1. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 04:411 edit
    This is an offshoot of the Demonstration of how RNA-like molecules spontaneously form thread. Instead of the same old wrangling over opinions I thought it might be useful to ask a relatively simple question. What I'm looking for is a yes or no answer followed by, and supported with, your reasons for answering with either a yes or a no.

    There are two points of view. One says life was able to naturally begin and in time build into increasingly complex forms through the agency of natural forces, without the aid of any intelligent guidance. The other point of view maintains that it is physically impossible for life to spontaneously begin, and that the information and intructions found in DNA alone is enough to dispute this idea.

    Bear in mind we have recently discovered another layer of complexity and information in DNA, and there is likely more to be discovered... the point being, we shouldn't assume we now have complete knowledge simply because an extra dimension of instructional information has recently been found.


    So here's the scenario, and the question that follows:

    Imagine no one ever seeing or knowing about computers or automobiles, and then one day coming across one or both of these things. Using all of the knowledge we have available today, knowledge of physics, chemistry, information systems, biology, statistical analysis, etc. etc., is there any logical way to determine (without knowing) whether or not these objects were able to self assemble through the agency of the physical forces of nature? Or, can we confidently assert (without having direct knowledge) that these objects would not exist (and do what they do) without purposeful and intelligent guidance?

    Yes, or no. And please have a reason for your answer... the reason (your reason) determines why your answer is a yes or a no.
  2. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 05:17
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    This is an offshoot of the Demonstration of how RNA-like molecules spontaneously form thread. Instead of the same old wrangling over opinions I thought it might be useful to ask a relatively simple question. What I'm looking for is a yes or no answer followed by, and supported with, your reasons for answering with either a yes or a no.

    There are ...[text shortened]... your answer... the reason (your reason) determines whether your answer is a yes or a no.
    That was a bit of a mouthful, so I'll try summing it up this way:


    1. You've never before seen a computer or an automobile, and have not been aware of their existence (or purpose).

    2. Having the sum total of all of known science at your finger tips you one day come upon these things. You endeavour to dermine their origin, and whether or not these are natural formations or have been built by an intelligent being for a specific purpose*.

    3. Is there enough information to make such a determination? If so, what is your conclusion and how did you arrive at it?

    *Just as an aside, you don't actually need to know of a specific purpose in order to arrive at your conclusion. But this is simply my opinion, and yours might be different. If you think knowing the specific purpose is important then by all means, include that in your reasoning)


    If you say I don't know, it could be a yes or a no, this is also an answer... but I'm specifically looking for yes or no answers and hoping to see the reasons for those answers. One other thing, I realise part of the challenge is to imagine you've never seen those objects before now. But if you have the self discipline to stay within the parameters of this challenge, and not forget the opening conditions, I think we might see something interesting come out it. And maybe something new that no one has yet considered. If so then I hereby claim first publishing rights... unless someone else beats me to it.
  3. Germany
    Joined
    27 Oct '08
    Moves
    3081
    31 Dec '13 06:48
    Are the computers and automobiles replicating?
  4. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14598
    31 Dec '13 09:34
    Yes, for two reasons:

    First is what Kazet says. The self-replicating mechanism of DNA tells us that DNA can at least keep on existing without intelligent guidance. While this does not necessarily tell us that DNA could have come about without intelligent guidance, it is nonetheless a strong sign. Such can not be said of these computers or automobiles, eventhough they do seem to exist for a reason.

    Second is that, if we wish to assume that there must exist an intelligence making DNA we have no choice of coming up with a new kind of intelligence, we have to make the situation more complicated. In contrast, we can safely assume that these so called "kompjuters" were build by the intelligence that we already know, namely humans.
  5. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 09:44
    Originally posted by KazetNagorra
    Are the computers and automobiles replicating?
    Doesn't matter if they are able to replicate or not. The point is in being able to determine whether they are naturally formed objects or constructed by something other than nature. I realise the difficulty in trying to talk about these objects as though they were unknowns, since both are quite familiar to most everyone. But my main focus (what I'm looking for here) are the reasons why someone would be able determine if these objects were naturally formed or man made.

    If you are not aware that someone made these objects, then how could you be reasonably sure someone did? And if you don't believe it's possible to determine this one way or the other, I'd like to hear reasons for that as well. It's the reasoning behind the answers I'm mostly interested in, and not so much whether the answer is a yes or a no.

    To use another example, how could anyone know they were unearthing the fragmented remains of a clay or stone pot? What makes it possible for someone to distinguish the difference between something like that, and say the fragments of a naturally formed piece of stone?
  6. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14598
    31 Dec '13 10:03
    Previous knowledge. If the piece of stone has a handle or has a bit of artwork or looks a like something we previously dug up we can say something about it. If we don't have any of such information we must assume that is was formed naturally.
  7. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    31 Dec '13 10:1710 edits
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    That was a bit of a mouthful, so I'll try summing it up this way:


    1. You've never before seen a computer or an automobile, and have not been aware of their existence (or purpose).

    2. Having the sum total of all of known science at your finger tips you one day come upon these things. You endeavour to dermine their origin, and whether or not these a ...[text shortened]... idered. If so then I hereby claim first publishing rights... unless someone else beats me to it.
    Yes, or no

    Yes. Reason:

    Computers cannot reproduce thus cannot evolve to have ever greater complexity via mutation and natural selection from less complex forms of computer. That means, assuming that each computer didn't always exist, the full complexity from each must have either been created by:

    1, some kind of intelligence.

    2, created bit by bit from natural forces that are not totally random (like a growing complex crystal that grows from a simpler crystal nuclei )

    3, spontaneously been created completely by chance.

    After studying much physics and chemistry, we should be able to rule out 2, because there is know physical or chemical process that could even come close to making such complex computers.

    And, if we do the maths, we see 3, must be dismissed as being absurdly improbable.

    Thus, by systematic logical process of elimination, that just leaves 1, -simple!


    BUT, EXTREMELY hypothetically, IF computers DID reproduce (cannot image exactly how that would work ) , and IF they passed on their characteristics to their offspring but with the possibility of an occasional mutation, this makes it possible for them to evolve from simpler and simpler computers and that would mean their could be a single 'first' computer, a “protocomputer”, that could be the common ancestor of all computers and that first one could have NONE of the complexity of modern computers thus, when you do the maths, 3, (i.e. the “protocomputer” forming spontaneously by chance, NOT modern day computers because natural selection is not totally random. so, evolution is more like 2 above ) is not improbable. Then, if that is the case, using the principle of Occam’s razor, we can reject 1, above because that assumes the existence of an intelligence that could plausibly have created all computers that, in your proposed hypothetical world here, we have not observed and have no evidence that exists when, GIVEN the high probability of 3, (plus evolution that would inevitably follow after 3 ) would clearly be a TOTALLY UNNECESSARY assumption.

    I have above correctly and comprehensively answered your question and more.
    Does this end this debate?
    Any questions?
  8. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 10:52
    Originally posted by Great King Rat
    Previous knowledge. If the piece of stone has a handle or has a bit of artwork or looks a like something we previously dug up we can say something about it. If we don't have any of such information we must assume that is was formed naturally.
    Previous experience and/or knowledge is definitely a factor. It was a major factor in a formulation I once saw to explain how the mind works when we recognise patterns as either natural formations or foot prints... a "footprint" being pretty much anything made by a living creature, and leaving behind a recognisable "signature".

    Even new borns in the animal kingdom need some first hand experience on top of the instincts they inherit. It's interesting that the higher up you go on the species list how instinct plays less of a dominant role, and first hand personal experience will play more of major role. Go the other direction until you get to insects, and instinct plays more of a dominant role... although we've been finding more and more examples of learning and learned responses among creatures we had assumed operated purely from instinct.



    I anticipated having to explain in more detail what I'm looking for, but for the most part I intend to sit back and see how this plays out. I don't want to bugger this idea by being too active of a participant, or give the impression it's just a vehicle for me to push my point of view on anyone. I have my own point of view and reasons for it, but I am also interested in how people come to the conclusions they arrive at. I'm sometimes surprised if someone agrees with me when it's for reasons that don't seem quite right... now there's a formula for conflict.
  9. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 11:14
    Originally posted by humy
    Yes, or no

    Yes. Reason:

    Computers cannot reproduce thus cannot evolve to have ever greater complexity via mutation and natural selection from less complex forms of computer. That means, assuming that each computer didn't always exist, the full complexity from each must have either been created by:

    1, some kind of intelligence.

    ...[text shortened]... inevitably follow after 3 ) would clearly be a TOTALLY UNNECESSARY assumption.

    Any questions?
    Any questions?

    Yeah. How would you know if they reproduce or not if you just now came across one? Should I assume they would be going at it 24 hours a day 7 days a week? And when I start examining one of them the first thing I can conclude is that they don't reproduce? If I met you for the first time and do not see you reproducing, is it be reasonable for me to assume you never reproduce?

    What does reproduction have to do with whether the object is man made or formed by the forces of nature? The reason it's easier to know if an auto or computer was made (and not formed) is because it doesn't reproduce. Reproduction replaces the creatures that die, over and over and over again. So obviously, no one is alive today who can "remember" how living things were made.

    I assumed the issue of reproduction was brought up as simply a joke.... but I suppose it was unavoidable, seeing as how I started off using DNA as an example of an information and operating system. I probably should have used something else as an example.
  10. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14598
    31 Dec '13 11:171 edit
    I don't think anybody who's responded to this thread or who's reading this is misunderstanding your question.

    If however you feel that the answers given so far are not answering the questions you meant to ask I suggest you reiterate your questions. No need for mysteries here.

    EDIT, responded to your previous post.
  11. Joined
    24 Apr '10
    Moves
    14598
    31 Dec '13 11:22
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    [b]Any questions?

    Yeah. How would you know if they reproduce or not if you just now came across one? Should I assume they would be going at it 24 hours a day 7 days a week? And when I start examining one of them the first thing I can conclude is that they don't reproduce? If I met you for the first time and do not see you reproducing, is it ...[text shortened]... f an information and operating system. I probably should have used something else as an example.[/b]
    Part of your question was that we could use all scientific knowledge available to study the object. In doing so we will find two conclusions:

    1) we will not come across any self-replicating mechanism.

    2) we will not see it replicate.

    Thus, it is at that point reasonable to conclude that the object does not replicate itself.
  12. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    31 Dec '13 11:334 edits
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    [b]Any questions?

    Yeah. How would you know if they reproduce or not if you just now came across one? Should I assume they would be going at it 24 hours a day 7 days a week? And when I start examining one of them the first thing I can conclude is that they don't reproduce? If I met you for the first time and do not see you reproducing, is it ...[text shortened]... f an information and operating system. I probably should have used something else as an example.[/b]

    Yeah. How would you know if they reproduce or not if you just now came across one?

    Using the principle of Occam's razor, the rational assumption to make is a given something X is very unlikely to reproduce until if or when you have evidence or reason to believe the contrary. Reproduction is quite a complex thing after all.
    If you refute this, then would you assume that the probability of a lump of rock can reproduce is as high as 50% just because you cannot or at least have yet to disprove that a lump of rock cannot reproduce?

    What does reproduction have to do with whether the object is man made or formed by the forces of nature?

    I would have thought that was obvious; if it can reproduce itself without intelligence, then it can be made by such reproduction and, in addition, providing it can pass on its characteristics onto its offspring but also mutate, that allows for it to evolve and evolution doesn't REQUIRE intelligence thus, again, using Occam's razor, we should not assume intelligence was involved until if or when we have evidence or reason to believe otherwise.

    I assumed the issue of reproduction was brought up as simply a joke....

    So you don't like the answers. Well that's fine, but that is hardly a counterargument now, is it!

    but I suppose it was unavoidable, seeing as how I started off using DNA as an example of an information and operating system.

    The first life almost certainly had no DNA nor needed it.
  13. Joined
    06 Mar '12
    Moves
    625
    31 Dec '13 12:225 edits
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    Doesn't matter if they are able to replicate or not. The point is in being able to determine whether they are naturally formed objects or constructed by something other than nature. I realise the difficulty in trying to talk about these objects as though they were unknowns, since both are quite familiar to most everyone. But my main focus (what I'm lookin ...[text shortened]... ference between something like that, and say the fragments of a naturally formed piece of stone?
    Doesn't matter if they are able to replicate or not.

    Of course it matters! If they cannot reproduce, they cannot evolve (by mindless Darwinian evolution rather than some other kind of evolution ) because, to evolve, one of the essential minimal requirements is that they MUST reproduce.
    And, if they cannot evolve because they cannot reproduce, that is clearly one less explanation of how they could have come into existence without intelligence thus, with all else being equal and in the absence of evidence for an alternative explanation not involving an intelligent creator, logically giving greater credence to the hypothesis that they were created intelligently -how is this NOT true?
  14. Germany
    Joined
    27 Oct '08
    Moves
    3081
    31 Dec '13 13:171 edit
    Originally posted by lemon lime
    Doesn't matter if they are able to replicate or not.
    Yes, it does. Are they? If not, is there visible evidence they were at some point able to replicate?
  15. Standard memberlemon lime
    ook ook ahchoo
    oLd ScHoOl
    Joined
    31 May '13
    Moves
    5577
    31 Dec '13 20:56
    Something that intentionally reproduces or replicates itself is a huge clue, but it's not necessarily the only clue, or even the most important marker for determining if something is naturally formed or intentionally constructed.

    Any archaeologist will tell you that an unearthed clay pot was made by human hands, but no one assumes the clay pot might be able to replicate itself. So yes, living things do replicate themselves, but living organisms are not the only things that can show signs of being formed by something other than the basic physical laws of the universe.

    The end result of this is to see if it's possible to rationally and clearly define the difference between natural formations and things that have either been intentionally made (for a purpose) or by happenstance as a result of pursuing a purpose (such as leaving literal footprints in the soil).
Back to Top