Thursday, September 20, 2018

Improbability Washes Away My Confidence In Random Chance As An Explanation Of Life

Just now, I can't spend time on explaining why I think the idea of molecules just wafting into each other to not only spontaneously assemble the first living organism on Earth without there being a containing membrane to concentrate molecules in a membrane which would not be the product of biology but random physical action and random chemistry is less likley than intelligent design.  But I do remember the eminent geneticist Richard Lewontin, in explaining the randomness in cellular reproduction in an organism and how that refuted the claims of genetic determinists (the predominant faith holding of such a large part of the population) explained why they were all wet.  It might not exactly answer you but it certainly lays out some of the problems of it all just happening in some kind of broth that just happened to have all of the right ingredients coming together at just the right time to spontaneously assemble in an act that was totally unprecedented outside of such a containing membrane.  My quick transposition of some of the lecture it's taken from:

What is the origin of the asymmetry of development, on the fluctuating asymmetry on the two sides of an organism when the genes are the same and the environment is the same?   You can't talk about a different environment on the left and right hand of a fruit fly [egg] which is in development no bigger than the end of a pencil suspended on the inside of a milk bottle.  I mean, it doesn't make sense.  And we know the answer to that.  The answer is that there is something which is sometimes called developmental noise, which doesn't say anything.   Which means that the actual division of cells, the timing of division of cells and the exact ordering of those divisions in a line and so on, depends upon the molecular state of the cells, internal to the cells.  But the number of molecules inside any cell of a particular kind is very small.  It's not like the chemists who tell us there are Avogadro's number of molecules in a test tube.  There are seven of these and three of these and nine of those.  They're the essential molecules that are important in the division of the cell.  They're displayed, they're disposed around the cell in different places.  They have to interact with each other and it takes time for them to come together.  They have to be in the right vibrational state and this is real quantum uncertainty.  They have to be in the right vibrational state when they meet each other.  And all of that is subject to a kind of indeterminacy from the quantum level up to the higher levels of indeterminacy. And that means that whether a cell divides at a particular moment and how often the progeny cells divide in a given period of time has a random component to it. . .

Those molecules needed to induce and conduct reproduction that are manufactured within the cell add another component to both the complexity of prediction and the probabilities of it happening in the cell at any given time.  Outside of a containing membrane, I don't know how you could account for the accumulation of either molecules found in nature or those which might have had to be manufactured by the organism managing to perform reproduction not only the first time but the second, third, fourth, etc. times.  I wonder if it would be possible to calculate such probabilities in any way.

I am sure Richard Lewontin would disagree with my conclusion that that makes it highly improbable that the materialist-atheist dogma of it all happening by random chance makes believing it was an act of intelligent choice more probable.  He is, by his own admission, a materialist-atheist by choice.  But even as much as I respect him I don't see why my conclusion isn't, actually, more reasonable.

Update:  Actually, the most incoherent sentence on this blog this week denied that Queens was a part of New York City.  And I didn't write it,  Stupy did.


  1. I was watching a documentary on the game of Go, where an American scientist tried to explain the game and the concept of "emergence." He was connecting the game to the actions of the world, but It was clear the concept was of the "and then a miracle occurs" variety. In other words, create the conditions and life, or something equally complex and inexplicable, emerges. How? Because it does, because it has.

    It's not really an explanation of anything, but it makes some people feel "scientific."

    1. The only thing I've really read about "emergence" is how it's used in materialist claims about consciousness and it's exactly that kind of "then a miracle occurs" only they don't call it that. The panpsychists which are fashionable or might be fashionable as an alternative to that claim that consciousness is present in non-living entities because they can't explain how, without consciousness being there, it could emerge in animals. I think they have to define "consciousness" in atoms and molecules in such a way that it's not what we experience, what gave the concept and the word its meaning, so it's just another way of saying the same thing.

      I think the most ridiculous of the ones I've read, people like the Churchlands are the ones who deny that consciousness exists but I don't think "emergence" or panpsychism is any kind of an actual advance on them.