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A fairly accurate, but incomplete INDEX of Posts & good overview of this blog READ SOME REASONS TO REJECT ORTHODOX JUDAISM my April 2014 post or click link above. Highlighted words lead to other posts almost all in my blog. Born into an Orthodox Jewish family (1950's) and went to Orthodox Yeshiva from kindergarten thru High School plus some Beis Medrash.Became an agnostic in my 20's and an atheist later on. My blog will discuss the arguments for god and Orthodox Judaism and will provide counter arguments. I no longer take comments. My blog uses academic sources, the Torah, Talmud and commentators to justify my assertions. The posts get updated. INDEX OF POSTS SEE MAY 2017 or click link above.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Proof of God from Origin of Life

Updated thru 12/15/2015

Briefly the argument is how did the first life form(s) emerge from inanimate atoms and molecules?  Probabilities are cited showing the virtual impossibility of say a cell emerging from a primeval
soup.  Cited is the second law of thermodynamic postulate that the natural tendency is to increase disorder. Therefore a God must have at least initiated the first living things.

However, just because our science has not advanced enough explain the emergence of life, does not imply a god initiated it. This is the god of the gaps fallacy.  Plugging our incomplete
knowledge with god explains nothing. Furthermore, scientists are currently working on theories for the origin of life (see wikipedia for numerous hypothesis http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis). These theories are based on current scientific knowledge.

{ETA 8/11/2014 this link http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/abs/ngeo383.html and this link http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/v2/n1/full/ngeo400.html explain that meteor impacts (which also create high pressure conditions ) may have played a role in the origin of life. This kind of scenario is not contemplated when creationists tout 'impossible' probabilities thus rendering creationist calculations very misleading.}

The probability of a living cell suddenly emerging from some  primordial soup would be infinitesimal and is not what scientists advocate. Rather,  living cells emerged over millions of
years from much simpler structures. The process was not random and so probabilities calculated assuming randomness are misleading and do not apply. Natural selection, chemical and physical
laws drove the process. Furthermore, there are billions of planets, billions of years and billions of experiments occurring all greatly increasing the chances of "life" emerging someplace in our
universe.

Some scientists are saying that thermodynamics drove life to emerge.  For example  "Why Did Life Emerge?"  by Arto Annila and Erkki Annila  Department of Physics, Institute of
Biotechnology and Department of Biosciences, POB 64, University of Helsinki (http://arxiv.org/ftp/arxiv/papers/0910/0910.2621.) and  the book "Into the Cool: Energy Flow, Thermodynamics, and Life" by  Eric D. Schneider, Dorion Sagan. Naturally arising complex
systems such as hurricanes and chemical clocks arise to disperse energy (produce entropy) more quickly or more sustainably than without them. Similarly life evolved from inanimate matter to
disperse energy or produce entropy more effectively than without it. These types of complex systems obey thermodynamics and are arguably required by the laws of thermodynamics. Life is
expected to emerge.

The second law of thermodynamics applies to a closed system. Since planet earth is receiving energy input from the sun, the second law is not incompatible with abiogenesis or evolution of species. {ETA 10/31/2015 Also scientists explain the rays of the sun come in ordered and are then released by living things and the Earth disordered. And there is pollution / waste products created by living things which is also disorder. So Total Entropy in fact does increase and no violation of second law occurs. Finally, since the Universe is expanding the maximum total allowable entropy is increasing. Therefore small pockets of ordered structures can appear with no violation of the second law.}Also see my related post Genesis and Evolution. Also see Proof of God from Thermodynamics

Biologist Stuart Kauffman says that self organization also play role in the abiogenesis. For example the double spiral pattern of the sunflower can be simulated by pacing one electron at the center
of a circle. Then place additional electrons one at a time within a concentric expanding ring (up to the size of the circle), all the while minimizing the potential energy of the system. So Reductionist physics and chemistry can result in self organization.  In addition, simple rules can self organize into highly complex system, for example cellular automata. (Professor of Physics,
Astronomy, Philosophy V. Stenger page 64-65, God the Failed Hypothesis 2007).

{ETA 12/15/2015 From http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CF/CF001.html "Several scientists have proposed that evolution and the origin of life is driven by entropy (McShea 1998). Some see the information content of organisms subject to diversification according to the second law (Brooks and Wiley 1988), so organisms diversify to fill empty niches much as a gas expands to fill an empty container. Others propose that highly ordered complex systems emerge and evolve to dissipate energy (and increase overall entropy) more efficiently (Schneider and Kay 1994). "}

{ETA 3/7/2014 Lets assume a  random process. A ‘prior extremely low probability’ of the final outcome of a process (i.e say the evolution of RNA) can not be used to suggest the ‘outcome’ of the process  needs some sort of a designer. That would be a misapplication of probability theory for two reasons:

1) I drop 100 pennies on the ground, some will be heads others tails and it turns out the prior probability of that specific outcome is infinitesimal. Yet, another person serendipitously discovering the coins on the floor can not rule out the outcome was not by chance. In fact it was by chance.

(As explained previously, the process of abiogenesis was not random, so all probabilities calculated assuming randomness are sorely in error.)

2) Low probability events are expected to occur }

{ETA 5/14/2014 Here is third reason 

3) Some 'ceationists' list  the sequence of events that lead to to say the formation of RNA. Each event is given a certain probability. Lets assume event independence and thus multiply the probabilities of all the events - this gives a very low probability of the RNA forming. The flaw with the calculation is it ignores other pathways to RNA formation. When these other pathways are considered the probabilities of RNA formation increase. It is analogous to tossing a dice twice, getting a 3 and then a 4 giving  a sum 7.  That sequence has a probability (1/6)*(1/6) or 1/36. BUT, that calculation ignores the possibility of getting a 7 with say a one and six. ETA In other words there are multiple pathways to the end result and all must be considered when calculating probabilities.}

{ETA 6/17/2014 Even if we could calculate the probability of the emergence of life, we do not have the probability of God to compare it to. And both probabilities are needed to make the comparison and selection}

{ETA  Additional refutation of the Proof of God from Origin of Life can be found in this post Proof of God from Design. }

Finally,  the Torah is incompatible with the early time line and early sequence of life emergence as described by science. The first verse in Genesis that discusses life is:

Genesis 1:11 And God said: 'Let the earth put forth grass, herb yielding seed, and fruit-tree bearing fruit after its kind, wherein is the seed thereof, upon the earth.' And it was so. [Third Day]

Genesis 1:20 And God said: 'Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let fowl fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven. [Fifth Day]

In verse 20, the Torah uses the term living, but not in verse 11. Did the Torah not consider plants as living ?

Scientists believe the first "living"  things were not grass, herbs or trees as the Torah says. The first organisms are chemoautotrophs, later come  prokaryote, then the universal ancestor, then the
split between bacteria and archaea occurs, then bacteria develop primitive forms of photosynthesis,  and then cyanobacteria performing photosynthesis. 

There is also a major hurdle how to reconcile the temporal periods described in the Torah with scientific knowledge of the time periods. In short both the sequence of early life and time frames
described in the Torah seem incompatible with science. 

A very related post is Proof of God from Life; Genesis 2:7

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