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Blathers 1,2,3... is this a retrograde o Dusty Bin?


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Showing 1-25 of 413 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 5 Mar 2014 09:23:02 GMT
Blathers likes to conflate abiogenesis, that is the evolution of living organisms from non-living precursors with spontaneous generation (flies magically appearing from poo). However when cornered on the issue he then cops out even though he has made a variety of claims about the occurrence of life on this planet.

Let me set out the possibilities...

1. Abiogenesis (local) - life evolved from chemical precursors on the early earth
2. Abiogenesis (remote) - life evolved somewhere else in the universe and was seeded here
3. Life was created by magic (God theory)

Blathers first tried to dismiss this as an unimportant question. A strange approach from someone who believes in aliens and conspiracies. It is, in fact, an extremely important question and has enormous implications for theists as well. He then dismissed the question as impossible to answer. Again he is wrong. There is information available and it is quite possible to make a sensible deductive approach to the question and indicate which is the most probable answer.

(to be continued!!)

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 09:38:21 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2014 09:40:30 GMT
For the sake of argument to begin with, let us assume that #3 is false and that the answer is either 1 or 2. Again for the sake of argument then let us assume that #2 is the true solution then a number of questions arise. These are

1. Where did these aliens evolve from (a recursive question that assumes #2 in each case)
2. How did they come across this planet (as distinct from some other)
3. How did they get here?
4. Why did they bother?

Of these the first one presents the real problem because you end up with an infinite recursion which requires that the very first aliens appeared concurrent to the big bang! You then have to ask what is the most probable run length for this sequence of alien - alien ... human seeding. The answer is simply 1 because that is the only run length for which we have evidence. we are here! In other words #2 devolves/simplifies to number one.

Blathers then complained that there is no evidence for #1 either though this overlooks both some very interesting experiments that are indicative if not proof and also overlooks the Weak Anthropic Principle - we are here! (It is also the lottery winner fallacy). Strangely enough, I heard on the radio yesterday that a French Scientist has sequenced a new type of bacteria. This one has a completely different DNA type from other living things. This actually makes #2 less likely. (I wonder if Blathers can work out why?).

The argument against 1 & 2 usually comes down to Feser and Spitzer (I still think they sound like a cocktail - I'll have a Feser and Spitzer please!) and the Fred Hoyle example (usually reworked) which says

" junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing-747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there?"

This is a classic example of the 'Lottery winner' fallacy. It ignores everything we now about how evolution works and it ignores the time frame. In spite of its inappropriateness it raises its head in one form or another in Blathers posts and in books by both Feser and Spitzer (I'll have another one barman...).

So there you have the refutation by supporters of #3. It always comes down to the same thing. Too difficult so it cannot have happened.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 09:41:33 GMT
Bearman says:
Can I be presumptious and add some clarification.......I think using the word "evolution" confuses the whole abiogenesis debate. "Evolution" should be used to the describe the separation and differentiation of organisms into new species, whereas abiogenesis is the process where life first arose from non-living chemicals. As you say, Blathers likes to conflate abiogenesis with spontaneous generation, BUT he also likes to claim that abiogenesis and evolution are the same thing, and as we do not know for certain how life first started, he tries to use this to dismiss evolution. The initial origin of life on this planet should be handled separately to the subsequent evolution which led to the diversity of species today.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 09:53:36 GMT
I understand the reason for your comment, bearman, but we are talking about something along the lines of

elements -> simple molecules -> amino acids, sugars, bases-> rna -> dna...

which looks to my eye like a form of evolution. I am sure someone has a better word!

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 09:58:27 GMT
Snowyflake says:
I don't know enough about this to really comment but I thought a lab in the States was able to produce amino acids synthetically? If that is true, then the conditions of the early earth may well have been suitable for abiogenesis. I'll have a look and see if I can find a paper about this.

We don't really know what sparked it but I am fairly confident that it wasn't magic. :)

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 10:10:39 GMT
Bearman says:
Evolution is a perfectly acceptable term for that, as everyone knows what you mean. In this case it is similar to talking about the evolution of the car, or evolution of music. However, to avoid confusion, and to avoid Blather's use of the term, I think it is better not to use it when talking about abiogenesis.

Perhaps elements -> simple molecules -> amino acids, sugars, bases-> rna -> dna... could be better described as "the development of increasingly complex molecules", or "complex organic molecule synthesis". There are specific terms for the addition of specific types of organic molecules, but I cannot think of a single term to describe the more general process of increasing complexity.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 10:18:41 GMT
Bearman says:
Ammino acids are the easy part. They regularly form in the absence of life through normal organic chemistry, and have been found on comets and asteroids/meteorites. The tricky bit is how they combine into self replicating molecules like RNA and DNA. There has been some recent research that simulated early earth conditions (not the old bottle of chemicals + electricity experiment) which has successfully made riboneucleotides, of which RNA is just a polymer. This has lent weight to the idea that the first life used RNA as it method of propagation, and DNA developed from that later.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 10:37:23 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2014 10:45:52 GMT
Actually, Mrs F. labs have produced not just amino acids but also bases AND RNA. We also know that RNA is auto catalysing.

[EDIT] Somewhere i posted links to I think it was East Anglia University which has done a lot of work in this area.

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 10:42:08 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2014 10:43:09 GMT
Probably the most telling experiment (which blathers clearly did not understand) was the manufacture of life from inanimate/dead parts.

Scientists took a single celled bacteria and removed the DNA. This DNA was then sequenced. The DNA sequence was then fed in to a DNA synthesiser and replica artificial DNA was produced. This left the scientists with the cell cytoplasm and mitochondrial dna (not living... left to itself it decomposes) and 'artificial' DNA. They inserted the artificial DNA (a non-living precursor chemical) into the non-living cytoplasm and lo and behold they got a living creature that happily divided and survived. The point that Blathers does not get is that this shows that life is not some special third condition to add to the ingredient mix BUT is an outcome of the ingredient mix. God need not apply!

Essentially this experiment rules out #3...

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 10:45:11 GMT
Yes, bearman, that seems perfectly acceptable and does avoid one of blather's usual cop-outs when he is in conflating mode...

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 10:49:23 GMT
Explain why you're confident, I know it's tedious to state the obvious, but they'll leap on it otherwise.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 11:09:37 GMT
True... the absence of miracles is a bit of a give away along with the absence of any sort of evidence in 10000+ years HOWEVER I have replicated the miracle of water into wine in a scientifically verifiable demonstration. Does adding sugar, grapes and yeast count?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 11:12:16 GMT
Bearman says:
I can turn wine into water (tainted water). It only takes a couple of hours and its extremely enjoyable. Could I be the Messiah?

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 11:13:00 GMT
It's a fairly compelling test, but I'm afraid the time-scales, along with the perfectly natural explanation rule it out as miracle. It's a worthwhile test though, I feel if more Muslims used it more often they might get offended just as easily, but not remain so angry for such a long time afterwards.

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 11:57:17 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2014 12:00:49 GMT
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In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:08:35 GMT
Drew Jones says:
"Science, as defined by the American public school system, excludes supernatural explanations."
Woeful. Science as taught in schools is taken from what science as an industry does and has done. Science is characterised by (not defined as) it's reliance on experiment. Nature can be demonstrated, supernature so far has not. Science doesn't exclude anything someone could demonstrate so it is wrong to suggest that science excludes supernatural interactions, it's very wrong to say science is defined to exclude supernatural explanations. It's even more wrong to whine and equivocate on that mistake over and over.

Posted on 5 Mar 2014 12:10:30 GMT
Last edited by the author on 5 Mar 2014 12:11:38 GMT
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Posted on 5 Mar 2014 12:12:24 GMT
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Posted on 5 Mar 2014 12:14:57 GMT
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Posted on 5 Mar 2014 12:15:57 GMT
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In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:19:26 GMT
Drew Jones says:
We're all very impressed that you can google, copy and paste.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:21:07 GMT
Drew Jones says:
"Is the theory of evolution mythology? To answer, one must define the theory. In its most complete form, evolution holds that life spontaneously arose from nonliving matter, and through numerous small changes over geological ages, all life-forms arose from that initial common ancestor."
This is incorrect and about as close as the articles come to knowing what they are talking about.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:33:32 GMT
Bearman says:
Well Bladders, that list started ok,, but went completely off the rails of reality into mind-dumbing fantasy as is your want.

Looking at the list, I see you have repeated the lie that "The theory of evolution depends upon abiogenesis as the starting point." If your unlikely scenario that life was seeded on earth from somewhere else (ie abiogenesis did not happen, at least on earth) then that in no way indicates that evolution could not have happened/continue to happen from that point.

You then use the lie that "There is no known way in which the first living cell could have formed naturally." There are various possible ways that this could have happened. We don't know which is correct, we don't know if something we are yet to think of is correct. However there are known ways that this could have happened.

Next you claim "The first living cell would have needed some mechanism for metabolism." This is a another lie. Viruses do not have any mechanism for metabolism. Then you say "There is no known natural process by which metabolism could originate in a lifeless cell." Well this far down the list, the cell already has life, but putting that aside, metabolism is the process of how a cell/organism derives energy to maintain life processes. Higher organisms use some pretty complex metabolic processes, but simple/single cell organisms are know to use some very basic inorganic chemistry for metabolism. Try reading up how bacteria around deep sea hydrothermal vents derive their energy from the heat and/or hydrogen sulphide chemical reactions.

At this point in the list I grew tired with your tedious uninformed BS, so I didn't bother reading the rest of the post, in the expectation that the remaining points were built on the non-existent foundations of the points I have addressed.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:37:52 GMT
Bearman says:
Utter brollux again.

Bradders quotes:

"Is the theory of evolution mythology? To answer, one must define the theory. In its most complete form, evolution holds that life spontaneously arose from nonliving matter, and through numerous small changes over geological ages, all life-forms arose from that initial common ancestor.

Clearly, evolution is a creation story; but how is it similar to-and different from-other "creation myths"?

As has been stated time and time again. Evolution has nothing to do with the creation of life - that is abiogenesis. Evolution is ONLY about how once species differentiates into different species. Its seems that your genetic material got left behind during evolution and that you never developed enough grey matter to understand this very simple concept. Again there is absolutely no point in reading the rest of your post as the concept it is based on is worthless, therefore the rest of the post is worthless.

In reply to an earlier post on 5 Mar 2014 12:41:26 GMT
Bearman says:
You also never seem to learn that religious websites who describe their mission as "to spread the Christian Gospel by demonstrating that sound reason and scientific research-including the very latest discoveries-consistently support, rather than erode, confidence in the truth of the Bible and faith in the personal, transcendent God revealed in both Scripture and nature." never ever contain valid scientific reasoning.
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Discussion in:  religion discussion forum
Participants:  20
Total posts:  413
Initial post:  5 Mar 2014
Latest post:  13 Mar 2014

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