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Author Topic:   abiogenesis
marc9000
Member
Posts: 906
From: Ky U.S.
Joined: 12-25-2009


Message 1 of 177 (543339)
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


Hello, newbie here! I've had these forums recommended to me at other forums as having scientifically knowledgeable posters, so I would like to propose a subject that on one at those forums seems to be able to address, and I've never noticed being addressed anywhere else.

The term “abiogenesis” has been around for hundreds of years, its concept has been around for thousands, all the way back to Aristotle. It is a term that refers to natural processes, a spontaneous generation of life from non-life by random, unguided processes. It is a conflictive view to any kind of purposive, supernatural creation. Since the Miller-Urey experiment, combined with an ever increasing scientific knowledge about the simplest forms of life and conditions on an early earth, the likelihood of life beginning on earth by purely naturalistic processes is scientifically diminishing, not increasing. Yet we see this at talkorigins;

quote:
Quote:
Abiogenesis is a fact. Regardless of how you imagine it happened (note that creation is a theory of abiogenesis), it is a fact that there once was no life on earth and that now there is. Thus, even if evolution needs abiogenesis, it has it.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB090.html

I don't think that anyone disagrees that there once was no life on earth and now there is. I know of no worldview that disputes that. But in my view, the rest of that paragraph is completely false. Creation does not harmonize with abiogenesis, it conflicts with abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is not just ANY origin of life as talkorigins asserts, it is only about a NATURAL origin of life. Evolution does not automatically have it. Creation is NOT a theory of abiogenesis. When talkorigins says to "note that creation is a theory of abiogenesis", I'd like to know where it is noted, except in talkorigins administrators claims. It's certainly not noted anywhere in official, dictionary definitions of abiogenesis.

It seems to me that in the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain, they have also made it impossible for abiogenesis to be considered science. The criteria has to be evenly applied, or there is a serious problem with non-scientific bias. Since there is evidence that abiogenesis is referred to and noted in most, if not all, science textbooks at the high school and college level, it appears to me that it’s a fact that we have a serious problem with atheist bias in the scientific community in the U.S.

Who can rationally and reasonably explain why I’m wrong about that?


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Message 2 of 177 (543351)
01-17-2010 3:13 PM


Thread Copied from Proposed New Topics Forum
Thread copied here from the abiogenesis thread in the Proposed New Topics forum.
  
Briterican
Member (Idle past 1480 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 3 of 177 (543353)
01-17-2010 3:17 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


Non-explanations (ID, creationism) don't assist understanding
Hi marc9000, welcome to the fray.

I agree with your assessment that the term "abiogenesis" cannot include creation, given that the definition involves naturalistic processes. I think when someone says "creationism is a theory of abiogenesis", what they mean to say is that creationism is an explanation (I disagree and consider it a non-explanation) that replaces abiogenesis. Perhaps I'm wrong about this, perhaps another member will set us both straight. But I ask you this... what explanation? Where's the evidence for creation? What possible usefulness is it in the exploration of the history of life to simply say "OK it MUST have been divine intervention, a supernatural miracle" ? The enquiry ends with this cop-out, non-explanation, and scientists are not willing to sacrifice rational thinking in favour of magical fairy dust, sorry.

marc9000 writes:

Since the Miller-Urey experiment, combined with an ever increasing scientific knowledge about the simplest forms of life and conditions on an early earth, the likelihood of life beginning on earth by purely naturalistic processes is scientifically diminishing, not increasing.

I would disagree with this assessment. The longer we study the possibile scenarios for abiogenesis, the closer we come to viable explanations. Take for example the PAH world hypothesis: I consider it uncanny that the separation between rings in a PAH stack is 0.34nm, precisely the same separation found in RNA and DNA. This hypothesis may not be the answer, but it is much more compelling than the bare assertion, unsupported by evidence, that an intelligent designer was involved.

marc9000 writes:

It seems to me that in the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain, they have also made it impossible for abiogenesis to be considered science. The criteria has to be evenly applied, or there is a serious problem with non-scientific bias. Since there is evidence that abiogenesis is referred to and noted in most, if not all, science textbooks at the high school and college level, it appears to me that it’s a fact that we have a serious problem with atheist bias in the scientific community in the U.S.

Who can rationally and reasonably explain why I’m wrong about that?

Let me try.

The scientific community does have strict criteria, and "intelligent design" simply doesn't meet it. (Hypotheses regarding abiogenesis do rise to the necessary criteria, and your proposition that they do not is simply false.) All of this isn't the scientific community's fault, it is the fault of ID proponents who, in THEIR haste to posit an intelligent designer have failed to demonstrate any evidence of such a designer. Irreducible complexity has been demonstrated (in a court of law) to be wrong. The courts have determined that intelligent design is no more scientific than astrology or alchemy. Would you like the schools to teach those subjects as if they were supported by evidence? No? Then why would you support the teaching of intelligent design?

"Non-scientific bias" ? Science education inherently has a bias against non-scientific ideas, that's why it is called "science" and not "anything goes". Would you have it any other way?

This "atheist bias" that you speak of simply doesn't exist: there are plenty of people who accept the scientific approach (and the exclusion of nonsense, non-explanations like ID) and yet call themselves agnostics or deists, not atheists. Hopefully RAZD will join this thread: he is a deist, and thus believes in God, but he would not be willing to allow unsupported, unevidenced pseudo-science into our schools, intelligent design being an example.

The onus is on YOU (ID proponents) to provide evidence for your assertion of an intelligent designer. In the meantime, the scientific community will continue to examine things on a rational, logical basis, and not resort to pseudo-science and bare, unsupported assertions.

Edited by Briterican, : No reason given.


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greyseal
Member (Idle past 1392 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 4 of 177 (543362)
01-17-2010 3:41 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


quote:
Quote:
Abiogenesis is a fact. Regardless of how you imagine it happened (note that creation is a theory of abiogenesis), it is a fact that there once was no life on earth and that now there is. Thus, even if evolution needs abiogenesis, it has it.

http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB090.html

I don't think that anyone disagrees that there once was no life on earth and now there is. I know of no worldview that disputes that. But in my view, the rest of that paragraph is completely false.

abiogenesis is, put very simply, "creation of something which is alive from something which is not alive".

for the creationist, this does not mean god was not alive, it means that god took the clay or earth or what-have-you and turned it into a living human being - thus life from non-life - thus abiogenesis.

for the scientist it's the start of a somewhat longer, more detailed and difficult route from rocks to man, but essentially at some point before abiogenesis occurs we have only chemistry, and after it, we have life.

Personally I find it amusing that creationists proclaim loudly "we didn't come from rocks!" when, to be frank, it says right there in the bible that we did.

Anyway...

Creation does not harmonize with abiogenesis, it conflicts with abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is not just ANY origin of life as talkorigins asserts, it is only about a NATURAL origin of life.

I hope you agree that you are wrong. I'm not going to hold my breath, but after all you are entitled to your own opinion. Just not your own facts.

Evolution does not automatically have it.

one more time, and everybody join in:

quote:

evolution and abiogenesis have nothing to do with each other.

evolution does not require abiogenesis, evolution charts how natural selection has shaped the lifeforms that were into the lifeforms that are and does not depend on how they came to be to be a valid theory.


and, for the record, "theory" in this context is not the "theory" you're used to. If you say "just a theory" I'm sure someone, somewhere, will hunt you down a slap you with a hardback copy of the entire encyclopedia brittannica.

Creation is NOT a theory of abiogenesis.

abiogenesis is "life from non-life". saying "god breathed life into adam" is a very valid theory of abiogenesis.

Now, I haven't been at school in many years, my recollection of studies dealing with it are hazy, but I think I've shown you why your views on this particular nugget are incorrect, and as far as your claim of "the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain", that's a mighty long yardstick you're using as "poof!" is a whole world away from the stacks of books, theories, papers and actual lab-work that's gone into studying our origins.

But hey, reading one short book's a lot easier than decades of reading hundreds, right?


This message is a reply to:
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Replies to this message:
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Briterican
Member (Idle past 1480 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 5 of 177 (543367)
01-17-2010 3:52 PM
Reply to: Message 4 by greyseal
01-17-2010 3:41 PM


Hi greyseal

greyseal writes:

abiogenesis is "life from non-life". saying "god breathed life into adam" is a very valid theory of abiogenesis.

biogenesis = life from life
abiogenesis = life from non-life

In that sense, I agree with you, although I have come across several definitions that include the words "through natural processes" or "spontaneous generation".

Besides, "god breathed life into adam" isn't exactly a theory is it? It's an assertion, unsupported by evidence and unfalsifiable.

Nonetheless I see your point and use this post to modify my stance above to say that creationism is a (pseudo) explanation for abiogenesis.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 4 by greyseal, posted 01-17-2010 3:41 PM greyseal has responded

Replies to this message:
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Huntard
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 6 of 177 (543370)
01-17-2010 3:58 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Briterican
01-17-2010 3:52 PM


well, the whole problem stems from language, I guess.

Strictly speaking, abiogenesis means life from non life. In a scientific sense, however, it can only apply to natural causes, since that is all science can study.


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My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
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greyseal
Member (Idle past 1392 days)
Posts: 464
Joined: 08-11-2009


Message 7 of 177 (543382)
01-17-2010 4:41 PM
Reply to: Message 5 by Briterican
01-17-2010 3:52 PM


biogenesis = life from life
abiogenesis = life from non-life

In that sense, I agree with you, although I have come across several definitions that include the words "through natural processes" or "spontaneous generation".

oh, the creationist "god breathing live into adam" story is in no way a scientific theory - it's a theory, but not a scientific one by a loooooong stretch. I didn't mean for it to be, although it's about as scientific as creationists ever actually get (they'd probably quite happily get a PhD from their favourite diploma mills for writing "we know it happened that way because god said it did in the bible").

I think that's what and how TO meant it when they said it - creationists and scientists both agree that there were times on the Earth both before AND AFTER life existed, so something must have happened, and technically it's abiogenesis either way.

If you're going to talk about the scientific theory of abiogenesis (if there IS one yet!) then it's quite literally a whole new world and the one-liner in the KJV cannot compare with the stacks of work that either has or will have gone into it.


This message is a reply to:
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Briterican
Member (Idle past 1480 days)
Posts: 340
Joined: 05-29-2008


Message 8 of 177 (543384)
01-17-2010 4:52 PM
Reply to: Message 7 by greyseal
01-17-2010 4:41 PM


Mountain of research > Biblical one-liner
Hi greyseal

I'm in complete agreement with your above post.

greyseal writes:

If you're going to talk about the scientific theory of abiogenesis (if there IS one yet!) then it's quite literally a whole new world and the one-liner in the KJV cannot compare with the stacks of work that either has or will have gone into it.

There are many, with the PAH World Hypothesis being one of the most compelling (imo).

---- correction: as bluejay and others point out, these are hypotheses, not theories. ----

I've been wanting to start an abiogenesis thread for some time now, but I'm more inclined to debate the scientific possibilities, whereas (as is inherent to the forum) it usually comes down to more of science vs superstition debate. Seeing as how I (and you as well I suspect) am thoroughly unimpressed by the supernatural explanations, I'd rather not waste my time on them when discussing the specifics of abiogenesis.

What I would be most interested to learn is if any of the various abiogenesis theories is being put to a "test" (if such test is even possible). For example, I'd love to know if the PAH World Hypothesis is testable. No doubt that, if it is, these tests are ongoing.

Edited by Briterican, : No reason given.

Edited by Briterican, : hypotheses, not theories


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PaulK
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Posts: 13122
Joined: 01-10-2003
Member Rating: 2.8


Message 9 of 177 (543388)
01-17-2010 5:12 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


I thin that there are two topics here. The talkorigins point is just one guy's opinion and doesn't really reflect any calculated or agreed strategy. So that's just a side issue, of no great importance.

quote:

It seems to me that in the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain, they have also made it impossible for abiogenesis to be considered science. The criteria has to be evenly applied, or there is a serious problem with non-scientific bias. Since there is evidence that abiogenesis is referred to and noted in most, if not all, science textbooks at the high school and college level, it appears to me that it’s a fact that we have a serious problem with atheist bias in the scientific community in the U.S.

I don't think that there is any truth in this. Do you notice anything missing from this paragraph ? I do. There is no statement of what these criteria are !

Now why don't you go back, state what the criteria are - with evidence that they are actually applied - and explain why you think that abiogenesis fails them.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by marc9000, posted 01-17-2010 1:25 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

  
Iblis
Member (Idle past 1426 days)
Posts: 663
Joined: 11-17-2005


(1)
Message 10 of 177 (543390)
01-17-2010 5:27 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


Poetry and Biology
Abiogenesis is nothing less than a scientific analysis of what that "red clay" was composed of and what changes it underwent over time as God breathed that "breath of life" into it. Creation is nothing more than an inspired account of "Who done it."

The argument starts when people who can't understand poetry stake their faith and the faith of millions on obsolete pseudo-Aristotelian ideas about history and literary criticism. Aristotle wasn't popular with protein-starved churchmen because he was right, but rather because he had to dumb down his material to the point where even a bastard like Alexander the Great could get A's in his class.

Take it home, man. It was old and tired already before Jesus was born. God is dead; we killed him. He made us do it, because he was tired of shit like this. You can't be saved until you kill him too. In your heart, every day. Start now, give up your anti-science idol. They won't let you into heaven with these idols in your pockets. Kill it now.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by marc9000, posted 01-17-2010 1:25 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

RAZD
Member
Posts: 18968
From: the other end of the sidewalk
Joined: 03-14-2004
Member Rating: 3.7


Message 11 of 177 (543392)
01-17-2010 6:04 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


Hi marc9000, welcome to the fray.

The term “abiogenesis” has been around for hundreds of years, ...

And in that sense it has simply meant life from non-life, as it would pre-date the scientific usage.

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

quote:
In the natural sciences, abiogenesis is the study of how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter. It should not be confused with evolution, which is the study of how groups of living things change over time.

This does not say what causes the process to occur. It could arise by purely natural means, or those natural means could be guided by supernatural entities, giving the appearance of arising by natural means.

It is a term that refers to natural processes, a spontaneous generation of life from non-life by random, unguided processes. It is a conflictive view to any kind of purposive, supernatural creation.

Unless that view includes the supernatural creation via the guided use of what appears to be natural means.

Since the Miller-Urey experiment, combined with an ever increasing scientific knowledge about the simplest forms of life and conditions on an early earth, the likelihood of life beginning on earth by purely naturalistic processes is scientifically diminishing, not increasing.

Actually, the study of self-replicating molecules has progressed tremendously since 1952 when this particular experiment was done.

See Self-Replicating Molecules - Life's Building Blocks, Part II for some updated information on this research.

Yet we see this at talkorigins;
...
http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CB/CB090.html
I don't think that anyone disagrees that there once was no life on earth and now there is.

Good, so you would agree that any study, scientific or otherwise, that focuses on how that life varies and adapts through time is independent of whether that life originated by natural means or by supernatural means.

But in my view, the rest of that paragraph is completely false.

Curiously, reality is completely non-dependent on your opinion. Anyone is free to be 100% wrong about any number of topics and it will not affect reality in the slightest.

Abiogenesis is not just ANY origin of life as talkorigins asserts, it is only about a NATURAL origin of life. Evolution does not automatically have it.

And yet you just said "I don't think that anyone disagrees that there once was no life on earth and now there is" -- so you have agreed that life exists where before there was none. Thus any study, scientific or otherwise, that focuses on how existing life varies and adapts through time is independent of whether that life originated by natural means or by supernatural means.

Evolution is the study of how life changes over time, how the process of evolution - the change in frequency of hereditary traits in breeding populations from generation to generation - can explain the diversity of life as we know it. All that is required to make such a study is life existing -- by any means.

Creation is NOT a theory of abiogenesis.

Agreed, as it is an assertion and not a theory, certainly not a theory in the scientific sense as would be used in science to study the possible emergence of life from non-life.

It seems to me that in the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain, they have also made it impossible for abiogenesis to be considered science.

Interestingly, those criteria have been in effect much longer than the ID concept, put together by a consortium of creationists in 1987 in response to losing a US Supreme Court case.

Those criteria have also not changed significantly during the rise of ID and it's adaptation into religious thought in the intervening time.

The question for you to answer is whether the "concept of intelligent design can attain" has ever met the criteria of science, for if it never has, then there has been no raising of standards to exclude ID, rather ID has always been excluded due to it being inadequately pursued as science.

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

quote:
Science (from the Latin scientia, meaning "knowledge") is, in its broadest sense, any systematic knowledge-base or prescriptive practice that is capable of resulting in a prediction or predictable type of outcome. In this sense, science may refer to a highly skilled technique or practice.[1]

In its more restricted contemporary sense, science refers to a system of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, and to the organized body of knowledge gained through such research.[2][3] This article focuses on the more restricted use of the word. Science as discussed in this article is sometimes called experimental science to differentiate it from applied science, which is the application of scientific research to specific human needs—although the two are commonly interconnected.

Science is a continuing effort to discover and increase human knowledge and understanding through disciplined research. Using controlled methods, scientists collect observable evidence of natural or social phenomena, record measurable data relating to the observations, and analyze this information to construct theoretical explanations of how things work. The methods of scientific research include the generation of hypotheses about how phenomena work, and experimentation that tests these hypotheses under controlled conditions. Scientists are also expected to publish their information so other scientists can do similar experiments to double-check their conclusions. The results of this process enable better understanding of past events, and better ability to predict future events of the same kind as those that have been tested.


The study of abiogenesis fits this more restrictive usage of the term science. It is possible for any concept to fit this restrictive definition, as all that is required is that it be done by a systematic process of acquiring knowledge based on the scientific method, and the organization of the body of knowledge gained through such research.

In other words, to be considered science one needs to do science.

The criteria has to be evenly applied, or there is a serious problem with non-scientific bias.

Agreed. One needs to do science for the work to be considered science. One needs to form hypothesis from evidence, make predictions, and test the hypothesis against the predictions and revise as necessary to explain all the evidence.

Since there is evidence that abiogenesis is referred to and noted in most, if not all, science textbooks at the high school and college level, ...

Interestingly, mentioning abiogenesis in these textbooks does not necessarily mean that they are advocating that abiogenesis by natural means is fact. You need to provide more context for what is actually said about abiogenesis than this.

Textbooks in general, and science textbooks in particular, are ideally required to present the best information known on the topic/s they cover, no matter what that topic involves.

... it appears to me that it’s a fact that we have a serious problem with atheist bias in the scientific community in the U.S.

Who can rationally and reasonably explain why I’m wrong about that?

Where does atheism come into this picture?

As noted above it is possible to have a religious view which includes the supernatural creation of life via the guided use of what appears to be natural means. It is also possible to have a religious (deist) view that the natural laws are part of the original creation, so the natural development of life from the available building blocks permeating the universe (also as a result of the original creation) is just part of the creation process.

Therefore your assignment\equation of views not based on your personal beliefs as being "atheist" is false, and what you really mean is (to paraphrase your statement):

" ... it appears to me that it’s a fact that we have a serious problem with {not my personal belief\opinion} bias in the scientific community in the U.S."

Which I would agree with, and additionally would have no problem with such biases against personal beliefs and opinions being universally applied.

Now, I expect that you would not want just any one single person's personal belief to be a foundation for education, so you should agree that your personal opinions and beliefs are also not a valid basis on their own for education, whether scientific or not.

Enjoy.

Edited by RAZD, : clrty


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This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by marc9000, posted 01-17-2010 1:25 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 228 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 12 of 177 (543394)
01-17-2010 6:10 PM
Reply to: Message 1 by marc9000
01-17-2010 1:25 PM


Hi, Marc.

Welcome to EvC!

Kentucky's a nice place, ain't it?

marc9000 writes:

It is a term that refers to natural processes, a spontaneous generation of life from non-life by random, unguided processes...

...Abiogenesis is not just ANY origin of life as talkorigins asserts, it is only about a NATURAL origin of life.

To be perfectly clear, “abiogenesis” comes from Latin/Greek: a- means “without”; -bio- means “life”; and -genesis (this one should be obvious) means “creation” or “beginning.”

TalkOrigins is right: “abiogenesis” is not the name of a scientific theory. It refers to any idea that posits that there is life where once there was none. There is currently no real scientific theory about the origin of life. There are a large handful of competing hypotheses, but none of them is supported by enough evidence to be considered a real theory.

What is presented in scientific textbooks that I have read is the most logical extrapolation of the patterns seen in the available evidence from the fossil record. As we go further back in time, we see that earlier life forms are simpler than later life forms.

Given that, what is the most logical prediction for any life that we might find earlier than the earliest life forms we know now? We would predict that it will be simpler, wouldn’t we? Is there a reason to think otherwise?

-----

marc9000 writes:

Since the Miller-Urey experiment, combined with an ever increasing scientific knowledge about the simplest forms of life and conditions on an early earth, the likelihood of life beginning on earth by purely naturalistic processes is scientifically diminishing, not increasing.

I am confused as to why you think the Miller-Urey experiment is problematic for abiogenesis. Is it because they didn't actually generate life forms after zapping a flask of raw chemicals with a jolt of electricity?

Is that the logic you want to use? Well, then, let's apply it to another "experiment":

I am a lifelong Christian, and my fervant prayer last night did not generate any noticeable blessings (certainly none of the blessings I asked for). Using the logic you applied to Miller-Urey, you should conclude that the likelihood of a God who answers personal prayers is "scientifically diminishing."

Agreed? If not, I think it's you who is suffering from a bias.

-----

marc9000 writes:

It seems to me that in the scientific community’s haste to set criteria just higher than the concept of intelligent design can attain, they have also made it impossible for abiogenesis to be considered science.

The criteria set by science have always been the same: our ability to understand what fits those criteria improves as millions of researchers around the world accumulate an increasing body of knowledge through experimentation. We aren’t changing them all the time simply because we don’t want ID to be science: ID has simply failed to live up to the criteria that have always been agreed upon.

Furthermore, the question of whether or not something is science is a complete misnomer. Science encompasses a lot of different things: hypotheses, theories, experiments, raw data, statistics, brainstorming, etc. All of these things are integral parts of the scientific process. An untested hypothesis has as much right to be called “science” as does the oldest, most rigorously tested and thoroughly supported theory in existence.

What you mean to say is that abiogenesis is not a supported scientific theory. And, what you will quickly discover is that scientists will generally agree that there is currently no real scientific theory of abiogenesis. There is no controversy there. At all.

So, we have two ideas: one (abiogenesis) suggests that observable pattern of decreasing complexity as we look further back in time will continue to be seen as we look further and further back in time, until what we see is no longer complex enough to be considered “life”; the other (special creation/ID) suggests that the observable pattern is broken, and that an unevidenced entity is instead responsible for the origin of life using an unevidenced and undescribed means.

Whether or not life actually did arise from non-life through natural means, the current hypotheses about how this process might have occurred are scientific. They are not theories, but they are science.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 1 by marc9000, posted 01-17-2010 1:25 PM marc9000 has not yet responded

slevesque
Member (Idle past 2171 days)
Posts: 1456
Joined: 05-14-2009


Message 13 of 177 (543421)
01-17-2010 11:16 PM
Reply to: Message 6 by Huntard
01-17-2010 3:58 PM


It's all a question of semantics, and Huntard put his finger right on the problem.

Strictly speaking, abiogenesis means life from non life. In a scientific sense, however, it can only apply to natural causes, since that is all science can study.

In other words, when a scientist uses the word ''abiogenesis'', no one ever thinks he is referring to supernatural creation of life. We all know he is talking about scientific hypothesis about a natural explanation to the origin of life. This is in fact the general understanding of the definition of the word as of today in both layman and scientific terms, and as Briterican said you should usually find this '... by natural processes' in the definition of the word.

The problem comes when a Theist uses the word and says something like ''abiogenesis is impossible'' etc. Someone is bound to bring up the argument that the greek origin of the word simply means life-from-nonlife and therefore a theists also believes in abiogenesis etc. etc. (This has happened to me the both times I got involved in an 'origin of life' thread, and so I stopped going into this area because of it unfortunately ...)

Of course I hope everyone can see the fallacy in this. They do not take into account that the definition of the word has evolved and changed, and that it is no longer this definition that applies. Words evolve all the time, and if we were restrained only by their greek or latin origin, my sentence right here maybe wouldn't even make sense. In a way, when someone brings up the greek origin of 'abiogenesis' and says that this is still our understanding of it, it is simply equivocating the term and setting up a false representation of what the other wanted to say.

Think about it this way, talk to about any scientists today about abiogenesis, will a single one of them think you are talking about supernatural creation ? If not, then it shows that the meaning of the word has changed, and now means most probably ''life from non-life by natural processes''


This message is a reply to:
 Message 6 by Huntard, posted 01-17-2010 3:58 PM Huntard has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 14 by Blue Jay, posted 01-18-2010 2:45 AM slevesque has responded
 Message 15 by Huntard, posted 01-18-2010 9:10 AM slevesque has not yet responded
 Message 21 by Dr Adequate, posted 01-19-2010 8:51 PM slevesque has responded

Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 228 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


Message 14 of 177 (543431)
01-18-2010 2:45 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by slevesque
01-17-2010 11:16 PM


Hi, Slevesque.

slevesque writes:

The problem comes when a Theist uses the word and says something like ''abiogenesis is impossible'' etc. Someone is bound to bring up the argument that the greek origin of the word simply means life-from-nonlife and therefore a theists also believes in abiogenesis etc. etc. (This has happened to me the both times I got involved in an 'origin of life' thread, and so I stopped going into this area because of it unfortunately ...)

The reason we respond like that is because the logic that concludes that a naturalistic origin of life is impossible must also conclude that special creation is impossible. You have to understand that: every argument brought against naturalistic abiogenesis is also ultimately fatal to special creation, as well.

That’s why we insist on pointing out that special creation is also abiogenesis: it is not just a semantic argument.

-----

slevesque writes:

They do not take into account that the definition of the word has evolved and changed, and that it is no longer this definition that applies.

No, the meaning has not changed. That’s the whole point of the Talk Origins quote Marc provided. It’s a partisan agenda that states that the meaning has changed. One faction wants a buzzword, a label by which it can call the other, so it co-opted a term from the other’s vocabulary (just like it did for the term “evolution”), and now insists that its usage trumps the original, intended definition of the term.

But, they don’t have jurisdiction over scientific terminology. In science, once we’ve solidly defined a technical term, we don’t change the meaning. The whole reason for making technical terms is so we have a stable vocabulary that we can use to communicate information in the most precise manner possible.

Abiogenesis is simply “life from non-life.” It was coined as an antithesis to “Biogenesis,” or the notion that life is created via biological reproduction. Unless you suggest that Intelligent Design was accomplished by means of biological reproduction, then you belong firmly in the “Abiogenesis” camp.

It’s really that simple.

And, because we’re all part of the same camp, the fates of our hypotheses are often shared. So, there is still need for a term that unites our two hypotheses based on their similarities. Unfortunately, people on your side have chosen to co-opt that term for something else, and it’s causing massive headaches for those of us who have to explain why the term was made to mean what it was meant to mean in the first place.

-----

slevesque writes:

Think about it this way, talk to about any scientists today about abiogenesis, will a single one of them think you are talking about supernatural creation? If not, then it shows that the meaning of the word has changed, and now means most probably ''life from non-life by natural processes''

Do not confuse colloquial usage with technical definitions. Any scientist who was actually critically examining the mechanistic similarities between special creation and, e.g., the “primordial soup” hypothesis, would come to the conclusion that there were enough similarities to warrant the coining of a term to describe both of them together. And, the logical choice for that term would be “abiogenesis.”

Edited by Bluejay, : I accidentally stated that I was personally involved in the coining of the term "abiogenesis," which is obviously false.


-Bluejay (a.k.a. Mantis, Thylacosmilus)

Darwin loves you.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by slevesque, posted 01-17-2010 11:16 PM slevesque has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 16 by slevesque, posted 01-19-2010 2:36 AM Blue Jay has responded

Huntard
Member
Posts: 2870
From: Limburg, The Netherlands
Joined: 09-02-2008


Message 15 of 177 (543458)
01-18-2010 9:10 AM
Reply to: Message 13 by slevesque
01-17-2010 11:16 PM


slevesque writes:

It's all a question of semantics, and Huntard put his finger right on the problem.


Why thank you.

In other words, when a scientist uses the word ''abiogenesis'', no one ever thinks he is referring to supernatural creation of life.

I don't know if no-one would think that. I certainly wouldn't

This is in fact the general understanding of the definition of the word as of today in both layman and scientific terms, and as Briterican said you should usually find this '... by natural processes' in the definition of the word.

I disagree. In laymen's terms, it still refers to life from non life. That's how I use it when talking to a layman, anyway. When talking to a scientist, I assume he means by natural causes, because, you know, that's what science studies. When talking to a layman, I use it to mean "life from non life", and so, that also includes creation.

The problem comes when a Theist uses the word and says something like ''abiogenesis is impossible'' etc. Someone is bound to bring up the argument that the greek origin of the word simply means life-from-nonlife and therefore a theists also believes in abiogenesis etc. etc. (This has happened to me the both times I got involved in an 'origin of life' thread, and so I stopped going into this area because of it unfortunately ...)

Of course I hope everyone can see the fallacy in this. They do not take into account that the definition of the word has evolved and changed, and that it is no longer this definition that applies.


Actually, that is the definition of the word. It's just used differently in science. "Abiogenesis" is not impossible, in fact, this is what must have happened. That the scientific use of the word only refers to natural causes is because that's all science can study, this doesn't mean that we shouldn't call creation "abiogenesis".

Think about it this way, talk to about any scientists today about abiogenesis, will a single one of them think you are talking about supernatural creation ?

If you're talking in a scientific context, then no, I don't think he will. Most people aren't scientists however, and don't talk about abiogenesis in a scientific context.

If not, then it shows that the meaning of the word has changed, and now means most probably ''life from non-life by natural processes''

No, it shows that when talking about it in a scientific context it refers to natural causes. When talking about it in any other context, it simply means "life from non-life".


I hunt for the truth

I am the one Orgasmatron, the outstretched grasping hand
My image is of agony, my servants rape the land
Obsequious and arrogant, clandestine and vain
Two thousand years of misery, of torture in my name
Hypocrisy made paramount, paranoia the law
My name is called religion, sadistic, sacred whore.
-Lyrics by Lemmy Kilmister of Motorhead


This message is a reply to:
 Message 13 by slevesque, posted 01-17-2010 11:16 PM slevesque has not yet responded

  
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