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Part 2, an attack on creationism

Discussion in 'Evolution Vs. Creationism' started by Pinecone, Oct 11, 2007.

  1. Mr Spinkles

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    This is simply an argument from ignorance. One could just as easily observe that no one can yet design even the simplest cell. "Therefore" it may yet turn out that even the simplest original cell was not designed after all. (Or, one could just as easily observe that we can't definitively predict the behavior of chimps, neuron by neuron, "therefore" there must be more to chimpanzee behavior than their physical brains. ;) )

    You seem to be suggesting that our ignorance on this subject is not overestimable--do you really think so? If we accept that, then any explanation is possible. It's possible that the first cells were planted by a council of interdimensional aliens who themselves were designed by a designer who herself evolved by natural laws....and so on. Yes, many things are possible. Respectfully, that's an unilluminating observation at best, and at worst, it conveniently ignores the vast wealth of stuff we do know on this subject. The discussion gets interesting when we move past the fact that we lack absolute knowledge and start citing evidence and weighing its implications.

    In that spirit, how about providing your operational definition of 'complexity' (as opposed to 'simplicity', as in, your reference to 'the simplest RNA known').
     
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  2. Mr Spinkles

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    Let's see here:

    "Mere" empirically falsifiable, scientific hypotheses, many of them in competition with each other, but all based on reams of data from countless experiments and the rigorous computations of experts in the field

    VS

    Magic!!!!

    Hmmm....looks like we have two equally worthy contenders here....who am I to speculate as to which of these equally compelling hypotheses will prove accurate? :)
     
  3. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    It was an observation, not an argument. It was supplied because there seemed to be assumption at work that we are dealing with more than a hypothesis, to my mind anyway.

    I already did make that observation by inference. Glad you chose the correct verb for this sentence.

    Or the opposite. I acknowledged both possibilites when I observed: "Nobody can say with scientific authority at the moment."

    Who would say such a thing?

    "Therefore .. must"

    is quite different to

    "therefore .. may yet turn out.."

    (And here I was thinking you understood my view alll along. Guess not.)

    As I implied, we are not up to that stage yet : "the other side of this coin is that no one knows anything about it. Except that at that stage it would appear to have been a very sophisticated accident."

    You pick one for both of us. My point was that we don't know how simple a self-replicator can be or needed to be, ergo, we cannot calculate the odds of it appearing, but equally we cannot say with certainty that it was accidental, for we cannot rule out that it may have been a 'yosarian watch'.

    So I'm saying that both sides take this one on 'faith', as Paul Davies might say.
     
  4. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    The beginning of the universe is 'magic' by any other definition. I don't see a big deal with people being skeptical about the extrordinary claim of abiogenesis. Good on 'em I say.
     
  5. Aasimar

    Aasimar Atheist

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    I don't know if this was addressed earlier or if it's considered off topic. But I just want to know.


    Has any form of creationism touting itself as science (Specifically ID and Creation Science) done any research? Any peer reviewed studies resulting in new technology, better understanding?

    Does it actually offer anything other then "God did it."

    Let's pretend like ID was accepted as a theory. What exactly would ID research laboratories research?
     
  6. Mr Spinkles

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    Very well. I 'observe' that what we are dealing with, i.m.o., is numerous scientific hypotheses on the molecular origins of life, as developed/refuted/confirmed in hundreds of published papers over the last half-century, VS. conveniently undefined and unspecified, unfalsifiable and uninvestigable....magic! :D

    I'm sorry if I misunderstood your post, but I didn't notice much "acknowledgement" of the possibility that self-replicating RNA came about by natural forces. In any event, it appears that we agree on the following:
    • There are many things we don't know about the molecular origins of life
    • "Therefore" it's possible that the first cell was designed; or not
    Let us continue the discussion under the assumption that these two points are a given.....

    My bad. "It may yet turn out"....that there is more to chimpanzee behavior than its physical brain. And "it may turn out" that the first cells were designed, or dreamed, or programmed, or pooped into existence by unspecified magical processes. While this is an unassailable statement, as I said: 'Respectfully, that's an unilluminating observation at best, and at worst, it conveniently ignores the vast wealth of stuff we do know on this subject.'

    We are not up to the stage of citing evidence and weighing its implications for the molecular origins of life? Are you familiar with the literature on this subject? Perhaps you are not "up to that stage yet", but there is a vast body of research and literature that has been up to that stage for some time. For example:
    That was eleven years ago.....


    Did you not have an operational definition of 'complexity' in mind when you made your claim about 'simple' and the 'simplest' RNA? I think the validity of such a claim may depend on your choice of mathematical definition for a 'complex' sequence of nucleotides. Unless I am mistaken, depending on what definition you use, RNA that replicates with high fidelity could be 'simpler' or more 'complex' than RNA that doesn't replicate at all.

    That's a valid point; however, this is a far cry from your assertions that 'we are not up to [the] stage' of citing and weighing evidence, and that 'no one knows anything about it'.
     
  7. Mr Spinkles

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    Right, just as we can't rule out that it may have been pooped into existence. Now that we're agreed on that, let's establish the main contenders for falsifiable explanation that incorporates and integrates as many facts as possible. A review of the literature reveals many great candidates, although I have not yet found research papers endorsing the hypothesis that the first self-replicating RNA molecules miraculously appeared in 'designed' form. If you find one, please let me know.

    It seems to me that the 'side' that is looking for natural explanations is performing experiments and carrying out computations, and making fruitful discoveries along the way, while the other 'side' contents itself with the superficial fact that no matter what scientists discover, it cannot be disproved that RNA was miraculously designed or miraculously pooped.
     
  8. Mr Spinkles

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    Here is an incomplete selection of research on the origins of life:

    *edit: I should have cited the link where I obtained these references
     
  9. Mr Spinkles

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    2007 study investigating the development of RNA molecules from pre-biotics:

     
  10. camanintx

    camanintx Well-Known Member

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    While a complete RNA molecule may be complex, RNA itself is really rather simple, built from three basic components: ribose, a five-carbon suger, phosphate, and a family of four heterocyclic bases. Snowflakes exhibit highly complex structure as well but can be easily explained through the physics of freezing water.

    The economy on the other hand is a very complex system with many components that organizes itself based on changes in those components. I wouldn't be surprised if you found more agreement amongst biologists about how RNA works that you do amongst economists about financial markets.
     
  11. Ceridwen018

    Ceridwen018 Well-Known Member

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    You're assuming there is a "why" to find.

    That's because the process takes millions of years to happen naturally. We can watch individual events in the lab, such as, we can witness the organic molecules formed from inorganic molecules start to get together and form a series of "cell-like" compounds. For much beyond that, however, competition and natural selection is needed to drive the process, and that takes a long time. Evolution is not like a set of train tracks, where every train that is set at the beginning follows the same path. Those organic compounds could easily be influenced to make something totally different than cyanobacteria.
    Apparently we're both taking a leap of faith here. Every scientific question for which scientists have come to a conclusion, (gravity, relativity, barometrics, and more) has had a natural explanation. Not one of them has had to involve the supernatural in order to be explained. My "leap of faith" is scientists will continue to find natural explanantions for our current questions, and your leap of faith is that somewhere along the line they'll have to conclude that "god did it".
     
  12. yossarian22

    yossarian22 Resident Schizophrenic

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    If we can't quantify a probability, there is absolutely no point in talking about it. Don't bring probability in just because you cannot believe something happened and wish to justify that it did not.
    Yes, but simply dumping energy into a system does little. It has to be guided. We cannot replicate the parameters which guided the formation of an RNA molecule therefore we are unable to produce one.
    True I suppose. But his analogy is still flawed as his system will not fluctuate as natural ones do.
     
  13. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    In the context of what we are actually discussing, I am apparantly more familiar with it than you. You are mistaken in your thrust. Yossarian pointed out that we cannot quantify these things. I agreed, and added that we don't know anything about it (which we don't!). I'm sure you understand that we are talking about the original abiogenesis event. Now then, Mr S, what do you know about this event? What do you know about the initial conditions? The required molecules? Their formation? Nothing. Exactly.

    All the ideas in the world won't build a time machine and take you back: As far as calculating probabilty goes, none of the work done being done today has yielded information of any use (you do understand what Nick and Y22 were debating, yes?). Further to that, if you insist that the body of knowledge is so solid then I challenge you to present a falsifiable theory of abiogenesis. Especially one that will provide us with some quantifiable data for Nick and Y22's discussion. Good luck with that.

    So, for now, all bets are on as to what happened back then.

    How something 'could have evolved' ? That's no help at all. Same goes for all of the other guestimations doing the rounds.

    No, they are essentially the same point. Let's not confuse evidence of what may have happened with evidence of what did happen.
     
  14. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    Obviously, which is what I'm getting at.

    Exactly.

    Thank you.
     
  15. Aasimar

    Aasimar Atheist

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    I guess I'll ask again, I notice uncomfortable posts tend to get ignored. What would an ID research laboratory research? It is science, right?
     
  16. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Deeper meanings about creation form the Bible?
    Though I would think that would be scholars or perhaps philosophers, who did that, not scientists.
     
  17. Autodidact

    Autodidact Intentionally Blank

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    Is there any particular reason you'all are having a long, technical discussion regarding abiogenesis in a thread ostensibly about evolution? Can we also talk about cross-stitch, which interests me?
     
  18. 9-10ths_Penguin

    9-10ths_Penguin 1/10 Subway Stalinist
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    I'm not sure what you mean by "unconscious agreement", so no, I don't.

    I think we're using different words to describe the same thing: "absolute" vs. "relative" works just as well for me as "objective" vs. "subjective".

    I'm not sure where you're going here. Why would that not be appropriate? In many families I know where there was a fair spread in the ages between the children, the older children shared the responsiblity of raising the younger children with the parents.

    But back to the original point here: you said that an absolute morality exists; what is it? What is the moral standard that applies to everyone and everything, from God to man to the most humble bacterium, equally?

    I think you have things backward: chaos theory is a result of human realization that many natural systems act in an unpredictable way. And I think that the distinction between a river and an organism is artificial.

    Maybe looking at things a different way would be illustrative. Look at the Mississippi River: if we start with the assumption that someone or something started with the intent to create a storm water management system that would allow drainage of about half of the land area of the United States, we could quickly conclude that this would be beyond the ability of a human designer. Now, with that assumption in mind (i.e. that it is the intent of someone or something to drain water from as far as Minnesota into the Gulf of Mexico), look at the Mississippi River system: along the entire length of the Mississippi itself and every other tributary river that drains into it, the slope is perfect to allow drainage from the upstream end to the downstream. The Mississippi River is a masterpiece of drainage engineering unmatched by any human-designed storm water management system in the world... if you choose to consider the Mississippi River to be a storm water management system and not a naturally-occurring phenomenon.

    Now... look at life. If we don't assume that something as intricate as a river is designed, why do we assume the same with life? The only reason I can think to do so is for us to assume that what we see around us is intended, i.e. that someone or something set out to have people standing on two legs, using tools and engaging in religion. Personally, I don't see any more reason to assume this than to assume that the Mississippi exists because someone or something wanted to transport freshwater from Michigan to the Carribean.

    And again, your conclusions are being shaped by your initial assumptions. Yes, it would take a phenomenal effort and intelligence to deliberately craft a living organism. However, there is no reason to think that any living organism was crafted deliberately.

    This line of thought causes problems, IMO. Let's look at it more closely:

    - very complex things can't spring into existence on their own - this is the argument that I believe you used against abiogenesis, right?
    - God, being infinite, cannot be created.

    If you consider God to be a very complex thing (and I can't see how you can't), then by the first point, God can't pop into existence on His own. By the second point, God can't have been caused. This does not allow for any way for God to exist.

    I'm not sure what you mean by this.
     
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  19. astarath

    astarath Well-Known Member

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    Quick shields up yet another attack on our beliefs...aww screw it they'll get tired of throwing the stones eventually right?
     
  20. Mestemia

    Mestemia Advocatus Diaboli
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    Wow.
    Do they have a school to teach the 'play the martyr' technique?
    If so you should really apply for a teaching position.
     
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