Saturday, February 27, 2016

125 Rebuttals, #4

This is a post in a series of rebuttals to the claims made on this site.  Today I shall be starting with the fourth argument.

Before I jump in, I'd like to take this moment to let you know I have a youtube channel.  I haven't done much with it yet, but here's a short clip of some neat ice formation I found in my yard the other day.

With that out of the way, let's move merrily along!

4: The Argument of the Contradicting Theories of the Origins of Life.

The statement here is a false premise in itself, since there's currently only one theory on how life came to be, and that's via abiogenesis.  Also, I'm not sure that it's actually a theory yet, as it's actually an area of study rather than a proper description of the natural process.  There are indeed several potential triggers which could have started the more complex processes going, but none of them rule out natural processes in the slightest.  Let's take a look at the premises here, because as always, this series of rebuttals isn't to teach you specifics of complex things.  The point of this series is to demolish bad thinking and faulty logic.  Again, if there's at least some interest, perhaps I'll delve into the more complex stuff later.  I don't need it here, and without further ado, the first premise:
1a. Researchers at Cambridge created an RNA enzyme that worked at freezing temperatures. They said: ”Ice could have aided the emergence of self-replication in the prebiotic chemical world.”
1b. But Jack Szostak1 threw a snowball: the created molecule cannot replicate itself.  “I’m afraid we still have a long way to go to get a self-replicating ribozyme.”
Well, isn't this interesting.  I'm going to ignore the logic part of the argument for a minute.  I was curious to find the context of this quote given by Jack Szostak.  One of the first sources I came across in a google search was this, this, and this. It seems as though premise 1a and 1b here are literally a plagiarization of something.  As a matter of fact, I'm going to pull up the original New Scientist article, where he's cited, to give this some actual context.  The intellectual dishonesty of the folks who started this quote mine, to leave the source out, is blatantly dodgy.  Here's what New Scientist quoted him as actually saying, in context.
The RNA enzyme’s effectiveness at cold temperatures suggests ice was crucial to the first life. When a mix of RNA and metal ions freezes, growing ice crystals suck up the water, leaving tiny pockets of RNA and concentrated salt. RNA replication can happen in these pockets. “They’re a little bit like artificial cells,” says Holliger, and could be where evolution started.
“It certainly makes a cold RNA world something to think about,” says RNA expert Adrian Ferré-D’Amaré of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Maryland.
However, the theory has some weaknesses. At cold temperatures, RNA strands often stick together, making it tricky to separate them after the RNA has been copied. Primitive life would need to warm up to separate the strands, saysJack Szostak of Harvard Medical School. “It couldn’t just live at continuously cold temperatures.”
True, says Holliger, but there’s a fix. “Ice freezes and melts all the time, so you can easily see how an RNA replicator could be enclosed and then released in a cyclical way and allowed to spread.”
Szostak also points out that the enzyme only occasionally makes long strands of RNA. “I’m afraid we still have a long way to go to get a self-replicating ribozyme.”
I realize that takes up a bit more information than I'd normally put for a quote, but I feel this is very important.   Sadly, it wasn't the top result, but google did a very good job including it in the non-replicated sources.  It's also important to note that, at the time RNA-like structures would have been reproducing, life would have already started within the implied definition of the author's argument.  RNA is a basic constituent of the thing we typically call life.  There are simpler mechanisms which can self-replicate, like the mRNA molecules, which we might not call alive.  However, under the author's argument, life would have 'started' before this point, if its catalyst were indeed 'competing' with other theories about abiogenesis.

Sorry, I guess I misspoke earlier.  I shall indeed be giving free biology lessons, it appears.  Anyway, let's move onto the next premises asserted by this facetious slack-wit.
2a. Wayne Roberge, a professor of physics within the School of Science at Rensselaer recently re-introduced a formerly discredited idea where “a new look at the early solar system introduces an alternative to a long-taught, but largely discredited, theory that seeks to explain how bio-molecules were once able to form inside of asteroids.” 
2b. But Roberg also said: “We’re just at the beginning of this…it would be wrong to assert that we’ve solved this problem.”
Oh, thanks for reminding me.  Two fallacies of appeal to authority, all in a neat little row. The inability of the author to understand that he's not even applying them correctly is astounding.  Similarly, the fallacies constitute a special pleading, in that they accept part of what the expert does based on who they are, but not the stuff that is involved in parts of quotes they don't like.  You can't have it both ways, sir or madam.

I'm not sure what to call the other author at this point, so ADMIN shall now be known as PSH.  Because he's a Plagiarizing Slackjaw Halfwit cur.  PSH it is.

So, PSH is basically trying to set up that panspermia is one of the ways life could have arisen on earth. This is possible.  It still doesn't solve where that life came from to begin with.  It also ignores the fact that physical things can't move fast enough to populate everything in the universe from one chance thing.  This logic only serves to extend the overall argument, not to discuss the actual origin of the life that was on that comet, or what have you.  Panspermia isn't typically given as a form of abiogenesis, since the abiogenesis that would have ultimately led to life on that bit of space junk still requires an explanation.  Much like turtles, it can't just be comets or asteroids or whatever, all the way down.

3a. A coacervate is a tiny spherical droplet of assorted organic molecules (specifically, lipid molecules) which is held together by hydrophobic forces from a surrounding liquid. The idea of these theoretical bubbles in which the magic of life happened was introduced by Oparin in 1920s. 
3b. Dutch researchers Ekaterina Sokolova, Evan Spruijt et al. revisited Oparin’s theory of creation of “artificial cell-like environment in which the rate of mRNA production is increased significantly” however, without explaining the origin of the complex molecular machines DNA polymerase and RNA polymerase.   
4a. “We propose that in early geological history clay hydrogel provided a confinement function for biomolecules and biochemical reactions," said Dan Luo, professor of biological and environmental engineering and a member of the Kavli Institute at Cornell for Nanoscale Science. (Nov. 5, 2013) 
Again, PSH has shown a complete inability to comprehend how premises work. First and foremost, all the points down through 4 are not premises.  They're statements people have made, hypothesizing about what might have been a condition.  It's important to note that it's all based on actual science, however.  Observations were made which led to the conclusions given having some validity.  Experiments were done, which produced things we'd predicted should happen.  If something we'd predicted hadn't happened, the predictions would have been thrown out or retested, to find what variables actually led to the various thing here.

For example, here's how science basically works, in case you're unfamiliar, or simply haven't had a science course in twenty years:

  1. Observe that something happened.
  2. Come up with a hypothesis as to what caused it.
  3. Attempt to use the hypothesis to predict what should happen.
  4. Do experiments to find out if hypothesis predicts correctly some later action.
  5. If hypothesis doesn't explain (can't predict) the future action, discard and try again.
This is literally the entire process through which science works.  When something gets to number 5 enough times, and is never wrong in our history of testing, it goes from a hypothesis to a theory, or potentially a law.  This is why the scientists in the above assertions can do this.  They made a prediction that, for example, RNA of some sort should be able to exist and work in ice.  Simply because it couldn't be made perfectly doesn't mean it wasn't made, or that it didn't function in ice.  The hypothesis predicted an outcome accurately.  It's important to remember this as we approach the next premise PSH gives us:
4b. The Bible, the Koran and even Greek mythology has suggested for thousands of years that life began as earth, dust or clay.
Well, no.  The bible claims that life began as the breath of god (Gen 1, 2), not dust.  The Koran asserts that life began as thick clots of blood (sura XCVI).   The Greek pantheon (and subsequently titans, cyclopses, nymphs, and so on) actually started as a giant orgy involving Cronus, Gaea, and the rest.  Not a single one of them claims life came from dust, but that life was a product of something involving some kind of divine touch.  Ergo, very false premise.  Also, special pleading, since PSH is going to claim that since some god exists, it must be his god (two premises PSH has not shown). But we'll burn that bridge when we get to it.
4c. New theory is that clay is a breeding ground for chemicals which it ‘absorbs like a sponge’ and eventually leads to proteins and DNA forming.
Well, considering we didn't even know about Germ Theory until around 150 years ago, I'd have to agree that it's a relatively new concept.  Although, the wording here is very tenuous, and probably PSH is gonna screw it all up.  Also, clay's not special in this regard.  Vents at the bottom of the ocean harbor life, and they're amazingly hot and lack clay. Lots of things which aren't clay can 'harbor life.'  Also, if it's such a new idea, how do you claim ancient religions somehow knew about it? Not a single one mentions clay being a 'breeding ground' for life.  All of them talk about how gods created life.  It's astounding the level of intellectual dishonesty required for this stance.
4d. One little problem remains: “How these biological machines evolved remains to be explained,” the Science Daily article points out.
Again, it's clear these articles are being pulled blindly from somewhere, and that the author hasn't even had the decency to check what's going on here.   It's interesting how that link goes to some child's textbook, and not a Science Daily article.  I'll pull the significant bit here:
How these biological machines evolved remains to be explained, Luo said. For now his research group is working to understand why a clay hydrogel works so well, with an eye to practical applications in cell-free protein production.   
Science Daily
 So, as you can see, they're still working it out.  They are developing new hypotheses, working on what mechanisms explain reality.  PSH is simply asserting that we can never know, despite the fact that it appears we will in a relatively short time.  As a matter of being thorough, here's a link to Dr. Luo's website, specifically a paper published in 2014 regarding some of the exact same science PSH just said couldn't be known.  Let that sink in a moment.  I don't want to hit you with the next premises at full-throttle if you've not recovered from that whiplash.
5. Till now all the contradictory theories of origin of life falsify one another.
 Well, now we have something that resembles a premise.  Let's break it down.  First, we're not dealing with theories, as I stated earlier.  These are still hypotheses.  Also, they don't falsify one another.
The “building blocks of life” can’t be cold and hot at the same time.

  • False dichotomy: the building blocks of life could simply have a large range of temperatures at which they can function or survive.  Much like how seeds can survive winter and grow in the summer, or grow some 32,000 years later. Some seeds require fire to reproduce.  
They can’t be at deep sea vents and in asteroids at the same time. 
  • False dichotomy: the building blocks of life can indeed exists in extreme conditions.  I just showed you two examples thereof.  
They can’t be dry and wet at the same time. 
  • False premise and false dichotomy: Here we have no evidence of the claim, including no evidence that it's a dichotomy.

The metabolism-first and genetics-first scenarios are mutually incompatible and impossible.

  • I already dealt with this one in the previous post.  Similarly, false dichotomy (it can be simultaneous, and probably has to be).   
6. Moreover, none of the above theories answers the question: where did biological information come from?
Well, except that, as I demonstrated last post, by 'information' you mean 'energy,' ergo the 'information' comes from the sun, at least on our planet.  I'm not going to rehash yesterday's post for you, because it's like the Beatles said, 'that was yesterday.'
7. For the origin of life to take place there is a need for a complex system that has all the ingredients for a genetic code, and the machinery to read and translate it, encased in a cell with active transport. These all have to be present and working together from the beginning.
False premise by argument a priori, modified appeal to heaven (there simply must have been something complex!) which is simply a somewhat specific argument from ignorance (I can't imagine how it's otherwise!), false analogy (a cell is not its constituent parts and processes, ergo there's no dichotomy of existence/nonexistence as only options - it can simply develop over time, in unison with other features), and so on.  This premise is physically hard to read, because it's so terrible.
8. Such an irreducible complex system gives evidence for creation with intelligence.
I feel as though my 'false premise' button is getting worn out, so I'll go with fallacy from affirming the consequent, though one could just as easily go with existential fallacy: presuming that 'complex systems' must fall in the category of 'creations.'
9. That person with super intelligence that only a super scientist can have all men call God. 
Again, this isn't really a premise, but a baseless assertion (false premise).  I'm glad I'm not taking a shot for every fallacy here, because I'd certainly not make it far.  Also, I'm going to reword the premise, so I can (hopefully) address it accurately.
Ergo, since it appears that complexity requires an intelligence larger than the complexity (false premise), or requires intelligence at all (false premise), something intelligent must exist.
Plants and bacteria grow in amazingly complex fractal designs, but there's absolutely no reason this can't happen naturally.
Ergo, since people have claimed that something which has been described might exist (fallacy, modified appeal to tradition by way of genetic fallacy), it does so with absolute certainty (fallacy of false cause/dichotomy) and exactly explains my position (argument from ignorance, special pleading, genetic fallacy).
Ergo, (fallacy from special pleading), it can only be my god (false corollary I think), because (fallacy from appeal to emotion) I don't want another god to exist, or I can't imagine another god to exist (argument from ignorance).
I think I've reasonably demonstrated the point therein.  Can you guess what comes next? Luckily, you don't have to, because here it is:
10. God exists. 
Yeah, false premise.  If it can't be demonstrated, it can't be asserted, and so far none of the arguments have done so.

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Have something you want me to debunk?  Let me know!  I might even start doing youtube videos on these kinds of things or something.  What do you folks want to see?  Give me your feedback, and let's have some fun!