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On the impossibility of abiogenesis.
in Science

By Mr_BombasticMr_Bombastic 103 Pts edited July 11
It is my contention that abiogenesis, life from lifeless chemicals, is a scientific impossibility. Can anyone refute this with science? 

A few arguments.

DNA is a language. It has an alphabet, syntax and Grammar.
language has been observed to originate from one source. Intelligent minds. There has never been an exception to this.
So, where did the language of DNA come from? Some claim that it was the result of random collisions of atoms. Does anyone really believe this? Where is the evidence for this? There is none. That's a fact.
Order cannot come from chaos. It is a scientific impossibility. DNA is ordered information. That means it was created, since it could not evolve by itself. 

Feel free to try to refute any of this.





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  • @Mr_Bombastic

    Alright. Rather than focusing on providing any specific proof regarding abiogenesis, I'm just going to focus on your argument.

    To start, by focusing entirely on DNA, you are ignoring the best-supported theories behind abiogenesis, which largely involve RNA, amino acids, and proteins. I recognize that, should any of theories end up being the reality, there is still the question of how DNA evolved from these molecules. However, the supposition of your argument is that abiogenesis is not possible because DNA could not possibly have formed before there was an entity to form it. As abiogenesis theory does not rely on DNA to have existed prior to the first potential lifeforms, you aren't really attacking abiogenesis theory with your arguments.

    Now, you say DNA is language. In a sense, it is. But, unlike any other language of which I am aware (beyond amino acids and RNA), this is formed of chemical compounds. Designing a language, at least one that is spoken and written, does indeed require a mind to design it, but a language is not formed of biochemically-derived letters. Is your argument that the nucleotides themselves could not have been made naturally, or that the order that those nucleotides took on could not possibly be natural? If it's the former, you would be challenging a lot of biochemical literature that says otherwise. If it's the latter, I'm honestly not sure where you're getting your view on this. A random assortment of letters would not be capable of being transcribed and, subsequently, translated into a functional protein. So, if a theoretical organism existed that simply used a random assortment of nucleotides for everything, it wouldn't last very long. The specific order of those nucleotides is essential for their functionality, hence an organism bearing a DNA strand capable of producing a protein product that can actually provide some benefit will keep that DNA strand, while an organism with a DNA strand that is non-functional will not. So, when you say that the specific order by which DNA actually produces its outcomes cannot come from "random collisions of atoms" (I don't know anyone who is arguing that), you're ignoring the basis upon which the basis of natural selection rests. Order comes from chaos when there are ordered systems available to manage that. Each lifeform is an ordered system, and as such, each provides a means to encourage further ordering for the sake of advancing those lifeforms.

    Remember, you're the one who's arguing that abiogenesis theory is impossible. Just posing questions regarding what you think are the limits of scientific proof doesn't stand as proof against abiogenesis. At best, you're poking holes in the theory, but you're not really challenging any of the evidence to support it, or even really attacking the theory directly. If you want to start doing that, let me know. I'd be more than happy to engage with you on the actual science.
  • AmpersandAmpersand 424 Pts
    Language is "the method of human communication, either spoken or written, consisting of the use of words in a structured and conventional way" and "a system of communication used by a particular country or community."

    DNA is therefore not a language. Even if it were your argument would then be fallacious as it would simply assume the premise of the argument even though there would be countless examples of a language being formed by non intelligent beings (e.g. bacteria's DNA).
  • searsear 45 Pts
    [quote] " Some claim that it was the result of random collisions of atoms. Does anyone really believe this? Where is the evidence for this? There is none. " MB #1 [/quote]
    There are indications.
    I'm 64. But my high school text book included information done on adding electricity to a chemical mix, which produced abundant amino acids.

     Then there's the matter of the scale of the "laboratory" involved. Earth is a PLANET! Much of Earth is covered in water, an ideal, stable medium for chemical reactions. And as the time scale we're discussing is billions of years, the more appropriate question may be, could any other explanation be more plausible?
    [quote]   one "teaspoon [of ocean water] will contain millions of bacteria, and 10's of millions of viruses. ... when we try to culture these organisms only about a tenth of a percent of them have ever grown in the laboratory. ...
    Every 200 miles, 85% of the organisms and sequences were unique to the region.
    ... each site differs from each other. But the diversity and the amount of organisms is extremely high everywhere. There's different ones that grow in the cold water of the North Atlantic, than in the South Atlantic. The Atlantic ocean is different than the Pacific ocean. ... The most important thing we found is these photo-receptors see the color of light in the region reflected by the sea water.
    In the Sargasso Sea, it's a deep indigo blue. The photo-receptors, it's like having one eye, only see blue light. You get into coastal waters, say see green light reflected off the chlorophyl. And a single letter change in the genetic code changes one amino acid in this protein, that changes the wavelength of light that these receptors see." Craig Venter, from his Global Ocean Sampling Expedition  [/quote]
  • Instead of answering you individually, I'll share this fascinating article. It's a bit long, but it would be impossible to make it brief and actually answer your questions.

    Modern science takes for granted that the naturalistic origin of life, called “abiogenesis” or “chemical evolution” or “pre-biotic evolution” is extremely improbable but not impossible. “Life” here means a single self-reproducing and self-sustaining biological cell. Science claims that life can arise from inorganic matter through natural processes. This unsupported claim is based on the conviction that all arrangements of atoms are possible and life is considered merely one such arrangement. In what follows I try to explain that such a belief is unfounded because abiogenesis is impossible in principle. My argument, expressed in its simplest form, has two main steps: (1) to show that a computer cannot be generated naturalistically; (2) to show that biological systems contain computers. From #1 and #2 I will argue the impossibility of abiogenesis.

    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/on-the-impossibility-of-abiogenesis/
  • AmpersandAmpersand 424 Pts
    You're making a straw man argument where you criticise what you imagine science says rather than what science actually says and does. If you look at a basic introductory article on the scientific basis of abiogenesis e.g. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis you can see that your claims are wrong.

    If you don't agree after reading a basic but clear synopsis, let me know and I'll explain in detail. I'm phone posting at the moment so won't get too in depth now.

  • searsear 45 Pts
    "Modern science takes for granted that the naturalistic origin of life, called “abiogenesis” or “chemical evolution” or “pre-biotic evolution” is extremely improbable but not impossible." MB

    Alright. Let's discuss probability.
    In one cubic foot of ocean water, the chance that even under primordial Earth conditions the right compounds would link, to form a molecule that could reproduce itself may seem unlikely.

    BUT !!

    a) There are a lot of cubic feet of water on Earth. Lots, & lots, & lots!

     AND !!

    b) It only takes a moment or two for the final molecule to cinch the deal.

    But there was more than a moment or two.
    More than a minute.
    More than an hour.
    More than a day.
    More than a week.
    More than a month.
    More than a year.
    More than a decade.
    More than a century.
    More than a millennium.

    In fact, multiply the time involved, times the amount of chemistry going on on Earth,

    one "teaspoon [of ocean water] will contain millions of bacteria, and 10's of millions of viruses. ..." Craig Venter, from his Global Ocean Sampling Expedition

    over millions of years ?!

    The sanity check here is that according to astrophysicists and geologists, we know about when terrestrial conditions would have supported biology.
    And according to biologists, biology in the form of stromatolites etc. appeared fairly soon after it was possible for them to do so.

    The proof of "evolution" from there is incontrovertible.

  • Mr_BombasticMr_Bombastic 103 Pts
    edited July 12
    @Ampersand

    Ok. I skimmed through it, and I didn't find one thing that can be confirmed by the scientific method. In fact,  it's nothing but speculation. Lots of maybe and might have in there too. Am I  Suppose to take this seriously?

    Here's something to think about. A DNA polymerase is something called a universal constructor. It creates proteins, and can also make copies of itself. This is something that is beyond the reach of our greatest scientists. We're  not even close. If you wish to believe that something like this is the result of blind luck, go right ahead. I'll try not to laugh too much.
  • @Mr_Bombastic

    I'll give this a read a little later, but a few things just off the top.

    One, you're the one who posted this debate, and now you're basically punting to an external source. That source may be very good and thorough, but it's like posting a 30 minute video in response to our arguments: you're basically just turning a debate into homework for us, and disengaging from it almost entirely in the process. 

    Two, much as this may be a solid source, the fact that it's posted from the website uncommondescent.com isn't particularly helpful to your case. As a website, it shows a pretty strong degree of bias towards intelligent design, and this source appears to run with that. While this doesn't mean that the source itself is flawed, it does mean that the poster had very little interest in engaging with the community he so strongly disagrees with. He's posting to an echo chamber, and that's pretty clear from the comments.

    Three, I can tell you right off the bat that this will not address all of our arguments. While I haven't read through it all yet, I have read enough to know that almost none of his argument actually engages with the biochemical evidence, he doesn't even mention selective forces, he doesn't discuss RNA, amino acids, or protein as the precursors for life as we know it, he doesn't address any of the evidence regarding assembly of nucleic acids or chains thereof, and he generally focuses on negative evidence (i.e. we have not engineered a given process in the lab) as a basis for proving a positive claim (i.e. that there is a "Great Designer" who must have made these things happen). It's largely a "God of the gaps" argument, and one that focuses largely on philosophy rather than addressing the available evidence. So, even if I were to accept all of the arguments made in this article, there would still be outstanding arguments in response to you. That's part of the problem with posting an article in response to us because, regardless of how good the article is, it could not possibly have addressed responses to your claims.
  • Here's something to think about. A DNA polymerase is something called a universal constructor. It creates proteins, and can also make copies of itself. This is something that is beyond the reach of our greatest scientists. We're  not even close. If you wish to believe that something like this is the result of blind luck, go right ahead. I'll try not to laugh too much.
    ...Where are you getting this from? Honestly, I work with DNA polymerases on a near-daily basis, and I never knew they were magical machines that could do... literally everything! DNA polymerases have, at most, three processes they can do:

    1) Synthesize DNA molecules using available deoxyribonucleotides via polymerization
    2) Remove deoxyribonucleotides via exonuclease activity
    3) Proofread the sequences they incorporate to ensure that the correct base-pairing occurs

    That's it, and enzymes that have all of these functions are large and very complex (usually called holoenzymes, which means they have all of these functions due to multiple proteins interacting, always with a set of cofactors). The basic polymerase can usually only do the first process. I know of not a single DNA polymerase that "creates proteins," nor one that can "make copies of itself." There are examples of ribozymes that can copy themselves, but to my knowledge, there is no protein that can duplicate itself. The closest thing to that is called a prion, and that is a protein that is capable of interacting with similar proteins and rearranging their structures to generate copies of itself. 
  • @whiteflame

    Definition 08: “Constructor”, an information processing device that constructs a system from parts by means of internal coded instructions.

    parts => [ constructor ] => system

    It is similar to what John von Neumann [4] called a “universal constructor ” and which, together with a controller, a duplicator and a symbolic description of the machine, are the necessary component of a self-replicating automaton. Cells are living examples of self-replicating automata. A cybernetic constructor must necessarily contain a computer within itself.

  • @whiteflame

    Definition 08: “Constructor”, an information processing device that constructs a system from parts by means of internal coded instructions.

    parts => [ constructor ] => system

    It is similar to what John von Neumann [4] called a “universal constructor ” and which, together with a controller, a duplicator and a symbolic description of the machine, are the necessary component of a self-replicating automaton. Cells are living examples of self-replicating automata. A cybernetic constructor must necessarily contain a computer within itself.

    I don’t know what among the points I’ve made above this is meant to address, but it doesn’t seem to address any of them. I didn’t talk about cells, I didn’t talk about their capacity for self-replication (though I’d say this is an oversimplification of their capacity to do so), and I haven’t yet addressed the concept of a living cell containing a computer. I’d love if you could actually respond to me instead of posting tangents.
  • Sorry about. Haven't had much sleep lately. Just read the article. It explains why abiogenesis is impossible in theory. Read in stages and make sure you understand what you've read before proceeding, since everything builds on what you've already read. The simple facts are that nature cannot create a computer by chance and necessity,  and that living systems contain computers. That's the gist of his argument. Pay carefull attention to what he says about informatics and symbolic processing.
  • @Mr_Bombastic

    ...Again, not really responsive to anything I'm saying. I've spent all of one sentence critiquing the article, and I've said I will address it in more detail later, but I have issues that I've already presented that go beyond the text. If you want to wait until you get some sleep to address those issues, that's fine, but I'd appreciate some actual responses instead of continuing to refer to the article as though it's a panacea. It's not responsive to my points.
  • @whiteflame
    But it is responsive to my points. If you can refute any of them, let me know
  • @Mr_Bombastic

    ...What does that even mean? They are your points, correct? Are you responding to your own points with the article now, or are you trying to bolster your points with the article?

    did respond to your points. You posted an article in response that did not address any of those responses. I still responded to your usage of the article, to which you also have not provided any responses. I've also addressed your views on DNA polymerases, which don't appear to be well-informed, though I haven't seen you address that either. If you don't want to address those points, that's your choice, but this is your debate. Presumably, you wanted to actually have a debate. That requires responding to each other's points. If you're just going to leave everything I've said unaddressed, then why should I bother going through an extensive article posted by someone else when you're not even going to take on any responses I give to him?
  • someone234someone234 605 Pts
    edited July 12
    Do you mean that the materials that make your body are alive?

    Cells are but it comes to a level of atoms where everything is dead. Abiogenesis is true everything, dead or alive, is made from material which is not necessarily alive itself. The first life form was made ultimately from dead material.
    Be tomorrow's hero, not today's idol.
  • @someone234

    And that is exactly what Scripture tells us.

    God formed man from the dust of the ground

    Thanks for playing.
  • MayCaesarMayCaesar 415 Pts
    "DNA is a language. It has an alphabet, syntax and Grammar."
    It does not, as far as we know. While it is possible that certain species in the Universe can speak directly through DNA formations, humans do not have such a futuristic means of communication.

    "Order cannot come from chaos. It is a scientific impossibility. DNA is ordered information. That means it was created, since it could not evolve by itself."
    Order comes from chaos and dissolutes back into chaos all the time. Not only is it not a scientific impossibility, but it is the essence of how the world works. At the core of the Sun, Hydrogen atoms constantly fuse into Helium atoms, which often break up into Hydrogen atoms again. The relative balance between order and chaos is what assures the world is neither one large atom containing all the material in the Universe, nor a large desolate space with nothing but quarks darting in random directions.
    You must be referring to the principle of increasing entropy - but the common interpretation of it as "the degree of chaos always grows" is very loose, and it does not describe what the principle really implies. What it does imply is beyond the scope of this discussion, but suffice to say for now that, for one, it only applies to the Universe as a whole, and it can be violated in the local space.

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