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Theories - Origin of Life

Discussion of everything related to the Theory of Evolution.

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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby awkko808 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 8:25 am

Nick7:
What we have now is “Boeing 747”; what we had at the beginning was ….. no, not even scraps, but the hydrogen molecules and the “hurricane going through them”.


Are you suggesting that complexity has arisen from dust? The problem with this is evolution - not biological evolution, but astronomical evolution - is based on the 13.5-billion year age of the universe suggested by the Big Bang Theory. This extraordinary amount of time is something called deep time and is something I don't think people can comprehend. You quoted Contact in a previous post saying that we think too much like humans, and deep time is indeed a concept that is almost unthinkable to humans.

So the way I see it, it’s a legit possibility that the order and complexity observed in our world (biology, physics, cosmology, etc.) may denote intelligence.

The problem with this is that the scientific community has no way to test this. Testability is key to science.

Sorry if I repeated anything others have said, I kind of jumped into the last few pages.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby Nick7 » Fri Dec 16, 2011 11:03 pm

awkko808 , “dust” was a figure of speech. I’ve suggested that the earthly sequence of events ( nothing->bacteria->Cambrian diversity ), viewed through the glasses of Biology, can psychologically trick one into believe that simplicity first / complexity second is some form of the universal truth. This way of thinking can lead to a belief that even the possibility of a preexistent designer-of-it-all is neither logical nor possible. I’ve suggested that (even putting aside the puzzles of abiogenesis and Cambrian explosion) the evolution itself didn’t start with nothing and is a consequence of the universal laws of nature in all their complexity and order and has to be viewed as a part of the larger picture (not as a standalone event). Therefore, if one is willing to defend the idea that the role of randomness as a “motor starter” for evolution is the only possible explanation, has to be ready to defend the idea that the complexity and order which predated the evolution and allowed the evolution to happen under the right conditions are also the result of some form of random chain of events.
When Dawkins was presented with this kinda reasoning, he said that the Universe is still waiting for its Darwin (which pretty much means that he acknowledged the reasoning, but had nothing to answer – I don’t blame him though). For example, attempts to attach some form of evolution concept to the just-right post-big-bang density of matter and amount of energy was done, but it was done on a level of ideas tossed into the mix and it’s generally understood that it has to be taken as given and it’s “beyond the domain of science”.
So… that was my argument…. Design vs randomness ideas do not offer any grounds for quantifying which one is more or less probable or likely. The incline to one of 2 options is of subjective nature.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Sat Dec 17, 2011 3:43 pm

Nick7
Design vs randomness ideas do not offer any grounds for quantifying which one is more or less probable or likely. The incline to one of 2 options is of subjective nature.


I don’t see this as a subjective option.

awkko808 is right when he emphasises that testability is key in determining the viability of any hypothesis.

A hypothesis that is testable is also by nature falsifiable.
What made Darwin’s hypothesis scientifically valid was his own stated criteria in judging what would falsify it, i.e. the fossil record.

In his day he relied on what he judged was the incompleteness of the fossil record.
However today some 150years later that judgement has really gone past it’s sell by date.

I argue that design does offer grounds for quantifying it as a viable theory.
An important characteristic of design theory is that it is goal oriented.
http://books.google.co.uk/books?hl=en&l ... esc=y#v=on
page 7

I previously set out my thoughts is the post on page 13
about14351-144.html
by scottie » Tue Jun 21, 2011 10:20 pm
Lets start with my view.
We all see functional design in the cell and no one seriously argues with that.
The question is how did this functional design come about.

My understanding is that an outside agency is responsible.

To be regarded as science then it must be falsifiable.
So once again, is this understanding falsifiable?
I answer Yes, it can be falsified, and there is nothing “secretive” about this.

Every one is aware that functional design (whether good, or not so good or even downright bad) displays itself with certain properties.
1) The function has a purpose. ( i.e. It goes from A to B with C as it’s goal )
2) Method by which that purpose is achieved. (How does it go from A to B)
3) It would not contain parts or units that had no function toward the purpose.

Therefore, falsifying this hypothesis would require that parts of the genome were non functional. Now if that was the case then that would be an argument against my hypothesis.

So, all you have to do provide evidence that any part(s) of the genome are non functional and my hypothesis is in trouble.


Six months later and to my surprise no one has come forward with the “Junk DNA” argument that ones like Dawkins and Coyne kept putting out. So it is pleasing to note that, that little piece of nonsense is being ditched.

So to me this isn’t a balance of probabilities issue.
There is sound scientific evidence to base judgments on.
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Postby JackBean » Sat Dec 17, 2011 5:54 pm

1) how exactly does the fossil record falsify the evolution?
2) junk DNA not, but what about pseudogenes or transposones? These have no function.
3) I'm looking forward for when the designer will arive again to create new species.
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

Cis or trans? That's what matters.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby wbla3335 » Sun Dec 18, 2011 2:12 am

Blind cave animals with eyes, the appendix and other vestigial structures throughout the tree of life, the tree of life itself, pathogens, inadequate DNA repair, etc., etc., etc. do not speak of a deity due much credit.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Sun Dec 18, 2011 3:40 pm

Jackbean

1) how exactly does the fossil record falsify the evolution?

Origin of Species Chapter 9
Darwins words
“Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory. The explanation lies, as I believe, in the extreme imperfection of the geological record.”
(my emphasis)

I assume you also believe, even after some 150years, in the imperfection of the fossil record as being the reason it does not support Darwin’s views.

transposones?
http://users.rcn.com/jkimball.ma.ultran ... osons.html
http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/20 ... 185538.htm

pseudogenes
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/14616058
“….pseudogenes that have been suitably investigated often exhibit functional roles, such as gene expression, gene regulation, generation of genetic (antibody, antigenic, and other) diversity. Pseudogenes are involved in gene conversion or recombination with functional genes……”


3) I'm looking forward for when the designer will arive again to create new species.

I appreciate Adolescence is a difficult time.

wbla3335
Blind cave animals with eyes, the appendix and other vestigial structures throughout the tree of life, the tree of life itself, pathogens, inadequate DNA repair, etc., etc., etc. do not speak of a deity due much credit


Is this a positive argument for Darwinian macro evolution or simply a negative one against design.?
Could you clarify please.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby JackBean » Sun Dec 18, 2011 7:06 pm

scottie wrote:
3) I'm looking forward for when the designer will arive again to create new species.

I appreciate Adolescence is a difficult time.

Really? Didn't you say that we were created about 40 thousands years ago?
http://www.biolib.cz/en/main/

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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby awkko808 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:38 am

Nick7
It seems as if you're proposing that the evolution vs ID debate is insignificant to a debate over how the universe was created. And I'd agree you with you because evolution is a "consequence of the universal laws of nature in all their complexity and order and has to be viewed as a part of the larger picture," and that in the absence of light on how the universe and its laws were established, both ID/creationism AND evolution ARE subjective - even evolution is somewhat faith-based. In the end, however, I am an evolutionist and I do support evolution because it is science-based, and I believe science trumps religion because science is dynamic, while religion is static. In a dynamic reality this only makes sense. But I think this is of a much more philosophical issue.

scottie
I am surprised that no one has proposed the junk-DNA argument. Of course there are DNA sequences with regulatory functions, but there is a large number of sequences still with no known function. As wbla3335 also pointed out, the presence of vestigialities (which include noncoding DNA) is BOTH support for macro evolution and evidence against design. As support for macro evolution, vestigialities are accommodated in the theory of evolution through descent with modification from a common ancestor. In such a process, similar structures become inherited but their function may become loss or limited due to the organism inhabiting a new niche. As a negative argument against intelligent design, this implies a wasteful, non-optimal design. If we did have an intelligent designer, why don't we have eagle eyes, so that our function of ocular acuity is maximized? I'd argue is because over time, humans, as species, have evolved to survive using methods that do not require such high ocular acuity, so it was neither appreciably selected for nor selected against, especially upon the advent of vision-aiding tools.

When you examine Darwin's note about the fossil record, you should realize he makes an appeal to science by showing the falsifiability of his theory, something you have agreed about science. Then you should consider the 150 years that has spanned since the writing of Origin. How much improvements have been made to the fossil record? Not just in the number of fossils, but in the way we interpret them. Consider the science of his time versus the science of today.

As for the fossil record, there are "imperfections," and I will attempt to explain some examples of them. The earliest metazoans (animals) were invertebrates - soft-bodied, mostly boneless animals. It is true that there are many missing links - missing fossils of 'common ancestors' - between invertebrate species from which we descended. But there are physical explanations for this: boneless, soft-bodied organisms are much less likely to fossilize as well as bony organisms would. This DOES create blanks in phylogeny, or the evolutionary relationships between species, but when we look at the wide array of support provided from other evolutionary connections, I think one can only fill in the blanks at that point. Thus, when these imperfections in the fossil record existing as blanks are filled in as interpolations, you could argue that they don't support it, but it doesn't falsify it, because evolution based on strong evidence from other evolutionary relationships provide the relation to be able to fill in those blanks. You'd have to falsify evolution that is strongly supported in the more recent episode of life.

As for considering the science of his time, you can't read Origin and believe that only the ideas of that book will apply 150 years later, because then you'd be excluding the genetic, biochemical/molecular, microbiological, and much more other sources of evidence that support evolution.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Mon Dec 19, 2011 3:32 pm

awkko808

Thanks for your input.
You have made a few interesting points.
I note in your comment to Nick7 that you recognise that
even evolution is somewhat faith-based.

Faith (belief) could rightly be classed as subjective and I have due respect for any faith.

It’s the science bit that I question.

You deal with issues that wbla3335 cited so I will take your responses as from him.
the presence of vestigialities (which include noncoding DNA) is BOTH support for macro evolution and evidence against design. As support for macro evolution, vestigialities are accommodated in the theory of evolution through descent with modification from a common ancestor. In such a process, similar structures become inherited but their function may become loss or limited due to the organism inhabiting a new niche.

Firstly
This argument applies as much to design by an outside agent as to neo Darwinian theory.
How a function came about has nothing to do with how a loss of that function occurred.

Functional loss is about information corruption
The discussion is about how function arrived not how it was lost.

Secondly.
As a negative argument against intelligent design, this implies a wasteful, non-optimal design. If we did have an intelligent designer, why don't we have eagle eyes, so that our function of ocular acuity is maximized?


This argument about non optimal design is with respect a red herring. You yourself have perhaps unwittingly acknowledged this in your further comment.

A designer will design something that will function optimally in an environment for which it is designed.

You wouldn’t argue that a turbo charged Formula 1 car designed for the race track is any more or less optimally designed that your average family neighbourhood shopping vehicle would you.

You will have perhaps noticed that I don’t preface the word design with the Intelligent adjective simply because intelligence is very subjective when used as an adjective as you yourself have demonstrated.

Please don’t misunderstand me I am not relying on mere semantics to buttress my argument. I am simply making the point that definitions in science are very important.
Design could be good, bad or ugly. Being ugly is not an argument against design.
My own personal appearance can testify to that. :)

However coming back to the vestigial point.
This has more of a problem for Darwinian Natural selection theory than you perhaps appreciate.

Professor David Dreamer of Ohio State Universityhas investigated this subject and you can find his paper entitles ENTROPY AND CAVE ANIMALS here
https://kb.osu.edu/dspace/bitstream/han ... sequence=1
This is how he commences his paper (just to whet your appetite)
It is generally accepted that these animals are descendants of eyed and pigmented ancestors. Since this trait is so widespread among cave animals, any explanation of its evolutionary mechanism must also account for its ubiquitous occurrence. A number of hypotheses have been offered but it remains something of a problem for Darwinian theory


He concludes with a proposal that has to move away from Darwinian natural selection to make a reasonable case, that interestingly can be applied to the design view as well.

wbla3335 reference to the appendix as a vestigial structure is simply becoming another one of these urban myths.
http://www.scientificamerican.com/artic ... ction-of-t

I will deal with this Junk DNA issue separately because there are many points of interest that I do feel is deserving of a separate post.
Additionally your comments on the fossil record are also worthy of a separate post.

Jackbean
Didn't you say that we were created about 40 thousands years ago?

Exactly where will you find that little piece of missinformation.
Manufacturing quotes attributed to me adds nothing to a sensible discussion.
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Postby wbla3335 » Mon Dec 19, 2011 5:03 pm

scottie

Every opinion under the sun can be found on any topic imaginable. They cannot all be true. Providing links to opinions that support your position does nothing to strengthen your position. We know you're not the only person who doesn't want to believe in evolution. I find that what is common to those who do not believe in evolution is not the failure to be convinced by the evidence (most don't bother to look at the evidence - you do, and I commend you for that) but an aversion to wanting to believe in evolution. Aversion to snakes has a biological origin. Aversion to ideas is psychological.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby scottie » Tue Dec 20, 2011 8:49 pm

wbla3335

Providing links to opinions that support your position does nothing to strengthen your position


I would argue that providing evidence from Scientific journals and peer reviewed scientific papers strengthens my position. The fact that you don’t regard this as recognisable support I find rather surprising.


Aversion to snakes has a biological origin.


This Is simply your opinion isn't it?
btw
I am a bit tied up for time so I will respond on the fossil record and junk DNA later.
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Re: Theories - Origin of Life

Postby awkko808 » Tue Dec 20, 2011 10:52 pm

scottie,
I think I understand your argument much more clearly now and I can see why you've been involved in this thread for quite a few pages. Your position on a designer of life (and perhaps the universe?) is hard to tackle because there is in fact no evidence against a designer. The complexity of the designer theory arises from the fact that any evidence for evolution and natural selection can be claimed for a designer, and evolution and natural selection themselves can be a mechanism through which a designer may operate. Going back to what Nick7 said, you'd have to dissect the laws by which the universe operates to perhaps see how the designer operates. Then we'd be able to discuss possible evidence for/against a designer. To argue over whether a designer exists or not is outside the realm of science. I think you do understand that because you are, for the most part, presenting problems with evidence for Darwinian natural selection and I acknowledge that.

Functional loss is about information corruption
The discussion is about how function arrived not how it was lost.


Functional loss AND arrival could be due to design. Functional loss and arrival could ALSO be due to natural selection, however.

You wouldn’t argue that a turbo charged Formula 1 car designed for the race track is any more or less optimally designed that your average family neighbourhood shopping vehicle would you.

My initial argument was against that of intelligent design. I wouldn't argue that a race car is any more designed than a shopping vehicle. Obviously both were designed.


Regarding my earlier comment about design, it would be a red herring depending on your perspective. I had argued against an intelligent designer, but you viewed it from a designer perspective, and in light of that my comment would in fact be fallacious. In conclusion, there seemed to be a very bad misunderstanding of your argument on my part.

It seems clear that to propose a designer would be logically correct. But science encompasses logic and empirical evidence, the latter of which I do not currently know of existing for a designer. It seems, with respect, insignificant to argue over whether a designer exists, at least with current human knowledge of the physical world.
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