[ExI] The Political Origins of Life

Kelly Anderson kellycoinguy at gmail.com
Sun Feb 5 04:03:55 UTC 2012


On Sat, Feb 4, 2012 at 11:51 AM, The Avantguardian
<avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> ---- Original Message -----
>> From: Kelly Anderson <kellycoinguy at gmail.com>
>> To: The Avantguardian <avantguardian2020 at yahoo.com>; ExI chat list <extropy-chat at lists.extropy.org>
>> Cc:
>> Sent: Friday, February 3, 2012 3:34 PM
>> Subject: Re: [ExI] Chemical Origins of Life (was Re: Panbiogenesis)
>
>>> How is that simple statement of fact in any way related to Creationist
>>> literature?
>>
>> Creationists are always saying that the emergence of life was so
>> immensely complex that it could not have possibly happened without
>> God's hand. The panbiogenesis argument feeds these fanatics with
>> quotes from scientists about how improbable the emergence of life is.
>
> Just because the Creationists say something, does not automatically make it false.

Clearly! One of my favorite quotations is from Hitler. I never
attribute it until people say, yeah, I like that quote... because once
you say WHO said it, the WHAT of it gets muddied. As if Hitler didn't
say anything that was right and insightful. So yes, I agree.

> Especially if they are quoting a scientist.

What you may not be aware of is how they often (nearly always) quote
scientists out of context. For example, here is a quote of Richard
Dawkins:
"This book should be read almost as though it were science fiction."
from the preface of The Selfish Gene.
Do you think Richard Dawkins thought he was writing science fiction,
really? He was making a point. But the creationist who quoted it made
it seem like Dawkins KNEW evolution was a farce.

> What is false is not that their assertion that life is complex, but that a *diety* is
> required for such complexity to exist.

But it is not so complex that it COULDN'T have evolved right here. Or
are you of the opinion that panbiogenesis is the only answer?

> These people simply have not truly seen the complexity of the universe the way I have.
> But many of these same people believe in a diety that is completely described by the
> Bible. For them God is shield against having to think about complexity and complex situations.
> Thus they are able to blithely attribute everything to God and thereby absolve themselves
> of the knowledge of and the responsibilty for the effects they cause.

You'll get no arguments from me there.

> Effects ranging from unwanted teen pregnacy to catastrophes on the scale of "It's a
> shame God saw fit to take all dem black folk.", sayeth the foreman who built the levy in New Orleans.

Yeah, it's pretty sad.

> Contemplate that for a minute: There are people who believe that the 1.2 MB of text
> contained in the Bible completely describes the creator of the universe when that
> same believer's genetic code would take about 2.9 GB (gigabytes not gigabases)
> for both sets of chromosomes to be written in a book. The believer is almost 2500
>times more complex than all known data regarding the God he worships.

Not to defend the religious, but much of our beliefs (physics)  can be
written in a dozen equations. That is certainly more condensed than
the Bible. So brevity is not equal to falsity. Complexity isn't
everything. Having simple rules that can give rise to complexity is
where emergence comes from, and perhaps that is everything.

> But then... there are the untold masses that profess to *believe* but haven't even
> completely read the book they profess to believe in.

Have you read Origin of Species all the way through? Just curious. I
have. I've also read the Bible all the way through, and the Book of
Mormon, and a bunch of other books. Haven't made it through the Koran
yet... :-)

> Talk about sheep. You spoke of being pissed at Jehova's Witnesses. You really
> want to mess with the mind of a missionary? Simply read the particular book they
> bandy about, preferably before your first meeting with them. Then challenge them
> to a bible trivia game taking turns asking each other questions about their text.
> Beat them at the trivia game. Then, when they "pop the question", tell them you
> enjoy the taste of blood far too much join their church. I seriously doubt they will
> ever bother you again. Works for most religions actually. ;-)

I'm note interested in chasing them off. That's too easy... ;-)

>>> See how the individual dead molecules look like they themselves are
>>> alive? Dancing in perfect yet unchoreographed harmony? That's
>>> some *serious* negentropy. That's the challenge faced by scientists.
>>> It's like putting a bunch of Legos into a cement mixer and expecting
>>> the Taj Mahal to come out.
>>
>> Now you ARE sounding like a creationist. Emergence will eventually
>> show how all this could have happened. It may or may not have happened
>> here first, but even if it happened somewhere else first, it had to
>> happen first somewhere, right? So we should try and figure that out.
>
> A creationist? Really?

Yes. This is exactly the argument that they use. Nearly word for word.

> To be honest creation in some sense is not *entirely* ruled out as a
> hypothesis in my mind. But if a being really did create this universe.

I am open to the idea that what I perceive as the universe is just a
simulation and that I am also a simulation. Not sure that's exactly
the same thing you're saying, but I can't disprove that. In that case,
then someone did create the universe. But I don't equate that person
with God.

> The universe as the hubble telescope or an atomic force microscope
> sees it, then that being would be insulted by the Bible's depictions of him.
> The creator of all that grandeur and sophistication coupled with such
> subtlety and raw power is written as an abusive mysogynist alcoholic father
> with a nuclear arsenal and a weather control device. Who then plans the
> Roman execution of his son, to vent his rage so that he doesn't erase the
> souls of all humanity, after they are dead, for acting exactly how he genetically
> programmed humanity to behave. Whilst this book commands us to behave
> otherwise? Seriously? God as a poorly-written James Bond Villain?

It is a bit far fetched... but it's easy to get caught up in that kind
of belief system. It is very hard to escape as well. I know this from
personal first hand experience. I was a practicing Mormon until about
4 years ago.

But to leave the door open to some other diety, I'm not willing to
sell my soul again. Not at this point.

> God, if such a being existed, could not possibly be a sadist who paradoxically
> loves you whilst fitting your physical decreptitude, and often messy and even
> painful demise, into his plan for you. Only so that 200 years hence, less than
> one orbit of the outer planets, nobody but the most studious of your descendants,
> Mormons, and if you are lucky, historians, will know you ever existed.  I hope
> he loves you at least as much he loved his son. Poor bastard. Poor deluded suckers.

And yet, the flow of memes through me, and to you, will still have an
effect on the world. It may not be a great effect, but if there are
enough people with good memes, the cumulative effect will be profound.

I am sending a boy to school in Africa. I'm going to change his family
tree forever. His great-grandchildren will likely owe there existence
to me, though they may not know my name or even his. Such is the
nature of life.

And yet, my belief system is that everyone will remember everyone from
this age. Some of our digital footprints may last as long as the pair
at Laetoli.

>> Of course I am. I never said it was ridiculous. However, to the normal
>> man on the street, it sounds ridiculous. Picture a normal guy being
>> approached by two Jehovah's Witnesses and being asked, "Do you think
>> Occam's razor would say that it is more likely that life came drifting
>> in from outer space, or that God Did It?" What's the answer going to
>> be? Well, for a large majority of people, he God hypothesis sounds
>> more rational. We have been trained by society norms to make fun of
>> people like Dennis Kucinich.
>>
>> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gSRWRbuMqyc
>>
>> Just remember that extraordinary claims require extraordinary
>> evidence. To the guy on the street, panbiogenesis initally sounds like
>> Dennis Kucinich. Do you really want to feed that? That gives the
>> Witnesses the fuel they need to say, "See, science is more crazy than
>> religion!"
>
> The truth is always stranger than fiction and the bible is not even good
> fiction. I will be true to my nature in this life and truth is part of my nature.

To be infidels to scientific truth only requires a lack of care in how
we use our words. They will be hijacked and used as tools for the
other side if we do not exercise this care.

>> No, but they present their own challenges in imaging. We're getting
>> better at this stuff all the time. But it is hard to get research
>> money to study the evolutionary crystal structures of clay. That's the
>> kind of $1000 toilet seat story that ends up on the second page of the
>> Wall Street Journal as a waste of the public's money. Again, it's very
>> political in this area of science, and you can't lose sight of that.
>
> Well I don't blame them. As much "ooh and awe" factor the truth about
> the origins of life might have, it would be of little practical value. Especially
> in a society that is a one-trick energy pony.

I don't see understanding the true origin of life as having no
economic value. If, as I think it would, it decreased the devotion of
time and energy towards religion... it would free that time up for
other, possibly more productive, applications of people's time.

>>> What God hypothesis? Why do you have God on your mind?
>>
>> Because it was my conversations with the Jehovah's Witnesses that led
>> me to dive into this stuff more deeply. I realized I did not know
>> enough to counter their arguments against abiogenesis, so I felt the
>> need to go and educate myself. In other words, their creationist bull
>> shit (the form of the argument, more than the argument itself) pissed
>> me off and made me want to study more.
>
> Ok cool. I understand now that some of the content of my theory may
> have conflicted with your antiviral software. Sorry for the confusion. If
> the Witnesses continue to pester you, at least perform the final step
> of my algorithm above. Cheers. :-)

I will continue to entertain them until they tire of me. At least that
way, they won't spend their time on those with weaker minds... lol...
besides, it's fun.

-Kelly



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