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Author Topic:   Self-sustained Replication of an RNA Enzyme
dcarraher
Junior Member (Idle past 2685 days)
Posts: 13
From: Cols, OH
Joined: 06-05-2009


Message 31 of 52 (560138)
05-13-2010 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 19 by Blue Jay
05-12-2010 2:31 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
DNA also isn’t made of amino acids.
DNA and RNA are both nucleic acids (that’s what the “NA” stands for).

You are correct, I was not. My apologies.


This message is a reply to:
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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


(1)
Message 32 of 52 (560139)
05-13-2010 1:48 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 1:38 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
No - because you started with something that is unarguably "Life", and ended with more. In the RNA experiment, you started with RNA, which is unarguably "Not Life", and ended up with more "Not Life". QED - Experiments that start with non-life and end up with more non-life = irrelevant to abiogenesis.

So if I build a model rocket engine, secure it in place and measure the thrust it produces that's irrelevant to moon travel because I started with something on the ground and finished with something on the ground? How about an experiment to measure the force of gravity? Is that irrelevant to moon travel because I'm not making a rocket?

Experiments don't reproduce the whole process. This experiment doesn't demonstrate the possibility of abiogenesis, it investigates one small part of one possible route. And there it finds that, gee, you can actually produce self-reproducing RNA just as the theory says.


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Wounded King
Member (Idle past 1712 days)
Posts: 4149
From: Edinburgh, Scotland
Joined: 04-09-2003


(1)
Message 33 of 52 (560140)
05-13-2010 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 29 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 1:38 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
In the RNA experiment, you started with RNA, which is unarguably "Not Life"

You seem to be simply assuming that which is supposed to be under discussion. If RNA molecules can exist which show the capacity for imperfect self replication through autocatalysis then why are they unarguably "Not Life".

TTFN,

WK


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dcarraher
Junior Member (Idle past 2685 days)
Posts: 13
From: Cols, OH
Joined: 06-05-2009


Message 34 of 52 (560141)
05-13-2010 1:51 PM
Reply to: Message 17 by Taq
05-12-2010 1:34 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
So you are saying that a self replicating RNA molecule has nothing to do with abiogenesis? Really?

Yes. Even those evolutionists who propose an RNA scenario for the origin of life are merely presenting it as a hypothesis. And within the Evolutionary community, it has many detractors who dismiss it as implausible. So, I'm not really stating anything that other evolutionists haven't, re whether self-replicating RNA is relevant to abiogenesis. If you'd care to argue the point further - take it up with them.


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dcarraher
Junior Member (Idle past 2685 days)
Posts: 13
From: Cols, OH
Joined: 06-05-2009


Message 35 of 52 (560142)
05-13-2010 2:00 PM


Definition of Life
I really have no response to those of who insist that biology and chemistry are so closely related that there is no difference. I'll have more to offer in the next post, but for this post, I'd like to quote physicist Paul Davies, in his book The Eerie Silence:

“To a physicist like me, life looks to be a little short of magic: all those dumb molecules conspiring to achieve such clever things! How do they do it? There is no orchestrator, no choreographer directing the performance, no esprit de corps, no collective will, no life force – just mindless atoms pushing and pulling on each other, kicked about by random thermal fluctuations. Yet the end product is an exquisite and highly distinctive form of order. Even chemists, who are familiar with the amazing transformative powers of molecules, find it breathtaking. George Whitesides, Professor of Chemistry at Harvard University, writes, ‘How remarkable is life? The answer is: very. Those of us who deal in networks of chemical reactions know of nothing like it.’ ”

If I find the distinction between chemistry and biology to be pretty clear, at the very least I am not alone. Let's file this one under the heading of "agree to disagree", where you must admit that you are disagreeing with a significant portion of the evolutionary community, not just creationists and "IDiots".


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Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 109 days)
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 36 of 52 (560143)
05-13-2010 2:10 PM
Reply to: Message 30 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 1:45 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
Because the experiment starts with something that is clearly non-life, and ends with more of something that is not significantly different. You started with the ability to replicate, and ended with the ability to replicate - you did not add the ability to replicate, nor did you add any other "life-like" characteristics. Ergo, irrelevant to the question of abiogenesis.

When you really examine it, what are the differences between organic and inorganic on a molecular level? It is generally the same compounds we're dealing with. The only changes in things like peptide bonds and amino acids.

Surely we look at a rock and we look at a human and to differentiate between living and non-living is easy. But on the molecular level the line between living and non-living is blurred for the simple fact that "growing" cannot be the sole qualifier. Crystals grow, but I doubt you would claissfy that as living. What then is the spark of life?

I echo RAZD and also ask, what is your definition of life on the molecular level?


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." – Blaise Pascal
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Larni
Member
Posts: 3952
From: Liverpool
Joined: 09-16-2005


Message 37 of 52 (560147)
05-13-2010 2:16 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:00 PM


Re: Definition of Life
I'd like to quote physicist Paul Davies, in his book The Eerie Silence:

All this physicist is saying is that he is amazed that a godless set of processes can amount to a living organism: what does that have to do with an arbitrary dividing line (yet to identified) between what gets labelled as life and what gets labelled as non-life?

Edited by Larni, : You know, just because....


Jesus Saves! The rest of the party take full damage.
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Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 109 days)
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


(1)
Message 38 of 52 (560149)
05-13-2010 2:31 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 1:51 PM


Re: The definition of life is ...
Yes. Even those evolutionists who propose an RNA scenario for the origin of life are merely presenting it as a hypothesis. And within the Evolutionary community, it has many detractors who dismiss it as implausible. So, I'm not really stating anything that other evolutionists haven't, re whether self-replicating RNA is relevant to abiogenesis. If you'd care to argue the point further - take it up with them.

There has to be a starting point in any investigation. God did it is not a sufficient answer. Even supposing that the Creator (whatever that might be) is responsible, isn't it in the best interest of everyone to find out why that is and how it happened? Anything less emasculates science and renders it moot.

We could have been satisfied with gravity as just being the way things are and never bothered to find out the details of how it works, but we didn't. We endeavored to figure out why that is, regardless if God is the ultimate cause or if it were mere happenstance.

How life happens is still a valid question then, regardless of whether or not an evolutionist wants to know or a creationist. The only real debate, and one that is neither completely verifiable nor falsifiable, is whether or not random processes brought about life or whether it was directed by the hand of a Creator. In my mind it doesn't really matter because there is still room for investigation either way. The only argument then is the interpretation of the evidence.

An RNA-first hypothesis could mean that chemicals bonded by chance allowing for the possibility of life. It could also mean that a Creator guided those bonds on order to create life. Either way, it's worth a look.


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." – Blaise Pascal
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dcarraher
Junior Member (Idle past 2685 days)
Posts: 13
From: Cols, OH
Joined: 06-05-2009


Message 39 of 52 (560151)
05-13-2010 2:35 PM


Definitions and Measurements
A common thread running through the above posts is regarding the definition and measurement of such terms as "Life", "Information", "Chemistry vs. Biology", etc. One of the most common debating tactics of evolutionists is the demand that, not only must their opponent define and be able to measure these concepts, but that they have to do it on the evolutionist's terms - in a purely materialistic fashion. If they cannot (so the evolutionist argument goes), then they cannot use those terms to criticise evolutionist views.

This is not always possible, because materialism is unable to define and/or measure all forms of reality. This doesn't invalidate the reality.

Let me provide an example:

The sky is blue in my world.

Based on this statement, you can theorize that either I'm a happy guy, or the weather outside is nice, or both. This is "Information". It is not definable, or measurable, in materialistic terms. It is not constrained by or limited to or even contained in the material elements (LCD pixels?) that transmits the information. But it is definitely "Real" - the material universe has changed because of it. But according to the evolutionist, I would not be allowed to assert that the sky is blue, because I am not able to measure the information content of the message.

Similarly, "Life" is qualitatively different than "Non-Life" even if not in a form that is measurable materialistically. To use an example that has been beat to death (sorry, bad pun), what is the difference between a live cat and dead cat? A quantum of time. Materially they could be exactly identical.

So you've asked me to provide a "definition" and "measurement" of information, and life, or you will not accept my criticism of this experiment as not showing an increase in (non-material) information, or being irrelevant to the question of (non-materially-constrained) abiogenesis?

Sorry, you've merely confirmed my assertion that EvC is mostly pointless because we cannot accept each other's base premises.

As a P.S. - One of the posters above states that the RNA has information. My own opinion on the subject (speaking only for myself) is that "material information" is qualitatively different than "non-material" information. RNA has what I call material information - information that is a direct result of its physical/chemical properties. This is the kind of information that even a water molecule has. A Living Cell, on the other hand, has nonmaterial information contained in its DNA - e.g. how to build a protein. The ability to build a copy of itself is not a characteristic of its physical binding chemistry, it is a process that requires messengers and translators. Replicating RNA replicates because of its chemical characteristics, not because of the information it contains that can be interpreted.


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New Cat's Eye
Member
Posts: 11859
From: near St. Louis
Joined: 01-27-2005
Member Rating: 1.5


Message 40 of 52 (560156)
05-13-2010 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:35 PM


Re: Definitions and Measurements
This is "Information". It is not definable, or measurable, in materialistic terms.

Then you can't say that, with evolution, it only decreases and never increases.

Sorry, you've merely confirmed my assertion that EvC is mostly pointless because we cannot accept each other's base premises.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Peace!


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Hyroglyphx
Member (Idle past 109 days)
Posts: 5512
From: Austin, TX
Joined: 05-03-2006


Message 41 of 52 (560157)
05-13-2010 3:04 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:35 PM


Re: Definitions and Measurements
A common thread running through the above posts is regarding the definition and measurement of such terms as "Life", "Information", "Chemistry vs. Biology", etc. One of the most common debating tactics of evolutionists is the demand that, not only must their opponent define and be able to measure these concepts, but that they have to do it on the evolutionist's terms - in a purely materialistic fashion.

Since science operates solely on the investigation of physical world, it's not so strange that materialism be the guide. Think about it. Secondly, I don't see this as a tactic so much as it is a way of clarifying.

If they cannot (so the evolutionist argument goes), then they cannot use those terms to criticise evolutionist views.

You can't demand that the difference between life and non-life is so great and then not be able to yourself define it. That seems like a reasonable and simple request if the gulf between organic and inorganic so enormous to bridge.

This is not always possible, because materialism is unable to define and/or measure all forms of reality. This doesn't invalidate the reality.

That's true but ultimately irrelevant to the topic at hand. I see you shifting goals right before my eyes. We're currently discussing matter which is therefore a materialistic subject. Now that you can't seem to define what life is, you're shifting goals away by:

1. Being accusatory of an evolutionist conspiracy
2. Bringing up irrelevant topics

It is not definable, or measurable, in materialistic terms.

It's not? The sky is blue is given in philosophical terms then? The fact that we see the sky as blue is completely a natural phenomenon. I don't see the relevance.

It is not constrained by or limited to or even contained in the material elements (LCD pixels?) that transmits the information. But it is definitely "Real" - the material universe has changed because of it. But according to the evolutionist, I would not be allowed to assert that the sky is blue, because I am not able to measure the information content of the message.

This non-sequitur highlights the fundamental difference between your inability to understand materialism and your inability to to deride evolutionists about life from non-life in one instance, and yet further highlight your inability to define the difference.

Similarly, "Life" is qualitatively different than "Non-Life" even if not in a form that is measurable materialistically. To use an example that has been beat to death (sorry, bad pun), what is the difference between a live cat and dead cat? A quantum of time. Materially they could be exactly identical.

Two different things. If you are referring to clinical death, the cat would cease to have respirations, brain activity, or a pulse. If you're looking at cellular activity, the cells are still alive for some time.

But lets not be coy here. We're clearly speaking about the demarcation between life and non-life on the molecular level. See how the question is now qualified! Dead cats and living cats are irrelevant. You are obfuscating.

you've merely confirmed my assertion that EvC is mostly pointless because we cannot accept each other's base premises.

EvC is a DEBATE forum. If you're looking for an echo chamber you've found the wrong place.

RNA has what I call material information - information that is a direct result of its physical/chemical properties. This is the kind of information that even a water molecule has. A Living Cell, on the other hand, has nonmaterial information contained in its DNA - e.g. how to build a protein.

Yes, but one cannot do without the other, right? That is why they are called "Building Blocks," because one builds off of the other. So the investigation is trying to see if life began in the RNA world first.

The ability to build a copy of itself is not a characteristic of its physical binding chemistry, it is a process that requires messengers and translators. Replicating RNA replicates because of its chemical characteristics, not because of the information it contains that can be interpreted.

Yes, but RNA is a very similar molecule to DNA. There are only two chemical differences between the two, and it it can reproduce on its own, performing the tasks of both DNA and enzymes.

Look, I've argued here a few months back when some people said that abiogenesis must have been the way it went down. I argued that there is still a chicken and egg problem and we don't know shit. However, your tone seems to indicate that you are not receptive to anything an evolutionist has to say. That's the wrong spirit. You should only care about truth, whatever truth may be.


"Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from mistaken conviction." – Blaise Pascal
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Blue Jay
Member (Idle past 315 days)
Posts: 2843
From: You couldn't pronounce it with your mouthparts
Joined: 02-04-2008


(1)
Message 42 of 52 (560158)
05-13-2010 3:08 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:00 PM


Re: Definition of Life
Hi, Dcarraher.

dcarraher writes:

I really have no response to those of who insist that biology and chemistry are so closely related that there is no difference...

...Let's file this one under the heading of "agree to disagree"...

This is such a central part of the debate, that I'm not convinced we can even continue this debate if we don't get into discussing the differences between chemistry and biology.

At any rate, I think you misunderstood what we have tried to convey. I think it’s understandable that you misunderstood, because it’s a pretty subtle thing we’re saying.

I’m confident that nobody here believes “chemistry = biology.” If I’m wrong, I’m sure those who disagree will reply and tell me so.

What we said was that there is no distinction. That is, there are no characteristics that neatly divide biology and chemistry into two clearly different things. This is not to say that biology and chemistry are the same thing, or to say that life is not a unique and remarkable phenomenon.

What it means is that we now know that molecules can do all the things we used to think only life could do: self-replicate, grow, and now, thanks to this RNA experiment, evolve. We have run out of ways to define life such that it is clearly different from things that we would not consider to be life.

As we scrutinize more and more the boundary between "life" and "non-life," we see less and less reason to call it a "boundary," and more and more reason to call it just another point on the spectrum.

-----

dcarraher writes:

If I find the distinction between chemistry and biology to be pretty clear, at the very least I am not alone.

I read the phrase, “...just mindless atoms pushing and pulling on each other, kicked about by random thermal fluctuations” from the Davies quote and conclude that physicist Paul Davies also thinks that life is basically just chemistry. Certainly, he thinks it is remarkable chemistry, but then again, so do the rest of us.


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

Darwin loves you.


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lyx2no
Member (Idle past 2334 days)
Posts: 1277
From: A vast, undifferentiated plane.
Joined: 02-28-2008


(1)
Message 43 of 52 (560160)
05-13-2010 3:09 PM
Reply to: Message 35 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:00 PM


Re: Definition of Life
Let's file this one under the heading of "agree to disagree"

Who is disagreeing with you? You have said that the distinction is clear. So tell us what the distinction is.

The height of the Eiffel Tower is clear.

How tall is it?

Let's just agree to disagree.

What's wrong with this picture?

… where you must admit that you are disagreeing with a significant portion of the evolutionary community, not just creationists and "IDiots".

Who in the evolutionary community has drawn a clear distinction? That life is amazing isn't a clear distinction, BTW.


"Mom! Ban Ki-moon made a non-binding resolution at me." — Mohmoud Ahmadinejad
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Dr Jack
Member
Posts: 3507
From: Leicester, England
Joined: 07-14-2003


Message 44 of 52 (560174)
05-13-2010 4:48 PM
Reply to: Message 39 by dcarraher
05-13-2010 2:35 PM


Re: Definitions and Measurements
One of the posters above states that the RNA has information. My own opinion on the subject (speaking only for myself) is that "material information" is qualitatively different than "non-material" information. RNA has what I call material information - information that is a direct result of its physical/chemical properties. This is the kind of information that even a water molecule has. A Living Cell, on the other hand, has nonmaterial information contained in its DNA - e.g. how to build a protein. The ability to build a copy of itself is not a characteristic of its physical binding chemistry, it is a process that requires messengers and translators. Replicating RNA replicates because of its chemical characteristics, not because of the information it contains that can be interpreted.

What I asked you was a bit more specific than that.

The properties of DNA are a direct result of its physical properties. Nothing that happens in transcription, translation or replication is anything other than the interaction between chemicals.


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Woodsy
Member (Idle past 991 days)
Posts: 301
From: Burlington, Canada
Joined: 08-30-2006


Message 45 of 52 (560180)
05-13-2010 5:09 PM
Reply to: Message 44 by Dr Jack
05-13-2010 4:48 PM


Re: Definitions and Measurements
The properties of DNA are a direct result of its physical properties. Nothing that happens in transcription, translation or replication is anything other than the interaction between chemicals.

Entirely right.

I think dcarraher is trying to open up a crevice he can sneak a soul into and doesn't care at all about reality.


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