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02-15-2020, 10:55 PM - 1 Like   #151
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QuoteOriginally posted by dlh Quote
Which I take to mean, having confidence that your model of the Universe is sufficiently accurate to be able to get along in the real world, though you understand the uncertainty resulting from the lack of complete information and a somewhat distorted understanding. "Act as though you knew what you were doing, and everyone will assume that you do."
Again the meaning of words. To which I may add.
The essence of faith, is belief without evidence. Trust, however is an acceptance of risk based on prior experience or evidence.

---------- Post added 16-02-20 at 16:06 ----------

QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Miller-Urey experiment ran for only one week in a 5 liter flask with a tiny spark. The Earth version ran for literally billions of times longer in a volume about 10^20 times larger with much higher fluxes of electrical, UV, and thermal energies plus with an environment with many potential catalysts in volcanic rock, meteoric metals, early clays, etc. Sure, the concentration of the interesting stuff in the Miller-Urey may have been small, but it is proof a reaction rate that would have produced much more substantive amounts over geological scales of time and space.
In any case, ignorance of a phenomenon is not a validation of proposed alternatives.

02-16-2020, 01:43 AM   #152
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Miller-Urey experiment ran for only one week in a 5 liter flask with a tiny spark. The Earth version ran for literally billions of times longer in a volume about 10^20 times larger with much higher fluxes of electrical, UV, and thermal energies plus with an environment with many potential catalysts in volcanic rock, meteoric metals, early clays, etc. Sure, the concentration of the interesting stuff in the Miller-Urey may have been small, but it is proof a reaction rate that would have produced much more substantive amounts over geological scales of time and space.
It is no such thing. The chemical compounds required are not persistent under large fluxes of electrical, UV or heat energies. No sooner have they been made than they are very likely to break down, since the necessary reactions are easily reversible. The desired reaction products are also intermediates in a sequence of reactions which don’t suddenly stop because the biologists would like them to - crudely put, once you’ve got a tasty stew in the pot the cooker doesn’t turn itself off, it just keeps on cooking. Anyone here like hotpot that’s been on a hot stove for a couple of years? Thought not. The end product in Miller-Urey is the same as would waterproof your overcoat or surface a road and that isn’t reversible.

Further appeals to mysterious volcanic, meteoritic or clay catalysts just won’t wash because no-one has done any work to show which might help or how. It’s no better than appealing to the Tooth Fairy for how that coin appeared under your kid’s pillow. Origin of life experimenters have a long way to go to make their case and it would be more honest if they would admit it.

Last edited by StiffLegged; 02-16-2020 at 02:43 AM.
02-16-2020, 05:54 AM - 1 Like   #153
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QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
... To which I may add.
The essence of faith, is belief without evidence. ...
Ah, the definition preferred by religious institutions; one of the redefinitions designed to reinforce their "traditions and teachings". I prefer the primary definition of that term, which has to do with the degree to which one thing is representative of another. For example, if you see a portrait and know the individual pictured, you might say that the portrait is a faithful representation of the living person. Similarly, if you put a properly tuned acoustical guitar on top of a piano and strike an "E" on the keyboard, you'll see the two outer strings of the guitar resonating sympathetically, since the string's tuning is faithful to that of the piano. The idea that belief of a factual proposition without any basis is "faith" strikes me as absurd. "Confidence", perhaps, if you believe the people who told you what to believe are reliable witnesses. The institutional view is designed to make it easy for people to think they're doing the right thing without any real effort; but it's only when one embodies the Logos himself that he is "faithful". But that path is narrow and few go that way.

QuoteOriginally posted by arnold Quote
In any case, ignorance of a phenomenon is not a validation of proposed alternatives.
What? ?? ???
02-16-2020, 06:35 AM - 1 Like   #154
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You folks are really getting into "angels dancing on the head of a pin territory"

02-16-2020, 09:26 AM - 2 Likes   #155
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QuoteOriginally posted by robgski Quote
You folks are really getting into "angels dancing on the head of a pin territory"
Yes, but first we must decide if these are full-frame angels and whether the pin has a mirror or is mirrorless.
02-16-2020, 04:20 PM   #156
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QuoteOriginally posted by StiffLegged Quote
It is no such thing. The chemical compounds required are not persistent under large fluxes of electrical, UV or heat energies. No sooner have they been made than they are very likely to break down, since the necessary reactions are easily reversible. The desired reaction products are also intermediates in a sequence of reactions which don’t suddenly stop because the biologists would like them to - crudely put, once you’ve got a tasty stew in the pot the cooker doesn’t turn itself off, it just keeps on cooking. Anyone here like hotpot that’s been on a hot stove for a couple of years? Thought not. The end product in Miller-Urey is the same as would waterproof your overcoat or surface a road and that isn’t reversible.

Further appeals to mysterious volcanic, meteoritic or clay catalysts just won’t wash because no-one has done any work to show which might help or how. It’s no better than appealing to the Tooth Fairy for how that coin appeared under your kid’s pillow. Origin of life experimenters have a long way to go to make their case and it would be more honest if they would admit it.
If Miller-Urey or the Earth had been a homogenous container with uniform conditions in all parts and all times, then it would have been like your overcooked crockpot. But neither Miller-Urey or the Earth were like that.

In Miller-Urey, the high-energy sparks were in the "atmosphere" and the spark-formed amino acids condensed out on the sides of the vessel and ended up in the liquid at the bottom. Thus, the rate of formation in the spark zone is much higher than the reverse rate of destruction in the cooled, placid liquid and the amino acid concentration would increase substantially over time.

The thing about chemistry is that even if a reaction is easily reversible, it doesn't mean that every molecule of created amino acid gets instantly destroyed. There's an equilibrium concentration defined by the concentrations of all the chemical species and the local conditions where those chemicals are. Phenomena such as condensation, precipitation, and evaporation tend to remove some chemicals from one location and boost the concentration of other chemicals (e.g., salt is rare in fresh water but becomes concentrated in the oceans by millions of years of the evaporation cycle.)

To the extent that some parts of the ancient Earth were hot and others were cold, some parts were wet and other were dry, some parts had high UV exposure and other did not, etc. there's an inevitable tendency to make ever more complex molecules. Nor is tar an inert material either chemically or biologically. Tar balls break down into a wide range of hydrocarbons and are actually food for hundreds of kinds of bacteria.

As for the hypothesis about the role of clay, it's simply false that "no-one has done any work to show which might help or how." A quick check of Google finds many articles mentioning the many experiments on the topic such as:
Role of Clay Minerals in Chemical Evolution and the Origins of Life | IntechOpen
Clays Aided First Life? - Astrobiology Magazine
The Role of Clays in the Origin of Life | SpringerLink
02-17-2020, 12:15 AM   #157
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Thank you for the links, they provided much merriment. I’m familiar especially with the professor in the second one, a Nobel laureate geneticist, and have watched a number of his presentations on the subject before. If I may, they’re more of the same handwaving and wishful thinking, with contributors unable to agree even on whether the early earth had a reducing or oxidising atmosphere.

Sorry, must try harder, see me at end of class.
02-17-2020, 01:38 PM - 1 Like   #158
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I am surprised open vs closed systems hasn't been brought up. A closed system tends to entropy. A sub system in an open system can be quite the opossite. Take the solar system as a whole moving toward entropy while the earth gets more complex.

02-17-2020, 05:09 PM   #159
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QuoteOriginally posted by swanlefitte Quote
I am surprised open vs closed systems hasn't been brought up. A closed system tends to entropy. A sub system in an open system can be quite the opossite. Take the solar system as a whole moving toward entropy while the earth gets more complex.
Great point!

One of the mind blowers in studying self-organizing system is that sometimes the "best" way to maximize entropy production is with an ordered system such as https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rayleigh–Bénard_convection .

Amusingly, the stability of words and their meanings probably shows the least increase in entropy in a closed system. It's the open systems with immigration, innovation, social change, etc., in which words morph, mean different things to different subgroups, and lose precision.
02-17-2020, 07:16 PM - 1 Like   #160
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Doesn't the study say pockets of entropy will predictably appear?

Doesn't the open system of innovation, etc say the domain expands and the pockets don't expand symetrical to total expansion but the introduction of other pockets creates more predictability, hence less entropy at the whole? It seems each pocket gains entropy by giving up order to a bigger whole.
02-18-2020, 03:57 AM - 1 Like   #161
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
For biologists, the fascinating complexity of life is not only explicable, it's inevitable. Take a nice stew of carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, hydrogen and other trace elements, add various external energy sources, and autocatalytic cycles of chemicals lead to more complex self-reproducing critters. Cook at room temperature for some billions of years in a 500 trillion square meter oven and voila!

In contrast mathematicians are used to intelligent creatures constructing artificial worlds so it's natural they might assume this world is the same (and deeply fear the coming of the cosmic rubber eraser!)
I think it is easy to say that, but there is no reason to believe that life is the inevitable result of this situation. This isn't some science fiction flick where we cobble together a bunch of body parts and then pray for a lightning storm to bring them to life.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but certainly the data is lacking and your statements are full of suppositions. Are we alone in the Universe or are there millions of other species on different worlds all over the place? Well, by your calculations, the second situation is more likely to be true, but I am not so sure that all of these steps along the way to creating the semi-intelligent life we see on earth are as likely as you think they are.
02-18-2020, 08:14 AM   #162
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
I think it is easy to say that, but there is no reason to believe that life is the inevitable result of this situation. This isn't some science fiction flick where we cobble together a bunch of body parts and then pray for a lightning storm to bring them to life.

I'm not saying you are wrong, but certainly the data is lacking and your statements are full of suppositions. Are we alone in the Universe or are there millions of other species on different worlds all over the place? Well, by your calculations, the second situation is more likely to be true, but I am not so sure that all of these steps along the way to creating the semi-intelligent life we see on earth are as likely as you think they are.
Great points!

Yes, we have yet to get conclusive data on the origins of life. In fact, it may be impractical to get that data if really requires letting a primordial planet do its thang for a billion years. At this point, we know that if you cobble together some simple atoms in an atmosphere with lightning (no prayers are needed, lightning is found on Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), then you get the complex molecules of life including amino acids and nucleic acids. Scientists have even found amino acids in stellar dust. But, yes, all the current evidence is piecemeal in showing that abiotic processes seem able to create prebiotic molecules with the supposition that long-times time and large volumes inevitably increase the chance of all of it coming together.

As for getting to intelligent life, that also seems to take time and would depend on a planet staying in the Goldilocks zone around its star, its star remaining stable, and the planet avoiding all the nasty astrophysical events that can sterilize a planet. Basic single-cell life is pretty robust but complex ecosystems of multicellular life are a bit more fragile.

As for being alone in the universe (or not), we are on the cusp of learning more about that. It's only in the last couple of decades that we've been able to prove that many other stars have planets. However, we are so far away from any potential neighbors that we can barely tell there's a possible house on the next hill and don't yet have the instruments to tell if the lights are on or not. At this point, we're not even sure the rest of the solar system is lifeless ( Extraterrestrial life - Wikipedia ).
02-18-2020, 09:45 AM - 1 Like   #163
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QuoteOriginally posted by photoptimist Quote
Great points!

Yes, we have yet to get conclusive data on the origins of life. In fact, it may be impractical to get that data if really requires letting a primordial planet do its thang for a billion years. At this point, we know that if you cobble together some simple atoms in an atmosphere with lightning (no prayers are needed, lightning is found on Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn), then you get the complex molecules of life including amino acids and nucleic acids. Scientists have even found amino acids in stellar dust. But, yes, all the current evidence is piecemeal in showing that abiotic processes seem able to create prebiotic molecules with the supposition that long-times time and large volumes inevitably increase the chance of all of it coming together.

As for getting to intelligent life, that also seems to take time and would depend on a planet staying in the Goldilocks zone around its star, its star remaining stable, and the planet avoiding all the nasty astrophysical events that can sterilize a planet. Basic single-cell life is pretty robust but complex ecosystems of multicellular life are a bit more fragile.

As for being alone in the universe (or not), we are on the cusp of learning more about that. It's only in the last couple of decades that we've been able to prove that many other stars have planets. However, we are so far away from any potential neighbors that we can barely tell there's a possible house on the next hill and don't yet have the instruments to tell if the lights are on or not. At this point, we're not even sure the rest of the solar system is lifeless ( Extraterrestrial life - Wikipedia ).
Basically we are talking about the Drake Equation: Drake equation - Wikipedia If you are a Carl Sagan sort of guy, you plug in numbers that make it look like the Milky Way is populated by thousands of different civilations. Or you could plug in numbers that show that is extremely rare and odds are we will never have contact with any of these races. Certainly most science fiction stores leave the implication that it is common.

As to life in our solar system other than on earth, I suppose the gas giants could house something, but they would certainly seem to be on the cold side for your primordial soup to work, while Venus seems a bit warm. It is awfully hard to prove a negative, but I am not sure that even relatively simple life (not sure why we would be sure it would form cells elsewhere) is particularly robust or common.

I am careful to couch all this in vague language, because I really have no idea, but neither does anyone else, since none of us has either (a) traveled outside this solar system or (b) run an experiment last even a million years (much less a billion). Making a lot of assumptions based on earth seems like a broad generalization.
02-18-2020, 11:47 AM - 1 Like   #164
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QuoteOriginally posted by Rondec Quote
As to life in our solar system other than on earth, I suppose the gas giants could house something, but they would certainly seem to be on the cold side for your primordial soup to work, while Venus seems a bit warm. It is awfully hard to prove a negative, but I am not sure that even relatively simple life (not sure why we would be sure it would form cells elsewhere) is particularly robust or common.
Well, there's a growing body of evidence that suggests that life on Earth began in deep sea geothermal vents, and there's also a growing body of evidence suggesting that icy moons such as Europa have got oceans warmed by deep sea vents under the ice. Which is why icy moons are the places in our solar system where some sort of life is at least a possibility, and that possibility deserves investigating.

So scientists will keep doing what scientists do: following the evidence.
02-18-2020, 01:14 PM - 1 Like   #165
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Why not just post “42” ?
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