Re: [asa] three origin of life scenarios

From: Bill Powers <>
Date: Thu Jun 11 2009 - 23:40:58 EDT


You say:

> 2. Regarding Point 2, I never really spoke about "scientific chance".
Nor has my point about chance, probability, etc. been understood, because
people keep muddying the waters by throwing in all kinds of twists about the
interpretation of the most abtruse areas of modern physics and contemporary
philosophy of science regarding randomness, etc. Some people here are just
not keeping their eye on the 8-ball. Think Mt. Rushmore. Could it have
arisen by chance -- and everyone here knows and fully understands the
common-sense view of "chance" I am employing, so no academic objections,
please -- in even a trillion years? And if not, why not? And would atoms
have arranged themselves to form a living cell in even a trillion years, if
they were not either "coaxed" to do so (intervention) or set up to do so
spontaneously, by being imbued with special properties by a rational planner
(fine-tuning, front-loading)? This is the question, and many people here,
and many TEs elsewhere, constantly skirt it, change the topic, blather about
"methodological naturalism", etc.

For the sake of clarity, it seems that Mount Rushmore is not analogous to
a cell. Mount Rushmore to the best of our understanding is passive.
There is no known mechanism whereby Mount Rushmore, in and of itself,
would ever, but by "chance" form itself into the shapes of four American

A cell, however, is somewhat different. A cell appears to "take an
interest" in its existence. In order to speak of biological development,
we must somehow get to the point where there are self-replicating
mechanisms so that evolution can get started. Somehow something having
the character of these mechanisms must emerge from mechanisms that have no
interest in "survival."

As you can see, I don't really have the vocabulary to speak about this.
It is almost as if "life" introduces final causes into existence.

In any case, it still seems that a cell and the steps (if there are indeed
any) leading up to a cell are different from Mount Rushmore forming itself
into presidential heads.


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Received on Thu Jun 11 23:42:03 2009

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