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ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture

You wake up tomorrow, and the headline everywhere is "Evolution Falls Apart."

A new discovery is made that when taken into account makes the whole theory of evolution come toppling down. The consensus in the scientific community is clear. Its not a fluke, its not an outlier, its a foundational part of evolution that's wrong, and the whole theory is scrapped.

What are your initial thoughts? What would you think the answer of where life came from would be? What would change about your worldview.

*I don't care how likely/unlikely you think this scenario is.
*I also don't want hear the repetitive "I don't know what the answer is, I just know its not religion." I know its hard, but try to have an original thought.

The End.

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Flamenca's picture
Hahaha, clever.

Hahaha, clever.

I guess I'd be in shock for a couple of days, then I'd try to read as much information as possible to understand on what basis and how badly the theory is scrapped, and which one of those failures interfered my knowledge.

I'm almost 100% certain I would not fill God into the Science gaps again on my own, because I don't do that anymore. So I'd remain skeptic, of course, unless the new theory replacing Evolution, could especifically prove that God is needed to fill those gaps, not philosophically, but scientifically.

algebe's picture
Evolution isn't the

Evolution isn't the cornerstone my world view. I'd consider the new evidence and adjust my position accordingly. Evolution being proved wrong isn't as big a deal for atheists as evolution being proved right is for Christians.

Of course, I'd be a little distracted by spinning off into space due to the breakdown of gravity.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Right, so what would you

Right, so what would you think the answer of where life came from would be?

algebe's picture
Well it's your hypothetical

Well it's your hypothetical question, not mine, and evolution isn't about the origin of life, just how life changes and develops over time in changing environments.

But if you're talking about a breathtaking new discovery that overturns all existing theories about the origin of life, the most obvious one for me would be accidental or deliberate seeding from extraterrestrial sources.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Origin and evolution go

Origin and evolution go together. If the first single-celled organism emerged as its classically taught, but isn't able to evolve.. well I'm afraid that augments the problem.

LogicFTW's picture
I am with Algebe, evolution

I am with Algebe, evolution and the origin of life are two separate ideas/concepts. The evolution theory does not attempt to explain the origin of life, just how we got to complex life from very basic life. They are fairly closely related, there is no evolution w/o life. In fact, the definition of evolution heavily involves the word "life."

To you, what is classically taught version of how a single-celled organism emerged?

What is the problem that gets augmented?

Sorry to answer with questions but I need clarification to answer more precisely my thoughts.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I don't really want to

I don't really want to clarify too much, because this is after all a hypothetical question. I'm aware the two are distinct, but closely related enough that without evolution being true, life evolving from a single-celled organism doesn't make sense. Even Algebe's answer needs clarification as a result. Being seeded only gets you back into the same boat, if life can't evolve from whatever those seeds are.

LogicFTW's picture
Hmm. Okay.

Hmm. Okay.

Well to answer your question you asked a few post back without going into details:

Right, so what would you think the answer of where life came from would be?

I personally believe it came from a transfer of energy from an excited state to a less excited state, that in certain environments this transfer of energy leads to life given the right circumstances and chance.

Let me know if you want clarification or want me to go into further detail.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Alright I feel like most of

Alright I feel like most of the people who typically answer already answered. So yeah lets talk about your energy idea, it sounds interesting.

LogicFTW's picture
I am probably going to

I am probably going to butcher this explanation some, as it has been some time since I read up on this stuff, but here goes:

In short: energy creates diversity, diversity + nearly unlimited opportunity eventually creates rudimentary life, evolution takes over from there.

My probably poorly explained details:

When we look at basic chemistry, the atoms, with certain amount of electrons and protons that decide what base element a collection of atoms make up, they are, how they repel, and attract each other, how the atom wants to go from an excited state to a less excited one. How gravity and proximity creates excited states and how they decay back down to their base states.

Hydrogen is the simplest and by far the most common electron/proton configuration in the universe. This can be considered in many ways the "base" state of an atom. The big bang happens, stars happen when enough mass gets together, these "gravity" events creates the "energy" needed to see atoms get an excited state and create more exotic atoms. Stars are more "complex" atom producing engines. They inject the area with energy. Planets too, their molten cores, being bathed by the energy from the nearby star.

Suddenly in certain areas there is a huge amount of diversity in the state of various atoms, we begin to fill out the periodic table. Diversity. Atom interaction. All these atoms are reacting to the energy from the sun, the energy from the molten core of planets, the energy from gravity. As these atoms interact rarely other more exotic forms of atoms are created, also compounds of elements are made with parings of common atoms and more exotic forms of them. A well known one is H2O.

We have gone from simple hydrogen atoms at near absolute zero doing almost nothing to now an entire periodic table of hundreds of base elements, and now to compounds of these elements (molecules.) These of course end up mixing with other elements and compounds, and you end up with mixtures.

Diversity is accelerating, we went from hundreds of base elements, (some very rare yes) to compounds to mixtures, now we are talking near infinite different make ups of mixtures of atoms some bound by energy some simply by proximity, all powered by energy. All powered by gravity creating excited states and these atoms attempting to return to a less excited state as the energy created by gravity dissipates.

Nearly infinite different combinations, all interacting billions of times a second, taking place trillions upon trillions of different times in different places. By random small chance these complex mixtures meet up with other complex mixtures that is more efficient at absorbing and releasing energy. It is fleeting, happens in a nano second, and the unique combination of compounds go their separate way. This happens trillions upon trillions of times. By pure chance, some of these last more than a split second, the right mixtures end up near each other in the right way for maybe a few minutes, extremely rare yes, but we are talking 10^100 (or a lot more) in opportunities.

These two mixtures find a way to sustain the more efficient pairing, that allows better flow of collecting or releasing energy. As it is efficient and by random chance found a pairing that can actually in some places survive more then just a brief chance encounter, begin fill up all the available resource in the area that allows this efficient pairing of mixtures. There is no dna yet, no way to pass on instructions to repeat this process when the circumstances change. The nitrogen rich bubble that is sheltered from extreme heat or cold is used up, is popped and gone. This efficient pairing utilizing its unique environment is gone. Fortunately it happens again. And again, trillions upon trillions of times.

By pure chance, incredibly small again, but given the trillions of opportunities, some sort of pairing of mixtures find a way to survive the briefest reduction of "the right environment" Perhaps the environment shrinks, but the pairing can survive outside this perfect environment a way to "store" even for the briefest moment a previous state occurs. A unique combination of mixtures in the smallest weakest way has found how to be self sustaining. Perhaps a "wall" of different mixtures that shelter the unique mixture occurring on the other side of the wall.

We still have not reached commonly accepted definition of "life" but we are getting closer, complex mixtures of elements working together for efficiency that can now start becoming self sustaining.

This whole cycle of increasing complexity repeats adding in all the necessary steps to create the basic foundation of life, the cell. (depending on your definition of life.) From there, evolution takes over but same sort of principle, efficiency of scarce resources all in the effort to more efficiently absorb and release atomic level energy, quantum level energy.

The meaning of all life? More efficient transfer of energy in places of base element diversity.

Nyarlathotep's picture
LogicForTW - we are talking

LogicForTW - we are talking 10^100 (or a lot more) in opportunities

That is the part that apologists seem to miss. There is no know upper bound on that value; worse still they typically use the number 1 in its place.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
That's not something they

That's not something they miss, that's something they criticize. Give the chances of something happening a positive value, no matter how small it is, and you can always argue that with enough time it is bound to happen. Suppose you think there's a 0.00000000(insert at your leisure)0001% percent chance that fairies exist, existed, or can come into existence. All you have to do is throw time at that percentage, like dollars at a stripper, and no one can argue that fairies aren't or won't be real.

We had a conversation about statistical significance once. Where I believe you said you can never be 100% certain of something. Correct? It may have been about not being able to prove a negative. In other words you can't prove there's a 0% chance that fairies can't exist.

Nyarlathotep's picture
John 6IX Breezy - That's not

John 6IX Breezy - That's not something they miss...

Anytime someone gives you the probability of life being created by chance, they are ignoring this. Furthermore, in every case I've managed to investigate, they used the value of 1.

John 6IX Breezy - All you have to do is throw time at that percentage...

That is exactly the point. If you have a non-zero probability for one success, and you don't know the number of trials; you can't know the probability of getting one or more successes on a series of trials. So when someone tells you that probability, they are making shit up (or more likely, repeating something someone else made up, without realizing the author is full of shit).

John 6IX Breezy - In other words you can't prove there's a 0% chance that fairies can't exist.

A proof that there is a 0% chance that fairies can't exist, is a proof that fairies exist. Did you write that backwards?

Anyway; I can't prove:

  • I had Cheerios for breakfast.
  • That I'm a human being.
  • That Elvis doesn't run a hip drive-in restaurant on the Moon.
  • That fairies don't exist.
ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I did write that backwards on

I did write that backwards on purpose, but I added an extra can't at the end on accident.

What I meant was that when people say they can't prove a negative, they're essentially saying they can't prove there's a 0% chance that something exist. Like in your example, you can't prove "that Elvis doesn't run a hip drive-in restaurant on the Moon" or "that fairies don't exist."

In other words you are giving them a non-zero probability. Now I just need to sprinkle infinite time to the mix, and be pretty certain that fairies will exist some day, if they haven't already existed in the infinite past.

Nyarlathotep's picture
John 6IX Breezy - In other

John 6IX Breezy - In other words you are giving them a non-zero probability.

I don't know that value of that probability, it might be 0. But as you said, if it is finite and non-zero, with infinite trials, it will happen.

LogicFTW's picture
To add to the ongoing

To add to the ongoing conversation:

@John 6IX Breezy:

Yes I believe, anything is possible given infinite/near infinite amount of time. We mere humans can not absolutely with perfect accuracy prove or disprove anything.

There is a remote chance that your god exactly how you personally envision it in your head exists, even the parts you have not thought about yet but will in the future. Despite all logic contradictions, all known rules and experiences that guide and teach us, I agree the chance is extremely remote, but yes it is possible. Even the god you envisioned in your head but later decided one particular detail was later wrong because it made no sense.

For me it is right up there with the odds of the flying spaghetti monster, the tooth fairy, santa claus, rainbow farting unicorn god, and any other "entity" our imaginations have come up with.

How do we dismiss all these random imagination ideas and reconcile with information we can really use?
For me, it is evidence.

Yes the odds at any one given time that the long string of "the right" conditions for life to present it self is indeed very small. But the amount of opportunities for that chance at life are enormous.

The odds of winning the powerball lottery jackpot from 1 purchased ticket is incredibly small, (1 in 292 million.) The odds of winning the powerball lottery jackpot if you buy 1 ticket for each lottery for the next 292 million lottery drawings, is roughly 50/50 pretty good odds. You might win in the first 1 million tries, you might not win at all in all 292 million tries.

Life on earth is the same way. 1 in a trillion chance of life, but life on earth got 10 trillion tries at it, making life almost inevitable. Obviously the numbers I gave in the above line are extreme generalizations, but hopefully you get the point I am driving at.

The way most people set up their god idea, their chance is once. Once everything came together to make god concept possible. Religion people say their god "was before time" "outside of time" before the universe. We will say 1 in a trillion chance your god existed. 1 in a trillion chances of life on this earth the way life turned out here. Except earth got a whole lot more than 1 try at it!

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
Once you consent that "the

Once you consent that "the chance is extremely remote, but yes it is possible," it doesn't matter whether you equate it with the tooth fairy or whatever other childish example makes you feel its a fairy tale. That's an association fallacy.

That chance that you give it can be as small .01^(-googol)% or whatever other infinitesimally small number you want to give it. But as long as its not zero, and there's an infinity of time in the past, then as Nyar said "with infinite trials, it will happen."

Time is the factor that makes all things possible. Sure, people can say God was before time or outside, and they're free to do so. But seeing how Scripture doesn't say such a thing, only that God has been since the beginning. All I need to do is interpret that to mean that in the vastness of time, God was the first thing that ever was. That's not a wrong interpretation either, some verses use the Greek word arche when referring to God. In Aristotle's philosophy, he defined arche as the point from which all other points originate and stem from, kind of like the symbol < the left point is the arche.

Great, so you already granted that there's a small chance. Now given that there's infinite amount of time in the past (unless you go Einsteinian) then you have to assume that at some point in that infinite past, God must have emerged.

Nyarlathotep's picture
John 6IX Breezy - But as long

John 6IX Breezy - But as long as its not zero, and there's an infinity of time in the past, then as Nyar said "with infinite trials, it will happen."

It must also be finite.

John 6IX Breezy - Time is the factor that makes all things possible.

Infinite trials will not make all things possible, as not all things have a non-zero, finite probability. Oh wait; are you using all to mean most again?

Additionally there may not be an infinite number of trials (there may not be an infinite amount of time in the past).

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
"Additionally there may not

Do we even know what the actual chances of life emerging are? If the earth is 4.5 billion years old and life emerged 3.5 billion years ago. You don't get an infinite amount of time, you get exactly a billion years. And actually, since life has only been known to emerge one time and in one place only, then the more time, more places, and more trials we add, the less probable it becomes. Correct?

Its an ever decreasing probability.

LogicFTW's picture
I actually diverge from Nylar

I actually diverge from Nylar a bit here. If the universe/time is indeed infinite, then I do feel everything is possible. And I do mean everything. Every single imagination idea you I and everyone else ever had, no matter how outlandish has happened and occurred somewhere at some time. Every idea we never had, also has occured. Everything has occured. That is infinite for you. However we live here in this place at this time. Not everything is possible here, even in an infinite universe, we are looking at one miniscule fraction of time, of place, of dimension, of possibility.

Also I have no idea if the universe/time is infinite. The very idea makes my head hurt. But also the other thought, the nothing.. ALSO makes my head hurt. I feel these are questions we humans are likely unable to ever properly answer. One of the easiest answers we can come up with to make us all feel better is a "god" concept. An idea/concept where we can break all the rules so we can neatly file "The answer" away in our heads and stop worrying about it if it bothers us. Toss in, (for many people,) a nice heaven/afterlife and an explanation for all things, and it becomes very compelling.

Again, I feel anything is possible, just some ideas are so remote in possibility, that trying to draw conclusions from them, especially when there is little to no real world tools we can use to observe quantify repeat and study with, keeps reducing the possibility of something to the point that its far better to focus on more likely possibilities.

I could die 5 minutes from now from a meteor striking me on the head. But the evidence shows me the possibility of that is so remote it would be foolish to waste my time on taking action from this possibility. (not to mention the fact their would be nothing I could do about it.)

Also we do not know the probabilities. Things like god, and rise of life we lack the data to even make very crude ballpark estimations. All we got is: Hey we are here, study of our environment has lead us to conclusion x y and z. As we observe more we can further refine these theories and conclusions. Theory of evolution, the theories of the origin of life, we have continually found more and more evidence for. The theory of most any god has taken the opposite trend. (Especially over time.)

An interesting factor to time is the introduction of "alien" foreign rudimentary life material carried from some other part of space. Perhaps a base form of life escaped the gigantic gravity well of a planet caught near the event horizon of a black hole, got shot out into space as the planet cracked under the forces of the black hole or a major collision within the path towards the event horizon, and one of those pieces landed here on earth. Not saying that happened. But suddenly, the timeline of life expanded greatly, we could have 14 billion years for the rise of life, + the time dilation effect of the time horizon multiplying that number greatly. We could be talking 100+ billion "years." of time for life to rise. Again extremely unlikely, but that is what we are talking about here.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I guess an important factor

I guess an important factor here are the cut-off points. You seem to claim God is very unlikely in the same gulp that you say how rare it is for life to occur spontaneously. Yet you reject one and accept the other.

Based on all the information we know, the chances of non-living things becoming a living cell are 1:13 billion (if a year equals a trial) or if you will, 1:4,745,000,000,000 (if a day equals a trial), with that number growing with each passing day.

We are literally talking about the least probable thing in the entire history and span of the universe. A single event that has never been known to reoccur at any place or any time, in a possibly infinite universe.

LogicFTW's picture
Both are seemingly highly

Both are seemingly highly unlikely, but as we discussed before, one concept as we have envisioned it has one opportunity ever, (god at the beginning of time for your example of god) where as we explained the other idea, had trillions upon trillions of opportunities, every single second of every passing day of every year among billions.

I actually think rudimentary forms of life from earlier stages of "non" life pop in all the time, even now, it is an ongoing process.

If you were to draw a line and say "this is life at point "x" Point W right before life is also occuring and w is becoming x occurs probably very frequently, even if for the brief moments.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
"I actually think rudimentary

"I actually think rudimentary forms of life from earlier stages of "non" life pop in all the time, even now, it is an ongoing process." Well there's no need to think that when you can test that. Find the evidence for it.

Secondly, if that were true then there's no reason to expect all life on Earth to share DNA. Surely, life has been popping in and out long enough that a handful of them should begun evolving, and creating an entirely different and unique tree than the one we have now.

LogicFTW's picture
Have to very clearly define

Have to very clearly define life, then using that line I can show how it hops under and over that line all the time.

If say, the requirement to be considered life is that it has dna. I can point to many things that are on the verge of having dna. Or things that have dna but then lose the dna.

Also I used the word "pop" on purpose, these countless examples, they likely exist for only the briefest moments, with 99% of the time getting devoured and destroyed in mere seconds by the more complex and efficient life. There is a microscopic war of life occurring in all places at all times in the span of seconds nearly everywhere on the surface of earth. Millions of micro organisms live die, and battle on for life in a single drop of water. Other more simple organisms we do not call life by an arbitrary line we draw, move up and down it.

Experiments have and are done all the time. You can do it yourself. Get a drop of pond water, put it on a slide under a powerful microscope and observe. Figure out how to separate the things you see from the "life" line you made. Again you have to be super precise on what the life line is. This super precise line, you do not expect to get crossed over? Billions of times a second every day on earth?
Sure you will not observe a rock suddenly sprout arms, have dna, interact with its environment, reproduce and so on. But get up close to that line that you have to draw, and you will see cross over all the time if you have the equipment to properly observe it. Which scientist have and do.

Nyarlathotep's picture
John 6IX Breezy - Do we even

John 6IX Breezy - Do we even know what the actual chances of life emerging are? If the earth is 4.5 billion years old...

Seems like you are asking 2 different questions.

  1. The probability of life emerging.
  2. The probability of life emerging on the Earth.

Those are very different questions.

John 6IX Breezy - And actually, since life has only been known to emerge one time and in one place only, then the more time, more places, and more trials we add, the less probable it becomes. Correct?

Are you discussing the probability of a success on one trial, or on multiple trials? If it is a single trial, what you suggest is even more confusing and I suspect misguided (but I can't really tell); if multiple trials, it is fundamentally wrong.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
I am asking two different

I am asking two different questions. The first one is focused on Earth. The second expands the question to anywhere and anytime in the universe. I'm not asking the probability of success on one trial. I'm asking the probability of success on any trial, given that its only been known to be successful once.

Nyarlathotep's picture
You want to know the

You want to know the probability of something happening that has already happened? It's 1.

Of course I don't think that is what you are really asking; I'm having a very difficult time understanding your question(s). Could you please re-state them carefully?

John 6IX Breezy - I'm asking the probability of success on any trial, given that its only been known to be successful once.

Are the trials independent?

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
That is what I'm asking but

That is what I'm asking but not in the way you're putting it. I am asking for the probability of something occurring in the first place, not after its already occurred. That uncertainty needs to be based on what we know, and what we know is that life has only emerged a single time.

In order to calculate the probability of a coin flip, you need to know that both sides have a fair chance. I assume you do so by looking at previous trials. If I give you a coin that only lands heads, the probability isn't .5 anymore even if its still a coin. So you need to base probabilities on previous information. when it comes to life emerging, its an event that as far as we know has only happened once. If the universe is 13 billion years old, then we know life can only happen once every 13 billion years.

(I suppose the trials are independent. I but I don't care what the trials are, you can decide that for yourself. I'm saying that since its a single event, the more trials you add the less probable it becomes. You can pick your poison as to what your trial is).

LogicFTW's picture
We do not "know" if life

We do not "know" if life occurs only once every 13 billion years in the universe. We only know that it has definitely occurred once.

It is like saying: I know there is only one person ever named "John" on earth. It is a misleading statement. A more accurate statement is I know of a person named John.

No conclusions can be made about the frequency of the names John on earth, only that there definitely is one person named John.

Trials are pretty tough. We do not even know for sure yet if our mars our closest "neighbor" after venus, has or had life on it. There is no way we conclude how many other star systems have life on them. We can guestimate, that for what we commonly accept life is, the probability of planets/star systems that have similar circumstances that can support life like life found on earth is. And that number as we make new discovery on earth is expanding, not shrinking. As we find life on earth in places we do not expect could support life, or life to reach. Tree roots have been found to penetrate at least 400 feet under the ground. Volcanic sea vents many thousands of feet under the ocean's surface have been found teeming with life etc.

ʝօɦռ 6IX ɮʀɛɛʐʏ's picture
You're saying the same thing:

You're saying the same thing: We don't "know" that life ONLY occurs once every 13 billion years... we only know life DID occur once.... in 13 billion years.


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