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The Questions That Abiogenesis Needs To Answer, Before Evolution.

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posted on Apr, 3 2015 @ 11:10 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect



At some point the process that began life had to become evolutionary processes. It's plausible to me, that both processes are probably very similar, or involved similar aspects.


They are actually quite different processes. Abiogenesis involves non-living chemicals undergoing normal chemical reactions under the control of ordinary physical chemistry to the point that they become 'self-organizing' - that is an organism. Evolution involves the changes that occur in populations of similar organisms and involves something more than a changing set of chemical processes - it involves 'natural selection'.

Now, at the base level, changes in populations of similar organisms occur because the chemical processes going on change over time, in much the same way that the chemical reactions going on in the non-living chemical mix changed over time. However, evolution doesn't really study the actual change in the chemical processes but the consequences of the changes - consequences that are filtered through natural selection.

Perhaps a simile might help, a bit stretched maybe, but I hope it makes sense: a gunner testing gunpowder mixes doesn't need to examine in detail the pattern of the 'explosion' in side the cannon barrel, he only needs to record the change in the trajectory of the cannonball to determine which is most efficient. In the same way, the Biologist doesn't need to examine the DNA of every 'proto-horse' generation to study the evolution of the horse, he only needs to study the results of available examples of 'proto-horse' in the fossil record. Just as the gunner's tests eventually settles on the best, longest throwing mix that doesn't destroy the gun, natural selection eventually settles on the best set of attributes for a population of organisms to survive in the current conditions.

There is certainly a conceptual problem to overcome, and admittedly it is one that is difficult and cloudy: what is the definition of a 'living-organism'. What specific characteristic or set of characteristics must a 'soup' of non-living chemicals begin to express before we can say they have become a living organism? What exactly constitutes 'THE' abiogenesis event? I don't know the answer to that problem, but that doesn't mean that others haven't thought about it and maybe even answered it reasonably well.



As such, I never understood the ridiculous dichotomy that has remained the prevailing view held by so many ignorant people.


The only 'ridiculous dichotomy' here, is the religion versus science one. That one is not just ridiculous, but entirely false.

First, just to ensure we are on the same page:


a division or contrast between two things that are or are represented as being opposed or entirely different.


Abiogenesis and Evolution are absolutely not represented as being opposed; they are however entirely different disciplines within the study of Biology. The two ARE related - and they are related by the existential fact of "life". The end result of the Abiogenesis process is the "existence of life", where-as the initial condition for the Evolutionary process is "existence of life".

Some folks want to see that separation as arbitrary and I understand that - and at some level they are not wrong. It is however a natural and useful separation. Furthermore, that separation was not made for their benefit, or to cause them angst, or to give them an excuse for endless haranguing of scientists via the internet. The separation was made for the benefit of the advancement of science, to describe bounds of study that was useful. The study of the evolution of living things is endlessly rewarding, but the study of how non-life becomes life is hard, speculative, and murky (and undoubtedly endlessly rewarding for its researchers).

Biological Evolution is defined as the 'change in living organisms over time'. Nothing more, nothing less. Clearly, one cannot study the change in living organisms over time unless living organisms exist. Fortunately living organisms DO exist, therefore Biological Evolution can be studied - and to study Biological Evolution we don't need to have any understanding of how those living organisms came to exist.

On the other hand, it is clear that there was a time when living organisms DID NOT exist. BY DEFINITION then, there was nothing to that could participate in Biological Evolution. Scientists call the process whereby non-living chemicals 'crossed over' the poorly defined threshold to become living organisms 'abiogenesis'; some religious folks call that process 'creation'.

You may have noticed my use of the term "Biological Evolution" in the above paragraphs. That is because many anti-science 'debaters' play semantic games and refuse to recognize that when we say the word 'evolution' by itself, we almost always mean 'Biological Evolution' and not Cosmological Evolution, or Geological Evolution, or any other kind of Evolution.



My conclusion:

It either stems from a lack of critical thinking, or it's a wedge being driven by two sides of a stupid debate.


I agree with this statement, but I don't agree with the point you are apparently trying to make. To be sure, the problem is the lack of critical thinking by the 'anti-science' folks, and wedge politics being driven by would be theocrats to keep their 'flock' in a constant state of angst. There is no 'legitimate' dichotomy between religion and science, scientists are not necessarily atheists, religious folks are not necessarily anti-science.


edit on 3/4/2015 by rnaa because: rewrite, reorganize

edit on 3/4/2015 by rnaa because: (no reason given)

edit on 3/4/2015 by rnaa because: (no reason given)




posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 12:02 AM
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a reply to: Blue_Jay33



And yet they continue to say they are two completely separate scientific issues and totally unrelated


That is not what is being said at all; you continue to misunderstand and/or misrepresent almost every word on this topic.

Scientists do NOT say that there are "two completely separate scientific issues" here because there is only one: biology.

Scientists have certainly identified abiogenesis and biological evolution as two completely separate fields of study within biology and furthermore those fields of study are most certainly related. They are related by the simple "Existential Fact of Life".

*=> The END RESULT of abiogenesis is the "existence of life".
*=> The INITIAL CONDITION for Biological Evolution is the "existence of life".

Why is this so difficult for you to understand? Both "fields" can be studied separately from and independent of each other.

If you are in Los Angeles and you are trying to board a plane for New York do you have to stop and explain to the boarding check-in staff how you got to Los Angeles in the first place?



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 12:18 AM
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a reply to: Noinden

Let's try another example, something really simple.
You have a car, in it you have a motor, and a transmission, they are two distinct parts, they are separate, but they both need each other to work for the car to drive, if one fails, that car isn't going anywhere.
The car represents the totality of the two separate theories/hypotheses of both evolution & abiogenesis working together to make the entire thing plausible



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 12:40 AM
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a reply to: Blue_Jay33

Why bother with simple. I have a strong back ground in the sciences INCLUDING Genomics (genetics plus statistics, ie the tool one studies evolution with). I am a subject matter expert.

Thus let me try again.

Evolution happens independent from the origin of life. One can understand evolution, not knowing how life first arose. Their mechanisms are different.

Abiogenesis/Proteogenisis does not require evolution. Indeed logic would exclude it. First life is unspeciated. Similarly HOW life started does not influence speciation (evolution). The mechanism for evolution is the data instability of nucleic acids aka mutation.

How is this so difficult for you?

It can thus be shown one does not have to understand the other to study it.

Biological sciences do not need a unifying theory to be studied. They are far to complex to even begin to try.
edit on 4-4-2015 by Noinden because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:08 AM
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a reply to: Noinden




Biological sciences do not need a unifying theory to be studied. They are far to complex to even begin to try.



That's right it's so complex it just happened by pure chance. It would be like winning the biological jackpot every single time. Like the odds of you winning the New Zealand powerball every single time it has been run for your entire life.
edit on 4-4-2015 by Blue_Jay33 because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:17 AM
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a reply to: TinfoilTP


Then you just admit evolution is useless alone.

Why is that? The theory of evolution clearly and credibly answers the question it was developed to answer.

Yes, the theory of evolution is quite useless at explaining how life on Earth originated. Only creationists are surprised by this. Their beef with the theory is not that it lacks an account of the origin of life but that it contradicts the Biblical claim that every species was created distinct and separate from every other.


edit on 4/4/15 by Astyanax because: of redundancies.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:25 AM
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a reply to: Blue_Jay33



Let's try another example, something really simple. You have a car, in it you have a motor, and a transmission, they are two distinct parts, they are separate, but they both need each other to work for the car to drive, if one fails, that car isn't going anywhere. The car represents the totality of the two separate theories/hypotheses of both evolution & abiogenesis working together to make the entire thing plausible


Yes that is quite so.

You can change the transmission without affecting the motor. You can change the motor without affecting the transmission.

The car represents BIOLOGY. You can change the 'theory' of abiogenesis without affecting Evolution. You can change the theory of Evolution without affecting the 'theory' of abiogenesis.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:32 AM
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a reply to: Answer


originally posted by: TinfoilTP
An all knowing God could have set up the conditions for evolution to transform first life as we see it.

That's not what the Bible says. The Bible says every species was separately created. There is no evolution in the Bible.


And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass, the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth: and it was so.

And the earth brought forth grass, and herb yielding seed after his kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind: and God saw that it was good.

Genesis 1:11, 1:12, 1:21, 1:25, if you want to look them up.

Understandable that you are blissfully ignorant of evolutionary theory, but one would have thought you'd at least know your Bible. Double fail.


edit on 4/4/15 by Astyanax because: of format problems.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:37 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect


It either stems from a lack of critical thinking, or it's a wedge being driven by two sides of a stupid debate.

Back for another drubbing, PhotonEffect?

I'm sorry, but I can no longer muster the enthusiasm. Maybe Prezbo or Answer will beat you up if you ask them nicely.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:40 AM
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a reply to: Blue_Jay33

Something being to complex "to study" doesn't mean it isn't happening.

The whole lottery example is oversimplification.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 07:42 AM
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originally posted by: daskakik
a reply to: Blue_Jay33

The whole lottery example is oversimplification.


It's also just another variation on Hoyle's fallacy



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 08:04 AM
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a reply to: Noinden

Is it inconceivable that life could've evolved into existence?



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 09:12 AM
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a reply to: rnaa

Hi rnaa,
Thanks for your reply. The first version of your post that I read late last night I mostly agreed with. You may have added some thoughts since then which I now have questions about, however mostly your stance is a very reasonable one.


Abiogenesis involves non-living chemicals undergoing normal chemical reactions under the control of ordinary physical chemistry to the point that they become 'self-organizing' - that is an organism.

Couple of things here:
First: You say "non-living chemicals" (emph. mine), as if to suggest there are chemicals that are "living", or that they become living once they are "self-organized" into biological matter. I don't imagine that's what you meant, but maybe you can clarify?

Second: What does the scientific community say about how biological systems self-organize? This to me is at the crux of the origins of life, and life in general. Yet it seems to always get glossed over so matter of factly. How does non-living matter organize itself into living matter? To say it's through chemical reactions doesn't quite get us there I don't think...


Evolution involves the changes that occur in populations of similar organisms and involves something more than a changing set of chemical processes - it involves 'natural selection'.

Just a quick note here: not that you're doing this, but I mention this because you seem to have singled out natural selection. I see people do this quite often, equating evolution with natural selection, or literally (lazily) defining it as such. Evolution is not [just] that. There are several other aspects of the evolutionary process. NS is but one chapter of the whole story.


However, evolution doesn't really study the actual change in the chemical processes but the consequences of the changes - consequences that are filtered through natural selection.

This is tricky though, isn't it? The study of evolution inherently and necessarily involves the study of how genes and gene products interact with each other, mutate and give rise to living things. So in a way it does concern itself with changes in chemical processes.

I understand what you're trying to convey with your analogy, but just because folks who study evolution don't prefer to concern themselves with the origins of life, doesn't necessarily mean the two are unrelated or have nothing to do with each other. Is it that inconceivable to think the process of how/why mutations occur has roots in abiogenesis? There seems to be a natural relationship there, but I wonder if those who are so adamant about separating the two ideas do so because they have their own agendas to suit.


What exactly constitutes 'THE' abiogenesis event?

It was a process, not an event. Material somehow self-organized into complex biological systems that work, in so much as they are self sustaining, replicating entities. It's pretty amazing. But this remains under the rug.


Some folks want to see that separation as arbitrary and I understand that - and at some level they are not wrong. It is however a natural and useful separation. Furthermore, that separation was not made for their benefit, or to cause them angst, or to give them an excuse for endless haranguing of scientists via the internet.

It's reasonable. The subject of life and it's origins is immense. To divide it into sub-categories is not unusual. But if the end goal is to get a true understanding of what life is and how it came to be then we need to look at it holistically. And just because it seems daunting shouldn't be reason to not try for a broader approach.

And while I agree with the sentiment of your statement there are many who are more than happy to hammer home this idea that the two ideas about life are completely unrelated. I think it's a defense mechanism, perhaps a conditioned response of sorts. And in their defensiveness, they, perhaps unwittingly, spread misinformation.


to study Biological Evolution we don't need to have any understanding of how those living organisms came to exist.

I can understand this practice, but I don't agree with it. When you say "we don't need to have any understanding", it's really another way of saying "since we don't know anything about it, it's not that important."


To be sure, the problem is the lack of critical thinking by the 'anti-science' folks, and wedge politics being driven by would be theocrats to keep their 'flock' in a constant state of angst. There is no 'legitimate' dichotomy between religion and science, scientists are not necessarily atheists, religious folks are not necessarily anti-science.

This is so true, yet read any thread in this forum and you will see the same flocks (on both sides!) propagating the same crap just to have this religion vs science debate that shouldn't exist in the first place.

You say "anti-science folks" - this is a slippery slope. The problem is anyone who questions evolution is immediately libeled as a creationist thinker or as anti-scientific. Now I know there are hardliners that deserve this moniker. But what about the moderates?

Heck some "pro-science folks", have used your same line to appear above the nonsense in one breath, and in the next they continue to fan the flames with their rhetoric. It's not about science - it's about ideologies.
edit on 4-4-2015 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 09:18 AM
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a reply to: Astyanax


Back for another drubbing, PhotonEffect?

Sure, why not.

I honestly do miss engaging with you. I'm not sure why you prefer to be so adverse to open dialogue.

However I found it telling that you would single out this one line, which was to another poster:

It either stems from a lack of critical thinking, or it's a wedge being driven by two sides of a stupid debate.

Perhaps you can relate in some ways, is what I'm thinking.

Be well~



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 09:20 AM
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a reply to: Noinden

That's one genius's opinion.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 09:45 AM
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originally posted by: Blue_Jay33
a reply to: Noinden

Let's try another example, something really simple.
You have a car, in it you have a motor, and a transmission, they are two distinct parts, they are separate, but they both need each other to work for the car to drive, if one fails, that car isn't going anywhere.
The car represents the totality of the two separate theories/hypotheses of both evolution & abiogenesis working together to make the entire thing plausible


It's mind boggling that one of the people who has repeatedly shown how little he knows about science in general keeps trying to tell the rest of us how it works.

I don't know anything about rockets so I don't try to tell a rocket scientist "it has to work the way I've imagined or it's all bunk."

You can repeat your mantra as many times as you want, it doesn't make it true. Just a little bit of proper education would go a long way for you and your buddies in this thread.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 11:11 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect



Couple of things here:
First: You say "non-living chemicals" (emph. mine), as if to suggest there are chemicals that are "living", or that they become living once they are "self-organized" into biological matter. I don't imagine that's what you meant, but maybe you can clarify?


That is basicaly exactly what I meant. At the point where 'just a bunch of chemicals' becomes life is the crux of the matter. Exactly what is the characteristics that must be expressed by a mixture of chemicals floating around in order for it to be called 'life'. Some obvious ones include self-replication, growth, and ordered use of energy. I expect there are others, but I don't know. I do know that there are folks who think about these questions all the time and are actively researching to discover what those limits might be.



Second: What does the scientific community say about how biological systems self-organize? This to me is at the crux of the origins of life, and life in general. Yet it seems to always get glossed over so matter of factly. How does non-living matter organize itself into living matter? To say it's through chemical reactions doesn't quite get us there I don't think...


That is the goal of abiogenesis research, to figure out how that happens. The answer is not known yet, but that does not mean people aren't working on it and/or don't have some very good ideas. Research is ongoing, if we knew the answer already there would be no more need for the research.



Evolution is not [just] that. There are several other aspects of the evolutionary process.


Sure there is more to evolution than 'just' natural selection. However populations are said to evolve when the population's gene pool, as represented by the random mutations that occur in the individual members of that population are filtered by natural selection. That is pretty much the story of evolution. There is more stuff in the detail, like how do mutations arise, how fast do mutations occur in the population, on and on and on. If it was simple there wouldn't be so much interest in figureing it out. Never-the-less, its pretty much "random mutation + natural selection = evolution"



This is tricky though, isn't it? The study of evolution inherently and necessarily involves the study of how genes and gene products interact with each other, mutate and give rise to living things. So in a way it does concern itself with changes in chemical processes.


I wouldn't say it was tricky. Nuanced, maybe, tricky no. Darwin, for example, did not know about 'genes and gene products', yet he studied evolution. Gregor Mendel was pretty much Darwin's contempory, yet his work was not widely known for many decades after Darwin. And of course the role of DNA was not known until the second half of the 20th century. And yet there were quite a lot of biologists studying evolution.



I understand what you're trying to convey with your analogy, but just because folks who study evolution don't prefer to concern themselves with the origins of life, doesn't necessarily mean the two are unrelated or have nothing to do with each other. Is it that inconceivable to think the process of how/why mutations occur has roots in abiogenesis? There seems to be a natural relationship there, but I wonder if those who are so adamant about separating the two ideas do so because they have their own agendas to suit.


In reply, let me just repeat the part of my post addressed exactly your concern here:


Abiogenesis and Evolution are absolutely not represented as being opposed; they are however entirely different disciplines within the study of Biology. The two ARE related - and they are related by the existential fact of "life". The end result of the Abiogenesis process is the "existence of life", where-as the initial condition for the Evolutionary process is "existence of life".


And then add that sure, the nature of life as we know it, with its weaknesses and strengths are a direct result of the processes that led to the abiogenesis. If those processes had been different, life would be different. Abiogenesis researchers who propose a sequence of events that would necessarily lead to a different form of life, say based on silicon instead of carbon, don't really have much to offer in the pursuit of how carbon based life developed. I don't see how identifying different fields of study has anything to do with an agenda other than to classify the body of knowledge into managable pieces. Classification is the bread and butter of scientific process.



It was a process, not an event. Material somehow self-organized into complex biological systems that work, in so much as they are self sustaining, replicating entities. It's pretty amazing. But this remains under the rug.


True enough, never-the-less, at some point there was a non-living 'pool' of unrelated molecules, and at some later time that pool of molecules included some that we would classify as 'living'. The question I suggested goes to the heart of what is the criteria that defines when that threshold has been crossed.

(to be continued)
edit on 4/4/2015 by rnaa because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 11:16 AM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect



It's reasonable... But if the end goal is to get a true understanding of what life is and how it came to be then we need to look at it holistically. And just because it seems daunting shouldn't be reason to not try for a broader approach.


Of course that is so. No biologist working on abiogenesis can ignore the results of evolution. As I said above, if they propose an abiogenesis hypothesis that does not lead to life as we know it, is based on silicon or is incapable of evolution, then their hypothesis is useless - any such research is bound by the existential fact of life as we know it. However you have to realize that the very first living organisms were very unlike even the most simple of forms in the modern world. Not only were they not cells, they were not formed in an oxygen rich environment. That earliest life had to transform the planet into something like what we had today before 'modern' life could take over.

On the other hand, that is not necessarily true of the researcher investigating aspects of evolution. Again life and evolution is an existential fact - it is what it is. More nuance, separate the observed fact of evolution from the Scientific Theory known as MES. MES describes our best thoughts on how evolution works. We can change our ideas about how it works, but we cannot change the existential fact of evolution. No matter how abiogenesis occured, whether by natural processes or supernatural processes it produced life forms that can be studied and evolution happened.

That doesn't mean that the abiogenesis researcher is not interested in evolution or vice versa. It just means that they can be studied in isolation with out affecting the other. For abiogenesis research to be correct it must lead to life as we know it; for evolution research to be correct it must begin with life as we know it.



I can understand this practice, but I don't agree with it. When you say "we don't need to have any understanding", it's really another way of saying "since we don't know anything about it, it's not that important."


Absolutely not. It is a way of saying that one doesn't one's specific research doesn't DEPEND on the other; both are important.



You say "anti-science folks" - this is a slippery slope. The problem is anyone who questions evolution is immediately libeled as a creationist thinker or as anti-scientific. Now I know there are hardliners that deserve this moniker. But what about the moderates?


I disagree.

Your post made the tacit implication that there was some kind of balance in the 'debate' and that both sides had equal 'fault'; you are attemting to claim middle ground between two sides of equal merit when in fact there are not two sides of equal merit.

For example, one side 'claims' that there is no such thing as evolution despite the clear observable existential fact. That is not an argument of equal merit within which one can find a middle ground. Either evolution exists or it doesn't - and there is undisputable evidence that it exists. One can debate the validity of the Theory that has been built up to explain evolution, but one cannot deny the existence of evolution itself and claim a legitimate debatng premise.



It's not about science - it's about ideologies.


There is no ideology in 'good' science - though of course science can be exploited in support ideologies of various types (example: the Tobacco Industry defence).

You certainly need a well tuned BS meter sometimes to detect the difference between 'good' science following the data where it goes and the exploitation of it to enfuse Fear, Uncertainty, and Doubt - I grant you that.



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 12:59 PM
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edit on 4-4-2015 by PhotonEffect because: not showing whole post for some reason...


just had a whole post not post then get lost
thanks ats for working so well.

will be back later
edit on 4-4-2015 by PhotonEffect because: (no reason given)



posted on Apr, 4 2015 @ 01:51 PM
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a reply to: PhotonEffect

By the definition of evolution, yes. That is how this works.



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