Sunday, December 13, 2009

"This Is Interesting"

Nothing of substance was said in atheist replies to the series of posts I did on “Where did the specific, complex information come from that is required for first life to arise on earth?”

That’s not particularly surprising since none of us specialise in this area. What is surprising to me is that no one brought up RNA replication which I thought was the latest darling in atheist origin of life mythologies. I really can’t guess as to the absence of this challenge. I was looking forward to it actually. So, being the unreasonably competitive person that I am, I’m going to pretend that someone brought it up.

Interesting that you should think RNA could be involved in early replication and the origin of life on earth. Interesting because it stands no chance of being a viable option. There are several reasons, five of which are highlighted by Stephen Meyer in his new book, “Signature in the Cell.”
1) RNA building blocks are hard to synthesize and easy to destroy
2) Ribozymes are poor substitutes for proteins
3) An RNA-based translation and coding system is implausible
4) The RNA world doesn’t explain the origin of genetic information
5) Ribozyme engineering does not simulate undirected chemical evolution

Got that? No, me neither.

My main concern over the last week or so has been the specified complexity or formulated information that is found in DNA and is necessary for life to exist. Where did it come from? Well, some atheists thought they had circumvented that problem through positing RNA self-replication which then allowed, through natural selection the development of DNA. Reality is, it can’t happen, and here’s why in language you can understand.

“If you scooped into [an enormous heap] of scrabble letters, and you flung a handful of them on the lawn there, and the letters fell into a line which contained the words, “To be or not to be, that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule, given no natural selection and there would be no natural selection, because the RNA molecule wouldn’t be functional until it attained a certain length and could copy itself.”Shapiro, as quoted in Brockman, ed., “Life: What a Concept!” 90

Do you get THAT? I hope so because it’s pretty much what destroys all atheist hopes of this mythology working; just like Chance and Predestination can’t work either.

Natural selection begins ONLY after self-replication has taken place. RNA self-replication, as you will see, did not happen prior to the information being placed into the DNA.

“Without pre biotic natural selection it appears unlikely that a self-replicating ribozyme could arise, but without some form of self-replication there is no way to conduct an evolutionary search for the first primitive self-replicating ribozyme.”
Joyce and Orgel, “Prospects for Understanding the Origin of the RNA World,” 35

Let me back up a bit. For a single-stranded RNA catalyst to create an RNA identical to itself so that it can self-replicate, it has to find a satisfactory RNA molecule close by in order to work as a template. That’s because a single-stranded RNA can’t work as both a replicase AND a template. As well, the RNA template would have to be the exact image of the replicase.

Remember “The Last Post On Chance”? Read that again and think about the odds of these two meeting up by chance. If you’re an atheist, you’re probably saying at this point, “It doesn’t matter what the odds are. It had to happen that way because here we are.”

You might want to hang on to that thought.

If - IF it actually happened, it would just make things worse. As well as the specificity needed to give the first RNA molecule a self-replicating ability, a second RNA molecule with an extremely specific sequence - one, I might add with the identical specificity as the original - would have to arise as well.

Like any of the atheists who reply here, those placing their faith in RNA bypassing the need for DNA, in order to self-replicate do not and cannot explain the origin of the specified complexity in the alleged original RNA molecule NOR in its compliment. It has been calculated by Joyce and Orgel that to have a reasonable chance of finding two complementary RNA molecules of a sufficient length to perform this function would require an “RNA Library” of 10 ^ 48 molecules.
Joyce and Orge, “Progress Toward Understanding the Origin of the RNA World” 33

In case you’re interested, the mass of that many RNA molecules would be greater than the mass of planet earth. Atheists of course are absolutely dependent on long odds to maintain their faith. Given those odds, however, the likelihood of even a primitive self-replicating system is, like Chance and Predestination, just not going to happen.

Because bias makes understanding what I’ve said almost impossible for atheists, someone will at this point say, “But natural selection . . .”

That means that I have to repeat,

Natural selection begins only AFTER self-replication has taken place. Replication happens only AFTER specified complexity is in place. Specified complexity, as we know from uniform experience only appears in the presence of or at the direction of Intelligence that has designed that complexity, OR in DNA, RNA, and Proteins.

The biggest problem, it seems to me, is that atheist researchers are so biassed against anything that isn’t naturalism they are forced to overlook the role that their OWN intelligence plays in programming their computers, formulating their algorithms, and even looking outside their box which of necessity is still within a larger naturalist box.

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”
Francis Crick, “Life Itself” 88

Research efforts have “led to a better perception of the immensity of the problem of the origin of life on earth rather than to its solution. At present, all discussion on principle theories and experiments in the field either end in a stalemate or a confession of ignorance.”
Klaus Dose, “The Origin of Life”

Atheist origin of the universe mythologies have grown to a dozen or more. I see no reason to doubt that Atheist origin of specified complexity mythologies will one day be just as long.

. We have every reason to reject Chance.

. We have every reason to reject Predestination. This is especially true since those clinging to predestination also search for the oxymoron, “A law that is able to force the production of information.”

Gorth should appreciate that one.

. We have every reason to reject protein-first theories

. We have every reason to reject DNA-first theories

. We have every reason to reject RNA-first theories

None of these atheist mythologies are able to explain the origin of the information that is needed for living cells to emerge and evolve.

So, like, thanks for all you guys who asked about RNA self-replication.

11 comments:

Ginx said...

There is no evidence that can satisfy you. What would prove any for you? Does it need to be written down over a thousand years ago?

What's more, you have no reason to care. Nothing in abiogenesis disproves God, nor do you have any theories which you deem worthy of addition to current models. You are merely trying to argue for the place of God where He is not observed.

Do you post solely because you think if you keep dismissing us long enough, you might somehow appear right? This debate is a century old, and the people on your side who have their eyes open have moved on to other debates.

Marcus Wellington said...

Less than 7 thousand years ago, GOD breathed life into some lifeless dust. And you can return to HIM if you repent. THat;s all you need to know about that.

Ginx said...

I love how creationists are offended by the idea of descending from apes, but they relish is being made of dirt.

Makarios said...

“There is no evidence that can satisfy you.”

Ginx, for goodness sake, I’m giving you flat out science.

Religion is only a secondary issue in these posts - at least as the information presented goes. How desperate must you be to even ignore the reality of science in order to hold to your faith?

I’m not giving you some “interpretation” of mine. I’m giving you the facts - period.

There are many possible answers to the question of “Where did the information come from that allowed for the origin of life.” I’m showing you, via science, that Chance, Predestination and RNA replication are not acceptable answers. There may be other answers that are not "God did it," but these three just aren't acceptable.

This isn’t my opinion Ginx. This is what anyone can know by reading what is known about DNA / RNA / proteins etc, via science.

Ginx said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8HUvTp8ZcJs

Ginx said...

No no no, this is better. Let me cast the roles:

Black Knight - Mak
King Arthuer - Evidence
Green Knight - The Bible
Patsy - Ginx

Hugo said...

@Ginx
"Black Knight - Mak
King Arthuer - Evidence
Green Knight - The Bible
Patsy - Ginx"

Being at work I won't go watch a video, but this must be the Monty Pyton clip where the black knight loses his arms, but still want to fight, then eventually even loses his legs and to call it a draw!!
Makes me laugh just thinking about it ;)

I'll try an answer to Makarios anyway, when I have spare time between software compilations...

Makarios said...

Ya, Monty Python - funny stuff

Ah, now look what you've done! You've squirted blood all over my new shirt. Flesh wound my arse.

You're down for the count Ginx. You should just admit that you're on the wrong road, turn around and get back to where you need to be.

Hugo said...

Dear Rod,

Once again, I still haven't taken the time to read all your post on the subject, but I did read this one carefully, and it's obvious that there is in fact only ONE single idea that you try to defend, and it's the famous problem of irreducible complexity.
Correct?

In other words, according to your understanding of biology, it is impossible for some parts of living creatures to have evolved by natural means. These parts are too complex to have risen, to use your words, by chance.

Nowadays however, the problem of irreducible complexity has been tackled so much that you have to resort to the very beginning of life, when the first molecules started to replicate, giving rise to what we define as life and the process of natural selection.

In other words, you seem to accept the Theory of Evolution and the idea that any living creatures did evolve from simpler life forms, but at some point, you stop, and argue that beyond this certain point, it's not possible to go to a simpler version, and that's where an intelligent agent must have intervened.
Correct?

If yes, let me ask you a one question then. Why...?
You already answered by giving examples of why RNA could not be the answer, but basically what you are saying is that we cannot yet explain how RNA/DNA evolved, so it must not be the case. Without even trying to explain you how they might have evolved, don't you see yourself the illogical reasoning behind this?

I would also have another question actually, and I think Ginx pointed that out already, why does it matter so much that life emerged because of an intelligent agent, not on its own? You said it's a question of science, well yes, it is, and science does not talk about intelligent agent at all, so why do you wish this to be the case? And, on the same idea, what would it change if scientists were to give you a detailed explanation on how everything evolved? From amino acids, to RNA/DNA or ribosome? Would you finally believe that life can arise naturally from non-life material?

Oh, by the way, they can explain the ribosome now, I remember reading that in the newspaper a few months ago because it was because of researchers from Montréal! Let me find some articles...

Original thing I read, in French :P

From American Association for the Advancement of Science

From Swiss' Insciences organization

Related article from NewScientist

cheers

Ginx said...

Oh Hugo... if only it were that simple. I love you for trying.

I've desperately attempted to catch Mak up on the last century of synthesis between theology and science. He refuses to take refuge in the last stand of the theist: the notion that God wrote the laws of the universe.

Makarios said...

Without even trying to explain you how they might have evolved,"

I can go into much more detail as you want. It’s just that you’re missing some very important points and it’s those important points that I tried to highlight.

Here are just a few. Don't just skim these Hugo - ok. Read them till you actually understand what's being said.
. Natural selection begins ONLY after self-replication has taken place. The information that allows for self-replication came first.
. . . . those placing their faith in RNA bypassing the need for DNA, in order to self-replicate do not and cannot explain the origin of the specified complexity in the alleged original RNA molecule NOR in its compliment.
. Replication happens only AFTER specified complexity is in place. Specified complexity, as we know from uniform experience only appears in the presence of or at the direction of Intelligence that has designed that complexity, OR in DNA, RNA, and Proteins.
. We have every reason to reject protein-first theories, DNA-first theories, RNA-first theories, none of these are able to explain the origin of the information that is needed for living cells to emerge and evolve.
. No living molecule is self-reproducing. Not only is DNA incapable of making copies of itself, but it is incapable of “making” anything else. The proteins of the cell are made from other proteins, and without that protein-forming machinery nothing can be made.”
. If all of these systems evolved, then proteins with a decoding ability evolved before the protein with the decoding system itself evolved.
. The synthesis of proteins requires a tightly integrated sequence of reactions, most of which are themselves performed by the synthesis of proteins.”
. The (DNA) code is meaningless unless translated. The modern cell’s translating machinery consists of at least fifty macromolecular components which are THEMSELVES coded in DNA: the code cannot be translated other than by products of translation.
. If proteins must have arisen first then how did they do so, since all extant cells construct proteins from assembly instructions in DNA. How did either arise without the other?

This isn't some side issue Hugo. These are THE questions that need to be answere.
================

“why does it matter so much that life emerged because of an intelligent agent, not on its own?”

Because if there is an Intelligent Agent, an agent that could create the universe and life itself, don’t you think it would be prudent to find out everything there is to know about such an agent?
=============
“so why do you wish this to be the case?”

Whether I wish it to be the case of not is not the issue. The issue is, if it IS the case that such an agent exists, then I would want to organise my life accordingly.
=====================

"Would you finally believe that life can arise naturally from non-life material?"

Of course, but as it stands, that doesn’t seem likely.