Can Evolution be possible if Entropy is true; or rather, is Evolution possible because Entropy is true!

So what is Entropy?

To follow in the tradition of Maimonides. Entropy is NOT a tendency to disorder! I need to thank Joe Felsenstein for directing me to Frank L. Lambert’s insights on a previous thread probably best left alone. Here is a great site to elucidate Lambert’s insights:

http://entropysite.oxy.edu/

What about Evolution? Can complex systems arise naturally and spontaneously into higher tiers of complexity and order and opportunity—according to the Second Law of Thermodynamics— and all without divine intervention commonly described as Intelligent Design or Irreducible Complexity?

Sean Carroll has much to offer on this question:

Entropy and Complexity, Cause and Effect, Life and Time

Participants should refrain from arc-reflex boiler-plate diatribes echoing previously held opinion and first examine what Carroll has to say. Failure to do so will merit cyber-smack downs.

312 thoughts on “Can Evolution be possible if Entropy is true; or rather, is Evolution possible because Entropy is true!

  1. Entropy,

    You seemed confused about current circumstances. Are you telling me that, instead of looking at my answer to Salvador, you were mixing current circumstances with imagined closer-to-origin-of-life ones to try and imagine a “problem” with the origin-of-life circumstances?

    Current circumstances is all the real data we have. Closer to origin of life is pure speculation. Currently there is a living cell in the lab with 473 genes. As far as I can tell this cell can convert energy to work and self replicate.

    I will stipulate your argument for homochirality without enzymes is valid. The question is how far does this get you to a real OOL explanation?

  2. colewd:
    Entropy,
    Current circumstances is all the real data we have.Closer to origin of life is pure speculation.

    Sure. Given that, if somebody can speculate negatively, I can speculate positively, right?

    colewd:
    Currently there is a living cell in the lab with 473 genes. As far as I can tell this cell can convert energy to work and self replicate.

    I think there’s somewhere new record, but I see no point in using life-as-we-know-it, however minimal in number of genes, etc, to then assume that life could not have been different billions of years ago, let alone at the beginning, and close to the beginning. Surely it could not have been like any nowadays cells. That would be just ridiculous. I mean, billions of years ago! I mean, closer to origin of life stuff!

    colewd: I will stipulate your argument for homochirality without enzymes is valid. The question is how far does this get you to a real OOL explanation?

    I don’t think this leads anywhere close to a real explanation about the origin of life. I don’t know if Salvador’s speculation about racemic mixtures represents anything that happened back then. All I know is that for his imaginary scenario, there’s lots of potential solutions.

  3. Entropy,

    I think there’s somewhere new record, but I see no point in using life-as-we-know-it, however minimal in number of genes, etc, to then assume that life could not have been different billions of years ago, let alone at the beginning, and close to the beginning. Surely it could not have been like any nowadays cells. That would be just ridiculous. I mean, billions of years ago! I mean, closer to origin of life stuff!

    Craig Vetner’s experiment is not life as we know it but a reduced set of genes. There is lots of speculation on OOL but at some point you need to validate that speculation. The idea that it started simpler then what we see is based on not being able to imagine how that complexity can arrive in one fell swoop, Was life different 2 billion years ago? Perhaps. Was it simpler?

    This is a very hard question because it probably needs to be to support the hypothesis of an inside space time origin however the data so far does not support the existence of a simple self replicating cell. All the functional sequences, the repair mechanisms, transcription, translation all appear to be required for this function.

    Once you make this journey to the first cell the challenge continues with the first eukaryotic cell that is capable of supporting multicellular life. There are several uber complex features here that are not common to prokaryotic cells.

  4. colewd:
    Entropy,
    There is lots of speculation on OOL but at some point you need to validate that speculation

    I agree.

    colewd:
    The idea that it started simpler then what we see is based on not being able to imagine how that complexity can arrive in one fell swoop,

    Well, actually, there’s some work on complexity that has suggested something of a “sudden” crossing of a threshold that would jump from a loosely connected network of chemistries, to a suddenly interconnected complex system. This thing comes from studies on complexity, and gave rise to something called “metabolism first.” Seems like a rich area of research on one possibility for the origin of life. However, I’m not sure that such thing would be as complex as today’s life.

    Too much work to do, but that seems one way in which we have understood that a complex system might arise in one swoop.

    colewd:
    Was life different 2 billion years ago? Perhaps.Was it simpler?

    Two billion years ago, it must have been different, but it seems it was already the kind of life we see today. Only microbes seem to have existed back then. For origin of life, you must go farther back.

    colewd:
    All the functional sequences, the repair mechanisms, transcription, translation all appear to be required for this function.

    For life-as-we-know-it, sure. For primitive life, I doubt it. I don’t see why we should allow the limitations of life-as-we-know-it to hinder our attempts at understanding how life could have originated.

    colewd:
    Once you make this journey to the first cell the challenge continues with the first eukaryotic cell that is capable of supporting multicellular life. There are several uber complex features here that are not common to prokaryotic cells.

    There’s lots of features in prokaryotes that are not common in the eukaryotic cells either. I’m not expecting everything eukaryotes have to exist in prokaryotes, and I’m not expecting everything that exists in prokaryotes to be in eukaryotes. Life diverges after all. It’s called evolution.

    Anyway. Sure, there’s a lot to figure out, there’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to test, there’s a lot to study. I doubt that we can easily figure out how life started exactly. I think that, at some point in the future, we will have several potential routes, but that we will have trouble figuring out which one, if any of them, might have been the route for the origin of life in our planet. Too much time since the events mean little hope to finding evidence. I don’t know if this will be solved during my lifetime though.

  5. Entropy,

    Well, actually, there’s some work on complexity that has suggested something of a “sudden” crossing of a threshold that would jump from a loosely connected network of chemistries, to a suddenly interconnected complex system. This thing comes from studies on complexity, and gave rise to something called “metabolism first.” Seems like a rich area of research on one possibility for the origin of life. However, I’m not sure that such thing would be as complex as today’s life.

    Yes I have heard of the metabolism first hypothesis. At some point we know that the transcription translation mechanism arose that included functional DNA sequences, transfer RNA’s, ATP production, DNA repair, transcription factors, a ribosome, amino acid and other small molecule synthesis. The big question in my mind is if reliable cell replication is possible with a system that does not includes these functions. In order to validate the simple to complex model this needs to be demonstrated.

  6. colewd: The big question in my mind is if reliable cell replication is possible with a system that does not includes these functions

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible. Life must have started at some point. It’s not possible that it started as-we-see-it-today. So, whatever the steps, it cannot have been as-we-know-it.

    Cell replication, though, is particularly easy. If we had reactions occurring in compartments consisting of enveloping amphipathic molecules, their splitting into two “cells” seems a rather easy and straightforward event to expect. For example, some works show that micelles tend to divide if they grow much more than some sizes where they become unstable. Also dependent on how many amphipathic molecules are in the system. If these molecules were produced by the “cell,” replication would occur by a mere envelope-crowding effect.

  7. Entropy,

    I don’t see why it wouldn’t be possible. Life must have started at some point. It’s not possible that it started as-we-see-it-today. So, whatever the steps, it cannot have been as-we-know-it.

    I agree that it is not possible that life started as-we-see-it-today if it indeed started inside our space time without intelligent intervention. I don’t think we can assume that it is true that life started inside our space time solely by matter plus the 4 forces. Right now there is very little positive evidence supporting this.

    Cell replication, though, is particularly easy. If we had reactions occurring in compartments consisting of enveloping amphipathic molecules, their splitting into two “cells” seems a rather easy and straightforward event to expect. For example, some works show that micelles tend to divide if they grow much more than some sizes where they become unstable. Also dependent on how many amphipathic molecules are in the system. If these molecules were produced by the “cell,” replication would occur by a mere envelope-crowding effect.

    I don’t think you are describing cell replication here as micelles are light years away from functioning cells. I think we should discuss a definition of a cell. We may be far apart here. For instance if a metabolism formed solely from chemicals and the laws of physics how would that system then replicate?

  8. colewd:
    Entropy,
    I agree that it is not possible that life started as-we-see-it-today if it indeed started inside our space time without intelligent intervention

    Again with that weird “inside our spacetime” thing. Anyway, what makes you think that “intelligent intervention” is even an option? Aren’t we alive? Aren’t we, thus, descendants of the original life forms? Since intelligence is part of at least one life form, then the origin of life cannot have been through intelligent intervention, that would be a contradiction of terms.

    colewd:
    .I don’t think we can assume that it is true that life started inside our space time solely by matter plus the 4 forces.Right now there is very little positive evidence supporting this.

    Whatever physical reality might be, at the most basic level, we can certainly assume that life started within our spacetime, by the physical/chemical processes that exist in it.

    Contemplating other “spacetimes” and “forces outside this spacetime” requires quite a bit of things beyond anybody’s reach. If you are so adamantly skeptical of our physical reality to be able to sustain an origin of life, then you should be much more, but truly much much much more, skeptical against invoking things that nobody can even begin to test, like multiverses and how they could intervene in ours, and such. So, I see no reason to invoke such things, let alone those self-defeating “other intelligences.”

    colewd:
    I don’t think you are describing cell replication here as micelles are light years away from functioning cells.I think we should discuss a definition of a cell. We may be far apart here. For instance if a metabolism formed solely from chemicals and the laws of physics how would that system then replicate?

    I didn’t say micelles, I said chemical systems enveloped in primitive “membranes” made of amphipathic molecules. The micelles experiments show how easily those would divide and replicate.

  9. Entropy,

    Since intelligence is part of at least one life form, then the origin of life cannot have been through intelligent intervention, that would be a contradiction of terms.

    I am not sure why you think this is a contradiction. I think the universe is a result of intelligent creation which includes origin of matter the four forces and life. I don’t know if life could have spontaneously emerged but that would be the result of the incredible properties of matter which I believe are the result of a design intelligence. If you don’t believe the universe is the result of intelligence that is fine but it is your opinion.

    Contemplating other “spacetimes” and “forces outside this spacetime” requires quite a bit of things beyond anybody’s reach. If you are so adamantly skeptical of our physical reality to be able to sustain an origin of life, then you should be much more, but truly much much much more, skeptical against invoking things that nobody can even begin to test, like multiverses and how they could intervene in ours, and such. So, I see no reason to invoke such things, let alone those self-defeating “other intelligences.”

    I think the evidence for origin of life strongly leans toward to an outside space-time event. There is no evidence that your simple to complex model works for living systems. Based on the data we are observing all we see is complex. I understand your speculation and am interested in your ideas here but at this point you have very little going for your hypothesis and a mountain of contradictory evidence. It is entirely possible and at this point likely that the origin of life is not comprehensible from our perspective. I would say the same thing for the origin of the eukaryotic cell.

    I didn’t say micelles, I said chemical systems enveloped in primitive “membranes” made of amphipathic molecules. The micelles experiments show how easily those would divide and replicate.

    I think the problem here is that the cell needs to be defined. As a minimum you need to replicate molecules that can rapidly catalyze reactions. This pushes you toward the ability to rapidly organize sequences and a way to reliably store and repair them. Pretty soon you are looking at a bacteria that we have in the lab. Life in its minimum form is probably uber complex technology.

  10. colewd:
    Entropy,
    I am not sure why you think this is a contradiction.

    I was very clear. Any intelligence you can point to is alive. Therefore, any intelligence you can point to would be descendant of the first life form. So, proposing an intelligence created life is a contradiction of terms. Intelligent beings are alive. If an intelligent being made life, then wasn’t it alive?

    colewd:
    I think the universe is a result of intelligent creation which includes origin of matter the four forces and life. I don’t know if life could have spontaneously emerged

    Well, we’re here discussing it, therefore it must have emerged. Otherwise we could not be here discussing it.

    colewd:
    but that would be the result of the incredible properties of matter which I believe are the result of a design intelligence.

    So, religious beliefs? Let me understand then, for something like life emerging on its own, you are adamantly skeptical, but for some religious beliefs, your standards go way down to none at all? Interesting.

    colewd:
    If you don’t believe the universe is the result of intelligence that is fine but it is your opinion.

    It’s not my opinion. I have better standards, both scientific and philosophical, than you.

    colewd:
    I think the evidence for origin of life strongly leans toward to an outside space-time event.

    What evidence? If you relied on evidence, then you’d have to admit to the contradiction of terms about an “intelligence” creating life, and you’d see that proposing that everything was made by an intelligence would result in the impossibility to prove it, since there would be nothing to contrast intelligence-made stuff against.

    colewd:
    There is no evidence that your simple to complex model works for living systems. Based on the data we are observing all we see is complex.

    Of course there is. There’s tons of data on self-organizing chemistries, on complexity build up, on chemical behaviours, on molecules that can act both as catalysts and as replicators, etc. Not perfectly connected, but lots and lots of evidence. If that wasn’t enough, life today doesn’t require magic to sustain itself and grow, to transform non-living materials into life. All on their own. So, there’s no reason to think that the first life could not have originated naturally.

    colewd:
    I understand your speculation and am interested in your ideas here but at this point you have very little going for your hypothesis and a mountain of contradictory evidence.

    Did you bite your tongue?

    colewd:
    It is entirely possible and at this point likely that the origin of life is not comprehensible from our perspective. I would say the same thing for the origin of the eukaryotic cell.

    I think it’s comprehensible, only not yet solved. As I said, eons must have erased most of the evidence, but we are bound to have many potential routes for life’s origin.

    colewd:
    I think the problem here is that the cell needs to be defined.

    That’s not how things work. We define the problem, not the cell. We have to acknowledge that cells must have been simpler, and thus, we have to accept whatever nature throws at us and live with it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like a cell to be primitive and their membranes be less coherent, more micelle-like, etc. What matters is that such kinds of beginnings are plausible.

    colewd:
    As a minimum you need to replicate molecules that can rapidly catalyze reactions.

    Catalyse reactions. Period. Rapidly, slowly, doesn’t matter, as long as they can do the initial jobs.

    colewd:
    This pushes you toward the ability to rapidly organize sequences and a way to reliably store and repair them.

    Nah. Life today has a use for all of that. Initial life must have been quite flexible. Errors could have been compensated by numbers, etc.

    colewd:
    Pretty soon you are looking at a bacteria that we have in the lab. Life in its minimum form is probably uber complex technology.

    As we know it today. But simpler replicators require much less complexity than today’s life forms.

    I think that the problem is that you make up problems in your mind, and then you don’t know how to think yourself out of something you already made up.

    I don’t know how life started, but I doubt that the answer will be in some philosophically and scientifically faulty answer, like, “since we cannot figure it out, and since we can make up requirements in order to reject any proposals, then some magical being(s) did it.”

  11. Mung: Isn’t that true by definition?

    Yep. True by definition. I’m pointing to the obvious because some people just have to see it in black-and-white, or they won’t get it.

  12. Interesting exchange… bringing me back to a salient point posed by Entropy near the beginning of this thread

    From one POV Entropy (the thermodynamic concept) can be regarded as a measure of increasing complexity as time progresses – evolution is the flip side of the Entropy-Coin

    … and over the eons, the simpler versions of life wiere necessarily supplanted by more complex and more successful descendants leaving behind little if any evidence of how the sequence from simpler to more complex in fact ensued

    Yet… footsteps in the sands of time endure! Catalysis was mentioned: and I remind everyone, the mother of all enzymes , the mother of all Ribozymes is RNA… the Ribosome

    Not to mention Riboswitches which for various reasons herald back to an RNA World

    Tipping my hat to Jack Szostak, the origin of Protolife is most certainly NOT shoe-horned into one or another alternate of some arbitrary dichotomy… either Metaboliism First vs RNA World… these two are not mutually exclusive.

    (Just recently an elegant experiment indicated longer RNAs are preferentially incorporated into the equivalent of deep sea vent abiotic micro-cells)

    Evolution proceeds by selection advantage, even at the abiotic molecular level. If some form of primitive ancestor to today’s Riboswitches gave an incremental advantage to some deep sea vent compartment à la “Metabolism First” … we would be well along the trajectory to Life emerging from abiotic beginnings

  13. Entropy,

    I was very clear. Any intelligence you can point to is alive. Therefore, any intelligence you can point to would be descendant of the first life form.

    How about intelligence that I can’t point to 🙂

    Well, we’re here discussing it, therefore it must have emerged. Otherwise we could not be here discussing it.

    We both agree it emerged. The issue is how.

    So, religious beliefs? Let me understand then, for something like life emerging on its own, you are adamantly skeptical, but for some religious beliefs, your standards go way down to none at all? Interesting.

    Inductive reasoning can be used for both science and religion. Science cannot explain everything as we communicate here. What is the basis of your belief that everything we see occurred inside our universe?

    It’s not my opinion. I have better standards, both scientific and philosophical, than you.

    Again, your opinion. Your science standards are leading you to invest in assumptions that are not empirically validated. I don’t see any standards to your method of investment. You claim that life must have been simpler. How have you established this is a working hypothesis worth investing in?

    Catalyse reactions. Period. Rapidly, slowly, doesn’t matter, as long as they can do the initial jobs.

    At what level of reaction do you get a sustainable improvement process?

    Nah. Life today has a use for all of that. Initial life must have been quite flexible. Errors could have been compensated by numbers, etc.

    I think you are contradicting yourself here. How are you going to get numbers without reliable self replication? Chicken meet egg 🙂

    I don’t know how life started, but I doubt that the answer will be in some philosophically and scientifically faulty answer, like, “since we cannot figure it out, and since we can make up requirements in order to reject any proposals, then some magical being(s) did it.”

    You are going to have to define the requirements to know what you are up against. You need to catalyze reactions rapidly enough to get a complex set of molecules to reliably self replicate and sustain survival in the environment. To make your hypothesis feasible you need to demonstrate this is possible. At this point no one is close. We have no idea how the genetic information currently in the form of DNA might arise.

  14. colewd: What is the basis of your belief that everything we see occurred inside our universe?

    What is the basis for your belief that everything we see occurred without the intervention of the Greek gods?

    Why don’t you ever ask the right questions, like whether or not you have justification for your preferred causes? Well, I guess I know why, it’s because you don’t.

    Glen Davidson

  15. TomMueller,

    … and over the eons, the simpler versions of life wiere necessarily supplanted by more complex and more successful descendants leaving behind little if any evidence of how the sequence from simpler to more complex in fact ensued

    So your challenge is to re create this in the lab since you lack historical evidence. Lenski did this with bacteria and got citrate consumption in an aerobic environment with a few mutations over 30 years of e coli replication. Replication was sustained now with the removal of glucose from the environment. A silent transporter gene (in an aerobic environment) that existed was enabled by a gene duplication. What was not observed over the 30 years was the generation of a new catalyst or enzyme.

    How do you replicate this type of experiment with molecules? Why would you expect the molecules to maintain a level of consistency to make this possible?

  16. colewd:
    TomMueller,

    So your challenge is to re create this in the lab since you lack historical evidence.Lenski did this with bacteria and got citrate consumption in an aerobic environment with a few mutations over 30 years of e coli replication.Replication was sustained now with the removal of glucose from the environment. A silent transporter gene (in an aerobic environment) that existed was enabled by a gene duplication.What was not observed over the 30 years was the generation of a new catalyst or enzyme.

    How do you replicate this type of experiment with molecules?Why would you expect the molecules to maintain a level of consistency to make this possible?

    You are worse than my beginning students!!!

    Could you please rephrase your question without once invoking the pronoun “this”?!

    Your fuzzy thinking will be more apparent that way

  17. colewd: I think you are contradicting yourself here. How are you going to get numbers without reliable self replication? Chicken meet egg

    Consider a replicator that produces 1 copy per second for 1 minute and then stops. That’s 60 copies per minute for a total of 60 copies. Imagine only 1 out of 60 copies is viable on average. The population in this example would be 1 on average, but would die probably die out at some point. Now if instead of 60 copies per minute it can produce 600 copies per minute, you have enough numbers to overcome the poor 1 out of 60 replicating efficiency.

  18. TomMueller,

    You are worse than my beginning students!!!

    Could you please rephrase your question without once invoking the pronoun “this”?!

    Your fuzzy thinking will be more apparent that way

    Sure. How would you expect non living molecules to maintain the consistency required to evolve new capability as observed in the Lenski experiment.

    The Lenski experiment was a product of reliable self replication. How can you get any system improvement without reliable self replication?

    Lets see if you can answer without invoking a logical fallacy.

  19. TomMueller: From one POV Entropy (the thermodynamic concept) can be regarded as a measure of increasing complexity as time progresses – evolution is the flip side of the Entropy-Coin

    Nonsense.

    … and over the eons, the simpler versions of life wiere necessarily supplanted by more complex and more successful descendants leaving behind little if any evidence of how the sequence from simpler to more complex in fact ensued

    How convenient. I guess you just gotta believe.

  20. TomMueller: Evolution proceeds by selection advantage, even at the abiotic molecular level. If some form of primitive ancestor to today’s Riboswitches gave an incremental advantage to some deep sea vent compartment à la “Metabolism First” … we would be well along the trajectory to Life emerging from abiotic beginnings

    Self-replicating deep sea vent compartments. Aren’t you the least bit skeptical?

  21. dazz: Consider a replicator that produces 1 copy per second for 1 minute and then stops.

    Did it stop because it got tired? Bored?

    Just because you can imagine something that doesn’t make it plausible.

  22. Mung: Did it stop because it got tired? Bored?

    Just because you can imagine something that doesn’t make it plausible.

    And today’s fallacy is….

    moving the goalposts, proudly brought to you by Mung

  23. colewd:
    Entropy,
    How about intelligence that I can’t point to 🙂

    Then you’d have no basis for your “hypothesis.” But I knew that already. 😁

    colewd:
    Inductive reasoning can be used for both science and religion.

    Sure, and you don’t seem to have done good use of that reasoning.

    colewd:
    Science cannot explain everything as we communicate here.

    That science might not be able to explain everything doesn’t mean that religion is an option. You’re demonstrating my point: your standards are pretty low when it comes to religion.

    colewd:
    What is the basis of your belief that everything we see occurred inside our universe?

    That we’re talking about life in our planet. It’s hard enough to imagine how it could have started by influences from outside of our Solar System, for it to be influenced by things outside our universe seems rather a ridiculous proposition. Do you understand how huge our universe is?

    Weren’t you the one who’s adamantly against speculation, yet you want to speculate that far?!

    colewd:
    Again, your opinion.

    Maybe, but, if so, an opinion informed by higher scientific and philosophical standards than yours.

    colewd:
    Your science standards are leading you to invest in assumptions that are not empirically validated. I don’t see any standards to your method of investment. You claim that life must have been simpler. How have you established this is a working hypothesis worth investing in?

    Not empirically validated? You didn’t read my comments very carefully, did you? Either that or you have a very short memory. Check them again, please.

    colewd:
    I think you are contradicting yourself here.How are you going to get numbers without reliable self replication? Chicken meet egg 🙂

    Easy, by having not-so-reliable, but abundant, replication. If enough replicas come well, even if most come out bad, evolution can proceed. Chicken meet oven. 😀

    colewd:
    You are going to have to define the requirements to know what you are up against. You need to catalyze reactions rapidly enough to get a complex set of molecules to reliably self replicate and sustain survival in the environment. To make your hypothesis feasible you need to demonstrate this is possible. At this point no one is close. We have no idea how the genetic information currently in the form of DNA might arise.

    Many things have been tested and shown to work. Check my comments again. Many avenues. Lots still to do, but I really don’t see any problems.

    P.S. Not only that, I see no reason to think that we should consider something other than nature.

  24. Mung:
    How convenient.

    No Mung. How inconvenient. I’d like it better if evidence wasn’t lost. But time is time.

    Mung:
    I guess you just gotta believe.

    If you despise your religious inclinations so much, why do you hold to them?

  25. Entropy,

    Sure, and you don’t seem to have done good use of that reasoning.

    So far in this discussion I would have to agree with you. 🙂

    Not empirically validated? You didn’t read my comments very carefully, did you? Either that or you have a very short memory. Check them again, please.

    If you think you have empirically validated that life has a natural origin I hope you invite me to Sweden next year for your Nobel prize ceremony 🙂

    Easy, by having not-so-reliable, but abundant, replication. If enough replicas come well, even if most come out bad, evolution can proceed. Chicken meet oven.

    Explain how a group of sequentially arranged nucleic or amino acids that function will maintain a functional sequence with inaccurate replication? Chicken not ready for oven yet 🙂

    Many things have been tested and shown to work. Check my comments again. Many avenues. Lots still to do, but I really don’t see any problems.

    Said Butch to Sundance at the end of the movie 🙂

  26. colewd:
    Entropy,
    If you think you have empirically validated that life has a natural origin I hope you invite me to Sweden next year for your Nobel prize ceremony 🙂

    That life had a natural origin doesn’t need to be validated cloewd. If you think there’s something else to try, like something outside this universe, you need to provide your empirical evidence. Have you measured those phenomena from outside our universe? How do they differ from those in ours? How do those phenomena communicate with our universe? How do we go about testing them? Why shouldn’t we explore what’s around us, our planet’s chemistries and physics, before starting some crazy exploration like that?

    I mentioned evidence for avenues to the origin of life. That they happen to be about natural origins is obvious, what else would they be? I talked about the complexity studies showing that loosely connected chemistries can become chemical systems, I mentioned molecules that can do both, catalysis and carriers of the hereditary information (Tom mentioned RNA as one example above), I talked about how micelles can easily break in two, thus allowing us to infer how cell duplication could have happened in a chemical system surrounded by a primitive membrane formed of amphipathic molecules. I mentioned experiments on self-replicating chemistries. There’s much more, but I haven’t studied it much. Anyway, as I said, I think that we will end up with lots of possible scenarios, and a huge difficulty deciding which of them, if any of them, was the one followed in our planet.

    colewd:
    Explain how a group of sequentially arranged nucleic or amino acids that function will maintain a functional sequence with inaccurate replication? Chicken not ready for oven yet 🙂

    My answer is already there. Why do you guys work so hard to avoid reading for comprehension? Here it goers again: if many many many were produced, some would be good products even if most were not. Those few would suffice for evolution to carry on. Clear now? No? Well, think about it much more carefully.

    The chicken is already cooked. 😁

  27. Entropy: The chicken is already cooked.

    And Bill is almost half baked.

    Let me inform you that no matter how many times you explain something to Bill, he will just keep parroting the same stupid stuff as if it never happened

  28. Entropy,

    That life had a natural origin doesn’t need to be validated cloewd. If you think there’s something else to try, like something outside this universe, you need to provide your empirical evidence. Have you measured those phenomena from outside our universe? How do they differ from those in ours? How do those phenomena communicate with our universe? How do we go about testing them? Why shouldn’t we explore what’s around us, our planet’s chemistries and physics, before starting some crazy exploration like that?

    If life having a completely natural origin is an a priori assumption you want to make that is fine. Your point is valid that we cannot test anything outside our natural universe. I am skeptical of your view but respect your conviction.

    My answer is already there. Why do you guys work so hard to avoid reading for comprehension? Here it goers again: if many many many were produced, some would be good products even if most were not. Those few would suffice for evolution to carry on. Clear now? No? Well, think about it much more carefully.

    From my perspective I understand your view here but like the case Dazz made I don’t believe it properly addresses the challenges you are facing with a low accuracy replicator. In the RNA world hypothesis do you know how RNA is copied? Do you know how long RNA stays in tact after synthesis? Do you know the order of the nucleotides determine its function? Do you know how many ways there are to arrange an RNA sequence of 100 nucleic acids?

  29. colewd:
    Entropy,
    If life having a completely natural origin is an a priori assumption you want to make that is fine. Your point is valid that we cannot test anything outside our natural universe. I am skeptical of your view but respect your conviction.

    [Emphasis mine] It’s not that I want to make that assumption, it’s that I cannot make any other assumption.

    colewd:
    From my perspective I understand your view here but like the case Dazz made I don’t believe it properly addresses the challenges you are facing with a low accuracy replicator.

    Of course it does. I suspect that, when you say “low accuracy,” you mean “completely random,” as if you cannot imagine an imperfect replicator that still gets some things right. Remember, for example, that RNA and DNA copies work well in part because the pairing of nucleotides. So, an imperfect replication might make some mistakes, but not everything will be mistakes for “chemical-geometrical” reasons. So, if sufficient numbers are produced, then some are bound to be good replicas, some will be better replicas, and, perhaps most, will be crap. Doesn’t matter because the good ones can continue. The ones evolving better replication accuracies will outnumber the least good ones, etc. Evolution in action baby.

    colewd:
    In the RNA world hypothesis do you know how RNA is copied? Do you know how long RNA stays in tact after synthesis? Do you know the order of the nucleotides determine its function? Do you know how many ways there are to arrange an RNA sequence of 100 nucleic acids?

    Well, Jack Szostak has made several experiments on RNA evolution, and he has gotten some pretty results. RNAs that copy RNAs, RNAs that catalyst other reactions, etc. That tells me that RNA might work. I’m not saying that the first replicators were RNA, maybe other things were. What I’m saying is that avenues exist. That experiments show how things might have worked, etc.

    Do you really not see that your standards are abysmally different when it comes to nature, compared to when it comes to “outside our universe”?

    Have a great day.

  30. colewd: Explain how a group of sequentially arranged nucleic or amino acids that function will maintain a functional sequence with inaccurate replication?

    The problem here is your statement is too sweeping, broad and vague to be testable. How inaccurate is “inaccurate” replication? One error in a hundred nucleotides? One error in one thousand? One error in seven thousand? One error in a hundred million?

    There’s a pretty large difference between all of those. At what point does it become “inaccurate”?

  31. colewd: If life having a completely natural origin is an a priori assumption you want to make that is fine.

    Not that I think “natural origin” is really the point, it is true that one only has warrant to use observable causes, rather than to simply make up stuff like “intelligence that I can’t point to,” pretending that this is a meaningful explanation for anything.

    Your point is valid that we cannot test anything outside our natural universe. I am skeptical of your view but respect your conviction.

    No you don’t, or you’d actually respond with some sort of evidence for what you say rather than trying to turn around the “burden of proof” in a manner that avoids any kind of obligation you have to provide evidence for what you say. You constantly pretend that made-up causes are epistemologically equivalent to observed processes, preferring the made-up causes because they have fabulous powers while observed processes are rather less capable.

    You prefer fables because the causes invoked in them are more fabulous than are real causes in realistic scenarios. You simply want the fabulous rather than the real.

    Glen Davidson

  32. colewd: You claim that life must have been simpler. How have you established this is a working hypothesis worth investing in?

    While the origin of life is obscure, we have evidence that evolution has resulted in increasing complexity in organisms, we have evidence of branching descent pointing to a universal common ancestor, we have evidence of evolution before the universal common ancestor, and we have plausible evidence of prebiotic chemistry, including replicators.

  33. colewd: Many things have been tested and shown to work. Check my comments again. Many avenues. Lots still to do, but I really don’t see any problems.

    Said Butch to Sundance at the end of the movie 🙂

    The line is “ Oh Good.For a moment there, I thought we were in trouble.

    I guess creationists represent the Bolivian Army in your analogy.

  34. newton,

    I guess creationists represent the Bolivian Army in your analogy.

    No, the Bolivian Army is the mile of crap you have to weed through to evolve a OOL simple to complex “just so” story. I don’t think life is possible without accurate replication i.e. in the parts per billion error rate. Without repair the environment destroys nucleotides.

    I think the transcription translation mechanism is much more accurately describes as a designed system then as a result of step by step random changes. I realize this explanation is limited as Entropy elegantly states..

  35. colewd: I don’t think life is possible without accurate replication i.e. in the parts per billion error rate.

    Why? Try to go more into detail about why.

  36. Rumraket,

    Why? Try to go more into detail about why.

    Because of exactly what you showed in your simulation. If you took your simulation out to 10 generations you would see sizable breakdown in the sequences. Imagine the Lenski experiment with DNA repair disabled over years of reproduction. I would expect the bacteria metabolism to break down and kill the organism due to enzyme failure.

    Lets back up to the RNA world where replication accuracy is 1% and lifetimes are between 2 and 10 minutes. These replication errors are going to cascade through the population until the molecule becomes non functional. This is just the beginning of the nightmare of trying to tie all this to a functioning transcription translation mechanism.

  37. colewd: No, the Bolivian Army is the mile of crap you have to weed through to evolve a OOL simple to complex “just so” story.

    It seems odd to me you would have any objection to a “ just so” story, I guess as long as your version of God is a character in the story it is ok.

    And nature and natural laws , which you believe were created and designed by the same God, are purposely, since it does not seem logically impossible evolutionary mechanisms could exist, designed to require an unknown amount of unknown intervention. Kind of a messy design.

    I don’t think life is possible without accurate replication i.e. in the parts per billion error rate. Without repair the environment destroys nucleotides.

    Why is there any error rate at all if the system was designed by an omnipotent and omniscient being? What is the design purpose in designing such fragile nucleotides?

    I think the transcription translation mechanism is much more accurately describes as a designed system then as a result of step by step random changes. I realize this explanation is limited as Entropy elegantly states..

    Since you are not a biologist or work in the field, I assume, your beliefs are not dependent on the same criteria as a working biologists.

  38. colewd: Because of exactly what you showed in your simulation. If you took your simulation out to 10 generations you would see sizable breakdown in the sequences.

    First of all my “simulation” had unrealistically small genomes, with unrealistically high mutation rates. And no selection. It was an example I made by hand with the unrealistic values it had because it was easier to do by hand. If I had to use realistic values, it would have been weeks of work to make up very long DNA sequences and copy and mutate them without having some sort of software to do it for me.

    You are right though that, if those were the genome-sizes and mutation rates that had been at work in real biology, no living system could be expected to persist for long. The problem is here is that I don’t think we have any good reason to think that such genome sizes and mutation rates were ever in effect. But you do, and I wonder why.

    Imagine the Lenski experiment with DNA repair disabled over years of reproduction. I would expect the bacteria metabolism to break down and kill the organism due to enzyme failure.

    You know that the hypermutator lineages (there are several) in the Lenski experiment have suffered deactivating mutations in one of their DNA repair pathways? And have in fact been going on for years without showing any reduction in overall rate of fitness gain.

    Even more problematic for your intutions here, is that in the hypermutator lineages, the elevated mutation rate due to defective DNA repair, has still evolved closer to the normal mutation rate. In other words, through random mutation and selection, a way of compensating for a broken DNA repair pathway, has evolved. Independently. Several times.

    I’ve told you this before on this forum. Here are the posts.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/common-design-vs-common-descent/comment-page-24/#comment-194092.
    http://theskepticalzone.com/wp/common-design-vs-common-descent/comment-page-25/#comment-194096.

    I’m sorry to quote a silly movie here, but in a way the character Malcolm in Jurassic Park was right when he said “Life… uh… finds a way”.

    Lets back up to the RNA world where replication accuracy is 1% and lifetimes are between 2 and 10 minutes.

    Thanks, now we’re getting so some meat on this argument.

    So first of all why do you think replication accuracy in an RNA world is 1%? Where does this 1% number come from?

  39. Rumraket: So first of all why do you think replication accuracy in an RNA world is 1%? Where does this 1% number come from?

    From ignoring my comment about how DNA and RNA replicate against template, complementary, strands.

  40. newton,

    It seems odd to me you would have any objection to a “ just so” story, I guess as long as your version of God is a character in the story it is ok.

    I don’t have any objections to “just so” stories unless they are not masquerading as science.

    On your other comments. How much experience do you have with biological design?

  41. Rumraket: In other words, through random mutation and selection, a way of compensating for a broken DNA repair pathway, has evolved. Independently. Several times.

    Allegedly. POOF!

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