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Life Not Possible Without Nano-Machines

Medical animator David Bolinsky has worked with Harvard University to produce an incredible animation of the nano-machines in the cell.  You can see part of it here:  http://www.ted.com/index.php/talks/view/id/147

Note in particular one statement Bolinsky makes:  “No life is possible without these machines.”  One wonders if Bolinsky has stopped to think about the origin of life (abiogensesis) implications of his statement.  If no life is posibble without these nano-machines, where did the nano-machines come from?  Note that when Bolinsky calls these objections “machines” he is not making an analogy to a machine.  These objects are in fact small bio-machines. 

Question of the day for the Darwinists who visit our site:  If life on earth is not possible without the existence of these nano-machines, what is the most reasonable explanation for the origin of these machines?

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30 Responses to Life Not Possible Without Nano-Machines

  1. If no life is posibble

    Is this a mutation?

  2. BarryA: “If no life is posibble without these nano-machines, where did the nano-machines come from?”

    Easy. Life as we know it might rely on the these biological machines, but that has not always been the case. As supply evolves, so does demand. Just as these biological machines were evolving to more accurately and efficiently do their jobs, the rest of the cell’s machinery was evolving to more efficiently utilize them.

    Consider the automobile: without automobiles, American society as we know it would not be able to survive. But that doesn’t mean American society has always needed automobiles. Nor when the automobile was invented did we instantly plant a nationwide network of superhighways. Transportation technology has been evolving, as has our reliance upon said technology.

  3. Yeah, that is a pretty impressive animation. I would love to see this in 5 years (as he mentions). It would be such an excellent way to learn biochemistry!

    Oh, and do I think that it all evolved this complexity? Um, no.

  4. Hawkeye
    Please realise that your analogy is an analogy between a intelligently guided system (automobiles) with a system which, according to received wisdon, has NO intelligence at any stage.

    I don’t think that is a realistic comparation.

  5. One last quickie comment:

    The nanomachines of life form an integrated, code-based, fine-tuned, complex, functionally and computer architecturally specified information system.

    One that is capable of self-replication.

    Awesome design.

    GEM of TKI

  6. Hawkeye,

    We get some pretty niave but sincere arguments for Darwinism around here that are difficult to distinguish from sarcastic parodies of Darwinian arguments. I am going to assume that your post was not intended as sarcasm and reply as if it was an earnest argument. So I apologize in advance if I am responding to a parody.

    You argued that at one time life was possible without nano-machines but evolved to become dependant on them much in the same way American society evolved to become dependant on the automobile.

    Your analogy fails on multiple levels. We have evidence of a pre-automobile American society and it is possible to have societies without automobiles, these societies exist today and can be observed. As for life without nano-machines, there is no evidence of such life ever existing, no such life has ever been observed, and it is not even possible to make an informed guess as to how such life would be possible. It is not a matter of life evolving to be dependant on nano-machines, it is that life at its most rudimentary levels depends on nano-machines. For example, DNA replication requires a nano-machine as does ATP synthasea and protein expression. It is impossible to imagine, much less describe, life without nano-machines causing those functions. Therefore, your exertion that life could exist without nano-machines has no empirical, observational, or theoretical support.

  7. I had a feeling my feelings about really being a robot would be justified one day.

  8. Hawkeye you seem sincere in your belief that life has the magical ability to just appear on earth and then mutate into other forms so I will elaborate why this belief is not based in reality;

    (What evidence is found for the first life on earth?) we will look at the evidence for the first appearance of life on earth. As well we will also look at the chemical activity of the first life on earth. Once again, as with all other materialistic postulations, the presumption of naturalistic blind chance being the only reasonable cause must be dealt with.
    It is commonly presumed in many grade school textbooks that life slowly arose in a primordial ocean of pre-biotic soup. Yet, there is absolutely no hard evidence, such as chemical signatures in the geologic record, indicating that a ocean of this pre-biotic soup ever existed. The hard physical evidence scientists have discovered in the geologic record is stunning in its support of the anthropic hypothesis. The oldest sedimentary rocks on earth, known to science, originated underwater (and thus in relatively cool environs) 3.86 billion years ago. Those sediments, which are exposed at Isua in southwestern Greenland, also contain the earliest chemical evidence (fingerprint) of “photosynthetic” life [Nov. 7, 1996, Nature]. This evidence has been fought by naturalists, since it is totally contrary to their evolutionary theory. Yet, Danish scientists were able to bring forth another line of geological evidence to substantiate the primary line of geological evidence for photo-synthetic life in the earth’s earliest known sedimentary rocks (Indications of Oxygenic Photosynthesis,” Earth and Planetary Science Letters 6907 (2003). Thus we have two lines of hard conclusive evidence for photo-synthetic life in the oldest known sedimentary rocks ever found by scientists on earth! The simplest photosynthetic bacterial life on earth is exceedingly complex, too complex to happen by even if the primeval oceans had been full of pre-biotic soup. Thus, naturalists try to suggest pan-spermia (the theory that pre-biotic amino acids, or life itself, came to earth from outer-space on comets) to account for this sudden appearance of life on earth. This theory has several problems. One problem is that astronomers, using spectral analysis, have not found any vast reservoirs of biological molecules anywhere they have looked in the universe. Another problem is, even if comets were nothing but pre-biotic amino acid snowballs, how are the amino acids going to molecularly survive the furnace-like temperatures generated when the comet crashes into the earth? If the pre-biotic molecules were already a life-form on the comet, how could this imagined life-form survive the extremely harsh environment of space for many millions of years, not to mention the fiery crash into the earth? Did this imagined super-cell wear a cape like superman?
    The first actual fossilized cells scientists have been able to recover in the fossil record are 3.5 billion year old photosynthetic cyano(blue-green)bacteria, from western Australia, which look amazingly similar to a particular type of cyano-bacteria that are still alive today. The smallest cyano-bacterium known to science has hundreds of millions of individual atomic molecules (not counting water molecules), divided into nearly a thousand different species of atomic molecules; and a genome (DNA sequence) of 1.8 million bits, with over a million individual complex protein molecules which are divided into hundreds of different kinds of proteins. The simplest of all bacteria known in science, which is able to live independent of a more complex host organism, is the candidatus pelagibacter ubique and has a DNA sequence of 1,308,759 bits. It also has over a million individual complex protein molecules which are divided into several hundred separate and distinct protein types. The complexity found in the simplest bacterium known to science makes the complexity of any man-made machine look like child’s play. As stated by Geneticist Michael Denton PhD, “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small (10-12 grams), each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world”. So, as you can see, there simply is no simple life on earth as naturalism had presumed – even the well known single celled amoeba has the complexity of the city of London and reproduces that complexity in only 20 minutes. Here are a couple of quotes for the complexity found in any biological system, including simple bacteria, by two experts in biology:

    “Most biological reactions are chain reactions. To interact in a chain, these precisely built molecules must fit together most precisely, as the cog wheels of a Swiss watch do. But if this is so, then how can such a system develop at all? For if any one of the specific cog wheels in these chains is changed, then the whole system must simply become inoperative. Saying it can be improved by random mutation of one link, is like saying you could improve a Swiss watch by dropping it and thus bending one of its wheels or axis. To get a better watch, all the wheels must be changed simultaneously to make a good fit again.” Albert Szent-Györgyi von Nagyrapolt (Nobel prize for Medicine in 1937). “Drive in Living Matter to Perfect Itself,” Synthesis I, Vol. 1, No. 1, p. 18 (1977)

    “Each cell with genetic information, from bacteria to man, consists of artificial languages and their decoding systems, memory banks for information storage and retrieval, elegant control systems regulating the automated assembly of parts and components, error fail-safe and proof-reading devices utilized for quality control, assembly processes involving the principle of prefabrication and modular construction and a capacity not equaled in any of our most advanced machines, for it would be capable of replicating its entire structure within a matter of a few hours” Geneticist Michael Denton PhD.

    To give an idea how impossible “simple” life is for naturalistic blind chance, Sir Fred Hoyle calculated the chance of obtaining the required set of enzymes for just one of any of the numerous types of “simple” bacterial life found on the early earth to be one in 1040,000 (that is a one with 40 thousand zeros to the right). He compared the random emergence of the simplest bacterium on earth to the likelihood “a tornado sweeping through a junkyard might assemble a Boeing 747 therein”. Sir Fred Hoyle also compared the chance of obtaining just one single functioning protein (out of the over one million protein molecules needed for that simplest cell), by chance combinations of amino acids, to a solar system packed full of blind men solving Rubik’s Cube simultaneously.

    The simplest bacteria ever found on earth is constructed with over a million protein molecules. Protein molecules are made from one dimensional sequences of the 20 different L-amino acids that can be used as building blocks for proteins. These one dimensional sequences of amino acids fold into complex three-dimensional structures. The proteins vary in length of sequences of amino acids. The average sequence of a typical protein is about 300 to 400 amino acids long. Yet many crucial proteins are thousands of amino acids long. Proteins do their work on the atomic scale. Therefore, proteins must be able to identify and precisely manipulate and interrelate with the many differently, and specifically, shaped atoms, atomic molecules and protein molecules at the same time to accomplish the construction, metabolism, structure and maintenance of the cell. Proteins are required to have the precisely correct shape to accomplish their specific function or functions in the cell. More than a slight variation in the precisely correct shape of the protein molecule type will be for the life of the cell. It turns out there is some tolerance for error in the sequence of L-amino acids that make up some the less crucial protein molecule types. These errors can occur without adversely affecting the precisely required shape of the protein molecule type. This would seem to give some wiggle room to the naturalists, but as the following quote indicates this wiggle room is an illusion.

    “A common rebuttal is that not all amino acids in organic molecules must be strictly sequenced. One can destroy or randomly replace about 1 amino acid out of 100 without doing damage to the function or shape of the molecule. This is vital since life necessarily exists in a “sequence—disrupting” radiation environment. However, this is equivalent to writing a computer program that will tolerate the destruction of 1 statement of code out of 1001. In other words, this error-handling ability of organic molecules constitutes a far more unlikely occurrence than strictly sequenced molecules.” Dr. Hugh Ross PhD.

    It is easily demonstrated mathematically that the entire universe does not even begin to come close to being old enough, nor large enough, to ally generate just one small but precisely sequenced 100 amino acid protein (out of the over one million interdependent protein molecules of longer sequences that would be required to match the sequences of their particular protein types) in that very first living bacteria. If any combinations of the 20 L-amino acids that are used in constructing proteins are equally possible, then there are (20100) =1.3 x 10130 possible amino acid sequences in proteins being composed of 100 amino acids. This impossibility, of finding even one “required” specifically sequenced protein, would still be true even if amino acids had a tendency to chemically bond with each other, which they don’t despite over fifty years of experimentation trying to get amino acids to bond naturally (The odds of a single 100 amino acid protein overcoming the impossibilities of chemical bonding and forming spontaneously have been calculated at less than 1 in 10125 (Meyer, Evidence for Design, pg. 75)). The staggering impossibility found for the universe ever generating a “required” specifically sequenced 100 amino acid protein by would still be true even if we allowed that the entire universe, all 1080 sub-atomic particles of it, were nothing but groups of 100 freely bonding amino acids, and we then tried a trillion unique combinations per second for all those 100 amino acid groups for 100 billion years! Even after 100 billion years of trying a trillion unique combinations per second, we still would have made only one billion, trillionth of the entire total combinations possible for a 100 amino acid protein during that 100 billion years of trying! Even a child knows you cannot put any piece of a puzzle anywhere in a puzzle. You must have the required piece in the required place! The simplest forms of life ever found on earth are exceedingly far more complicated jigsaw puzzles than any of the puzzles man has ever made. Yet to believe a naturalistic theory we would have to believe that this tremendously complex puzzle of millions of precisely shaped, and placed, protein molecules “just happened” to overcome the impossible hurdles of chemical bonding and probability and put itself together into the sheer wonder of immense complexity that we find in the cell.

    Instead of us just looking at the probability of a single protein molecule occurring (a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s Cube simultaneously), let’s also look at the complexity that goes into crafting the shape of just one protein molecule. Complexity will give us a better indication if a protein molecule is, indeed, the handi-work of an infinitely powerful Creator.
    In the year 2000 IBM announced the development of a new super-computer, called Blue Gene, that is 500 times faster than any supercomputer built up until that time. It took 4-5 years to build. Blue Gene stands about six feet high, and occupies a floor space of 40 feet by 40 feet. It cost $100 million to build. It was built specifically to better enable computer simulations of molecular biology. The computer performs one quadrillion (one million billion) computations per second. Despite its speed, it is estimated it will take one entire year for it to analyze the mechanism by which JUST ONE “simple” protein will fold onto itself from its one-dimensional starting point to its final three-dimensional shape. In real life, the protein folds into its final shape in a fraction of a second! The computer would have to operate at least 33 million times faster to accomplish what the protein does in a fraction of a second. That is the complexity found for JUST ONE “simple” protein. It is estimated, on the total number of known life forms on earth, that there are some 50 billion different types of unique proteins today. It is very possible the domain of the protein world may hold many trillions more completely distinct and different types of proteins. The simplest bacterium known to man has millions of protein molecules divided into, at bare minimum, several hundred distinct proteins types. These millions of precisely shaped protein molecules are interwoven into the final structure of the bacterium. Numerous times specific proteins in a distinct protein type will have very specific modifications to a few of the amino acids, in their sequence, in order for them to more precisely accomplish their specific function or functions in the overall parent structure of their protein type. To think naturalists can account for such complexity by saying it “happened by chance” should be the very definition of “absurd” we find in dictionaries. Naturalists have absolutely no answers for how this complexity arose in the first living cell unless, of course, you can take their imagination as hard evidence. Yet the “real” evidence scientists have found overwhelmingly supports the anthropic hypothesis once again. It should be remembered that naturalism postulated a very simple “first cell”. Yet the simplest cell scientists have been able to find, or to even realistically theorize about, is vastly more complex than any machine man has ever made through concerted effort !! What makes matters much worse for naturalists is that naturalists try to assert that proteins of one function can easily mutate into other proteins of completely different functions by pure chance. Yet once again the empirical evidence we now have betrays the naturalists. Individual proteins have been experimentally proven to quickly lose their function in the cell with random point mutations. What are the odds of any functional protein in a cell mutating into any other functional folded protein, of very questionable value, by pure chance?

    “From actual experimental results it can easily be calculated that the odds of finding a folded protein (by random point mutations to an existing protein) are about 1 in 10 to the 65 power (Sauer, MIT). To put this fantastic number in perspective imagine that someone hid a grain of sand, marked with a tiny ‘X’, somewhere in the Sahara Desert. After wandering blindfolded for several years in the desert you reach down, pick up a grain of sand, take off your blindfold, and find it has a tiny ‘X’. Suspicious, you give the grain of sand to someone to hide again, again you wander blindfolded into the desert, bend down, and the grain you pick up again has an ‘X’. A third time you repeat this action and a third time you find the marked grain. The odds of finding that marked grain of sand in the Sahara Desert three times in a row are about the same as finding one new functional protein structure (from chance transmutation of an existing functional protein structure). Rather than accept the result as a lucky coincidence, most people would be certain that the game had been fixed.” Michael J. Behe, The Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to be Highly Isolated from Each Other
    “Mutations are rare phenomena, and a simultaneous change of even two amino acid residues in one protein is totally unlikely. One could think, for instance, that by constantly changing amino acids one by one, it will eventually be possible to change the entire sequence substantially… These minor changes, however, are bound to eventually result in a situation in which the enzyme has ceased to perform its previous function but has not yet begun its ‘new duties’. It is at this point it will be destroyed – along with the organism carrying it.” Maxim D. Frank-Kamenetski, Unraveling DNA, 1997, p. 72. (Professor at Brown U. Center for Advanced Biotechnology and Biomedical Engineering)

  9. Mats: Please realise that your analogy is an analogy between a intelligently guided system (automobiles) with a system which, according to received wisdon, has NO intelligence at any stage.

    My analogy was simply to show that a system’s reliance on a given functional unit changes over time. Further, you’re talking about a different kind of design. There’s no grand Auto Designer who plunked down the blueprints for modern cars and modern highways out of the blue. The automotive infrastructure we have today is the result of a century of accumulated modifications.

    Jehu: We have evidence of a pre-automobile American society and it is possible to have societies without automobiles, these societies exist today and can be observed. As for life without nano-machines, there is no evidence of such life ever existing, no such life has ever been observed, and it is not even possible to make an informed guess as to how such life would be possible. It is not a matter of life evolving to be dependant on nano-machines, it is that life at its most rudimentary levels depends on nano-machines.

    Be consistent with your comparison: I used the automobile as an example that we could do without A machine, not ALL machines. And we do have evidence of novel genes’ having been accumulated and modified over time.

    Of course you won’t expect to find life without ANY biological “machines,” just like you wouldn’t expect to find human culture without any tools, because toolcraft is one of the criteria we use to define human culture. The ability to couple chemical reactions to create local order is one of the criteria for life; that doesn’t mean the system from which life initially arose had to be as sophisticated and specialized as the modern cell.

  10. Hawkey, when I’m in court I can’t just make any old argument I want. If I were to go off speculating about what might have happened my opponent would object and the judge would reign me in double quick. “Stick to the evidence Mr. Arrington. This court is not interested in your musings.”

    So, what evidence do you have that early cells were able to get along with less sophisticated nano-machines. When answering this question please keep in mind that it simply will not do to assume your conclusion. In other words, you must not say, “Well, it must have happened according to thus and so process, and thus and so process requires simpler machines at the beginning.” What can’t you assume “thus and so process” happened? Well, because whether “thus and so process” happened is the question we are examining in the first place.

  11. Has anyone looked at the other TED talks on that link? Dawkins is featured twice, as is Daniel Dennet. I’ve not searched the entire list, but those names stuck out. Anyone see any names talking teleology?

    I somehow doubt it!

  12. TED talks seem largely left wing/materialist. Eve Ensler (of Vagina Monologues), Al Gore, Bill Clinton and so on… Bjorn Lomborg does make an appearance, but he’s hardly a right winger, just honest about environmental challenges.

  13. So, what evidence do you have that early cells were able to get along with less sophisticated nano-machines.

    I really don’t know where to begin. Well, since the video referenced kinesin, perhaps a demonstration of kinesin family phylogeny: link

  14. For what it is worth Todd, they have Rick Warren.

  15. 15

    BarryA,

    There’s no evidence of eukarya over 3 billion years ago. Life appeared to be able to get along just fine without the additional eukaryotic baggage.

  16. really don’t know where to begin. Well, since the video referenced kinesin, perhaps a demonstration of kinesin family phylogeny: link.

    Objection! Move to strike as non-responsive. The question put to the witness was what evidence does he have that earley cells were able to get along with less sophisticated nano-machines. The witness was NOT asked whether the kinesin motor proteins in one organism had homology to kinesin motor proteins in other organisms. One would expect such homology to exist for the same reason we would expect Microsoft Excel for the Macintosh to have homology with Microsoft Excel for Windows, but it sheds not one iota of light on the question actually put before the witness which is, what evidence do you have that early cells were able to get along with less sophisticated nano-machines?

  17. Hawkeye

    Of course you won’t expect to find life without ANY biological “machines,” just like you wouldn’t expect to find human culture without any tools, because toolcraft is one of the criteria we use to define human culture. The ability to couple chemical reactions to create local order is one of the criteria for life; that doesn’t mean the system from which life initially arose had to be as sophisticated and specialized as the modern cell.

    You have conceded the point. Nano-machines are not one of the criteria used to define life. Nano-machines were discovered long after we determined that life existed. If life ever existed without nano-machines it would still be here and we should be able to observe it. But there is no evidence that any such life existed or even could exist.

  18. By shifting focus all the way from the nano- to the cosmo- this post may be a wee bit off topic. But hopefully it will at least illustrate that for “established” science of late, trouble not only comes in bunches, it also comes in vastly different sizes.

    The abstract of the September 1006 Report of the Dark Energy Task Force (which, “was established by the Astronomy and Astrophysics Advisory Committee [AAAC] and the High Energy Physics Advisory Panel [HEPAP] as a joint sub-committee to advise the Department of Energy, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and the National Science Foundation on future dark energy research”) says:

    Dark energy appears to be the dominant component of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude. The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter, the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete. Most experts believe that nothing short of a revolution in our understanding of fundamental physics will be required to achieve a full understanding of the cosmic acceleration. For these reasons, the nature of dark energy ranks among the very most compelling of all outstanding problems in physical science. These circumstances demand an ambitious observational program to determine the dark energy properties as well as possible.

    Now, maybe they’re just shilling for more funding, but I doubt it. I mean, just take a look at this pie chart. Ninety-five percent of the “cosmological composition” of the universe is now officially unaccounted for? Holy cow!

    Remember how simple life used to be? 1) Big-Bang, 2) Forces-Particles-Atoms-Stars-Planets, 3) Slam-Bam, “Thank-You-Ma’am,” 4) And-Here-We-Are. Like my sons used to say when they were teenagers, You thought!

  19. September 2006.

  20. Jehu: The question put to the witness was what evidence does he have that earley cells were able to get along with less sophisticated nano-machines. The witness was NOT asked whether the kinesin motor proteins in one organism had homology to kinesin motor proteins in other organisms.

    I have answered the question, don’t pretend I haven’t. Kinesin protein homology provides evidence of a common ancestor, an organism with less sophisticated molecular machinery.

    Jehu: You have conceded the point. Nano-machines are not one of the criteria used to define life. Nano-machines were discovered long after we determined that life existed.

    Bio “machines” might not directly be one of the criteria for life, but reproduction is, and how else do you propose reproduction take place unless by some physical mechanism? But you miss my point. Saying human society needs the plow is different from saying human society needs the car. Saying life needs at least some crude replicating mechanism is different from saying life needs modern DNA polymerase.

    Granted, sophisticated proteins are unlikely to have formed at random from the primordial soup, but that’s not what abiogenesis theory suggests or what evolutionary theory requires.

  21. H’mm:

    First, Theists are perfectly willing to grant that “Life as we know it might rely on the these biological machines, but that has not always been the case.” (Namely of course, such are very interested in the expression of life that may be described as: SPIRIT-based life!)

    Indeed, in that now so-often banned book, we may read that “in the Beginning . . . the earth was formless and void, and the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters . . .” ;-)

    Moving on a bit, I see:

    sophisticated proteins are unlikely to have formed at random from the primordial soup, but that’s not what abiogenesis theory suggests or what evolutionary theory requires.

    Perhaps, the commenter would like to acquaint himself with the summary on abiognesis in the always linked, and onward in the therein linked discussions of the thermodynamics of life-formation as discussed by Thaxton et al twenty-odd years ago?

    Let me excerpt a cite in the former:

    Give biologists a cell, and they’ll give you the world. [cf discussion of Case II in the same] But beyond assuming the first cell must have somehow come into existence, how do biologists explain its emergence from the prebiotic world four billion years ago? The short answer is that they can’t, yet . . . . While the past half century has seen an explosion of knowledge about the evolution of life after it began, there has been relatively little progress in the past half century on how it began—the so-called origin question . . . . finding the answer to the origin question will require not only money but also progress in understanding how the most basic of biological molecules were put together before life began, how they became organized and self-sustaining, and how they developed into the membrane-bound cells that are our ancestors. Scientists have come a long way from the early days of supposing that all this would inevitably arise in the “prebiotic soup” of the ancient oceans; indeed, evidence eventually argued against such a soup, and the concept was largely discarded as the field progressed. But significant problems persist with each of the two competing models that have arisen—usually called “genes first” and “metabolism first”—and neither has emerged as a robust and obvious favorite. [Robinson, 2005. Emphases and remarks in parentheses added.]

    In short, abiognesis after fifty-odd years since Miller-Urey, is at a dead end due precisely tot he challenge of climbing Mt Thermodynamics/Information — as the Appendix 1 in the same linked discusses, they are intimately linked and in fact synonymous — as discussed by Thaxton et al over twenty years ago.

    GEM of TKI

  22. Hawkeye,

    I have answered the question, don’t pretend I haven’t. Kinesin protein homology provides evidence of a common ancestor, an organism with less sophisticated molecular machinery.

    Nonsense. That is completely absurd. Maybe you don’t even understand the link you posted to. You linked to a tree that showed was one of multiple possible phylogenies for existing fully functional Kinesin motors in different taxa. It in no way provided any evidence for descent from a simpler Kinesin motor.

    Bio “machines” might not directly be one of the criteria for life, but reproduction is, and how else do you propose reproduction take place unless by some physical mechanism?

    Beats me. But that is your problem not mine. I don’t believe in Darwinism so I don’t need to defend it.

    Saying life needs at least some crude replicating mechanism is different from saying life needs modern DNA polymerase.

    You can posit simpler devices but you aren’t demonstrating any evidence that such devices ever exist or even can exist. Even if such simpler devices are possible, they are more than likely beyond the edge of evolution and irreducibly complex both individually and in the context of the biological organism that they exist in.

    Granted, sophisticated proteins are unlikely to have formed at random from the primordial soup, but that’s not what abiogenesis theory suggests or what evolutionary theory requires.

    What abiogenesis theory? There is no such theory. Only the great athiest hope that someday such a theory will emerge.

  23. I agree with Hawkeye as well with others (for he’s really in agreement) that life had to exist somewhere in the past without these nano-machines. The only difference is hawkeye seems to believe his creator (God) is small (thus raise up out of the dirt) while I see Him greater than the creation (including these machines) itself.

    It still ends up with the Holy God (greater than nature so not to make any image of Him) vs the nature god(s) of the past.

  24. Forgive my attempt to highlight a science story here at UD from outside the disciplines of ID and evolutionary theory. I’m only doing so, off topic, because methinks it be important.

    What does it mean when scientists — such as Andreas Albrecht of the University of California at Davis, Gary Bernstein of the University of Pennsylvania, Robert Cahn of Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Wendy L. Freedman of the Carnegie Observatories, Jacqueline Hewitt of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Wayne Hu of the University of Chicago, John Huth of Harvard University, Marc Kamionkowski of the California Institute of Technology, Edward W. Kolb of the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory and The University of Chicago, Lloyd Knox of the University of California at Davis, John C. Mather of the Goddard Space Flight Center, Suzanne Staggs of Princeton University, and Nicholas B. Suntzeff of Texas A&M University — say things such as:

    “Dark energy appears to be the dominant component [some 70%] of the physical Universe, yet there is no persuasive theoretical explanation for its existence or magnitude.”

    or such as:

    “The acceleration of the Universe is, along with dark matter [some 25% of the physical universe], the observed phenomenon that most directly demonstrates that our theories of fundamental particles and gravity are either incorrect or incomplete.”

    Imagine yourself to be a tenured physics professor, skiing confidently down a slope on a bright and cloudless day in the Rocky Mountains and getting ready to negotiate a field of moguls, when all of a sudden, accompanied by two short booms, the sun blinks out of the sky like houselights during a thunderstorm.

  25. Hawkeye

    A fair amount of effort goes into trying to figure out the smallest set of machinery possible and still have a free-living functional cell.

    Read Towards synthesis of a minimal cell for a good overview of the state of the art.

    There is no theory of abiogenesis. There are nothing but hypotheses.

    I will bet dollars against donuts that the first theory of abiogenesis is intelligent design – some group of researchers will succeed in constructing a synthetic cell using hideously expensive/complex lab equipment and every bit of expertise in the field of biochemistry they can possibly bring to bear on it. This will confirm that abiogenesis is possible through intelligent agency.

    IDT predicts that there will be no success in demonstrating any way that natural forces absent intelligent direction can conspire to produce a free living cell.

    All the “progress” in the area of abiogenesis since Miller-Urey is centered around 1) discovering how difficult it is and 2) falsification of hypothetical natural means.

    The so-called RNA World hypothesis still has a little life left in it but not much. If there was ever an RNA World it’s now thought to have been preceded by some kind of pre-RNA World because RNA chemistry just doesn’t work out from scratch in any kind of natural environment. Precursors in the form of homochiralic nucleic acids have defied all attempts to synthesize (in simulated natural environments) in a complete set at concentrations that allow interesting combinations to occur. Complicating matters is that even when artificially synthesized and concentrated nothing interesting happens. Bonds in RNA polymers are too fragile to hold together long enough to form long molecules. They fall apart as quickly as they form unless in the tightly controlled environment inside a living cell. Thus remains the chicken-egg paradox in the form of which came first: the enclosed cell which makes complex RNA chemistry (ribozymes) possible or the hypothetical RNA-based cellular automata required to build and maintain the cell enclosure.

    Intelligent agency with sufficiently advanced skill in biochemistry can of course overcome these problems and I trust that will be proven in a matter of decades if not sooner when the first synthetic free-living cell is produced.

  26. Hawkeye:
    You always refer to highly speculative evidence and ignore the conclusive evidence that is in favor of ID.
    The hard evidence indicates complex photosynthetic life appeared on earth as soon as it was possible. Does that hard fact even phase you? The simplest bacteria ever found on earth is exceedingly more complex than any machine man has made through concerted effort. That is a hard fact Hawkeye!!! You can postulate abiogenesis all you want but you have absolutely no hard physical evidence to back you up! The harmful mutation rate to DNA is proven to have an extremely high rate of deletirious mutations, the majority of these mutations are proven to be slightly detrimental, thus below the culling power of natural selection. You have no mechanism for change since genetic entropy is now proven with hard evidence to be a fact of biology!
    Similarities or homologies do you absolutely no good until you prove with hard science that the change is possible. The hard science proves it won’t happen.

  27. Hawkeye (continuing)

    Another problem that cropped up since Miller-Urey is that evidence of life has been pushed back to early in the earth’s history severely limiting the time and environments that any OOL hypotheses must address.

    Francis Crick lent the most credence to directed panspermia i.e. life began elsewhere and was purposely placed on our planet early in its history. My emphasis. The part I emphasized is only more true today than when Crick wrote it 26 years ago.

    Francis Crick Remembered

    The secret of life
    by Astrobiology Magazine
    Moffett Field CA (SPX) Aug 02, 2004

    The British molecular biologist Francis Harry Crick died on Wednesday at the age of 88. Crick changed our understanding of life when, in 1953, he and James Watson announced that DNA came packaged in an elegant double helix structure. Crick reportedly claimed they had found ‘the secret of life,’ and many scientists agree.
    The double-helix structure explained how genetic material replicated through nitrogenous base pair bonds. Some see this as the most important development in biology in the 20th century, and Watson and Crick were awarded the Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery in 1962.

    Crick was not content to sit back on his laurels after winning one of the top prizes in science, however. He continued to study the mysteries of life, such as the nature of consciousness, or the possibility that RNA preceded the development of DNA.

    In 1973, he and the chemist Leslie Orgel published a paper in the journal Icarus suggesting that life may have arrived on Earth through a process called ‘Directed Panspermia.’

    The Panspermia hypothesis suggests that the seeds of life are common in the universe and can be spread between worlds. This idea originated with the Greek philosopher Anaxagoras, and was later promoted by the Swedish physicist Svante Arrhenius and the British astronomer Fred Hoyle.

    Versions of this hypothesis have survived to the present day, with the discovery of proposed ‘fossil structures’ in the martian meteorite ALH84001.

    ‘Directed Panspermia’ suggests that life may be distributed by an advanced extraterrestrial civilization. Crick and Orgel argued that DNA encapsulated within small grains could be fired in all directions by such a civilization in order to spread life within the universe. Their abstract in the 1973 Icarus paper reads:

    “It now seems unlikely that extraterrestrial living organisms could have reached the earth either as spores driven by the radiation pressure from another star or as living organisms imbedded in a meteorite.”

    “As an alternative to these nineteenth-century mechanisms, we have considered Directed Panspermia, the theory that organisms were deliberately transmitted to the earth by intelligent beings on another planet.”

    “We conclude that it is possible that life reached the earth in this way, but that the scientific evidence is inadequate at the present time to say anything about the probability. We draw attention to the kinds of evidence that might throw additional light on the topic.”

    Crick and Orgel further expanded on this idea in their 1981 book, ‘Life Itself.’. They believed there was little chance that microorganisms could be transported between planets and across interstellar distances by random accident.

    But a technological civilization could direct panspermia by stocking a spacecraft with a genetic starter kit. They suggested that a large sample of different microorganisms with minimal nutritional needs could survive the long journey between worlds.

    Many scientists are critical of the Panspermia hypothesis, because it does not try to answer the question of how life first originated. Instead, it passes the responsibility on to another place and another time, offering at best a partial solution to the question.

    Crick and Orgel suggested that Directed Panspermia might help resolve some mysteries about life’s biochemistry. For instance, it could be the reason why the biological systems of Earth are dependent on molybdenum, when the chemically similar metals chromium and nickel are far more abundant.

    They suggested that the seeds for life on Earth could have originated from a location far richer in molybdenum.

    Other scientists have noted, however, that in seawater molybdenum is more abundant than either chromium or nickel.

    Coming full circle to his groundbreaking discovery of DNA’s structure, Crick wondered, if life began in the great “primeval soup” suggested by the Miller/Urey experiment, why there wouldn’t be a multitude of genetic materials among the different life forms. Instead, all life on Earth shares the same basic DNA structure.

    Crick and Orgel wrote in their book ‘Life Itself,’ “an honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.”

  28. Hawkeye (continuing)

    Following on Crick’s hypothesis and the objection that it just pushes the OOL problem to somewhere else in space and time…

    An important question that begs an answer is: What other forms of intelligent agency besides ourselves are possible? If organic IA is not reasonably possible without a precursor IA what other basis might there be?

    One very interesting possibility is quantum computers. When quantum incoherence is overcome, even briefly, very very few quantum computing elements are required to perform enormous computational feats.

    Quantum_computer

    Perhaps self-organization of quantum computing elements with an emergent IA is a whole lot easier than carbon chemistry self-organization in the right conditions.

    In any case the notion that we are the first and/or farthest advanced IA in the history of the causally connected universe is almost pure hubris that would make Copernicus roll over in his grave. Given how quickly some materialists toss aside the principle of mediocrity to dispute IDT they should have their materialist membership card revoked. We don’t even know what comprises 70% (dark energy) of the causally connected universe. All we think we know about that is that it interacts with the minor portion of the universe (“normal” matter and energy) at least gravitationally and permeates everything. If we had a theory of quantum gravity it might shed some light on what kind of influence dark energy can exert at the quantum scale of normal matter/energy.

  29. Let’s face it, Hawkeye believes!

    …in Darwinism at all costs – even to the crippling of his own logic – like most Darwinian fundamentalists.

    He has no evidence so speculation and conjecture take over the mind till reason goes out to lunch in favor of wishful thinking.

    That’s how Darwinists live in their imaginary world where all is magical in non rational nature – no evidence required. Just a good imagination that replaces evidence and reason with nice sounding but extremely childish just-so stories and lot’s of blind faith in those stories. Pitiful.

  30. The video of the cell reacting to inflammation has been featured in a thread here on this site. There is a website at Harvard that has about a dozen videos including a longer version of the one in the TED video. This is the first explanation for this website I have seen other than it is meant for Harvard medical students. Here is the website

    http://multimedia.mcb.harvard.edu/media.html

    By the way TED tends to feature several atheists in their discussion but certainly not all. It definitely has an agenda but hides behind the concept of cutting edge thinking. It would not be an ID friendly place.

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