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Origin of life: How are we doing?

According to well-known origin of life researcher Eugene Koonin (2012),

However, the origin of life—or, to be more precise, the origin of the first replicator systems and the origin of translation-remains a huge enigma, and progress in solving these problems has been very modest — in the case of translation, nearly negligible. Some potentially fruitful observations and ideas exist, such as the discovery of plausible hatcheries for life, the networks of inorganic compartments at hydrothermal vents, and the chemical versatility of ribozymes that fuels the RNA World hypothesis. However, these advances remain only preliminaries, even if important ones, because they do not even come close to a coherent scenario for prebiological evolution, from the first organic molecules to the first replicator systems, and from these to bona fide biological entities in which information storage and function are partitioned between distinct classes of molecules (nucleic acids and proteins, respectively).

In my view, all advances notwithstanding, evolutionary biology is and will remain woefully incomplete until there is at least a plausible, even if not compelling, origin of life scenario. The search for such a solution to the ultimate enigma may take us in unexpected (and deeply counterintuitive for biologists) directions, particularly toward a complete reassessment of the relevant concepts of randomness, probability, and the possible contribution of extremely rare events, as exemplified by the cosmological perspective given in Chapter 12. Koonin, Eugene V. (2012). The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution. , Pearson Education, Inc., Publishing as FT Press Science, New Jersey, page 417. [colour emphasis added]

He’ll settle for something “plausible, even if not compelling,” and he can’t even get that.

Koonin has advocated multiverses as a solution. Sure. Export the problem to an infinite number of entities for which there is no evidence and it pretty well disappears. It’s the other losses (reason, logic, respect for evidence) that concern some of us. See also: In a multiverse, Koonin could be both right and wrong any number of times. Also here.

Another fine, productive day in the world of methodological naturalism.

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4 Responses to Origin of life: How are we doing?

  1. Wouldn’t an infinite number of universes mean that there is also an infinite number of worlds exactly like ours?

  2. As to Koonin’s rather honest comment here:

    The search for such a solution to the ultimate enigma (i.e. the origin of life itself) may take us in unexpected (and deeply counterintuitive for biologists) directions,

    Well for atheistic biologists, I would say the direction to the answer of the question of where all life ultimately comes is especially ‘unexpected and deeply counterintuitive’.,,, We now have evidence for a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time cause, for the first life on earth from two different lines of evidence.
    First and foremost, we now have surprisingly strong evidence for photosynthetic life suddenly appearing on earth, as soon as water appeared on the earth, in the oldest sedimentary rocks ever found on earth.

    The Sudden Appearance Of Photosynthetic Life On Earth – video

    When did oxygenic photosynthesis evolve? – Roger Buick – 2008
    Excerpt:,, U–Pb data from ca 3.8?Ga metasediments suggest that this metabolism could have arisen by the start of the geological record. Hence, the hypothesis that oxygenic photosynthesis evolved well before the atmosphere became permanently oxygenated seems well supported.

    U-rich Archaean sea-floor sediments from Greenland – indications of +3700 Ma oxygenic photosynthesis (2003)

    Iron in Primeval Seas Rusted by Bacteria – Apr. 23, 2013
    Excerpt: The oldest known iron ores were deposited in the Precambrian period and are up to four billion years old (the Earth itself is estimated to be about 4.6 billion years old). ,,,
    This research not only provides the first clear evidence that microorganisms were directly involved in the deposition of Earth’s oldest iron formations; it also indicates that large populations of oxygen-producing cyanobacteria were at work in the shallow areas of the ancient oceans, while deeper water still reached by the light (the photic zone) tended to be populated by anoxyenic or micro-aerophilic iron-oxidizing bacteria which formed the iron deposits.,,,
    - per science daily

    Moreover, to the deep disappointment of atheistic materialists, there is no evidence that prebiotic (i.e. primordial soup) activity ever preceded the origin of photosynthetic life on earth:

    Dr. Hugh Ross – Origin Of Life Paradox (No prebiotic chemical signatures)- video

    “We get that evidence from looking at carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis. And it tells us that in Earth’s oldest (sedimentary) rock, which dates at 3.80 billion years ago, we find an abundance for the carbon signature of living systems. Namely, that life prefers carbon 12. And so if you see a higher ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 13 that means that carbon has been processed by life. And it is that kind of evidence that tells us that life has been abundant on earth as far back as 3.80 billion years ago (when water was first present on earth).,,, And that same carbon 12 to carbon 13 analysis tells us that planet earth, over it entire 4.5662 billion year history has never had prebiotics. Prebiotics would have a higher ratio of carbon 13 to carbon 12. All the carbonaceous material, we see in the entire geological record of the earth, has the signature of being post-biotic not pre-biotic. Which means planet earth never had a primordial soup. And the origin of life on earth took place in a geological instant” (as soon as it was possible for life to exist on earth).
    – Hugh Ross – quote as stated in preceding video

    Moreover, the ‘miracle’ of the origin of photosynthesis has occurred at least a half of a dozen times:

    The Elaborate Nanoscale Machine Called Photosynthesis: No Vestige of a Beginning – Cornelius Hunter – July 2012
    Excerpt: “The ability to do photosynthesis is widely distributed throughout the bacterial domain in six different phyla, with no apparent pattern of evolution. Photosynthetic phyla include the cyanobacteria, proteobacteria (purple bacteria), green sulfur bacteria (GSB), firmicutes (heliobacteria), filamentous anoxygenic phototrophs (FAPs, also often called the green nonsulfur bacteria), and acidobacteria (Raymond, 2008).”
    per Darwin’s god

    But where this becomes extremely problematic for atheistic materialists (as if the preceding was not bad enough for them) is that photosynthesis itself (an extremely sophisticated process) is now known to require a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause!

    Quantum Mechanics at Work in Photosynthesis: Algae Familiar With These Processes for Nearly Two FOUR Billion Years – Feb. 2010
    Excerpt: “We were astonished to find clear evidence of long-lived quantum mechanical states involved in moving the energy. Our result suggests that the energy of absorbed light resides in two places at once — a quantum superposition state, or coherence — and such a state lies at the heart of quantum mechanical theory.”,,, “It suggests that algae knew about quantum mechanics nearly two FOUR billion years before humans,” says Scholes.

    At the 21:00 minute mark of the following video, Dr Suarez explains why photosynthesis needs a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause to explain its effect:

    Nonlocality of Photosynthesis – Antoine Suarez – video – 2012

    Moreover, this is direct evidence that a non-local, beyond space-time mass-energy, cause must ultimately be responsible for ‘feeding’ all life on earth, since all higher life on earth is eventually completely dependent on this non-local ‘photosynthetic energy’ in which to live their lives on this earth.

    Luke 12:27
    “Consider how the wild flowers grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you, not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.

    There are many other lines of evidence pointing out the extreme fine-tuning of light for life on earth (Gonzalez, Denton, Bradley), but to address the other main piece of ‘quantum’ evidence that we now have that strongly indicates that we must appeal to a ‘non-local’, beyond space and time, cause (i.e. a non-materialistic cause) to explain the origin of life on earth. We now have evidence for ‘non-local’ quantum entanglement in molecular biology on a massive scale (in every DNA and Protein molecule!)

    Quantum Information/Entanglement In DNA – Elisabeth Rieper – short video

    Coherent Intrachain energy migration at room temperature – Elisabetta Collini and Gregory Scholes – University of Toronto – Science, 323, (2009), pp. 369-73
    Excerpt: The authors conducted an experiment to observe quantum coherence dynamics in relation to energy transfer. The experiment, conducted at room temperature, examined chain conformations, such as those found in the proteins of living cells. Neighbouring molecules along the backbone of a protein chain were seen to have coherent energy transfer. Where this happens quantum decoherence (the underlying tendency to loss of coherence due to interaction with the environment) is able to be resisted, and the evolution of the system remains entangled as a single quantum state.

    Physicists Discover Quantum Law of Protein Folding – February 22, 2011
    Quantum mechanics finally explains why protein folding depends on temperature in such a strange way.
    Excerpt: First, a little background on protein folding. Proteins are long chains of amino acids that become biologically active only when they fold into specific, highly complex shapes. The puzzle is how proteins do this so quickly when they have so many possible configurations to choose from.
    To put this in perspective, a relatively small protein of only 100 amino acids can take some 10^100 different configurations. If it tried these shapes at the rate of 100 billion a second, it would take longer than the age of the universe to find the correct one. Just how these molecules do the job in nanoseconds, nobody knows.,,,
    Their astonishing result is that this quantum transition model fits the folding curves of 15 different proteins and even explains the difference in folding and unfolding rates of the same proteins.
    That’s a significant breakthrough. Luo and Lo’s equations amount to the first universal laws of protein folding. That’s the equivalent in biology to something like the thermodynamic laws in physics.

  3. Moreover ‘non-local’ Quantum Entanglement is directly associated with the insurmountable ‘information problem’ that materialists have in dealing with the origin of life (S. Meyer: Signature In The Cell):

    Quantum Entanglement and Information
    Quantum entanglement is a physical resource, like energy, associated with the peculiar nonclassical correlations that are possible between separated quantum systems. Entanglement can be measured, transformed, and purified. A pair of quantum systems in an entangled state can be used as a quantum information channel to perform computational and cryptographic tasks that are impossible for classical systems. The general study of the information-processing capabilities of quantum systems is the subject of quantum information theory.

    In what is an understatement, it is very interesting to note that quantum entanglement, which conclusively demonstrates that ‘information’ in its pure ‘quantum form’ is completely transcendent of any time and space constraints, should be found in molecular biology on such a massive scale, for how can the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ in biology possibly be explained by a material (matter/energy) ’cause’ when the quantum entanglement ‘effect’ falsified material particles as its own ‘causation’ in the first place? (A. Aspect, A. Zeilinger) Appealing to the probability of various configurations of material particles, as Darwinism does, simply will not help since a timeless/spaceless cause must be supplied which is beyond the capacity of the material particles themselves to supply! To give a coherent explanation for an effect that is shown to be completely independent of any time and space constraints one is forced to appeal to a cause that is itself not limited to time and space! i.e. Put more simply, you cannot explain a effect by a cause that has been falsified by the very same effect you are seeking to explain! Improbability arguments of various ‘special’ configurations of material particles, which have been a staple of the arguments against neo-Darwinism, simply do not apply since the cause is not within the material particles in the first place!
    Thus we have two line of evidence from quantum mechanics refuting a materialistic origin of life scenario. One, we have to appeal to a ‘non-local’ cause to explain why DNA and protein molecules exist in the first place. And two, we have to appeal to a ‘non-local’ cause to explain what is driving photosynthesis. As a Christian, I have a ‘non-local’ cause to appeal to:

    John 1:1-5
    In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

    But then again, for Christians, this all should be no surprise at all since the primary teaching of Christianity is that God overcame death through Christ. i.e. In Christ is life!

    Scientists say Turin Shroud is supernatural – December 2011
    Excerpt: And in case there was any doubt about the preternatural degree of energy needed to make such distinct marks, the Enea report spells it out: “This degree of power cannot be reproduced by any normal UV source built to date.”

    Shroud of Turin: Hoax or Proof of Resurrection? (feat. Photographer of Los Alamos, Barrie Schwortz) – video

    Turin Shroud Hologram Reveals The Words ‘The Lamb’ – short video


    Natalie Grant – Alive (Resurrection music video)
    Lyric: “Death has lost and Love has won!”

  4. Semi-OT: Dr. Stephen Meyer has another post up on ENV

    Does Lightning-Fast Evolution Solve the Cambrian Enigma? – Stephen C. Meyer October 24, 2013

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