Is abiogenesis a legitimate scientific hypothesis?
#1
Trying to figure out how life began on earth is perennial in the human mind.  Some folks think they have it figured out.  Sort of... Here's my thoughts on the current state of abiogenesis.

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/settled-s...-p-connell 

[Image: RNA_World_cover.jpg]
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#2
I have a BS in Geology and this was something I looked at for a while.  For me, it is interesting but something that will always be speculation.  I personally believe that, among other things, God is existence itself and therefore where order in the universe stems from.  Abiogenesis sounds reasonable, but the laws of nature that allowed that ordered evolution to occur, if that's how it happened, came from God, existence itself. 

The same could be said for the change over time that supposedly allowed further complexity of that RNA to transition to DNA and then to countless species of life, to eventually include human beings.  I'm not smart enough to figure that out, if it's even possible. 

I now believe that what's important to focus on is that God is existence itself, goodness itself, also known as agape love.  At this point, the rest is just curiosity to me.
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#3
I think that in most instances, where Evolutionary 'science' principles are invoked, they fail as does the whole of 'evolution theory' because it is always in conflict with the second law of thermodynamics. Ya, that big bump in the road: Entropy.

It puts a big barrier for this hypothesis to 'evolve' any farther.

Some 'thing' had to step in and cause certain things to happen, because they couldn't on their own, since any closed system experiences more entropy than serendipity.
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#4
(05-07-2021, 06:11 AM)jack89 Wrote: I have a BS in Geology and this was something I looked at for a while.  For me, it is interesting but something that will always be speculation.  I personally believe that, among other things, God is existence itself and therefore where order in the universe stems from.  Abiogenesis sounds reasonable, but the laws of nature that allowed that ordered evolution to occur, if that's how it happened, came from God, existence itself. 

The same could be said for the change over time that supposedly allowed further complexity of that RNA to transition to DNA and then to countless species of life, to eventually include human beings.  I'm not smart enough to figure that out, if it's even possible. 

I now believe that what's important to focus on is that God is existence itself, goodness itself, also known as agape love.  At this point, the rest is just curiosity to me.

(05-07-2021, 09:10 PM)Zedta Wrote: I think that in most instances, where Evolutionary 'science' principles are invoked, they fail as does the whole of 'evolution theory' because it is always in conflict with the second law of thermodynamics. Ya, that big bump in the road: Entropy.

It puts a big barrier for this hypothesis to 'evolve' any farther.

Some 'thing' had to step in and cause certain things to happen, because they couldn't on their own, since any closed system experiences more entropy than serendipity.
(Sorry about the multiple quotes - the platform doesn't allow me to remove them).

As jack89 says “I’m not smart enough to figure that out…”  I certainly amn’t smart enough to resolve the issue.  Unlike some colleagues, I’m comfortable with the view that revelation and reason have made a reconcilable position.

And although abiogenesis does indeed “sound” reasonable, and even plausible, (which is what initially drew me in), I have to side with Zedta, (and the overwhelming vast majority of biochemists and chemists) that, thermodynamically, abiogenesis is looking more and more like an impossibility. Even with the discovery of a few self-catalyzing ribozymes the larger part of the picture remains a question of entropy.

I’ve often thought of the sad state of affairs Charles Walcott must’ve been in in order to purposely blind himself to the significance of his discovery and description of the Burgess Shales to preserve his desired Darwinian view in the face of such overwhelming contradictory evidence.

I wonder how new geologists are being taught of the Cambrian Radiation in light of the Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales?  Thoughts, jack89?
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#5
I have stopped trying to have an opinion on this. I know nothing about biology and it would take too long to attain sufficient knowledge to arrive at an answer. There are good Catholics who are at home in this field, I'd rather let them figure it out. It doesn't seem like necessary knowledge for my state in life.
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#6
(05-08-2021, 07:36 AM)CaoimhinPConnell Wrote: I wonder how new geologists are being taught of the Cambrian Radiation in light of the Chengjiang Maotianshan Shales?  Thoughts, jack89?

I don't know much about it.  I graduated 15 years ago and didn't work in the field.  

A quick search shows that the Cambrian explosion and lack of transitional fossils throws doubt at Darwinism.  OK.

I really don't have a dog in this hunt.  I don't think abiogenesis and evolutionary theory discounts intelligent design.  I don't think they're mutually exclusive.

I think most young scientists shy away from the theory of intelligent design, conflating it with creationism.
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#7
(05-08-2021, 09:23 AM)Marmot Wrote: I have stopped trying to have an opinion on this. I know nothing about biology and it would take too long to attain sufficient knowledge to arrive at an answer. There are good Catholics who are at home in this field, I'd rather let them figure it out. It doesn't seem like necessary knowledge for my state in life.
Hello Marmot - All too often, I see people selling themselves short on "scientific" matters.  In reality, even people with no training in scientific matters are quite competent to provide valid opinions on scientific matters.

The denizens of today's Western Society, have been falsely lead to believe that only "experts" can have a valid opinion on matters scientific, and we lowly blue collar types should just shut up and listen.

And yet, that has not always been the case.  In 1786, Thomas Jefferson wrote his “Crusade Against Ignorance” to George Wythe, where he advocated for “…the diffusion of knowledge among the people. No other sure foundation can be devised for the preservation of freedom and happiness.

In a 1998 document that has backfired on the National Academy of Sciences, the NAS stated that the "…process of public scrutiny is an essential part of science. It works to eliminate individual bias and subjectivity, because others must also be able to determine whether a proposed explanation is consistent with the available evidence."  They then go on to heavily advocate the authoritative dogmatic tautology of "experts."

It is widely reported (but I'm unable to confirm) that Judge James Graham (Present of the US District Court for Southern District of Ohio), opined "Science is not an inscrutable priesthood. Any person of reasonable intelligence should, with some diligence, be able to understand and critically evaluate a scientific theory."

I completely agree with that position.  But, all too often the Common Man is bamboozled by buffoons, like Dr. Fauci with higher education degrees and deflective, evasive, talk to cover up their actual ignorance and agenda of Scientism.  The Hungarian Physicist, Father Stanley Jaki addressed this issue when he described such mumbo-jumbo as being "…camouflaged in scientific garb, it is a process which effectively hides from view facts that are neither of the making of science, nor can science make anything of them.  A  'scientific' stance that stimulates insensitivity to those facts is a parody of science, worthy of being called plain antiscience."

I encounter these issues on a weekly bases when people call me to perform "toxic mold assessments" for their houses, or address the stupidity of "community masks" or other such issues.  The Common Joe has sufficient wherewithal to adequately address these issues by themselves.

The argument for abiogenesis is an argument from attitude, not intellect.  That is, the advocates (of whom I was one), WANT it to be true, and will go to great lengths to push it as a 'fact' when in fact, it is, almost certainly, fantasy.  In my case, getting straightened out on the issue was primarily one of overcoming pride, not pursuing an intellectual or reasoned course.  Like ALL Darwinists, the only way I could maintain my desired belief system was by rejecting the common sense I was born with, and adopting pride in being a scientist who knew better than the uneducated Evangelical Christian down the road who thought the world was 6,000 years old.  That's an easy brush-off.

In truth, I fell into the very trap that is pushed today which is the false dichotomy presented by Richard Dawkins that " It is absolutely safe to say that if you meet somebody who claims not to believe in evolution, that person is ignorant, stupid or insane (or wicked, but I'd rather not consider that)."

The problem here is that we have let the Natural Reductionists define the terms and control the narrative.  Thus, when having a discussion about "evolution" it is important to establish from the beginning what is meant by "evolution," and what is meant by "Natural Selection" and "creation" and "Intelligent Design."  Resolving these terms may end any disagreement before it starts when you find out the Darwinist won't be able to define "evolution" and "Natural Selection" outside of truisms and they can't define "creation" or "intelligent design" outside of derogatory insults.  After that, they don't have much left to defend.  As Jaki put it, (to paraphrase), "...one can accept evolution, without believing in Darwinism."  To do this, one need only understand what the terms mean.

So, Marmot, far from shying away from the issue, I would recommend looking at it again and perhaps from a different angle - any angle with which you are proficient, and from the simple discussions of Thomas Aquinas, for example.  You will find that not only are you competent to have an opinion, but also, (presumably) as a Catholic, you are obligated to have a tenable opinion to defend the faith and to counter such bad law as found in Katzmiller v. Dover.
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#8
Thank you CaoimhinPConnell. I will seriously consider this.

What I want to avoid is adhering strongly to an opinion without having sufficient reason for it. I don't believe that I am unable to understand this issue, I'm just saying that the time required to learn the required biology seems too great for my present situation. I do not generally avoid questions that involve science. If it's a matter of mathematics, physics and engineering, I am happy to delve into it.
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#9
(05-11-2021, 05:51 AM)Marmot Wrote: If it's a matter of mathematics, physics and engineering, I am happy to delve into it.
Hello Marmot!

If math and engineering is your thing, then you would enjoy "Inadequacies of Neo-Darwinian Evolution as a Scientific Theory" by Dr. Murray Eden, professor of electrical engineering at M.I.T.  This is the Wistar Symposium Monograph No.5 from 1967.

Also philosopher Stephen Meyer discusses the mathematical essentials of Eden's work in less technical language in his 2013 book "Darwin's Doubt" where he discusses the problems of informational combinatorial space and the improbability of random sequencing to a protein which is an essential for abiogenesis. 

For a much shorter, but interesting discussion on the subject, you may want to look at atheist Noam Chomsky's 2016 book "Why Only Us."

From an engineering perspective, one can approach the issue of abiogenesis from a non-biological perspective a la Aquinas in Dr. Robert Spitzer's book "New Proofs for the Existence of God."  Spitzer's argument is hinged on the realities of a contingent universe. If you want a quick brush-up on the philosophical foundations of contingency that Father Spitzer uses, I would recommend something like Edward Feser's "Five Proof for the Existence of God" first, since the second part of Father Spitzer's book can make your head spin (I nearly passed out - I'm not big on philosophy).  I touch on some of the contingency stuff and entropy in my short and fun discussion "On Random Design" (https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/random-de...-p-connell)

Finally, if you would like a easy primer on the biological problems involved, but don't want to study biology, then I would recommend the books by three molecular biologists, Michael Behe (such as "Darwin's Black Box," (1998) or Douglas Axe's 2017 "Undeniable" or Jonathan Wells "The Icons of Evolution."

YouTube is chocker block full of interviews and lectures by these authors and for a quick and dirty lesson you could do worse than jumping on YouTube and pulling up some of the lectures by these folks.
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#10
I enjoyed reading "On Random Design".
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