Ed Hudgins

Objectivism and Evolution: No Contradictions

Recommended Posts

(Believe me, Ba'al, when it comes to your discourse on Physics and Maths - which I am NEVER going to grasp - I have been granting you a lot of Charity.)

Tony

You don't grasp it because you don't know enough. That is remediable situation. Learn the math, learn the physics. Charity is not required. Your diligence is.

I am not a physicist but I have taken the trouble to study the subject and I have a pretty good grasp of what the physicists are doing.

I am (or was) an applied mathematician so my trade/occupation required that I learn the math thoroughly. My main function was problem solving rather than making or originating new theoretical material. My thing was clever use of the tools rather than inventing new tools.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Thought not an example of charity, Rand did claim merely that she had no opinion about Darwinism because, as she put it, "I am not a student of his theory." She said this during the Q&A at a Ford Hall Forum lecture in the late '70s.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billions of years aren't enough time. There's the problem.

Says you. You haven’t written anything to demonstrate this, please expand.

(Which explains why many Objectivists, when they understand this, feel the need to drop the Big Bang model and adopt a Steady State one. They feel that this gives them almost infinite time for the "random walk" necessary to create a living thing ex nihilo.

How about a reference? If there are “many” this should be easy.

Show me what, in nature, can effectively substitute for an intelligently-designing Craig Venter and his team and you might have a case. So far, you don't.

Try The Greatest Show on Earth, and/or The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. There are plenty of other books on the subject. You need to demonstrate that you’re worth talking to before anyone is going to invest the time distilling it for you.

You only have 12 billion years to accomplish this; it turns out, on calculation, that 12 billion years aren't nearly enough time,

12 Billion? How old do you think the earth is? There’s nothing about even the steady state view in cosmology that contradicts the earth being 4-5 billion years old. How many billions of years, by your reckoning, does evolution take to produce humans?

At any rate, neo-Darwinism -- pure randomness plus natural selection as the two and only two causes for life and speciation -- has quietly faded from academic research as a plausible mechanism. In public announcements, of course, Darwinism is still "the party line"; behind closed doors, however, there is severe doubt.

News to me. Sounds like the party line of the Discovery Institute.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

AA writes:

Billions of years aren't enough time. There's the problem. (Which explains why many Objectivists, when they understand this, feel the need to drop the Big Bang model and adopt a Steady State one. They feel that this gives them almost infinite time for the "random walk" necessary to create a living thing ex nihilo. With infinite time at one's disposal, they can claim that "anything is possible.")

I respond: Billions of years are long enough when many different things are happening at the same time.

As to the steady state model, as Hoyle proposed it was shot dead in 1965 when Wilson and Penzias found the Cosmic Back Radiation using the antenna at Holmsdale N.J. The Hoyle Steady state mode did not predict the CBR but the original and subsequent "big bang" models do. Steady State is dead and gone. In addition to not fitting the facts it requires a continual creation of matter from nothing. If the "big bang" suffers from the something-from-nothing problem, that steady-state model suffers even more.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Billions of years aren't enough time. There's the problem.

Says you. You haven’t written anything to demonstrate this, please expand.

(Which explains why many Objectivists, when they understand this, feel the need to drop the Big Bang model and adopt a Steady State one. They feel that this gives them almost infinite time for the "random walk" necessary to create a living thing ex nihilo.

How about a reference? If there are “many” this should be easy.

Show me what, in nature, can effectively substitute for an intelligently-designing Craig Venter and his team and you might have a case. So far, you don't.

Try The Greatest Show on Earth, and/or The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. There are plenty of other books on the subject. You need to demonstrate that you’re worth talking to before anyone is going to invest the time distilling it for you.

You only have 12 billion years to accomplish this; it turns out, on calculation, that 12 billion years aren't nearly enough time,

12 Billion? How old do you think the earth is? There’s nothing about even the steady state view in cosmology that contradicts the earth being 4-5 billion years old. How many billions of years, by your reckoning, does evolution take to produce humans?

At any rate, neo-Darwinism -- pure randomness plus natural selection as the two and only two causes for life and speciation -- has quietly faded from academic research as a plausible mechanism. In public announcements, of course, Darwinism is still "the party line"; behind closed doors, however, there is severe doubt.

News to me. Sounds like the party line of the Discovery Institute.

Says you. You haven’t written anything to demonstrate this, please expand.

No problem. Life as know it requires proteins; proteins are chains of subunits called amino acids; there are 20 essential amino acids; a typical protein comprises a chain of about 300 amino acids.

Assignment: you have the entire age of the universe -- 12 billion years or 10^17 seconds -- to construct a protein chain of 300 amino acid residues, each residue being one of 20 possible amino acids.

Constraints:

No biasing or biochemical pre-destination: ONLY randomness is allowed to determine which amino acid appears at any position on the chain.

ONLY randomness is allowed to determine the kind of bond (peptide or non-peptide) between one amino acid and the next.

ONLY randomness is allowed to determine the left/right chirality of each amino acid.

No DNA or pre-existing set of coded instructions is allowed as part of the assumptions. In this example, DNA doesn't exist yet. This is what's called a "Proteins First" scenario.

I'll let you do us the honor of making this simple calculation. Then you'll see the absurdity of the probabilistic resources you have at your disposal: the immense number of possible combinations of the above variables having to fit into a room whose size measured in time -- 10^17 seconds -- is too small for it to fit. You either have to jettison chance as the mechanism by which a growing protein, ex nihilo, rejects useless combinations and zeroes in on only the one or two that will it make function in a specific and useful way (or, of course, you can retain chance, but bring in some additional mechanism that ultimately overrides chance); or, you can retain chance alone and assume a much bigger room measured in time -- a room that would have to be far larger than 10^17 seconds. The latter would imply a rejection of the Big Bang theory.

I chose 12 billion years (putative age of the entire universe since the Big Bang) because I'm a nice guy: I'm trying to cut Darwinism and Materialism as much slack as possible by giving them as much time as possible, and there cannot be more than 12 billion years available to accomplish any particular kind of task. Your number of 4 billion years (the approximately age of the earth) obviously cuts down on the available time you'd have at your disposal to make a random process appear plausible. Additionally, Fred Hoyle might be correct (who knows?) in his suggestion that life could have been "seeded" on earth from someplace else (in his Panspermia scenario, pre-existing genetic elements float freely in space and are carried to possible hospitable environments by means of comets). See http://www.panspermia.org/ for serious technical discussion of this idea, as well as for quite excellent discussion and critiques of Darwinism.

As for references, yes, that is rather easy. My opinion has been formed by by posters on sites like SOLO and ARI, whose members seem to reject Big Bang for some form of "It simply always existed" (i.e., Steady State). It also comes from 35 years of interaction I've had with Objectivists who make the effort to understand that there's a big problem with the hand-waving assumption that "lots of time and lots of randomness can make anything imaginable happen." Once they understand that even the entire available time in the universe since t=0 to t=now is not enough for any random process to plausibly sort through, or "blind-search", a probability-space that far exceeds the given probabilistic resources, they suddenly see the beauty of the phrase "It has always been thus", i.e., no Big Bang; they even claim to find some sort of blessing for it from Rand herself ("Existence Exists" somehow is taken to mean "There was never any Big Bang"). If you are not one of these Objectivists, then I'm glad to see that things are slowly changing for the better.

Try The Greatest Show on Earth, and/or The Ancestor’s Tale by Richard Dawkins. There are plenty of other books on the subject. You need to demonstrate that you’re worth talking to before anyone is going to invest the time distilling it for you.

Are you Dawkins' agent or something? At any rate, one doesn't demonstrate intellectual worthiness by the standard of whether or not one has read a book by Dawkins. Just plain silly. Anyway, Dawkins is simply a crank, a propagandist for materialism and atheism -- not even, necessarily, for Darwinism, since he has admitted in various places that there are serious problems with the theory, though he resolutely stands by it anyway. The worldview he has faith in is not necessarily a Darwinist one, but a material one, since he has admitted in an interview on film that he can accept, at least for the sake of argument, the notion that life is a kind of super-hi-technology, designed by an intelligent designer, as long as we do NOT assume that the designer was "supernatural". This is just propagandizing on behalf of naive materialism and simple atheism. Not exactly a deep or original thinker.

There’s nothing about even the steady state view in cosmology that contradicts the earth being 4-5 billion years old.

If 12 billion years (age of entire universe since Big Bang) aren't enough time, then it follows that 4 billions years (age of Earth) aren't enough time either.

How many billions of years, by your reckoning, does evolution take to produce humans?

If random processes cannot produce a single functional protein of 300 residues in a plausible amount of time, then it follows that it cannot produce the thousands of functional proteins in a human being in a plausible amount of time. Humans may, indeed, have evolved, but whatever the process was, it obviously couldn't have involved randomness. And since randomness is the root idea behind Darwinism, it follows that Darwinism cannot explain how man appeared.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Metaphysically, I'm a Ken Wilber fan, myself.

Holons make more sense to me than form randomly emerging from chaos, or worse, nothing, or even worse, something that nobody knows what is except to say that it was/is/will be (whatever) without space and time.

Neither is proven, but at least we can observe holons all around us, from micro to macro. We can also observe randomness turning into form on a small scale--but to claim that this is by far the most plausible organizing principle of the universe is a stretch.

Both exist. That's a pretty good thought.

Michael

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll let you do us the honor of making this simple calculation. Then you'll see the absurdity of the probabilistic resources you have at your disposal

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

How about letting Carl Sagan do it? It seems your assumptions for the Drake equation are such that life can’t exist, including us. Dawkins’ chapter The Worship of Gaps from The God Delusion would be more helpful here, but it isn’t available to share and I’m not up for retyping it. He calls this the “argument from blinding with science”, which consists of bringing up a scientific point your interlocutor has probably never heard of, and if they blink, pause, or in any way take you seriously, do the God did it victory dance. Googling a couple of your phrases pointed me to a 2009 article by Anthony P. Feiger, published by Campus Crusade for Christ, do you have a reference from an actual scientific source? A journal, something, well, more respectable? Peer reviewed, so we can all benefit from that great innovation called division of labor?

As for references, yes, that is rather easy. My opinion has been formed by by posters on sites like SOLO and ARI, whose members seem to reject Big Bang for some form of "It simply always existed" (i.e., Steady State).

How about, here we go again, a reference? A link, something we can check. Name a writer who has expressed a preference for a steady state cosmological model on the grounds that evolution needs more than the billions of years available to do it’s thing, to produce beings capable of discussing the issue. Link to a thread, a post, something. If there are many, this should take you no time at all. I'll be genuinely surprised if you can find even one, and that's including silly people like...names omitted on reflection, find them yourself.

Are you Dawkins' agent or something?

Sort of, but ultimately I’m Satan’s agent. The deal is every soul I win using Dawkins earns me a thousand years manning the roasting spit. Believe me, it adds up and eternity is a long time so you have to find ways to fill it.

I've read the books I named, should I recommend books I haven't read or that I don't think are as good?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

All of this is rather Objectivism 101, asuming you have read Rand with any charity and thoroughness you cannot claim you have not heard these answers before.

One should read Ayn Rand's work with as much charity as she showed to those with whom she disagreed.

Judge justly and prepared to be judged justly. Charity implies mercy and pity. Both are disgusting.

Ba'al Chatzaf

One should waste one's time not actually trying to understand what Rand is saying because she may have wasted her time not trying to understand those she read?

God, what a painfully wretched thing you are, Bob. The worst part is how hard you work at being miserable.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'll let you do us the honor of making this simple calculation. Then you'll see the absurdity of the probabilistic resources you have at your disposal

<object width="480" height="385"><param name="movie" value="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param'>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US"></param><param name="allowFullScreen" value="true"></param><param name="allowscriptaccess" value="always"></param><embed src="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nvBWiZi99Dk?fs=1&hl=en_US" type="application/x-shockwave-flash" allowscriptaccess="always" allowfullscreen="true" width="480" height="385"></embed></object>

How about letting Carl Sagan do it? It seems your assumptions for the Drake equation are such that life can’t exist, including us. Dawkins’ chapter The Worship of Gaps from The God Delusion would be more helpful here, but it isn’t available to share and I’m not up for retyping it. He calls this the “argument from blinding with science”, which consists of bringing up a scientific point your interlocutor has probably never heard of, and if they blink, pause, or in any way take you seriously, do the God did it victory dance. Googling a couple of your phrases pointed me to a 2009 article by Anthony P. Feiger, published by Campus Crusade for Christ, do you have a reference from an actual scientific source? A journal, something, well, more respectable? Peer reviewed, so we can all benefit from that great innovation called division of labor?

As for references, yes, that is rather easy. My opinion has been formed by by posters on sites like SOLO and ARI, whose members seem to reject Big Bang for some form of "It simply always existed" (i.e., Steady State).

How about, here we go again, a reference? A link, something we can check. Name a writer who has expressed a preference for a steady state cosmological model on the grounds that evolution needs more than the billions of years available to do it’s thing, to produce beings capable of discussing the issue. Link to a thread, a post, something. If there are many, this should take you no time at all. I'll be genuinely surprised if you can find even one, and that's including silly people like...names omitted on reflection, find them yourself.

Are you Dawkins' agent or something?

Sort of, but ultimately I’m Satan’s agent. The deal is every soul I win using Dawkins earns me a thousand years manning the roasting spit. Believe me, it adds up and eternity is a long time so you have to find ways to fill it.

I've read the books I named, should I recommend books I haven't read or that I don't think are as good?

Sagan admits that the question he and the Drake Equation are concerned with is not "how likely is it that one important element necessary for the formation of life -- such as a functional protein -- might form with no intelligent intervention at all, but merely as a result of random forces performing multiple trials over a given period time." They are concerned, as Sagan admits at about 2:40, with the question "How likely is it that at least some planets have "advanced civilizations" (which he defines as one capable of radio astronomy) in the Milky Way galaxy.

So you are mistaken that my question -- limited to the likelihood of a simple protein of 300 amino acids appearing by chance -- is in any sense similar to Sagan's question -- which is the likelihood of an advanced civilization, outside of human civilization, existing in the Milky Way galaxy.

Sagan then presents each of the variables in the equation. The only variable that has anything to do with my question above, indeed, that has anything to do with this entire thread, is the fourth variable labeled "f(L)", i.e. the likelihood that life can arise. However, since his entire demonstration is crackpot, I may as well go through it:

N = total number of such advanced civilizations

He claims -- or rather, he merely guesses, but no one really knows what N might completely depend on -- that N AT LEAST depends on the following:

N( * ) = total number of stars in the Milky Way

f( p ) = fraction of the total number of stars that have planets

n( e ) = fraction of total number of planets that are "ecologically suitable" for life

f( L ) = fraction of total number of ecologically suitable planets on which life actually arises

f( I ) = fraction of total number of ecologically suitable planet on which life actually arises that actually develop intelligent life

f( C ) fraction of f( I ) that develops communication systems

f( L ) fraction of f( C ) that is "graced" (Sagan's term) with technological civilization

I'll point out right now that, unlike my assumptions above, which are all simply restatements of actual established fact, Sagan and Drake's assumptions are entirely guesswork -- nothing established about any of them, though some of the guesswork is more uncertain than others. For example:

1. N( * ) is approx 4 x 10^11 (a decent guess, based on perceptual photographic evidence)

2 f( p ) is approx. 1/4 of #1 (far less certain, based on inferences from double-stars and star "perturbations")

running total = 100 billion stars with planetary systems (logical status = as certain as #2 above, i.e., not too certain)

3. n( e ) = 2 (he invents this number out of thin air, and then claims that he is "being conservative". )

running total = 200 billion planets ecologically capable of supporting life (logical status = extremely uncertain since it was arrived at by multiplying a number -- "2" -- that is highly uncertain and was simply fantasized by Sagan)

4. f( L ) is approx. 1/2

This is truly laughable. Sagan claims that "under the right conditions" (ahem!) the "molecules of life self-assemble". Really? Well, we already have a place we can observe such things: planet Earth. Do the "molecules of life" (which he doesn't name) "self-assemble"? Really? Do these "molecules of life" actually turn into any sort of living organism? Or do they merely remain "molecules of life"?

LOL!! Then he completely blows off any difficulty with a genetic code, reluctantly claiming that "it is conceivable that there might be some 'impediment' to forming a genetic code" (!!)

(Got news for you, you scientific fraud. (i) codes appear NOWHERE in the physical universe EXCEPT living things (ii) codes are always products of intelligence, not physical processes (iii) a genetic code is completely useless without the rest of the cellular machinery. The issue of "protein-first, then DNA" or "DNA first, then proteins" is of a chicken-and-egg type. Cannot be solved, since DNA requires cells, and cells require DNA. The probability of the base pairs "spontaneously forming" into a helix, with a sugar molecule as the backbone, and the ordering of the base pairs coding for a specific sequence of amino acids that, when assembled by the ribosome, create proteins, is effectively zero. Then there's additional knotty problem of "protein-folding", i.e., after being snipped off and moving away from the ribosome that created it, each protein chain has to undergo a 3-D spatial change in shape -- "folding" -- for it to function. If it doesn't fold into the correct shape, it doesn't function.)

And Sagan just blows all of this biochemical necessity away by assuring us that "the molecules of life self-assemble". No problem, Carl!

Anyway, Sagan never was a serious researcher or scientist, but a combination academic and showman -- a bit like Dawkins, except more affable -- who is propagandizing for his view that intelligent life is ubiquitous in the universe. He also had a clear leftist agenda: he had always made it clear in his books that, because he had "proven" that intelligent life was everywhere, the U.S., and all industrialized countries with nukes (meaning, the Soviet Union, too) should divert most of their arms budget into SETI programs -- the peaceful and coexistent search for extra-terrestrial life. Pacifism was always his main agenda. He even participated in anti-nuke and anti-SDI demonstrations at the instigation of his third wife, a political activist named Anne Druyan. Druyan was also his television producer.

But I digress . . . to continue:

4. f( L ) = 1/2 of the previous total (logical status = bullshit. Listen, Carl, you can make any assumptions you wish in order to force the final answer of the Drake Equation to equal a total you had in mind from the beginning, but that isn't science; it's propaganda (excuse me, I meant "showbiz", not propaganda).

Running total = 100 billion planets that are likely to have life in the Milky Way

5. f( I ) is approximately 1/10 of #4 = 10 billion planets likely to have intelligent life (logical status = completely invented out of thin air based on subjective whim)

6. f( C ) is approx 1/10 of #5 = 1 billion planets likely to have intelligent life with communications systems and high technology

7. f(L) is approx. 10^-8 = likelihood that #6 has persisted over the lifetime of a given planet.

Thus,

N = 10^9 x 10^-8 = 10

So Sagan claims that there is a likelihood of 10 advance civilizations in the Milky Way.

Logical status of this claim? Complete bull, based on numbers pulled out of hat. The real answer is: no one has a clue.

No wonder you admire this guy.

Then, at the end his magic show, Sagan changes his mind and changes #7 from 10^-8 to 10^-2, making the final number N = 10^7 or ten million.

Since you're unable to do the simple calculation on your own -- and since your boy, Sagan, has performed a calculation that is not only irrelevant to the topic at hand, but is based on inventing numbers that he happens to like out of thin air -- I'll just have to do the calculation for you. Note: my doing YOUR homework assignment is not my idea of "division of labor"; I consider it more like unfair redistribution of my precious time. But since we live in the Age of Obama, "redistribution" seems to be all the rage, so here goes:

1. since there's no chemical or physical force biasing which amino acid occupies which position on the amino acid chain, there is, therefore, an equal likelihood of any one of the 20 essential amino acids to occupy any one of the 300 positions on the chain.

The odds of any one of the 20 amino acids appearing at position #1 are therefore one-out-of-20, expressed mathematically as a simple fraction: 1/20 (that means "1 chance of any given amino acid appearing out of a possible 20 choices, OK?)

The odds of any one of the 20 amino acids appearing at position #2 are exactly the same, because the amino acid in position #1 does not "bias" or influence in any way the appearance of any given amino acid for position #2. This is not speculation; this is established chemistry. So the odds of any one out of 20 possible amino acids appearing at position #2 are again 1/20.

As in Sagan's Drake Equation, probabilities multiply. So the odds of a given amino acid at position #1 and at position #2 are 1/20 x 1/20 (i.e., 1/(20^2) = 1/400.

The odds of any given amino acid appearing at position #3 are again 1/20, making the odds of positions 1, 2 and 3 with given amino acids equal to 1/20 x 1/20 x 1/20 = 1/8000 (i.e., 1/(20^3))

You can see that the exponent in the last expression equals the number of positions whose probabilities we are including in the calculation. So the total odds of a given sequence of 20 amino acids appearing in a chain of 300 amino acids will be:

N = 1/(20^300)

or (using log base10):

log 20^300 = 300 log 20

log 20 is approx equal to 1.4

300 x 1.4 = 420

So, 20^300 is about equal to 10^420

10^420 is the "probability space", the total number of combinations, that are possible given 20 amino acids arranged in a sequence of 300 units long. The functionality of a protein depends on the sequence of these amino acids (as well as on other things, like protein folding). Though there is some -- some -- variation possible in the sequencing without impairing the functionality of the protein, for the most part, protein functionality is highly dependent on having a certain sequence and ONLY that sequence. Biochemists call that "protein specificity"; the sequence is specific to a given protein, and some arbitrary sequence won't do.

But we're not through yet.

There are several different kinds of chemical bonds possible between amino acids, the peptide bond being the only one that works in a functional protein. There is no biochemical determinism in the formation of a peptide bond or a non-peptide bond. Since the odds of a peptide bond forming are about 50%, or 1/2, in nature, and since there are 299 borders between the 300 amino acids, the odds of peptide bonds forming at each juncture are 1/(2^299).

log 2^299 =

299 log2

log2 = 0.3

299 x 0.3 is approx 90

So 2^299 is about 10^90

So our total odds so far are:

the odds of the specific sequence x the odds of the correct bond between each sequence:

10^420 x 10^90 = 10^510

But we're not through yet.

Each amino acid has an equal chance, in nature, of appearing in either a left-handed form or its mirror-image right-handed form: i.e., the odds of either appearing must be 50% or again 1/2. So,

The odds of amino acid appearing at position #1 being a left-handed form = 1/2

The odds of amino acid appearing at position #2 being a left-handed form = 1/2

etc.

The odds that all 300 amino acids are of the correct form -- or "chirality" -- must be:

1/(2^300)

This is approximately equal to the number we used above for 1/(2^299), so we can use the same result:

2^300 = 10^90

Factoring this into our running total, we have:

Odds of a specific sequence = 10^420

Odds of only peptide bonds = 10^90

Odds of only left-hand amino acids = 10^90

Total odds:

10^420 x 10^90 x 10^90 = 10^600

Random processes, unguided by intelligence, or some other force capable of directing it toward a specified desirable goal, would have to blindly search through 10^600 possible combinations and perform the blind search within the available amount of time, which is 10^17 seconds.

If a random force created one combination per second, it would have searched through only 10^17 combinations; hardly likely to hit upon the one combination of 300 amino acids; each with a peptide bond; each left-handed.

If it created 10 combinations per second, it would only have searched through 10^18 combinations out of a possible total number of 10^600. Still unlikely to hit upon the right one without some guidance telling it where to aim.

If it created a trillion combinations per second, it could only have searched through a possible 10^29 combinations out of a possible 10^600. Still highly unlikely to find, by means of chance alone, that one combination that is functional.

At this point, we run into physical limitations, since there are boundaries to how fast a physical reaction can actually occur. We can calculate a very forgiving boundary, or "probabilistic resource" for the entire universe since t=0:

1. Within the known physical universe, there are about 10^80 fundamental particles. Any kind of physical process would obviously have to make use of some part of this total number of particles.

2. Material properties are such that it is impossible for any transition from one state to another to occur faster than 10^45 times per second. This frequency corresponds to something called "Planck Time", which is the smallest physically meaningful unit of time.

3. The universe is about 12 billion years old, which equals 10^17 seconds.

Since any physical process must be specified by (1) at least one fundamental particle, and (2) the process cannot be generated any faster than Planck Time, and (3) the total number of such events must have occurred within the total amount of available time since the Big Bang, we have an upper limit for considerations of probability:

10^80 x 10^45 x 10^17 = 10^142

So, even if every fundamental particle in the universe were transitioning its state to that of an amino acid every 1/10^45th of a second for every second the universe has existed, you would have managed to blindly search through a possible 10^142 combinations out of a possible 10^600. These are not good odds for you.

As stated above, the odds are similarly discouraging for the formation of DNA by random means, with its sequence of nucleotides, all of which, in this case, must be right-handed.

Yet, given these odds, Sagan quips "Hey, no problem! Everything just magically self-assembles, and besides, we have billions of years to do it in!" What he means by "do it in" is "blindly search through the combinations of components that do NOT lead to life". As I have shown above, billions of years are not enough to search through 10^600 combinations for even one typical protein, let alone all the thousands of proteins necessary for something as complex as a human being.

Regarding Objectivists and Steady State, you can do a little division of labor work yourself. Check the evolution archives at the SOLOpassion site, and look especially for old posts from Linzie, Gregster, Leonid, and Mindi.

Edited by AristotlesAdvance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Objectivists and Steady State, you can do a little division of labor work yourself. Check the evolution archives at the SOLOpassion site, and look especially for old posts from Linzie, Gregster, Leonid, and Mindi.

Wow. I think I understand now the draw, the pleasure to be found in trolling. My utterly dismissive response inspired you to write all this? I've just skimmed it, primarily looking to see if you finally provide references. If I start googling this latest post, am I going to match more publications from the Campus Crusade for Christ?

The “evolution archives” at SOLOpassion, what’s that? I just googled it, and only this turned up:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/2384

The second reply is by Leonid, but I don’t see how what he writes backs up what you’re saying. You claimed that "many Objectivists" express a preference for a steady state cosmological model on the grounds that evolution needs more than the billions of years available under the big bang model. Never minding that evolution and cosmology are separate fields. I say you're full of it, and challenge you to provide a reference.

Concerning division of labor, respectable scientific publications have comments by unrelated scientists on articles. This helps the reader unfamiliar with a specialty to see a range of opinion. Did you come up with this theory that proteins need Intelligent Design, or are you parroting someone else’s work? If it’s someone else’s work, whose? Where have they published it? What have the evil Darwinian apologists said in reply?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I just thought of one other thing: I could parrot for you some numerological Kabbalistic nonsense that proves that the Torah is soooooo complex that God must have written it. Therefore God exists. If I were to bother turning it into a post, how much claim on your time could I make, demanding that you refute it?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Regarding Objectivists and Steady State, you can do a little division of labor work yourself. Check the evolution archives at the SOLOpassion site, and look especially for old posts from Linzie, Gregster, Leonid, and Mindi.

Wow. I think I understand now the draw, the pleasure to be found in trolling. My utterly dismissive response inspired you to write all this? I've just skimmed it, primarily looking to see if you finally provide references. If I start googling this latest post, am I going to match more publications from the Campus Crusade for Christ?

The “evolution archives” at SOLOpassion, what’s that? I just googled it, and only this turned up:

http://www.solopassion.com/node/2384

The second reply is by Leonid, but I don’t see how what he writes backs up what you’re saying. You claimed that "many Objectivists" express a preference for a steady state cosmological model on the grounds that evolution needs more than the billions of years available under the big bang model. Never minding that evolution and cosmology are separate fields. I say you're full of it, and challenge you to provide a reference.

Concerning division of labor, respectable scientific publications have comments by unrelated scientists on articles. This helps the reader unfamiliar with a specialty to see a range of opinion. Did you come up with this theory that proteins need Intelligent Design, or are you parroting someone else’s work? If it’s someone else’s work, whose? Where have they published it? What have the evil Darwinian apologists said in reply?

My utterly dismissive response inspired you to write all this?

Actually, no. It was Carl Sagan's utterly crackpot presentation that inspired me to write all this. If you didn't understand my reply, then it's apparent that you probably didn't understand Sagan either.

Objectivist Living is not a "scientific publication" respectable or otherwise. It's a blog having to do with ideas in general. Get over it. You shouldn't need comments from Sagan, Dawkins, or Rand to tell you how to do simple probability calculations or to show you their relevance to the topic of Darwinian evolution and the probability of life arising by chance.

Since you're unable to get it by yourself, I'll help you out again:

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

Edited by AristotlesAdvance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

No, there is no reason to believe that altruism in the philosophical sense is part of human nature. Empathy is another thing. Indeed, according to Kant and the rest, if you take pleasure in helping others, that is selfish, and does not count as altruism.

If "in the philosophical sense" you mean as the highest moral good - statically - then we agree. This is not interesting and rather trivial.

But there's more to it than that and it's not so easily dismissed. I could argue that ultimately everything we do is our choice, therefore self-interest, and not only does that not "count" as altruism, but that altruism is impossible. That view goes nowhere interesting as well.

The interesting point is whether or not, because of our nature, we "owe" anything at all to others. Not total slavery, but maybe we have a partial moral obligation of service to others. Reality would suggest we do.

Bob

If everything we do is actually in our real self interest then there can be no such thing as a mistake or a regret - are you saying you have never done something you wish you hadn't? Of course we can spite ourselves. and act on contradictory motives leading to unhappiness.

As for the claim that we owe things to others the corollary is that they owe things to us.

All of this is rather Objectivism 101, asuming you have read Rand with any charity and thoroughness you cannot claim you have not heard these answers before.

"If everything we do is actually in our real self interest then there can be no such thing as a mistake or a regret"

Wrong.

"All of this is rather Objectivism 101, asuming you have read Rand with any charity"

Read Rand yes, charity no. She's wrong on too many things.

Bob

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correction: I just realized that AA hasn’t been arguing against evolution, but abiogenesis. D’Oh! So, 12 billion years isn't enough time for life to arise, not anywhere in the universe, never mind the anthropic principle. Well, I know from a prior incarnation how life started on Earth, it’s covered in the first couple minutes here:

Though we left out the Electric Monk from this version. It’s kind of like the Gospels, Mark doesn’t mention the Virgin birth, but the other synoptics fill in the gap. In this case, you need to study Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to get the rest of the story.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ninth Doctor – The usual way to approach trolls is not to feed them. Let them waste their time writing silly stuff rather than you wasting your time responding.

Sometimes, if you think trolls are actually getting attention from others—other then those others ridiculing them—you then might fire off a few comments, not aimed at them—you’ll never change their minds—but at the audience that you think might be taken in.

Cheers!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

The cosmos itself is the Designer. I leave the question of the intelligence of the Cosmos to the philosophers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

The cosmos itself is the Designer. I leave the question of the intelligence of the Cosmos to the philosophers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

My question was addressed to AA. If creationism is to be accepted as a "scientific" theory, then it must present a causal explanation of how the ID created life.

Ghs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ninth Doctor – The usual way to approach trolls is not to feed them. Let them waste their time writing silly stuff rather than you wasting your time responding.

Indeed, but this one’s been worthwhile for me. The point I was making earlier was that I got a certain (unfamiliar) pleasure out of seeing all the effort AA put into replying. This is what Trolls enjoy, and here I was enjoying it too. Now I want to go toy with some biblical literalists, ask them where Cain got his wife, that kind of thing.

When you see me making silly Dr. Who references, I’m having fun, and hopefully others are enjoying it too. AA’s the one putting in lots of time to no avail.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Correction: I just realized that AA hasn’t been arguing against evolution, but abiogenesis. D’Oh! So, 12 billion years isn't enough time for life to arise, not anywhere in the universe, never mind the anthropic principle. Well, I know from a prior incarnation how life started on Earth, it’s covered in the first couple minutes here:

Though we left out the Electric Monk from this version. It’s kind of like the Gospels, Mark doesn’t mention the Virgin birth, but the other synoptics fill in the gap. In this case, you need to study Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency to get the rest of the story.

Correction: I just realized that AA hasn’t been arguing against evolution, but abiogenesis. D’Oh!

Well, now, that doesn't make sense; else why would you have posted the Sagan video? Abiogenesis was essential to his argument, as well as to the whole Drake Equation. Did you not understand your own post?

It was explicit in the fourth variable of the Drake Equation:

f( L ) = fraction of total number of ecologically suitable planets on which life actually arises

"Fraction of total number" means "what are the odds"? "Life actually arises" means "life actually arising where there was no life before, ex nihilo." Sagan assumes a hospitable environment and then invents numbers that he likes from there.

For Darwinian True Believers (like Sagan, Dawkins, et al.), abiogenesis is a sub-discipline of Darwinian evolution, employing the same two causes: random variation and natural selection.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

The cosmos itself is the Designer. I leave the question of the intelligence of the Cosmos to the philosophers.

Ba'al Chatzaf

The cosmos itself is the Designer. I leave the question of the intelligence of the Cosmos to the philosophers.

The idea that mind is, in some sense, co-extensive with space, and that space itself can be intelligent, is a perfectly legitimate answer (it might not be true, of course, but that's a different issue).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Any physical event whose chances of appearing are 1 in 10^600 will not appear at all, even in billions of years (unless some causal factor other than chance is operating).

For more detail, study my previous post.

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

I have no idea. A forensics expert has finished his job when he answers the question: was event or entity ( A ) caused by random / deterministic forces (i.e., does the corpse show signs of having accidentally slipped? Does it show signs of having had a heart-attack?); or was it caused by design (i.e., a crime of opportunity? a planned hit?). After that, his job is done, and he hands over the problem to others whose job it is to ask about the "details" you inquired about, such as the "how" and the "why."

Same with living organisms. If you're interested in a specifically theological discussion regarding the details of how a designing intelligence could work, or why he would create life, then a thread devoted specifically to those issues should be started. I don't see how those details -- the "how" and the "why" -- have anything to do with the forensics of whether or not living organisms show certain tell-tale signs of having arisen by intelligent activity, rather than only random and deterministic ones.

You've confused the theological with the logical. Logically, all I have to do is show (or attempt to show) that living organisms came about through intelligence; not how this feat was accomplished or why it was done at all.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Why do you presume that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Why do you presume that?

In common parlance "designer" refers to a sentient agent who has acted with a purpose or for an end.

This implicit meaning of "designer" (an alternative term for God) is used by the Creationist Crowd as a stealth means of asserting the existence of God and as a stalking horse for inserting their religious nonsense into public school programs. When a creationist asserts "Designer" it is a short stop to asserting Jesus.

Ba'al Chatzaf

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Ghs

So how did your Intelligent Designer create life? Some details, please.

I have no idea. A forensics expert has finished his job when he answers the question: was event or entity ( A ) caused by random / deterministic forces (i.e., does the corpse show signs of having accidentally slipped? Does it show signs of having had a heart-attack?); or was it caused by design (i.e., a crime of opportunity? a planned hit?). After that, his job is done, and he hands over the problem to others whose job it is to ask about the "details" you inquired about, such as the "how" and the "why."

You have no idea? Then I take it that you have not calculated the probability that an ID exists who was able to create life. And if not, then how do you know that this is not even less probable than life originating from inorganic causes?

Even if we accept your calculations, you have merely shown that the generation of life from inorganic matter is highly improbable, not impossible. So what? Even the highly improbable can happen. Thus if you want to present an alternative scientific theory, you need to present an alternative causal explanation that is more probable.

This is how science works; a prevailing scientific theory is modified or displaced when a better explanatory theory is offered. But you have "no idea" of what such an alternative causal theory would be. Hence the most you can claim is that we don't fully understand at the present time how life originated.

When a forensic pathologist concludes that a person was killed by design, he is referring to other human beings. This makes sense as an explanation, because we know from experience what human beings are and what they can do. But if a pathologist concluded that nothing natural can possibly explain how a person died, we would justly conclude that he is merely saying that he doesn't know how that person died. He cannot explain it. And this is all that you are justified in saying about the origin of life, given your calculations.

Same with living organisms. If you're interested in a specifically theological discussion regarding the details of how a designing intelligence could work, or why he would create life, then a thread devoted specifically to those issues should be started. I don't see how those details -- the "how" and the "why" -- have anything to do with the forensics of whether or not living organisms show certain tell-tale signs of having arisen by intelligent activity, rather than only random and deterministic ones.

The why is irrelevant to this discussion, but the how is crucial.

You claim that the improbability of life originating from inorganic causes provides "tell-tale signs" of intelligent design. But it doesn't show anything of the sort; at most, it merely shows that life is a highly unusual occurrence. If you wish to go further than this, if you wish to conclude that life was caused by an ID, then you must provide an alternative causal explanation and show that your explanation is more probable than the explanation you reject. But you have provided no such explanation; indeed, by your own admission you have "no idea" what such an explanation would consist of.

As for your calculations, the following question needs to be considered: Which is more probable? -- that your calculations are wrong, or that there exists an Intelligent Designer with the power to create life? Human error is a common occurrence, whereas we have no independent evidence for the existence of an ID.

You've confused the theological with the logical. Logically, all I have to do is show (or attempt to show) that living organisms came about through intelligence; not how this feat was accomplished or why it was done at all.

I haven't confused anything. We are talking about science, not theology. You have not shown that "living organisms came about through intelligence." All you have shown is that, by your standards, you are unable to explain how life came about.

And who created your Intelligent Designer? I presume he is "alive" in some sense.

Why do you presume that?

I am not familiar with intelligent forms of nonliving beings who are capable of designing things. Are you?

Ghs

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...