Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Comment to Richard Simons stuck in moderation

<i> If the origin of life was an event, then presumably things are either clearly living or clearly non-living. Correct? Into which group do prions and viruses fall?
Until you can grasp the two concepts that the origin of life was a process rather than an event and that evidence can include more than just fossils, you will be perpetually befuddled. </i>  Richard Simons

Process as opposed to event, you're just juggling terms.  Processes are composed of events, all you're doing is increasing the number of unknowns since evidence of none of the events that comprised the "process" that produced the first organism are reliably known either.  That something might (stretching the word "might" about as far as it can be stretched) have happened doesn't necessarily mean it was relevant to the "process" that led to the Origin of Life.

I'm unaware of anyone who has ever classified prions as being living or being organisms.  Do they metabolize?  Are they known to reproduce in the absence of a multi-cellular organism (I am actually asking a question there, I haven't read all that much about them).  Viruses would, I expect, be considered to be alive since they can be dead. I'm unaware of anyone ever talking about a "dead prion". Isn't one of the problems with them that they're so hard to destroy?Though I haven't read anything about prions in a while, I'd been under the impression that they were considered to be definitely not living.

I was under the impression that viruses almost certainly would have had to wait for bacteria to have evolved before appearing.  Whatever relevance that prions could have to the first organism on Earth is as unknown as whether it came from outer space, since we don't know what it was.

It's not the number of really nifty ideas that you can come up with that is the problem for producing reliable knowledge of the first organism.  IT'S THE TOTAL LACK OF EVIDENCE THAT COULD GUIDE YOU TO KNOWING IF ANY OF THOSE WERE EVEN RELEVANT TO IT.  I'd think the more nifty ideas scientists have about the Origin of Life, the contradictions among those only point out the futility of their efforts.  Showing that you will never arrive at a definite conclusion due to lack of supporting evidence.  A problem which ID also has, in the end, or, rather, at the beginning.

Evolution is a fact, the Origin of Life is and will always be a mystery because it entirely lacks the basis of evidence that makes evolution a fact.

Until evolution had that basis in evidence, it was a mere idea, hardly even an hypothesis.  Until it had an explanation in genetics in the early decades of the 20th century, it wasn't a fact, it was a problematical theory.  It gained its factual status due to the evidence that became available and plausibility of its proposed theoretical means confirmed in genetics.  The physical basis of genetics, being quite complex molecules are an enormous problem for any attempt to explain the first organism.  How it could have such large, unlikely molecules, or how it could have reproduced without them.  And, no matter what they come up with in labs, without the physical evidence, that will never be of knowable relevance to the question.  You can't do that with anything but actual observation of evidence left by that organism or its very, very early descendants.  It might be frustrating to have known that the event happened but that you will never know what it was, but that frustration isn't something that nature will do anything to relieve.  Atheism won't ever have a real answer to that question anymore than creationists will.  Though both can pretend that they do.

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