What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

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What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on August 2nd, 2012, 11:34 pm 

In your opinion forum,

What do you suppose the odds are that life came into extistence from the primordial eliments by chance alone?

Scientific term ambiogeneses

Alan


EDIT:c orrected spelling of abiogenesis, just for appearances. Hope this is OK--Marshall
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 3rd, 2012, 12:00 am 

None. Science remains fairly deterministic despite some acceptance of concepts like emergent complexity. The concept of randomness is hard for the average person to understand it is not interchangeable with chance or accident as used conversationally .
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on August 3rd, 2012, 2:13 am 

wolfhnd wrote:None. Science remains fairly deterministic despite some acceptance of concepts like emergent complexity. The concept of randomness is hard for the average person to understand it is not interchangeable with chance or accident as used conversationally .


This is not the usual answer to the question, although you are most likely right. Maybe we are not average and would really appreciate it if you could elaborate futher.

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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 3rd, 2012, 5:34 am 

First I disagree that it is not the normal and appropriate answer if the question is posted in a science forum. When we say that the mutations that feed evolution are random that does not mean that there is no causation or that the possible mutations are infinite. What science says is that given certain conditions life will evolve and that given the finite nature of the variables the mechanisms of evolution can be understood. This is something entirely different than unequivocally saying how life evolved or will evolve. While the certainty of the outcome is a probability issue the basic mechanisms are well understood.

Applied usage in science, mathematics and statistics recognizes a lack of predictability when referring to randomness, but admits regularities in the occurrences of events whose outcomes are not certain. For example, when throwing 2 dice and counting the total, we can say 7 will randomly occur twice as often as 4. This view, where randomness simply refers to situations in which the certainty of the outcome is at issue, is the one taken when referring to concepts of chance, probability, and information entropy. In these situations randomness implies a measure of uncertainty and notions of haphazardness are irrelevant.



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

You seem to think my answer was condescending, but I would like to point out that "Americans Fail Basic Science". A quick search on Google will produce enough evidence to support that contention. When presenting a scientific issue in language that people will understand where should you start without sounding condescending?

•Only 53% of adults know how long it takes for the Earth to revolve around the Sun.
•Only 59% of adults know that the earliest humans and dinosaurs did not live at the same time.
•Only 47% of adults can roughly approximate the percent of the Earth's surface that is covered with water .(*)
•Only 21% of adults answered all three questions correctly.


http://www.nowpublic.com/tech-biz/ameri ... z22TJqiylW

There is another issue that should be considered that relates to language.

You may or may not fail basic science but that doesn't alter the fact that scientific concepts when popularize tend to be distorted. It is practically impossible to present scientific information in non scientific terms. Think of language as a technology and then consider how difficult it would be to cut a piece of wood with a hammer. Every job requires it's own technology and technological refinements. That is why we have many kinds of hammers and saws and many kinds of languages such as those for law, philosophy, medicine, science, computers, and every day life. It would be a mistake to think you can easily translate a commonly used term between any of these fields and it has nothing to do with one tool being better than another it is question of the appropriate tool. Some thing lawyers are constantly reminding me of :-) If I ask a lawyer a question they go to great length to explain every term and it's specific meaning in relationship to the issue at hand and I hate it.
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby BioWizard on August 6th, 2012, 1:17 pm 

Wolf, I don't know if I completely agree. While mutations can be predisposed to certain areas within the genome (clearly the more "exposed areas"), they can theoretically happen anywhere along the length of the DNA. Also, within areas of high likelihood, you often can't predict where exactly they will occur. For example, consider a free radical molecule swimming around inside cells until it hits a nucleotide in the DNA and causes it to mutate. That mutation event would be no more or less random than the Brownian motion of the free radical inside the cell.

I do agree though that the OP question is not very clearly phrased. Can it happen by chance alone? As opposed to?
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 6th, 2012, 4:08 pm 

While the possible number of mutations is a very large number they are not infinite being confined by the physical structure of the DNA. The possible number of mutation that survive to be passed on is somewhat smaller being confined by the environment and other factors. The distinction I'm making is that while not predictable the total number of possible mutations and there effect on the gene pool remain finite. The point I'm trying to make is that life is not an accident in the sense that it could have happened or it may not have happened but rather given the conditions on earth it will happen as a matter of probability. We have had this Brownian motion discussion before and in a similar way if all the causes were known the motion would no longer be "random" but predictable. If the universe was truly unpredictable then science would not be possible. Fortunately we don't have to able to predict what an individual particle will do in order to understand what will happen in the aggregate. I understand the whole question of Schrödinger's cat confuses the issue somewhat but I think that it goes beyond the scope of the original question.

BIO I agree that we cannot predict which mutations will transpire but would not agree that the total number of possible mutations were infinite or that the inability to predict individual mutations makes it impossible to predict in a general sense which mutations will be beneficial and which ones will not. The universe is a predictable place and randomness reflects more a limitation of the observer than the nature of the process.
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby Paralith on August 6th, 2012, 5:11 pm 

I think a lot of people aren't completely clear on the difference between something that's probabilistic and something that's truly random/happens "by chance alone."

The result of a coinflip is probabilistic. When I flip a coin, I don't know if it's going to land on heads or tails. But I do know it's going to be either heads or tails (or land perfectly on its side), and there are certain probabilities/odds for each of those possible results to happen. When I flip a coin and it lands on heads, that didn't happen truly randomly/"by chance alone." I could only say that if I had zero idea at all about what would happen if I flipped a coin. If one time I flipped a coin and it flew off into space, and one time I flipped a coin and it turned into a toaster, if one time I flipped a coin and I suddenly died of a broken neck, etc etc. That's what it means to be truly random, for things to truly happen by chance alone. This is not what was going on when life began on earth. Life beginning was a probabilistic occurrence given the conditions on earth and the various chemicals that were floating around on it, and the laws of chemistry and physics that determine how those chemicals interact, etc. There were only so many things that could possibly happen given that set up. It might be a really big number of things, but as wolfhnd is saying, it is a limited number of things. It was not possible, for example, that the earth might have instantly transformed into a star. It was definitely possible that life would emerge. It wasn't guaranteed to happen but it was possible.

Sadly, I think most people who ask the question that Alan McDougall asked are really asking something else entirely. As in, "chance alone" = no god and "it didn't happen by chance alone" = god. When really "it didn't happen by chance alone" can also = we live in universe with a finite amount of matter and energy and finite rules on how that matter and energy interact, and god might very well have nothing to do with it.
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on August 6th, 2012, 8:29 pm 

Entropy of a system always leads to disoder, chaos and breakdown, life on the other hand is highly ordered, how can this be?

We see that many things in the universe tend toward increased order, the opposite of what,the second law of thermodynamics predicts. Life has evolved as atoms became molecules, then amino acids, proteins, cells, multi-cellular life, social systems, and so on Definitely a process of increasing order, and against the flow of increasing entropy. This seeming paradox puzzles me as well as many scientist over the years?
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 6th, 2012, 8:36 pm 

While I was trying to avoid the issues of the first cause or whatever you want to call it I admit that I thought the motive for the post to be something along the lines of

As in, "chance alone" = no god and "


There is something even deeper involved though along the lines of "your prayers will be answered", "you can be whatever you want" or "the possibilities are endless" even perhaps "all men are created equal". The idea that all events are the result of a potentially understandable chain of causes and effects seems to be repugnant to many people who prefer that life be somehow mysterious. For those individuals I recommend a short study of the life of Buddha. While we may not be the masters of our own destinies we may be the masters of our happiness.

Getting back to the discussion at hand however we would need to focus on determinism and what that means in biological terms. While I would concede that evolution is not predictable in terms of future events the processes and events of past evolution are open to the evaluation of their causes and effects as those events are no longer probabilistic but fixed in a historical reference. Only future events can have a probability, past events are fixed but due to the number of possible causes statistical analysis may still be appropriate if your are looking for the ultimate cause and no absolute answer may be possible. Again the human mind does seem to be attracted to absolutes but that is a question for psychologist not a biologist.

What does determinism mean to a biologist?
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 6th, 2012, 8:40 pm 

Entropy of a system always leads to disoder, chaos and breakdown, life on the other hand is highly ordered, how can this be?


If entropy and atrophy are closely related then life is a process that draws more energy from the environment than it expends thus increasing the entropy of the environment while decreasing it's own entropy with no net change in entropy within the closed system, but really what it the point of this question anyway?
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby Paralith on August 6th, 2012, 8:47 pm 

It is not a paradox at all, and scientists dealt with this question a long time ago.

Entropy in the entire universe is increasing, yes. But the planet earth is not the entire universe. It is one tiny place within the universe. It is completely in line with the second law of thermodynamics if there is some increase in order in certain localized places, because the entire system, being the universe, is still having a net decrease in order. The increase in order that's taking place on earth is at the cost of decrease in order from the sun; the sun is radiating energy, losing energy, and it is that energy which life on earth uses to build and maintain itself. Life as we know it would not exist on earth if this wasn't happening. Eventually the sun will have lost too much of its energy and it will die, and so too will the life on earth. It may take billions of years but entropy will have its sway in the end, and that's what the law is about.
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby Paralith on August 6th, 2012, 8:53 pm 

wolfhnd wrote:
Entropy of a system always leads to disoder, chaos and breakdown, life on the other hand is highly ordered, how can this be?


If entropy and atrophy are closely related then life is a process that draws more energy from the environment than it expends thus increasing the entropy of the environment while decreasing it's own entropy with no net change in entropy within the closed system, but really what it the point of this question anyway?


It's about those first causes you didn't want to talk about, wolfhnd. :)

Someone with strong beliefs in their first cause won't be swayed by calm and thoughtful arguments. Ultimately they're on a mission related to their own personal values and if you're going to make any real progress, those values have to be addressed directly. I may be wrong about the first cause but if I'm not, I'd like to get it out in the open ASAP to address it more effectively.
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 6th, 2012, 8:54 pm 

Thanks for the great explanation Paralith.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Marshall on August 7th, 2012, 12:10 am 

Alan McDougall wrote:In your opinion forum,

What do you suppose the odds are that life came into extistence from the primordial eliments by chance alone?

Scientific term ambiogeneses

Alan


EDIT:corrected spelling of abiogenesis, just for appearances. Hope this is OK--Marshall


Hello Alan,
I think the gist of your question is whether or not the beginning of life could have happened without some kind of intervention.

So arguing about the physical meaning of "chance" "randomness" "determinism" etc would not be to the point. That is all about theories of physics. Ooops, have to go, Back later.

So you are presenting an EITHER-OR and it doesn't really address your question to start discussing if it is the correct either-or,and whether you should have mentioned quantum mechanics etc. or determinism or etc etc. That, as I see it, does not illuminate your question.

Basically I think you are asking whether or not if you had a large box, in which you put a source of light like the sun, and water and mud and the chemicals that occurred naturally in the solar system, that we find on the moons of jupiter and saturn and comets and in meteorites. And the box was big enough so that clouds and rain and lightning etc could occur. Well, would life automatically get started in that box?

You want our OPINION about that. I think. Tell me if I am wrong, please!

The question is: well life is some kinds of structured chemical reactions. Certain kinds of molecules automatically form membranes and surround blobs of other chemicals.

The question, I think is basically IS LIFE INEVITABLE? if you put the right chemicals and energy sources in a box and don;t let anyone mess with it and just wait long enough?

If you waited long enough would you get blobs surrounded by membranes with various chemical reactions going on inside the blobs? And would the blobs divide, so that they reproduced and multiplied?

And you want our opinion as to the outcome of this experiment. Tell me if I'm misunderstanding you.

My opinion is, well YES! IT IS INEVITABLE. If you put the right stuff in and wait long enough, and don't let anybody intervene or mess with it.

Other people may have different opinions and a different idea of the odds. I think the odds are essentially 100%, if you have time to wait.

But I have to confess I don;t know what the right mix of chemicals and conditions would be to put in the box. My guess is that humans are just beginning to get savvy enough to figure that out. Sampling the chemical conditions on other planets will probably teach us something, and understanding cell biology better here on Earth too. Understanding how Life happened is probably a long road and we are just beginning to travel on that road. Or so I think.
You?
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Re: What are the odds of life Ambiogeneses by chance ?

Postby DragonFly on August 7th, 2012, 4:29 am 

wolfhnd wrote:None. Science remains fairly deterministic despite some acceptance of concepts like emergent complexity. The concept of randomness is hard for the average person to understand it is not interchangeable with chance or accident as used conversationally .


Good reply. There is likely no such thing as 'random', for that would be to say the event didn't depend on anything at all. We and all creatures were fine-tuned to the Earth's environment. 'Chance' is not the scientific alternative to Intelligent Design; natural selection is.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 7th, 2012, 4:57 am 

You know I wanted to say that given the conditions the chances were nearly 100% that life would develop but thought it missed the bigger question of why people always looked for absolutes in a world where only probability really matters :-) Absolute certainty implies absolute understanding only achievable through absolute faith. The idea that all things are open to questions opens science up to attack by those who demand absolute answers. A tempered faith that does not demand absolutes is seen as a sign of weakness by the faith based enemies of reason. The one exception I can think of is physicists that believe in the possibility of a formula for everything, which if it exist will more than likely explain little of anything. There in lies the other issue that people can't seem to get over in so far as knowing the cause of an effect does not necessarily mean that you "understand" the process. If the process is sufficiently complex "understanding" it will necessarily be a matter of probabilities with degrees of uncertainty. So while we say that science has certain "laws" which cannot be violated what we are really saying is that given a set of conditions defined by artificial absolutes in an abstract closed system we can create predictions with nearly 100% certainty. Few people are actually willing to go through the painful process of understanding the myriad of details that define the conditions and systems represented by the laws in order to see the limitations and prefer to think of them as truly absolute in a sort of 1 + 1 = 2 kind of way. In fact many people confuse the role of math in science for the same reason that math is an absolute closed system artificially representing reality abstractly. In the example in question we are discussing evolution which most scientist consider an absolute truth or law concerning life. So if evolution is the cause and the effect life the law remains inviolateable but the process may remain obscure in it's details without violating any of our understanding of what a law actually means.

Sorry for the rambling I'm trying to work this out for myself.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby DragonFly on August 7th, 2012, 5:32 am 

wolfhnd wrote:Sorry for the rambling I'm trying to work this out for myself.


It was a good kind of rambling. Yes, the odds were 100%.

The answer to the ID vs Evolution ‘dilemma’ is that there can be no ‘random’, for that means that not anything was depended on. What was depended on was the environment, to which survival was fine-tuned, via genetics. That’s not enough, though, for, in turn, nature had to have the capability for creatures to form and adapt in the first place.

So, the capability for our existence was absolutely inherent in the universe all along, the universe having had to be such in particular to be able to produce life. If not, we wouldn’t be here to discuss it. A differently formed universe may not have had this capability.

We will always look back to see what we at first think are fortunate events, such as asteroids wiping out the dinosaurs and much of other life, but asteroids (and their basis) were ever on the way here.

The universe also had to be very large, which it is, and so then there are places, amid all the ‘junk’, like the Earth, where all the conditions line up just right, which is a lot of them, such as even there having to be a moon for stability, lest the Earth wobble too quickly in and out of hot and freezing zones.

It is all still a design without a Designer, since a Designer could made the right place and put all the creatures on it intact and fully formed.

Evolution took ages, which is yet another indication that it is true, along with fossils, DNA, and embryonics all matching each other, which is an undeniable triple (even quadruple) conjunction of confirmation.

So, all, now, is what it had to become, the outcome already guaranteed by the particular arrangements of nature in the beginning, which amounts and more were circumstantial, not existential, unless it is that tiny things of any properties can always combine and amount to higher and higher composites and complexities, these tiny things unable to be ‘inert’, due to the forced default condition of the Beginning, such as that actual infinities are impossible, such as infinite density, forcing things like waves within waves to ‘blow’, from the bandwidth limitation, waves having to be so since they are continuous functions without lessor parts, and so they can be the first ‘thing’, with an opposing primal wave so that all cancels to nothing, which is the only source of existence, so that something is not actually obtained, free and clear, from nothing, and that, while much annihilation of the opposites did occur, the remainder could not once it all blew up. The zero-sum balance of ‘sum-things’ remains apparent in the universe today as polarity of charge, matter/anti-matter states (ever produced in pairs), gravity’s negative potential energy canceling that of the positive kinetic energy of stuff, and there being two and only two stable matter particles in free space—the electron and the proton, hinting that there are only two ways to make them.

In our case, in our universe, whatever happened in the Beginning is what happened, but is was such that we had to become after 13 billion years. No choice; no luck’ no ‘random’.

And, too, we do what we must (determinism), which might be disheartening to some, that is, until the other shoes drops, and we look into what the opposite of ‘determined’ would be, which is ‘undetermined’ events, which are not possible, but if they were, in our imagination, then that would lead to complete chaos.

So, now, the former disheartened are perhaps a bit happier that our will does depend on things such as our memories, experiences, learnings, and associations.

We are in a ‘scripted play’, yes, but at least we get to be in it, and it is fun. We also like that we have found truth, even though it’s like Dennet’s universal acid that eats away all our superstitions (if we had any).

There is no ‘random’, not even a probability-statistical one. There are no intermediate mini first causes as ‘random’ beyond that of the original and main ‘random’ of bottommost causeless state of ‘nothing’. All that then goes on is an unfolding of that.

One cannot even make a truly random number generator, for, when one tries, such as in computers, one must even keep a history to maintain its regularity of randomness (when designing certain computer instructions for rounding, or for other reasons). I used a computer random number generator once to shuffle a deck of computer cards for the game of Hearts, but it always went on the same if the initial seed was put back in, which was at least good for replays.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 7th, 2012, 5:52 am 

I'm fine with people believing that god created the universe as long as they are willing to agree that scientist know something about how he created it and how it works :-). While some people think that it is dangerous to allow any superstitions go unchallenged I prefer to believe that superstitions are no more dangerous than fiction or fantasy if they do not cause neurosis or promote violence.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby DragonFly on August 7th, 2012, 6:52 am 

Two monkey chromosomes fused, and we became the third type of chimp, no longer able to mate with the other types. We can always look back and call it “good fortune”, such as also our not being near the dangerous galactic core, and having a moon for the stability of the seasons passing slowly instead of a planet wobbling in and out of freezing and hot zones much too quickly, but we really don’t even have to look, for we already know that all had to come together for us to be, since we are. We still look, though, ever finding and noting the ‘good luck’ that had to be so.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Marshall on August 7th, 2012, 11:59 am 

DragonFly wrote:Two monkey chromosomes fused, and we became the third type of chimp, no longer able to mate with the other types. We can always look back and call it “good fortune”, such as also our not being near the dangerous galactic core, and having a moon for the stability of the seasons passing slowly instead of a planet wobbling in and out of freezing and hot zones much too quickly, but we really don’t even have to look, for we already know that all had to come together for us to be, since we are. We still look, though, ever finding and noting the ‘good luck’ that had to be so.


Good observations! The point is that these are things that are inevitable on a galactic scale. There are billions of stars which are NOT in the "dangerous galactic core" zone. It is very common for stars to have planets. It is very common for planets to have moons.

The things you mention help to enlarge and emphasize what I was saying in my previous post.
From a Universe perspective, life is a normal occurrence (the best evidence we have suggests). And it is even more common for life NOT to occur. Surely any life that happens to evolve consciousness can consider itself lucky! And yet given enough time and planets the evolution of consciousness is, I would say, inevitable.

It would be normal for a conscious species to consider its circumstances fortunate because (if it is able to look around with telescopes it will see that obviously) there are a lot of stars which are NOT in a safe part of the galaxy and there are a lot of stars which do NOT have planets and a lot of planets which do NOT have moons to help stabilize their rotation axis inclination, and do NOT have the right temperature for liquid water etc etc etc....

I would guess that there must be millions of conscious species who consider themselves especially fortunate because they can observe that there are clearly even more ( billions of) LESS favorable stars and planets.

It is a good point that the universe, with its existing natural laws (particle physics, chemistry, stellar gravitation and fusion) is NOT very favorable to life. Most planets are probably barren of life. So there might only be a thousand or a milllion conscious species in our galaxy. Out of its hundreds of billions of stars.

Planets with conscious life must be few and far between, I would guess.


So while given enough time and enough planets it is INEVITABLE for biological life to arise and for conscious species to evolve, it must be far more common for life NOT to develop. So in our galaxy there might only be 1000 conscious species, or a million, but any one of them certainly has the right to marvel at how fortunate they are. :-D

thanks for making that point, Dragonfly!
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby BioWizard on August 7th, 2012, 12:00 pm 

I don't see why finiteness of mutations would preclude the quality of randomness in mutatagenic events. Mind you, while the genome of any organism is finite, the possibilities for extending that genome, mutating it, shrinking it, (which all count as mutation) etc, are far larger than the mere point mutation events. Thus, it can be argued that the set of DNA mutations that can occur in a strand of DNA is as theoretically infinite as anything else is in the universe. How likely all these events are of course depends on the physical and chemical properties of DNA and the environment it's in.

And in any case, even if the probability of life arising in Earth's primordial soup was a resounding 1, the form that originally appeared could have had an equal chance of arising as any other element within a large set of possible forms - thus random.

Misunderstandings in these discussions can arise not only from having slightly different definitions of "random" and "probabilistic", but also from focusing one's perception on different aspects of the same considered scenario. For example, if we consider the situation were a free radical is swimming very close to a strand of DNA enclosed within a lipid membrane: The probability that the free radical will hit the DNA and cause a mutation is almost 1 (near certain). However, the probability that the free radical will hit specific regions of the DNA can be higher in some places than others, depending on their exposure to the surface (think DNA secondary structure and heterochromatin). Thus, the general location of the mutation is probabilistic. Now, if we consider a single locus with high probability for mutation (due to high surface exposure), the exact base pair position of the mutation will be randomized by Brownian motion in the water that solvates all these components. So, while all three perspectives are considering the exact same event (a DNA mutation caused by a free radical), one sees it as certain, one sees it as probabilistic, and one sees it as randomized.

All that said:

Was the appearance of life a near certain event? Likely yes. Was it also a random event? Likely Yes.

PS: Probabilistic + equal probability = random. In other words, probabilistic and random are not mutually exclusive, if I'm not mistaken.

[ It's good to see all of you guys again. It's been a while :) ]
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby DragonFly on August 7th, 2012, 7:58 pm 

THE MEADOWS OF HEAVEN

We, of the highest consciousness ever known and of the most versatile form that’s been shown, reside as consequent beings in this Earthly realm; possibly the most ‘fortuitous’ creatures that the universe has ever wrought.

In fact, we are this universe come to life—necessarily from a long line of ‘fortunate accidents’ that had to happen. It had to be this way, for any universe in which we could emerge would have to be appropriate for us or we wouldn’t be here to discuss it.

Looking back, we already know, ahead of time, that we will discover the many ‘happenings’ that made us possible. All this we know and expect because we are here.

Perhaps, in some other ‘wheres’, junkyard universes litter the omniscape, for they flunked, failed, and miscarried—a quadrillion trillion universes broken down for every one that worked to any extent at all. In some of these forlorn universes, perhaps the material was inert and so it just sat there, doing nothing, forever. In others, maybe gravity was insufficient or had no natural place to collect particles, and so it thinned out endlessly, spreading coldly toward infinity. In yet others, again, even those in the same ballpark as ours, perhaps the portions weren’t quite right; although they may have formed a few elements, they went no further than that for a zillion years.

In our universe, the dark chest of wonders of possibility and probability opened up in just the just right way: Naked quarks spewed forth, among other things, and boiled and brewed in one of the steamiest broths ever cooked up. They somehow simmered and combined into the ordinary matter of protons and neutrons.

Then, quite independently, perhaps, by some unknown means, dark matter/energy arose, as well, in just the right mix, and, luckily, too, some very long filaments, called cosmic strings, formed and survived long enough to be useful as collection agents, which were merely imperfections, as in an unevenly freezing pond—a kind of a cooling flaw.

None of these happenings may have been related or connected, except by potential’s destiny, so, ‘fortunately’, the cosmic strings attracted, by their gravity, both dark and ordinary matter, which, in turn, attracted even more of the same. These pearls of embryonic galaxies arose and were strung along these cosmic necklaces, as can still be noted today.

So it was that some almost incidental irregularities, frozen out as cosmic anchors, were latched onto by matter, both light and dark, the proportionate portions of which were ‘favorable’, the dark matter dwarfing our ordinary matter for some reason of a happy ‘circumstance’.

‘Fortuitously’, as well, anti-matter, did not fully cancel out the uncle-matter. The universe could not foresee any of this in and of itself’s fundamental substance(s), for, if it could have, then we’d only have the larger problem of how the foreseer could have been foreseen, ad infinitum…

So, it could have been like the ‘trying out’ of all possibilities in superposition… a brute force happening of every path gone down, or just all possible universes trying to be, eventually, some of them making it.

We know much of the rest of the story of how the stars and their supernovae created the light and heavy elements which combined into molecules, which, ‘auspiciously’, became able to replicate themselves, as DNA, and progress to make cells, tissues, and life.

And then there was the ‘luck’ of oxygen, a mere waste product of photosynthesis by bacteria, and later, plants, that could fill the lungs, as well as build an ozone layer of protection from the harmful rays of outer space.

‘Luck’ on top of ‘luck’, ‘good fortune’, and then prosperity… ‘Stumbled along’ the right path. Of course, all this took many billions of years—and it is, of course, this long ‘yardstick’ that baffles the mind and sticks in the throat, but demonstrates the long time lag needed to produce even the tiniest of advances. It bears all the hallmarks of ‘randomness’ at work, although extremely probable.

Dinosaurs roamed the Earth for over two hundred million years—imagine the length of that time. They were supreme and invincible—the Kings of all the Earth ‘forever’, on land, sea, and even in the air—heading towards forevermore and beyond, but… ‘Dame Fortune’ once again intervened, when the asteroids, or some such catastrophe, finished off the dinosaurs, as well as 90% of the existing species. This ‘random’ event left a vacuum in which newer species could thrive. A nervous shrew-like creature peered from the forest in it hid, and said, “The dinosaurs are all gone! Now I can better evolve. Hurray!”

Proto-man gave way to near-man and thence to us, eventually, when two ‘monkey’ chromosomes fused together, making ‘us’ incompatible with the chimps and so our ancestors, then, truly descended from the trees!

We came to need no specialized niches, since we could adapt to any terrain, having brains that could learn much more after birth than instinct could bestow before. Our higher consciousness was the crowning glory—we had won the human race—the be all and end all; the grand prize of the universal lottery.

So, there is nothing more, aside from our own progress to be and learn. This is all there is! DNA remembers every step of our evolution—and you can see this in ‘fast’ motion when embryos form simply in the liquid womb, replicate, and then grow cells that diversify into a human being after going through some nonhuman stages, the kidney even changing three times. Thus, four billion years compresses into the nine months of pregnancy.

So, then, hail, and good fortune, fine fellows and ladies, and welcome all of you to the Meadows of Heaven—the highest point of all being, although we are surely still in our infancy. The path “chosen” by potential ends here, with our consciousness.

There were many pockets of universes, and this is the very one that could sing our verses. The further design and the role of mankind is now in our hands. We were borne here upon the shoulders of so many who have long since come and gone, all of them advancing the cause, over eons of wiles—so here we are. Fare thee always well, fine friends, for we are some of the ‘luckiest’ sons and daughters of being in a rare universe well done. Celebrate; live; be, for everyone dies, but not everyone lives.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby BioWizard on August 8th, 2012, 1:20 pm 

Huh?
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on August 8th, 2012, 1:46 pm 

Science has been wrong in the past and old new thoeries have replaced old ones. We say we have a good idea about how life came to be, but no one really knows what life is and as of yet we do not even have a satisfactory definition of life.

What about consciousness ? Is that restricted only to living things, we only know about 20% of the universe , we should be careful before making statement of absolute truth, because that is not scientific.

I put the post about entropy and complexity to get the debate going, as an engineer I know a lot about entropy and give a simple explanation of enrtopy as it realtes to the topic below!

A simple explanation of entropy by me below


As an Engineer I know a lot about entropy, and it is true within any system closed or otherwise, entropy can decrease within a sub- system of a greater system, like the earth or the universe. We see this in Power Generation, using huge quantities of coal, entropy in the boiler is reduced to as low as possible to increase efficiency, but the overall increase in entropy of the universe continues nevertheless. The furnace, boiler, turbine, electricity grid, use up the suns energy stored in the coal, but the sun continues to shine slowly increasing the state of entropy of the whole universe, maybe even up to its heat death.

The sun is a sub-system of the universe and the earth a sub-system of the sun. The sun shines for billions of years onto the earth, giving more than sufficient time for abiogeneses to come about on our planet.

There is no way around it entropy always wins in the end and one cant use the complexity of life as a reason for discounting spontaneous evolution of life on earth.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Marshall on August 8th, 2012, 3:21 pm 

DragonFly wrote:THE MEADOWS OF HEAVEN
We, of the highest consciousness ever known and of the most versatile form that’s been shown, reside as consequent beings in this Earthly realm; possibly the most ‘fortuitous’ creatures that the universe has ever wrought.
...
...
But in your wording I would urge you to allow for thousands of other equally fortunate equally conscious (more or less) species. We have no reason to suppose that we are singled out as uniquely fortunate.
...
...
So, then, hail, and good fortune, fine fellows and ladies, and welcome all of you to the Meadows of Heaven—the highest point of all being, although we are surely still in our infancy. The path “chosen” by potential ends here, with our consciousness.

There were many pockets of universes, and this is the very one that could sing our verses. The further design and the role of mankind is now in our hands. We were borne here upon the shoulders of so many who have long since come and gone, all of them advancing the cause, over eons of wiles—so here we are. Fare thee always well, fine friends, for we are some of the ‘luckiest’ sons and daughters of being in a rare universe well done. Celebrate; live; be, for everyone dies, but not everyone lives.
This is fullsome and jubilant, you seem to have a strong urge towards poetry. However do we have any reason to believe you when you say "highest point of all being"?

Perhaps you are inventing what you think of as a new religion and are preaching a joyful sermon to us. Could this be it? If so, it might be more convincing as a whole if it were more careful not to claim too much. Perhaps your sermon should be more measured and credible in the details. I don't know.

Is it biology? Do we know enough about the biology of consciousness? The evolution of consciousness?
There is a type of spider which shows some elements of consciousness. Ability to imagine future situations, out-think certain other types of spider, plan strategies to trick the other spider. It has evolved something distantly related to what we think of as a mind. Other planets may have other niches and evolve analogous but different sorts of central nervous systems. Natural selection does not always work in a straight line single track fashion. I don;t feel that I know enough about how consciousness evolves biologically in order to discuss it in Biology Forum terms. Interesting topic though!
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby DragonFly on August 8th, 2012, 7:08 pm 

Marshall wrote:This is fullsome and jubilant, you seem to have a strong urge towards poetry. However do we have any reason to believe you when you say "highest point of all being"?


Well, just around here. Yes, I am a poet, too.

Marshall wrote:Perhaps you are inventing what you think of as a new religion and are preaching a joyful sermon to us. Could this be it? If so, it might be more convincing as a whole if it were more careful not to claim too much. Perhaps your sermon should be more measured and credible in the details. I don't know.


I am a full atheist. There is still awe, and I may have romanticized it to instill some of that. We are not 'special', and that is the kind of hubris that that gets the religious people thinking that they deserve a Divine reward in Heaven; however, this false pride is, ironically, totally opposite to the true humility, which is that we are just electro-bio-chemical beings who happen to be higher up the food chain, but no more significant than any other creature.

Our life and consciousness is all there is, but some humans always want more, and by doing that they can miss much of what could be enjoyed here.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on August 8th, 2012, 7:51 pm 

Marshall wrote:
DragonFly wrote:THE MEADOWS OF HEAVEN
We, of the highest consciousness ever known and of the most versatile form that’s been shown, reside as consequent beings in this Earthly realm; possibly the most ‘fortuitous’ creatures that the universe has ever wrought.
...
...
But in your wording I would urge you to allow for thousands of other equally fortunate equally conscious (more or less) species. We have no reason to suppose that we are singled out as uniquely fortunate.
...
...
So, then, hail, and good fortune, fine fellows and ladies, and welcome all of you to the Meadows of Heaven—the highest point of all being, although we are surely still in our infancy. The path “chosen” by potential ends here, with our consciousness.

There were many pockets of universes, and this is the very one that could sing our verses. The further design and the role of mankind is now in our hands. We were borne here upon the shoulders of so many who have long since come and gone, all of them advancing the cause, over eons of wiles—so here we are. Fare thee always well, fine friends, for we are some of the ‘luckiest’ sons and daughters of being in a rare universe well done. Celebrate; live; be, for everyone dies, but not everyone lives.
This is fullsome and jubilant, you seem to have a strong urge towards poetry. However do we have any reason to believe you when you say "highest point of all being"?

Perhaps you are inventing what you think of as a new religion and are preaching a joyful sermon to us. Could this be it? If so, it might be more convincing as a whole if it were more careful not to claim too much. Perhaps your sermon should be more measured and credible in the details. I don't know.

Is it biology? Do we know enough about the biology of consciousness? The evolution of consciousness?
There is a type of spider which shows some elements of consciousness. Ability to imagine future situations, out-think certain other types of spider, plan strategies to trick the other spider. It has evolved something distantly related to what we think of as a mind. Other planets may have other niches and evolve analogous but different sorts of central nervous systems. Natural selection does not always work in a straight line single track fashion. I don;t feel that I know enough about how consciousness evolves biologically in order to discuss it in Biology Forum terms. Interesting topic though!


Sorry I thought you were referring to my post. We should include consciousness in any debate about life and how it evolved, because consciousness is an intrinsic, innate part of all living things.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby wolfhnd on August 9th, 2012, 12:11 am 

Sorry I thought you were referring to my post. We should include consciousness in any debate about life and how it evolved, because consciousness is an intrinsic, innate part of all living things.


When I was in school they called it sensitivity. I think consciousness is a better term but will it meet with a lot of objections.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Marshall on August 9th, 2012, 1:37 am 

wolfhnd wrote:
Sorry I thought you were referring to my post. We should include consciousness in any debate about life and how it evolved, because consciousness is an intrinsic, innate part of all living things.


When I was in school they called it sensitivity. I think consciousness is a better term but will it meet with a lot of objections.


It's funny how philosophy (as the refinement and study of concepts) can get mixed with evolutionary biology. I think consciousness should be treated as distinct from sensitivity and I think behavioral science people would love to get more and better ideas about how to identify it.

It has something to do with modeling the environment and other individuals. I think it has evolutionary advantage for animals that hide food (like squirrels) or that hunt prey.
Do you remember discussing the MIRROR TEST? How magpies pass the test, and elephants?

I recall reading that if a squirrel is burying something to eat later, and notices another squirrel (who might be watching), he will come back and dig it up and bury it somewhere else.

I don't know much about it. The spider species is called "portia" if I remember right. It seems to outwit other larger spiders. There are these other animals that behave to some partial extent AS IF they could think. Behavior biologists invent tests, like the self-recognition mirror test to try to get a grip on the notion of consciousness---as displayed in objective behavior.
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Re: What are the odds of life Abiogenesis by chance ?

Postby Alan McDougall on May 31st, 2017, 9:28 am 

Zero
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