are more than one valid route to life. Artificial life like forms have been developed in many definitions of life but the path to our particular life is still unknown and may indeed be a synergy of more than one path. It's quite certain that eucaryote life like us... is a synergy of several different life forms combining in a symbiosis. I may not be a biologist but i have reproduced biologically.. :wub:

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

Quote

Abiogenesis, or informally the origin of life,[3][4][5][note 1] is the natural process by which life arises from non-living matter, such as simple organic compounds.[3][4][6][7]The transition from non-living to living entities was not a single event but a gradual process of increasing complexity.[8][9][10][11]

Abiogenesis is studied through a combination of paleontology, chemistry, and extrapolation from the characteristics of modern organisms, and aims to determine how pre-life chemical reactions gave rise to life.[12] The study of abiogenesis can be geophysical, chemical, or biological,[13] with more recent approaches attempting a synthesis of all three,[14] as life arose under conditions that are strikingly different from those on Earth today. Life functions through the specialized chemistry of carbon and water and is largely based upon four key families of chemicals: lipids(fatty cell walls), carbohydrates (sugars, cellulose), amino acids (protein metabolism), and nucleic acids (self-replicating DNA and RNA). Any successful theory of abiogenesis must explain the origins and interactions of these classes of molecules.[15] Many approaches to abiogenesis investigate how self-replicating molecules, or their components, came into existence. It is generally thought that current life on Earth is descended from an RNA world,[16] although RNA-based life may not have been the first life to have existed.[17][18]

Once you get past the idea of a sudden appearance of a recognisable life form the idea becomes much more manageable. The process is thought to have been gradual not sudden and some would say inevitable under the correct circumstances. The one thing abiogenesis is not is chance, chance is not part of the process, chemicals react in ways governed by physics not chance...  

http://www.iflscience.com/physics/life-inevitable-consequence-physics/

 

Edited by Moontanman

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On 23/04/2018 at 1:16 AM, GalvestonTommy said:

But, as you said: "we still lack evidence." That kinda goes along with Tour's statement: "The appearance of life on earth is a mystery. We are nowhere near solving this problem."

There is a HUGE difference between lacking evidence and Tour's claim that we know pretty much nothing. As Moontanman says, we have lots of evidence for many of the possible processes involved from the very earliest pre-biotic stages right through to the symbiotic development of organelles in cells. Yes, there are gaps. But that doesn't mean we know nothing.

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8 hours ago, Moontanman said:

I would have to disagree that there is no evidence for how abiogenesis came about, there is considerable evidence just not absolute evidence.

I'll certainly accept that correction to what I posted. The mere fact that life exists, is actually scientific evidence  of abiogensis

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0%

Nothing can exist alone. Life evolved as more and more information is involved.

At the first moment there were space and time.

They can not exist separated.

Edited by Lasse

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13 minutes ago, Lasse said:

0%

Nothing can exist alone. Life evolved as more and more information is involved.

At the first moment there were space and time.

They can not exist separated.

If you don't have anything relevant to say, maybe consider not saying anything?

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18 minutes ago, Strange said:

If you don't have anything relevant to say, maybe consider not saying anything?

If you do not have the capacity to understand what I write why don't you just let it?

Edited by Lasse

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1 hour ago, Lasse said:

If you do not have the capacity to understand what I write why don't you just let it?

The onus of understanding is yours, especially since no-one, understands your posts.

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5 hours ago, Lasse said:

0%

Nothing can exist alone. Life evolved as more and more information is involved.

At the first moment there were space and time.

They can not exist separated.

 

No independant information is involved, just chemicals reacting in ways governed by physics. The information is imposed from without by us to make it easier to explain and quantify complexity... Complexity can arise and can be shown to arise spontaneously from kaos...  

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaos_theory

Edited by Moontanman

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On 4/19/2018 at 3:01 PM, Phi for All said:

Here's the problem with this. Anyone who has honestly delved into the scientific theory behind evolution would NOT be a "lifelong doubter". Also, the reasons those questions "keep nagging at" you is because you keep rejecting the best supported explanations for them, and for some reason refuse to honestly study the theory. You've come to prefer your imagined role as a skeptic, not realizing that true skeptics don't spend their whole lives on the fence.

As mentioned in an earlier post my research has included the following college textbooks and other sources: Keith L. Moore, et. al., The Developing Human; Benjamin A. Pierce, Genetics, Fourth Edition; Garrett & Grisham, Biochemistry; Patton & Thibodeau, Anatomy & Physiology; Futuyma, Evolution; Kenneth R. Miller, at least 7 books by Richard Dawkins, Matt Ridley, dozens of other books and hundreds of abstracts, articles, websites and other media.

I studied the parts of the college textbooks that pertained to abiogenesis and evolution, which included topics on DNA, RNA and other cellular components, meiosis, chromatid crossover, mutations and adaptation, characteristics and traits, controlling factors, other than genes, include enzymes, signaling pathways and, in some cases, cell membranes and microtubules.

I researched the various genes involved in certain features of the human body such as collagen, type I, alpha 1 (COL1A1), bone morphogenetic protein 4 (BMP4), the ANKH inorganic pyrophosphate transport regulator (ANKH) gene, the alkaline phosphatase, liver/bone/kidney (ALPL) gene, and msh homeobox (Msx) Homeobox genes, to mention a few.

To repeat, I’ve studied dozens of other books and hundreds of abstracts, articles, websites and other media. I haven’t been “on the fence” forever. I’ve only been seriously studying these topics for about 8 years, hoping to understand the science behind the theories of evolution and abiogenesis.

I viewed (twice) Dr. Jack Szostak’s three videos on “The Origin of Cellular Life on Earth” and the 29 (or so) videos of AronRa concerning “The Systematic Classification of Life”. Dr. Szostak stated in the first video (at 40.07 min.): “…this brings us back to the question of what was the first genetic material. Was it RNA in fact? Or is RNA so complicated or its building blocks so hard to make that life more likely began with something simpler, something easier to make, maybe something more stable that could accumulate like DNA, for example. This is an area of active debate and investigation. We really don’t know the answer to this question. But lots of people are doing experiments and trying to work out chemical pathways leading up to RNA….”

Also in Dr. Szostak’s first video (at 44.42 min): “But, unfortunately, despite many advances over the years, we’re still far from having an RNA molecule that can completely catalyze the copying of its own sequence. So what we’ve decided to do is to actually again step back and try to look at the underlying chemistry and see if there might be ways of adjusting or playing (with) the chemistry of RNA polymerization that would simplify this problem. Ideally perhaps we will be able to find a complete chemical process that will drive RNA replication. That’s a very difficult task. Leslie Orgell and his colleagues worked on that for many years, got part way to a solution but were never able to have complete cycles of replication, so if we could get to that point then we would be back to being able to assemble this kind of model system, a model protocell composed of a membrane, compartment boundry, and replicating genetic material on the inside.”

Also in Dr. Szostak’s third video (at 11.11 min): “...there's still many gaps in our understanding of how we would make pure concentrated starting material, There were some steps leading up to activated nucleotides that are far from clear. So there's a lot of work to be done. But I think this new chemistry has really advanced to field a lot. So, lets skip those missing link steps for the time being and assume that we can make activated nucleotides.

Also in Dr. Szostak’s third video (at 20.15 min): "Unfortunately despite that challenge to the chemistry community, few people have addressed the problem and there is still no example of the chemical replication of any informational polymers. This is a major challenge."

 

I don’t disagree with Dr. Tour. He doesn’t say that there is no evidence of abiogenesis but he says “We are nowhere near solving this problem.” There is a difference. Some of the most critical evidence just hasn’t been uncovered or proved as yet and it doesn’t look like it soon in coming. So, it gets back to what many have posted that it's the only possibility that today's science can come up with, solid evidence or no solid evidence

 

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1 hour ago, GalvestonTommy said:

I don’t disagree with Dr. Tour. He doesn’t say that there is no evidence of abiogenesis but he says “We are nowhere near solving this problem.” There is a difference. Some of the most critical evidence just hasn’t been uncovered or proved as yet and it doesn’t look like it soon in coming. So, it gets back to what many have posted that it's the only possibility that today's science can come up with, solid evidence or no solid evidence

There is no problem. Universal abiogenesis is actually the only scientific answer available for the appearance of life in the universe and/or on Earth. As yet of course, we are unable to actually replicate or find evidence of abiogenesis except we do know it has had ample plenty of time to take place. 

Evolution of life on Earth though is indisputable and would require someone totally blinded to science to ever deny it, noting of course that even the Catholic church accepts it.

Edited by beecee

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The problem only arises when one jumps from "no evidence" to "therefore my preferred explanation must be right".  

One example is people seeing an unidentified object and assuming "therefore aliens". Or going from "we don't currently know all about abiogenesis" to "therefore aliens (or god, or simulation or whatever)"

Tour doesn't appear to do this, but I suspect he is trying to sow enough doubt in people's minds that they will do it without him explicitly suggesting it.

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On 5/17/2018 at 2:42 PM, beecee said:

Universal abiogenesis is actually the only scientific answer available for the appearance of life in the universe and/or on Earth.

How scientific is it to say that abiogenesis is the answer to abiogenesis?

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14 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

How scientific is it to say that abiogenesis is the answer to abiogenesis?

What realistic alternative is there?

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13 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

How scientific is it to say that abiogenesis is the answer to abiogenesis?

Fortunately no one said that. What beecee said was that abiogenesis is the scientific answer to the appearance to life. 

An alternative to abiogenesis being the start of life is to say life has been here an infinitely long time.

Still another way is to say goddidit. 

Given the alternatives, I'd say beecees's suggestion is spot on.

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Abiogenesis is the study of the emergence of life from chemical sources. The exact mechanism is not yet known but the principle is sound and scientific.

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My own take on the odds of life originating by chance alone is to look at the scales of things -

1.3 billion cubic kilometres of liquid water (on Earth ie one planet)

= 1,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ml

About 1,000,000 bacteria per ml live in sea water, so if the chemical precursors for those are present in primordal sea water we get enough to make...

= 1,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bacteria's worth.

Give it 500 million years of chemical reactions that happen at much faster than 1 per second rates

I'll be generous and say only 1 reaction per second...

= 15,750,000,000,000,000 seconds x 1,300,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 bacteria's worth

= 20,475,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 opportunities to randomly make the appropriate complex chemistry

Now this isn't definitive by any means - add or subtract a few zeros if that makes you happier. It is just an attempt to see how "very unlikely" fits with extremely large numbers of opportunities for "unlikely" to happen.

 

Edited by Ken Fabian

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35 minutes ago, GalvestonTommy said:

Which came first, abiogenesis or bacteria?

Abiogenesis is the precursor steps leading to bacteria.

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