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What are the Odds of Life evolving by chance alone?


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Even a reasonable rational argument for the remotest of possiblities that some sort of intelligence underpins the evolution of life, is always dismissed as "Starman" instead of coming up with a reasonable ration argument for the existence of life by chance alone

So where did that intelligence that you think created the universe, life and man come from? Did that intelligence create itself, or just pop into existence randomly? Why is it creationists cannot answer that question except by saying it was magic or it always existed? If your creationist intelligence can exist without beginning, why do you ask for a better scientific explanation of the beginnings of life?

 

No one knows, this discussion is pointless, because it leads nowhere. Genesis obviously occurred because we can ask why and how, but we may never know the answer. Moreover, I doubt either side will change anyone's mind about how and why genesis occurred.

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Codswallop. The outcomes of chemistry are not random, so the calculation is meaningless.

There is something called the RNA first model(or RNA world model). That RNA was the genetic material before DNA. Although RNA is less stable in the open environment, it has some very interesting pro

That is strictly true. However, it's important not to forget that we must average over a large ensemble of reactant molecules.   Let's say that the probability of any A molecule reacting with a B m

Hi overtone..

Could you share the details from Darwin's theory of evolution that explained that answers how "lifeless" chemicals, eventually become "life"ones?

(or if there is some error in this question itself, how should it be phrased? And thus we can see or understand better the processl/theory?)

 

I do have a couple of science videos that explain some reasonable possibilities if you want I'll give you some links but it seems to me your main problem is understanding how life could be anything other than what we currently have. Bacteria, modern bacteria, are extremely complex highly evolved creatures. The first living things would have been much much simpler. I am a bit of a fan of the metabolism first crowd but that is just because it makes more sense to me than genes first but if I had to bet I would bet quite a bit it was a synergy of several diverse routes some of which no longer exist in modern life forms.

 

If you take olive oil and water and shake it up to make salad dressing you have made a good representation of an empty cell, such tiny bubbles of oil and water have some amazing properties and do occur naturally. They attract and concentrate monomers inside their walls and monomers polymerize spontaneously and so become trapped inside. mechanical forces can cause them to break apart without losing the contents allow them to attract more oil like molecules to grow again which allows more monomers to be absorbed and so on. My explanation is not complete, I have no doubt left out quite a bit from the videos but I was astounded by the complete reasonableness of the processes that can lead to very simply life...

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Hi,

 

This is a bit off topic, but how did the eye and the nose agree to drill a hole between them for the benefit of them both, namely creating the tunnel we call the tear duct, that drains the eye of excess fluid and moistens the incoming air through the nose with each breath we take? confused.gif .

 

Was it like the Channel Tunnel, the nose drilling from its side and the eye from its side , joyously greeting each other at the brake through point, with another victory for evolution?. smile.png

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Hi,

 

This is a bit off topic, but how did the eye and the nose agree to drill a hole between them for the benefit of them both, namely creating the tunnel we call the tear duct, that drains the eye of excess fluid and moistens the incoming air through the nose with each breath we take? confused.gif .

 

 

The simple answer is exaptation.

 

In the case of the tetrapod olfactory system, it actually arose very early in the evolutionary history of vertebrates, and was probably originally a sensory organ associated with foraging, before it had anything to to breathing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9310197

 

Mose specifically, it seems to be thought that ancient tetrapods had a relationship between the function of the Harderian gland and the function of the vomeronasal gland facilitated by the nasolacrimal duct. http://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/0-387-25160-X_27

 

Ergo, the nasolacrimal (aka "tear") duct had a different function before it evolved to fill its present role.

Edited by Arete
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Hi,

 

This is a bit off topic, but how did the eye and the nose agree to drill a hole between them for the benefit of them both, namely creating the tunnel we call the tear duct, that drains the eye of excess fluid and moistens the incoming air through the nose with each breath we take? confused.gif .

 

Was it like the Channel Tunnel, the nose drilling from its side and the eye from its side , joyously greeting each other at the brake through point, with another victory for evolution?. smile.png

 

 

I am not going to lie and say i don't like to say i told you so... so... I told you guys in post number 151 and 155...

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It is clear to me that some of you think "I am a science denialist" that is blatant nonsense! My prime interest is science in all its forms. All I suggest in this particular topic, is that no one really "knows for sure" how lifeless matter metamorphed into living organisms , especially as early as it did, only a few hundred million years after the earths formation, and the answer is not a simple as some suppose it is/or will be when finally revealed.

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It is clear to me that some of you think "I am a science denialist" that is blatant nonsense! My prime interest is science in all its forms. All I suggest in this particular topic, is that no one really "knows for sure" how lifeless matter metamorphed into living organisms , especially as early as it did, only a few hundred million years after the earths formation, and the answer is not a simple as some suppose it is/or will be when finally revealed.

 

 

I have videos in a three one hour lecture series by Jack Szostak that disagree with you...

Edited by Moontanman
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It is clear to me that some of you think "I am a science denialist" that is blatant nonsense! My prime interest is science in all its forms. All I suggest in this particular topic, is that no one really "knows for sure" how lifeless matter metamorphed into living organisms , especially as early as it did, only a few hundred million years after the earths formation, and the answer is not a simple as some suppose it is/or will be when finally revealed.

 

 

Then stop with the straw men and start acknowledging that there are explanations to many if not all of the points you've brought up.

 

That is the behavior that defines science denial.

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It is clear to me that some of you think "I am a science denialist" that is blatant nonsense!

 

Unfortunately this thread plainly demonstrates that it is not nonsense, but a rather well substantiated assumption. For e.g. You've stated this:

 

 

I obviously knew why I was constantly accused of fallacious aguments and strawman comments, but I have difficulty avoiding them, due to my lack of understanding of even the basics of biology. Limited to high school senior level only.

 

 

And then, later in post #178, you post this:

 

 

Was it like the Channel Tunnel, the nose drilling from its side and the eye from its side , joyously greeting each other at the brake through point, with another victory for evolution?. smile.png

 

 

A seemingly rather flippant and condescending use of the argument of irreducible complexity - an anti-evolution argument which has been thoroughly debunked. Unfortunately this argument, if used in the knowledge that it has been thoroughly addressed and dismissed through scientific investigation, it indeed presents you as a science denialist.

 

So it would at least seem, prima facie, that despite lacking the requisite background knowledge, you are picking up refuted, anti science arguments as supposed ammunition against components of science which you personally find objectionable. This is indeed a denialist position. I may have interpreted your intentions incorrectly, but then it would appear others are misinterpreting you too, so it may behoove you rethink the way you are presenting your discussion points, if you wish to eliminate incorrect interpretations of what you intend to present.

Edited by Arete
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OK I will eave this topic, although I started it some time ago, maybe you of infinite intelligence really know all the answers to every question, no matter how profound!

 

Don't go away mad Alan... if you would stop moving the goal posts you would see your questions have been answered, maybe not "conclusively" but while we know there are trillions of stars it would be foolish to assert a specific number as "the number"... Just like saying we know the exact way life developed from organic materials is foolish, no way to know for sure, but the evidence it was natural is very compelling...

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It is clear to me that some of you think "I am a science denialist" that is blatant nonsense! My prime interest is science in all its forms. All I suggest in this particular topic, is that no one really "knows for sure" how lifeless matter metamorphed into living organisms , especially as early as it did, only a few hundred million years after the earths formation, and the answer is not a simple as some suppose it is/or will be when finally revealed.

I see absolutely nothing to disagree with here. I really hope no serious members will argue against it on the basis of who is making the statement, rather than what the statement is. We have some excellent general ideas about how abiogenesis may have occured, but presently lack any convincing, plausible set of detailed steps. I strongly suspect we shall eventually arrive at such a point, but we are distant at this point. If we were not distant, then the fundamental disagreements, such as those between de Duve and Monod - both Nobel Laureates - could not arise.

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I see absolutely nothing to disagree with here. I really hope no serious members will argue against it on the basis of who is making the statement, rather than what the statement is. We have some excellent general ideas about how abiogenesis may have occured, but presently lack any convincing, plausible set of detailed steps. I strongly suspect we shall eventually arrive at such a point, but we are distant at this point. If we were not distant, then the fundamental disagreements, such as those between de Duve and Monod - both Nobel Laureates - could not arise.

 

Thank you Ophiolite!

 

I will remain, but any points of disagreement between me and some members are always dispensed as a "Staw Man" argument , I admit some indeed were just that, but not all and it is that sort of response that irritates me profoundly. We can disagree in a polite manner, not just always dismissing another persons idea on the topic as nonsense, just because it does no concur exactly with theirs. Life is one of the great mysteries of science, there is not an absolute clear unambiguous definition of what exactly life is as opposed to "Dead Matter" A flame could be thought of as a sort of life form , or a crystal, the actual "Edge" between living things and "Dead Matter" is vague.

 

Alan

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Thank you Ophiolite!

 

I will remain, but any points of disagreement between me and some members are always dispensed as a "Staw Man" argument , I admit some indeed were just that, but not all and it is that sort of response that irritates me profoundly. We can disagree in a polite manner, not just always dismissing another persons idea on the topic as nonsense, just because it does no concur exactly with theirs. Life is one of the great mysteries of science, there is not an absolute clear unambiguous definition of what exactly life is as opposed to "Dead Matter" A flame could be thought of as a sort of life form , or a crystal, the actual "Edge" between living things and "Dead Matter" is vague.

 

Alan

 

 

No Alan, a flame is not life, neither is a crystal, and the edge as you call it is not vague, I gave you a link to the definition for life. If you had read it instead continuing to strawman and argue from ignorance you would know your statement above is false...

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I am unable to agree with you Mootanman. I think Alan is introducing the flame and the crystal, primarily to point out that many of the characteristics of life are shared by other apects of nature. His underlying point is that the definition of life is unclear. I agree for several reasons:

 

1. Our definitions of life are based upon the singular occurence we are familiar with. If and when we encounter other life forms we may find ourselves completely redefining it. (Does dark matter admit life forms?)

 

2."On the occassion of a Workshop of Life, held in Modena, Italy in 2003, each member of the International Society for the Study of the Origins of Life was asked to give a definition of life. The 78 different answers 40 pages of the proceedings of the workshop." (Complete Course in Astrobiology Wiley & Sons 2007 p3)

 

3. Considerable passion is raised between biologists who debate whether or not viruses are alive.

 

4. You reject crystals, yet Cairns-Smith believes the first life was formed from, not on, a clay (i.e. crystal) matirx.

 

5. The disitinction between life and non-life is almost certainly artificial, an artifact of the human propensity to classify things in a digital rather than an analogue manner. There is likely a continuous spectrum of characteristics moving between the two.

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Life is that which reproduces with variation, homeostasis is also important, if clay reproduces with variation and maintains homeostasis then it would be alive as would fire but they do not... If a totally artificial machine reproduced with variation and maintained homeostatis it would be alive.

 

Ophiolite I'm not sure why you are supporting Alan's view here but so far all his "questions" and "assertions" are from creationist 101...

 

Lots of new findings coming out about life, Jack Szostak would appear to be among those at the cutting edge, I follow this subject very closely and I happen to agree it is a spectrum, in fact I would be surprised is life is not a synergy of several pathways, but Alan has to have conclusive proof of how life formed (more from the creationist play book) and as I pointed out more than once but Alan continuously moves the goal posts when someone get's close to an explanation... or ignores it completely.

 

It's difficult to have a discussion when the other person will not accept anything but absolute proof... The very nature of the OP is all the evidence I need, the OP is a malformed question designed to trip up any one who suggests a possibility and is from the Creationist Science denier hand book...

 

BTW the clay hypothesis doesn't suggest that clay is alive but that it acts as a catalyst to produce the chemicals of life...

 

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

 

In 2007, Kahr and colleagues reported their experiments that tested the idea that crystals can act as a source of transferable information, using crystals of potassium hydrogen phthalate. "Mother" crystals with imperfections were cleaved and used as seeds to grow "daughter" crystals from solution. They then examined the distribution of imperfections in the new crystals and found that the imperfections in the mother crystals were reproduced in the daughters, but the daughter crystals also had many additional imperfections. For gene-like behavior to be observed, the quantity of inheritance of these imperfections should have exceeded that of the mutations in the successive generations, but it did not. Thus Kahr concluded that the crystals, "were not faithful enough to store and transfer information from one generation to the next".[151][152]

 

Edited by Moontanman
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No Alan, a flame is not life, neither is a crystal, and the edge as you call it is not vague, I gave you a link to the definition for life. If you had read it instead continuing to strawman and argue from ignorance you would know your statement above is false...

 

Why do you always point me to a link, the link information could be wrong? Give your own understanding of what life really is and exactly at what point, does "dead nonliving matter" becomes alive, or a how a living entity becomes dead matter? It is really entropy that causes death!

 

What about the virus?

 

When studying the phenomenon of viruses, it is noticed that before the viruses come in contact with a host organism, they are just "non living chemical compounds" and do not fulfill the criteria of being alive.On the other hand when viruses start reacting with a host, they start chemical reactions with the compounds of the living cell of the host they are said to be alive.

 

http://www.biology-online.org/biology-forum/about26560.html?p=145957&hilit=Proteinaceous#p145957

holographic origin of life

 

When somebody is studying the phenomenon of viruses ,he can see that when viruses are not coming in contact with a host organism, they are a sum of chemical compounds that not fulfill the criteria to be considered as life.While on the other hand they start reacting with a host, or in other words they start making chemical reactions with the compounds of the host,they become alive.The same thing happens with prions ,which are proteinaceous compounds that while they react with proteins of the host, they become alive in a way.....Lets hypothesize that we make the hypothesis that:No living organism is possible to remain unchanged structurally.Lets hypothesize that this rule is principal in nature and nothing could go beyond it or prove that it is untrue.What would that mean to the way that we see the world?First of all lets make clear what we mean:

 

An organism that would remain unchanged structurally during a very small period of time,would be considered as not living for that period. When we say unchanged we mean of course that there are not taking place any chemical reactions inside it.Maybe there is a single cell inside an organism that is unchanged,but the rest of the cells are changing. We say then that this organism has a dead cell.,but the organism as a whole is alive.Maybe this cell would be able to regain life if it react with the appropriate signals.But maybe not.If we want to see the consequences of our hypothesis in the nature we meet the question:what is the least that can be considered as life?For example, a mitochondrion can be considered life according to what we said, but a simple chemical molecule cannot,unless it reacts with another molecule or substance.

 

At the moment of the reaction these two substances are the least that is considered life.So, a simple chemical reaction as long as it happens ,is the simpliest form of life, or else, the sparkle of life.That means that the superior organisms as well as all the organism is a summation of chemical reactions.The advantages of the hypethesis that we made is that we can explain successfully the prions and the viruses.

Edited by Alan McDougall
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Why do you always point me to a link, the link information could be wrong? Give your own understanding of what life really is and exactly at what point, does "dead nonliving matter" becomes alive, or a how a living entity becomes dead matter? It is really entropy that causes death!

 

 

My personal understanding is not relevant here, you need to understand that your false analogies of alive and dead are explained by the links.

 

But if you insist...

 

Life is that which reproduces with variation and maintains an internal homeostasis...

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Moontanman, on 27 Nov 2013 - 5:20 PM, said:

 

Ophiolite I'm not sure why you are supporting Alan's view here but so far all his "questions" and "assertions" are from creationist 101...

He's not supporting him but he does accept they are reasonable questions and the scientific consensus is actually uncertain ...as do I. It is not important if crystals or fire are found eventually via argument to not be living things. What matters is that it is a pertinent line of enquiry, in a discussion of this nature, from someone that doesn't know.

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Why do you always point me to a link, the link information could be wrong? Give your own understanding of what life really is and exactly at what point, does "dead nonliving matter" becomes alive, or a how a living entity becomes dead matter? It is really entropy that causes death!

I answered this in my last post.

 

What about the virus?

A virus is not a live even though they can be killed.

 

When studying the phenomenon of viruses, it is noticed that before the viruses come in contact with a host organism, they are just "non living chemical compounds" and do not fulfill the criteria of being alive.On the other hand when viruses start reacting with a host, they start chemical reactions with the compounds of the living cell of the host they are said to be alive.

A virus is not alive, it hijacks the cells own reproductive processes to make copies of it's self.

 

Seriously you are going to give what someone asserts on another forum as evidence?

 

When somebody is studying the phenomenon of viruses ,he can see that when viruses are not coming in contact with a host organism, they are a sum of chemical compounds that not fulfill the criteria to be considered as life.While on the other hand they start reacting with a host, or in other words they start making chemical reactions with the compounds of the host,they become alive.The same thing happens with prions ,which are proteinaceous compounds that while they react with proteins of the host, they become alive in a way.....Lets hypothesize that we make the hypothesis that:No living organism is possible to remain unchanged structurally.Lets hypothesize that this rule is principal in nature and nothing could go beyond it or prove that it is untrue.What would that mean to the way that we see the world?First of all lets make clear what we mean:

Your understanding of virus' is fatally flawed and you need to back up those hypothesis with something than an your own assertions..

 

An organism that would remain unchanged structurally during a very small period of time,would be considered as not living for that period. When we say unchanged we mean of course that there are not taking place any chemical reactions inside it.Maybe there is a single cell inside an organism that is unchanged,but the rest of the cells are changing. We say then that this organism has a dead cell.,but the organism as a whole is alive.Maybe this cell would be able to regain life if it react with the appropriate signals.But maybe not.If we want to see the consequences of our hypothesis in the nature we meet the question:what is the least that can be considered as life?For example, a mitochondrion can be considered life according to what we said, but a simple chemical molecule cannot,unless it reacts with another molecule or substance.

I'm not sure what you are saying here but to be alive is beyond just being a chemical, chemicals that make copies of themselves are quite well known, catalysts, and they are not assumed to be alive because of that property.

 

At the moment of the reaction these two substances are the least that is considered life.So, a simple chemical reaction as long as it happens ,is the simpliest form of life, or else, the sparkle of life.That means that the superior organisms as well as all the organism is a summation of chemical reactions.The advantages of the hypethesis that we made is that we can explain successfully the prions and the viruses.

I don't think you've successfully explained anything..

Edited by Moontanman
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My personal understanding is not relevant here, you need to understand that your false analogies of alive and dead are explained by the links.

 

But if you insist...

 

Life is that which reproduces with variation and maintains an internal homeostasis...

 

Then a virus can be both dead or alive, depending where it is in its evironment. Within a cell it has high Jacked, it is (becomes) alive and "conforms to your definition above". Outside or unattached to anything it is dead! Thus the the diffrence between living things and non living things can be vague. "Of course your personal understanding is relavent here", if not what are you doing in the thread?

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Then a virus can be both dead or alive, depending where it is in its evironment. Within a cell it has high Jacked, it is (becomes) alive and "conforms to your definition above". Outside or unattached to anything it is dead! Thus the the diffrence between living things and non living things can be vague. "Of course your personal understanding is relavent here", if not what are you doing in the thread?

 

 

My personal definition hinges on what is scientifically accurate and the links I provide have other links listed to specific scientific papers to back up their hypothesis... My opinion is not enough, it smacks of either special pleading or appeal to authority, I have several ideas around the subject of abiogenesis, I think that to a great extent metabolism first makes a bit of sense and then these metabolisms were incorporated into early cells as they became more complex. T. Gold asserts that life is inevitable in the right conditions and is a by product of planetary formation.

 

We, complex life, are the extremophiles on Earth, the vast majority of life, both in numbers and mass, is bacterial and requires quite a bit less than the optimal conditions of complex life and lives in environments complex life cannot exploit...

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Ophiolite I'm not sure why you are supporting Alan's view here but so far all his "questions" and "assertions" are from creationist 101...

 

I am supporting a couple of statements made by Alan that I stumbled upon when revisiting the thread, because those statements are valid and wholly consistent with current thinking on abiogenesis. You appear to be attacking his statements because you believe him to be a creationist, not because of the inherent value of the statements. I oppose such an approach when I see it, for it is unscieintific.

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When studying the phenomenon of viruses...

 

As a researcher in a virus lab, I feel qualified to comment. It seems that you and moontanman have stumbled into a semantic argument whereby through the beauty and complexity of biological systems, you're both wrong.

 

Biological organisms - if particular viruses, don't separate neatly into "life" and "non-life", instead there is a gradient of grey between the two states. Under the convenient umbrella term "virus" you are describing an extremely diverse group of organisms which occupy a myriad of states that display a variety of traits that don't neatly split them into categories. Neither do they miraculously become alive upon entering a cell - for. e.g. some viruses rely on the host's polymerase to replicate, some have a gene encoding their own. To really throw a spanner in the definition of life with viruses, one of the viruses we work on are endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). The genes encoding ERVs have been integrated into the host's genome - and therefore are technically genes of the host. Once expressed, the proteins assemble into viruses, which the host immune system recognizes as foreign and can attack. So are these viruses part of the host (i.e. "alive")? are they "non-life" which has simply invaded the host genome? Like many things in biology, they don't fit into neat pigeon holes.

 

For the purposes of my research in evolutionary theory, viruses evolve and therefore, we would consider them "alive" in the sense that they are useful to examine evolutionary processes which are extrapolatable to other organisms, but again that would be a categorization of convenience rather than a biological reality, which is much more complex.

Edited by Arete
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