Re: origin of life, etc.

Robin Mandell (rmandell@jpusa.chi.il.us)
Wed, 16 Dec 1998 18:37:21 -0600

At 03:15 PM 12/15/98 -0400, you wrote:
>>a) Looking for some opinions on the claim that life cannot have arisen by
>>chance.
>>I see the argument in many christian books using outrageous odds but
>>something is
>>not sitting right with me. I see Hoyle and others quoted on this often.What
>>do you think?
>
>We do not know enough to make accurate estimates of this probability. Some
>of the assumptions that often appear in such calculations are not correct
>(e.g., that the exact sequence of bases found in a particular modern genome
>must be generated to produce essentially the same organism). A more basic
>problem is that evolutionary theory claims that a strong non-random
>component exists, namely natural selection.
I do not see how selection could play much of a role in the origin of life
since
the precursors would not be...well... alive. As far as the other
assumptions to offset
the massive odds I see rang up by Hoyle and others the assumptions would
have to be way off to lead to chance life formation. The leaps people go to
are strange to me: infinite unknown other universes,directed
panspermia,secret laws of nature which make life inevitable yet of course
are non-intelligent.Why are good minds reaching so far.
I am not looking for a last gap to hang my God on just wondering if there
is evidence of design at lifes beginning or semantic smoke and mirrors

>>b) Is the human evo. tree really as confused as some say? Does anyone have
>>a order of the known species that stands up? I saw a art. in Discover today
>>that seemed to even concede that the Australopithecine A.Afarensis sequence
>>is doubtful.The data on this subject is arranged to support or deny evol.
>>depending on the source. Either someone is misleading or the data is super
>>ambiguous.

>Exactly how the different species connect up is debated (even if one
>disregards people who do not know what they are talking about). However,
>this does not take away from the fact that there are fossils that reflect a
>series of improvements in upright walking (and concurrently getting worse
>at climbing trees), increases in brain size, and decreasing sexual
>dimorphism. These changes correspond with the age of the fossils. How
>many groups were experiencing similar changes at the same time is still
>uncertain. Among paleontologists, the debate is essentially whether a
>particular fossil is a direct ancestor or a side branch. This confusion
>reflects a high level of similarity between more derived and earlier
>hominids, not a lack of similarity.
>
>David C
Thank you I suspected as much. Any one stand out book on human fossils?
By the way have you ever seen the book "Forbidden Archeology" by some
Krishna folks
with impressive credentials. Scary conclusions to be sure but a lot of
anomalous evidence is laid out unemotionally that seemed hard to fit in to
any timescale I have ever seen. No doubt my limited background makes it
hard to discern good logic mixed with misleading data. Thanks again for the
education.This is much cheaper than school.Joking aside I am indebted to
the people on this list who are so free with their hard earned knowledge.
Andrew