Collective Cluelessness

No, this isn’t a post about TSZ. It’s about how to get abiogenesis without a designer and how to build a nanocar.

We have no idea how the basic set of molecules, carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins, were made and how they could have coupled in proper sequences, and then transformed into the ordered assemblies until there was the construction of a complex biological system, and eventually to that first cell. Nobody has any idea on how this was done when using our commonly understood mechanisms of chemical science. Those that say that they understand are generally wholly uninformed regarding chemical synthesis.

“Those that say oh this is well worked out, they know nothing, nothing, about chemical synthesis. Nothing.”

From a synthetic chemical perspective, neither I nor any of my colleagues can fathom a prebiotic molecular route to construction of a complex system. We cannot even figure out the prebiotic routes to the basic building blocks of life: carbohydrates, nucleic acids, lipids and proteins. Chemists are collectively bewildered. Hence I say that no chemist understands prebiotic synthesis of the requisite building blocks let alone their assembly into a complex system. That’s how cluelss we are.

“Nobody understand this. So if your professors say it’s all worked out, your teachers say it’s all worked out, they don’t know what they are talking about. It is not worked out.”

Given our current level of knowledge, the claim that life arose by naturalistic means must surely qualify as an extraordinary claim. A claim for which not only is there not extraordinary evidence, but a claim for which there is no objective empirical evidence whatsoever. You may as well claim to believe in magic. Sure, let’s be skeptical. You first.

265 thoughts on “Collective Cluelessness

  1. GlenDavidson:
    . . .
    So fine, be skeptical of skepticism.If you’re really interested in finding out things, though, you end up using “scientific skepticism” to find things out, while disregarding what can’t be backed up with observation.That’s because science with its skeptical questioning reliably produces practical knowledge, while religious dogmas and presuppostions do not.

    Or, as Dawkins put it:

  2. petrushka: I’m skeptical of skepticism of skepticism. Does that count?

    Hmm, not until you provide enough evidence… so show me the molecules

  3. If you design and operate biological programs like nature designs and operates them, then….

    they will work, bitches!!!

    leave your non-teleological mythology at home for this one.

  4. Oh, and this longish quote is worth reading, too!

    “We know many ways that molecules could possibly have been made in natural environments but we’re just monday quaterbacking it. But its not just that. we don’t even have the imagination for how these molecules could have actually integrated and interacted in a natural step-wise fashion. That’s why we don’t even bother to bring that subject up. The ridicule would be just too much!”

    –anonymous (for obvious reasons) supporter of non-teleological evolution

    Rumraket:
    Ahh, the great thread of quoted opinions.

    “We know many ways the molecules of life could be made in natural environments” – me

  5. Steve: –anonymous (for obvious reasons)

    What, cowardice? And yes, lack of imagination has always been one of your sides problems.

    An old man in the sky did it? Sounds reasonable to you…

  6. TSZ is called The Skeptical Zone as much for people who are s(c)eptical of mainstream science as those who are sceptical of religion/ID.

  7. Mung: Do you think people should be skeptical then, about a naturalistic origin of life?

    No, they shouldn’t be skeptical about a natural origin of life. Because there is evidence for a natural origin of life. Evidence that indicates it was the result of a natural process, rather than design by an intelligent super-being. I have already told you what that evidence is, twice. In this very thread.

    And because the history of science and human discovery is one long, seemingly endless series of total and utter defeats for supernaturalism and overwhelming victories by naturalism. At every level the history tells us we will just discover more natural processes rather than divine interventions.

    It’s like coming to a horse race with a horse that’s won a hundred million races againts the same horse, on countless different terrains, yet insisting we should be skeptical that the horse that won a hundred million times previously will lose on this new unknown terrain. Nothing rationally merits that skepticism.

    And agian, we have actual evidence that it was a natural process. That doesn’t mean we know how it originated in any detail. We know next to nothing about it, other than it was a natural process. The evidence is small. But it is evidence nevertheless, and the alternative you believe on blind religious faith, has zero.

  8. Steve:
    If you design and operate biological programs like nature designs and operates them, then….

    they will work, bitches!!!

    leave your non-teleological mythology at home for this one.

    If humans design lawn sprinklers that water the yard, that shows rain clouds must be intelligently designed too.

    Great logic their Steve. Ignore the snickering all around you.

  9. Adapa: If humans design lawn sprinklers that water the yard, that shows rain clouds must be intelligently designed too.

    Great logic their Steve.Ignore the snickering all around you.

    Yeah, but in a closer analogy, we dig ditches and canals that do work like rivers.

    Which proves that the gods dug the rivers.

    The logic is just impeccable–for ID, that is.

    Glen Davidson

  10. Steve:
    If you design and operate biological programs like nature designs and operates them, then….

    they will work, bitches!!!

    leave your non-teleological mythology at home for this one.

    Except that you have no designs and can’t actually demonstrate any kind of designing activity. It’s the ol’ creationist equivocation: point to an object and say, “look! Design!” But saying that is just begging the question.

    Objects are not “designs”. Some objects might be the product of a design (or in other terms, a plan for development), but that’s not the same thing. The only way to know that some object was actually the product of some design is either to show the plan or the development process. That’s it. To point to anything biological and claim there must have been a design is to simply beg the question or ignore what design actually means.

    In other words, claiming that biological designs “work” is just simply an empty claim because you and all other creations have no actual way of showing that anything biological has anything to do with design or programming or any sort of teleological activity.

  11. I think of it as a plausible path to RNA. That’s the way I see it. Once you had RNA, well then it should be easy, relatively speaking. Evolution could do its thing. Cells would get together and form multi-celled creatures. But RNA was a pretty important spot to get to, and there are probably lots of plausible paths. But so far we don’t even have one plausible path.

    – James Simons

  12. Suzan Mazur: How long have scientists been working on the protocell?

    Albert Libchaber: About 10 years. But for me biology is a branch of physics which arrived through the possibility that the code is there, through the genetic code that will be followed by self-reproduction. When you have self-reproduction everything is exponential. You double and double and double. So in a very short time you multiply enormously. You are then out of physics. Self-reproduction is a new concept. That is what may have happened. We try to understand this concept in a minimal cell.

    Albert Libchaber: For me the idea is: Can I understand self-reproduction? This and the genetic code are the two essential aspects of biology.

    Code? What code?

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