Thursday, October 28, 2010

Darwinian Chili and the Problem of Evil

Pot of Chili sin carne, cooking on the stove.               Image via Wikipedia
Dr. Robert Shapiro on the problems with a self-generating pre-RNA molecule:
Picture a gorilla (very long arms are needed) at an immense keyboard connected to a word processor. The keyboard contains not only the symbols used in English and European languages but also a huge excess drawn from every other known language and all of the symbol sets stored in a typical computer. The chances for the spontaneous assembly of a replicator in the pool I described above can be compared to those of the gorilla composing, in English, a coherent recipe for the preparation of chili con carne. 
From his article in Scientific American.

And the gorilla looked upon the chili he had made, and, behold, it was good.

Issue#1: Since cows, beans, and tomatoes all exist on earth, is it not possible that nature, under the right set of conditions, could create chili? Absolutely. Here's my scenario:

There's a cow in Arizona. It falls off a cliff and is mangled. Some bits of its raw flesh fall into a hollow bowl shape in a rock. Some beans fall off a nearby bean tree; a little later a tomato falls off a nearby vine and rolls into the rock bowl. The night air results in a cool condensation of water into the rock bowl. The Arizona sun rises and stews the chili. Some salt from the rock leeches into the chili -- not only is it chili, it tastes good!

An hour later, a normal person walks by, discovers the delicious chili, and wonders, "who made it"? Sil-ly normal person. Nobody made the chili. The chili made itself.

Now this may appear fanciful, but, are you saying it couldn't happen? If it conceivably could happen, it demonstrates the truth of darwinism. Improbable scenarios are conjured, and then are offered as a demonstration of the truth of darwinian evolution. That's how darwinian science overcomes difficulties.

Issue#2: Is it "real chili" if it contains beans?  This raises the issue of theodicy -- the problem of evil and an "imperfect"creation. The theologically-minded darwinist apologist (and they are legion) would pose it thusly: "if there really was a Creator, would he have used beans??!!" QED  (You may have to be a chili purist to understand this last one!)
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2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Wow, you really missed the point of that article, but at least you linked to it so that people can read it and find out for themselves.

There is nothing surprising about 'metabolism-first' theories of abiogenesis, nor that they are generally at odd with 'RNA-first' theories. There is nothing magical about them. Now I haven't read Shapiro's article yet, but he is not intellectually disingenuous and I suspect he would probably find your interpretation just that. I recommend Jack Szostak's fascinating work into artificial cells, and potholer54's video (http://www.youtube.com/user/potholer54?blend=1&ob=4#p/u/24/v8nYTJf62sE). The book isn't closed on 'proteins-first' vs. 'RNA-first' theories, but your quote-mine very dishonestly skips over that, too.

RkBall said...

Well, since I referenced the article and recommended in other posts that it be read, I don't think I'm skipping over anything.

The point is, the first half of Shapiro's argument would never have been published if he hadn't fallen in with darwinian orthodoxy in the second. And he points out that 2/3 of scientists today believe the improbable scenarios he rightfully discards.

Law vs. chance? Darwin thought chance was sufficient. Now we know that the origin of life is, at least, law-based. What does that tell us about the nature of nature? Why law-based instead of anarchic? And why these laws as opposed to other laws. The only reason a darwinist can even play at the table of scientific discovery is because God first set it.

"... nothing intellectually compelling or challenging.. bald assertions coupled to superstition... woefully pathetic"