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How did life begin?

January 10, 2013

To the editor: One of the anonymous commenter’s (2:44 P.M....

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bloozboy

Jan-10-13 9:08 AM

I interpret it as saying we were 'created' by a supreme being (God) as opposed to just "happening" by chance (evolution) of some raw chemicals finding each other. I have read that this random possibility (evolution as creation) is so rare that the odds for all the right elements to get together to create us would make a number so larte that it would reach from here beyond the moon...in other words, impossible.

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JReader

Jan-10-13 9:35 AM

Until your hiker in the Northern Minnesota woods finds a "manufactured by" tag on this rusting tractor that says "made by God" intelligent design has no legimiticy in any scientific discussion. The other serious flaw with your example is your hiker displayed a fundamental bias in his conclusion that the tractor came from a factory when there was not a single piece of evidence to suggest otherwise.

People can believe whatever they choose. They can also base these beliefs on whatever pieces of information they choose. Not a single piece of this information has to be based on any facts, however. That is the one thing that separates religion from science.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 10:00 AM

Is it not equally unscientific to assert that something came into being as the result of random accidents when the evidence indicates that such an occurrence is so highly unlikely that it is, in effect, impossible? Anyone who is truly objective must concede that such an assertion has no place in a science classroom.

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JReader

Jan-10-13 10:26 AM

Michael,

You can believe whatever you want - flat earth, UFO's, the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy....

When you assert the Tooth Fairy as a legitimate explanation in the field of oral science or dentistry many people will take exception to the validity of your claims.

Genetic adaptations have been observed in science and with no evidence of the introduction of an outside designer. If intelligent design is indeed plausible why has it never been observed ?

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 10:34 AM

JR: The subject of the letter was not genetic adaptation; it was the origin of the original genetic string. Does your changing of the subject mean that you don't have an answer to the problem that the writer poses?

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JReader

Jan-10-13 12:05 PM

No, my point is you and the letter writer can believe whatever you like no matter how baseless it is. Nice try though, Michael.

I'm also waiting for you to provide proof of intelligent design. If it is to be held up as a plausible alternative it needs to be verifiable.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 12:17 PM

JR: You still have not answered the point of the letter, and no amount of "nice try" sarcasm will change that fact. The fact of the matter is that neither you nor anyone else can provide scientific evidence that the first dna string self-generated. Instead of honestly admitting that fact, you try to cover up your lack of evidence by changing the subject and shifting the burden of proof. No one can have a truly scientific discussion with one who engages in such dishonesty.

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JReader

Jan-10-13 1:55 PM

My reason for posting was not to provide proof of the first dna string. That notion was only proposed by you. Like I have repeatedly stated you can choose to believe whatever you want. You can conclude based on a broad inference that life must of began due to some intelligent designer. What you cannot do however is accept this notion as science because there is not one shred of evidence to suggest it is in any way true.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 2:07 PM

JR: Oh, I see now. Your purpose in commenting is not to respond to the letter, but to ignore the letter and go off on your own tangent. What conclusion are we to draw from that? That you have no answer for the letter-writer's point.... I will expect another of your non-answers in a few minutes.

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bloozboy

Jan-10-13 2:09 PM

Please, guys, don't argue. I can PROVE evolution. I need a new lawnmower, so I'll scrape up all the metal parts I can find, throw them in a pile and just wait for 'evolution' to take over...just like that tractor. I might not get that new lawnmower next year, but if I wait a few million years it just might put itself together.

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bloozboy

Jan-10-13 2:33 PM

OK...I know that "lawnmower" thing sounds ridiculous, but no more ridiculous than the miracle of the human body just "happening" by chance. Ever since I was kid I've laughed at evolution, and it had as much to do with common sense as it did with believing in God's creations. Face it. Science just won't accept God.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 2:55 PM

What do you call it when something that never happens in nature, happens? What do you call it when the normal workings of nature are set aside? People in the religious sphere have a term for this. It is called "a miracle."

It is ironic that evolutionists ridicule creationists for believing in the supernatural, while they themselves attribute the origin of life to a supernatural event. They cling with all their might to their own particular miracle, which they consider non-religious, while they sneeringly refer to all other miracles as fairy tales. Their determined opposition to all that is called God blinds them to the inconsistency of their own position.

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BackFromTheDead

Jan-10-13 4:50 PM

MT: ". . . evidence indicates that such an occurrence is so highly unlikely that it is, in effect, impossible?"

MT, obviously you don't understand science. Highly unlikely happens ALL THE TIME IN SCIENCE. You say that you religious people call these things miracles? Guess what? Scientists also use the word miracle! Yes, there are scientists who regard life as a miracle MT! They understand the absurd odds that are involved in the creation of life, and they respect those odds.

The difference, though, between religion and science is that scientists are shackled to the burden of proof. This is why it's called the THEORY of evolution. Educate yourself MT.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 5:19 PM

BFTD: Things as highly unlikely as this DO NOT happen, either "in science" or outside science, wherever that may be. Science is the study of what is, of the world around us and what happens in it. And in the real world, things with the degee of unlikelihood as the random generation of a DNA string out of the raw materials of nature simply DO NOT occur.

Also, about the word "miracle" -- Yes, scientists may sometimes use the word "miracle" when referring to the end result of some amazing process, but they do not use it as referring to a setting aside of the normal workings of nature. Scientists always must assume that nature works consistently. Otherwise, they are taking off their "scientist" coat and putting on the robe of the philosopher, because science deals with what is, not what might be.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 5:27 PM

BFRD wrote: "They understand the absurd odds that are involved in the creation of life, and they respect those odds."

The issue is not whether they are aware of and respect those odds. The issue is whether the odds themselves are so prohibitively large that they make the assertion of a self-generated DNA string ludicrous and unscientific on its face. That is the issue that those who deny intelligent design must deal with if they are to lay claim to having a scientific explanation to the origins of life.

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BackFromTheDead

Jan-10-13 5:45 PM

MT: ". . . science deals with what is, not what might be."

T, you're telling me that science does not deal with speculation? Again, you obviously don't understand what science is or what science is about.

MT: "Things as highly unlikely as this DO NOT happen."

If thinks as unlikely as this didn't happen they wouldn't be unlikely, they'd be impossible. If there is a chance, however slim, then there is clear possibility that it can happen. MT, this is science. 0/100 odds are clearly not the same as 1/100 odds, correct? That "1" over any number, however large, means that it is possible.

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BackFromTheDead

Jan-10-13 5:49 PM

You speak to the outlandish and prohibitive odds against the theory of evolution in regards to the creation of life MT, but what about the odds of your god actually existing and then creating us and all around us as we stand today, even in accordance with your book (10 days, etc).

What are the odds of that happening? What can you tell me to show that the odds of any god being behind this are any better than what science is telling us in the creation of life?

Thus far, MT, you've only been able to support intelligent design by knocking down the theory of evolution. What have you to actually support intelligent design, in the same manner in which you've discarded education, which would be by discussing the statistic odds of it's plausibility MT?

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rational

Jan-10-13 7:13 PM

I don't understand why people insist it is an either or argument. Why can't you believe in evolution and a higher power? Even in Catholic school we learned about evolution and laughed while watching "The Monkey Trials". Also, our brains are constantly evolving. If you took a brain scan of a youth today and compared it to even a 30 year old, you will see a difference in the wiring. The same goes for that 30 year old vs. 50 year old, etc.

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svensota

Jan-10-13 10:00 PM

How did life begin?

It began in New Ulm. God looked down from above...beyond...over there...in a genie bottle, and said, "Hmm, they're a hopeless tribe there in lower central Minnesota, I should fix that, I'll give them a Baptist Church and a Catholic Church and Methodist Church and a bunch of beady-eyed German Lutherans and a few stray Jews and let them duke it out. I'll let them make up all kinds of stuff and give them guns if they truly don't agree, and just see what happens."

And, so it began, the beginning of life as Ulmites. The evolution has been slow, if not non-existent. Some worry about atrophy. It's hard to know by reading these posts if we're just stuck somewhere in limbo, or we're moving in a positive or negative direction. One thing's for sure, if Highway 14 stays the same, we will all just become*******and die of stagnation and brain rot.

And that's how it began, and they all lived semi-happily ever after.

And so forth and so on and...whatever.

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svensota

Jan-10-13 10:03 PM

I think ********** stands for "snow fairies" or elves or grumpy old men. Not sure.

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MichaelT

Jan-10-13 11:49 PM

BFTD wrote: "That "1" over any number, however large, means that it is possible."

No, it does not. If I know the number of nucleotide bases that make up a stands of human DNA, their type, and their sequence, I can calculate mathematically the odds of those particular elements happening to sequence themselves in that particular order by themselves. But that is only a mathematical computation; it has nothing to do with whether or not it is actually possible for that to happen. In other words, simply calculating that the odds are "1 to XXX,XXX,XXX" DOES NOT mean that it is possible. In fact, when that number is calculated in the case of human DNA, it forms a rather convincing evidence that it is IMPOSSIBLE. Why? Because once the odds against something rise to a certain level, they simply do not happen in nature.

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oteron

Jan-11-13 8:00 AM

Sven, There was not any humor bestoweth in thine creation....!

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svensota

Jan-11-13 10:38 AM

Nor, thine either, oteron.

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BackFromTheDead

Jan-11-13 11:03 AM

MT, you do clearly do not understand what is possible and what is possible, both in math and in nature. If there is any chance, however slim, then it is possible. Period.

You failed to address my question. What makes it more plausible for an intelligent being to oversee this process than for this process to occur on it's own in nature? You're arguing against the odds of one side, even using the word impossible, without acknowledging the odds of the other side.

Your play MT.

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MichaelT

Jan-11-13 11:51 AM

BFTD: I did not fail to answer your question. I have no intention to answer that question. I am addressing my comments to the subject matter of the original letter and nothing else.

As I said earlier, neither you nor anyone else can provide a scientific answer to the problem that the letter-writer poses. So you seek to change the subject and shift the burden of proof.

As to the question of possibility, there is a difference between theoretical possibility and what is actually possible in the real world. Science recognizes something that is theoretically possible, but then tests that possibility by real-world criteria. It may be theoretically possible for piles of junk to assemble themselves into new cars, but in the real world it doesn't happen.

What you are postulating is fantasy, not real world.

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