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« A Reformation? | Main | Italian court rules that the 7th and 10th commandments can invalidate the 9th »

Comments

fugley

Still flogging this dead horse?

Prefer the opinions of an actor to a scientist?

Dawkins is what he is, and he has a lot more credibility than anyone in ID.

ID has still not come yup with a single verifiable discovery, its all just so much hot air.

ropata

peter,
Please explain the mechanism of abiogenesis.

fugley

Who is Peter?

And what does abiogenesis have to do with the topic at hand?

Danyl Mclauchlan

Please explain the mechanism of abiogenesis.

I'd be curious to hear the ID theory behind abiogenesis. Why did the intelligent designer only pick 20 amino acids instead of 30 or 40? And why those ones? From an evolutionary perspective they make sense because they're made of abundant, easily obtainable elements, but that wouldn't be a problem if you're building your own universe.
Why did they invent the double strand break repair model of DNA synthesis, which is great for evolutionary change but terrible if you're designing from scratch. And why create all those pseudogenes and leave them switched off, so that it looks exactly as if the DNA of your intelligently designed organism has slowly accumulated genetic changes over time? That seems like a weird decision to me.

Anyone game?

ian

I don't think you've answered the question, Danyl.

Science posits abiogenesis of the first life form. A positive statement carries with it the burden of proof. Please will somebody explain the mechanism, instead of evading.

fugley

Well, I could say "god dunnit", but that would then leave me with the problem of explaining the mechanism of god.

Maybe it IS Turtles all the way down.

Abiogenesis is study of the naturalistic origins of life, and it has no bearing on evolutionary theory.

Evolution starts with the observable premise that life exists. Remember Darwin named his work "Origin of species", not Origin of life.

Whatever the origin of life, simply saying "god dunnit" without then offering an explanation of god is no answer.


david w

How about, we don't know, we have some ideas and we're working on it.

I think that is a lot more sensible than saying it's too hard so a supernatural force must have done it.

Which I'll bet dollars to donuts is something like what Dawkins said under the intense scrutiny of that guy from Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Detecting design in nature might be a valid scientific exercise (though there is no evidence to support it) but introducing the supernatural both takes us away from doing The Science and, this is one of Dawkins favourites lines of reasoning, if you explain the origin of something complex by assuming something inordinately more complex then you've actually explained nothing.

ian

Actually Fugs, no.

Abiogenesis is directly relevant to the possibility of evolution by common descent via natural selection.

Before we can know whether the claim of a common ancestor is credible, we first need to know whether life emerged in one place on the planet from one incident, or whether life arose in several areas involving several different life forms.

Because if the latter is true (and it is certainly scientifically possible) then it is quite possible we are not seeing evolution via common descent but from a range of different ancestors, in which case current evolutionary hypotheses fail.

So, again, what is the mechanism for abiogenesis, so we can clear up this "first principle" question? :)

Andrew Davies

If evolution is real why is global warming\climate change a problem?

Danyl Mclauchlan

Science posits abiogenesis of the first life form.
Intelligent design also 'posits abiogenesis' of the first life form, it merely argues that this was performed by supernatural rather than natural means.
There's no widely accepted theory as to how abiogenesis might have occurred natually but I don't see why that's a big deal. 100 years ago there was no theory to explain why earthquakes or eruptions happened but that doesn't mean that people who thought the Volcano Gods needed more virgins were correct, anymore than the current lack of a robust theory of obiogenesis means that the ID bunch are right.

And I'm still curious about the ID position on abiogenesis - shouldn't they have some sort of body of work on WHY the designer made the curious choices that they did? I would have thought that would be the entire direction of their study but a quick google of the Discovery Institute fails to turn up a single paper.

ian

[i]Science posits abiogenesis of the first life form.
Intelligent design also 'posits abiogenesis' of the first life form[/i]

No. Check the definition of abiogenesis. I think you'll find there is no mention of God in there at all, and the word defines a naturalistic principle.

From Wikipedia:
"In the natural sciences, abiogenesis, the question of the origin of life, is the study of how life on Earth might have emerged from non-life."

From iscid: "Abiogenesis is the proposal that life emerged from non-life. It can be viewed as a special form of spontaneous generation (see "The Origin of Life: Philosophical Perspectives," published in the Journal of Theoretical Biology, 1997, by Michael Ruse)."

Until the question of origin is solved, and whether there were pluralities of abiogenesis events, I'm unclear as to how evolution via common descent is established. Common descent from what?

Danyl Mclauchlan

Until the question of origin is solved, and whether there were pluralities of abiogenesis events, I'm unclear as to how evolution via common descent is established.

Well let me just set your mind at rest there Ian - while I guess its possible that many abiogenic events took place the universality of the genetic code shared by all organisms on earth is overwhelming evidence that they all descend from a common ancestor.

Say, that's another question to ask about the Intelligent Designer - why choose THAT particular coding sequence? Why does a UAG codon signal start? What does that say about the designer?

As a scientist I find it amusing that the ID movement don't seem to have the slightest interest in addressing the most obvious questions that their 'studies' raise.

fugley

Not at all Ian.

Evolution does not concern itself with the origin life, just the pathways life has taken. It begins with the acceptance that life exists.

Abiogenesis is a separate area of study.

You are insisting on a unified theory of everything.

Newton's gravitational theory also presupposed gravity and matter exist. He did not set out to explain the origin of gravity and matter, just to explain the interaction between the two.

Because neither you or I can explain something does not mean it did not occur; it simply means more study is needed.

Whereas saying "god dunnit" closes off the need for any further study.

John Boy

"Whereas saying "god dunnit" closes off the need for any further study."

Why? I would think it opened doors and led to more questions. As men and women we want to know stuff. That some stuff isn't always good for us doesn't stop us looking.

ian

Danyl, you wrote: "the universality of the genetic code shared by all organisms on earth is overwhelming evidence that they all descend from a common ancestor."

Not necessarily. If there were multiple life forms arising, and all based on nucleic acid because that's the only formula that worked, then your claim is not necessarily a valid conclusion at all.

Plus, as Ed Max has already pointed out, no firm evidential trail exists that can prove common descent, let alone with the offhand confidence you bring to the forum.

Evolutionary biology contains a lot of guesswork...often oversold as 'fact'.

ian

Ed Max at TalkOrigins has this to say about the hard evidence:

"Spetner is correct that acceptance of the NDT implies the belief that a series of successive mutations (including duplications and translocations) occurred in the evolution of an ancient primitive genome into the complex genome of a modern species. Because we can access only genomes of modern (or very recent) species, we can never obtain the direct evidence - i.e. a complete list of those mutations - that some anti-evolutionists (e.g. Behe) seem to think would be necessary to support NDT.

"In the absence of such direct evidence, it seems pointless to argue which side is "obliged" to provide what indirect evidence; certainly neither side can hope for anything close to "proof"."

So let's admit we are discussing a hypothesis, not necessarily correct.

Danyl Mclauchlan

Danyl, you wrote: "the universality of the genetic code shared by all organisms on earth is overwhelming evidence that they all descend from a common ancestor."

Not necessarily. If there were multiple life forms arising, and all based on nucleic acid because that's the only formula that worked, then your claim is not necessarily a valid conclusion at all.

Riiiight . . . I see you haven't read those introductory biology books I recommended a few months ago. You should. Check out Carl Zimmers 'Evolution' and Lynn Margulis 'Microcosmos'

"Whereas saying "god dunnit" closes off the need for any further study."

Why? I would think it opened doors and led to more questions.

Johnboy, that's actually how science got started. The original scientists were people like Newton and Kepler who decided that the best way to find out about God was by studying his creation. This tradition still exists today, but its exlemplified by guys like Francis Collins, not the Intelligent Design chumps.

ropata

Basically what we see here in this thread are a bunch of people who hate the idea of a Designer and wish to eliminate any notion of Design from science investigations. I seem to recall already answering fugley's poorly-framed demand for a "peer-reviewed paper". Have you forgotten?

fugley

No, not forgotten, just didn't find your answer to be satisfactory.

And it isn't that I, or others like me, hate the idea of a designer, we just don't see any proof of it.

For example, IF there is/was a designer, explain the why human eyesight is deficient, why other animals have better evolved eyes than Man. Or why woman, an upright walker, has a birth canal designed for a beast that walks on 4 legs, and while we're on reproduction, why are the reproductive bits combined with eliminatory bits? Don't you think an "Intelligent designer" could have shown a bit more, oh I don't know, let's say a bit more skill at design?

ropata

Yes, Kenneth Miller was wondering the same thing.

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