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Topic: Several questions on evolution, and mutation (rate)
Replies: 52   Last Post: Sep 8, 1996 9:44 PM

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 Vincent R. Johns Posts: 131 Registered: 12/6/04
Re: Several questions on evolution, and mutation (rate)
Posted: Aug 26, 1996 11:28 PM

David Beorn <dbeorn@freenet.vcu.edu> wrote:
> On 23 Aug 1996, Richard M Kliman <rkliman@runet.edu> wrote:
> >In article <4vfvkr\$446@news>, Larry Adams <laradex3@sj.znet.com> wrote:
> >>Are the odds of inanimate materials coallescing to form life greater or lesser
> >>than those for the appearance of the human eye?

> >
> > The first is more likely than the second. I can say this categorically
> > because the second is absolutely dependent on the first...unless the
> > probability that evolution would lead to humans with eyes is 100%, in
> > which case the two would be equally likely.
> >
> > As far as the probability that inanimate materials would coalesce to form
> > life goes... who knows? First off, the question assumes a false
> > dichotomy between inanimate materials and what we now consider to be
> > life. Secondly, it assumes that we actually have insight into these
> > probabilities. Unless you are willing to offer verifiable alternative
> > hypotheses, I think the best we can say is that life and human eyes *have*
> > evolved - and wouldn't it be cool to know as much of the story as we can?

>
> Well, I don't know that we can say with CERTAINTY that life evolved but
> people certainly do SAY it. I've heard calculations that to just form
> one protein (amino acid?? I think) by chance, one of the building
> blocks of life is 10 to the 46th power - and that's not even life. So the
> probability for life is significantly greater than that. And the time
> involved is significantly greater than the longest estimates for the age
> of the earth - so what conclusions should you draw from this??

One possible conclusion might be that (as in the apocryphal story
of the bumblebees that were proven not to be able to fly) the
calculations, or the assumptions on which they were based, were
flawed in some way. (Only an extreme skeptic would claim that
life does not exist *now*, IMHO.) You have probably heard of
laboratory experiments generating amino acids from simple molecules
like ammonia, water, etc., under the action of lightning (OK, it
was an electric spark, but a similar idea), in far less than
10^46 microseconds, for example.

-- Vincent Johns

Date Subject Author
8/15/96 Andrew Singer
8/16/96 Lluis Ribas
8/16/96 Doug Yanega
8/17/96 Leonard Evens
8/16/96 KIRKX L AUGUSTIN
8/17/96 Leonard Evens
8/28/96 Brian Williams
8/29/96 Lauren Owens
8/30/96 Paterson, Adrian Mark
8/18/96 Felix J. Thibault
8/20/96 Vincent R. Johns
8/23/96 Richard M Kliman
8/25/96 David Beorn
8/26/96 Vincent R. Johns
8/27/96 Steve McGrew
8/27/96 James Foster
8/29/96 David Beorn
8/30/96 James Foster
8/31/96 L.A. Moran
9/3/96 James Foster
9/4/96 L.A. Moran
9/4/96 James Foster
9/4/96 Ram Samudrala
9/4/96 James Foster
9/4/96 Ram Samudrala
9/5/96 James Foster
9/5/96 Ram Samudrala
9/6/96 James Foster
8/27/96 Joan Shields
8/28/96 Steve McGrew
8/29/96 David Beorn
8/30/96 Jerry Learn
8/31/96 Doug Easton
8/30/96 Larry Edwards
8/30/96 Doug Yanega
9/7/96 David Beorn
8/27/96 David Dixon
8/28/96 Dana Gourley
8/30/96 Herman Helmuth
9/6/96 Jerry Clark
8/22/96 Truett L Smith
8/28/96 Brian Williams
8/23/96 Karl
8/24/96 Steve McGrew
8/25/96 Arthur Chandler
8/21/96 vorsterd@iafrica.com
8/22/96 Anthony Campbell
8/22/96 Mary K. Kuhner
8/31/96 Arthur Chandler
9/4/96 David Wilson
9/6/96 Ram Samudrala
9/8/96 David Wilson