Most British scientists: Richard Dawkins' work misrepresents science

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by paddoboy, Nov 7, 2016.

  1. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    We have only one sample of a planet with life. To draw universe-wide conclusions from that one sample is ridiculous!

    We have discovered other planets with more-or-less Earth-like conditions. But they are so far away that we can barely conceive of a technology that could carry a ship full of humans to one of them. Even if that generation starship is built, by sheer bad luck it could be destroyed by a collision with "space junk," or by failure of degradation of its own technological infrastructure, or by the crew inventing a new religion run by a god who thinks that humans are parasites in his universe and therefore demands that they commit mass suicide.

    If the ship manages to surmount these possibilities, the nearest quasi-Earth is so far away that radio communication will fade away within a few years. By the time the great-great-great-etc. grandchildren of the original crew arrive, life on our planet may be considerably different from today--if we manage not to annihilate ourselves in a nuclear war. By the time that THOSE people's great-great-great-etc. grandchildren resupply the ship (or perhaps build a better one with the technology of their new hosts) and make the return trip, they may be nothing but legends to the people they find here--who may have bombed themselves back into the Stone Age.
    Because you're working with a SAMPLE OF ONE. Surely you understand that this is not proper science! There may be zillions (pardon my technical jargon) of planets scattered throughout the universe. Until we find a few upon which life arose, we have absolutely no way to answer your question.
    Our own ancestors made the progression from making tools out of stone but not knowing how to create fire... to industrial technology, computers and controlled nuclear energy... in less than 15,000 years.

    That is truly a blip on the cosmic calendar. There's no good reason to be thinking about "tens of millions of years." Even if our biosphere was the very first one in the entire universe where life arose, we have no reason to assume that it's not going to arise somewhere else next Tuesday.
     
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  3. pluto2 Registered Senior Member

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    This paddoboy guy is so naïve.

    The fact is that we have no way of knowing if abiogenesis really happened or that some other unknown physical process kick-started life on this planet.

    Our science is too primitive to really know for sure what really happened back then and humanity hasn't done (and probably cannot do) enough experiments to really know for sure.
     
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  5. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Perhaps you need to take the time to understand what you type.
    Let me again make it clear. Scientifically speaking, Abiogenisis is the only scientific explanation as to why we are here. The evidence is of course that we are here.
    ID is not a scientific answer, and to accept that is to simply short circuit the argument and yes, quite naive of you

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    ...if that is what you are proposing or suggesting.
    If not, then please let us all know how life came to be, or at least a clue to this other unknown physical process that you surmise may have kick-started life .
    Oh, and if it is as you say, that I am naive, then I have some excellent company in that regard, as per the dozens or so articles and papers that I have linked to supporting that obvious scientific stance.
     
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  7. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    The article [not me

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    ] makes a case as to why it believes that the conditions for the formation of life "AS WE KNOW IT" should be more prevalent in the eons to come, based mainly on stellar evolution .
    The abstract of the paper also concludes with...
    "Spectroscopic searches for biosignatures in the atmospheres of transiting Earth-mass planets around low mass stars will determine whether present-day life is indeed premature or typical from a cosmic perspective".
    Personally as I have stated previously, I am inclined to favour the proposition that abiogenisis occurred more than once around stars throughout the universe, and that the "stuff of life" has been as is being transported via comets, asteroids etc.
    I have also stated many times that the two humongous barriers that have prevented inter-species contact are time and distance.
    I am of the opinion that contrary to the gist of the article, that we at this time are not alone and the 13.83 billion years is ample time for life to have been evolved elsewhere. But as you say, we only have a sample size of one, and have no convincing evidence to support the beliefs of myself and may I say, most of reputable scientists around the world.
     
  8. pluto2 Registered Senior Member

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    That's just dreams.

    In my opinion interstellar travel will never be possible for humans because of our biology. Also traveling faster than light is also impossible.

    Also engineering a structure that can survive the harmful effects of the interstellar medium for thousands of years (or maybe even more time) like micrometeors, dust, ionization radiation and vacuum is just impossible in my opinion.

    I think that by the time that interstellar travel will become a possibility, humanity will be gone or we will back into a primitive stone age existence.
     
  9. Michael 345 Valued Senior Member

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    Glad to see you are keeping your chin up.

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    Our biology does not stop us going interstellar. Though life span does mean it will have to take place over many generations. Enter social problems.

    Agree faster than light is a no go.

    Interstellar travel is possible now. Well at least the ground work is set in place.

    Just as going to the moon was impossible, when JFK made his speech, the ground work was there.

    Engineering the space ship, to survive the hazards you list, will have its challenges for sure. I would be concerned about any hazards we don't know about.

    But as we 'don't know what we don't know' I would hope team 'Go Stella' concentrate on solutions for the ones we do know about.

    What is lacking to bring team Go Stella into being is leadership. Current earthly political and social problems dominate.

    Earthly problems have a possibility of being solved.

    Political not so sure.

    Social even less sure.

    Social problems seem to have an uncanny ability to absorb vast amounts of money without producing discernable shrinkage of the problem but instead grow larger requiring even more money.

    Bit confused over your last sentence. Sure if we have gone or are back in the stone age we are not going interstellar.

    But if we keep current earthly political and social problems in check we do have a chance to go stella.

    Leadership leadership wherefore art thou leadership.

    Humpty Dumpty and Poe.

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    Last edited: Dec 18, 2016
  10. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Is that right?
    Perhaps you need to answer the previous question I asked you, instead of side-stepping it?
    That was of course in reply to your previous attempt at logic in this thread thus.......
    I don't really expect you though to answer the first question, as obviously you can't

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    On your second post though, perhaps you need to consider that at one time many people including some scientists believed that powered flight was also impossible, and others believed we would never set foot on the Moon.

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    Yes, Earth and its inhabitants could be all wiped out next week by a rogue asteroid or comet, but all that not withstanding, and given the time, I believe we will go to the stars, and certainly land on Mars and other bodies in our solar system. The difficulties are many and certainly severe, but as I said given time, what is allowed by the laws of physics and GR, are certainly possible.

    One of the sciences that I believe will lead the way is nanotechnology. Of course one of the main dangers in interplanetary and interstellar travel, will be the effects of radiation. Nanotechnology in this regard may one day solve that particular danger with a material that will reflect and/or absorb dangerous radiation.
     
  11. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, an important ingredient in all our hopes and survival!

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  12. paddoboy Valued Senior Member

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    http://www.nature.com/articles/srep38888

    The key role of meteorites in the formation of relevant prebiotic molecules in a formamide/water environment:

    Abstract
    We show that carbonaceous chondrite meteorites actively and selectively catalyze the formation of relevant prebiotic molecules from formamide in aqueous media. Specific catalytic behaviours are observed, depending on the origin and composition of the chondrites and on the type of water present in the system (activity: thermal > seawater > pure). We report the one-pot synthesis of all the natural nucleobases, of aminoacids and of eight carboxylic acids (forming, from pyruvic acid to citric acid, a continuous series encompassing a large part of the extant Krebs cycle). These data shape a general prebiotic scenario consisting of carbonaceous meteorites acting as catalysts and of a volcanic-like environment providing heat, thermal waters and formamide. This scenario also applies to the other solar system locations that experienced rich delivery of carbonaceous materials, and whose physical-chemical conditions could have allowed chemical evolution.

     
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  13. danshawen Valued Senior Member

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    So, carbon has a "sticky" valence, leading almost directly to life and evolution. Is G-d responsible for that?

    Dawkins: Absolutely not. You'd have to catch him in the act of creating Pauli's exclusion Principle or the Laws of Probability or something. Science demands proof of everything.

    Sagan: Don't know yet, but science demands an open mind. Religion can never answer the question because it doesn't even ask the right ones, and worse, keeps coming up with the same wrong answers to every question asked. Religion doesn't even understand how the chemistry of carbon bonds work. Religious texts are not intended to be science textbooks. They can teach you to read, maybe some history of the ancient world, and that's about the only things they are any good for.

    Young Earth Creationists: well, then evolution would have to have begun and ended in 5,000 years, because Ussher's writings were inspired and he calculated that from the book of Genesis, argued about by rabbinical Talmudic scholars for almost that long. The New Testament is inspired by G-d and unerring and is more reliable than the fossil record. Don't confuse us with facts like there are trees older than that, or that every living thing has DNA, or that Adam and Eve had no children who were daughters. Our faith is unshakable. Will you please just shut up? Gregor Mendel was a man of faith, and he was the father of the science of genetics. Dawkins and Darwin were just idiots. Leave religion out of this.

    Spot the looney.
     
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2016
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    In fact, the earliest samples of writing by Neolithic humans (symbols carved on rocks) go back EIGHT thousand years: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Writing#Neolithic_writing
     
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  15. river Valued Senior Member

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    Agreed .

    Sound thinking .

    So true .
     

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