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eight bits

How life began

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Stubbly_Dooright

Be Cornelius!!!!!! How the Hell are you!!?!?!?

And ditto to what you said. I often wondered if God or the like is filled into the gap of what so much we don’t know yet, and those who fill GITG, hates not knowing. 

 

GITG: God in the gap. ;) 

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Pettytalk
3 hours ago, Br Cornelius said:

When someone tries to claim that life is to complex for random events to create it - I say you don't understand how many times nature failed to create life before it succeeded. 

The numbers of chance events which lead to life are so huge that its like contemplating God in its inability to be comprehended. 

 

Br Cornelius

Trying to revitalize this near lifeless thread?

Just being the devil's advocate here. Let's say I'm one of those that claim that life is too complex for randomly creating itself. And I don't understand, or rather, don't know how many times nature failed, before it succeeded in creating life. I'm assuming that we already agree what is and isn't life. Can you provide some reliable data, giving us this number of failures numerically? And do you have access to data that corroborates the precise moment in time, and precise location too, when mother nature first successfully created life? What shall we name this official, nature's first-born, creature of life?

I'm not a real mean devil, therefore I'm just limiting this to our Mother Earth, as It may be too difficult for you to provide the data that would encompass the entire visible physical universe, and not just the earth. And which is the only place that science can corroborate the existence of life. Remember that we are dealing with facts and not speculation, nor percentages of possibilities of life existing elsewhere.

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Br Cornelius
2 hours ago, Pettytalk said:

Trying to revitalize this near lifeless thread?

Just being the devil's advocate here. Let's say I'm one of those that claim that life is too complex for randomly creating itself. And I don't understand, or rather, don't know how many times nature failed, before it succeeded in creating life. I'm assuming that we already agree what is and isn't life. Can you provide some reliable data, giving us this number of failures numerically? And do you have access to data that corroborates the precise moment in time, and precise location too, when mother nature first successfully created life? What shall we name this official, nature's first-born, creature of life?

I'm not a real mean devil, therefore I'm just limiting this to our Mother Earth, as It may be too difficult for you to provide the data that would encompass the entire visible physical universe, and not just the earth. And which is the only place that science can corroborate the existence of life. Remember that we are dealing with facts and not speculation, nor percentages of possibilities of life existing elsewhere.

Assuming life started on earth, there was period of about 1 billion years (thats 109 years) or 8760hours or 3.116 seconds. Each of those seconds would be host to trillions of individual chemical reactions - each with the potential to create a step along the way to life. So been really conservative thats 1012 events per second or 3.129 potential events (which would be a totally gross underestimate of the real number by many orders of magnitude since there are at least 1x1024 molecules in the oceans with the potential to host such an event), only one of them needs to be a success - all the others can be failures.

I don't know about you but I have absolutely no intellectual tools to comprehend what that sort of number actually looks like. its so outside of the reals of human experience to be incomprehensible in human terms. What I know is that thats more than all the stars in the universe and the universe is so big that I cannot even conceive of its size. I find the idea of been able to attribute all of this to a guy in the sky much easier to conceptualize on a human level.

Life is the inevitable consequence of the chemical opportunities which existence offers.

As to your other questions - utterly meaningless and irrelevant to my point.

 

Br Cornelius

Edited by Br Cornelius
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RoofGardener

Interesting point Br Cornelius, and well argued. 

I would just like to point out that if we are talking about when INTELLIGENT life began, then some days I'm tempted to answer.... "We'll let you know"

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Mr Walker
On 01/07/2019 at 6:26 PM, eight bits said:

Jack Szostak of Harvard and Massachusetts General Hospital has spent much of this century so far working on how the earliest chemical systems capable of participating in Darwinian evolution might have formed naturally on Earth. His work and career are profiled this month in the Harvard alumni magazine.

https://harvardmagazine.com/2019/07/origin-life-earth

First life remains an open problem, but progress has been made. Of the various possibilities under active investigation, Szostak favors the "something like RNA surrounded by a membrane" hypothesis. None of the serious contenders resembles the God-squad meme about how a vat of chemicals had to form up spontaneously to become a passenger jet, therefore godidit.

fascinating stuff but hardly controversial I remember teaching similar concepts in high school  at least 20 or 30 years ago, and may be even more.  

eg

Despite some theories that early life arose near hydrothermal vents in the deep ocean, Szostak is more convinced by research showing that the earliest cells developed on land in ponds or pools, possibly in volcanically active regions. Ultraviolet light and lightning strikes could have helped convert molecules in the atmosphere into cyanide and other useful materials to generate the building blocks of life. The shallow water would give those materials a place to accumulate at high concentrations, and volcanic activity could create hot and cold temperature fluctuations helpful for certain chemical reactions

The most interesting new concept seems to be the requirement for a cell membrane

While scientists have long had some idea of the conditions required for the development of life, just HOW it first began and what form it first took has been more unclear.

I believe that this century we will come to know how, and indeed will reproduce life from non life using similar processes as occurred in nature. 

However  the meme of a bunch of chemicals under the right conditions does remain critical to this theory.  it is almost certainly how life developed  Just because creationists cant get how this could occur spontaneously and naturally doesn't make it wrong. No design or intelligence is required in nature for even the most complex and hard to imagine processes They are all around us .

The y are not evidence for the existence of gods, but  for the wonder and complexity of nature, and of what chaotic and natural processes  can construct  over time.    

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Pettytalk
On 7/16/2019 at 11:59 AM, Br Cornelius said:

Assuming life started on earth, there was period of about 1 billion years (thats 109 years) or 8760hours or 3.116 seconds. Each of those seconds would be host to trillions of individual chemical reactions - each with the potential to create a step along the way to life. So been really conservative thats 1012 events per second or 3.129 potential events (which would be a totally gross underestimate of the real number by many orders of magnitude since there are at least 1x1024 molecules in the oceans with the potential to host such an event), only one of them needs to be a success - all the others can be failures.

I don't know about you but I have absolutely no intellectual tools to comprehend what that sort of number actually looks like. its so outside of the reals of human experience to be incomprehensible in human terms. What I know is that thats more than all the stars in the universe and the universe is so big that I cannot even conceive of its size. I find the idea of been able to attribute all of this to a guy in the sky much easier to conceptualize on a human level.

Life is the inevitable consequence of the chemical opportunities which existence offers.

As to your other questions - utterly meaningless and irrelevant to my point.

 

Br Cornelius

When "assuming" is in the equation, all those numbers don't mean a thing, as they are meaningless and irrelevant. Further considering the assuming of the age of the universe, and the assumption of the actual age of the earth, and the actual start of life, we have at least the assumption at; assumption X assumption X assumption. And that's too much assuming for scientific facts.

We still don't know what "existence" is, and there you are, coming up with offers. And I think you need to rethink your odds-maker skills.

Unlike you, I can visualize those kind of numbers, since I can visualize infinity, which is circular in nature. From my point of view of where I stand, I'm at the center of infinity, since in every direction I look I see infinity. And I can see outwards, as well as inwards, and everything comes back on me. But then again, we are all at the center, no matter where we are standing, be it common or holy ground.

And I too "find the idea of being able to attribute all of this to a guy in the sky much easier to conceptualize on a human level. Because I can only see as far as infinity, and the guy in the sky is in a sky outside of infinity, and outside of my infinite thoughts on this matter of physicality of life and its beginning.

But as far as time, as you were mentioning, what is even 18 billion years compared to eternity? Just a drop in an endless ocean of time. There are some who posit that the physical universe(s) has/have always existed, in eternity.

Would you care to recalculate the odds for life's beginning, in reference to an infinite physical universe and an infinite quantity of time?

infinity-symbol-sign-vector-6796866.jpg

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Br Cornelius

You simply missed the point of what I said. You don't need infinity for life to begin, you need a finite amount of attempts in a very finite planet. The issue is that you have a unimaginable number of those events to get it right. Given enough events, of which we have plenty chemistry combined with physics will do everything you need.

Life  is inevitable and likely very abundant.

To be honest i am not even certain what is the point you are trying to make since it certainly doesn't read as a defense of a creator. If we consider an infinite universe then life becomes even more certain given basic physics and chemistry.

Br Cornelius 

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Pettytalk
3 hours ago, Br Cornelius said:

You simply missed the point of what I said. You don't need infinity for life to begin, you need a finite amount of attempts in a very finite planet. The issue is that you have a unimaginable number of those events to get it right. Given enough events, of which we have plenty chemistry combined with physics will do everything you need.

Life  is inevitable and likely very abundant.

To be honest i am not even certain what is the point you are trying to make since it certainly doesn't read as a defense of a creator. If we consider an infinite universe then life becomes even more certain given basic physics and chemistry.

Br Cornelius 

It's easy to lose the point, when dealing with fractions. the question is not about the certainty of life, as we suffice to prove that point. The point was that there is no certainty about whether life (any life form) is spontaneous, and coming alive by mere chance from the "dead" matter of nature that is said to be neither sentient, nor have intent. It was not so much as making a point about there needing an outside source (God/Creator) for there to be physical life. I was rebounding on your comment on the guy in the sky.

And I agree on the possibility of being other life out there, and the more out there the more the possibilities. In fact, I hold that idea of life on other planets to be almost certain. But even on those other worlds, the uncertainty of there having been an external source responsible for the life there will be very much the same as here, as I see it.

And as impressive your mathematical breakdown on time and chances were, you failed to be more precise. For one, you did not consider leap years for the days and seconds in an earth year, nor could you use those numbers for that billion years ago, since we have no way of knowing if the earth's revolution on its imaginary axis was the same as today, nor of the time frame for its trip around our wonderful sun. Planets have been known to change in size and orbit position/pattern, even if only slightly. 

The point was that as long as there is no 100% proof about how life started, where, when and how, there is no certainty. Now, when it comes to plausibility and possibilities, well those are just opinions. And as far as that, I'll grant you that, scientifically speaking, it seems more probable that it was spontaneous, but only to minds that think strictly by what they can only sense with their five physical senses. I would add why, to the where, when, and how, but that would be bias on my part. 

And there is no sense of it all without absolute knowledge. And only an outside source has sense enough for the absolute, absolutely.

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Br Cornelius

Pedantry is alive and well at UM, bravo.
Focus on the details so you can ignore the point - well done.

 

Br Cornelius

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Piney
27 minutes ago, Pettytalk said:

since we have no way of knowing if the earth's revolution on its imaginary axis was the same as today, nor of the time frame for its trip around our wonderful sun. Planets have been known to change in size and orbit position/pattern, even if only slightly. 

Precession of the equinoxes is predictable. Both for the past and the future. It is how we knew Thuban was once the Pole Star thousands of years ago. 

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Pettytalk
40 minutes ago, Br Cornelius said:

Pedantry is alive and well at UM, bravo.
Focus on the details so you can ignore the point - well done.

 

Br Cornelius

They do say that the devil is in the details. And I was playing the devil's advocate, as I initially stated, openly. We have no certainties, which was the point. I did not ignore it. There is no certainty even for that guy in sky. My point is that we all have opinions, at best. I can only imagine that guy in the sky. And he could very well be an uncle of mine, but I don't know that for certain (100%). Perhaps the guy up there is a relative of yours, who knows? That's the point, who knows? 

Therefore there is no cause for you to address pedantry, as there was a little humor intended with the leap year, and so on. You are not the only wise person to break down years for getting big numbers, those 10 to the nth power. But he was wiser, as he compensated for the "leap." Just more humor, relax!

From Herodotus' History, Book one.

Thus Solon assigned the second place in respect of happiness to these: and Croesus was moved to anger and said: "Athenian guest, hast thou then so cast aside our prosperous state as worth nothing, that thou dost prefer to us even men of private station?" And he said: "Croesus, thou art inquiring about human fortunes of one who well knows that the Deity is altogether envious and apt to disturb our lot. For in the course of long time a man may see many things which he would not desire to see, and suffer also many things which he would not desire to suffer. The limit of life for a man I lay down at seventy years: and these seventy years give twenty-five thousand and two hundred days, not reckoning for any intercalated month. Then if every other one of these years shall be made longer by one month, that the seasons may be caused to come round at the due time of the year, the intercalated months will be in number five-and-thirty besides the seventy years; and of these months the days will be one thousand and fifty. Of all these days, being in number twenty-six thousand two hundred and fifty, which go to the seventy years, one day produces nothing at all which resembles what another brings with it. Thus then, O Croesus, man is altogether a creature of accident. As for thee, I perceive that thou art both great in wealth and king of many men, but that of which thou didst ask me I cannot call thee yet, until I learn that thou hast brought thy life to a fair ending: for the very rich man is not at all to be accounted more happy than he who has but his subsistence from day to day, unless also the fortune go with him of ending his life well in possession of all things fair. For many very wealthy men are not happy, 32 while many who have but a moderate living are fortunate; 33 and in truth the very rich man who is not happy has two advantages only as compared with the poor man who is fortunate, whereas this latter has many as compared with the rich man who is not happy. The rich man is able better to fulfil his desire, and also to endure a great calamity if it fall upon him; whereas the other has advantage over him in these things which follow:—he is not indeed able equally with the rich man to endure a calamity or to fulfil his desire, but these his good fortune keeps away from him, while he is sound of limb, 34 free from disease, untouched by suffering, the father of fair children and himself of comely form; and if in addition to this he shall end his life well, he is worthy to be called that which thou seekest, namely a happy man; but before he comes to his end it is well to hold back and not to call him yet happy but only fortunate. Now to possess all these things together is impossible for one who is mere man, just as no single land suffices to supply all things for itself, but one thing it has and another it lacks, and the land that has the greatest number of things is the best: so also in the case of a man, no single person is complete in himself, for one thing he has and another he lacks; but whosoever of men continues to the end in possession of the greatest number of these things and then has a gracious ending of his life, he is by me accounted worthy, O king, to receive this name. But we must of every thing examine the end and how it will turn out at the last, for to many God shows but a glimpse of happiness and then plucks them up by the roots and overturns them."

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Tatetopa
18 minutes ago, Pettytalk said:

They do say that the devil is in the details. And I was playing the devil's advocate, as I initially stated, openly. We have no certainties, which was the point. I did not ignore it.

If by certainty, you mean absolute knowledge of the state of every particle in the universe, you are correct.   We don't know the universe with certainty down to the granular Planck level.

On a very finite but still large scale, we don't know the unique position of every grain of sand  on a beach in New Jersey, nor how to predict with certainty where each will be tomorrow.  That doesn't stop us from knowing quite a bit about the beach in general and how it will fare overnight until we observe it again in the morning.

On a more personal scale you don't know which of your cells will die overnight and which will reproduce and form two new cells.  Unless your fixation with certainty is debilitating, that will not stop you from going to work in the morning.

We know something about the behavior of large assemblages, even if we cannot track the fate of each and every individual cell.  That is some uncertainty that we can learn to live with.

Likewise, it may not be necessary to pinpoint exactly when, and where on earth the first recognizably alive assemblage began.  We may have to content ourselves with an understanding of the behavior of the systems in general.

When you attempt to add why to the mix you are making some basic assumptions.   Why implies reason.  Reason seems to imply conscious will and direction.  Those are axioms that one can choose to put on the system, but why does not currently seem to be an integral or necessary part of the solution  to how life began. 

 

 

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Essan

In an almost infinite universe, almost everything is possible.  Is it so hard to accept that out of all the billions and billions of planets on which life could evolve, on at least once such planet it did?

Why are we here?  Because we're here.  

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Br Cornelius

Heres another clue to the inevitability of life by evolution. when we look out into the universe we see evidence of the building blocks of life out in the nebula and gas clouds. The foundations of life are ubiquitous.

 

Br Cornelius

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Sherapy
On 7/2/2019 at 3:04 AM, Rlyeh said:

Show us on the doll where God touched you.

Ha ha ha ha ha ha good one! :D

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Br Cornelius

I really fundamentally believe that a belief in God represents a failure of imagination.

 

Br Cornelius

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Sherapy
41 minutes ago, Br Cornelius said:

I really fundamentally believe that a belief in God represents a failure of imagination.

 

Br Cornelius

Interesting way to look at it, can you expand on this?

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Br Cornelius
54 minutes ago, Sherapy said:

Interesting way to look at it, can you expand on this?

The difficulty is in imagining the scale of things, the scale in time, space and events. Its beyond human faculties.

So much easier to just think of a bigger version of yourself moulding it all as if a ball of clay.

 

Br Cornelius

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Ogbin

 Is consciousness a product of evolution?

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eight bits
1 hour ago, Ogbin said:

 Is consciousness a product of evolution?

Ours is. It is entirely possible. however, that organ meat isn't the only organized matter capable of consciousness.

If the Church-Turing Thesis (searchable) is true, then a wide variety of physical systems could exhibit consciousness, not only biological ones. It is unknown currently whether the thesis is true, however.

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Jodie.Lynne
On 7/22/2019 at 3:36 PM, Br Cornelius said:

The difficulty is in imagining the scale of things, the scale in time, space and events. Its beyond human faculties.

So much easier to just think of a bigger version of yourself moulding it all as if a ball of clay.

 

Br Cornelius

I like and agree with this sentiment.

We, as humans, become overwhelmed by vast numbers. We hear that it is 93 million miles from the Earth to the sun; Or that someone is worth 130 Billion dollars, or that the US National Debt is over 8.1 TRILLION dollars, and the mind boggles.

So, when we say that dinosaurs roamed the planet 65 million years ago, or that the universe began 13.8 BILLION years ago, the average human will kind of shut down, partially. Unable to visualize or comprehend such vast numbers, or the intricate complexity of nature itself, the mind can fall back on a belief that "somewhere, somehow, there is SOMETHING that can make sense of it all."

 

And why is this? It isn't because believers are more gullible, or that non-believers are more sophisticated. It is because there are far, far too many people who are extremely uncomfortable saying "I don't know."

"I don't know" is an unacceptable answer for many people, hence the commonly asked question: "Well, if there is no god, then how did the universe begin?" and the response of "I don't know" gives the believer a smug sense of self satisfaction that THEY do KNOW: God.

 

But, IMO, this is a false sense of security, answering a mystery with another mystery.  If one's car suddenly stopped working, leaving you stranded on the roadside, miles from home, and you didn't know why it suddenly failed (because you aren't a mechanic), would you conclude that the reason was god?

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Jodie.Lynne
On 7/16/2019 at 3:16 PM, RoofGardener said:

I would just like to point out that if we are talking about when INTELLIGENT life began, then some days I'm tempted to answer.... "We'll let you know"

There IS intelligent life on Earth!

 

But me and my friends are just visiting....

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Dejarma
Quote

.The way I look at it, I’m working on the easiest of these big problems.

where's the problem?

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Habitat
7 minutes ago, Jodie.Lynne said:

I like and agree with this sentiment.

We, as humans, become overwhelmed by vast numbers. We hear that it is 93 million miles from the Earth to the sun; Or that someone is worth 130 Billion dollars, or that the US National Debt is over 8.1 TRILLION dollars, and the mind boggles.

So, when we say that dinosaurs roamed the planet 65 million years ago, or that the universe began 13.8 BILLION years ago, the average human will kind of shut down, partially. Unable to visualize or comprehend such vast numbers, or the intricate complexity of nature itself, the mind can fall back on a belief that "somewhere, somehow, there is SOMETHING that can make sense of it all."

 

And why is this? It isn't because believers are more gullible, or that non-believers are more sophisticated. It is because there are far, far too many people who are extremely uncomfortable saying "I don't know."

"I don't know" is an unacceptable answer for many people, hence the commonly asked question: "Well, if there is no god, then how did the universe begin?" and the response of "I don't know" gives the believer a smug sense of self satisfaction that THEY do KNOW: God.

 

But, IMO, this is a false sense of security, answering a mystery with another mystery.  If one's car suddenly stopped working, leaving you stranded on the roadside, miles from home, and you didn't know why it suddenly failed (because you aren't a mechanic), would you conclude that the reason was god?

dear oh dear, your obsession with 'killing off" God knows no bounds, you should take your own advice, and join the "I don't know" club !

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