Origin Of Life theories all have to engage with the improbability problem. Researchers have to decide whether the low probabilities are telling them NOT to pursue a particular investigation, or whether there is sufficient to justify persevering. There is no escape from this, because natural selection cannot yet be invoked.
The majority of OOL researchers favour a reductionistic approach, via the Miller-Urey model of synthesis of amino acids in a reducing environment followed by the RNA World. Shapiro hows how improbable this option is and comments:
"A highly implausible start for life, as in the RNA-first scenario, implies a universe in which we are alone. In the words of the late Jacques Monod, "The universe was not pregnant with life nor the biosphere with man. Our number came up in the Monte Carlo game.""
As an alternative paradigm, Shapiro favours the "metabolism first" scenario, where small bounded reaction-chambers reach the stage when significant chemical reactions take place but without replication. "Over the years, many theoretical papers have advanced particular metabolism first schemes, but relatively little experimental work has been presented in support of them. In those cases where experiments have been published, they have usually served to demonstrate the plausibility of individual steps in a proposed cycle." In this situation, a variety of events might be possible. "[B]ecause we know that evolution does not anticipate future events, we can presume that nucleotides first appeared in metabolism to serve some other purpose, perhaps as catalysts or as containers for the storage of chemical energy (the nucleotide ATP still serves this function today). Some chance event or circumstance may have led to the connection of nucleotides to form RNA." Perhaps because the experimental work is so limited, Shapiro is willing to entertain the possibility that this route to life is not so improbable, and that what happened on Earth could have happened elsewhere in the Cosmos.
From an Intelligent Design perspective, none of these research paradigms will succeed. This is because none of them address the challenges of biological information. For as long as researchers are content to immerse themselves in the chemistry, they will not progress beyond the empty soup kettle. Is information an accident? Or is information a hallmark of intelligent agency and design? This is why ID needs to be integrated within science and evaluated on its merits (rather than rejected because of the ideology prevailing within the scientific community).
A Simpler Origin for Life
By Robert Shapiro
Scientific American, February 12 2007.
The sudden appearance of a large self-copying molecule such as RNA was exceedingly improbable. Energy-driven networks of small molecules afford better odds as the initiators of life.
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Evolution has become a favorite topic of the news media recently, but for some reason, they never seem to get the story straight. The staff at Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture started this Blog to set the record straight and make sure you knew "the rest of the story".
A blogger from New England offers his intelligent reasoning.
We are a group of individuals, coming from diverse backgrounds and not speaking for any organization, who have found common ground around teleological concepts, including intelligent design. We think these concepts have real potential to generate insights about our reality that are being drowned out by political advocacy from both sides. We hope this blog will provide a small voice that helps rectify this situation.
Website dedicated to comparing scenes from the "Inherit the Wind" movie with factual information from actual Scopes Trial. View 37 clips from the movie and decide for yourself if this movie is more fact or fiction.
Don Cicchetti blogs on: Culture, Music, Faith, Intelligent Design, Guitar, Audio
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Most guys going through midlife crisis buy a convertible. Austrialian Stephen E. Jones went back to college to get a biology degree and is now a proponent of ID and common ancestry.
Complete zipped downloadable pdf copy of David Stove's devastating, and yet hard-to-find, critique of neo-Darwinism entitled "Darwinian Fairytales"
Intelligent Design The Future is a multiple contributor weblog whose participants include the nation's leading design scientists and theorists: biochemist Michael Behe, mathematician William Dembski, astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, philosophers of science Stephen Meyer, and Jay Richards, philosopher of biology Paul Nelson, molecular biologist Jonathan Wells, and science writer Jonathan Witt. Posts will focus primarily on the intellectual issues at stake in the debate over intelligent design, rather than its implications for education or public policy.
A Philosopher's Journey: Political and cultural reflections of John Mark N. Reynolds. Dr. Reynolds is Director of the Torrey Honors Institute at