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evolution-digest Monday, March 22 1999 Volume 01 : Number 1355


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 23:20:47 -0800
From: "Ami Chopine" <>
Subject: Re: The young age of Earth

Your requirement is too stringent from a biochemical point of

Unfortunately, however, it is a requirement to explain the advent of life on
this planet. The use of an esoteric definition of abiogenesis to proclaim
it fact is a little misleading.

Let me ask you a question: are red blood cells alive by your

By themselves, no. They are part of a living system. If isolated, with all
the things necessary to keep them alive, you will soon lose all of them to
natural causes with no new little replacement cells. They cannot reproduce.
They do not evolve. Being part of a living system does not make it alive.

>Let me ask you another question: are viruses alive? They have a genetic
>code, but no metabolic system.

I don't know. I've wondered this for a long time, especially since one of
my main interests and the direction I've wanted to go in was virology.

The problem, however, with both of these examples is that they are both post
'genetic code'. They wouldn't exist without it.

You and I would both agree that metabolic systems are absolutely essential
for life (in the case of viruses, they don't have their own, but they use
others). I believe a genetic code is absolutely essential for life. Both
must exist, in my opinion, to define something as life.

Can the metabolic systems you speak of evolve? If so, is there a ceiling to
their level of complexity?


Ami Chopine


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 23:20:51 -0800
From: "Ami Chopine" <>
Subject: Re: IC (Challenge)

>All you need is a college degree in molecular biology. A BS would be
>to get you in the door as a research technician, but if you got a PhD you
>could do your own work as a principle investigator.

This may be why I am two years into my BA degree in molecular biology and
genetics. However, I am also 7 years into my 'sabbatical' being a mom and a
housewife. Someday, when priorities permit.....

snipping interesting things

>If you don't mind a final comment, I believe the reason is because IC is
>based on a bad analogy. IC assumes that proteins are like mousetraps in
>that they are artifacts that must be specifically designed and built by
>intelligence. I have no doubt that a mousetrap is IC, but a mousetrap
>not evolve on its own (no dynamic information system). If in fact proteins
>are not artifacts, but are simply smaller versions of whole organisms, then
>they too could have evolved piecemeal over time, even though the current
>result "appears" to be IC.

It may, indeed be a bad analogy, however there are still some questions
which the attachment of the label IC requires be asked.
What does the cell do with a new functional protein? Unless it is contained
within an appropriate system, it is quite possible that the function of this
protein could kill the cell. Therefore, how does such a system develop? It
would seem to me, that not only do whole proteins need to appear, but also a
cascade of functions to keep things in balance. I can't think of any
specific examples, but I'm sure you and many others on this list could.

Also, has the list discussed the specific examples of IC in Behe's book? If
so, could someone kindly point me to the approximate place in the archives?

Thanks a lot,

Ami Chopine


Date: Sun, 21 Mar 1999 23:20:56 -0800
From: "Ami Chopine" <>
Subject: Re: Evolution's Imperative (was Def'n of Science)

Had already written this, but computer crashed before I sent it.

Evolution is no god. People who believe in this theory do not necessarily
question God or the Bible.

Have any of you had children? The process from pre-conception to birth has
been witnessed billions of times. Quite a bit is known about it. Of
course, there are details missing, but for the most part every step has been
traced. It is quite obvious that the advent of a child is the result of
natural forces. There is no obvious hand of God at work.

And yet. Yet...if you've birthed a child, or been present... Well, it is
very hard to deny that God is responsible for the creation of this child.
It is a miracle.

Maybe, we will be able to trace the whole process of life on earth someday,
with confidence. And it will be quite obvious that it was the result of
natural forces. And yet, there will be, there ARE those of us who look at
this body of knowledge and see not something which denies God, but something
which affirms His greatness without denying the conclusions required by the
data at hand. It is a miracle.

It is the ability to percieve subtle miracles which is a mark of faith, I
think. I do not need grossly obvious signs of the hand of God to know that
it is there.

God bless,

Ami Chopine


Date: Mon, 22 Mar 1999 09:56:43 GMT
From: "David J. Tyler" <>
Subject: Re: The young age of Earth

David Tyler responding to Kevin O'Brien's post of Thu, 18 Mar 1999

> David J. Tyler wrote: "I will predict that in 10 years from now,
> origin-of-life researchers will still be seeking the elusive secret of the
> chemical origin of life. If I am right, I will ask Kevin to review his
> 'Actually' statement and ask himself what factors led him to make such a
> bold, confident and erroneous pronouncement. In the meantime, I will record
> his words in my 'quotebook' - I'm sure I'll find suitable occasions to make
> use of them."
Kevin wrote:
> I am flattered, but if you do not include the following exposition you will
> be guilty of quoting out of context (not that I expect you to be bothered by
> that).

For the record, I am bothered by those who quote out of context.

> You obviously define abiogenesis as "the origin of life", but you do not
> define life. I suspect that if you did it would involve some kind of
> vitalistic nonsense about how "life" is some mystical quality that sets a
> living cell apart from a test tube containing chemicals, or some such
> schlock. In any event, that's why you have such a serious misconception
> about this topic.

For the record, I am not a vitalist. I am a physicalist regarding
all life except mankind.

> [....]
> As such, the Miller-Urey experiment, Fox's proteinoids and the formation of
> RNA and other replicating molecules, to name a few, are all examples of
> abiogenesis. And since these have all been laboratory experiments,
> abiogenesis is a fact that can be replicated in any modern laboratory.
> And David's prediction has already been proven false.

If these are examples of abiogenesis, we are totally failing to have
any meaningful communication. Rather than pursue this thread, to try
and work through these specific cases (to show why there is a great
unbridged gulf between them and abiogenesis), I will stick by my
prediction above. In 10 years time, it will be clear that
abiogenesis research in 1999 revealed a situation where the origin of
life was even more enigmatic than thought earlier.

On a more pragmatic front, I am mostly out of the office for the
next two weeks and I am not expecting to find time for debate until
after Easter.

Best wishes,
David J. Tyler.


End of evolution-digest V1 #1355