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Famous Atheist Now Believes in God
Yahoo ^ | 12/9/04 | RICHARD N. OSTLING

Posted on 12/09/2004 1:15:38 PM PST by ZGuy

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To: Alamo-Girl
a) the primeval soup probably never existed

Nonsense. Hydrothermal systems that exhibit complex organic chemistry bootstrapping are known to exist today in some corners of the world.

b) even if it did, the various self-organizational schemes proposed to "explain" the origin of life still don't work

Nonsense. Significant biochemistry substructures are observed to be generated in the systems referenced above. However, the chemistry of this catalytic self-assembly is not fully understood.

c) life must be accepted as an axiom

Nonsense. Life is not even well-defined, and becomes very fuzzy under scrutiny in practice -- there is no such thing as a closed system. Regardless, "life" is an arbitrary categorization based on a set of system properties, not an axiom. (In a sense, this makes the above argument a circular definition.)

151 posted on 12/15/2004 9:53:58 AM PST by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: tortoise
Hi there, tortoise! I'm so tickled you decided to post! Thank you!

But, er, you have provided no evidence - source references we can use to explore what you have just said.

I'm particularly interested in evidence of "hydrothermal systems that exhibit complex organic chemistry bootstrapping" - providing of course that the chemistry evidences both autonomy and symbolization in support of successful communication. This is the quandary suggested at the end of Pattee's essay.

Also - if you have anything more up-to-date than Rocha's work with regard to possible mechanisms for the rise of self-organizing complexity in an RNA world, I'd love to read about it!

I do however dispute your conclusion that life is not yet well defined. It seems to me that the comparison between a live skin cell and a dead skin cell makes the point rather well. The live skin cell is communicating successfully (Shannon information theory) with itself and its environment. The DNA and chemistry, OTOH, is as good dead as alive.

152 posted on 12/15/2004 10:11:41 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: tortoise
I'm terribly sorry for my last post being so flippant. I should never try to post anything while my dog is insisting on a walk.

What I should have done is put my request for source information and the response to the "what is life?" issue in context. Unlike ever so many other evolution related discussions on the forum, this one is seeking to explore the issue of complexity in biological life.

For that reason the overarching information theory (your expertise) is the main entree - hence the out-of-hand response about successful communication (information, Shannon) being peculiar to life. The chemistry is of course also very interesting, especially if we can see how self-organized complexity can be initiated in an RNA world.

153 posted on 12/15/2004 10:54:20 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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