Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Current Biology: RNA-Only Life Coming Soon

It Fills “A Gaping Hole”

Here is a trade secret: Evolutionists acknowledge scientific problems only after they find solutions. We have seen this repeatedly. Evolutionists evade the science, and ridicule their critics, only later to confess readily that the problem was real. The difference is they have found what they think is a solution to the problem they once so steadfastly denied. To wit, our latest example comes from Michael Gross’s recent article in Current Biology on the RNA world praising the progress made in developing the on-again / off-again RNA World hypothesis. Gross is sufficiently confident that the hypothesis is “on-again” that he can now agree with critics that the origin of life was once a big problem:

Just how the transition from non-life to life may have happened was indeed a gaping hole in our understanding of evolution in the 20th century, which a few inspired experiments like Stanley Miller’s famous 1952 primordial soup kitchen couldn’t quite bridge.

Indeed a gaping hole? Couldn’t quite bridge?

You would never know this from the evolutionist’s rosy assessments, and ridicule of anyone suggesting the science indicated otherwise. As Carl Zimmer wrote more than 15 years ago, scientists “have found compelling evidence that life could have evolved into a DNA-based microbe in a series of steps.” Perhaps he had read the National Academy of Science’s 1999 claim that

For those who are studying the origin of life, the question is no longer whether life could have originated by chemical processes involving nonbiological components. The question instead has become which of many pathways might have been followed to produce the first cells? [1]

Of course for the Mother of all such absurd, non scientific, statements we can go back to Alexander Oparin’s 1924 prediction that origin of life research would be solved “very, very soon.”

But now, almost a century after Oparin’s slightly premature forecast, the evolutionists feel they have finally arrived. And so now Gross can admit to what we have been inconveniently pointing out all along: There has been “a gaping hole in our understanding of evolution.”

Evolutionists can finally admit to this because they are rather confident that they are on the cusp of a profound break-through: A compelling demonstration of the feasibility of the origin and operation of RNA-based life. That is, the RNA World hypothesis:

it appears conceivable that a working model of RNA-only life could be synthesized soon.

At least Gross did not say “very, very soon.” Nonetheless, we think evolutionists are, yet again, speaking a bit prematurely.

That, however, is neither here nor there. For our purposes what is important about Gross’ article is not his proclamation of imminent success—which until it actually happens carries no more weight than the boatload of other failed evolutionary expectations—but rather the delayed admission of “a gaping hole in our understanding of evolution.”

Now that we have that cleared up, we can apparently all agree that until the RNA World, or some other miracle breakthrough, is demonstrated, evolutionary theory has “a gaping hole.” That’s progress.

1. National Academy of Sciences, Science and Creationism: A View from the National Academy of Sciences, 2d ed. (Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 1999) 6.

16 comments:

  1. Have you ever considered presenting these articles on your YouTube channel?

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    1. Yes, good idea, but I haven't found the time.

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  2. Dr. Hunter, I see you've made the same observation I have: in evolutionary theory one never admits there's a problem until such time as you think you have a solution in hand. And, of course, the supposed solution is usually nothing more than hand-waving.

    Yes, isn't it wonderful to live in a world of "scientific consensus"?

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  3. Even given a RNA World there is still the problem of going from replicating molecules to the first cell. It seems that the cellular division processes required for bacterial life are irreducibly complex.

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  4. "There has been “a gaping hole in our understanding of evolution.”"

    How is not understanding the origin of life a gaping hole in evolution. Evolution has never been about the origin of life.

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    1. How life originated dictates how it evolved. It is only if blind and mindless processes produced life would we say that they produced its subsequent diversity. And given an ID OoL we would say that life was designed to evolve and blind/ mindless processes just cause disease and deformities.

      Elementary, actually

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    2. It's like this: If you can't even get 9 guys together to play baseball on the same team, you'll never win a game let alone the World Series.

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    3. Sorry Phillymike but Team Science has beaten the YECsters 4 games to 0 every year for the last 157 years. You guys are still looking for your first base runner. :)

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    4. "You guys are still looking for your first base."

      Who's on first.

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    5. Who do you have on first?
      " If getting one small protein to spontaneously form is already beyond the universal probability bound, how much more a whole suite of proteins and enzymes (about three hundred according to some estimates), a genetic code, and a membrane to hold it all together?"

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    6. Ghostpuke- you don't have a scientific position so perhaps you should start with that. It is clear that you don't even know what science entails.

      Team science- what a joke

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    7. PM: "Who do you have on first?"

      Yes.

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    8. Joe
      "How life originated dictates how it evolved. It is only if blind and mindless processes produced life would we say that they produced its subsequent diversity. And given an ID OoL we would say that life was designed to evolve and blind/ mindless processes just cause disease and deformities."

      Its not clear that life was designed to evolve. Life was designed to minimize copying errors from DNA. This mechanism flies in the face to evolving but says we should expect limited variation among species.

      New species with new functional features appear to require new software (DNA). It does not seem this capability is built into cells.

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    9. BC, don't pee in Joes cornflakes. He might unleash a barrage of name calling and "I know you are but what am I?" taunts.

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    10. Hi Bill-
      Its not clear that life was designed to evolve.

      I doubt an intelligent designer would go through all of the trouble to design life and a suitable environment only to have said life wiped out by a change to said environment.

      Life was designed to minimize copying errors from DNA.

      Copying errors yes. But designed to evolve doesn't include copying errors- read Spetner 1997, 2015.

      And by evolve I just mean to change/ adapt- I am not talking about universal common descent. My bad for any confusion.

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    11. BC:
      New species with new functional features appear to require new software (DNA).

      In my opinion DNA is the hardware that carries out the instructions of the immaterial software encoded into every cell. You read correctly- in my view cellular activities are actually run by immaterial software and that is why we will never create life from scratch because we don't know how to program it.

      DNA is basically inert. It doesn't do anything on its own. However I bet it functions nicely as a RAM/ EEPROM type mechanism.

      See also Johnson "Programming of Life"

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