Re: Van Till's Grand Canyon

Date: Mon Sep 22 2003 - 13:15:51 EDT

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    > > It seems that biotic structures can not *in principle*
    >> be understood by appealing only to the laws of Physics.
    > Their formation does not appear to require any
    > violation of the laws of physics.

    Correct. I never suggested there were any *violations* of the laws of
    physics. In fact, I attempted to avoid this confusion when I acknowledged
    this point in the same post, writing:

    "While the *functioning* of the physical structures involved in biotic
    systems can all be explained energetically, their origin and evolution can
    not be so explained."

    > This is ironically highlighted by the appeals to improbability
    > made against evolution. Get all the right molecules in the right
    > places under the right conditions and there is no physical
    > reason why you would not have life. What the requisite
    > ingredients and conditions are, and thus what probabilities
    > we might assign, are still highly problematic, but it is not
    > evident that one can make a qualitative difference here.

    The qualitative difference that I see is that all non-biotic physical
    structures that I know of can be fully understood in terms of energetical
    considerations alone, and that they are essentially independent of
    contingencies of their history. They never appear to be designed. They look
    like soap bubbles and snow flakes which exhibit minimal energy
    configurations and maximal entropy.

    Biotic systems, on the other hand, are driven by information and are highly
    dependent on historical contingencies. The existence of the structures would
    *not* be predicted by mere energetical considerations that characterizes
    physical evolution.

    > One could describe cells as molecular ensembles.
    > The gap between the molecular ensembles so far
    > synthesized and those in the simplest living cells
    > is still sizable (though we can manufacture artifical
    > viruses).

    The problem I have here is that even the simplest cell is fundamentally
    distinct from a mere "molecular ensemble" in that the latter could be
    predicted by energetical considerations alone, while the former requires the
    huge amount of structure and information represented by even the simplest
    strand of DNA and the mechanism that reads, writes, and utilizes it. This is
    the gap that seems like the difference between a Bouncing Ball (mere
    energetically driven Physics) and the Space Shuttle (Biotic systems). The
    simplest cell seems to be light years beyond the most complex "molecular
    ensemble" that mere physics could produce.

    I'm not a biologist. I may have an incorrect understanding of this gap.
    That's why I'm asking. I really appreciate your help.

    Richard Amiel McGough
    Discover the sevenfold symmetric perfection of the Holy Bible at

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