Re: origin of life, etc.

David Campbell (bivalve@mailserv0.isis.unc.edu)
Thu, 17 Dec 1998 14:01:00 -0400

>>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.

The usual assumption is that the starting point would be chemical reactions
that were self-sustaining. In this situation, there is selection for
reactions that are self-sustaining as opposed to those that quickly run out
of steam and selection for reactions that use more easily available raw
materials rather than rarer ones. Thus, selection can act on non-living
things. A modern example would be various computer simulations that use
natural or artificial selection to evolve a particular program or design.
How realistic a representation of life they may be is open to debate, but
it is selection in action on non-life.

>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

Many of the leaps you cite sound quite unreasonable to me, too. I do not
think we know enough, in many cases, to tell if the assumptions are way
off. We only have a sample size of one, making statistics impossible.

>>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

I do not know any particular book that I would recommend. I was glancing
at Niles Eldridge's Fossils. It has lots of pretty pictures, including
many hominids, but also has atheistic propaganda.

I do not know about that particular book, but the TV show "Mysterious
Origins of Man" had Hare Krishna connections. It used many of the YEC
arguments that are now disavowed by many YECs, except that they were trying
to claim that people are old instead of a young earth. It does not suggest
a high regard for truth.

David C.