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Author Topic:   Wikipedia: Abiogenesis
DominionSeraph
Member (Idle past 1166 days)
Posts: 365
From: on High
Joined: 01-26-2005


Message 1 of 13 (304688)
04-17-2006 4:06 AM


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

Can somebody suggest how to fix the Second Law stuff under Primordial Soup section?

Wikipedia writes:

Pasteur had demonstrated that Aristotle was wrong. And he seemed to have demonstrated simultaneously that Charles Darwin was also wrong. Darwin's On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection, published in 1859, had presented an argument that modern organisms had evolved, over immense periods of time, from simpler ancestral forms, suggesting, without actually stating, that at the original point of origin there had existed an ur-organism with no prior ancestor. Darwin himself declined to speculate on this implication of his theory - "" - but the reaction of some scientists was categorical. "Science brings a vast amount of inductive evidence against this hypothesis," stated Lord Kelvin. "Dead matter cannot become living without coming under under the influence of matter previously alive." Lord Kelvin had in mind, not Pasteur, but the findings of his own specialty, physics. Darwin's implication breached the second law of thermodynamics. "If your theory is found to be against the second law of thermodynamics," wrote the astronomer Sir Arthur Eddington, with no reference to Darwin or biology, "I can give you no hope; there is nothing for it but to collapse in deepest humilitiation." The second law was sacrosanct.

The second law states that "the total entropy of any thermodynamically isolated system tends to increase over time, approaching a maximum value." In plain English, things left alone will become less organised, not more. The waves destroy sandcastles, they do not built them; a hot body will become cooler, and its surroundings warmer, until both are equal; and non-life, by definition non-organised, will never give rise to the more organised form which even the simplest microbe represents. Lord Kelvin was quite right: the second law prohibited the spontaneous emergence of life.

Or so, on theoretical principles, it would seem. But both biological theory and experimental evidence soon suggested otherwise. First the theory: In 1936 Aleksandr Ivanovich Oparin, in his "The Origin of Life on Earth", demonstrated that organic molecules could be created in an oxygen-less atmosphere, through the action of sunlight. These molecules, he suggested, combine in ever-more complex fashion until they are dissolved into a coacervate droplet. These droplets could then "grow" by fusion with other droplets, "reproduce" through fission into daughter droplets, and so have a primitive metabolism in which those factors which promote "cell integrity" survive, and those that don't become extinct. Around the same time J.B.S Haldane suggested that the earth's pre-biotic oceans - very different from their modern counterparts - would have formed a "hot dilute soup" in which organic compounds, the building blocks of life, could have formed. In 1953, taking their cue from Oparin and Haldane, the chemists Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey carried out an experiment on the "primeval soup". Within two weeks organic amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, had formed. The second law had been breached, or so it appeared.

It was not really breached. What Miller and Urey had demonstrated was that the second law only applies to thermodynamically isolated systems, and that systems are in fact rarely isolated: they exist within larger systems, and a local increase in organisation is always possible. Neither had Miller and Urey actually created life; they had merely demonstrated that a more complex molecule — the amino-acids — could emerge spontaneously from simpler chemicals, in the presence of an external energy source in an atmosphere largely devoid of oxygen (the experiment involved shooting a spark, representing lightning, into their flask of supposedly primitive earth-gases).

Some specifics:

quote:
Darwin's implication breached the second law of thermodynamics.

No it doesn't.

I also have problems with the "Darwin's implication" part. It seems to suggest the wrong thing.

quote:
Lord Kelvin was quite right: the second law prohibited the spontaneous emergence of life.

Or so, on theoretical principles, it would seem.


Huh?

Perhaps: "It appeared to Lord Kelvin that, in theory, the second law prohibited the spontaneous emergence of life"? But I'd need a quote from Kelvin stating such, as it references his perception of things.

quote:
In 1953, taking their cue from Oparin and Haldane, the chemists Stanley L. Miller and Harold C. Urey carried out an experiment on the "primeval soup". Within two weeks organic amino acids, the basic building blocks of life, had formed. The second law had been breached, or so it appeared.

Huh? Appeared that way to whom?

quote:
What Miller and Urey had demonstrated was that the second law only applies to thermodynamically isolated systems

No it doesn't.
I haven't a clue as to how to fix this, though.

This message has been edited by DominionSeraph, 04-17-2006 04:11 AM


Replies to this message:
 Message 2 by cavediver, posted 04-17-2006 5:47 AM DominionSeraph has not yet responded
 Message 3 by arachnophilia, posted 04-17-2006 6:45 AM DominionSeraph has not yet responded
 Message 4 by Percy, posted 04-17-2006 8:20 AM DominionSeraph has not yet responded

  
cavediver
Member (Idle past 55 days)
Posts: 4129
From: UK
Joined: 06-16-2005


Message 2 of 13 (304689)
04-17-2006 5:47 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by DominionSeraph
04-17-2006 4:06 AM


Can somebody suggest how to fix the Second Law stuff under Primordial Soup section?

Yeah, delete it. The information content of the entire article would increase dramatically!

Keep the third paragraph apart from the opening and closing sentences, and perhaps merge in the statement from the fourth paragraph reminding that they had not actually created likfe...

Add a paragraph under the Critics section addressing 2LoT objections as they pertain to abiogenesis.

Perhaps something in the intro emphasising the distinction between abio and evo.


This message is a reply to:
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arachnophilia
Member
Posts: 8962
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 3 of 13 (304692)
04-17-2006 6:45 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by DominionSeraph
04-17-2006 4:06 AM


dear god, why?
why can't people get it through their heads that the second law of thermodynamics is a law of thermodynamics?

it's really not that hard: look at the root words:

thermo: heat.
dynamics: movement.

thermodynamics: the movement of heat.


אָרַח

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Percy
Member
Posts: 13110
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 4 of 13 (304706)
04-17-2006 8:20 AM
Reply to: Message 1 by DominionSeraph
04-17-2006 4:06 AM


Check the history - the thermodynamic garbage was added just a few weeks ago. The 10:18 30 March 2006 version doesn't have it, the next version does. It was added by someone named PiCo.

Even before PiCo's edits the article was somewhat of a mess. The section about Yockey seems spurious. "Primordial Soup" should not be a section title. The right approach is to rewrite the article with the scientific sections first, and a last section concerning weaknesses of the theory that can include creationist objections. Or some other similar organization. What's important is to lead with the scientific information by drawing upon all the significant previous versions and move the spurious creationist stuff to the end under its own heading.

I can see an edit ping-pong battle looming on the horizon.

--Percy

This message has been edited by Percy, Mon, 04-17-2006 08:21 AM


This message is a reply to:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 13110
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 5 of 13 (306998)
04-27-2006 10:12 AM


The creationist corruption of the Wikipedia abiogenesis article is still in place. Is no one working on fixing this?

--Percy


Replies to this message:
 Message 6 by Tusko, posted 04-27-2006 10:40 AM Percy has not yet responded
 Message 7 by Tusko, posted 04-27-2006 11:23 AM Percy has responded

    
Tusko
Member
Posts: 595
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 6 of 13 (307006)
04-27-2006 10:40 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Percy
04-27-2006 10:12 AM


For good or ill I just zapped the thermodynamics using cavediver's suggestion. I haven't, however put a criticism paragraph in... I'll try to do that now.
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Tusko
Member
Posts: 595
From: London, UK
Joined: 10-01-2004


Message 7 of 13 (307018)
04-27-2006 11:23 AM
Reply to: Message 5 by Percy
04-27-2006 10:12 AM


I don't know if it really helps, but I just put a little paragraph in mentioning the second law of thermodynamics. Pretty poorly written and I don't know if it really fits with the structure, but there you go!
This message is a reply to:
 Message 5 by Percy, posted 04-27-2006 10:12 AM Percy has responded

Replies to this message:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 13110
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 8 of 13 (307066)
04-27-2006 1:24 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tusko
04-27-2006 11:23 AM


Went to look at your changes and it looked kind of dramatic, so I looked at this history and there are six edits today. Primordial Soup section is gone completely, I see the thermo section is gone, but I don't have time to figure this out right now. I assume only two of the edits are yours?

The entire article needs a rewrite. Hope someone will take it on. Doesn't have to be an expert - anyone knowledgable should be able to draw upon the previous versions to do a fairly good job.

--Percy


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RAZD
Member
Posts: 15828
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 9 of 13 (307214)
04-27-2006 9:27 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by Tusko
04-27-2006 11:23 AM


Once more, 2LoT or not 2LoT ...
I see it's been changed again ... we'll see how long it lasts.


www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1157&m=1>Join the effort to unravel {AIDS\HIV} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
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RAZD
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Posts: 15828
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 1.9


Message 10 of 13 (307215)
04-27-2006 9:30 PM
Reply to: Message 8 by Percy
04-27-2006 1:24 PM


Soups back. Looks like some merging with biopoesis has also happened.

ping pong anyone?


www.evcforum.net/cgi-bin/dm.cgi?action=msg&f=14&t=1157&m=1>Join the effort to unravel {AIDS\HIV} with Team EvC! (click)

we are limited in our ability to understand
by our ability to understand

RebelAAmerican.Zen[Deist
... to learn ... to think ... to live ... to laugh ...
to share.


This message is a reply to:
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Percy
Member
Posts: 13110
From: New Hampshire
Joined: 12-23-2000
Member Rating: 2.2


Message 11 of 13 (307315)
04-28-2006 9:25 AM
Reply to: Message 10 by RAZD
04-27-2006 9:30 PM


Okay, I propose that we try to get a handle on this.

First, did anyone here make the most recent changes. If so, let's begin coordinating future changes through this thread, including review of proposed changes.

Second, I think someone here should volunteer to take the lead in making the changes.

Third, we should try to make contact with any other person or persons who are simultaneously making changes so that we can agree on an outline of areas of responsibility even if we don't agree on content.

--Percy


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PaulK
Member
Posts: 10759
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 12 of 13 (307319)
04-28-2006 9:36 AM
Reply to: Message 11 by Percy
04-28-2006 9:25 AM


Rather than fighting an edit war, wouldn't it be better to point it out to Wikipedia's owners ? It's hardly in their interests to allow blatant nonsese to appear in one of their articles.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 11 by Percy, posted 04-28-2006 9:25 AM Percy has not yet responded

    
extremophile
Member (Idle past 2006 days)
Posts: 53
Joined: 08-23-2003


Message 13 of 13 (307508)
04-28-2006 5:28 PM


Hi, I´m also extremophile at wikipedia.

As the article about abiogenesis in the portuguese language wikipedia was not any good, recently I´ve made a major update. But my curiosity kept me looking for more and more sources, and I´ve found out many interesting things about the historical side of abiogenesis/spontaneous generation, and I´m yet planning to further improve the portuguese article.

I´ve read the article in english some time ago (prior to apparent creationist or creationist-sourced editions), and I think that it could also have some improvements in the sense of the improvements I´m planning for the portuguese article.

Basically, I think it could bring more historical details (and more historical acuracy), eliminating what seems to be false to me now, the "obvious" distinction between abiogenesis and SG. The article and what is generally seen around usually paint only the two extremes, Aristotelian SG, and modern abiogenesis theories, separated by an theoretical abyss. But in fact, seems that there was more of a subtle changing in thought, and many different modalities of things usually grab-bagged under the "spontaneous genration" label.

A example of graduallness of thought was the Bathybius, I think a idea that did not last long, about primordial life arising spontaneously, continuously, in the bottom of the seas, defended by Haeckel and Huxley (with less enthusiasm and a few cautious considerations) until it was discovered that was not a real biological phenomenon (Haeckel apparently kept deffending it a bit, even after that).

Also, is usually made much emphasis on the refutal of spontaneous generation by Louis Pasteur, and subsequent abandon of the idea by scientists, which, some sources point that was not that clean cut as generally depicted, but at first was more accepted in France, and later only with the works of John Tyndall and Ferdinand Cohn it came to be more accepted in other countries.

And again a detail of the gradualness of thought, involving Pasteur, was that he believed in "spontaneous generation" of parasitic worms (as many others did at that time, but maybe more properly defined as heterogenesis or xenogenesis), and if I´ve understood it clearly, he even believed in spontaneous generation of microbial life, althought he did not believed that it would occur under the circunstances studied by Pouchet and others.

I also think that there are interesting historical parts regarding the more recent history, such as Leonard Troland proposing something similar with RNA-world hypothesis, but prior to discover that nucleic acids were the carriers of genetic information.

I wrote a huge sketch for further improvements on the portuguese article, and translated it to english, it could at least be used as a source of "raw material" a more detailed basis for this improvements in this lines I´m suggesting here. I think that most sources are cited at the bottom of the page, but in a messy way.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Extremophile/Abiogenesis

The more recently history part lacks yet some things I think should be there, like Sol Spiegelman and Mannfred Eigen´s experiences with RNA.

As a final suggestion, I think that the "critics" section could entirely go away, and panspermia would be mentioned only in the historical context. Other forms of critics, like religious resistance specific of each epoch, could also be adressed this way. Maybe all the forms of critics could somehow fit in a "critics" category, but I don´t know how, due to the different nature of criticisms and it could make harder to write in a chronological sequence.


"Science comits suicide when it adopts a creed."
Thomas H. Huxley
  
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