Theoretical origin of life; new earliest? (Introduction)

by dhw, Friday, October 13, 2017, 10:44 (131 days ago) @ David Turell

DAVID: My statement:"As for Darwin, he proposed a chance evolutionary process which dismisses God out of hand." I'll stand by it. Chance rules out God.
dhw: Not if the author explicitly allows for the possibility that God created the mechanism for the evolutionary process! Yet again, you are assuming that anyone who disagrees with your hypothesis of a divine 3.8-billion-year-old computer programme to control the whole of evolution (plus dabbles) is an atheist! It is chance origin of life that would dismiss God out of hand, not random mutations. Darwin's theory concerns Chapter Two of life, not Chapter One.
DAVID: I'm simply observing the way atheists use Darwin.

Then please say it is atheists who dismiss God out of hand, not Darwin’s proposal of random mutations that dismisses God out of hand. It doesn’t.

DAVID: And you forgot my point that origin of life and evolution are a continuum. Darwin's life popped up in some warm pond, and he implied chance!

There is a continuum between the origin of life and Darwin’s random mutations or your 3.8-billion-year computer programme or my autonomous inventive mechanism (cellular intelligence). The agnostic Darwin never committed himself to an atheistic theory concerning the origin of life. Here is the warm pond reference:

Did life evolve in a `warm little pond'? - Scientific ...

"But if (and oh what a big if) we could conceive in some warm little pond with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, light, heat, electricity etcetera present, that a protein compound was chemically formed, ready to undergo still more complex changes, at the present day such matter wd be instantly devoured, or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed [..] " Darwin, Letter to Joseph Hooker (1871)

A “big if”. And does it not occur to you that if God did create life, he would have had to assemble all the ingredients in a suitable location on Earth?
Darwin avoided publishing any theory about the origin, but if you are really interested in his vacillating views, here is an article with all the information you could wish for.
Charles Darwin and the Origin of Life - PubMed Central … › Journal List › Springer Open Choice

(I'm afraid I can't get a direct link with this, but if you google it yourself, you'll be able to find the article. No doubt it's my usual technical incompetence. Sorry!)

In 1837 Darwin expressed the view that spontaneous generation was “not improbable”. That is the nearest he gets to “implying chance”. However, he became increasingly sceptical. Here is an extract from a letter he wrote to the Athenaeum in 1863:

"Your reviewer believes that certain lowly organized animals have been generated spontaneously—that is, without pre-existing parents—during each geological period in slimy ooze. A mass of mud with matter decaying and undergoing complex chemical changes is a fine hiding-place for obscurity of ideas. But let us face the problem boldly. He who believes that organic beings have been produced during each geological period from dead matter must believe that the first being thus arose. There must have been a time when inorganic elements alone existed on our planet: let any assumptions be made, such as that the reeking atmosphere was charged with carbonic acid, nitrogenized compounds, phosphorus, &c. Now is there a fact, or a shadow of a fact, supporting the belief that these elements, without the presence of any organic compounds, and acted on only by known forces, could produce a living creature? At present it is to us a result absolutely inconceivable."

QUOTE: He was to maintain the same attitude for many years to come, as shown by the letter mailed on March 28, 1882, near the end of his life, to George Charles Wallich (de Beer 1959). In it Darwin wrote that,
«My dear Sir,
You expressed quite correctly my views where you say that I had intentionally left the question of the Origin of Life uncanvassed as being altogether ultra vires in the present state of our knowledge, & that I dealt only with the manner of succession. I have met with no evidence that seems in the least trustworthy, in favour of the so-called Spontaneous generation.”

I do wish that you and other anti-Darwinians would read what the agnostic Darwin wrote instead of blithely following one another.
QUOTE (re “blind cave fish”):"Shuker is suspicious of some efforts to promote the idea of an “extended evolutionary synthesis”. He thinks some people are trying sneak religious ideas back into evolutionary theory." (DAVID’s bold)

DAVID’s comment: Once again we see the battle between atheistic Neo-Darwin defenders and those who champion epigenetics as a definitive adaptive mechanism that might represent religious ideas. This applies directly to our discussion about Darwinists and atheism. Random mutation and natural selection for them obviously denies God.

I am not disputing that atheists use evolutionary theory to support their atheism. Once more: I am disputing your claim that Darwin’s theory of random mutations and natural selection “dismisses God out of hand”. It is the atheistic interpretation that dismisses God out of hand. Since you appear to agree, I suggest we leave it at that.

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