Chemical evolution:

Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by paddoboy, Aug 7, 2020.

  1. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I see that many chemicals have natural dynamical interactions, which suggests that many polymers may have or develop dynamical interactions. Perhaps we may not even be able to tell when something is alive, partially alive, or not yet alive but merely dynamical.

    Consider the dynamical interaction of Ozone and Chlorofluorcarbons.

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    This animation shows the destruction of an ozone molecule by a chlorine atom. UV radiation breaks a chlorine atom off a CFC molecule. The chlorine atom breaks an ozone molecule apart into an oxygen molecule (O2) and a chlorine monoxide molecule (ClO). A free oxygen atom bumps the chlorine atom out, forming an oxygen molecule. This leaves the chlorine atom free to attack and destroy another ozone molecule. (UCAR/COMET)

    https://scied.ucar.edu/learning-zone/atmosphere/ozone-layer#

    To me this reminds of a form of chemical dynamic self-duplication, albeit in extreme simplicity, but is that not where it starts? ....... with extreme simplicity ....... there is no irreducible complexity!

    According to Robert Hazen the bottleneck lies in the self-replication part,but that can start very simply as my example demonstrates.
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It's called methodological naturalism. All science has to conform to this, or it is not science.

    Oh gosh, that was my last 50p, too.

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  5. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

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    I care not what the label is, the effect is to stifle the nominal right to differ on a crucial topic that as acknowledged has no theory, just a bunch of hopeful hypotheses.
    Hope that 'outburst' supplied 50p well spent.

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  7. Traverse Registered Member

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    Well Chemistry's my favourite subject, of course, but I've done a bit of geoscience & crystallography, too.

    Hazen started out as a crystallographer, but when the field of XRD became too automated (and thus seen as more of a 'service' than a respectable specialty), he reinvented himself as a multidisciplinarian by entering the field of astrobiology.
     
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  8. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

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    No you are confused. That example of regenerative catalysis is very different in concept to hypothesized prebiological self-replication. Imagination needs to be constrained.
     
  9. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I am not claiming to have a theory. Not being a chemist, I am trying to get a feel for how abiogenesis may have originated and evolved over time.

    One thing is clear, it must have started as very simple chemical interactions and over time additional polymerization steps occurred. Polymers of all kinds are formed constantly, a process that goes on today. The trick is in the ability for duplication and ability to convert energy for homeostasis.
    RNA and DNA are biochemical polymers, but being open ended they are themselves not able to self-duplicate as circular DNA in archaea can (see binary fission).

    But until something actually meets all the requirements for life and procreation it does not necessarily have to become extinct. 95% of all life may be extinct, but there are chemicals as old as the earth itself and there may be polymers that have been around lying around for millenia.
    Why? Nature is capable of creating everything we can observe and you propose that human imagination needs to be constrained. Natura Artis Magistra.

    Let me remind you that your imagination of ID is waayyyyyyy out there. It bypasses chemistry altogether. Your abiogenesis was achieved via intentional design and miraculous assembly of irreducible complexity from the start.
    That's imagination running wild.

    Chemical regenerative catalysis is in fact a form of dynamic pre-biological self-replication.
    It is biological self-replication and homeostasis that qualifies as being alive.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  10. Q-reeus Banned Valued Senior Member

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    4,695
    No it isn't. Essentially nothing in common. Opposite energetics for one thing. And specified information, a crucial input for RNAish self-replication, is absent in chlorine-ozone cycle. And most obviously, one splits simple molecules, the other assembles more complex molecules from simple input constituents
    Your faith centers in one direction, mine in another. Different fundamental outlooks, based on different understandings. I accept that situation will never change for either of us. Enough said.
     
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  11. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Or both. Self-duplication involves splitting of prior assembled complex polymers, be they circular or open ended.
    Time will sort it out.......

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    , or is that too close to the concept of evolution and not close enough to the concept of ID?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
  12. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    It stifles nothing. But, if you don't follow methodological naturalism, you are not doing science, that's all. So you have to get published somewhere other than in science journals - and you can't expect your ideas to be taught in school science lessons.

    This thread is in the science section, by the way.

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  13. Traverse Registered Member

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    Now that I feel comfortable on this website, please could I beg the thread's indulgence here to briefly 'change tack,' in order to entertain discussion on a particular CE point; one that I'm presuming may actually have to involve humanist & religious sensibilities in respect of Science's ethical responsibilities to society.

    Suppose that a scientist comes up with a rational & logical chemical idea for a lab-supported nexus between non-living matter & clearly-recognisable incipient abiogenesis; how could s/he 'soften the blow' of this news to folk who might be deeply unsettled & affronted by such a thing? Would the scientist bear an ethical responsibility to try to 'downplay' the thing as much as possible at publication/release, in order not to shock folk who have a literal faith in things like the Book of Genesis (for whom the news might be too much for them to take)?
     
  14. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I asked "Why isn't ID science? And what would it imply if ID indeed isn't science?"

    Repeating your disdain for ID doesn't answer the questions that I put to you.

    My motivation is that I sense some unstated metaphysical premises sneaking in here, assumptions about how any true and correct account of life's origins must only be a scientific account, and about how if an account of life's origins isn't scientific then it can't be true.

    If those sorts of premises are pulled out of the shadows and stated openly, then they might prove very difficult to justify.
     
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  15. Traverse Registered Member

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    You & others are certainly free to carry on believing in ID/creationism if you like, no problem; just don't try to shove any of it down my throat, thanks. I actually have three degrees in Chemistry, and was top of my class at Honours level, so it's just that I'm thoroughly trained in hard STEM science & I don't feel any need whatsoever to justify my opinion of ID/creationism to you; just please stop calling that rubbish "creation science," because it's most definitely not any branch of serious science.
     
  16. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    5,579
    Sure it does, if chemistry and biology are turned into rhetorical engines of metaphysical naturalism and hence atheism.

    If adherence to a particular ideological line becomes a requirement for earning a PhD, for academic hiring and for promotion and tenure, then the consensus of the academic community becomes circular and self-confirming, much like scholarly religious orthodoxy was in some previous centuries. Peer review turns into an enforcement mechanism for conformity.

    Fair enough. I actually agree with you.

    But if we go that route, then school kids in biology classes need to be told that there are other possibilities about the origin of life that aren't scientific in the narrow methodological naturalism sense, hence they won't be addressed in biology class. If students are interested in them, those students might want to take a suitable philosophy of biology class. And the students probably should be told that the fact that a hypothesis isn't scientific in the narrow sense that we are discussing doesn't by itself imply that the hypothesis is false, foolish or that it can't possibly be true.

    So why is everyone arguing about philosophy?????????
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  17. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    Good little diversion there.

    I don't believe in ID/creationism. I'm an agnostic in the broad sense that I don't have the answers to the big metaphysical questions (and I don't believe that any of our atheists do either). And I'm an agnostic in the more specific sense that I don't know how life originated.

    Though personally I'm inclined to think that naturalistic explanations have a greater likelihood of being correct than some of the cruder theistic accounts. That's basically an element of faith on my part, a commitment as opposed to something that I actually know. (Much of what most of us think we know is faith commitments like that.)

    From where I sit, you're the one who charged in here the other day with your fists flailing. (Welcome to the board, btw.)

    Blowing yourself up like a balloon won't help you. Besides, it's irrelevant.

    If we were discussing chemistry, I'm not totally helpless. (I was a biological science undergraduate.) But I'd probably defer to Exchemist in that department and pay close attention to what he says (but not entirely credulously either). But we aren't really discussing chemistry, are we? We are discussing broader issues in the philosophy of science, metaphysics and the science/religion interface. Chemistry training wouldn't seem to be very much help in that area.

    I never have. In fact I've criticized the phrase because "creation science" doesn't seem to have any kind of productive research program.

    The questions were Why not? and What would the fact that ID isn't science (assuming for the sake of argument that it isn't) really imply? What would we be justified in concluding from it not being science?
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021
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  18. Traverse Registered Member

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    Am more than happy to have you badger exchemist on all of these matters. Adherents of ID/creationism are as credulous & as gullible as those who'd follow the village idiot off a cliff if he assured you that you'd be able to fly. The ID/creationism nonsense has been dealt with by many serious scientists over decades now, and yet it has a hold on some minds as deeply as a QAnon-type mass hysteria. This is meant to be a science forum, not an ID/creationism playground.
     
  19. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I agree that the universe has metaphysical properties. I disagree that these properties belong to a motivated intelligent designer. (ID). i.e.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligent_design

    OTOH, I am dissatisfied with a purely physical universe, which has only physical properties (STE(M). i.e.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Science,_technology,_engineering,_and_mathematics#

    But there is a third option which satisfies both the metaphysical and the physical conceptual approaches, with very little compromise.

    Consider the fundamental scientific model of the Hilbert Space.

    continued......
     
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  20. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,526
    continued.........

    A BRIEF INTRODUCTION TO HILBERT SPACE AND QUANTUM LOGIC, JOEL KLIPFEL
    “We must know−we will know!” -David Hilbert

    1. Introduction;
    https://www.whitman.edu/Documents/Academics/Mathematics/klipfel.pdf

    And consider Roger Bacon

    Continued.......
     
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  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,526
    continued...

    Roger Bacon
    https://iep.utm.edu/bacon-ro/#H4

    Is nature mathematical?

    Paul Davies
    https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg13318134-400-is-nature-mathematical/#

    Consider MaxTegmark

    continued........
     
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  22. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    continued.....

    The external reality is a mathematical construct. Max Tegmark justifies this by saying mathematics is the right tool to get rid of the ‘baggage’ of our human existence, and is therefore the way to approach reality independent of human tainted thought:
    and

    MAT
    https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-the-universe-made-of-math-excerpt/
     
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  23. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    18,526
    And my 2 cents;
    A mathematical Universe would present a quasi-intelligent metaphysical (mathematical) reality and would thus satisfy both concepts of STEM and ID, and everyone is happy.
    Except God is no longer a motivated designer, but a probabilistic mathematical imperative.......

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    Last edited: Jan 22, 2021

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