Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How Did Life Originate?


[E. coli, a common bacteria]

The earth formed 4.5 billion years ago. It was then bombarded with huge meteorites for 600 million years. Bacteria appeared about 4 billion years ago, or approximately just as the bombardment was ending.

The New York Times reports that according to Chris McKay, a planetary scientist at NASA’s Ames Research Laboratory in Mountain View, Calif., the rapid appearance of complex life was  “like Athena springing from the head of Zeus”. In the same article, John Sutherland, a biochemist at Cambridge University in England, said geologists and astronomers were more interested in talking and speculating about the origin of life than chemists were, even though it is basically a problem of “nitty-gritty chemistry.” The reason, he explained, is that “chemists know how hard it is.”

In fact, bacteria, although the simplest form of life, are incredibly complex. Scientists cannot begin to create a bacterium from simple chemicals and even creating a computer simulation of one E. coli has not yet been completed and will be extremely challenging.

Andrew H. Knoll the Fisher Professor of Natural History and a Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University has stated "We don't know how life started on this planet." and describes it as being a great scientific mystery.

Of course it will remain a great mystery, as long as scientists insist on denying the obvious answer: God did it.

26 comments:

Dave said...

Oy, vey, this again?

natschuster said...

They used to say it was proteins first. But that has big problems since the power of proteins comes form their convaluted shape. This makes it hard to explain how proteins could as storage fpr genetic information. Then some people tried to say it was DNA first. BUt DNA isn't all that active chemically, so it couldn't self-replicate. The consensus among scientists now is that it was RNA first. But RNA is unstable, so it wouldn't make a good storage facility for genetic material. And cytosene is unstable, which causes further problems.
And making a self-replicating RNA by chance is a pretty big problem. And getting enough Ribonucletides by preorganic processes is a big problem. So it all comes down to, "We hope to have an answer for you someday." Why are atheists allowed to say that for every problem, and theist are not?

Dave said...

Let's say I hear a strange noise in the middle of the night.
And I don't know what it came from.
And everybody I ask doesn't know either.

Since its unknown, according to your logic, it must be god.

Same with anything that we don't currently understand.

jewish philosopher said...

Let's say I find a wrist watch in the forest. I don't know where it came from. According to your logic, it must be nature made it.

natschuster said...

Dave:

The origin of life is not just unknown. It is so unlikey that it is impossible. Let's say you where walkng down the street and you saw a bunch of small molecules arrainde themselves into a cell spontaniously. Wouldn't you say it was a miracle?

Baal Habos said...

Lies. Every frum yid knows the world is around 5772 years old.

ah-pee-chorus said...

its always amusing when they trot this out. lets see....science at one time didnt know what caused rising and falling tides so theists attributed it to a special water god and later one super-god.
science couldnt explain why the sun rose and fell, so thists said that was proof that sun-god or super-god did it. same for the moon, thunder, rain, lightning etc..
and in every case the silly theists were sure that since science didnt know it must be god. and they were wrong each time. and now the same argument is offered for something science admits to not having all the answers for.
the likelihood and logic for assigning this to god is as non-existent as it was for all the other claims.

but since JP and nat are so concerned with the fact that certain aspects of the mechanism are as yet unknown, perhaps you can take me step by step through the process in which god came into being, and then each part of the process by which each thing was created. because i know how skeptical you guys are, so i'm sure if you accept the god story you must understand each and every one of the chemical processes involved.

TIA

Dave said...

Same old watchmaker analogy fallacy...

Since I am familiar with watches or other metallic machines I know that they are man made and I would not assume anything else

I have no experience with the 'manufacture' of living organisms (other than reproduction and evolution) so therefore I have no basis for inducing a 'creator'.

You should be able to do better after all these years, JP, no?

Dave said...

It occurs to me (see my comment on the previous post) that your lack of theory of mind explains a lot of your claims.

For example, in your watchmaker argument you repeatedly claim to know what a person encountering an object of unknown origin would think. But you arrive at that conclusion based on what YOU already "know" to be true.

Same with your 'Kuzari' argument.

Theory of mind requires you to have the ability to distinguish between what you are thinking and what others would know and think under various circumstances. It is a very basic human social function.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theory_of_mind

You also exhibit this remarkable lack of insight with your various claims about "evidence" of Torah and God. You attribute other people's lack of persuasion to sexual or drug problems or various other nefarious causes, which in reality, having nothing to do with how other people really think.

And when we tell you what we are really thinking you show an inability to comprehend it.

hmm...I'm not a psychologist, but this makes sense to me.

Dave said...

Another example of your problem with theory of mind:

In one of your posts (sorry, I don't know how to put links in comments) you claim that atheists don't really believe in evolution, because if they did, they would be in favor of global warming, in order to improve the species.

Eugenics has been discredited (morally and scientifically), yet you claim that believing in evolution means believing in eugenics.

Perhaps this is because if YOU believed in evolution YOU would be a eugenicist, and you can't imagine someone thinking differently.

jewish philosopher said...

"the world is around 5772 years old"

This world is.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2008/09/how-i-understand-genesis.html

"science couldnt explain why the sun rose and fell, so thists said that was proof that sun-god or super-god did it"

I think you're confusing animism and Judaism. Jews have always believed that the nature was governed by regular laws, which had been created by God.

"perhaps you can take me step by step through the process in which god came into being"

God has existed eternally.

I believe with perfect faith that G-d is first and last.

http://www.ou.org/torah/rambam.htm

Atheists have no proof that an eternal God is impossible.

"in your watchmaker argument you repeatedly claim to know what a person encountering an object of unknown origin would think"

If the object shows complexity and purposefulness, he will know that it was created by an intelligent designer.

For example, when stone age people first see modern manufactured goods they believe them to have been created by spiritual means, such as through their deities and ancestors.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cargo_cult#Causes.2C_beliefs_and_practices

However they would never consider to be spontaneous, natural objects.

"Theory of mind requires you to have the ability to distinguish between what you are thinking and what others would know and think under various circumstances."

All historical inquiry is based on certain assumptions about human nature and motives.

"You attribute other people's lack of persuasion to sexual or drug problems or various other nefarious causes, which in reality, having nothing to do with how other people really think."

As atheists make all sorts of assumptions about the evil and delusional thinking of Orthodox Jews.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/alex-pasternack/ultra-orthodox-anti-internet-rally_b_1537801.html

natschuster said...

a-pee-chorus:

I didn't say it was just unknown, I said it was impossible. That's a little different. And why is it that "we hope to have an answer for you someday" is an acceptable response for atheists, but not for theists.

Ironmistress said...

BH, by solar calendar or lunar calendar?

(ducking for cover)

Flora said...

Ironically, the answer to your question could just as easily be provided by theistic evolutionists, such as Gerald Schroeder and Rabbi Natan Slifkin, namely, that G-d created life using the mechanisms of evolution.

Would you consider me an apikores of I subscribed to theistic evolution?

Dave said...

"All historical inquiry is based on certain assumptions about human nature and motives."

And you seem to be woefully unfamiliar with them.


"If the object shows complexity and purposefulness, he will know that it was created by an intelligent designer."

And you seem to be unaware that this thought response does not occur when you see a tree or a frog, because you know they reproduce and therefore each individual organism has no "maker" but rather a parent. It is only because of your prior "knowledge" of a creator god, that you make this incorrect assumption about another person's thinking.

Did you read the theory of mind article?

"As atheists make all sorts of assumptions about the evil and delusional thinking of Orthodox Jews."


Not true. Another proof of your lack of theory of mind.

In the course of internet chat some people make inflammatory remarks, but that does not represent actual atheist thinking. Just like I know that you do not represent Orthodox thinking.

jewish philosopher said...

"Would you consider me an apikores of I subscribed to theistic evolution?"

Yes.

"And you seem to be unaware that this thought response does not occur when you see a tree or a frog"

Sure it does, and Richard Dawkins admits it does.

"The illusion of design is so successful that to this day most Americans (including, significantly, many influential and rich Americans) stubbornly refuse to believe it is an illusion. To such people, if a heart (or an eye or a bacterial flagellum) looks designed, that’s proof enough that it is designed."

http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/05-11-23/

"Just like I know that you do not represent Orthodox thinking."

You've probably never lived in any large Orthodox community.

Flora said...

Well, if you consider me an apikores, then I can give you my Hebrew name and my mother's name so you can do a Pulsa deNura on me.

Also, I give you reshus to publicize my name and slander me in public just like they did to Rabbi Slifkin. Do you want to cooperate? I am willing to be the example for all those whom you consider apikorsim.

Besides, I subscribe to many other beliefs of Modern Orthodoxy, such as:

1) Zionism is completely compatible with Judaism.
2) We descended from apes who lived millions of years ago
3) Gedolim make mistakes.

BTW, i am dead serious. If you really think it's a mitzvah to shame apikorsim, then start with me!!

Dave said...

"You've probably never lived in any large Orthodox community."

I seriously doubt that any of the orthodox or ultra-orthodox people that I know believe:

1. That atheists are going to hell
2. advocate death penalty for homosexuals
3. the science of evolution is a conspiracy theory
4. Slavery was a good thing.

Ari said...

Nat,
Simply put evrey other thing that the "We don't understand how it happens therefore god did it" argument was trotted out it in the end there turned out to be a scientific explanation. Now there is a scientific explanation for just about everything from the diversity of life to the formation of stars to weather patterns you are only left with a couple of questions on the origins of the first form of life and possibly the very beginning of the universe- and we are getting really really close to an answer to that one) I would not place my bets with the people that say that there will never be a scientific explanation for those couple of things....

ksil said...

"God did it"

thor did it
zeus did it
the flying spaghetti monster did it

all the same

can you calculate the probability on that claim? no? i bet you its smaller than the probablity of my god, evolution....

jewish philosopher said...

"I seriously doubt that any of the orthodox or ultra-orthodox people that I know believe"

I seriously doubt you're right.

"Simply put evrey other thing that the "We don't understand how it happens therefore god did it" argument was trotted out it in the end there turned out to be a scientific explanation."

Simply put, you're wrong. 20th century science has completely destroyed the 19th fairytales of atheism.

http://www.torahphilosophy.com/2011/11/science-versus-atheism.html

"all the same"

Not the same. Only God has publicly taken responsibility, at the revelation at Mount Sinai.

ksil said...

"the revelation at Mount Sinai"

LOL

you accept that bizarre, impossible claim, but not that the earth is round

natschuster said...

Dave:

I'm not so sure science is getting closer to the answers for all the questions about origins. People used to say the Universe was infinitely old. Now we know it isn't. They used to say that life was just some simple blobs of jelly. Now we know that life is incredibly complex. They are discovering more and more exquisite universal fine tuning. They used to think that once we understood how the brain works, we could understand the mind. We can now scan a brain as it works. We can trace the movements of individual neurotransmitters. But we still can't explain how a brain which is matter, can make a mind, which has characteristics of that are not of matter. And numerous attempts have been made to explain human behavior, morality, and even religion in evolutionary terms, but they don't work out so well. I see a pattern here.

jewish philosopher said...

After the Creator made us it's perfectly logical that He would tell us publicly what He wants. I'd say it's inevitable not bizarre.

But Ksil, just stick with porn. That's more on your IQ level.

Ksil said...

Back to porn again

Unbelievable

Actually, not....

jewish philosopher said...

Of course, ksil, atheism is really all about science. Science which no one can seem to find anywhere. Lol.