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My letter to my athiest brother

 
 
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 05:03 am
A letter to an atheist by Alan McDougall

Is there a reason for living that goes beyond that of our earthly mortal life on earth? I say there is, how you can be so sure that there beyond life. Why not just try to consider that there just might be a god. Life after death is unfortunately something neither I nor someone else can ever prove to

I, however, strongly believe we continue to exist in some form or other in dimensions of purpose, reason, beauty and that our consciousness continues to exist eternally after death. Otherwise our earthly fleeting life is nothing but a cruel joke of nature

Have you ever thought that to be an absolute atheist takes more faith and is more difficult to rationalize than one like me who believes there is a creator? How could nothing evolve from nothing and become everything?

This logic demand that dark nothing morphed into everything, nothing created energy time matter and finally life out of inanimate energy. I see this as a ridiculous assumption; I am left to believe that all existence including mysterious life evolved without reason or purpose. Do you really believe this as a fact?

Let us consider, what life is, how could the unimaginable almost infinitely complex molecule DNA of life came into existence so quickly in relation to cosmological time. Life existed on the primordial earth just a moment after its creation, again in cosmological time?

The universe is unimaginable complex and sustains itself by exact precise fundamental constants, if this harmony differed in the infinitesimal fraction we would simply not exist; indeed the earth itself would not exist.

A billion trillion googolplex monkeys typing for eternity would not produce even one of Shakespeare sonnets. Another analogy, if we took a billion airplanes, filled them with water, concrete and bricks and dumped the whole continuously on the earth for a billion years, would it magically and randomly form the beautiful Taj Mahal or the Sydney Opera house? But you insist I must accept the beautiful universe a of unimaginable precision came into existence this illogical way

When life needs to evolve due to changing circumstances, does it tell itself to alter its own DNA for the new conditions or could there be a watch maker resetting the watch
I see god adjusting the DNA overlooking his own experiment if you like

Our breathtaking beautiful is expanding and anything that expands must have a beginning. Can you prove there is no god of course you can't, can I of course I can't, but at least I can offer circumstantial evidence... Atheism is a faith belief system just like anything that requires belief without evidence.

As an amateur astronomer leaves me with an unshakable belief that am awesome intellect created the universe and everything else

Look out the sparking water that quenches your thirst, the fruit that feeds you, and invigorated your body. There is beauty everywhere and you must search for real ugliness. Go outside on a moonless night and reflect on the wonder of the cosmos that sparkles above you. the great snow capped mountains and streams, the blue sky and the rise of the sun at dawn and its golden glow as it sets.

In the early morning go and listen to the sounds of nature, birds chirping like tiny electrons in the mind of god. The wind that you breathe the precious nourishment supplied by mother earth.

Then explain to me how chance can bring this all about. To me there is a wonderful creative behind all this glory if only we would look at it.

Like all things the universe has a beginning and this demands a creator, for nothing can exist with a prime cause. The universe will end but for that we will just have to wait

Even atheism scientists say our universe is precise, ordered with beautiful mathematical constants. One great astronomer said the universe was less like a great well oiled machine and more like a beautiful ongoing thought

I believe in God, what you believe is your right but to me a godless creation is bleak and cold

What do you people believe, No god or God


Alan McDougall 24/6/2008
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Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Wed 24 Jun, 2009 07:04 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan, I think most of the objections you raise and arguments you propose can be summed up under a few categories.

1. THE GOLDILOCKS HYPOTHESIS
Often when arguments are proposed for design or god it is asserted as to how beautiful life is, how many delicate factors orchestrate together to make the environment in which we live habitable.

Such things are termed the Goldilocks Hypothesis based on the famous bowl of porridge - not too hot, not too cold - just right.

However, if the atheistic view of the universe has as much (if not more) going for it than the theistic things would not need to be any different.

So if hydrogen atoms fuse to form stars and if bands of habitable space exist around many stars, as physicists propose, and if theories of abiogenesis and natural selection work as biologists and chemists suppose then we should expect to end up with life on certain planets, and that life should be very well adapted to that environment otherwise it would have died out.

So the fact that we find much regarding our lives in our environment convenient and beautiful isn't a good argument for a supernatural designer. What we understand about physical forces alone could well lead to living creatures that, if sapient, would surely remark on the beauty and convenience of the environment that sustains them.

2. THE WATCHMAKER ARGUMENT
It seems a tautology that created things must have a creator and that something cannot arise from nothing. What we understand about quatum physics, both personally and culturally, is in its infancy - but it does point to the fact that matter seems to pop into existence on a quantum scale.

What we never see is the spontaneous conjouring of anything complex - such as humans from clots of blood, or pure water giving birth to fish or fowl. However, this assumption is made by many theists. Even those who do credit the gradual appearance of complexity insist that "you cannot have a watch without a watchmaker" (see point 4).


The idea that a creator need be necessary strikes me to come as a result of human egotism. We are immensely arrogant creatures who want to credit the universe to "something like us, in some way". God is an anthropomorphic figure imposed by humans on what we don't understand or feel no power over.
  • Does something need to be sapient in order to create?
Well, no. Chimps create tools, Ants create farms and Corals create cities that can be seen from space.
  • Does something need to be sentient, or recognisably purposeful in order to create?
Well, no. Volcanoes create crystals, igneous and volcanic rocks and minerals, complex geological formations, they also rain down biblical destruction on towns and countryside. They are created in their turn by tectonic forces.

Stars create all the chemical elements aside from Hydrogen.

So whilst no one knows what first cause was, the assertion that it is some sort of anthropomorphic (and/or purposeful) principle worthy of worship strikes me as human chauvanism. The archetypal "primitive" islander who worships a volcano or the sun has just as much to go on as a sophisticate monotheist, really.

When we talk of "God" or "gods" we are painting a picture of our conceptions of our highest (and lowest) selves to take the place of whatever mystery it was that came before, or outside, our currently understood conception of space-time. We do this for no better apparent reason than to sate our own ignorance and arrogance.

This habit might be metaphysically comforting (though I don't find it so myself - for example I find the idea of a supernatural creature with agency over the very idea of myself who claims benevolence but sanctions eternal judgement really quite disturbing) but there's no real logic behind it.

A creative principle need be no more like a human than it need be like an ant, coral, volcano or sun.

3. ATHEISM DENIES THERE WAS FIRST CAUSE
No - as a gestalt it simply throws it's bet in with the likelihood that first cause isn't a foregone conclusion, and need not be what is commonly conceived as a "God". Some zealous athiests might decalim that they KNOW there is no God - I think they're being mildly hubristic even though I suspect they are right.

4. EVOLUTION AND SIMILAR PROCESSES ARE RANDOM CHANCE

As I said earlier, a popular argument for theism is the watchmaker - complexity being seen as resulting solely from design. Yet many theists refuse to accept evolution as a watchmaker because they claim it is too "random" to produce anything worthwhile. Is the evolution of humans from simple chemicals a random process akin to dropping building materials from a plane to have them assemble a Taj Mahal? No. If you think it is it's because you haven't understood the theory.
  • Organisms replicate themselves (the Taj Mahal is not an organism).
  • The replications are not perfect - there are always variations (there are a huge number of variables involved in this process - to the extent where it is often called random for practical purposes - in fact it is predictable, based on finite chemical chains and well understood).
  • Some variations are better than others at surviving in their environment (not random).
So the Taj Mahal analogy, or the more famous Boeing 747 assembled by a hurricane in a junkyard, is pretty weak. Abiogenesis explains why it is LIKELY that self-replicating molecules will form under certain chemical conditions - and the theory of evolution by natural selection explains how it is LIKELY that those self-replicating molecules will go on to develop greater complexity and carry more information.

5. ATHEISM IS BLEAK
All I would say to this is that if your appreciation of the wonder, mystery and beauty of life hangs on purpose assigned by a thrid party, and/or supernatural agency then I would say it was a pretty shallow appreciation to begin with. Some people may just require myths to justify existence - some clearly don't.

A butterfly is as beautiful as it appears whether it was invoked by God or adapted to billions of years of natural selection. A crystal is as beautiful as it is whether the motions that set the physical processes which led to its creation up were supernatural or mundane in character.

6. ATHIESTS HAVEN'T GENUINELY TRIED FINDING GOD.
Maybe - but no more than theists haven't genuinely tried doing without.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 01:20 am
@Alan McDougall,
It is true that the original posting here can be destroyed pretty effortlessly by a skilled logician. However I do respect the sentiment.

The argument that 'life will inevitably arise as an outcome of the interaction of forces and chemicals' is however not a scientific hypothesis in any sense of the word, it is simply wishful thinking. We might, perhaps, in some remote future be able to test and or verify this idea but it is disputed by a great many respected and non-religious biologists. I will come back to this point.

Problems with the idea that 'life developed by chance', from an article on the Evangelical Philosophical Society:

"Many proponents of the origin of life by chance do not bother to perform the mathematical calculations which render their conclusions highly improbable. Stephen C. Meyer calculates that to generate a single functional protein of 150 amino acids exceeds: "1 chance in 10 to the power of 180," and comments "it is extremely unlikely that a random search through all the possible amino acid sequences could generate even a single relatively short functional protein in the time available since the beginning of the universe..."

We have come a long way in our understanding of life since Ernst Haeckel described cells as "homogeneous globules of plasm" in 1905. As Overman observes: "the difficulties in producing a protein from the mythical prebiotic soup are very large, but more difficult still is the probability of random processes producing the simplest living cell which represents an overwhelming increase in complexity".


David Swift comments: Biologists have become increasingly aware that the real stumbling block to the origin of life is its complexity - complexity in terms of the interdependence of molecules and biochemical pathways within cell metabolism, and complexity at the molecular level of individual components. The combination of complexities at these different levels presents insurmountable difficulties to getting anything that is remotely life-like... the complexity of even the simplest forms of life, a bacterium is much closer to a human being than it is to any cocktail of organic compounds in some putative primeval soup... the core of the problem is the considerable complexity of even the "simplest" forms of life, or even of some notional system that is stripped down to the theoretical bare necessities of life.

Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross report that: "Theoretical and experimental studies designed to discover the bare minimum number of gene products necessary for life all show significant agreement. Life seems to require between 250 and 350 different proteins to carry out its most basic operations." The simplest existing self-reproducing organism known outside the laboratory is the bacterium Mycoplasma Genitalium, which has 482 genes (two thirds of which have been shown to be necessary to its survival in the laboratory). Outside of the laboratory Mycoplasma Genitalium is "unable to sustain itself without parasitizing on an even more complex organism... Therefore a hypothetical first cell that could sustain itself would have to be even more complex." Rana and Ross argue: the minimum complexity for independent life must reside somewhere between about 500 and 1,500 gene products. So far, as scientists have continued their sequencing efforts, all microbial genomes that fall below 1,500 belong to parasites. Organisms capable of permanent independent existence require more gene products. A minimum genome size (for independent life) of 1,500 to 1,900 gene products comports with what geochemical and fossil evidence reveals about the complexity of Earth's first life. Earliest life forms displayed metabolic complexity that included photosynthetic and chemoautotrophic processes, protein synthesis, the capacity to produce amino acids, nucleotides, fatty acids and sugars [as well as] the machinery to reproduce. Some 1,500 different gene products would seem the bare minimum to sustain this level of metabolic activity... neither enough matter nor enough time in the universe exist for even the simplest bacterium to emerge by undirected chemical and physical processes."

As for the 'Golidlocks Hypothesis', the facts of the argument are beyond dispute, it is the interpretation that is controversial. But as the interpretation involves a value judgement, this too as a matter which is beyond the purview of science.

Scientists, or, should I say, those who for ideological reasons believe that Science should displace religion and philosophy as the final arbiter in the questions of morality and value, are naturally inclined to dismiss any religious or spiritual intuitions regarding the source and nature of creation. However surely from even the viewpoint of utility, it would be preferable to live believing that the Universe is a product of a grand design, and that we each have a part to play in it, than that everything just arises out of stupid matter by dumb luck and means nothing. After all, if one is correct in saying that, the grand prize is only nothingness which is kind of a hollow victory, I would have thought.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 02:12 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;72646 wrote:
It is true that the original posting here can be destroyed pretty effortlessly by a skilled logician. However I do respect the sentiment.

The argument that 'life will inevitably arise as an outcome of the interaction of forces and chemicals' is however not a scientific hypothesis in any sense of the word, it is simply wishful thinking. We might, perhaps, in some remote future be able to test and or verify this idea but it is disputed by a great many respected and non-religious biologists. I will come back to this point.


Thank you both for your comments, but does chance let such attributes below evolve out of nothing but elements and energy if you like?

Commitment
Generosity
Serenity
Courage
Peacefulness
Humor
Respect
Honesty
Power
Empathy
Fairness
Helpfulness
Independence
Interdependence
Loyalty
Patience
Pride
Resourcefulness
Intentionality (Motivation)
Openness
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 04:47 am
@Alan McDougall,
Well to be fair to the scientist's view of the argument of origins, Richard Dawkins (for one) does not propose chance as the sole agent which gave rise to the sophisticated life forms we see (and are). He proposes natural selection, within which, although chance plays a role, incremental increases in complexity over vast aeons give rise to adaptions which appear purposeful.

While I don't dispute the material facts of the evolution of species, I do differ with such evolutionary reductionism in the interpretation of its meaning. I believe that it is reasonable to see a purpose driving the evolutionary process, whereby the qualities you have indicated above are made manifest through the appearance of the higher species. I firmly believe that life is evolving towards higher and higher stages of consciousness (and we're not done yet!).

Have a look at Simon Conway Morris.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 05:23 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;72668 wrote:
Well to be fair to the scientist's view of the argument of origins, Richard Dawkins (for one) does not propose chance as the sole agent which gave rise to the sophisticated life forms we see (and are). He proposes natural selection, within which, although chance plays a role, incremental increases in complexity over vast aeons give rise to adaptions which appear purposeful.

While I don't dispute the material facts of the evolution of species, I do differ with such evolutionary reductionism in the interpretation of its meaning. I believe that it is reasonable to see a purpose driving the evolutionary process, whereby the qualities you have indicated above are made manifest through the appearance of the higher species. I firmly believe that life is evolving towards higher and higher stages of consciousness (and we're not done yet!).

Have a look at Simon Conway Morris.


I had a look I find him interesting. I dont dispute evolution I dispute it happening on its own , I prefer what I call driven evolution

Something like we did as kids with our ant farms, the creator , using biologic life as an ongoing experiment and we sublimely think it in natural selection

God could be doing the same with silicone life, just like we humans are trying to evolve computers into intelligent entities. Who knows we might just be a SIMS children computer game, to the child of godlike being so advanced compared to us, that for all means and purposes we would not be able to distillery it from our present idea about the Almighty of our religious understanding. Which like it or not is ingrained into each of us by human history to conform to objective beliefs, even if we claim to be unneffected eaffect by it to .

Who knows maybe we do have a god, and beyond it higher god and extending upward if you like infinitely.

What I mean is maybe our god is not the real UNCAUSED CAUSE

Guys peace to you!!
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 05:45 am
@Alan McDougall,
Excellent post jeeprs.This imagined formula that created life can it be replicated?We have the choice that this complex formula that caused sustainable, replicative life was either a one of or it can occur when ever similar circumstances arise.I would like for the confirmed atheist to give their opinion on what is most likely.

---------- Post added at 06:48 AM ---------- Previous post was at 06:45 AM ----------

Alan McDougall;72671 wrote:
I had a look I find him interesting. I dont dispute evolution I dispute it happening on its own , I prefer what I call driven evolution

Something like we did as kids with our ant farms, the creator , using biologic life as an ongoing experiment and we sublimly think it in natrural selection

God could be doing the same with silicone life, just like we humans are trying to evolve computers into intelligent entities. Who knows we might just be a SIMS children computer game, to the child of godlike being so advanced compared to us, that for all means and purposes we would not be able to distillery it from our present idea about the Almighty of our religious understanding. Which like it or not is ingrained into each of us by human history to conform to objective beliefs, even if we claim to be unneffected eaffect by it to .

Who knows maybe we do have a god, and beyond it higher god and extending upward if you like infinitely.

What I mean is maybe our god is not the real UNCAUSED CAUSE

Guys peace to you!!
Alan, i think ive said it before ,im happy looking for the footprints but finding the creature that made them is out of my imagination.Thanks xris
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 06:27 am
@Alan McDougall,
Hey Guys

The brother I wrote this essay to is my sibling "Roger McDougall", he is 65 years of age and is presently riding his bicycle across the USA.

He left San Francisco some 35 days ago and hopes to reach the east coast unshaided by 80 days

He despises religion and is a fervent atheist

Check him out on his website below

crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: 80 Days Across the US, by Roger McDougall, David Penny and Ray Shine



Alan




xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 06:42 am
@Alan McDougall,
Alan McDougall;72682 wrote:
Hey Guys

The brother I wrote this essay to is my sibling "Roger McDougall", he is 65 years of age and is presently riding his bicycle across the USA.

He left San Francisco some 35 days ago and hopes to reach the east coast unshaided by 80 days

He despises religion and is a fervent atheist

Check him out on his website below

crazyguyonabike.com: Bicycle Touring: 80 Days Across the US, by Roger McDougall, David Penny and Ray Shine



Alan



It shows a balanced upbringing when two brothers can disagree on fundamental issues.Lucky man to be fit and able to attempt such a ride.Wish him well from me Alan,may god protect him:bigsmile:xris...
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 08:58 am
@Alan McDougall,
Hey XRIS I keep making silly key errors in my posts

Hey Guys

The brother I wrote this essay to ("is") my sibling "Roger McDougall", he is 65 years of age and is presently riding his bicycle across the USA.

He left San Francisco some 35 days ago and hopes to reach the east coast unshaided (unaided) by 80 days

He despises religion and is a fervent atheist

Check him out on his website below
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 10:56 am
@Alan McDougall,
Quote:
It is true that the original posting here can be destroyed pretty effortlessly by a skilled logician. However I do respect the sentiment.


The real issue here is that it is all a tautology of sorts, both arguments can be detroyed by a skilled logician. One already assumes a certain set of universal laws, the othe assumes another, while niether can prove ultimate causality there must be a pressuposition on the nature of nature. This is why I think analogies to emotion are used to describe the other argument like the "Goldilocks" argument comment, which before ever arguing from that skilled logician POV screams "the argument I am about to debunk is a fairy tale anyway and even though I might do a thourough job of debunking it, you really never needed me to, you know because i already labeled it fiction." This happens on both sides of the argument simply because ultimate cause at this point cannot be established.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 02:26 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;72746 wrote:
The real issue here is that it is all a tautology of sorts, both arguments can be detroyed by a skilled logician. One already assumes a certain set of universal laws, the othe assumes another, while niether can prove ultimate causality there must be a pressuposition on the nature of nature. This is why I think analogies to emotion are used to describe the other argument like the "Goldilocks" argument comment, which before ever arguing from that skilled logician POV screams "the argument I am about to debunk is a fairy tale anyway and even though I might do a thourough job of debunking it, you really never needed me to, you know because i already labeled it fiction." This happens on both sides of the argument simply because ultimate cause at this point cannot be established.


As an Industrial Engineer statistics have always fascinated me, how you could prove something or disapprove something using statistical methods such as linear charts etc.

Life is really highly improbable, statistical arguments and the existence of life so shortly after the formation of primordial earth doesn't mix very well. This can be effectively by considering an extreme example: the spontaneous generation of a bacterium.


"Given a soup of components, what is the probability a bacterial cell will form? Well, say it has to have 100 proteins and 100 genes to code for them. Let each protein be 100 amino acids long and full frame shifting in effect1. This means a genome of 10,000 bases1 and 10,000 amino acids of protein sequence. Since both have to occur in the same soup simultaneously (one to package the other which in turn codes for more of the same) the probability of forming each must be multiplied together: 410,000.2010,000.


So a chance of 1 in 10 to 20,000 (or thereabouts). Even if you have difficulty imagining 106 or 109 (million/billion), this is clearly a laughably huge number. Not just one in a trillion, lucky old earth type of thing, but actually wrong. Yes, that's right: incorrect. Clearly the whole approach is in error".


In fact, even this ridiculous number is an underestimate. For real reactions to take place the components must be in the right orientation and be travelling at the right speed. So this soup has to have amino acids and bases arranged so that they join together all at the same time. It's a little like expecting thousands of passengers in a crowded railway station to happen to form (against their will, probably) a giant line dance. In a particular order.


These models of reality are let down by the built in assumptions that are the very truths the argument tries to prove. The improbability of life's early spontaneous generation is not easy to explain, it is impossible to explain.
Fortunately only those who wish to prove life was generated in an instant by a divine creator start with this strange assumption.
xris
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 02:36 pm
@Alan McDougall,
I love the neutrality of science,knowledge should never be denied whatever your views or beliefs,truth will set you free.Thanks Alan
0 Replies
 
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 02:39 pm
@GoshisDead,
GoshisDead;72746 wrote:
The real issue here is that it is all a tautology of sorts, both arguments can be detroyed by a skilled logician. One already assumes a certain set of universal laws, the othe assumes another, while niether can prove ultimate causality there must be a pressuposition on the nature of nature. This is why I think analogies to emotion are used to describe the other argument like the "Goldilocks" argument comment, which before ever arguing from that skilled logician POV screams "the argument I am about to debunk is a fairy tale anyway and even though I might do a thourough job of debunking it, you really never needed me to, you know because i already labeled it fiction." This happens on both sides of the argument simply because ultimate cause at this point cannot be established.


As an Industrial Engineer statistics have always fascinated me, how you could prove something or disapprove something using statistical methods such as linear charts etc., and yes lie with statistics.

Alan

Spontaneous [email protected]


"Given a soup of components, what is the probability a bacterial cell will form? Well, say it has to have 100 proteins and 100 genes to code for them. Let each protein be 100 amino acids long and full frame shifting in effect1. This means a genome of 10,000 bases1 and 10,000 amino acids of protein sequence. Since both have to occur in the same soup simultaneously (one to package the other which in turn codes for more of the same) the probability of forming each must be multiplied together: 410,000.2010,000.

So a chance of 1 in 10 to 20,000 (or thereabouts). Even if you have difficulty imagining 106 or 109 (million/billion), this is clearly a laughably huge number. Not just one in a trillion, lucky old earth type of thing, but actually wrong. Yes, that's right: incorrect. Clearly the whole approach is in error".

In fact, even this ridiculous number is an underestimate. For real reactions to take place the components must be in the right orientation and be travelling at the right speed. So this soup has to have amino acids and bases arranged so that they join together all at the same time. It's a little like expecting thousands of passengers in a crowded railway station to happen to form (against their will, probably) a giant line dance. In a particular order.

It seems clear that any such argument that produces such impossible numbers is a parody of itself. In the first place, it is an abuse of statistical mathematics - starting with a particular goal and calculating its probability is simply a waste of paper.

Secondly it ignores the importance of intermediate stages.

These models of reality are let down by the built in assumptions that are the very truths the argument tries to prove. The improbability of life's spontaneous generation is not easy to explain, it is impossible to explain.

Fortunately only those who wish to prove life was generated in an instant by a divine creator start with this strange assumption".

The above is not my position, I believe that life slowly evolved with the help of an outside intelligence of some outside source, beyond natural selection

Alan
GoshisDead
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 03:28 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Alan:
Statistics not statistics the point is that there is a presupposition of material causation, vs presupposition of divine causation. Both arguments stem from a presupposition and both are logical as they pertain to their presupposition. Everything is statistics and probability, its all inference. What deductive logical argument can you make without a presupposition of material causation?

Xris:
Science as a method, is not methodically nuetral, it necessarily starts with the above mentioned presupposition. Human behavioral nuetrality, however, is the pervue of humans and human agency. Science is a method, it can't be neutral, it can't be not neutral, it has no agency. The percieved neutrality of science is the percieved neutrality of humans practicing science, which is as much propaganda as propaganda thrown out there by the religious, the politicians or any other group that espouses an ideal.
0 Replies
 
jeeprs
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 04:33 pm
@Alan McDougall,
Quote:
What I mean is maybe our god is not the real UNCAUSED CAUSE


That is what the Gnostics thought.

Speaking of atheist brothers, check this out.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sat 27 Jun, 2009 11:57 pm
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;72843 wrote:
That is what the Gnostics thought.

Speaking of atheist brothers, check this out.


The link is very interesting and similar to mine My brothers distaste, but not as distance. I will post an article his distaste for religion written by below


My family has never understood my contempt for religion. Mostly they can't distinguish religion from God and like most people, believe that to subscribe to a religion automatically means belief in God and righteousness. I despise all religion yet I don't despise the notion of God. My acceptance of the existence of God comes from the incomprehensibility of the cosmos and sheer wonder of nature. The bible means nothing to me, as would the Koran or Talmud, should I ever read these works, which I never will.

The background to my strident view of religion comes from my childhood. I don't blame my parents, they were only doing what they thought was right. They were decent people, misled by equally decent people. From the age of about nine, starting with my convalescence from rheumatic fever and for the next two years, I was confined to home and consequently spent many of my formative childhood years in the company of adults. I was exposed to adult conversation and ultimately my parents involved me in a new sect that they had just joined. The teachings of this sect were as insidious as all other such sects and it crept up on me, and brain washed me, as it did my mother, father and two Aunts. My Aunt Dot, my mother's sister, nearly 80, and my cousin Jill, on my father's side, now over 60, are still members of this sect and have been for over 50 years.

This sect differentiated themselves by claiming no name; they wanted to simply be called Christians. However they did assume names such as "The Way". This name implicitly condemned all other religions. They taught that unless you were one of them, there would be no place in heaven for you. This condemned all of mankind, except them, to eternal damnation.

The women were not allowed to cut their hair and wore it in large buns. They were not allowed to expose their arms or legs so they wore long dresses with full sleeves, not matter how hot it was. Radio was not allowed in the home and no one was permitted to attend a movie or go to a circus. Certainly smoking and drinking were forbidden. My Aunt Bobbie, my father's sister, remained a member of the sect all her life and attended the meetings religiously. She kept a radio in her house, under cover. I know that her husband secretly had a smoke when no one was looking!

The faithful were kept under control by the preachers who went from home to home in two's. It was always two women or two men and in many cases they were partners of 20 years or more. They were called workers, even though they never did a day's work in their lives. They were the ultimate fun police. They ensured that the hair was kept long, that there were no radios to be seen and that nobody experienced any fun or enjoyment whatsoever. They were the Taliban of the 60s and they had me entrapped.

My father eventually saw the light and withdrew and I was quickly able to follow suit. I was free. I was thirteen and there was still some time left for a normal childhood. I had spent nearly three years in this sect, during which time, I never saw a movie, attended a circus, or listened to a radio, other than secretly. I spent these years attending meetings in our home and other homes on Sunday mornings and evenings and Wednesday evenings. I had nothing in common I could share with my friends.


Once a year, we attended a convention which lasted for a week, along with hundreds of members from all over the country. The meetings went on all day, interrupted thankfully by tea, lunch and dinner. For seven days we were preached at by workers, their sermons going on interminably. I know I daydreamed through most of them.

Somehow this all seem perfectly reasonable to me at the time but over the years, leading into early adulthood, I increasingly saw the absurdity of it all. During my early adult years I began to see this absurdity mirrored in every religion. Every religion has rules which serve no purpose in furthering the worship of God, yet people mindlessly pursue these rules, even to their deaths.

I mention below a few of the absurdities that I have observed over the years.

South Africa's government and state church, the Dutch Reformed Church, justified apartheid based on Christianity. The state airline, flying only white passengers, always had bibles prominently secured to each bulkhead, presumably for the devout Christians in the plane to read up on apartheid. You could not be a real Christian if you were black, it seems. If you are a Muslim, then everybody else is an infidel!

The Catholics believe in the infallibility of the Pope. It is impossible to ascribe infallibility to the leader of the Catholic Church, when you look back on the monumental mistakes made this religion over the years, all with the blessing of the same infallible Pope. Infallibility means never having to say sorry!

Muslims on the other hand seem to think that the murder of innocents can justified by objectives of their religion. Those that execute these crimes are little worse than those Muslims who commit no such crimes, yet stay silent! They all stand condemned by their religion.

This is different only in degree to the Catholic and Anglican leaders who knowingly hid paedophiles in the church leadership. Yet these same religions condemn gay people who commit no crime and even if by some stretch of the imagination, you decide that this is a crime, and then it is, at the very worst, a victimless crime. How much worse is it to condone the abuse of a child, by a person placed in a position of absolute trust? If you can't trust a man of God, then who can you trust?

The Israelis and Hezbollah kill innocent people and both of them do this in the name of God. Surely they can see that the God to which they both ascribe infinite benevolence, would not countenance the murder of innocents or otherwise. Surely they can see that they both can't be right. Surely they can see that if they both believe in the infinite benevolence of God, that they must both be wrong. But of course they can't!

Buddhist's are not involved in wars, abuse and don't enforce their teachings on others. Buddhists believe that you should kill no living creature and this is an admirable philosophy. Yet they eat meat. Their reasoning behind this is that the person eating the meat does not kill the animal.

Lest I stand condemned by those that follow me for these views, let me add that I despise religion, not God or the people that worship God through these religions. For these people I have only compassion, for all people need meaning in their lives and need structure and tradition against which they can measure their worth. To the extent that religion serves these ends, it is good. To the extent that it serves the ends of its leaders and founders, then it is not good.

If there is a God, these leaders of the church will face him, as will I, to justify the deceit and the wrongdoings committed in his name during our lifetimes. I expect however to face a benevolent God, who will see my misdeeds in the context of my life and my ability to comprehend and interpret, as will he those billions of people less fortunate than me. He will disregard the religion they pursued, evaluating only their life and deeds.
[CENTER][CENTER]A Lesson Learned[/CENTER]
[/CENTER]
[CENTER][CENTER]Roger McDougall[/CENTER]
[/CENTER]
[CENTER][CENTER]22 March 2006[/CENTER]
[/CENTER]
0 Replies
 
Dave Allen
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 02:19 am
@jeeprs,
jeeprs;72646 wrote:
The argument that 'life will inevitably arise as an outcome of the interaction of forces and chemicals' is however not a scientific hypothesis in any sense of the word, it is simply wishful thinking.
No it isn't. The hypotheses of those who advocate Abiogenesis has a lot of evidence to support them, work with the chemicals available in pre-Cambrian rocks and the fossil evidence, and has even been duplicated in part in the laboratory.

The reason you feel secure in saying that it is "simply wishful thinking" is that you think arguments proposed by the Discovery Institute's propagandists are as valid, if not more so, than articles of scientific consensus that have passed peer review.

For example, the pundits you quote often refer to abiogenesis/evolution as a random process.

But no scientist who works with the theory and understands it claims that the process of natural selection is random. Of the three stage process one has a huge number of variables, but is not incalculable and subject to finite building blocks (the four nucleotides of RNA or DNA) assembled according to well understood chemistry.

STEP ONE: Organisms reproduce themselves (this is not random - it's tautological).
STEP TWO: The reproductions are not perfect - there is always variation (this is hugely variable - but not truely random).
STEP THREE: Some variations are better than others at surviving in the environment (not random - highly predictable).

But you can point this out to people from the Discovery Institute till you are blue in the face, and it won't sink in because they cannot cede part of the argument without losing the whole.

So when you say...

Quote:
Problems with the idea that 'life developed by chance', from an article on the Evangelical Philosophical Society:

...it's a moot point, because chance comes into it no more than chance comes into any other natural process. Life did not develop by chance any more than rocks, elements or solar systems developed by chance - life developed by the likely chemical reactions that take place within particular environments.

The second point often raised by the people you quote can hopefully be illustrated by the following diagram:

http://migration.files.wordpress.com/2006/07/views.jpg

Let's call this "The Single Step Fallacy". Lots of critics of abiogenesis like to pretend that it's proponents think the first self-replicating organic proto-lifeform was a bacteria. In doing so they ignore the chemical processes that led up to that point - things which were not life - but were getting ever closer to the point of being labelled as such.

In fact - modern bacteria are one of the end results of the process, just like trees or humans or wasps. However, this fact does not stop creationists assuming that because bacteria are simplest form of life on Earth today acknowledged as such by scientists that there are not simpler "lifelike" forms that would be closer to the earliest self-replicating molecules than bacteria (for example, viruses, which are not technically living organisms - but provide an example of a halfway house between life and simple chemicals).

Quote:
"Many proponents of the origin of life by chance do not bother to perform the mathematical calculations which render their conclusions highly improbable. Stephen C. Meyer calculates that to generate a single functional protein of 150 amino acids exceeds: "1 chance in 10 to the power of 180," and comments "it is extremely unlikely that a random search through all the possible amino acid sequences could generate even a single relatively short functional protein in the time available since the beginning of the universe..."

OK, the following video comprehensively debunks this assertion:
YouTube - How Abiogenesis Works
If you don't want to see it all at least watch from 5:00 onwards - it demonstrates how RNA forms, and how RNA spontaneously synthesises other complex chemicals due to it's very nature.

Quote:
As Overman observes: "the difficulties in producing a protein from the mythical prebiotic soup are very large, but more difficult still is the probability of random processes producing the simplest living cell which represents an overwhelming increase in complexity".

Single step fallacy - no one in the field of abiogenesis claims a simple living cell was produced by random processes from the prebiotic soup. Predictable chemical processes produce self-replicating molecules which, subject to natural selection (also predictable even if it's more complex) giving rise to self-replicators of increasing elegance and complexity. Combine these self-replicators with a lipid vesicle and you begin to have something that shares characteristics with cells and grows and divides and is subject to natural selection, but it still has a long way to go before being considered an actual cell.

Quote:
David Swift comments: Biologists have become increasingly aware that the real stumbling block to the origin of life is its complexity - complexity in terms of the interdependence of molecules and biochemical pathways within cell metabolism, and complexity at the molecular level of individual components. The combination of complexities at these different levels presents insurmountable difficulties to getting anything that is remotely life-like...
This preamble is fairly good - perhaps he will go on to explain how evolution by natural selection will explain how something starting with low complexity might produce something of slightly greater complexity which may be favoured by the environment - become the norm, and then produce something of slightly greater complexity.

Let's see...

Quote:
the complexity of even the simplest forms of life, a bacterium is much closer to a human being than it is to any cocktail of organic compounds in some putative primeval soup... the core of the problem is the considerable complexity of even the "simplest" forms of life, or even of some notional system that is stripped down to the theoretical bare necessities of life.

Ah, no - he goes on to make the single step fallacy.

Quote:
Fazale Rana and Hugh Ross report that: "Theoretical and experimental studies designed to discover the bare minimum number of gene products necessary for life all show significant agreement. Life seems to require between 250 and 350 different proteins to carry out its most basic operations."

In a bacterium - yes. Single step fallacy.

Quote:
The simplest existing self-reproducing organism known outside the laboratory is the bacterium Mycoplasma Genitalium, which has 482 genes (two thirds of which have been shown to be necessary to its survival in the laboratory). Outside of the laboratory Mycoplasma Genitalium is "unable to sustain itself without parasitizing on an even more complex organism... Therefore a hypothetical first cell that could sustain itself would have to be even more complex."

Firmicute bacteria are some of the simplest organisms we know of, and they live in environments such as the human gut.

It is a mistake to say they parasitise - they are largely beneficial to their host, being symbiotic - this is a tangental point but I make it to show the low degree of biological rigour these pundits routinely display.

However, another form of bacteria closely related to firmicutes live in self-sustaining populations known as Snottites. They just get the nutrient and energy they need from the environment directly in the right conditions. Here's a picture:

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/caves/images/extr_snottites.jpg

Now the basal* form of such bacteria as these snottite-dwellers and modern gut-dwellers obviously didn't live in animals - perhaps it lived in a self-sustaining community such as this (a hypothesis backed up by the fossil record) and modern firmicutes developed away from such a community (because they are gram-positive they lack an outer wall shared by many other bacteria species and therefore might benefit from the extra protection of living symbiotically with animals).

* Creationist scientists such as those from the Discovery Institute have to deny the possiblity of transitional forms as a rule anyway - because if they ceded that argument then biblical creation would be called into question as all life would not fit into the "kinds" mentioned in Genesis (which makes no mention of bacteria anyway - but creationists would have a hard time denying the existence of microbes, so they let this part of scientific discovery take a green light).

Quote:
Rana and Ross argue: the minimum complexity for independent life must reside somewhere between about 500 and 1,500 gene products. So far, as scientists have continued their sequencing efforts, all microbial genomes that fall below 1,500 belong to parasites. Organisms capable of permanent independent existence require more gene products. A minimum genome size (for independent life) of 1,500 to 1,900 gene products comports with what geochemical and fossil evidence reveals about the complexity of Earth's first life.
Single Step fallacy again - Earth's earliest life need not have been as simple as the lifelike forms that led to it - such as things like viruses. And to repeat - just because the simplest bacteria alive today are parasitic (or symbiotic, by and large) it does not mean that their ancestors were.

Quote:
Earliest life forms displayed metabolic complexity that included photosynthetic and chemoautotrophic processes, protein synthesis, the capacity to produce amino acids, nucleotides, fatty acids and sugars [as well as] the machinery to reproduce.

More single step stuff - viruses need none of this, and could have given rise to greater complexity.

Quote:
Some 1,500 different gene products would seem the bare minimum to sustain this level of metabolic activity... neither enough matter nor enough time in the universe exist for even the simplest bacterium to emerge by undirected chemical and physical processes."

Single.

Step.

Fallacy.

The chemical processes that led to life may have been undirected - but they work under well understood predictable laws. They did not produce bacteria - bacteria are the end product of abiogenesis which produce simple self-replicators which evolved to the degree of complexity to count as "life" over a long process.

As for there not being "enough matter". Er, what? That's just a bald lie.

Quote:
As for the 'Golidlocks Hypothesis', the facts of the argument are beyond dispute, it is the interpretation that is controversial.
The point is that the putative convenience of things is not an argument for supernatural agency in and of itself.

As Douglas Adams once said of the Goldilocks Hypothesis (I paraphrase) - "if you were a puddle that could think, you'd probably think life was arranged fro your convenience - isn't it great that there is water, isn't it great that this depression in the ground fits me so exactly."

Just because some degree of coincidence was required to produce us and our world - it doesn't mean there was no coincidence or that the coincidence need necessarily have been an astronomically unlikely one.

So the Goldilocks Hypothesis isn't debunked in order to show that evolution is right - it's dismissed in order to show that "parts of this planet are habitable for us and that prooves God" isn't a good arguement.

As an aside, my favourite proponent of Goldilocks is the Rabbi Boteach, who claims "if the day were just a little bit longer plants would be scorched to death!" He obviously hasn't much knowledge of how plants survive at the poles.

Quote:
Scientists, or, should I say, those who for ideological reasons believe that Science should displace religion and philosophy as the final arbiter in the questions of morality and value (AS AN INTERJECTION: a tiny minority of scientists espouse this really, most think moral philosophy is a better arbiter of standards of behaviour than either religion or application of the scientific method - Dave), are naturally inclined to dismiss any religious or spiritual intuitions regarding the source and nature of creation.

I would say there is a much greater proportion of scientists willing to listen to and seek to understand the position of evangelicals than vice versa.

It's just a hunch, but then I reckon your opinion is also a hunch - I mean, look how misleading the opinions of the evangelicals you've referred to thusfar have been. They simply are either incapable or unwilling to get even the simplest facts about what scientists believe right - because their propaganda is better served by pretending that scientists actually propose that chemicals turned straight into modern species of bacteria "by accident".

Which is nothing but pure falsehood.

Quote:
However surely from even the viewpoint of utility, it would be preferable to live believing that the Universe is a product of a grand design, and that we each have a part to play in it, than that everything just arises out of stupid matter by dumb luck and means nothing. After all, if one is correct in saying that, the grand prize is only nothingness which is kind of a hollow victory, I would have thought.

I don't think life's nothing - I think it's fascinating - I'd like to learn all I can about it really. I love natural history and zoology. I think theists need it dumbed down and can't appreciate it for itself. They'll only take their medicine if it comes with a bedtime story.

"Stupid" matter? How anthropocentric of you. If you NEED supernatural agency to justify your existence then by all means derive what comfort you can from it - but don't make some claim that the alternative is by necessity nihilistic, because it is not.

And, in defence of education, I would say that it is a very poor service the Discovery Institute do in spreading the misconceptions you yourself seem to have trusted in. These people cannot fight the theories of biologists without lying - the single step fallacy and the fact that natural selection is far from random have been pointed out to them time and again - and they have to deny it because they would lose face and set a precedent for ceding ground to real science if they began to do so.

Adn they domthis even though it's fundamentally dishonest to keep repeating these assertions once they have been explained away. I suppose bearing false witness is a good thing providing you are lying for Christ.

Also, from the point of utility - is one who knows how the world works through conclusions reached as a result of the rigorous testing of observable phenomena not better equipped to understand and deal with what the world throws at them than one who pertains to mythological and metaphorical explanations?

http://galtroarc.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2007/07/1218doonesbury_lg.gif

---------- Post added at 03:39 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:19 AM ----------

Alan McDougall;72653 wrote:
Thank you both for your comments, but does chance let such attributes below evolve out of nothing but elements and energy if you like?

Commitment
Generosity
Serenity
Courage
Peacefulness
Humor
Respect
Honesty
Power
Empathy
Fairness
Helpfulness
Independence
Interdependence
Loyalty
Patience
Pride
Resourcefulness
Intentionality (Motivation)
Openness

Well, all these traits are useful for social animals such as human beings to adopt in order to create bonds, find a mate, raise children, appreciate life and so on.

So whilst these traits are highly sophisticated and complicated mental mechanisms for helping us through our lives - because they do help us through our lives they are consistent with the sorts of adaptations animals might develop through the theory of evolution by natural selection.

If you think about a human who lacked many of these traits it's easy to see how he or she might become isolated or incapable - and therefore unlikely to pass his or her genes down to the next generation.

---------- Post added at 03:47 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:19 AM ----------

GoshisDead;72746 wrote:
This is why I think analogies to emotion are used to describe the other argument like the "Goldilocks" argument comment, which before ever arguing from that skilled logician POV screams "the argument I am about to debunk is a fairy tale anyway and even though I might do a thourough job of debunking it, you really never needed me to, you know because i already labeled it fiction."

Well, I would hope that whatever subjective "distaste" the semantics engender wouldn't stop the actual idea being acknowledged.

Whatever you want to label the "just right" argument, it doesn't make the alternative (that coincidental factors might just produce life-sustaining environments and that the life forms would adapt to the environment via natural selection is a credible alternative to the idea that environments were designed for lifeforms which were also designed) a moot point.

Claiming "oh it's an emotional plea because the language used implies disparagement" - I think that's a somewhat emotional plea of it's own.

---------- Post added at 03:49 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:19 AM ----------

Alan McDougall;72800 wrote:
Life is really highly improbable, statistical arguments and the existence of life so shortly after the formation of primordial earth doesn't mix very well. This can be effectively by considering an extreme example: the spontaneous generation of a bacterium.

No theorist of abiogenesis claims bacteria spontaneously generated.

Single step fallacy again. Do people see how pervasive it is?

---------- Post added at 03:57 AM ---------- Previous post was at 03:19 AM ----------

GoshisDead;72826 wrote:
Science is a method, it can't be neutral, it can't be not neutral, it has no agency. The percieved neutrality of science is the percieved neutrality of humans practicing science, which is as much propaganda as propaganda thrown out there by the religious, the politicians or any other group that espouses an ideal.
Sure science is subject to human bias - but no religious or political pundit has to go through peer review and struggle to gain the consensus of other religious leaders or politicians before they can speak with confidence about their own ideas and hypotheses.

Whereas those scientists who do want to maintain their reputations, and have their hypotheses reach the status of theory, do have to undertake peer review and demonstrate that their ideas actually have something relevent to say and appear to work.

So whilst all things beyond "you can doubt everything but the existence of a doubter" are in the realm of assumption - by sharing, testing and criticising their own ideas the scientific community hope, via their method, to reach towards to concrete consensus regarding observal phenomena of nature.

So it's not particularly genuine, I think, to suggest that they deal in the same sort of story-telling and PR spin that bedevils the worlds of politics and religion.

I'm not saying that there aren't corrupt and manipulative scientists out there - but I think you're unecessarily smearing the gestalt.
0 Replies
 
Zetherin
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 03:29 am
@Alan McDougall,
Is this, "My Case for Intelligent design behind existence" Round 2?

http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/3628-my-case-intelligent-design-behind-existence.html

If so, I'm probably just going to copy and paste.
Alan McDougall
 
  1  
Reply Sun 28 Jun, 2009 03:50 am
@Zetherin,
Zetherin;72981 wrote:
Is this, "My Case for Intelligent design behind existence" Round 2?

http://www.philosophyforum.com/forum/philosophy-forums/branches-philosophy/philosophy-religion/3628-my-case-intelligent-design-behind-existence.html

If so, I'm probably just going to copy and paste.


Why not so long as you give the link, this is an "ongoing question" and it is your post, is it not? I know this is a similar thread but it is based on religion/belief/atheism in a creator god

People are very interested in this type of topic, if that were not the case no one would have responded to the thread. People seek answers and answers come from sensible debating don't you agree

Evolution of DNA-- First DNA

The Double Helix

Remember DNA? The subject of this book? Well, it finally has appeared!
For the moment, we only have a single strand of it. But eventually, "some clever cell?" managed to protect it with a set of complementary base pairs. The result was the well known double helix, with all the nucleotides snug in the center of the molecule, and no risk of tangling at all.

DNA chains are chemically much more stable than RNA, with chains that are much stronger. They are more resistant to chemical attack, since the more reactive nucleic acids are snug in the center, surrounded by a relatively inert wrapping of ribose and phosphates.

The double helix of DNA also encodes its genetic information in a redundant form, which is much easier to maintain and repair.
What that means is that there would have been a huge genetic advantage for any Cassius that could convert its RNA genes into a separate 'master copy' stored in DNA form, and then replicate them back to m RNA, as needed.

DNA is positively such a cool molecule that it's a shame that we delayed so long in seeing it.

DNA and RNA Maintenance

The DNA chain is very similar to RNA, so most of the enzymes that cells had previously developed for replicating and maintaining DNA genes would have worked fine on DNA as well, with only minor modifications.

The process of switching from RNA as the primary genetic carrier to DNA would have required some new enzymes and new processes, but nothing that was nearly as dramatic as the previous steps of genetic evolution that we've described.

At some point, the uridine used in RNA was methylated and changed to thymidine. There is no strong evidence for when or why that happened. It may possibly be an artifact of two different strains of Cassius that each developed a portion of the

DNA/RNA system, and then later merged. It may have been helpful in some early transition period, or it may have arisen millions of years later, for some other reason.

When Did DNA Appear?

Well, now it's time to admit to some literary license. Delaying the appearance of DNA may have been a little sadistic, and it's possible that DNA first appeared much earlier, perhaps even during the days of Caleb and Cassius.
Back when 'helper chains' first appeared, Caleb had a management problem-- since it needed to replicate those chains, but not transcribe them.

We talked earlier about using a 'header' sequence to mark the chains, and that probably was the first solution-- since it also provided a 'landing site' for Fred and/or Roscoe.

However, it's possible some version of Caleb may have accomplished the same thing by storing the protein-coding genetic chains as DNA, and the helper chains as RNA. If it then had a Fred that only read DNA, and Roscoes that replicated both

DNA and RNA, it would have been all set. Its Fred would avoid accidental protein transcriptions from the RNA chains, and Roscoe (most likely in two different versions) would keep the genetic chains and helper chains in stock.

If that didn't happen, there would have been increasing pressure for cells to switch to DNA, after the appearance of ribozymes. Since their very structure depended on many complementary stretches, they would have been particularly tangle-producing.

Any cells that could switch the main ribozyme genes to a more rigid form would have gained a serious advantage.

Of course, locking the genetic material into a double helix was a drastic step, and it's also possible that there was a long period of plain old RNA chemistry (that is the gist of the 'RNA world' theory). Its appearance certainly would have been easier if there were already operons, gene ID, and cells with sophisticated metabolisms.

Unfortunately, there's no sure way to know when DNA appeared. By the time it made the scene, organisms were growing more and more complex, and it's not easy to sort through all of the evolutionary possibilities and affix a specific order to each improvement.

The Star of the Show

We could write much more about the DNA double helix and its chemistry, but this is an area that has already been well explored by other authors.

It is rather an anticlimax to treat the entry of DNA with so little fanfare, but at least we will make up for it, by devoting the rest of the book to its quirks and personality.
In fact, it's time to start looking at some of the odder aspects of modern DNA, and why they are important.

My point is, however, how did this massive molecule of unimaginable complexity appear so early on primordial earth?

All life right up to the present evolved out, and are just variations of the original life sequencing

Even given an eternity this should not have happened by chance, the universe is relatively young and the argument that given enough time everything that can happen will happen becomes redundant

Alan
 

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