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LostinParis

Blind chance or god

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Hello! Haven’t posted for a long while.

 

My creationist friend and I were discussing the possibility of Abiogenesis. She claims that god creating the first life is far more likely than “blind chance”.

 

Is this a false dichotomy? “Blind chance” sounds too random to me, as there are natural laws that govern the universe. I don’t know much about abiogenesis so I’d love some feedback.

 

Alyssa

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There are several things wrong with her claim.

 

First of all her claim necessarily presupposes a God capable of creating life. If she want's to talk about likelihoods then an all powerful self existing creator God is automatically less likely. I'm not even sure how you'd assign probabilities to such a thing being likely to exist.

 

I'm stepping outside my realm of knowledge here, but to my understanding chemical interactions, which Abiogenesis is based on, do not occur by blind chance. If you knew the conditions and chemical interactions that went on to lead to the first replicating chemicals you'd be able to reproduce this each time. This is opposed to say rolling dice and trying to intentionally come up with the sequence 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 each time you rolled the dice six times. You cannot do that because each die roll is truly random.

 

It seems the chances that any one planet in the universe having life on it is exceedingly small, but that's not the same as the "blind chance" your friend mentions. It's merely an acknowledgement of the rarity of conditions necessary for life to occur. In saying that, our exploration of the universe currently is akin to looking at 1 grain of dirt in your back yard, finding nothing, and proclaiming that the chances of finding life in your back yard is vanishingly small... when in fact your yard is teeming with life.

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This might interest you

Also search ex-c for abiogenesis, there's several hits on the subject. 

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1 hour ago, LostinParis said:

Hello! Haven’t posted for a long while.

 

My creationist friend and I were discussing the possibility of Abiogenesis. She claims that god creating the first life is far more likely than “blind chance”.

 

Is this a false dichotomy? “Blind chance” sounds too random to me, as there are natural laws that govern the universe. I don’t know much about abiogenesis so I’d love some feedback.

 

Alyssa

 

Ask your friend to list the books and papers she has read written by the scientists that actually deal with the science of abiogenesis.

 

Assuming she has read none (which will likely be her answer), you may wish to suggest she listen to the Audible audiobook (actually a lecture series) entitled The Great Courses - Origins of Life written and narrated by Robert M. Hazen, one of the premier experts in the field.  It's a excellent and accessible introductory survey of abiogenesis questions, experiments, research, etc., designed for college level students.

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One interesting side note is how you determine what is alive?  Viruses are the famous example of this, in that they have genetic material, can evolve and can reproduce, however they don't have cells and can't reproduce without hijacking a cell.  Most experts seem to say that they are not alive, but it really depends on how you define that.  If it is purely reproduction, then an animal like a mule, which is always sterile, doesn't count.

So if step one of abiogenesis is the creation of a self replicating RNA, then that may not even be life at that stage.  Add more chemistry until it gains a more solid form and at some point it makes the jump to life, but when exactly?  A cell wall?  Energy absorption? The ability to move?  When exactly does chemistry change to biology?

 

Usually the reason people struggle with abiogenesis is simply incredulity.  They don't have a solid reason to disagree with it, just that it sounds impossible.  The problem of "I can't imagine it, therefore it can't be true", which is a lack of imagination rather than a lack of evidence.  Especially when the timelines are in the hundreds of millions or even billions of years.  We just can't comprehend such huge numbers.  The whole of human history is a few hundred thousand years, which is hardly a blip on the timescale of the planet.

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Thanks guys, great answers. I’m planning some further reading.

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Another angle on this is the question I once heard was "Then why doesn't life keep on springing up on Earth?" It may actually happen rather often, but since other microbial life is already teeming, anything new is likely eaten very quickly. 

 

Then there are the tholins, which are plentiful on other celestial bodies, and may provide the starting point for life. They could also provide initial food. Once life exists that produces oxygen in great quantities, the tholins will break down.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tholin

 

And remember when debating believers, they tend to defend any scrap of information that seems to confirm their beliefs (though their beliefs didn't spring from this information). When I was a believer, I remember consuming all the Institute for Creation Science publications I could find, and assumed it was true. I didn't read anything about evolution from evolutionary scientists. 

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Years ago as a christian, the question that eventually got my attention was this.   If everything has to have a creator, who/what created the creator?

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1 hour ago, Weezer said:

Years ago as a christian, the question that eventually got my attention was this.   If everything has to have a creator, who/what created the creator?


When I was a Christian I heard someone dodge this question by claiming that god is beyond space and time, so he is exempt from the creator infinite regress. Special pleading.

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On 6/5/2020 at 6:15 AM, Fuego said:

Another angle on this is the question I once heard was "Then why doesn't life keep on springing up on Earth?" It may actually happen rather often, but since other microbial life is already teeming, anything new is likely eaten very quickly. 

 

Then there are the tholins, which are plentiful on other celestial bodies, and may provide the starting point for life. They could also provide initial food. Once life exists that produces oxygen in great quantities, the tholins will break down.

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tholin

 

And remember when debating believers, they tend to defend any scrap of information that seems to confirm their beliefs (though their beliefs didn't spring from this information). When I was a believer, I remember consuming all the Institute for Creation Science publications I could find, and assumed it was true. I didn't read anything about evolution from evolutionary scientists. 

 

Yours are all good comments.  An argument against life's continuous creation here on Earth is that the chemistry now is very different from the Earth's beginning. Just a little oxygen can destroy fragile elementary cells, even dissolved in water as needed by fish. Another argument against life first evolving here on Earth is that all life that is now known is very complicated. The most elementary life now that we know of has scores of different parts and functions, as well as multiple hundreds of different chemical and other DNA/ RNA reactions and functions to them.

 

Beginning life  would have to be able to eat something where no life existed before. They could consume organic compounds, but only chlorophyll, a complicated molecule within plants, can use sunshine to create food and eat non-living minerals. Hydrothermal bacteria in the oceans and volcanic pools with sulfur might do without sunlight to create their energy from the sulfur combined with  other minerals.  If the most elementary life developed before our solar system then there could have been many billions of years more time for beginning life's complicated evolution and development inside a very large comet or small ice moon.  Such evolution would involve those characteristics necessary to survive the beginning ocean's chemical and hotter ocean surroundings, derived from the rain of comets or comet collisions with the oceans which could have seeded beginning life. 

 

Still most scientists believe that  life on Earth first evolved here on Earth, which still may be the likeliest possibility despite the complicationa of the simplest known life today.

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1 hour ago, LostinParis said:


When I was a Christian I heard someone dodge this question by claiming that god is beyond space and time, so he is exempt from the creator infinite regress. 

...

 

To which I often respond, "How convenient".

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On 6/5/2020 at 4:33 PM, sdelsolray said:

 

To which I often respond, "How convenient".

 

Answering the question, where did God come from? Your answer to them, "How convenient."

 

I think that is the best answer they can give, and yours, a good reply to their answer.

 

Unfortunately science has a similar problem concerning the beginning of the universe. Many or most scientists today believe that in the beginning of the universe there was no such thing as time. In such a beginning time would be a simple concept. As such, an interval of change would not only create, but be the definition and measurement of time.

 

The universe consists of an almost infinite series of cause and effect events. For this explanation of time, in the beginning there would have been the potential energy within a beginning entity to change itself, which would be a presently unknown dimension of reality. This is my preference concerning science's available answers.  Such a beginning could involve a Big Bang entity according to many (but not my preference). The potential energy within such a beginning entity would have caused this entity to change its form accordingly creating time. Time therefore would be a measurement of such a dimensional change. Space would have started as the volume this first entity occupied, but the meaning of that volume would only have a meaning when compared to the new volume that matter would  have created by its change. In an entity devoid of change there wouldn't be any meaning to the word time.Space also would have no meaning if there was nothing to compare it to.

 

Other cosmologists believe that there was a time before a hypothetical Big Bang beginning believing that the Universe was created spontaneously from quantum fluctuations in some pre-existing background field like the known Zero Point Field, a kind of vacuum or aether with virtual particles within it.  Following this line of thought, the Universe would be  a fluctuation within a vacuum in the sense of quantum field theory used in quantum physics today. Other cosmologists believe in multiverse "theory," where our universe was created from interactions within another universe. This idea also has the same problem of infinite regression like religion where one could not ask, where did this other universe come from since there would be never ending questions of regression.  Others believe in an infinite universe in both time and space , or an infinite series of expansions and contractions (Big Bounce theories). Like the "where did God come from" question,  neither of these models could be questioned concerning the beginning of the universe since there would have been no beginning.   

 

Since we seemingly could never observe the actual beginning of the universe,  all of these "theories" are solely unfounded speculation, but if some of today's cosmologists are correct at least one of these speculations have merit.

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20 hours ago, Fuego said:

And remember when debating believers, they tend to defend any scrap of information that seems to confirm their beliefs (though their beliefs didn't spring from this information). When I was a believer, I remember consuming all the Institute for Creation Science publications I could find, and assumed it was true. I didn't read anything about evolution from evolutionary scientists. 


So true. Christians often start with a conclusion (my god exists) then look for evidence to support their conclusion. Science does the opposite, following the evidence then drawing a conclusion. 


How did you overcome your confirmation bias?

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5 hours ago, LostinParis said:

How did you overcome your confirmation bias?

 

It happened when I deconverted, realizing my beliefs were the result of believing in the marketing of the religion instead of in reality. Marketing is why so many get-rich scams work, because people have a strong motivation to get the prize, and at the same time are unwilling to think of themselves as rubes, and then keep trying to make it work because they are unwilling to admit that they were tricked.

 

The deconversion was jump-started by utter shock that the guy I thought was really experiencing the presence of god and delivering on it, was in fact lying based on his ultra-Pentecostal view that speaking and acting as though it is true makes it come into physical reality, and anything else is giving in to the devil. So all the claims of healings and raising people from the dead were lies based on religion when the rest of us thought he (and his cult followers) were speaking about physical reality. That was the smack that started me asking why he had to lie in the first place when what he preached was biblical. That crack grew and grew, and this site sealed the deal for me when I read so many others who had come out of the faith. I wanted truth more than just shifting my beliefs again. 

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"Blind chance". What is that anyway? I mean what is chance? What is probability? How would even calculate that? I mean, one has to assume that true randomness is even possible. And that is still NOT a decided issue. 

      On another note, if you were taught that killing people and taking their foreskin in order to impress someone to give you their daughter for a wife - as in King David, you might see even that as just completely normal, sane and laudable. What "seems" to make sense can often be a side effect of habituation, not truth.

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Let's test it and prove beyond a doubt that abiogenesis is stupid. Follow along at home. You'll need the following;

 

A microwave

A vacuum-sealed environment for the microwave

A rock (any kind will do)

300ml of hydrochloric acid

300ml of sulphuric acid

A glass container for the acid and rock

 

Cooking time:

4 billion years

 

Instructions:

Mix the acid in the glass container (stir, don't shake)

Put the rock in the acid

Turn the microwave on for 4 billion years

Suck out the atmosphere from the vacuum-sealed container

Wait

 

*Note; after a few million years your rock will evolve in to amino acids that are harmed by radiation, acid and the vacuum environment which is deadly to complex life forms

 

Congratulations, your rock evolved in to your ancestor.

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So, SV, come back in a few million years with your preliminary results to demonstrate that the amino acids have indeed degenerated.  We'll wait.

 

In the meantime, I'm going to work out the probability that an eternal being more advanced than humans could spontaneously appear from nothingness, and create matter/energy without using {already existing} energy to work its magic.  My physics is a bit rusty, but IIRC there are no papers reporting gods being created from quantum fluctuations, and it's rude to claim credit for inventing something that was already there (in this case, matter/energy).

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Poster SilentVoice displays his willful ignorance.

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3 hours ago, sdelsolray said:

Poster SilentVoice displays his willful ignorance.

 

my-ancestor-35915561.png

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10 hours ago, SilentVoice said:

Let's test it and prove beyond a doubt that abiogenesis is stupid. Follow along at home. You'll need the following;

 

A microwave

A vacuum-sealed environment for the microwave

A rock (any kind will do)

300ml of hydrochloric acid

300ml of sulphuric acid

A glass container for the acid and rock

 

Cooking time:

4 billion years

 

Instructions:

Mix the acid in the glass container (stir, don't shake)

Put the rock in the acid

Turn the microwave on for 4 billion years

Suck out the atmosphere from the vacuum-sealed container

Wait

 

*Note; after a few million years your rock will evolve in to amino acids that are harmed by radiation, acid and the vacuum environment which is deadly to complex life forms

 

Congratulations, your rock evolved in to your ancestor.

 

Ladies and gentlemen I'd like to present exhibit A on how to demonstrate complete lack of understanding of a subject, and simultaneously build a strawman of it.

 

SV, all you've managed to do here is demonstrate that either 1) You lack understanding of the subject, or 2) Understand the subject but misrepresent it anyway.

 

Meanwhile lets posit your magical entity creating humans from clay as the solution to all hard problems. Humanities answer to anything they couldn't understand: Goddidit.

 

SV's ancestor: A clay figurine and a rib woman.... whose children then had lots of incest. Also the sons of God were having hanky panky with the daughters' of men and producing Nephilim as well... also talking snakes, talking donkey's and so on. And this isn't a strawman, this is actually stated as happened in the bible.

 

But chemistry... oh no, that's wild! :lmao:

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Note how poster SilentVoice extends his willful ignorance from abiogenesis to biological evolution.

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9 minutes ago, sdelsolray said:

Note how poster SilentVoice extends his willful ignorance from abiogenesis to biological evolution.

 

I had noticed that.

 

At least he didn't display a Crocaduck and ask for a missing link. He'd be in the Ray Comfort of asinine stupidity then. I hold out hope for our new Christian friend. 

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On 6/4/2020 at 9:43 PM, LostinParis said:

Hello! Haven’t posted for a long while.

 

My creationist friend and I were discussing the possibility of Abiogenesis. She claims that god creating the first life is far more likely than “blind chance”.

 

Is this a false dichotomy? “Blind chance” sounds too random to me, as there are natural laws that govern the universe. I don’t know much about abiogenesis so I’d love some feedback.

 

Alyssa

 

I think blind chance is a false dichotomy. Based on not yet fully understanding how or why something works. We don't know the specifics. But we do know that there's a ton of ways that life can potentially come into existence. And the philosophical question is why does anything exist at all? The answer seems to be that we're in a position where it can't be any other way. Existence exists because the absolute non-existence of anything at all, isn't possible. Life exists, and functions as a type of observation and experience of the existence of existence itself. 

 

What if life within existence always happens. That where ever the conditions come together for life, life will necessarily emerge over and over again, and from place to place? As part of the on goingness of existence itself. Such as with eternal inflation, infinite replication paradox, and similar issues popping up in cosmological theory. Life will pop up over and over again. Possibly anything that exists now, like the earth, will be replicated over and over again in that sort of frame work.

 

These are speculations. But they point to the fact that it's conceivable for reality to operate in these ways. It's not inconceivable. It's not a situation where god is the only option to explain everything, which, is what the christians are trying to do with the false dichotomy. The "god did it!" explanation is a theory too, among every other theory. And between theories one can deduce which theories make more or less sense as a theory. 

 

If the god did it, then why does the god exist? When did it began? How did it create life? There's no reason as why the god exists, it just does. The god had no beginning. And created life through spoken word, like some sort of incantation spell in magick. 

 

Existence also exists without reason, it just is. It couldn't have any fixed beginning. But it's all natural, as opposed to supernatural. And life would have to emerge through natural processes within the scheme of the realm(s) of existence. Possibly in repetitive ways over and over again. Leading to our current existence now. And extending to beyond our current experience of existence. 

 

Suck on that for a while, christian visitors.....

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13 hours ago, LogicalFallacy said:

But chemistry... oh no, that's wild! :lmao:

No, chemistry is cool. Like how you can put flesh in acid and it completely dissolves. But somehow a rock placed in that same acid evolves into amino acids and....flesh...because...reasons.

 

I guess those hazard warning signs covering containers of toxic chemicals should have a disclaimer next to them with one of those atheist fish with leg stickers, saying "hazardous only to flesh but harmless to evolving flesh creatures"

 

One of my favourite parts of the bible that makes me chuckle is reading about how Jonah ran away from God's voice. But I don't think that's as funny as the idea of sea creatures deciding that staying alive in a fish-eat-fish world was far too easy, so a bunch of them flopped on to dry land and started having sex to produce mudskippers (and the rest of the first land creatures) and cause divergent evolution. So, gene mutations (that may or may not be favourable to survival, instinctively halving the chance of causing evolution) happen so irregularly that they are only measured in millions of years. But for sea creatures to get to land, it would have to literally be for them to be born unable to breathe under water, and have the instinct (intelligence) to jump out of water and breathe on land as a newborn. Somebody should put this in a joke book. Evolution is SO SLOW that you can't observe it, but happened! Because you have to believe it!

 

Yawn.

 

Also before anyone cites a study about city moths evolving, or Darwin's observations about birds changing the shape of their beaks, that is not the same thing as a species changing in to another.

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13 hours ago, sdelsolray said:

Note how poster SilentVoice extends his willful ignorance from abiogenesis to biological evolution.

They are all related. The big bang theory -> abiogenesis -> evolution -> atheism. I thought you guys were supposed to be intelligent.

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