Friday, December 23, 2011

Evolution professor: The Origin of Life Problem is Not a Problem

In our previous two posts we discussed an evolution professor who, in one blog post, makes several fundamental but typical mistakes. But his mistakes don’t stop there. The professor also explains why he thinks criticism of the origin of life problem is unfounded. The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated. Unfortunately, what the professor forgets is neither do evolutionists.

The assumptions used to make the calculations regarding evolution in the first place are suspect (wrong is a better word, fraudulent is the best word because those making these arguments have had it explained to them before). For example, the assumption in these types of calculations is that there were a bunch of chemicals and then, wham, these chemicals came together to form the first cell

So chemicals did not come together to form the first cell?

I don’t want to get into a discussion about the origin of life in this post, 

Because the absurdity of the creation myth would rapidly become apparent. It would be a tremendous miracle—the spontaneous formation of the first cell, and all life thereafter.

Walk into any life science library. See the volumes and volumes of journals and the stacks and stacks of books. All of this subject matter is supposed to have just happened to happen. There just happened to be an Earth and Sun. And there just happened to be land, oceans and yes, chemicals. And these chemicals just happened to come together to form the first cell and everything else in the life sciences. Biochemistry, anatomy, physiology, molecular and cellular biology, millions and millions of species. It all spontaneously formed due to, well, due to nothing. It all just happened to happen.

but I do want to stress that I have never seen the absurd idea that cells just poofed into existence fully formed from scratch 

So the first cell did not form from scratch? What, was there something swimming around in that warm little pond before evolution got going?

Of course, no biologist thinks or suggests that the above happens.

Evolutionists believe that their problem of forming a cell, yes from scratch, goes away if you give it some time. A warm little pond or deep sea vent, a few million years, some sort of selection process, and suddenly the problem is tractable. Of course they don’t provide the scientific details of how this mysterious origin of life process is supposed to have actually happened. But they are certain it must have occurred.

But the problem doesn’t go away, not without those details. And those details would be quite remarkable indeed. For selection doesn’t help—it just kills off the loser designs. You still need to construct one of the most complex designs in the universe, one random act at a time.

15 comments:

  1. CH -

    No-one is claiming the origin of life is a solved case. Abiogenesis (which, by the way, is not evolution. Even if the first cell was poofed into existence by magic, that wouldn't say anything at all about whether life on Earth developed from then on by evolution or not) is still an active and productive line of research.

    But it does act as an interesting exercise in the effectiveness of ID/Creationism. For a moment, let's allow God into the lab. Let's abandom the assumption of naturalism and say it's fine to allow the supernatural in our explanations.

    What now? Do we mark the first spark of life down to a God-wrought miracle? On what grounds? Is there any positive evidence for this, or is 'Goddidit' just a default answer whenever we are faced with a mystery?

    If the former, then you just need to present it and any scientist today will listen! If the later, then we have an empty and easy answer, one that really answers nothing. If effect, just a science-stopper. No more need to investigate - God did it and that's that. No point doing experiments or investigations - just chalk it down to 'miracle' and go home.

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  2. CEH wrote,
    "You still need to construct one of the most complex designs in the universe, one random act at a time."
    That is the issue.
    Dr. Hunter refers to the "scientific details". May I be a little more specific?
    If you are a Darwinist, scientific details means: the math and the physics of the first cell and includes the chemistry as a specialized form of physics. With Miller-Urey discredited, Darwinists can point to no known physical or mathematical processes that in any known scenario produces complex proteins, much less a complex of complex proteins arranged in a functioning, reproducing cell. If they could, they would be making cells in the lab from scratch with nothing but carbon, hydrogen and oxegen. They can't!
    Ritchie thinks ID brings God into the classroom. No. Dr. Hunter's point is and always has been that Darwinists bring "god" into the classroom--"god" in the form of some unknown, unseen, yet all-powerful, all-present force that constructs cells in opposition to ALL known physical and mathematical processes. Dr. Hunter and I agree Darwinism as such is nothing short of a religious faith, pure and simple.
    ID, for the thousandth time, does NOT require knowing the identity of God, god or aliens and does NOT require knowledge of this God or these alien's processes. ID observes that the specified complexity of a cell exhibits evidence of design by intelligence, evidence readily recognizable by every school child.
    ID starts and ends with the identification of design that is best explained as the result of intelligence. The evidence of intelligent design of the cell completely obliterates the Darwinian belief which is that the best explanation for the functioning cell is happenstance by unknown, unseen and unreproducible physical and mathematical processes.
    Excellent post, Dr. Hunter.
    PS. I do not care whether you are a Dentist or an atomic physicist. I just finished reading Issacson's biography of the Bern, Switzerland patent clerk who revolutionized our understanding of space and time.

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  3. ID observes that the specified complexity of a cell exhibits evidence of design by intelligence, evidence readily recognizable by every school child.

    Good thing that science doesn't depend on the imagination of unlearned school children for our understanding of reality.

    ID starts and ends with the identification of design that is best explained as the result of intelligence.

    Which is exactly why ID is so worthless. It has no explanatory power, no predictive power, has no testable hypotheses, and opens no avenues for further research.

    Tell us RR, if ID were to be taught in colleges and universities, what exactly would be taught? "GAWDDIDIT" will take about 15 seconds. What then do you do for the remaining 4 years of undergrad and 2-5 years of graduate level work?

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  4. Good thing science doesn't depend on Thorton as well.

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  5. Red Reader said...

    Good thing science doesn't depend on Thorton as well.


    I agree. That's why science depends on hundreds' of years worth of consilient positive evidence from hundreds of different scientific disciplines for its theories, not the contributions of any one person.

    Now are you going to answer the question or are you going to just fart-n-dart like every other IDCer who comes skipping through here?

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  6. Thorton:

    I was under the impression that, even before ToE, people spent years studying anatomy, medicine, agriculture, etc. For example, Cuvier studied biology for his whole lifetime.

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  7. natschuster said...

    I was under the impression that, even before ToE, people spent years studying anatomy, medicine, agriculture, etc. For example, Cuvier studied biology for his whole lifetime.


    Inane non-sequitur ignored.

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  8. Thorton;

    I understood you to be saying that if we did away with the theory of evolution, then there will be nothing left to study in biology. Did I misunderstand you?

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  9. natschuster said...

    I understood you to be saying that if we did away with the theory of evolution, then there will be nothing left to study in biology. Did I misunderstand you?


    Not misunderstand, deliberate misrepresent.

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  10. Cornelius,

    How was the knowledge used to build each species, as found in the genome, created?

    Isn't the origin of this knowledge a "problem" for ID?

    A being that "just was", complete with the knowledge of how to build each species, already present, provides no explanatory purpose. This is because one could more simply state that each organism, "just appeared" with this knowledge already present in it's DNA.

    In the absence of an explanation, shouldn't you conclude this represent a "significant problem" for the origin of life?

    If not, why?

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  11. The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated. Unfortunately, what the professor forgets is neither do evolutionists.

    I did not say this. I actually took out a section in the draft about this because stating that scientists dont know the details but mentioning several prevailing ideas because it was tangential to the points I was trying to make. Since I did not say this (or imply it by my reading of my the post), you are a liar.

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  12. The Lorax:

    CH: The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated. Unfortunately, what the professor forgets is neither do evolutionists.

    Lorax: I did not say this. I actually took out a section in the draft about this because stating that scientists dont know the details but mentioning several prevailing ideas because it was tangential to the points I was trying to make. Since I did not say this (or imply it by my reading of my the post), you are a liar.


    “Since I did not say this, … you are a liar.” Huh? You’re imputing something to me which I did not say, and then concluding I’m a liar.

    What I actually said was “what the professor forgets” is that evolutionists don’t understand how life originated. That can suggest a few different things, but it doesn’t suggest that you said something. It doesn’t suggest that you said anything.

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  13. "The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated"

    Does that suggest I said something? I think it does. But if not:

    According to Cornelius, evolutionary biologists have iron clad arguments and he feels forced to make stuff up and mischaracterize other peoples' positions.

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  14. The Lorax:

    CH: The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated.

    Lorax: Does that suggest I said something? I think it does.


    Oh, I didn’t realize you were referring to the first of the two sentences you quoted from my OP. Now things are becoming even more strange. What I said was “The problem, according to the professor, is that the critics just don’t understand how life originated” and you charge that I’m a liar.

    Now that’s strange because you issued quite a diatribe against the critics. Here are few examples of what you said:

    Another common way to try and use math to disprove the theory of evolution is to misuse probability. … There are two problems with these approaches. … Second, those making the probability statements make assumptions that have nothing to do with biology or reality for that matter. …

    Using the creationist logic, then it was impossible to get the sequence of 270 Heads or Tails we just got. …

    Catnip for ******** …

    The assumptions used to make the calculations regarding evolution in the first place are suspect (wrong is a better word, fraudulent is the best word because those making these arguments have had it explained to them before). …

    For example, the assumption in these types of calculations is that there were a bunch of chemicals and then, wham, these chemicals came together to form the first cell. First, no scientist worth her salt has ever made such a claim, although a lot of creationists have. …

    I do want to stress that I have never seen the absurd idea that cells just poofed into existence fully formed from scratch except by creationists. …

    With these (wrong) assumptions, …

    Using these assumptions, which have nothing to do with reality,

    Of course, no biologist thinks or suggests that the above happens. But why let reality interfere with your delusions. ...

    make up a bunch of ******** premises you state represent the position in question. Third, show why the position is wrong because the ******** premises are ********.


    So you accuse critics of (i) making assumptions that have nothing to do with biology or reality and (ii) working off of a flawed model of the origin of life process which doesn’t represent reputable evolutionary thinking on the subject, yet when I summarize this as “the critics just don’t understand how life originated” then I’m a liar.

    Look, when someone says I have misrepresented them, then I want to fix it. But right now I’d have a difficult time figuring out what it is you’re saying.

    Between your profanity-laced diatribe, your hypocritical argument**, and your bizarre accusations, I wouldn’t know what to fix.

    I’d be happy to go back and edit the OP to better reflect your views on the critics, but I can’t see how what I said was a misrepresentation. Perhaps I’m missing a nuance, but what that is isn’t clear.


    **Your argument is hypocritical because you blame some unknown creationist for using a trivialized, easy-to-shoot-down version of OOL models, while you yourself are doing just that. To characterize OOL-is-unlikely criticism as a consequence of modeling OOL as an instantaneous process is ridiculous. That, indeed, is a trivialized, easy-to-shoot-down version of the criticism of evolutionary thinking.

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