Got a slightly tricky one here. I've been asked to explain "the origin of life" by a member of a discussion forum (not from here) and the article that's been posted in support of the Intelligent creation of life is this link here.
Well, let's tease apart this article a bit, beginning with the conclusion.
quote:Life did not arise by physics and chemistry without intelligence. The intelligence needed to create life, even the simplest life, is far greater than that of humans; we are still scratching around trying to understand fully how the simplest life forms work. There is much yet to be learned of even the simplest bacterium. Indeed, as we learn more the ‘problem’ of the origin of life gets more difficult; a solution does not get nearer, it gets further away. But the real problem is this: the origin of life screams at us that there is a super-intelligent Creator of life and that is just not acceptable to the secular mind of today.
The origin of life is about as good as it gets in terms of scientific ‘proof’ for the existence of God.
The above argument is incredibly vapid and requires a large leap in logic. First, the argument that "Intelligent humans haven't been able to create life, therefore life must have been designed by an even greater intelligence" represents a gross misunderstanding of why we have not successfully created life from scratch.
The reason why is simple, straightforward, and more often than not overlooked: humanity has not yet achieved robust positional control of matter on an atomic level. While we are rapidly gaining towards that technological feat, our current technology cannot do so because -- simply put -- humans and our technology are too big.
Unguided chemical reactions, on the other hand, by their very nature involve the positional control of matter according to physical and chemical laws. So the problem of the creation of life in the laboratory is not so much that we lack the intelligence to carry out such a feat, but rather that we lack the "smallness." Make sense?
The other difficulty with the conclusion section of the article is that it invokes an obvious "god of the gaps" argument. While biological life does IMHO exhibit suspicious traces and echoes of rational engineering, this does not immediately suggest design by a supernatural entity that communicated misogynistic rituals to a Neolithic band of bloodthirsty nomads.
So this article kinda falls apart at this point because it actually hasn't demonstrated anything at all -- except that current models with the origin of life suffer severe problems. But then again, no scientist well-versed in OoL disputes that.
More on this article later.
Full Disclosure: I'm an ID proponent in the sense that I think teleology is a useful avenue for exploring the origin of biological life. But the creationist ideology is a fantasia wholly divorced from biotic reality and the progress of science.
I mean the more I look at this article, the more it seems as if the author failed AP chem and bio.
quote:A pure lipid membrane would not allow even the passive movement of the positively-charged ions of mineral nutrients such as calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, etc., or the negatively-charged ions such as phosphate, sulfate, etc., into the cell, and they are all essential for life. A pure-lipid membrane would repel such charged ions, which dissolve in water, not lipid. Indeed, a simple fat membrane would prevent the movement of water itself (try mixing a lipid like olive oil with water)!
Like...cell membranes are composed of phospholipid bilayers with a hydrophilic head facing the outer environ. Apparently the author isn't aware of cell membrane structure, so this paragraph quoted above is pretty much nonsense.