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Is the "Theory of Evolution" simply a complicated form of spontaneous generation? (Spontaneous generation meaning the formation of living organisms from non-living substances)

 

Discuss...

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Is the "Theory of Evolution" simply a complicated form of spontaneous generation? (Spontaneous generation meaning the formation of living organisms from non-living substances)

 

Discuss...

We are doing your homework with this, aren't we?

 

Anyway, I don't think Evolution concerns itself with the early origins of life. It could perhaps be construed as "spontaneous generation" when amino acids and other organic compounds arrange themselves into the most basic and simple of structures that can be considered to be alive... but the process is poorly understood, and it could require very specific conditions to take place (conditions that so far, we have been unable to determine). Meaning, it could be no more "spontaneous" than a nebula collapsing on itself to form a star - which is more an "inevitable outcome" given initial conditions.

 

At any rate, I don't think what you posted is what's generally understood by spontaneous generation - the meaning you seem to be giving to the term "spontaneous" leans more towards the thermodynamic definition than what it's supposed to mean in this context.

Edited by random n00b
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My understanding is that evolution is a theory which encompasses any 'replicator'. In biological terms this means living organisms. But in artificial terms it can also mean an algorithm or a computer virus. Richard Dawkins also argued that evolutionary theory can apply to thoughts and ideas like memes.

 

To evolution it matters little HOW you became a replicator. Nonetheless is is interesting to evolutionary theorists, since it flags areas of future subject matter. Viz self-replicating nano-machines.

 

EDIT: spontaneous generation applies to the genesis <sic> of a new replicator system. Once something is a replicator it's no-longer spontaneous.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

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Isn't it pretty much given that when something is biological it is related to living organisms.

Hey now, my mother is huge and don't you forget it. The drunk can't even get off the couch to make herself a vodka drenched sandwich. Octopus suck.

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Thanks for the discussion. I wanted to hear your thoughts.

 

Lare Kikelli, it's funny you say,"Evolution is not a theory about the origins of life," when it is based on Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." I find them inextricably linked as one retraces species back to their beginning, but you could well argue that current evolutionary theory separates itself from "abiogenesis," as Strix said.

 

I suppose my new question becomes, "What is the difference between abiogenesis and spontaneous generation? If spontaneous generation is incredible, what makes abiogenesis less so?"

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I'm sorry if I come out like I'm trying to troll, but... these are really questions so basic that you could easily get your answers from, hell, wikipedia or something. There's nothing to "discuss" when even basic facts need to be established. I mean how can you have an "opinion" about what evolutionary theory is about? Do you have "opinions" on what trigonometry is about, or can you have an "opinion" on what the basic claims of the theory of relativity are? Can you "discuss" what is meant by the Pythagorean theorem? Either you know the facts or you don't, heh.

Edited by Markus Ramikin
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I suppose my new question becomes, "What is the difference between abiogenesis and spontaneous generation? If spontaneous generation is incredible, what makes abiogenesis less so?"
The difference is that evidence seems to indicate that at some point, amino acids and organic compounds will arrange in a system that is complex enough to be considered the most basic living thing. We just don't know how the process goes exactly, and thus cannot replicate it.

 

However, there's no evidence to support spontaneous generation... not even at the most basic level you're thinking. Spontaneous generation isn't "incredible", it's simply an outdated scientific notion that has been disproved (as much as proving a negative is possible) by observation and modern science.

 

 

I'm sorry if I come out like I'm trying to troll, but... these are really questions so basic that you could easily get your answers from, hell, wikipedia or something. There's nothing to "discuss" when even basic facts need to be established. I mean how can you have an "opinion" about what evolutionary theory is about? Do you have "opinions" on what trigonometry is about, or can you have an "opinion" on what the basic claims of the theory of relativity are? Can you "discuss" what is meant by the Pythagorean theorem? Either you know the facts or you don't, heh.
Well, the obvious difference between the examples you brought up and Evolution is that those are mathematical principles, valid within the abstract realm of mathematics (and even then not necessarily universally valid) and Evolution is a theory... just like Relativity. When either of those meet the criteria require to become Laws, then opinions will become largely irrelevant. But even a Law is only a theory that has been proven true in a well-defined framework, with a clear scope. The Law of Gravity was completed and expanded by Relativity, for instance.

 

I know I'm rambling, but yeah, you can (and physics buffs do) have opinions on Relativity.

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i think his point was that there aren't really opinions regarding what the actual theories claim, rather, the opinions regard what pieces of the theory are actually correct/incorrect.

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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Which probably also is what the OP wanted to discuss, even if his initial question didn't imply that, but the thread's title did by putting the word evolution into quotes.

 

To answer the initial question as it was put: No. It's a descripiton of adaption through mutation and selection by fitness.

Edited by samm

Citizen of a country with a racist, hypocritical majority

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Lare Kikelli, it's funny you say,"Evolution is not a theory about the origins of life," when it is based on Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." I find them inextricably linked as one retraces species back to their beginning, but you could well argue that current evolutionary theory separates itself from "abiogenesis," as Strix said.
Evolutionary theory is about the speciation process and the elements behind it (natural selection, mutation). The abiogenesis process is completely different.

 

I suppose my new question becomes, "What is the difference between abiogenesis and spontaneous generation? If spontaneous generation is incredible, what makes abiogenesis less so?"
Spontaneous generation is a historical, now discredited, scientific theory about the creation of large-scale life like flies and aphids. Abiogenesis in modern theory is the creation of autocatalyzing primitive RNA molecules from surrounding chemicals.
I don't post if I don't have anything to say, which I guess makes me better than the rest of your so-called "community." 8)
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Lare Kikelli, it's funny you say,"Evolution is not a theory about the origins of life," when it is based on Darwin's "On the Origin of Species." I find them inextricably linked as one retraces species back to their beginning, but you could well argue that current evolutionary theory separates itself from "abiogenesis," as Strix said.
Evolutionary theory is about the speciation process and the elements behind it (natural selection, mutation). The abiogenesis process is completely different.

 

I suppose my new question becomes, "What is the difference between abiogenesis and spontaneous generation? If spontaneous generation is incredible, what makes abiogenesis less so?"
Spontaneous generation is a historical, now discredited, scientific theory about the creation of large-scale life like flies and aphids. Abiogenesis in modern theory is the creation of autocatalyzing primitive RNA molecules from surrounding chemicals.

"Historical" indeed. Spontaneous generation had been posed since Aristotle, but was not discredited until Pasteur in 1861. Yet, microscopes able to see unicellular organisms had been available since Antonie van Leeuwenhoek (October 24, 1632 – August 30, 1723). So when you say "large-scale" life, you must intend "large-scale" to mean "on a cell to cell" level.

 

Science can be defined as the "systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation." So let us start by saying the "speciation process" is observed and documented, and thus scientific. Let us moreover say "natural selection" and "mutation" are both observable aspects of a thoroughly observed and documented "speciation."

 

All is now observed, but I long to know what scientifically happened before that which we now observe and to that which we currently assent. If one attempts to retrace life's "evolution," one does come to abiogenesis. Yet, if spontaneous generation (historically plausible to mean something as small as unicellular) is just as absurd now as it was 3.5 billion years ago, what makes abiogenesis more scientific (observable and experimentable) than spontaneous generation? Cycloneman, you say "abiogenesis in modern theory is the creation of autocatalyzing primitive RNA molecules from surrounding chemicals."

 

So assuming physical conditions (your "autocatalyzing" & "surrounding chemicals") at some point 3.5 billion years ago were perfect, let us sort through what scientifically-deemed "living" RNA molecules have been modernly recorded to form: RNA viruses, and the next-smallest recorded organism, the Nanoarchaeum, which is symbiotic. Logically, both must be thrown out in our consideration of the origin of life, since in the start there was no host cell to use as a resource for the RNA viruses, and no other organism to be symbiotic with for the Nanoarchaeum (this goes for any symbiotic or parasitic microorganism).

 

Nanobacterium are claimed to be "living," but the National Academy of Sciences says,

Researchers at a workshop hosted by the National Academy of Sciences for this specific reason concluded that the minimal cellular size of life on Earth must exceed 200 nm in diameter in order to contain the cellular machinery based on DNA replication. But nanobacteria can be as small as 80 nm – so, unless they contain some novel replicating mechanism, it seems unlikely that they constitute a form of life.

 

So even if we allow Nanoarchaeum, we're talking about perfect conditions setting up chemicals to make a set of 490,885 nucleotides in a specific order, and then a second time, since it is symbiotic. What are the statistics for that?

 

Yet we can get smaller and smaller if we do not strictly define "life", and I cannot say it better than Dov Henis titles his article on this subject, Life is Wholistic Until Decomplexed to Energy.

 

My point becomes this, something unobservable and that lacks experimental ability is not science as popularly defined (systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation). Abiogenesis presently falls under this unscientific category in my opinion. So does any early-history-of-life theory, unless something observable is presented, such as fossils or present-day experiments in which, from inorganic matter, a reproducing, adapting, metabolizing, growing, homeostatic, organized, and stimuli-responding life-form is created.

Edited by Blank
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So even if we allow Nanoarchaeum, we're talking about perfect conditions setting up chemicals to make a set of 490,885 nucleotides in a specific order, and then a second time, since it is symbiotic. What are the statistics for that?

I will answer this question with a brief explanation of probability, since it is a beautiful thing. Let's say you're playing poker, and you draw a hand. What are the odds of you getting that *particular* hand? Well, I'll tell you: one in two million five hundred ninety eight thousand nine hundred sixty. That's a 1/2598960 chance! Do that a few more times, and all of the sudden your outcome is less likely than those primitive nucleotides arranging in order! And you expect me to believe your theory of random drawing? Preposterous!

 

I hope you learned something: anybody can make a particular event seem completely improbable by phrasing their words correctly.

 

The arrangement of organic chemicals are not completely random. There were, most likely, a massive number of "attempts" made at creating the original cell before it succeeded. Add that to the fact that we don't even know how many "right answers" there are, and your statistic is just nonsense.

Edited by Cycloneman
I don't post if I don't have anything to say, which I guess makes me better than the rest of your so-called "community." 8)
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My point becomes this, something unobservable and that lacks experimental ability is not science as popularly defined (systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation).
I'm afraid you got your definition wrong. A fundamental part in the scientific method is that of hypothesizing - making more or less wild guesses in order to find a plausible explanation to an unexplained phenomenon. If those guesses contradict observed evidence, they are discarded. If not, one keeps guessing and gathering evidence and data, until either the guess becomes impossible or the phenomenon is explained satisfactorily.

 

Science in general does not necessarily entail mathematical formality in reasoning, nor are its truths derived in the same way. While it's systematic too, it's much more flexible.

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So even if we allow Nanoarchaeum, we're talking about perfect conditions setting up chemicals to make a set of 490,885 nucleotides in a specific order, and then a second time, since it is symbiotic. What are the statistics for that?

I will answer this question with a brief explanation of probability, since it is a beautiful thing. Let's say you're playing poker, and you draw a hand. What are the odds of you getting that *particular* hand? Well, I'll tell you: one in two million five hundred ninety eight thousand nine hundred sixty. That's a 1/2598960 chance! Do that a few more times, and all of the sudden your outcome is less likely than those primitive nucleotides arranging in order! And you expect me to believe your theory of random drawing? Preposterous!

 

I hope you learned something: anybody can make a particular event seem completely improbable by phrasing their words correctly.

 

The arrangement of organic chemicals are not completely random. There were, most likely, a massive number of "attempts" made at creating the original cell before it succeeded. Add that to the fact that we don't even know how many "right answers" there are, and your statistic is just nonsense.

Fair enough. I'll personally concede to you the statistical argument. I never took a class for it anyway.

 

I think I was trying to paint the picture in my mind, but should have used something other than numbers.

 

Here's the picture: We need a naturally occurring event to align our naturally occurring RNA in a form that causes it to self-replicate, grow, achieve homeostasis, respond to stimuli, have organization, metabolize, and adapt. For these processes we need a lot of that naturally occurring RNA (as it is our information for these life parameters). For RNA we need nucleotides. Nucleotides are made of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate. All of these ingredients are needed, but the smallest of what could be made of our meager ingredients here would form an RNA virus, which still needs a host cell to propagate. This phenomenon has not been recorded by anyone in nature as we know it. So as I was trying to say, unless we build this scenario scientifically, abiogenesis seems to be an untestable hypothesis, let alone theory.

 

But considering I know nothing about science, I might as well drop the issue. I started my topic to see what people thought about the origin of life, since spontaneous generation's discreditation would say it doesn't just happen from non-living things. I mistakenly and regrettably put "evolution" in the mix, which has less, but still some, to do with the question about abiogenesis.

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My point becomes this, something unobservable and that lacks experimental ability is not science as popularly defined (systematic knowledge of the physical or material world gained through observation and experimentation).
I'm afraid you got your definition wrong. A fundamental part in the scientific method is that of hypothesizing - making more or less wild guesses in order to find a plausible explanation to an unexplained phenomenon. If those guesses contradict observed evidence, they are discarded. If not, one keeps guessing and gathering evidence and data, until either the guess becomes impossible or the phenomenon is explained satisfactorily.

 

Science in general does not necessarily entail mathematical formality in reasoning, nor are its truths derived in the same way. While it's systematic too, it's much more flexible.

That's reasonable. Thanks for your input.

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Here's the picture: We need a naturally occurring event to align our naturally occurring RNA in a form that causes it to self-replicate, grow, achieve homeostasis, respond to stimuli, have organization, metabolize, and adapt. For these processes we need a lot of that naturally occurring RNA (as it is our information for these life parameters). For RNA we need nucleotides. Nucleotides are made of a nitrogenous base, a ribose sugar, and a phosphate. All of these ingredients are needed, but the smallest of what could be made of our meager ingredients here would form an RNA virus, which still needs a host cell to propagate. This phenomenon has not been recorded by anyone in nature as we know it. So as I was trying to say, unless we build this scenario scientifically, abiogenesis seems to be an untestable hypothesis, let alone theory.

in general, the conditions in which abiogenesis originally occurred (assume for a second it is truth) have not existed for nearly 4 billion years on earth. yes, it is untestable in that sense. that doesn't mean someone can't someday figure out how to replicate it all. there's also a lot we can't (at least won't) ever know about the initial conditions, i.e., there may have been many factors that we cannot glean from geological records (among others) simply due to the amount of time since everything was thought to have occurred. i think finding primitive life on an alien planet would go a long way to helping out, but that's fraught with incredible technical challenges as well.

 

heck, for all we know, some other life form figured this out 4 billion years ago and seeded the earth*, hehe.

 

taks

 

* i guess that would fall under the "directed exogenesis" concept. exogeneis is just as hard to test, unless of course it happens again (life on a meteorite that can be confirmed).

comrade taks... just because.

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Is the "Theory of Evolution" simply a complicated form of spontaneous generation? (Spontaneous generation meaning the formation of living organisms from non-living substances)

 

Discuss...

 

The theory of evolution is about whether or not evolution exists? I thought the theory of evolution is why evolution happens. Wasn't it's existence pretty much confirmed, if not by the finches then with changing generations of rodents/bugs in controlled environments?

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A theory is, in science, something that is testable and can be disproven, but has as of yet not been disproved and has had all evidence point toward it. The Theory of Evolution is widely accepted by many scientists but is at this point still able to be disproved if someone finds a modern human skeleton from 12 billion years ago. If that were to happen Evolution would be blown out of the water and all the evidence would either be worthless or mean something completely different.

Hey now, my mother is huge and don't you forget it. The drunk can't even get off the couch to make herself a vodka drenched sandwich. Octopus suck.

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Well, that doesn't take away the fact that species can change over time, right? And that's what evolution is, right? Natural selection and all would be blown out of the water, but I'm pretty sure evolution wouldn't be.

 

Then again, what do I know? My knowledge of evolution ends with the fact that I like prehistoric animals.

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The Theory of Evolution is widely accepted by many scientists but is at this point still able to be disproved if someone finds a modern human skeleton from 12 billion years ago. If that were to happen Evolution would be blown out of the water and all the evidence would either be worthless or mean something completely different.

uh, actually, that wouldn't blow evolution out, but it would definitely cause a refinement of theories surrounding evolution such as the age of the earth (which is only 4 billion years). certainly a 12 billion year old human would push back the beginning of evolution. :(

 

taks

comrade taks... just because.

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