Origin of Life - Rational Response?

curleighandmowe
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Origin of Life - Rational Response?

Having a personal crisis here guys. Dawkins is my hero but I've recently discovered him claiming to believe that aliens created life on earth. This can't be legit surely?

 

Help?


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Hello, welcome to the forum.

Hello, welcome to the forum.

I see nothing wrong with Dawkins's perspective in the video. He's not saying he believes aliens created the first living things on Earth, but merely acknowledging that it's a possibility. I think it's possible as well. However, ultimately, this doesn't solve the problem, as Dawkins already stated, this alien civilization would also need an origin. 

Also, Dawkins's statement that we don't yet know how the first organisms could appear in abiogenesis was probably an act of convenience as much as honesty. Even if he could memorize all the details necessary to explain the development of organic molecules into multicellular organisms, I doubt Ben Stein would understand it. Our knowledge of abiogenesis is still blurry, but scientists have made dramatically more progress than the average person suspects. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H0RXDrfyZc

http://www.rationalresponders.com/third_revolution

http://www.rationalresponders.com/chemical_evolution

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Well, as a fan of

Well, as a fan of Dawkins, have you not noticed that he does that type of thing all the time? Basically, advance an assertion that is fairly absurd so that he can examine the consequences? Really, that is fairly typical for him.

 

Of note is that while he does talk about the aliens possibly having seeded the earth, he then observes that the first aliens must have come from somewhere in some way. That is not the same thing as admitting to a belief in ID though. Really, the point that he is making is that abiogenesis must have happened at least once in the universe. If it was all alien manipulation from that point on, we are still left with there having been a first race of creatures that could have made the second one and so on.

 

 

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This is legit. However, it

This is legit. However, it lacks context.

Basically, this is in response to the whole ID assertion that intelligent design has nothing to do with god. One of their common statements is, "We're not saying it's god; it could've been aliens."

At the same time, they say that life is just too complex to spontaneously evolve.

Dawkins is merely pointing out the internal contradiction to both claims. One must be incorrect. Either intelligent design is about god, or life can spontaneously evolve. He's not saying this did happen. He's just agreeing that one of their two propositions is possible. And it ain't the god one.

 

[EDIT: homonym fail)

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curleighandmowe wrote:Having

curleighandmowe wrote:

Having a personal crisis here guys. Dawkins is my hero but I've recently discovered him claiming to believe that aliens created life on earth.

As others have said, it's not really a claim.

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 Quote:As others have said,

 

Quote:
As others have said, it's not really a claim.

Sheesh.

I hope Professor Bill doesn't give you a good grade for this.  Seriously, is this the best question you can come up with for a bunch of heathens?

 

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Hambydammit wrote:Sheesh.I

Hambydammit wrote:

Sheesh.

I hope Professor Bill doesn't give you a good grade for this.  Seriously, is this the best question you can come up with for a bunch of heathens?



We can't assume everyone who visits is in Dembski's class.



Okay, maybe just the ones who say "Dawkins is my hero". I mean, I wouldn't even say that, and Dawkins is as close as anyone could be to being my hero. That "brights" thing keeps him safely out of hero range.

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HisWillness wrote:That

HisWillness wrote:

That "brights" thing keeps him safely out of hero range.

Absolutely.

I have only one hero: Jesus.

 

Jesus DeJesus. Back in basic training, he got in a fight with his best friend. His best friend (who was a complete prick) kicked DeJesus right square in the nuts. When he doubled over in pain, Wynn tried to kick him in the face; DeJesus grabbed his leg and toppled him over, and proceded to pound the living aura out of Wynn.

I have tried to emulate DeJesus from that day. Only without the square-in-the-nuts thing.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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HisWillness wrote:We can't

HisWillness wrote:

We can't assume everyone who visits is in Dembski's class.

Especially the short ones. The requirement is 10 posts with a total of 2000 words, so we can expect each post to be around 200 words or so.

This one is probably legit. Unless he had 10 posts, and realized he was 20 words short.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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HisWillness

HisWillness wrote:

curleighandmowe wrote:

Having a personal crisis here guys. Dawkins is my hero but I've recently discovered him claiming to believe that aliens created life on earth.

As others have said, it's not really a claim.

Well, he did state this situation was a possibility. So obviously he's inferring a belief (albeit tenous) in alien life and their creative abilities.

 

butterbattle wrote:

Hello, welcome to the forum.

I see nothing wrong with Dawkins's perspective in the video. He's not saying he believes aliens created the first living things on Earth, but merely acknowledging that it's a possibility. I think it's possible as well.

 

Hi butterbattle. Thanks for the reponse.

I appreciate your help but I have to say I have a major personal problem believing in an alien creation theory. To me there is little difference from believing that little green men, a benevolent god or the flying spagetti monster, created / seeded life. To me it's all the same sort of fanciful unfounded speculation?

 

butterbattle wrote:

Also, Dawkins's statement that we don't yet know how the first organisms could appear in abiogenesis was probably an act of convenience as much as honesty. Even if he could memorize all the details necessary to explain the development of organic molecules into multicellular organisms, I doubt Ben Stein would understand it. Our knowledge of abiogenesis is still blurry, but scientists have made dramatically more progress than the average person suspects. 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3H0RXDrfyZc

http://www.rationalresponders.com/third_revolution

http://www.rationalresponders.com/chemical_evolution

 

Excellent, thank you. Do you have any recommended ready on abiogenesis?

 

 

C&M


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nigelTheBold wrote: Unless

nigelTheBold wrote:
 

Unless he had 10 posts, and realized he was 20 words short.

Lol. Although, isn't it possible that there are other diploma mills with a similar course requirement?

curleighhandmowe wrote:
Well, he did state this situation was a possibility. So obviously he's inferring a belief (albeit tenous) in alien life and their creative abilities.
 

No, it doesn't necessitate belief, not even a tentatively held belief. A belief is usually defined as a conviction or trust in the truth of a claim. You can accept that something is a possibility without believing in it. For example, if you role a die, you know that it's possible it will land on "1," but would you bet me on it? Of course not. I have 5 to 1 odds over you. A claim is either correct or incorrect or badly defined, but it is only possible to establish every claim as such if you know everything you need to know. Otherwise, you can only give shades of gray using qualifiers like probable, possible, beyond a reasonable doubt, etc.        

curleighhandmowe wrote:
I appreciate your help but I have to say I have a major personal problem believing in an alien creation theory.

Good. Me too. Do you think it's possible?

curleighhandmowe wrote:
To me there is little difference from believing that little green men, a benevolent god or the flying spagetti monster, created / seeded life. To me it's all the same sort of fanciful unfounded speculation?

It is speculation. However, one is a logical, natural explanation. The other is an ad hoc religious myth.

curleighhandmowe wrote:
Excellent, thank you. Do you have any recommended ready on abiogenesis?

Eh, not really. I don't know much about the subject myself. The articles by DG that I linked are extremely informative.....if you can understand them.

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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Aliens?

butterbattle wrote:

No, it doesn't necessitate belief, not even a tentatively held belief. A belief is usually defined as a conviction or trust in the truth of a claim. You can accept that something is a possibility without believing in it. For example, if you role a die, you know that it's possible it will land on "1," but would you bet me on it? Of course not. I have 5 to 1 odds over you. A claim is either correct or incorrect or badly defined, but it is only possible to establish every claim as such if you know everything you need to know. Otherwise, you can only give shades of gray using qualifiers like probable, possible, beyond a reasonable doubt, etc.   
   
 

True. Good point.


butterbattle wrote:
curleighhandmowe wrote:
I appreciate your help but I have to say I have a major personal problem believing in an alien creation theory.


Good. Me too. Do you think it's possible?


Hmm.. I guess maybe… about as ‘possible’ as a creator god. I see little difference. Both just defer rational explanation of existence to the incomprehensible infinite.


butterbattle wrote:
curleighhandmowe wrote:
To me there is little difference from believing that little green men, a benevolent god or the flying spagetti monster, created / seeded life. To me it's all the same sort of fanciful unfounded speculation?


It is speculation. However, one is a logical, natural explanation. The other is an ad hoc religious myth.


Logical? Isn’t the concept of Aliens born of religious myth too? Aztecs, Maya, NAI, etc
 

butterbattle wrote:
curleighhandmowe wrote:
Do you have any recommended ready on abiogenesis?


Eh, not really. I don't know much about the subject myself. The articles by DG that I linked are extremely informative.....if you can understand them.

K, thanks.
 

C&M


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curleighandmowe

curleighandmowe wrote:

Excellent, thank you. Do you have any recommended ready on abiogenesis?

 

These two videos do a good job of explaining some of the theories around there... I really like the first (and all of cdk007's stuff actually)

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U6QYDdgP9eg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v8nYTJf62sE&feature=PlayList&p=DB23537556D7AADB&index=3

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"Aliens", as

"Aliens", as extra-terrestrial intelligent life, are not necessarily supernatural at all. The possibility of intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe is certainly possible, maybe even highly likely, in the light of recent discoveries which seem to indicate many stars have planets, and that the spontaneous formation of important life chemicals such as amino acids and simple RNA, is quite likely on planets in a roughly the 'right' range of conditions.

OTOH, the chance of any such intelligent life living on a planet close enough to Earth for them to actually visit us is probably very low, and actual reports of visitors from beyond our planet are almost certainly mythical, and or supernatural beliefs.

In principle, the idea of an alien race 'seeding' life on Earth is technically possible, just unlikely to be true. 

In any case, such an explanation for life on Earth does not qualify as an ultimate explanation for life itself, since at least one life-form would have to originated by other means.  

There is nothing intrinsically incomprehensible or infinite in the concept of such aliens, just that the cannot serve as an ultimate explanation for life.

Whereas a 'creator' God, which is just as logically impossible as a candidate to be the ultimate creator, since logically nothing can 'create itself', is also inherently incomprehensible, so it is 'infinitely' more unlikely than some form of alien civilization.

So Dawkins was quite reasonably acknowledging the possibility of alien life, even the hypothetical idea of one that seeded our planet. Nothing to that point implies anything supernatural.

 

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butterbattle

butterbattle wrote:

nigelTheBold wrote:
 

Unless he had 10 posts, and realized he was 20 words short.

Lol. Although, isn't it possible that there are other diploma mills with a similar course requirement?

Great Grotty Grue, man! That's a depressing thought.

"Yes, I seriously believe that consciousness is a product of a natural process. I find that the neuroscientists, psychologists, and philosophers who proceed from that premise are the ones who are actually making useful contributions to our understanding of the mind." - PZ Myers


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Well, as Bob indicates,

Well, as Bob indicates, the whole concept seems pretty tenuous. However, if you look at the video, I think that it is pretty clear that Dawkins was not saying that this must have happened, only that such a thing could be contemplated. Further, he continues that even if we ever did find smoking gun type proof that such an event actually occurred, one would still have to say that the first intelligent like comes to be through a naturalistic process.

 

Perhaps it might be easier to understand what he is discussing if we look at the idea from a different perspective.

 

When we send our probes to various parts of the solar system, we are very careful to clean them thoroughly before launch to minimize the potential of contaminating a potential biosphere with the life that already exists on our planet.

 

Now, it seems to me that the motivation for that must be connected to our not wanting to do accidentally what Doctor Dawkins speculated as possibly having been done intentionally. If you remove the intentional aspect from his speculation, it seems that we are concerned that we may already have reached a point in our technical development where we could be the unwitting agent of the same basic process.

 

Really, the places that we have been in space thus far seem to be pretty unlikely to be kind to out forms of life, thus it is likely improbable that we are going to infect another world with our form of life. However, the matter is of sufficient concern to warrant some fairly expensive attention.

 

If you want to create an argument for intelligent life causing a biosphere, sending a rocket to some other planet with already evolved bacteria on it seems to be insignificantly different from the forced abiogenesis that Doctor Dawkins discussed.

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curleighandmowe wrote:Both

curleighandmowe wrote:
Both just defer rational explanation of existence to the incomprehensible infinite.

If some alien civilization began life on Earth, then we would need an explanation for how the aliens came to be. At some point, life had to have arisen by some slow, gradual process. So, this merely backs it up one step.   

Quote:
Logical? Isn’t the concept of Aliens born of religious myth too? Aztecs, Maya, NAI, etc

Probably. Religion had pretty much everything covered before science stepped in. However, the bottom line is that we can see no good reason why there wouldn't be extraterrestrial life. This "myth" does not contain any inconsistencies or contradict what we know about the universe, as religious stories tend to do. If life on our planet began through abiogenesis, then it can happen elsewhere.      

 

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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curleighandmowe wrote:Well,

curleighandmowe wrote:

Well, he did state this situation was a possibility. So obviously he's inferring a belief (albeit tenous) in alien life and their creative abilities.

Still, it's not a claim. Think of the reverse situation. If I were to ask you, "do you think it's possible that life from another planet started life on earth?" and you said, "I guess it's possible ..."

Do you think it would be fair for me to say, "Ha! Belief!"

No. That's a bit of a stretch.

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I actually take this little

I actually take this little Dawkins scandal as a serious victory for us heathens.  I mean, is this the best they can do?  Really?

Even watching the clip on Expelled (No Intelligence Allowed) it's clear that Dawkins is not suggesting that he believes aliens seeded earth with life.  They couldn't even edit it creatively enough to make it look like that's what he was saying!

I've also noticed something else happening in the theist blogosphere.  I'm convinced now that theists are creating the Church of Dawkins.  It's as if they had a conference and decided that if atheists everywhere were genuflecting in front of a Dawkins Idol, the "movement" would be discredited and go back to hiding in the corner.  So... everybody's accusing atheists of Dawkins-Worship.

The thing is, it's just not there.  Oh, he's got his fan-boys.  Every celebrity does.  But the whole point about being a free-thinker is NOT worshiping people.  There is absolutely nothing -- Not One Thing -- that Dawkins has said that has not been said by another scientist.  Dawkins is just a very popular scienctist and science writer, so more people have his books than say, K.F. Schaffner's.  At first I was peeved about this accusation of Dawkins worship, but now I'm just amused.  I have this picture of lots of ID students in a classroom squawking and jumping around like their ape-like ancestors getting all frothed up about something that only exists in their heads.  Oh, the irony.

Let me put this another way:  Who Fucking Cares if Dawkins thinks aliens seeded life on earth?  If that's what he believes, then he needs to get to writing, because he's going to have to back that shit up with some hefty scientific research or nobody's going to believe him.  That's the whole point!  Science isn't about people.  It's about the research, and whether or not Joe Scientist can replicate the work of Richard Dawkins.

 

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Heck, the only book I read

Heck, the only book I read from Dawkins was the "The God Delusion," and I didn't think it was all that impressive. He's a good biologist, of course, but once his writing left his area of expertise, it lost clarity and depth, especially the chapter where he "refuted" arguments for the existence of God.

Our revels now are ended. These our actors, | As I foretold you, were all spirits, and | Are melted into air, into thin air; | And, like the baseless fabric of this vision, | The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces, | The solemn temples, the great globe itself, - Yea, all which it inherit, shall dissolve, | And, like this insubstantial pageant faded, | Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff | As dreams are made on, and our little life | Is rounded with a sleep. - Shakespeare


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butterbattle wrote:Heck, the

butterbattle wrote:

Heck, the only book I read from Dawkins was the "The God Delusion," and I didn't think it was all that impressive. He's a good biologist, of course, but once his writing left his area of expertise, it lost clarity and depth, especially the chapter where he "refuted" arguments for the existence of God.

I have to agree. I'm a much bigger fan of his books on biology, where he displays an uncommon brilliance bringing real scientific work to a slightly-educated-and-interested audience.

Some of the God Delusion was pretty funny, though. He can be a very entertaining writer. Agreed, though, that it doesn't stand as his finest work.

 

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Hambydammit wrote:I've also

Hambydammit wrote:

I've also noticed something else happening in the theist blogosphere.  I'm convinced now that theists are creating the Church of Dawkins.  It's as if they had a conference and decided that if atheists everywhere were genuflecting in front of a Dawkins Idol, the "movement" would be discredited and go back to hiding in the corner.  So... everybody's accusing atheists of Dawkins-Worship.

It's something to attack, I suppose (for whatever reason). But our greatest collaborative weakness, in that case (getting atheists together is like herding cats) is also our strength. As you say, why would I care if Dawkins was wrong? I mean, if he was absolutely wrong about something. Not just aliens, but something truly silly, like trying to say that the seat of human intelligence was cheese sandwiches.

Or let's say he decided to group all rationally thinking people into a group, and call them ... oh, I don't know ... let's say "brights", just to be outlandish. Wow, that would be ridiculous. What a stupid idea that would be.

But as silly as Dawkins gets, you'll notice that his ideas don't actually leave the natural. I mean, he doesn't invoke magic any time he considers ideas, does he? So maybe his thinking isn't as ridiculous as it could be.

Imagine if he was suggesting that all life was initiated by a super-creature that he couldn't define and had no actual knowledge about, but because no specific information about things that happened before the big bang was available, that it was the most probable because he thought of it.

Yeah, that would be really silly.

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fabulae! nil satis firmi video quam ob rem accipere hunc mi expediat metum. - Terence