Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on February 13th, 2020, 11:36 am 

Sigh … so much wrong in your latest post … as in all your other posts, as well.

I have shown how you have blatantly mischaracterized Dawkins, completely inverting his point by taking it out of context — i.s., cherry-picking it. And yet, you double-down on your mischaracterization. Completely predictable, I suppose, and utterly pathetic.

You don’t understand probability and statistics, don’t understand evolution, and don’t understand abiogenesis — indeed, I am sure you haven’t actually read Dawkins, did not read the long list of abiogenesis links I gave you, and are completely oblivious to current abiogenesis research — of which there is a TON, and a great deal of it can be found online, including peer-reviewed papers. I know you have read none of it. Instead you keep religiously invoking the book of some guy who clearly is not a scientist or a philosopher, and writes badly to boot. However, I will masochistically respond in more detail later, as I have time. Right now I am under deadline pressure to finish a graphic novel on sale next month, which is more important to me, alas, then continually correcting your mischaracterizations and misapprehensions. I hope Serpent, Hyksos, Vat and others will step into the breach while I am too busy to do so.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Forest_Dump on February 13th, 2020, 1:56 pm 

When it comes to predicting the "odds" perhaps we could look at the odds of you becoming you. A person's unique character, etc., is a combination of their genetics and their individual histories. Based on the genetic odds alone, recombination of each person's pairs of chromosomes could produce more individuals than have ever existed. Add to this all the chance happenings from where and when you were born to some chance combination of car colours that passed by on the highway when you were one week old that prompted some unique growth in your neural net that added to what is uniquely you. Add in turn the probabilities of what happened to your siblings and friends that in turn prompted some unique effects on your personality growth, etc., and we can quickly see that the odds of you becoming you were so remoted that we could conclude that it is impossible for you to have become you. The odds are simply far too remote for you to have arrived just as you are in hundreds of billions of years. And yet here you are.

We could also note that, in all likelihood, there would have been millions or even billions of alternate combinations that would have been so slightly different that they would not really matter. (Would it meean much if a slightly different combination of genes had provided a slightly different fingerprint on you left little finger? I am sure there are an awful lot of those variants possible but you did get your unique combination.)

So it is with the odds of life appearing on earth. If we were to go out and try to predict where abiogenesis could happen, the odds are very much against just as are the odds of going out and finding any individual with a specific set of genes, say for example, the specific set that gives the same fingerprint on the left little finger. But we do know that life appeared here so the question is not what the odds were but exactly how it happened since we know that it did. I doubt we will ever know exactly how or when it happened but science is giving us an increasing number of possibilities and winnowing through them, discarding some as we learn more. Now our odds aregeared towards finguring out which possibility is most likely.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby hyksos on February 13th, 2020, 4:34 pm 


I don't know the exact chemistry; I'm just making up a narrative.

This is the only part of your post I agree with.


Then the lumps lucky enough to have captured a stray phosphorous held up over the next million years a little better than the ones that had a bromine in the same position...

"stray phosphorous", eh?

Horst Rauchfuss happens to also be the world's leading expert in phosphorous chemistry. If you told him this, he would laugh in your face. There is an enormous amount of phosphorous in living organisms today, and how it got there is unknown. If you say it was "pulled out of rocks", pulled out by what? And when did this happen?

Don't bother googling this. I already did it for you.

some article outside the forum wrote:"Phosphorus is the least abundant element cosmically relative to its presence in biology," said Matthew Pasek of the University of South Florida. This scarcity of phosphorus is even more acute on the Earth's surface, where much of the phosphorus is locked up in certain minerals that life has difficulty making use of.


Rauchfuss, in his book, admits to this huge problem with phosphorous. He spends nearly a chapter on it. He is also shrewd enough not to commit a made-up narrative.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby hyksos on February 13th, 2020, 4:38 pm 



This is the exact same mistake that Behe makes with his stupid “irreducuble complexity” argument about flagellum. According to him, all the “irreducibly complex” components of a flagellum must fall together at the same time, miraculously, against all feasible probability estimates, for the flagellum to exist.

Nobody has breached the topic of Behe. Bring him up only if someone else does.


Life no doubt started the same way — not everything needed for the first simple replicators had to miraculously fall together at the same time.

The problem with abiogenesis is that you don't have the luxury of this argument. The enzymes necessary for the replication of DNA are encoded by DNA itself. This is a vicious chicken-and-egg problem.

This chicken-and-egg problem plagued Steen Rassmussen, a person who was brought, from Denmark, into Los Alamos to create life in a laboratory.

Rassmussen failed. In his own words, "I couldn't get one freakin' life cycle."

The emergence of the genetic code is the problem du jour. laterlsuz is the only person in this thread who has articulated this.

Again, please READ Dawkins — his whole book is online, and I linked to it earlier.

This is the cringiest appeal to authority I have ever seen on this forum. Ironically, Richard Dawkins is not an authority on abiogenesis. The authors I have linked are.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby hyksos on February 13th, 2020, 4:42 pm 

lateralsuz » February 13th, 2020, 1:23 pm wrote:You have admitted that Dawkins doesn't deny the maths I have stated.
What you say is that Dawkins, (like me - stated many times), believes in a process that largely eliminates the odds.


Yes. Agreed.

Richard Dawkins has already admitted in TV interviews that the emergence of the genetic code is unsolved. Then Niels deGrasse-Tyson said such in a syndicated show "Cosmos". Rauchfuss admits it. Steen Rassmussen admits it. Do I need to continue?

There seems to be some lingering confusion here regarding the facts of DNA replication versus RNA template reproduction.

Time to lay facts...

(1.) Every single living organisms on Earth, bar-none, uses the full DNA cycle. All the way down to the Archaea in polar ice.

(2.) The only 'entities' that use RNA template reproduction as a sole means of copying genes are viruses. Even then, no virus can self-reproduce, and they must hijack a host to even make a single solitary copy of thine selves.

(3.) TLDR; RNA template reproduction is insufficient for the type of copying required for life. You don't have to believe me -- believe the viruses.

Rassmussen actually got frustrated enough to end-around the problem. He started using constructed PNA in his experiments. (PNA="peptide nucleic acids"). That is, Rassmussen gave up on the thorny Emergence-Of-Code issue, and started just sticking artificial encoding molecules into his frankenstein bacteria.

So yeah. Abiogenesis is a serious scientific problem with no easy solutions.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Serpent on February 13th, 2020, 6:01 pm 

hyksos » February 13th, 2020, 3:34 pm wrote:If you told him this, he would laugh in your face.

That would be unnecessarily rude of him. Most experts cut laymen a little slack.
I didn't pretend to be a chemist. I was attempting to counter the improbability argument: illustrate how environment - and whatever raw materials happen to be present in a concentrated solution - determine what processes take place and what compounds are formed: how it's not a purposeful, selective process but a random confluence of conditions. I was using phosphorous as an example of one element that, had it been replaced by another element, would change the character of the molecule.
If you say it was "pulled out of rocks",

I didn't. I suggested that all sorts of molecules may have been dissolved in water.
Can that not happen to phosphorous?
Last edited by Serpent on February 13th, 2020, 7:05 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby davidm on February 13th, 2020, 6:30 pm 

Phospherous? Abiogenesis research marches on

I only raised Behe, not to suggest that lateralsuz was a Behe supporter, but to point out how her straw man of the first replicator needing to fall together at one magical swoop is very similar to the mistake Behe makes with irreducible complexity.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby hyksos on February 15th, 2020, 12:15 pm 

davidm » February 14th, 2020, 2:30 am wrote:Phospherous? Abiogenesis research marches on

I only raised Behe, not to suggest that lateralsuz was a Behe supporter, but to point out how her straw man of the first replicator needing to fall together at one magical swoop is very similar to the mistake Behe makes with irreducible complexity.

I read over the sciancealert article there. I was surprised to see that the researchers are actually talking about processes that would have occurred prior to 'RNA world'. That's pretty far back in earth's time.

Regarding Behe : I have a sort of "mental flowchart" as far as where all these people fit. Dawkins and Dennet, (for example) are going to say that regular-ol' natural selection of the victorian variety is perfectly sufficient to explain all observations. Actually, when people started promoting epigenetics in public, Dawkins became irate with them.

In contrast, Ricard Sole and Stuart Kauffman openly claim that traditional evolution is deficient as a theory. All those guys are quite avowed secular humanists. They are still respectable scientists. But Michael Behe... *sigh*. More or less, Behe is : "Evolution didn't happen and God did it". He doesn't even fit on the flowchart. Like he has fallen off the edge of it.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on February 20th, 2020, 9:41 am 

Nice to have your comments Forest

When it comes to predicting the "odds" perhaps we could look at the odds of you becoming you. A person's unique character, etc., is a combination of their genetics and their individual histories. Based on the genetic odds alone, recombination of each person's pairs of chromosomes could produce more individuals than have ever existed...... The odds are simply far too remote for you to have arrived just as you are in hundreds of billions of years. And yet here you are.


This is the same point that Dawkins makes, and I absolutely agree - it is exactly the same principle. But what changes things from 'impossible odds', to almost a certainty? Process.

Are you and I different on this?

In terms of the processes which nature did come up with … there are 3 critical factors relating to this argument (re: the emergence of life) :

a) the limited timeframes for a process to emerge.
b) that the process which did actually arise in nature uses 3 sets of coded mechanism that work in perfect harmony with each other, and
c) it also managed to assemble a template to exactly produce every successful protein.... before life as we know it emerged to produce such a thing.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby lateralsuz on February 20th, 2020, 9:50 am 

Hi Hyksos

Yes. Agreed.

Richard Dawkins has already admitted in TV interviews that the emergence of the genetic code is unsolved. Then Niels deGrasse-Tyson said such in a syndicated show "Cosmos". Rauchfuss admits it. Steen Rassmussen admits it. Do I need to continue?

There seems to be some lingering confusion here regarding the facts of DNA replication versus RNA template reproduction. Time to lay facts...

(1.)
(2.)
(3.)

Rassmussen actually got frustrated enough to end-around the problem. He started using constructed PNA in his experiments. (PNA="peptide nucleic acids"). That is, Rassmussen gave up on the thorny Emergence-Of-Code issue, and started just sticking artificial encoding molecules into his frankenstein bacteria.

So yeah. Abiogenesis is a serious scientific problem with no easy solutions.


We seem to be in violent agreement here... which is nice.

I am not trying to deny the issues but to recognise them fully for what they are, and wanting to consider ways of resolving the dilemmas they throw out.

But as far as the recognition is concerned, do you simply see the codes as a lucky chemical chance, or do you see that codes imply something more?


PS - I realise that the RNA mechanisms sit alongside the protein elements of replication - but they all present similar issues. If I tried to cover all permutations in one message the replies would be endless - so I do short-cut a little to make things readable. Hope you'll forgive me - but I wanted to focus on the core points behind these steps.
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Re: Evolution : a process of ‘change’ not of ‘start’

Postby Serpent on February 20th, 2020, 10:32 am 

Tide goes in, tide goes out; never a miscommunication.
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