Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Origin Of Life: Solved!!!

Gas proportions in the Earth's atmosphere.Image via Wikipedia
A few days ago we solved the origin of the universe problem.

Now the Ball Bounces turns its lonely eyes to you turns its attention to the problem of the origin on life. How hard can it be, really? I mean, it took literally nothing to solve the origin of the universe problem.

To get life, simply add nowhere to nothing. Nothing plus nowhere (plus chance -- ya gotta have chance in your corner) = Life!

This is how it happens: Information necessary for life simply appears out of nowhere, by chance. There. Problem solved. Did you get that? Let me say it again. Embedded, communicated information -- you know, the kind of thing we normally associate with intelligence  random occurrence, simply appears out of nowhere, by chance.

It's simple. It's elegant. Do I win a Nobel?

Drat -- somebody beat me to it:
We can now address a simple question that is central to our understanding of the origin of life: Can non-living systems evolve? Can genetic information really appear out of nowhere, by chance? If the answer is no, then we're in trouble because those of us who work on the origin of life claim that is exactly what happened four billion years ago, when the first forms of life emerged from a sterile mixture of minerals, atmospheric gases, and dilute solutions of organic carbon compounds. 
The answer has to be yes, because otherwise we are looking at intelligence. Article in Evolutionary News and Views that brings this to our attention, here.

The exciting news is this: with this breakthrough, scientists have at long last reconciled materialism with God, and even come up with a scientific description of the Creator!!! OK, he's a bit stubby and truncated, but here He is, God according to the latest scientific theory:

He's a real Nowhere Man,
Sitting in his Nowhere Land,
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody.
Making all his nowhere plans
for nobody!
Where did DNA information come from? Science circa 2011: Nowhere, man.Enhanced by Zemanta


Anonymous said...

Does it make sense to jump to a conclusion like "I dunno, magic man in the sky must have done it" when we don't have any evidence to SUPPORT that theory, Richard?

RkBall said...

How come you all-capped support instead of evidence?

Joe said...

If one assumes that 'life' is simply a chemical reaction then the likelihood of it emerging from the uncreated nothingness that became something zero. When you take one zero (something from nothing) and multiply it by another zero (all the right chemicals in all the right order) you end up with a zero percent chance of life.

However that isn't the only concern we have here. We haven't answered the question of What is life. Is it simply a chemical reaction? If so then what is death? In death you have exactly the same chemicals in exactly the same order but the reaction stopped? If the reaction stopped then why can't we simply restart it?

It would seem that the ancient author of Genesis is wiser than all the adherents of scientism for the ancient author recognized that the physical makeup of the creature does not equal the life of the creature. If it did then we would all be virtually immortal.

Anonymous said...

Because without actual evidence to SUPPORT that claim, it has no more validity than "refrigerator pixies musta done it".
Joe, your clapped-out horse of "I dunno, so it must me magic" broke its leg rounding the far turn; have you got anything to actually SUPPORT your lunatic fantasies?

RkBall said...

Joe -- intriguing point. We don't have to start from scratch to create life. Just take a recently dead bacteria, and jump-start it. I mean, how complicated can it be? I'm applying for my research grant now...

RkBall said...

And what is the actual evidence to support the scientific claim that information came from nowhere by chance?

Alex said...

-plus energy and time. Huge amounts of both in fact. You missed the most important parts. Nothing and Nowhere plus the energy of creation. Where did it come from and why? I think that part is in your book. The big bang science rules out the possibility of knowing those things. You know the unknowable somehow and thats good for you. Try not dismiss the truth by purposfully mistating the theory. The Big Bang was first postulated By Fr. Georges-Henri Lemaitre, a Jesuit preist. You can twist your book into whatever you want it to be so why fight reality? Its even a reality that compatible with the Genisis story if you ignore everything after the first paragraphs. Imagine how you would explain this stuff to an iron age savage? This might be WHY your book is mostly nonsense.

PATJ said...

Any discussion of this point is completely meaningless unless we can first come to a common definition of the word “information”. It means very different things in physics than it does in Information Theory, computing, or microbiology. So any example provided will be subject to the “special pleading”, “moving goalpost”, or “no true Scotsman” fallacies. Since Mr. Ball raised the question, may we ask him to provide the definition that suits his rhetorical point? Please, no Wikipedia references.

SDC said...

"And what is the actual evidence to support the scientific claim that information came from nowhere by chance?"

Because that's what we see actually happening IN NATURE; natural mutation produces many neutral effects, some positive effects, and some negative effects.

PDJ said...

Actually, you are clearly not up on the state of the science circa 2011. "Where did DNA information come from?".

The simple answer is RNA.

RkBall said...

Did you take the time to click on the link and read the article my satirical little post was based on? It goes into some of the problems with the RNA hypothesis.

Joe said...

Maybe Alex needs reading lessons. The Genesis accounts NEVER mention how. The Genesis accounts mention WHO. The Big Bang theory attempts to explain HOW but does not mention WHO.

As a Christian I take great interest in HOW WHO created the universe. That being said I'm not so silly as to assume that HOW excludes WHO or WHO excludes HOW.

PATj said...

I will comment on the Luskin “story” you linked to, and how he is, to quote Pauli: “not even wrong”, but first why don’t you address the point raised above so we can all understand your main point? How do you define “information”?

RkBall said...

Information -- I think we've had this discussion already.

1. Processed, stored, or transmitted data.

2. That which is stored, transmitted, and processed in DNA.

3. Associated with intelligence.

RkBall said...

"The simple answer is RNA". Simplistic maybe, short, maybe, but not simple.

Pat J said...

1) That definition it tautological: data is a measure of information,
2) I didn’t ask you to define genetic information, I asked you to define information.
3) Sorry, you cannot define information as being associated with intelligence, then ask us to demonstrate that it cannot be created without intelligence, it is circular reasoning.

Perhaps I could try a definition on you and see if it works: a coded sequence of characteristics within a media that can apply a predicted, repeatable interaction with a second media.

A punch card contains information when a sequence of holes in a punched paper media result in an ordered opening and closing of valves that create an action it the in punch card reader, and subsequently results in a some other action in the computer. A coaxial cable contains information when a sequential variation in the current of the electrical charge in the wire interacts with the tuner, which sends a modified signal to various devices, including the electron gun, on your CRT tv set, and makes a pretty picture. A transferRNA contains information when an amino acid joins its carboxyl group, and becomes charged, leading to a sequence of events causing a protein to be synthesized.

Joe said...

So what you're saying Pat J is that you're a whole bunch of punch cards that serve only to open and close valves. No more understanding than a sea sponge. No more important than the atom that exploded over Hiroshima. Coming from nothing you remain nothing and soon you shall return to nothingness.

All this time I thought Solomon was depressing when he wrote, "Meaningless, meaningless everything is meaningless". Well Sol ole boy you got nothing on Pat J.

Anonymous said...

PatJ, just a simple question, If the information in DNA comes from RNA, then where does the information in RNA come from?

As for what Inforamtion is, consider this

No information can exist without a code.

No code can exist without a free and deliberate convention.

No information can exist without the five hierarchical levels: statistics, syntax, semantics, pragmatics and purpose.

No information can exist in purely statistical processes.

No information can exist without a transmitter.

No information chain can exist without a mental origin.

No information can exist without an initial mental source; that is, information is, by its nature, a mental and not a material quantity.

No information can exist without a will.

You can find more at

Rob West

p@j said...

Uh, no Joe. I am just trying to come up with a definition of “information”, and I think we can agree punch cards contain information. The entire point of Mr. Ball’s thesis is that information can not arise spontaneously, and to demonstrate the flaw in his logic, I need a definition of “information” that is not tautological, and does not contain the central premise or “beg the question”, to use the logic term.

PS: good try, you almost distracted me there...

Anon1152 said...

"Coming from nothing you remain nothing and soon you shall return to nothingness."

Hm. Reminds me of "remember thou art dust, and unto dust thou shall return" (or words to that effect).

Joe said...

P@J I believe you picked a very bad example to bolster your argument since a punch card is only a punch card because someone made the material the card is made from and put the punch in exactly the right place to transfer the 'information' needed. Yes the punch card technology was purely mechanical in principle except for its formation which was intelligently designed to operate in a designed environment. Lets be honest here, if you found a card with a hole in it lying on the sidewalk it would not be functioning in the way it was designed nor could you by looking at it discern any information from it. About the only thing you could tell was that it did not have its origin in 'natural cause and effect'.

PDJ said...

But more recently, I noticed the program changed again, and this is one of those head-slapping obvious things, that once you think about, you cannot believe you never thought of it before, or that it took the NRC 60 years to make the change. The “5 seconds of silence” is now referred to as “six seconds of silence”, because it is much closer to 6 seconds than 5. For the same reason the old silence was about seconds, not 10. See if you follow:

Proving, Joe, that we need a definition of information. The punch card itself is not “information”, it is a physical medium to store “information”. DNA is not “information”, it is a physical medium to store information. However, both of these examples fit my definition above.

In thinking about it, my definition is slightly lacking, as it does not address very well non-stored information. i.e. a cricket produces information about its location for the benefit of any potential mates about it, but that information is only in the form of acoustic waves transmitted through the air, it isn’t ever really “stored”.

But before I explore this further, I’m still waiting for a comment from Mr. Ball about how this definition fits his understanding of “information”.

Joe said...

A question for you PDJ: Can information exist without purpose? The information transmitted by punch card technology has purpose. The information stored in DNA has purpose. A cricket's chirping has purpose. If information can not exist without purpose Who set the purpose? The atheist position of purposeless something from nothing just doesn't cut it anymore.

P@J said...

Well, Joe (and I can't help but feel I am repeating myself...), it depends on how you define "information".

Pat J said...

Oh, and that is NOT the question. The question, posited by our blog host, was whether information can be created from nothing without and intelligent agent.

Joe said...

Well Pat J At the risk of repeating myself, I asked the same question Richard asked. I just used different words.

Alex said...

Information is a physical property of all matter and energy. The properties themselves ARE information. Atomic weight has a unit value that determines how an atom will behave. It does not require this property to be known or understood by anyone. It just is.

a particle is a hydrogen atom because of its properties. If it has 2 protons instead of one, it would behave differently and therefore would not be hydrogen at all but helium. The difference between 2 Hydrogen atoms and a helium atom lies in its configuration only. Configurations are information.

Now imagine the super particle present at the big bang. A particle with all the matter and energy in the universe contained in a single point. It still has information. You could express the size of the universe in joules if you wanted, but position and speed is irrelevant without any known reference. When it starts to expand and cool, many many particles coalesce to form single protons and electrons and all the elements and molecules in the universe. All those positions, vectors, masses, charges, combinations and configurations emerge as a simple function of the expansion of the universe.

So you see, information does appear from nothing, or rather, simple states of matter can become more complex and this isn't special at all.

You can think there is an external intelligence guiding the configuration of all those particles, but you can't argue with the fundamental properties and history of the universe.

RkBall said...

Alex -- Of course we can define words however we like, but I disagree with your definition of information. To illustrate,


I hope that clarifies.

RkBall said...


There are two sources of information. Events, and agents. Nature can cause tree rings to grow, from which information about growing seasons can be inferred. This would be event-driven.

A bee can buzz a long a pathway -- this is a form of communication, and there is information -- I am here -- that can be taken from the buzz.

A bee can also do an exquisite dance which communicates to the other bees the location of nectar. This is intelligence agent-based

The issue with DNA (and that's what the post is about) is what is the nature of the information embedded in DNA. Does it look more like the bee buzzing, or the bee dancing and purposefully communicating... information?

RkBall said...

On the tautology thing.

Even if you start with a definition of information that is mind and agent based, and then assert that DNA is exactly that, the enthusiastic darwinian believer always has an out. Just like he can say, "it only looks designed", and "it only appears to have a purpose" he can always say, "it only appears to be information.

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