Does the below statement prove Evolution false?

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Haelyn

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Sep 15, 2002, 7:21:41 PM9/15/02
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Does the below statement prove Evolution false?
-------------------------------------------------
Evolution cannot be true because amino acids and nucleic acids do not
spontaneously polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a living
thing, much less one which can reproduce. It is ridiculous to believe a
non-spontaneous process can happen spontaneously without an outside
influence. Furthermore, the chemical soup necessary to allow either one to
have enough acids to begin forming a chain could not also have the chemical
makeup to have a membrane form, again spontaneously, around such DNA and
proteins.
-------------------------------------------------
If it is, or not, let me know why, or why not. =)
- Josh

Stephen LaBonne

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Sep 15, 2002, 8:00:14 PM9/15/02
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in article rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com, Haelyn at
je...@jvlnet.com wrote on 9/15/02 7:21 PM:

No. http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html

--
Steve LaBonne

Ian

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Sep 15, 2002, 8:13:50 PM9/15/02
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"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
news:rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com...

> Does the below statement prove Evolution false?
> -------------------------------------------------

No. Primarily because it's talking about biogenesis and not evolution.
Typical creationist straw man.

> Evolution cannot be true because amino acids and nucleic acids do not
> spontaneously polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a
living
> thing, much less one which can reproduce. It is ridiculous to believe a
> non-spontaneous process can happen spontaneously without an outside
> influence. Furthermore, the chemical soup necessary to allow either one
to
> have enough acids to begin forming a chain could not also have the
chemical
> makeup to have a membrane form, again spontaneously, around such DNA and
> proteins.
> -------------------------------------------------

Who says it has to be spontaneous? Only creationists. It's only they that
believe life appeared spontaneously out of nothing.
-Ian

Ian

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Sep 15, 2002, 8:21:17 PM9/15/02
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"Ian" <ibu...@NOSPAMaol.com> wrote in message
news:lk9h9.1105$8D1.45...@newssvr13.news.prodigy.com...

Ack! I need a proof-reader. In the last sentence, substitute the word:
"whole" for "spontaneously".
-Ian

Ronald Stepp

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Sep 15, 2002, 8:28:55 PM9/15/02
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"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
news:rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com...
> Does the below statement prove Evolution false?

No. The below statement is not Evolution.

It's like asking, "Does this statement prove the earth is not flat?"
----------------------------------------------------
Some planets spin counter clockwise around their axes, so this proves that
it can't be a closed system and it violates the second Law of
Thermodynamics. If it violates the 2LOT, then obviously its sheer lunacy to
think the earth could be round.


A. Carlson

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Sep 15, 2002, 9:55:04 PM9/15/02
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On Sun, 15 Sep 2002 23:21:41 +0000 (UTC), "Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com>
wrote:

The question is, where do we start with this one?

1) Abiogenesis (life from non life) is not a necessary part of or
even necessary to the TOE. One could assumes that abiogenesis was a
natural process just as the TOE appears to be, and there is some
evidence to support the possibility that it was or could be a natural
process, as opposed to divine intervention, which is 100% faith based,
but they are ultimately two separate processes.

2) Argument from ignorance. Just because we might not fully
understand exactly what may have happened a few billion years ago is
not proof that something couldn't or didn't happen. The details may
be very sketchy at this point in time, but no absolute conclusion can
be reached based on what we don't know about an event or time. About
100 years ago, Lord Kelven argued that, based on his calculations, the
sun, and therefore, our solar system could not be as old as scientists
claimed that it appeared to be. This was based on the fact that he
and other physicists at the time could not account for the source of
the tremendous amount of energy eminating from the sun. IOW, they
couldn't figure it out, so it must not have happened, a classic
example of argument from ignorance. Thanks to the subsequent
understanding about nuclear energy, it is now easily understood how
the sun could be as old as scientists claim it to be. One could
perhaps draw conclusions about what couldn't happen regarding a
process that is fully understood but it should not be done concerning
a process that there is little understanding about.

3) A form of strawman argument, perhaps. How is "spontaneously


polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a living thing"

or "a living thing" defined. Abiogenesis may have been the result of
a long-drawn out natural process (an hypothesis). Who, other than
creationists, claim that a highly complex living organism simply just
popped out from nothing? It is not clear from the above, but it seems
as though that is what is being suggested here.

4) Shifting the focus. Who can say that the forms of life that we
currently see did not result from much simpler forms of polymer chains
that can no longer exist? Evolution is based on mountains of evidence
from a variety of disciplines. Abiogenesis still remains largely
speculative. The lack of knowledge about abiogenesis does not erase
one single piece of hard evidence used to support evolution. Anyway,
a portion of a theory can be negated without necessarily effecting the
entire theory.

5) A lot of the above strikes me as being nothing more than baldface
assertions:

- "It is ridiculous to believe a non-spontaneous process can happen


spontaneously without an outside influence"

In whose judgement is it 'ridiculous'? The 'outside influence', I am
assuming, is an intelligent designer, which itself requires evidence
to support its existence. This appears to me to be more of a semantic
argument than anything else. The choice of words, a 'spontaneous'
occurance of a 'non-spontaneous process', appears on the surface to be
self-negating, or an oxymoron. There is way too much left undefined
here.

- "Furthermore, the chemical soup necessary to allow either one to


have enough acids to begin forming a chain could not also have the
chemical makeup to have a membrane form, again spontaneously,
around such DNA and proteins."

And why not? Is there any scientific basis for this claim or is it an
elaborate form of argument from ignorance? I don't see anything
convincing about this argument as it stands.

Mark VandeWettering

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Sep 15, 2002, 11:20:39 PM9/15/02
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In article <rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>, Haelyn wrote:

> Does the below statement prove Evolution false?
> -------------------------------------------------
> Evolution cannot be true because amino acids and nucleic acids do not
> spontaneously polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a living
> thing, much less one which can reproduce.

Really? How do they form?

> It is ridiculous to believe a
> non-spontaneous process can happen spontaneously without an outside
> influence.

Perhaps you should explain what you mean by spontaneous here, and what
you mean by an "outside influence".

> Furthermore, the chemical soup necessary to allow either one to
> have enough acids to begin forming a chain could not also have the chemical
> makeup to have a membrane form, again spontaneously, around such DNA and
> proteins.

#include <std_explanation_that_abiogenesis_and_evolution_are_not_equal.h>

Do any theories of abiogenesis hypothesize such a sequence of events?

> -------------------------------------------------
> If it is, or not, let me know why, or why not. =)

No, it does not, because it's meaningless gibberish.

Mark
> - Josh
>

Haelyn

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Sep 15, 2002, 11:28:31 PM9/15/02
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The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
------------------------
If you do not know the definition of spontaneous and non-spontaneous
processes, look it up. Those are basic chemistry. Be sure you get the real
definition instead of the oversimplified one. Also, my "chemical soup"
refers to the common ion effect which limits the total amount of things
which can be dissolved into water at once. My point about spontaneous
processes: long chains of protein and DNA do not just form.
-------------------------
Is this true or false? If so, explain.

"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
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Ronald Stepp

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Sep 16, 2002, 12:51:34 AM9/16/02
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"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
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> The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
> regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his
statement:

No, its his first argument, as the other one was not even that..


R. Baldwin

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Sep 16, 2002, 1:04:53 AM9/16/02
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"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
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Not even close.

1. Evolution does not postulate spontaneous polymerization of amino
and nucleic acids into shapes and chains needed to form a living
thing. Evolution describes changes in the distributions of alleles
within populations that already exist. The change from non-living to
living material is abiogenesis, not evolution.

2. There is no dispute about whether abiogenesis occured. Even the
most steadfast YECs agree that at one time, there was no life; and
later there was. The dispute regarding abiogenesis is about whether
the process required a deity.

3. Non-spontaneous chemical changes (i.e.; reactions where the change
in Gibbs free energy is non-negative) do occur in the natural world
all the time. Generally, they require a kick-start from the
environment to occur on a meaningful scale, yet they occur naturally
nonetheless. Energy can be absorbed from the environment in the form
of heat, electrons, photons, mechanical force, etc. All of these
things are plentiful in nature.

4. The first formation of chain molecules out of amino and nucleic
acids may have occured over many different reactions with many
different intermediate products.

5. The statement about the makeup of the "chemical soup" is an
unsupported assertion. There is no way to know the makeup of a
"chemical soup" from 4 billion years ago, and definitive statements
about its properties are just hot air.

6. A membrane may not have been required.

7. The first life may not have had DNA.

Florian

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Sep 16, 2002, 2:55:52 AM9/16/02
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"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> writes:

> The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
> regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
> ------------------------
> If you do not know the definition of spontaneous and non-spontaneous
> processes, look it up. Those are basic chemistry. Be sure you get the real
> definition instead of the oversimplified one. Also, my "chemical soup"
> refers to the common ion effect which limits the total amount of things
> which can be dissolved into water at once. My point about spontaneous
> processes: long chains of protein and DNA do not just form.
> -------------------------
> Is this true or false? If so, explain.

Why should anyone bother? It's obvious that neither you nor your
"original author" even understand the arguments you're putting forth.
If you're not trolls, you're really, *really* stupid people.
--
odoratusque est Dominus odorem suavitatis

Joe Cummings

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Sep 16, 2002, 4:05:44 AM9/16/02
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On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 03:28:31 +0000 (UTC), "Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com>
wrote:

>The original author was relayed the messages received from this board


>regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
>------------------------


Does he give you these arguments from behind a screen? Or
when wearing some kind of veil ? Perhaps a mask ?

Why doesn't he write himself ?

Snip the rest, as I'm more interested in the source of these
arguments.

Have fun,

Joe Cummings

Bjoern Feuerbacher

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Sep 16, 2002, 4:38:15 AM9/16/02
to
Haelyn wrote:
>
> The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
> regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
> ------------------------
> If you do not know the definition of spontaneous and non-spontaneous
> processes, look it up. Those are basic chemistry. Be sure you get the real
> definition instead of the oversimplified one. Also, my "chemical soup"
> refers to the common ion effect which limits the total amount of things
> which can be dissolved into water at once. My point about spontaneous
> processes: long chains of protein and DNA do not just form.
> -------------------------
> Is this true or false? If so, explain.

Apparently he has missed all the people who pointed out that he is
talking about abiogenesis, not evolution...


[snip]

cats...@yahoo.com

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Sep 16, 2002, 7:05:46 AM9/16/02
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On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 08:05:44 +0000 (UTC), joseph....@wanadoo.fr
(Joe Cummings) wrote:

>On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 03:28:31 +0000 (UTC), "Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com>
>wrote:
>

>>The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
>>regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
>>------------------------
>
>

> Does he give you these arguments from behind a screen?

"Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . ."


>Or when wearing some kind of veil ? Perhaps a mask ?
>
> Why doesn't he write himself ?
>
> Snip the rest, as I'm more interested in the source of these
>arguments.
>
> Have fun,
>
> Joe Cummings

---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

On God-in-the-gaps:

Imagine how an omnipresent and omniscient divinity
feels about being forced out of the open and into
little gaps and crannies where ignorance still reigns.

No wonder he had a cow when Adam and Eve
ate from the tree of knowledge!

- Bobby D. Bryant -

Haelyn

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Sep 16, 2002, 7:35:48 AM9/16/02
to
I'm sorry but not for a second do I believe what the original author is
saying. I am not very familiar with what he speaks so I relay it here for
your opinions. Of course, I believe what he says is hogwash and as most
creationist arguments are based - circle logic, etc.etc. I told him that if
his argument was so obviously correct Evolution wouldn't be nearly as
widely-accepted as it is but then he had to point out some underlying
conspiracy claim. Well, the very least I had to find out about what you guys
think. I prefer logical explanation over magic but that might just be me. He
is relaying through me because he is presenting the arguments to me. He is
aware that I am consulting with others on his arguments as well.
- Josh

"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
news:rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com...

Bjoern Feuerbacher

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Sep 16, 2002, 8:29:24 AM9/16/02
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Haelyn wrote:
>
> I'm sorry but not for a second do I believe what the original author is
> saying. I am not very familiar with what he speaks so I relay it here for
> your opinions. Of course, I believe what he says is hogwash and as most
> creationist arguments are based - circle logic, etc.etc. I told him that if
> his argument was so obviously correct Evolution wouldn't be nearly as
> widely-accepted as it is

*sigh*

Apparently, neither you nor he have yet realized that he isn't talking
about evolution, but abiogenesis...


[snip rest]

Greetings,
Bjoern

Christopher Denney

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Sep 16, 2002, 8:38:00 AM9/16/02
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cats...@yahoo.com wrote in
news:icebougjg6jj8rjl0...@4ax.com:

[snip]


> On God-in-the-gaps:
>
> Imagine how an omnipresent and omniscient divinity
> feels about being forced out of the open and into
> little gaps and crannies where ignorance still reigns.
>
> No wonder he had a cow when Adam and Eve
> ate from the tree of knowledge!
>
> - Bobby D. Bryant -
>

I see, god created cows AFTER they ate from the tree.
That way later generations could eat beef, instead of fruit.
Mmmm, steak....medium-rare...Guinness....mashed potatoes 'n garlic.

Dang, it's hardly breakfast time yet.


--
-- Cd -- Christopher Denney
--
Every man has his secret sorrows, which the world knows not; and
oftentimes we call a man cold when he is only sad. -Henry Wadsworth
Longfellow(1807-1882)

Steve LaBonne

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:03:11 AM9/16/02
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"Bjoern Feuerbacher" <feuerba...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de> wrote in
message news:3D85CDFE...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de...

> Apparently, neither you nor he have yet realized that he isn't talking
> about evolution, but abiogenesis...

I know that insistence on this distinction has long been a popular debating
tactic here on t.o., but I have always found it difficult to understand what
the point of it is supposed to be. If you defend a fully naturalistic
account of the history of life, then how can you consistently stop short of
doing the same for the _origin_ of life? As far as accepting the scientific
worldview goes, in for a penny, in for a pound. And of course I'm aware
that reconstruction of the origin of life is far more difficult and
uncertain than reconstruction of its later history, but I don't see that as
a justification for drawing a cordon sanitaire around the former for fear
that its uncertainties will contaminate the latter. Let's leave the
intellectually unscrupulous debating tactics to the ID folks, who are far
more gifted at them anyway.


Bjoern Feuerbacher

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:23:41 AM9/16/02
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The problem is that evolution is defined in science as "a hereditary
change in the gene pool of a population over time". But the "things" one
examines in abiogenesis research don't have genes... It may seem like
semantic quibble, but the fact is that in science, definitions are
important, and one shouldn't be sloppy when using the words.


Greetings,
Bjoern

Eric Gill

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:35:47 AM9/16/02
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"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am4kl9$2jpsp$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

>
> "Bjoern Feuerbacher" <feuerba...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de> wrote
> in message news:3D85CDFE...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de...
>> Apparently, neither you nor he have yet realized that he isn't
>> talking about evolution, but abiogenesis...
>
> I know that insistence on this distinction has long been a popular
> debating tactic here on t.o., but I have always found it difficult to
> understand what the point of it is supposed to be. If you defend a
> fully naturalistic account of the history of life, then how can you
> consistently stop short of doing the same for the _origin_ of life?

Honesty. There is currently insufficient information to form a theory for
how abiogenesis took place. Would you prefer science lied?

And why would you refer to honesty as a "debating tactic," anyway?

> As
> far as accepting the scientific worldview goes, in for a penny, in for
> a pound. And of course I'm aware that reconstruction of the origin of
> life is far more difficult and uncertain than reconstruction of its
> later history, but I don't see that as a justification for drawing a
> cordon sanitaire around the former for fear that its uncertainties
> will contaminate the latter.

That's not why it's done. It's done because no one knows if descent with
modification - NeoDarwinian Evolution - actually applies to anything
other than the origins of the *diversity* of life.

> Let's leave the intellectually
> unscrupulous debating tactics to the ID folks, who are far more gifted
> at them anyway.

You are speaking of the same crowd that often conflates the origins of
life with how it changed over time, right? (Hint, hint, hint...)

Steve LaBonne

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:55:51 AM9/16/02
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"Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns928B57337E063...@24.28.95.190...

> "Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
> news:am4kl9$2jpsp$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:
> Honesty. There is currently insufficient information to form a theory for
> how abiogenesis took place. Would you prefer science lied?

This is inaccurate- nowadays there are competing, fairly detailed theories
based on a considerable volume of laboratory experiments. It is our ability
to choose among these theories, and then to further flesh out the winner,
that is (by the nature of the problem) much more difficult than accounting
for the diversity of life. And to pretend that there is any uncertainty
_that_, as opposed to precisely how, life arose by natural processes from
non-living matter is a less-than-honest debating tactic. I am not willing to
throw some areas of scientific inquiry to the wolves in the forlorn hope
that this will protect others from attack. As I said, in for a penny, in
for a pound.


Eric Gill

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Sep 16, 2002, 10:33:58 AM9/16/02
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"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am4nnk$2mpd3$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

>
> "Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns928B57337E063...@24.28.95.190...
>> "Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
>> news:am4kl9$2jpsp$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:
>> Honesty. There is currently insufficient information to form a theory
>> for how abiogenesis took place. Would you prefer science lied?
>
> This is inaccurate- nowadays there are competing, fairly detailed
> theories based on a considerable volume of laboratory experiments.

Funny- everyone in T.O., including several working biologists, seems to
have missed this ground-breaking work. You have references, of course?

> It
> is our ability to choose among these theories, and then to further
> flesh out the winner, that is (by the nature of the problem) much more
> difficult than accounting for the diversity of life.

As one should would expect from events that took place on the order of
four billion years ago and left few (if any) traces of the initial
activity.

> And to pretend
> that there is any uncertainty _that_, as opposed to precisely how,
> life arose by natural processes from non-living matter is a
> less-than-honest debating tactic.

I'm afraid you're still missing the point. Even if there is a viable
Theory of Abiogenesis, this doesn't make it NeoDarwinian Biological
Evolution and more than a Model T and a supertanker are the same thing
because they can both carry some kind of cargo.

The truth is, Evolution works whether life started from any of the
posited nauralistic Abiogenesis scenarios, some kind of Panspermia, of
some kind of supernatural entity "poofed" the first primitive life into
existance.

> I am not willing to throw some areas
> of scientific inquiry to the wolves in the forlorn hope that this will
> protect others from attack.

But you are willing to conflate two different fields for no reason I can
discern.

Steve LaBonne

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Sep 16, 2002, 11:04:14 AM9/16/02
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"Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns928B610B4362D...@24.28.95.190...

> Funny- everyone in T.O., including several working biologists, seems to
> have missed this ground-breaking work. You have references, of course?

Yet another inaccurate statement. Have you actually examined the references
in the t.o. faqs on abiogensis?
Here are two examples of what I mean by competing theories: 1) RNA as the
first replicator; 2) inorganic substances (like Cairns-Smith's clays) as the
first replicators. Moreover, there is plenty of theoretical work on how an
intial, simple self-replicating molecule could have led to more complex
replicators. And Darwinian principles are very much the key to that work.

Again, I obviously do not dispute that the details of the earliest stages of
life will almost certainly always be far more uncertain than the details of
later stages of evolution. I do not, however, see "two different fields"
here; the history of life is a continuum. Nor can I allow that one could
consistently accept the natural occurence of biological evolution while
believing that the origin of the whole process is supernatural- that could
only be theologically motivated wishful thinking, not science. As I already
said, I will not willingly cut scientific inquiry in the origin of life
loose, merely in order to facilitate the scoring of debating points agaisnt
creationists. Note that panspermia is not really an alternative theory at
all- it merely moves the problem somewhere else.


Chris Ho-Stuart

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Sep 16, 2002, 11:04:44 AM9/16/02
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Eric Gill <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote:
> "Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
> news:am4nnk$2mpd3$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:
>
>>
>> "Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
>> news:Xns928B57337E063...@24.28.95.190...
>>> "Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
>>> news:am4kl9$2jpsp$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:
>>> Honesty. There is currently insufficient information to form a theory
>>> for how abiogenesis took place. Would you prefer science lied?
>>
>> This is inaccurate- nowadays there are competing, fairly detailed
>> theories based on a considerable volume of laboratory experiments.
>
> Funny- everyone in T.O., including several working biologists, seems to
> have missed this ground-breaking work. You have references, of course?

Actually, you can find references in the talkorigins archives.

Try the set of references in
"Lies, damn lies, and Probability of Abiogenesis Calculations"
<http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html#Refs>

There used to be a "interum biogenesis" faq by deaddog, but I
can't find it (and was a bit out of date anyway).

>> It
>> is our ability to choose among these theories, and then to further
>> flesh out the winner, that is (by the nature of the problem) much more
>> difficult than accounting for the diversity of life.
>
> As one should would expect from events that took place on the order of
> four billion years ago and left few (if any) traces of the initial
> activity.

Right.

>> And to pretend
>> that there is any uncertainty _that_, as opposed to precisely how,
>> life arose by natural processes from non-living matter is a
>> less-than-honest debating tactic.
>
> I'm afraid you're still missing the point. Even if there is a viable
> Theory of Abiogenesis, this doesn't make it NeoDarwinian Biological
> Evolution and more than a Model T and a supertanker are the same thing
> because they can both carry some kind of cargo.
>
> The truth is, Evolution works whether life started from any of the
> posited nauralistic Abiogenesis scenarios, some kind of Panspermia, of
> some kind of supernatural entity "poofed" the first primitive life into
> existance.

Yes; but the *other* point is that considerable progress has
been made in work on biogenesis, and that the panspermia or
supernatural poof hypotheses are not credible.

>> I am not willing to throw some areas
>> of scientific inquiry to the wolves in the forlorn hope that this will
>> protect others from attack.
>
> But you are willing to conflate two different fields for no reason I can
> discern.

The reason is that both biogenesis and biological evolution work
primarily by variation and selection in reproducing entities. All
models of biogenesis work by some kind of selection and variation
and reproduction.

The difference is that we have a very good handle on the mechanisms
by which biological evolution takes place, but the actual reproducing
entities or structures involved in biogenesis are not nearly so clear.

I do draw a distinction between evolution and biogenesis,
certainly. But on the other hand they are plainly related, and
when and if a single model for biogenesis becomes the dominant
scientific model well supported by available evidence so as to
give confidence in its fit with the events in the newly formed
Earth, then I fully suspect that the model will be seen as a
part of an expanded theory of evolution that encompasses more
than change in allele distributions.

Ian Musgrave wrote a POTM for this in April 1998, which argues
that abiogenesis and evolution are different, and yet he also
points to their close association.
<http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/apr98.html>
Ian also gives some references.

Ian also had POTM in January 2002, with a post on progress in
abiogenesis research.
<http://www.talkorigins.org/origins/postmonth/jan02.html>

Basically, I agree that evolution does not (at present) include
abiogenesis, and that evolution would remain as it stands no
matter if panspermia or someone notion turned out to be behind
the origins of life. On the other hand, I think abiogenesis is
clearly related to evolution, and that sufficient real progress
has been made to render panspermia about as plausible as steady
state cosmology.

Cheers -- Chris

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 12:32:23 PM9/16/02
to

"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
news:Uach9.56708$5r1.2...@bin5.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com...

> The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
> regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his
statement:
> ------------------------
> If you do not know the definition of spontaneous and non-spontaneous
> processes, look it up. Those are basic chemistry. Be sure you get the
real
> definition instead of the oversimplified one. Also, my "chemical soup"
> refers to the common ion effect which limits the total amount of things
> which can be dissolved into water at once. My point about spontaneous
> processes: long chains of protein and DNA do not just form.
> -------------------------
> Is this true or false? If so, explain.

Neither "soup" (hint: solid-phase synthesis) nor spontaneous formation of
"long chains of protein and DNA" are needed in a theory of abiogenesis , for
reasons well explained (with copious references) in the excellent t.o. faq
on "probability of abiogenesis to which you have already been pointed:
http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html Tell your mysterious
stranger to read that faq- he's welcome to move his lips if he needs to- and
then come back, preferably in his own person, with actual questions.


Erik

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 1:07:25 PM9/16/02
to
"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message news:<rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>...

In my lab experiements I have found agreement with this statement.
Ergo, naturalistic abiogenesis is bunk.

Erik

Eric Gill

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 1:50:56 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am4ro5$2l816$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

>
> "Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns928B610B4362D...@24.28.95.190...
>> Funny- everyone in T.O., including several working biologists, seems
>> to have missed this ground-breaking work. You have references, of
>> course?
>
> Yet another inaccurate statement.

Actually, you haven't bothered to show that I have made any so far - you
haven't even addressed most of my rebuttals of your misconceptions on this
topic.

> Have you actually examined the
> references in the t.o. faqs on abiogensis?

Of course.

For example:

http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/reading-list.html#ABIOGENESIS

"This is one of two titles which I've seen for sale in both creationist and
mainstream book-ordering services. It's the best introduction to the
various abiogenesis HYPOTHESES and their strengths and weaknesses. In my
opinion, Shapiro is a little overly skeptical, and today would have to eat
some crow on a few of his criticisms -- only nine years after his
publication date."

Emphasis mine.

> Here are two examples of what I mean by competing theories:

Hypotheses. You know the difference in a scientific context, right?

<snip>

> Again, I obviously do not dispute that the details of the earliest
> stages of life will almost certainly always be far more uncertain than
> the details of later stages of evolution. I do not, however, see "two
> different fields" here; the history of life is a continuum.

Your inability to seperate the studies of the diversification of life from
the studies of it's possible beginnings has no bearing on the claims that
science makes.

> Nor can I
> allow that one could consistently accept the natural occurence of
> biological evolution while believing that the origin of the whole
> process is supernatural- that could only be theologically motivated
> wishful thinking, not science.

Actually, insisting on something you have insufficient evidence for is a
very bad case of "wishful thinking." That is why science does not indulge
in it.

> As I already said, I will not
> willingly cut scientific inquiry in the origin of life loose, merely
> in order to facilitate the scoring of debating points agaisnt
> creationists. Note that panspermia is not really an alternative theory
> at all- it merely moves the problem somewhere else.

....to where NeoDarwinian processes may or may not apply.

Steve, do you realize you are coming across as a crypto-creationist?

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:05:05 PM9/16/02
to

"Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns928B82698D567...@24.28.95.190...

> Steve, do you realize you are coming across as a crypto-creationist?

You see, this "if you're not with us you're against us" mentality, which has
nothing to do with scientific thinking, is precisely the crux of the
stupidity I am criticizing. Just who the hell are you anyway, and what kind
of scientific training- if any- do you have? You would do better to spend
your time improving your obviously shaky grasp of science rather than
engaging in ill-informed, and therefore worse than useless, polemics agaisnt
creationists, which you can safely leave to those who are more interested in
scientific accuracy than in scoring points. You might begin by reading Chris
Ho-Stuart's post in this thread, which makes points rather similar to mine.


R. Baldwin

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:16:13 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:am4ro5$2l816$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de...

The distinction is quite important. The evidence supporting the
current model of evolution is overwhelming. The evidence for the
various competing models of natural abiogenesis is not nearly as
strong. The creationist argument in this case amounts to "evolution
must be wrong because I can disparage abiogenesis."

R. Baldwin

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:19:11 PM9/16/02
to
"Erik" <nilger...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:c2563a5e.0209...@posting.google.com...

Ah. Falsified by the failure of an incompetent person to demonstrate
it. Well, that pretty much wraps it up.

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:29:37 PM9/16/02
to

"R. Baldwin" <res0...@nozirevBACKWARDS.net> wrote in message
news:1bph9.13044$s76....@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...

> The distinction is quite important. The evidence supporting the
> current model of evolution is overwhelming. The evidence for the
> various competing models of natural abiogenesis is not nearly as
> strong. The creationist argument in this case amounts to "evolution
> must be wrong because I can disparage abiogenesis."

Regardless, the amount and quality of research on possible abiogenetic
pathways is now more than sufficient to establish that there is no excuse
for anyone who claims to accept scientific knowledge to pretend that there
is any doubt about the natural origin of life. Insisting on your distinction
for debating purposes is a losing strategy in any case, since creationists,
including the "ID" variety, reject evolutionary science root and branch. I
am not in favor of sacrificing, even rhetorically, one area of scientific
inquiry to the obscurantists, in the vain hope of protecting another area
from their attentions.


Boikat

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:25:58 PM9/16/02
to

"Erik" <nilger...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
news:c2563a5e.0209...@posting.google.com...

"Lab experiments"? Please post, in detail, the experiment you attempted.

Boikat


>
> Erik
>


R. Baldwin

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:42:39 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:am57pd$2p060$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de...

I do see your point; however, the problem with the Creationist debate
is that they attack multiple fields of Science and call them all
evolution. Unless you clarify, you will find yourself defending
evolution, abiogenesis, microbiology, cosmology, thermodynamics,
information theory, stratigraphy, hydrology, etc.; all in the same
breath. IMHO, failing to make the distinction is a losing strategy. It
allows Creationists with very slim scientific knowledge to sound like
experts and control the debate.

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 2:53:28 PM9/16/02
to

"R. Baldwin" <res0...@nozirevBACKWARDS.net> wrote in message
news:Tzph9.13150$s76....@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...
X> I do see your point; however, the problem with the Creationist debate

> is that they attack multiple fields of Science and call them all
> evolution. Unless you clarify, you will find yourself defending
> evolution, abiogenesis, microbiology, cosmology, thermodynamics,
> information theory, stratigraphy, hydrology, etc.; all in the same
> breath. IMHO, failing to make the distinction is a losing strategy. It
> allows Creationists with very slim scientific knowledge to sound like
> experts and control the debate.

I am fine with making distinctions for the sake of clarity, and I do see
_your_ point in this respect. My beef is with others in this thread- not
you- who seem to be claiming that it's OK to defend evolution _sensu
strictu_ while claiming that such acceptance would be compatible with
believing in a supernatural origin for life. That, I'm not about to buy.


Eric Gill

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 3:07:13 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am56b7$2r6qe$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

>
> "Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns928B82698D567...@24.28.95.190...
>> Steve, do you realize you are coming across as a crypto-creationist?
>
> You see, this "if you're not with us you're against us" mentality,
> which has nothing to do with scientific thinking, is precisely the
> crux of the stupidity I am criticizing.

I communicate no such mentality in that one sentence. You, OTOH, are
indulging in exactly that sort of extremism by cherry-picking that one
comment and utterly failing to address anything else in the message - and
then diving any deeper into the cesspool of hypocrisy:

> Just who the hell are you
> anyway, and what kind of scientific training- if any- do you have? You
> would do better to spend your time improving your obviously shaky
> grasp of science rather than engaging in ill-informed, and therefore
> worse than useless, polemics agaisnt creationists, which you can
> safely leave to those who are more interested in scientific accuracy
> than in scoring points.

Odd- I believe I've been making this observation about your behavior
through the entire thread, albeit without less poison for the well.

> You might begin by reading Chris Ho-Stuart's
> post in this thread, which makes points rather similar to mine.

"I do draw a distinction between evolution and biogenesis,


certainly. But on the other hand they are plainly related, and
when and if a single model for biogenesis becomes the dominant
scientific model well supported by available evidence so as to
give confidence in its fit with the events in the newly formed
Earth, then I fully suspect that the model will be seen as a
part of an expanded theory of evolution that encompasses more
than change in allele distributions."

I have said nothing to contradict this, and indeed, agree completely.

This doesn't resemble your blanket over-generalization conflating
abiogenesis and current evolutionary theory at all.

R. Baldwin

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 3:12:16 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in message
news:am5965$2t5ql$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de...

One can always claim "the natural process occurs because a
supernatural entity wants it to," but that is a hands-off topic for
scientific inquiry. No observable data to measure, one way or the
other. No testable hypotheses. When speaking for science it should be
left alone.

Claiming "that process could not have occured without intervention by
a deity" is argument from incredulity.

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 3:45:47 PM9/16/02
to

"Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:Xns928B8F5EE503e...@24.28.95.150...

> I communicate no such mentality in that one sentence. You, OTOH, are
> indulging in exactly that sort of extremism by cherry-picking that one
> comment and utterly failing to address anything else in the message - and
> then diving any deeper into the cesspool of hypocrisy:

This is laughable coming from one who accuses others of being
"crypto-creationists", whatever the hell that's supposed to mean, and who
claims that it would be a "lie" to claim that the natural origin of life on
earth is now scientifically well-supported.


Chris Ho-Stuart

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 3:56:33 PM9/16/02
to
[quoted text has been reformatted to consistent line lengths]

R. Baldwin <res0...@nozirevbackwards.net> wrote:
> "Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in message
> news:am5965$2t5ql$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de...
>>
>> "R. Baldwin" <res0...@nozirevBACKWARDS.net> wrote in message
>> news:Tzph9.13150$s76....@nwrddc02.gnilink.net...

>> > I do see your point; however, the problem with the
>> > Creationist debate is that they attack multiple fields of
>> > Science and call them all evolution. Unless you clarify,
>> > you will find yourself defending evolution, abiogenesis,
>> > microbiology, cosmology, thermodynamics, information
>> > theory, stratigraphy, hydrology, etc.; all in the same
>> > breath. IMHO, failing to make the distinction is a losing
>> > strategy. It allows Creationists with very slim scientific
>> > knowledge to sound like experts and control the debate.
>>
>> I am fine with making distinctions for the sake of clarity,
>> and I do see _your_ point in this respect. My beef is with
>> others in this thread- not you- who seem to be claiming that
>> it's OK to defend evolution _sensu strictu_ while claiming
>> that such acceptance would be compatible with believing in
>> a supernatural origin for life. That, I'm not about to buy.
>
> One can always claim "the natural process occurs because a
> supernatural entity wants it to," but that is a hands-off
> topic for scientific inquiry. No observable data to measure,
> one way or the other. No testable hypotheses. When speaking
> for science it should be left alone.

This is an important point, I think.

If the action of a hypothetical creator is attributed to a
special intervention into the natural order at a certain point
in space and time, then this hypothesis is placed within the
potential scope of empirical scientific evaluation, and hence
subject to proof or disproof. Invariably, this has turned
out to be disproof; but that is an observation of history,
not an axiom of science.

If the action of a hypothetical creator is beyond space
and time, as a metaphysical position that the creator is
now and always the underlying foundation for the universe,
so closely integrated into all things so that it may not be
separated out as a distinct process, then this is no longer
subject to empirical proof or disproof.

Conversely, if the action of a hypothetical creator is outside
space and time, in establishing the rules by which a universe
exists (this is essentially deism, I think) then this also is
not subject to scientific evaluation.

It seems to me that there are two distinct positions being
expressed here, by Steve and Erik, and though I have not
reviewed the thread carefully, they do not seem incompatible.

On the one hand, there is a specific scientific model; biological
evolution. This model has limited scope, and that scope does not
(at present) extend to a model for the origins of life.

On the other hand, there is the general presumption of
methodological naturalism in science, and there is an active
research program into processes which may have been involved
in the origins of life. This research program, like all of
science, does not invoke interventions from a deity as a
useful process to explain an existing form, and there are no
evidential traces from the past of any discrete intervention
into the natural order. The boundaries between biological
evolution and the processes proposed in abiogenesis models is
a fuzzy one.

> Claiming "that process could not have occured without
> intervention by a deity" is argument from incredulity.

Quite right. As TomS is fond of pointing out, it is really
hard to get advocates of this kind of discrete interventionist
model for creation to express a mental picture of the actual
events taking place during the intervention. If we could see
the intervention; what would we observe happening?

Cheers -- Chris

Mike Dunford

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 4:11:43 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am4kl9$2jpsp$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

>
> "Bjoern Feuerbacher" <feuerba...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de>
> wrote in message
> news:3D85CDFE...@thphys.uni-heidelberg.de...
>> Apparently, neither you nor he have yet realized that he isn't
>> talking about evolution, but abiogenesis...
>
> I know that insistence on this distinction has long been a
> popular debating tactic here on t.o., but I have always found it
> difficult to understand what the point of it is supposed to be.

That's odd, since the point seems fairly obvious to me.

Abiogenesis and evolution are clearly related to each other, as they
are to the other historical sciences, including geology and
cosmology. Taken together, these sciences provide a compelling
description of development of the universe, including the earth and
ourselves, via natural processes. At the same time, however, it is
important to note that the overall picture is made up of a number of
separate elements, and in most cases the validity of one element does
not depend on the validity of the others.

At least in principle, we could discover tomorrow that abiogenesis is
a complete and utter impossibility, and that life must have begun
supernaturally, without this (hypothetical) discovery having the
slightest effect on the theory of evolution. In fact, we could (again
hypothetically) discover that some external force was definitely
involved in the evolution of life on earth without this hypothetical
discovery impacting abiogenesis.

Science has revealed a universe which has been and is being shaped by
natural processes at every level, but it should not be forgotten that
this conclusion was arrived at by investigation, not assumption. At
least in principle, any step of the scientific investigation of the
history of the universe, whether in cosmology, geology, or biology,
could have revealed that something had happened that was contrary to
natural law. The fact that this has not happened is probably
significant to other fields than science, but I will leave the
philosophers and theologians to discuss whether the scientific
conclusions indicate the absence of a creator, or merely the absence
of one sloppy enough to leave fingerprints on the canvas.

[rest snipped]

--Mike Dunford
--
You ask: what is the meaning or purpose of life? I can only answer
with another question: do you think we are wise enough to read God's
mind?
--Freeman Dyson

Steve LaBonne

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 4:21:43 PM9/16/02
to

"Mike Dunford" <mdun...@hawaii.rr.com> wrote in message
news:Xns928B55397B...@66.75.162.198...

> At least in principle, we could discover tomorrow that abiogenesis is
> a complete and utter impossibility, and that life must have begun
> supernaturally, without this (hypothetical) discovery having the
> slightest effect on the theory of evolution. In fact, we could (again
> hypothetically) discover that some external force was definitely
> involved in the evolution of life on earth without this hypothetical
> discovery impacting abiogenesis.

This is precisely what I deny, as a matter of scientific methodology. Once
you allow the supernatural in, you cannot prevent it from being used as a
handy explanation for anything. That's why insisting too strongly on a
sharp demarcation, which does not really exist (since, as Chris has
explained very well, the boundary is actually fuzzy), between evolution and
abiogenesis, is a poor tactic even for the purpose of debating creationists.


Chris Ho-Stuart

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 4:56:08 PM9/16/02
to

I'd like to focus in on Mike's speculative hypothesis -- which
I appreciate he is not actually advocating.

The major problem is: *how* could we could discover that
abiogenesis is an impossibility? It is really hard to make
sense of that. We might be able to show that certain proposed
mechanisms fail as explanations and must be discarded, and in
principles I can accept that we might not ever actually find
an adequate model.

But what kind of scientific methodology could ever under any
circumstances show that it is not possible to have any natural
model for abiogenesis?

Here is a specific speculation. Suppose that somehow we discover
a way of tracing directly the existence of complex organic
molecules in the past. Suppose this imagined techique reveals
that there was a time at which these molecules were very localised
to one region, and before that no traces of such molecules have
been found. Suppose also that further study of this location
reveals within a small area of roughly a square kilometer:
+ traces of shock marks in the rocks
+ unusual concentrations of the decay products of known
radioative decay chains
+ fragments of extremly pure crystals of some metalic alloys,
always in close proximity to strage carbon nanotubes (like
graphite rolled into a tube) not ever seen elsewhere in nature.
+ indications that the earliest traces of the complex molecules
have spread out from this site over a short period of time
(some years).

I would take this as strong empirical evidence for some form
of panspermia.

But I can't think what kind of evidence would rule out
"natural" processes (in which I include space aliens) and
leave only the supernatural remaining.

Cheers -- Chris

R. Baldwin

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 5:44:29 PM9/16/02
to
"Chris Ho-Stuart" <host...@sky.fit.qut.edu.au> wrote in message
news:3d86...@news.qut.edu.au...

It is never possible to rule out natural processes. If we posit
observable supernatural events, they are by definition discrepant with
observable natural events. Otherwise, they are not observably distinct
from natural events. When a discrepant event is observed, one may
hypothesize (a) it resulted from a natural process not yet understood,
(b) the observation was faulty, or (c) it resulted from a supernatural
cause. Of these three hypotheses (a) is testable if the discrepant
event can be repeated or corroborating data found, but is otherwise
untestable; (b) is testable if evidence of faulty method or fraud can
be found, but is otherwise untestable; and (c) is not testable at all.
Supernatural phenomena (if they exist) are indistinguishable from
natural phenomena that are not understood, or from bad or fraudulent
data. Investigation of supernatural behavior (if it exists) is
therefore off-limits to science.

Mike Dunford

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 6:07:20 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
news:am5ebk$2tn1s$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de:

> "Mike Dunford" <mdun...@hawaii.rr.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns928B55397B...@66.75.162.198...
>> At least in principle, we could discover tomorrow that
>> abiogenesis is a complete and utter impossibility, and that
>> life must have begun supernaturally, without this
>> (hypothetical) discovery having the slightest effect on the
>> theory of evolution. In fact, we could (again hypothetically)
>> discover that some external force was definitely involved in
>> the evolution of life on earth without this hypothetical
>> discovery impacting abiogenesis.
>
> This is precisely what I deny, as a matter of scientific
> methodology.

I don't see how any type of conclusion could a priori be excluded,
and I can conceive at least in principle of evidence which might
strongly indicate that something abnormal had taken place. For
example, if a massive worldwide flood was really responsible for the
deposition of most of the fossiliferous rocks, we would expect to see
all sorts of physical evidence for such an event -- huge vertical
expanses of conglomerates, fossil succession strictly determined by
hydrological properties, etc. Likewise, if each species were
specially created, we would not expect to see a great deal of what we
do see -- twin nested hierarchies, DNA similarities, common genetic
code, etc.

Creationists are unscientific not because they dare to assume that
supernatural events have taken place, but because they insist that
certain events have taken place, and reject anything that indicates
otherwise as a matter of principle. Their conclusions are assumed,
and are untestable. For similar reasons the assumption that no
supernatural events have taken place cannot be held as an absolute
certainty, at least not if you want to do good science. Any
hypothesis which can be tested, no matter how insane, falls within
the realm of science. Refusing to allow a testable hypothesis to be
considered when tests are possible and realistic is poor scientific
practice no matter what the reason.

> Once you allow the supernatural in, you cannot
> prevent it from being used as a handy explanation for anything.

I think that there is an important distinction that needs to be made
here between assumed declarations of faith, god-of-the-gaps
arguments, and other untestable invocations of the supernatural, and
testable hypotheses which happen to invoke supernatural events. Like
any other untestable explanation, supernatural untestable
explanations should not be (and are not) considered in science. They
are unacceptable, however, because they are untestable, not merely
because they are supernatural. I would agree that untestable
explanations of any type are not scientific. On the other hand, there
is really no way to exclude testable hypotheses of any type from
investigation.

> That's why insisting too strongly on a sharp demarcation, which
> does not really exist (since, as Chris has explained very well,
> the boundary is actually fuzzy), between evolution and
> abiogenesis, is a poor tactic even for the purpose of debating
> creationists.

The mere fact that the boundary is actually fuzzy is itself a point
in favor of a natural explanation for the origin of life, but that is
also something that we have concluded as a result of investigation
rather than assuming ahead of time. And, while the exact boundary
where life begins is a blurry line, that does not change the simple
fact that abiogenesis is not a prerequisite for common descent.

--Mike Dunford
--
Your theory is crazy, but it's not crazy enough to be true.
--Niels Bohr

Atomic Squirrel

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 6:09:38 PM9/16/02
to

"Joe Cummings" <joseph....@wanadoo.fr> wrote in message > Does he give
you these arguments from behind a screen? <snip>

I kinda feel like I'm in the emerald city here reading something by the
great and powerful Oz.
squirrel

Atomic Squirrel

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 6:11:54 PM9/16/02
to
darn... can't believe i did the unoriginal thing again.
squirrel.
"Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com>wrote
> "Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain . . ."


Mike Dunford

unread,
Sep 16, 2002, 6:35:20 PM9/16/02
to
Chris Ho-Stuart <host...@sky.fit.qut.edu.au> wrote in
news:3d86...@news.qut.edu.au:

> Steve LaBonne <labo...@lycos.com> wrote:
>> "Mike Dunford" <mdun...@hawaii.rr.com> wrote in message
>> news:Xns928B55397B...@66.75.162.198...
>>
>>> At least in principle, we could discover tomorrow that
>>> abiogenesis is a complete and utter impossibility, and
>>> that life must have begun supernaturally, without this
>>> (hypothetical) discovery having the slightest effect on the
>>> theory of evolution. In fact, we could (again hypothetically)
>>> discover that some external force was definitely involved
>>> in the evolution of life on earth without this hypothetical
>>> discovery impacting abiogenesis.

[snip]

> I'd like to focus in on Mike's speculative hypothesis -- which
> I appreciate he is not actually advocating.
>
> The major problem is: *how* could we could discover that
> abiogenesis is an impossibility? It is really hard to make
> sense of that. We might be able to show that certain proposed
> mechanisms fail as explanations and must be discarded, and in
> principles I can accept that we might not ever actually find
> an adequate model.

To be honest, I didn't really put a lot of thought into "how", since
I didn't really consider any specifics to be all that important to
the basic point I was trying to make. (That common descent driven by
natural selection, or just about any other mechanism does not require
abiogenesis.) I also probably did not express myself quite as well as
I might have -- I do understand that you cannot absolutely exclude a
natural explanation any more than you can absolutely exclude a
supernatural one. I should have instead said that we might in
principle discover evidence that strongly suggests a supernatural
origin for life.

There are areas other than abiogenesis, however, where hypotheses
involving supernatural events are more readily testable. Deluge
geology is one example, and in fact the deluge was tested and
rejected fairly early in the history of the science. Common descent
is another, any many people have provided hypothetical lines of
evidence which might refute common descent there.

> But what kind of scientific methodology could ever under any
> circumstances show that it is not possible to have any natural
> model for abiogenesis?

I can think of some "in principle" types of observation which might
strongly argue in favor of a supernatural origin of some type, but I
can't think of any which have not already been refuted. For example,
if early investigations had revealed that all complex organic
molecules are extremely unstable in environments outside the cell
under all environmental conditions tested, that might argue strongly
against a natural origin of life on earth. Again, though, I was more
concerned with the principle of the thing than with specifics.

[snip of panspermia example]

> But I can't think what kind of evidence would rule out
> "natural" processes (in which I include space aliens) and
> leave only the supernatural remaining.

For what it's worth, I'm having a hard time as well, probably because
I don't expect to find real evidence of the supernatural any more
than you do.

--Mike Dunford
--
If it looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, we have at least to
consider the possibility that we have a small aquatic bird of the
family anatidae on our hands.
--Douglas Adams

Jeff Lanam

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Sep 16, 2002, 7:16:47 PM9/16/02
to
On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 18:25:58 +0000 (UTC), the evil clone of "Boikat"
<boi...@bellsloth.net> emitted:

>> In my lab experiements I have found agreement with this statement.
>> Ergo, naturalistic abiogenesis is bunk.
>
>"Lab experiments"? Please post, in detail, the experiment you attempted.
>
>Boikat
>
>> Erik


He heated up a can of Campbell's Primordial Soup and nothing
crawled out.

Pechvarry

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Sep 16, 2002, 7:24:48 PM9/16/02
to
joseph....@wanadoo.fr (Joe Cummings) wrote in message news:<3d85902c...@news.wanadoo.fr>...

> On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 03:28:31 +0000 (UTC), "Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com>
> wrote:
>
> >The original author was relayed the messages received from this board
> >regarding his argument. Here is his second argument regarding his statement:
> >------------------------
>
> Does he give you these arguments from behind a screen? Or
> when wearing some kind of veil ? Perhaps a mask ?

Yes, all the while fending off Toto with his one free foot ...

Pechvarry

Pechvarry

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Sep 16, 2002, 7:22:23 PM9/16/02
to
Mark VandeWettering <wett...@attbi.com> wrote in message news:<slrnaoajbi.1...@keck.vandewettering.net>...

> In article <rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>, Haelyn wrote:
>
> > Does the below statement prove Evolution false?
> > -------------------------------------------------
> > Evolution cannot be true because amino acids and nucleic acids do not
> > spontaneously polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a living
> > thing, much less one which can reproduce.
>
> Really? How do they form?

Well, *obviously* the Big Vindictive Prick In The Sky just waved his
hand and willed it to be so. Now, isn't that so much more logical?

Duh ...

;)

Pechvarry

David Jensen

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Sep 16, 2002, 8:21:47 PM9/16/02
to
On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 18:53:28 +0000 (UTC), in talk.origins
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in
<am5965$2t5ql$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de>:

I don't think that a supernatural origin of life is likely, but I don't
see how _evolution_ provides any information about it.

Stephen LaBonne

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:22:35 PM9/16/02
to
in article n6tcou0hp9ogt9foi...@4ax.com, David Jensen at
da...@dajensen-family.com wrote on 9/16/02 8:21 PM:

My point is a practical one, best made by turning your formulation around:
to accept the possibility of supernatural intervention in the origin of life
is to make it impossible to defend methodological naturalism in the context
of the ToE. Once the genie is out of the bottle, good luck getting Dembski,
Behe & co. to let you stuff him back in.

Cirbryn

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Sep 16, 2002, 9:38:33 PM9/16/02
to
"Steve LaBonne" <labo...@lycos.com> wrote in message news:<am4ro5$2l816$1...@ID-158910.news.dfncis.de>...

> "Eric Gill" <eric...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
> news:Xns928B610B4362D...@24.28.95.190...
> > Funny- everyone in T.O., including several working biologists, seems to
> > have missed this ground-breaking work. You have references, of course?
>
> Yet another inaccurate statement. Have you actually examined the references
> in the t.o. faqs on abiogensis?
> Here are two examples of what I mean by competing theories: 1) RNA as the
> first replicator; 2) inorganic substances (like Cairns-Smith's clays) as the
> first replicators. Moreover, there is plenty of theoretical work on how an
> intial, simple self-replicating molecule could have led to more complex
> replicators. And Darwinian principles are very much the key to that work.
>
> Again, I obviously do not dispute that the details of the earliest stages of
> life will almost certainly always be far more uncertain than the details of
> later stages of evolution. I do not, however, see "two different fields"
> here; the history of life is a continuum. Nor can I allow that one could
> consistently accept the natural occurence of biological evolution while
> believing that the origin of the whole process is supernatural- that could
> only be theologically motivated wishful thinking, not science. As I already
> said, I will not willingly cut scientific inquiry in the origin of life

> loose, merely in order to facilitate the scoring of debating points agaisnt
> creationists. Note that panspermia is not really an alternative theory at
> all- it merely moves the problem somewhere else.

It sounds to me as if you are a philosophical naturalist and most or
your responders are methodological naturalists. It's a good example of
the differences. You're suggesting we can assume abiogenesis did not
occur due to supernatural means. I would argue we have no evidence to
support that, but that inquiries into supernatural origin are likely
to be a waste of time since 1) they are unlikely to explain how
abiogenesis occurred, (such "explanations" tend to focus on who
created life rather than how), and 2) they are unlikely to yield
testable conclusions. The limited testability of the naturalistic
hypotheses we do have, however, (such as RNA or clay as the first
replicators)reasonably leads to a much lower degree of confidence in
the truth of any of these hypotheses as compared to the theory of
evolution. That is a very good reason for continuing to aknowledge
that abiogenesis and evolution are different things.

Boikat

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Sep 17, 2002, 1:15:23 AM9/17/02
to

"Jeff Lanam" <jeff.lana...@compaq.com> wrote in message
news:3d866585...@news.compaq.com...

Oh? Did he read the instructions on the lable? "Perculate for 100,000
years or more in an ocean full of organic compounds.." I think not!

Boikat
>


4nobletruths

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Sep 17, 2002, 6:58:45 AM9/17/02
to
"Boikat" <boi...@bellsloth.net> wrote in message news:<UDyh9.51841$AY5.23...@e3500-atl1.usenetserver.com>...

> "Jeff Lanam" <jeff.lana...@compaq.com> wrote in message
> news:3d866585...@news.compaq.com...
> > On Mon, 16 Sep 2002 18:25:58 +0000 (UTC), the evil clone of "Boikat"
> > <boi...@bellsloth.net> emitted:
> >
> > >> In my lab experiements I have found agreement with this statement.
> > >> Ergo, naturalistic abiogenesis is bunk.
> > >
> > >"Lab experiments"? Please post, in detail, the experiment you attempted.
> > >
> > >Boikat
> > >
> > >> Erik
> >
> >
> > He heated up a can of Campbell's Primordial Soup and nothing
> > crawled out.
>
He never even got the can open: I found it shoved in the back of
the pantry all dented up from a hammer or something. He wasn't able
to figure out how to use the goddam can opener.

catshark

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Sep 17, 2002, 7:22:44 AM9/17/02
to
"Atomic Squirrel" <merwi...@hotmail.nospam.com> wrote in message news:<7Esh9.76758$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>...

Don't worry about it . . . I don't. ;-)

So little of what is said in usenet (especially of the "snide" sort)
is original, that when I find someone has beaten me to the punch, I
pass on with a blithe wave of the hand and (at most) a "great minds
work alike" . . .

---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

If nothing else, at least now I've
learned how to spell "blithering"!

catshark

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Sep 17, 2002, 7:40:34 AM9/17/02
to
Stephen LaBonne <slab...@earthlink.net> wrote in message news:<B9ABFBE8.C27C%slab...@earthlink.net>...

But, on the other hand, an attitude like yours is precisely what the
IDers complain of and is more grist for their mill.

Methodological naturalism isn't so much a philosophy of science that
needs defending, as it is a recognition that naturalistic *evidence*
is the only evidence available to objective study by humans. The
problem with ID, from a scientific standpoint, isn't that they are
presenting evidence that science cannot deal with but that they aren't
presenting evidence at all, just metaphysical argument tricked out in
scientific garb. If they were able to present evidence, then science
should have to deal with it.

---------------
J. Pieret
---------------

Science, as a practice, process, or institution,
has no metaphysics other than the assumption
that if you can measure it you can study it . . .

- John Wilkins -

Steve LaBonne

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Sep 17, 2002, 9:02:15 AM9/17/02
to

"catshark" <catsh...@yahoo.com> wrote in message
news:273ab496.02091...@posting.google.com...

> Methodological naturalism isn't so much a philosophy of science that
> needs defending, as it is a recognition that naturalistic *evidence*
> is the only evidence available to objective study by humans. The
> problem with ID, from a scientific standpoint, isn't that they are
> presenting evidence that science cannot deal with but that they aren't
> presenting evidence at all, just metaphysical argument tricked out in
> scientific garb. If they were able to present evidence, then science
> should have to deal with it.

But of course they haven't, can't and won't. Meanwhile, as far as
abiogenesis is concerned, real scientific results are being generated at an
increasing rate. It's time to stop apologizing for extending methodological
naturalism to abiogenesis in a forthright and uncompromising way. Do you
really think the C'sits will be appeased if we refrain from doing so? Quite
the contrary, they see such compromises as a sign of weakness and
irresolution, and are emboldened to press their attack all the harder.


Steve LaBonne

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Sep 17, 2002, 9:17:02 AM9/17/02
to

"Cirbryn" <glen...@planet-save.com> wrote in message
news:4751b8a3.02091...@posting.google.com...

> It sounds to me as if you are a philosophical naturalist and most or
> your responders are methodological naturalists. It's a good example of
> the differences. You're suggesting we can assume abiogenesis did not
> occur due to supernatural means. I would argue we have no evidence to
> support that, but that inquiries into supernatural origin are likely
> to be a waste of time since 1) they are unlikely to explain how
> abiogenesis occurred, (such "explanations" tend to focus on who
> created life rather than how), and 2) they are unlikely to yield
> testable conclusions. The limited testability of the naturalistic
> hypotheses we do have, however, (such as RNA or clay as the first
> replicators)reasonably leads to a much lower degree of confidence in
> the truth of any of these hypotheses as compared to the theory of
> evolution. That is a very good reason for continuing to aknowledge
> that abiogenesis and evolution are different things.

You are correct that I am a "philosophical" (i..e. metaphysical) naturalist.
However, the scientific study of possible abiogenetic pathways is now
sufficiently advanced to provide every reason for the purely methodological
naturalist also to insist on a naturalistic stance toward the study of
abiogenesis. At this stage of the game, given the difficulty of
reconstructing actual pathways, I would even count it as a strength (kind of
like redundant engineering) that there are several viable candidates for
simple replicators that might have formed spontaneously. And theoretical
studies of how things could have progressed beyond that initial point have
also made much headway (and being thoroughly Darwinian in approach, they
also provide a strong connection to the rest of evolutionary theory.) We're
making headway- this is no time to abandon ship.

I conclude that there is no good reason to offer creationists a loophole by
allowing for the possibility of supernatural intervention in the origin of
life, while trying to continue to insist on a naturalistic explanation for
everything that happened later. Moreover, as a purely tactical move in the
combat against their influence, I consider it to be a mistake. As the first
sentence in this paragraph suggests, it's tantamount to closing the barn
door after the horse is gone.


Erik

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Sep 17, 2002, 10:32:45 AM9/17/02
to
"Boikat" <boi...@bellsloth.net> wrote in message news:<Y6ph9.48499$AY5.19...@e3500-atl1.usenetserver.com>...
> "Erik" <nilger...@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:c2563a5e.0209...@posting.google.com...
> > "Haelyn" <je...@jvlnet.com> wrote in message
> news:<rz8h9.50250$z91.2...@bin3.nnrp.aus1.giganews.com>...

> > > Does the below statement prove Evolution false?
> > > -------------------------------------------------
> > > Evolution cannot be true because amino acids and nucleic acids do not
> > > spontaneously polymerize into the shapes and chains needed to form a
> living
> > > thing, much less one which can reproduce. It is ridiculous to believe a
> > > non-spontaneous process can happen spontaneously without an outside
> > > influence. Furthermore, the chemical soup necessary to allow either one
> to
> > > have enough acids to begin forming a chain could not also have the
> chemical
> > > makeup to have a membrane form, again spontaneously, around such DNA and
> > > proteins.
> > > -------------------------------------------------
> > > If it is, or not, let me know why, or why not. =)
> > > - Josh

> >
> > In my lab experiements I have found agreement with this statement.
> > Ergo, naturalistic abiogenesis is bunk.
>
> "Lab experiments"? Please post, in detail, the experiment you attempted.
>

No problem. A while ago, I put some water into a pot. I added
proteins, amino acids and myriad other building blocks of life. I then
electrically charged the soup and let it sit for a very long time to
see if anything developed. The electricity was a means to jump start
the catalyst. I repeated with salt water to see if there would be a
difference.

I then took slides of the results and used a microscope to determine
if there was anything in the soup. Alas, in both cases nothing living
was in the soup.

Erik

Wayne Bagguley

unread,
Sep 17, 2002, 10:46:35 AM9/17/02