Sunday, August 19, 2012

Bogus Abiogenesis Examined (1)

Lets take the very opener:

When Bill O'Reilly asked Kirk Cameron to give his best shot in
proving the existence of God this is what he said:
"The fact that there's a painting proves there must be a painter;
The human body proves there must be a designer because of its complexity and because of the information we can see down at the DNA level"
The problem for fundamentalists like Cameron is that this argument can be too easily flattened. ... so let's start by putting the 'artist and painting' myth to rest.

Why can't paintings paint themselves?
Simple: Because they're made of chemicals that can't replicate themselves.
This explanation is pure balderdash.
The author of the narrative is suffering from an overwhelming (for his intellect) delusion.

Paintings can't replicate themselves. That is true.
But the reason he gives is nonsense.

Its not because paintings are made of chemicals that can't replicate themselves.
The point is, NO chemical can replicate itself.
Not even RNA or DNA.

Here's why:
RNA molecules, for all their length and atom-counts,
are not complex at all in the real sense needed here.
They are actually awfully simple molecules, in terms of chemistry.
As noted, they contain patterns of only four basic building-blocks,
a simple 'data-language' in which it is believed all the genetic information is coded.

RNA molecules are not manufacturing plants,
or even the simplest machines at all.
They are semi-rigid coils that do almost nothing mechanical or chemical at all, on their own.
They have no real 'moving parts', no complex geometry beyond simple atomic arrangements, and no 'programming' in the sense of manufacturing instructions or algorithms, except in the sense
that they seem to store encoded 'information' of use to a REAL machine,
namely a complete living organism.

Thus even RNA molecules are not "self-replicating" in any meaningful sense,
unless we mean a magical one, not based on chemistry at all,
but on some other set of operating principles.
As far as the chemistry is concerned, RNA is drearily ordinary,
and unable to account for any function that the RNA strand has,
in its real context of a real self-replicating machine, namely a living cell.
Its just a piece of 'READ-ONLY MEMORY', a biological ROM chip.
Its not even a computing device, let alone a manufacturing plant.

So how is RNA really replicated?
This is done in a very real manufacturing plant,
deep inside a real living cell.
The RNA is merely the container for instructions, designs, and chemical, electromagnetic and mechanical algorithms, used in a much larger
and far more complex 'system', namely the living cell.
All its meaning, power, and ability is granted and sustained by that context,
a context so much larger and more complex than an RNA strand,
as to dwarf our very ability to record and articulate it.

From the standpoint of mere chemistry,
the RNA molecule is no different than the thousands of
other complex organic compounds in the painting.
None of the molecules under discussion have any power whatever
to replicate themselves, whether they be RNA strands from a cell,
or organic pigments on a canvas.

In fact, the comparison is stupider than this,
since the painting is literally chock-full of RNA!
The painting, from its canvas to its egg-white gesso,
carries around millions of times the RNA found in a single cell,
and actually, will be covered with many different types of living organisms,
all of which are quite capable of reproducing themselves, and even evolving.

So what is the video author talking about?

He is trying to mislead the viewer,
or else is hopelessly misled himself,
about the true nature of the RNA molecule before us,
and its true 'function', which only exists in the context of a living organism.

There is no such thing as a 'self-replicating' molecule.
RNA is one of millions of molecules which are replicated (and/or recycled)
inside a living organism, and since this is so obviously true,
neither RNA nor DNA has any 'special status' or magic.

RNA is simply one of billions of chemical compounds manufactured by living organisms. It is certainly 'replicated', but so are a billion enzymes in the liver. It is certainly reproduced, but so are millions of starch strings and fat molecules and other complex organic compounds.

The only thing unique about RNA and DNA is that these particular molecules are used for storage of INFORMATION.
Information which informs and controls the REAL machinery inside a living creature.

We may also note the remarkable, novel, almost "magic" way
that RNA and DNA are in fact reproduced, copied, replicated in living organism.

RNA acts as its own "mold", able to act as a receptor-site for other components which will make up a copy of itself.
But RNA is not itself a 'self-replicating' machine.
It only works in the context of the living organism,
wherein an environment is constantly provided and maintained,
where the components are collected, organized and transported
to the 'receptor-sites' for the assembly of a new copy.

The RNA itself is NOT a manufacturing plant:
Its only PART of an already running factory, a complete system.
Neither RNA nor DNA can survive (except in a dormant state),
let alone reproduce, without a living organism as their host.

When we look at an RNA or DNA strand, we must interpret it
in the context of its actual environment and function.
Without that environment, its just a meaningless, dead molecule,
purposeless, and paralysed, helpless and meaningless.

Suppose we had a robot capable of extracting material from the outside environment;
It could assemble copies of itself, and even had programming to
build its own parts. It was set up to make most critical components
right inside itself, like for instance ROM chips.
It could "eat" silicon and doping material, and had a little chip-making plant
built right in. It also had a 'burning' device so it could encode ROM chips,
for use in building another robot identical to itself.
If this robot dropped a ROM chip, that chip would remain inert,
lifeless and dormant, incapable of even copying itself, let alone building a robot.
Only if by accident or intent the ROM chip was plugged into another robot,
would it come to life and be part of a process to make more robots.
This is precisely the case for RNA and DNA. Its just a piece of magnetic tape,
a CD-ROM or chip. Its incapable of even playing itself, let alone making
a copy of itself.

The author of the video, by misdirection or misunderstanding,
embues RNA and DNA with magic powers it simply doesn't and cannot have.

This is chemical pop-scientism run rampant.
The result is nonsense.


Living matter on the other hand does contain a chemical that can replicate itself.
And here is the first big lie.

Living organisms don't contain any such magical chemical.
Living organisms ARE the replicators.

Even if God made DNA he doesn't need to intervene every time animals mate. The DNA does the job on its own.
Again, either gross misunderstanding or lying at an epic level:
The DNA doesn't do any reproducing, or replicating, the organism does.
God may not have to intervene, but the DNA does nothing at all:
its only a passive molecule which is read and copied, and used as a
copying-site by a much larger and more complex machinery, the living organism.
Its the ORGANISM that "does the job on its own" of replicating RNA/DNA,
and reproducing more copies of itself.
The only 'job' the RNA does is store critical data patterns,
and act as a passive assembly-site for a giant factory.

The individual DNA/RNA which is involved in Mitosis for instance,
is best viewed not as a complete 'factory' or replicating machine,
but rather as an elegant flexible mold and catalyst which facilitates
a process which happens coincidentally to be one that reproduces RNA/DNA.


So the real question is, how did DNA appear?
Again a misdirected question based on ignorance:
The real question is not how did DNA appear,
but how did a living organism appear?
This is the object to which we should and must attribute
the ability of "replication", "reproduction", "maintenance", etc.,
not a mere 'car-part'/reusable mold sitting in the factory.

How did living matter come from non living sludge?
The only honest and true question in the whole narrative so far,
and one which completely contradicts the previous question.

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