Marks of Divine Wisdom BSD 
 
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» the Chessmaster
» the Origin of Life
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» Elephant in the Room
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» the Light is Good
» the Mask of Nature
» Divine wisdom vs Human Wisdom
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» Mysterious World of PLants
» Almost a Miracle
» The Bite of Rationalism
» The March of Science
» Afterword
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Sfarim
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<<Previous: the Chessmaster

** the Origin of Life **
Regarding the origin of life, there was a nice article in Scientific American in 1991 called "in the beginning". They interviewed the proponents of the EIGHT leading theories of how life started (abiogenesis), where the first self-replicator came from. First, the fact that there are as many as eight leading theories is terrible. Because it means in this case that seven eighths of all the researchers are against each theory. The one thing they all agree on is that all the theories are wrong. And there are giant holes in every one of the theories.

In the article, they interviewed this fellow called Miller, who was part of the famous Miller-Urey experiment in the 50s where they said that they created life in a test tube, which was just imagination. The interviewer asked Miller: "professor Miller, clearly we're making a mistake because there are eight theories and none of them is adequate. Would you consider the possibility of G-d?" Miller replied: "No. I wouldn't consider that possibility. We're making a mistake. We'll fix it. We'll find it, we'll correct it."

In other words, "I believe with perfect faith that there is no G-d. Everything is natural. Science will find a materialistic explanation for everything."

More recently Biochemist Dr. Michael Behe commented on this: "The story of the slow paralysis of research on life's origin is quite interesting... Suffice it to say that at present, the field of origin of life studies (abiogenesis) has dissolved into a cacophony of conflicting models, each unconvincing, seriously incomplete, and incompatible with competing models. In private, even most evolutionary biologists will admit that science has no explanation for the beginning of life" (Dr. Michael Behe 1997 [1])

In Nature's Destiny (pg.147), Dr. Michael Denton writes:
"Yet, despite the dreams of artificial life and the gurus of nanotechnology, the undeniable fact remains that many characteristics of living organisms are still without any significant analogue in any machine which has yet been constructed. Every living system replicates itself, yet no machine yet possesses this capacity even to the slightest degree. Nearly, half a century after von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Norbert Wiener, and their circle dreamed of self-replicating machines, the dream is nowhere near realization. Nor does there exist even a well-developed, detailed blueprint in the most advanced area of nanotechnology for a machine that could carry out such a stupendous act. In the case of von Neumann's model, for example, no serious consideration was given to the fuel and energy problem. Von Neumann assumed conveniently that his automata would have unlimited energy! The challenge is enormous. A self-replicating machine requires a data storage system which must be accessible or comprehensible to the constructor device. It requires that the constructor be assembled from a very small number of readily available substances. It requires a means of energy generation, storage, and distribution to its working components and so forth. None of these problems has been solved. Yet, every second, countless trillions of living systems from bacterial cells to elephants replicate themselves on the surface of our planet...

And it is not just the act of self-replication which has not been copied in our technology. Even the far less ambitious end of component self-assembly which is utilized by every living cell on earth, exhibited in processes as diverse as the assembly of viral capsules to the assembly of cell organelles such as the ribosome, a process whereby tens or hundreds of unique and complex elements combine together, directed entirely by their own intrinsic properties without any external intelligent guidance or control, is an achievement without any analogue in modern technology...

The contrast between the apparent ease with which life forms assemble and replicate themselves and the absolute failure to simulate this effortless activity in any sort of nonliving artificial system is very striking. While engineers have been dreaming about the possibilities of artificial self-replicating automata over the past fifty years, advances in biology since the early fifties have gradually revealed how the miracle of self-replication is actually realized in living things...
There is a push by some to propose life was seeded on earth by an advanced alien civilization. This view is becoming increasingly popular as the extreme complexity of the cell is becoming revealed. But, besides being more science fiction than science, there is no reason to believe the original first replicator which started the supposed alien civilization was a simple device. Dr. Fred Hoyle, a Nobel prize winning astrophysicist, tries to convince his colleagues on this alien view (from his paper "Evolution in Space" [2]):
"We showed that a random shuffling of amino acids, the building blocks of living things, would have as little chance as one part in 10^40,000 zeros of producing the enzymes. [It is usual to attempt to side step this difficulty by arguing that the first enzymes in the first life were much shorter in their polypeptide lengths, and so were much less improbable to come by. The idea is for the first life to evolve by natural selection, with the enzymes growing in length and becoming more complex, until eventually they reached their present forms. There is nothing in this hand-waving beyond attempting to argue that the 2,000 or so enzymes are built from a much smaller number of basic components, with each component of a simple structure. Whether or not this is so can be decided by reference to the actual amino acid sequences on the enzymes themselves. While there are some repetitions of structure (trypsin and chymotrypsin are examples) we think it safe to say that if so remarkable a suggestion were true it would long since have been discovered. Besides which the same problem applies widely to other complex biosubstances such as the histones. When one considers the need for a program to control the behavior of cells, the problem is aggravated. Everyone who has actually set up a sophisticated program for a normal computer will agree, we think, with our experience that the writing of sub-routines is the least part of the job. The hard part lies in the logic of the main program. In the biological case, the enzymes, histones,..., are only the subroutines. The main program remains, and likely enough this is the really awkward part, a part that is probably MUCH LESS likely to be discovered by random processes than the complex biosubstances on which our probability estimates have been based, much less likely than one part in 10^40,000... The theory that life was assembled by an intelligence has, we believe, a probability vastly higher than one part in 10^40,000 of being the correct explanation of the many curious facts discussed earlier. Indeed, such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.
Interestingly, he believes life was planted by aliens from outer space. Now, when he says "The reasons are psychological rather than scientific", can the same apply to him? He can't bring himself to say the G word, i.e. G-d. He has to say Martians, aliens, despite that he calculated the chance of life happening spontaneously to be "much less than 10^40,000". And this is just for his estimate of the simplest autonomous cell. There are hundreds of thousands of different specialized cells in plants and animals each one building specific sets of proteins, some with exotic cellular systems etc.

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