Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Marcsana shows his true colors

Even after being informed of how unethical and indefensible quote mining is, Marcsana continues to do it.

I promised to call you out every time you quote mine, Marcsana. I cannot believe that, despite the exposition of quote mining for what it is, you continue to do it. This is nothing short of a mind-bogglingly unethical act. If you wish to call something “disgusting,” then such actions will fit the bill quite nicely.

From his comments on my post on Answers in Genesis:
But, as David Raup (Curator of Geology, Field Museum of Natural History) stated in 1979: “... some of the classic cases of darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information ...”.( 'Conflicts between Darwin and paleontology', Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol.50 No.1, January 1979, p. 25.) The horse argument has lost some of its zip in modern day thinking.

You're quote mining, Marcsana. Blatantly so.

Here is the real quote:
Well, we are now about 120 years after Darwin and the knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded. We now have a quarter of a million fossil species but the situation hasn’t changed much. The record of evolution is still surprisingly jerky and, ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time. By this I mean that some of the classic cases of Darwinian change in the fossil record, such as the evolution of the horse in North America, have had to be discarded or modified as a result of more detailed information — what appeared to be a nice simple progression when relatively few data were available now appears to be much more complex and much less gradualistic. So Darwin’s problem has not been alleviated in the last 120 years and we still have a record which does show change but one that can hardly be looked upon as the most reasonable consequence of natural selection. Also the major extinctions such as those of the dinosaurs and trilobites are still very puzzling.
And here are some more real quotes from the real article.
Part of our conventional wisdom about evolution is that the fossil record of past life is an important cornerstone of evolutionary theory. In some ways, this is true -- but the situation is much more complicated. I will explore here a few of the complex interrelationships between fossils and darwinian theory. . . Darwin's theory of natural selection has always been closely linked to evidence form fossils, and probably most people assume that fossils provide a very important part of the general argument that is made in favor of darwinian interpretations of the history of life. Unfortunately, this is not strictly true. We must distinguish between the fact of evolution -- defined as change in organisms over time -- and the explanation of this change. Darwin's contribution, through his theory of natural selection, was to suggest how the evolutionary change took place. The evidence we find in the geologic record is not nearly as compatible with Darwinian natural selection as we would like it to be.
Page 22
Now let me take a step back from the problem and very generally discuss natural selection and what we know about it. I think it is safe to say that we know for sure that natural selection, as a process, does work. There is a mountain of experimental and observational evidence, much of it predating genetics, which shows that natural selection as a biological process works.
Page 25
So what was this article really about?

It was about whether natural selection alone can account for all the changes we see in the fossil record. Raup argued (as have many other evolutionists, Stephen J Gould being perhaps the most prominent) that it cannot. He hypothesizes several ways in which such changes can be explained. He spends some time on a hypothesis he is well-known for (he later wrote a book on it entitled Extinction- Bad Genes or Bad Luck?)- that evolutionary change is often driven by causes such as meteor impacts that natural selection does not influence.

He is clear that he does not think he has all of the answers.
The ideas I have discussed here are rather new and have not been completely tested. No matter how they come out, however, they are having a ventilating effect on thinking in evolution and the conventional dogma is being challenged. If the ideas turn out to be valid, it will mean that Darwin was correct in what he said but that he was explaining only a part of the total evolutionary picture. The part he missed was the simple element of chance!
Page 29
And what does Dr. Raup think of creationists? He has written several essays pointing out the follies of creationism, among them "The Geological and Paleontological Arguments of Creationism" in Scientists Confront Creationism (one of my old favorites, recently re-released as Scientists Confront Intelligent Design and Creationism) One quote sums up his feelings quite well-
As I will show here, the rocks and fossils say YES to evolution!
Page 147

A sticky situation for Marcsana

Marcsana’s latest response in A creationism vs. evolution discussion,. Part 2 is extremely lengthy and wordy. I feel no need to address most of it here, as it’s just beating a dead horse- most of it is rehashing of the same arguments that have already been presented over and over again- truly “no new information!”- irrelevant side excursions, and failure to address most of the points I’ve already made. I’ll sum up Marcsana’s points in my next post.

However, the last section is so egregious as to demand addressing. It is apparent, when looking over this discussion, that most of Marcsana’s material consists of canned quotes and paraphrases from AIG. When he attempts to deal with something outside of the limited realm of AIG’s predigested responses, it is often obvious that he really does not know what he is talking about. This quote shows a profound lack of understanding of the subject at hand, an ignorance that is truly so appalling as to cast extreme doubts on any of Marcsana’s opinions on anything having to deal with matters biological.

Once again, Marcsana's original is plain text, my responses are in bold.

Let’s look at this quote line-by-line.

Not so fast. Your iron-sulfur surface does not capture and store the energy.

We have already shown that iron sulfide membranes generated in conditions simulating those of the early Earth can hold a tension of 500 millivolts," says Russell. "(That's) quite enough to drive a primitive metabolist
Metal cells may have held the chemicals of life's origin captive

Nor can the conversion mechanism be so simply stated. First, look at my post on your thermal vents. Then remember BOTH posts on Thermodynamics.

None of those posts have anything to do with this system.

The iron-sulfur surface more or less deals with acetate. This is for all intents and purposes an adhesive.

I must ask, Marcsana- have you ever taken a college-level class in any of the life sciences or in organic chemistry? You are somehow confusing acetate (a salt or ester of acetic acid, a vital compound in many organic reactions) with something like polyvinyl acetate, which is an adhesive. This is not a mistake that anyone with any training or education whatsoever in basic biology would make. If you don’t understand something as fundamental as the bare-bones basics of biology, how can you possibly make educated statements on any matters biological? Please don’t try to explain this away as a simple typo or a meaningless slip-up. This is somewhat Zen-like, but if you don’t realize how grave an error you made, you don’t have the knowledge necessary to realize how grave an error you made.

Let’s take a simple lesson in biochemistry and look at acetates and why they are important.

In order for life to exist, metabolism (chemical processes that occur inside cells) must exist. These processes convert energy into energy forms usable by cells (catabolism) or into components of the cells such as proteins (anabolism.)

These conversions occur through what are called “metabolic pathways,” through which the chemicals are transformed by enzymes. These pathways may be linear, such as photosynthesis (converting sunlight, carbon dioxide and water into glucose and oxygen) or cyclical, such as the Krebs cycle.

Many of these metabolic pathways show extreme conservation across phyla. For example, the Krebs cycle (often known as the citric acid cycle) is found in all organisms that utilize oxygen for cellular respiration. Cellular respiration has nothing to do with breathing; it’s how a cell obtains and uses fuel and disposes of the resultant wastes.

Glycolysis is the process through which cells break down glucose into pyruvate, in the process also releasing ATP, the currency of cellular energy. . In the presence of oxygen, the pyruvate is then converted, via pyruvate decarboxylation, into acetyl CoA, which is used in several cellular processes, but primarily in the Krebs cycle, where it provides carbon that is oxidized to form energy. The Krebs cycle is a vital part of the metabolic pathway that transforms nutrients (protein, fat and carbohydrates) into energy, carbon dioxide and water.

So what does this all have to do with acetates? Well, as you might guess from its name, acetyl CoA has something to do with acetates. An acetyl group is formed from acetate. So acetate is a vital compound in the chemistry of life, with the pyruvate decarboxylation reaction just one example of its use. And, quite obviously, it has nothing to do with “adhesives!”

So what does this all have to do with thermal vents?

One of the foremost authorities on the possibility of life first forming in bubbles at thermal vents is Dr. Michael J Russell of NASA and the University of Glasgow. All of the papers which I cite can be found here .

Russell postulates that the precursor to acetyl CoA pathway formed when carbon dioxide and hydrogen reacted with metal sulfides (such as iron sulphate) at hydrothermal vents.
Geologists have suggested that life might have emerged at hydrothermal vents, chemists have shown that metal sulphides such as FeS and NiS can catalyse biochemical reactions in the absence of proteins, and biologists have suggested that the acetyl-coenzyme-A (CoA) pathway of CO2 fixation might be very ancient. New findings from the enzymes at the heart of the acetyl-CoA pathway, carbon monoxide dehydrogenase (CODH) and acetyl-CoA synthase (ACS), indicate that metals and metal sulphides go the biochemical work of CO2 fixation. Here we propose that biochemistry got started when the two volatiles that were thermodynamically furthest from equilibrium on the early Earth – namely, marine CO2 from volcanoes and hydrothermal H2 – met at a hydrothermal vent rich in metal sulphides. In this ‘hydro-
thermal reactor’ hypothesis, a primitive, inorganically catalysed analogue of the exergonic acetyl-CoApathway, using H2 as the initial electron donor and CO2 as the initial acceptor, was instrumental in the synthesis of organic precursors to fuel primordial biochemical reactions. We suggest that primordial biochemistry was housed in an acetate-producing hydrothermal reactor that retained reduced carbon compounds produced within its naturally forming inorganic confines.
“The rocky roots of the acetyl-CoA pathway”
This theory helps explain not only the origin of various metabolic pathwhays that use acetates, but of enzymatic metal clusters that are very similar to those still used by many organisms today.
The slow trickle of hydrogen and carbon dioxide through such chambers and across the iron sulfide catalyst promotes formation of acetate, according to Russell and Martin. Acetate is a key intermediate in virtually all biosynthetic pathways, and in modern cells, enters these reactions tethered to sulfur. In modern bacteria, the two enzymes that make acetate depend on a catalytic core of iron, nickel, and sulfur, arranged almost exactly as they are in the free mineral itself. “In other words,” Russell and Martin have written, these enzymatic metal clusters “are not inventions of the biological world, rather they are mimics of minerals that are indisputably older, and which themselves have catalytic activity in the absence of protein”
Jump-Starting a Cellular World

These vents provided gradients of both pH and temperature that were more favorable to the production of organic molecules than hotter “black smoker” type vents.

The seepages are caused by convection of ocean water through hot crust composed mainly of magnesium and iron silicates (5). Exothermic hydration of hot rock would have maintained the convecting waters at ~100°C and pH ~10 (3). Gradients within such a porous seepage mound, from hydrothermal fluid to ocean, would have been from pH ~10to ~6 and from ~100°C to <20°c.>
“The Importance of Being Alkaline.”

And, to get back to the acetate…this theory also helps explain the origins of two different types of lipid membranes in prokaryotes (bacteria and other life forms without a nucleus) and eukaryotes (all other living things.)
[T]he scientists say that the prokaryotic branches of bacteria and archaea split while still contained within the iron sulfide birthplace. The ancestors of today's bacteria made one kind of lipid membrane, while the ancestors of the archaea generated lipids in a completely different way.
"Both the fatty acid lipids for bacteria and the isoprenoid lipids for archaea start from acetyl-coenzyme A, a truly universal intermediate," says Martin. "The function of the fatty acid and isoprenoid lipids is the same, but the route to get there differs. As a modern example, think of wings in insects and birds; those wings arose completely independently."
Metal cells may have held the chemicals of life's origin captive

Furthermore, the half-lives of adenine, uracil, guanine or cytosine won’t allow for a simple capture.

What in the world are you talking about? Where and how did the nucleobases come into this? Are you somehow thinking that the iron-sulfur system was postulated to “capture” bases? Again, do you understand what you’ve been reading? What you have written is meaningless gibberish.

You haven’t provided anywhere near a sufficient enough response to satisfactorily explain requirements three and four

As I have previously explained rather thoroughly, these “requirements three and four” are obstructionist creationist fabrications, not science. I will deal with them even more thoroughly in my next post.

In short, you need a “machine” already in place that can convert geothermal energy. This, of course, would take time to evolve. But it can’t evolve if the raw geothermal energy is bombarding whatever is in those vents.

Once again, you totally fail to understand the theory- both of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and of thermal vents. Please read what I have written above, plus the various quotes from Dr. Michael Russell, and if you care to address them, please address the exact specifics of the theory that I am discussing and that he has researched.

Think of the skin cancer analogy.

Yes- let’s think about that skin cancer analogy. Thinking about it- questioning its logic, whether it makes sense, whether it is used approipriately or is logically flawed, is exactly the right thing to do!

Hmmm…. “If a person stands out in the sun too long, he or she won’t get more complex. He or she will get skin cancer. Why? Because we can’t harness raw solar power.”

This analogy is utterly meaningless on several points-
- We cannot generalize from humans to the universe. Our abilities to handle raw solar power have nothing to do with the rest of the universe’s ability to do so. A seedling, for example, easily transforms that solar energy into complexity. All over the world, plants provide proof of local increases in complexity.
- It’s wrong, even when applied to humans. We may not be photosynthetic, but we can and do harness raw solar energy! Sunlight –specifically ultraviolet rays- is needed to produce vitamin D in the skin. Sunlight stimulates melanocytes to produce melanin and increase tanning.
- Like it or not, cancer can be an increase in complexity. Thus, cancer cause by sunlight can be viewed as an overall increase in complexity.

So I thought about your analogy. And I found it wanting, illogical, and irrelevant.

DNA and RNA are almost unimaginably complex and this proposed model can’t explain the rise of information. It is far too simplistic.

This argument is called “”the argument from incredulity” or “the god of the gaps.” Just because you cannot explain something doesn’t mean it cannot be explained. Throughout history, various gods were claimed to be the cause of all sorts of things that people could not explain, such as plagues, volcanic eruptions, and mental illnesses. As our scientific knowledge has grown, we have replaced such outmoded beliefs with scientific ones.

Monday, September 3, 2007

More responding to Marcsana on post 1

Once again, Marcsana's original is in plain text, my responses are in bold.

Here is a much shorter posting about probability. Statisticians say that for something to be impossible, the probability has to be 10 to the 50th power.

No they don’t. That’s something that William Dembski made up. It doesn’t have backing in the scientific community at all, and you won’t find it in any statistics textbook.

When you wrote about probability, you wrote this:
“The same is true of forming molecules. Even if the chances of forming a particular molecule are very tiny in one trial, if there are billions upon billions of trials, the chances of that molecule being formed are very great.”

[snip long post about an article on talk.origins]

I am not going to address the long insertion about what’s written on the talk.origins website, as I neither wrote it nor claimed it, and it’s mostly irrelevant to this discussion. I will address this bit, condensed somewhat for understandability:

Probability doesn’t work that way. Probability says that for each attempt, the odds are for this. You can’t look at all the attempts as an aggregate whole. Each individual attempt has the same odds of assembling itself. The lottery example holds no water. This assumes there is a prize and since evolution is undirected, there is no “prize.”

This is simply false. I am not looking at “evolution,” I am looking at the probability of a molecule forming. As for “You can’t look at all the attempts as an aggregate whole. Each individual attempt has the same odds of assembling itself. “- I think you have an extreme misunderstanding here- I am not sure where you took statistics, but you may want to talk to your professor! Of course you can look at the number of attempts as crucial to the outcome. That is what probability is all about. The more attempts, the greater the chances that an event will occur. I do not need to assume a “prize” or have a “direction” to calculate probabilities. Either something happens or it doesn’t.

“Evolutionists often try to bluff their way out of this problem by using analogies to argue that improbable things happen every day, so why should the naturalistic origin of life be considered impossible. For example, they say the odds of winning the lottery are pretty remote, but someone wins it every week. [snip more examples of the same] So they argue from these analogies to try to dilute the force of this powerful argument for creation.

In all the analogies cited above, there has to be an outcome. Someone has to win the lottery. There will be an arrangement of cards. There will be a pile of sand. There will be people walking across the busy street. By contrast, in the processes by which life is supposed to have formed, there need not necessarily be an outcome. Indeed the probabilities argue against any outcome. That is the whole point of the argument.”

This explanation makes absolutely no sense whatsoever, either logically or statistically. In the case of the lottery, there are two probabilities- either you win or you do not (or, in the case of a specific number being drawn, either that number is drawn or it is not.) Not winning is an outcome. In the case of a specific molecule forming, either it does or it does not. Not forming is an outcome. In both cases, a binomial distribution can be calculated. You may remember this formula from basic stats:
where p= the probability of an event occurring in one trial and q= the probability of an event not event occurring in one trial. Q is every bit as important to this calculation as P is. And, quite obviously, the larger the number of trials, the greater the chances that the event happens.

As with most things, evolutionists require that things be much simpler than they really are. Even all this aside, the probabilities are so high for the first cell to form, that it just can’t happen. There isn’t enough time in the universe.

You have not shown that.

This model was shown in http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/abioprob.html#Search

Creationists do this with probability:
Simple chemicals---bacteria

Evolutionists say it’s not that simple:
Simple chemicals—polymers—replicating polymers—hypercycle—protobiont—bacteria

I find it quite interesting that you cite this article (both here and above) yet you do not appear to have read it. It deals, quite elegantly, with all of the arguments that you brought up. Yet you use the same arguments this article so clearly refutes, without addressing them. The sections “Coin tossing for beginners and macromolecular assembly “ and “Search spaces, or how many needles in the haystack?” are especially relevant.

You cannot just pick and choose the parts of an article that you like.
Why, if you are going to use this article as a reference, do you not specifically address its conclusions?

But you still don’t get around information theory arguments.

Which have nothing to do with probability calculations. That's just deflection.

And this still doesn’t explain the first protein very well.

Explain what, exactly, about the first protein?

Nor does it offer how any of this is possible within the constraints of what we know about biology.

Actually, theories of organic molecule formation fit perfectly well with what we know about biology, and this article specifically addresses some of these points. You fail to give any examples of why they do not, nor do you specifically discuss the points in the article.

And it doesn’t show how each of these made those small leaps since it requires increasingly more information and proteins.

Actually, that is exactly what the model shows, and what the article discusses. Perhaps you should study each of the steps involved and address them directly.

If you truly wish to discuss probabilities, I recommend that you return to the article you cited twice, and actually deal with the arguments it presents, rather than throwing up yet another army of straw men.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

Responding to Marcsana on post 1

The discussion is getting a bit long in the comments to post 1 of our discussion on evolution, so I'm posting the comment and my response here. Marcsana's original is plain text, my responses are in bold.

Before I write about what the thermal vents theory presented, I would like to point out that this theory is far from agreed upon within the evolutionary community. In fact, origins is still a hot topic among evolutionists and there are many different theories out there competing for the prize, so to speak. Furthermore, this particular variant of the thermal vent theory is only one of several. If this theory was so solid, then everyone would agree on it. They do not.

This comment shows ignorance of what the scientific method is all about. Creationists often pounce on scientists for disagreeing about a theory, when such disagreement is at the heart of true science. Origin-of-life theory is a hot topic right now in science; as mentioned, there are several competing theories.

This is not a drawback of science. It is how science operates. It evolves- it gets better and more accurate as more information is discovered and incorporated into theories. Theories that don’t work get thrown out. Lack of agreement on a theory in no way invalidates it- only scientific evidence against it can do so.

And next, regarding Yockey. Isn't there another possibility? Can there be a chance that I'm not either dishonest or misinformed? What could I possibly be referring to? Oh, right. The fact that he is one of several scientists who hold to the idea of an old Earth AND a Designer. A creationist is someone who holds to a literal 6-day creation. We do differentiate. You also have an amazing ability to twist what I say or disfigure and misrepresent the creationist position. To that, I say that you should read what I write more carefully or be more honest. You have done this several times and I will deal with each one as I write the posts on various topics. Did I say Yockey was a "non-biased source?" NO! There is no such thing when it comes to origins which I treated in great detail. Maybe you didn't read it thoroughly. Origins deals with the unobservable, unrepeatable past. As such, one must have a preexisting bias toward a particular theory. Evolutionists prefer long ages and Christians hold the idea of a Creator. The question is interpreting the evidence we have which is what our discussion is about. Before you accuse me of dishonesty or misinformation, you better make sure that you have correctly understood what I wrote. I will call it out every time. Dr. Yockey is no friend to creation science and yet he still recognized the validity of the probability argument. That is why I chose the quote. He is not alone. I will treat probability again in another post.

The point still stands. Yockey is a biased observer; his word cannot be taken as impartial. As to the differentiation you attempt to make between various types of non-scientific belief systems regarding the origin of life- they are summed up very well by a quote from Leonard Krishtalka, director of the Natural History Museum at the University of Kansas-“Intelligent design is creationism in a cheap tuxedo.” As to “A creationist is someone who holds to a literal 6-day creation”- really? What about old-earth creationists, day-age creationists, gap theory creationists…

Let's take a closer look at thermal vents.

I wish that we would. Unfortunately, you don’t.

First of all, the theory of thermal vents posted here is not enough in and of itself.

I never claimed that it was. It is one small part of one possible mechanism for the evolution of complex organic molecules.

The following quote is from article at http://biology.plosjournals.org/perlserv/?request=get-document&doi=10.1371/journal.pbio.0030396&ct=1.
"This metabolism-first model is not an alternative to life based on RNA. “We can't work without an RNA world either,” says Martin. But it does propose that geology at hydrothermal vents provided the structure in which life emerged, and suggests that understanding prebiotic organic chemistry at these vents may provide the key to understanding the emergence of life from nonlife."

I am baffled by the purpose of this quote. No one- including myself- posits that thermal vents are the only mechanism. And, as this quote clearly states, “understanding prebiotic organic chemistry at these vents may provide the key to understanding the emergence of life from nonlife.”

You asked me if I think acetates can form on an iron-sulfur substrate. Probably. But this has little to do with adenine, uracil, guanine or cytosine.

“You ask me if silicon can be smelted into glass. Probably. But that has little to do with strawberry jam, Kool-Aid, strawberry shortcake or Neopolitan ice cream.” You’re avoiding the question. No one thinks that RNA formed from nothing. There is no such theory. And thermal vent theories are very specifically not about RNA.

There are, broadly, two different realms of theories for the formation of the first complex organic molecules- RNA-first (as the paper you quote is concerned with) and metabolism-first (the theory I was discussing in my post) They are totally different (although not incompatible!) theories.

I will back up for a second.

You aren’t backing up. You are introducing a completely different topic. This is not a discussion of RNA-first theories.

Many evolutionists favor the "warm little pond" origin-of-life theory or the thermal vent theories because they postulate that the oldest known organisms are hyperthermophiles that would have required temperatures between 80 and 110 degrees Celsius.

A major problem for any of these theories is that adequate concentrations of certain complex compounds necessary for life are not accounted for. There has to be a requisite level of stability so that synthesis is at higher levels than degradation. What you proposed is an attempt to cover for these lacking components. By saying that those chambers function like cell walls is overly simplistic to say the least. While the vents you speak of may themselves be more stable (the one article mentioned they'd be stable for thousands of years...this is highly argumentative to say the least), we haven't yet touched the biggest problems with this proposed model. They have also been highly criticized because experimental research has shown that the half-lives of many vitally important compounds to be “too short to allow for the adequate accumulation of these compounds” (Levy and Miller, 1998, p. 7933)."

Once again- RNA-first and metabolism-first scenarios are totally different. Levy and Miller’s research has nothing whatsoever to do with metabolism-first theories. If anything, it actually supports such theories!

Levy and Miller go on to say that, "“unless the origin of life took place extremely rapidly (in less than 100 years), we conclude that a high temperature origin of life... cannot involve adenine, uracil, guanine or cytosine” because these compounds break down far too fast in a warm environment. In a hydrothermal environment, most of these compounds could neither form in the first place, nor exist for a significant amount of time (Levy and Miller, p. 7933)." They continue, "the rapid rates of hydrolysis of the nucleotide bases A,U,G and T at temperatures much above 0° Celsius would present a major problem in the accumulation of these presumed essential components on the early earth” (p. 7933). Below is the website:

You are showing a grave misunderstanding of the theory I am discussing. I don’t think you actually read the article you quoted from above, other than to pull an out-of-context unexplained quote from it. Once again- this theory is not about the evolution of RNA. It’s about the evolution of metabolic cycles before RNA. The article you discuss is totally irrelevant to this theory.

Can you please stick to the topic at hand and respond specifically to this article?

As a result of this, they theorized that either a two-letter code or an alternative base pair was used instead. This has the distinction of demanding an absolutely different kind of life was formed. This is not only highly speculative, but likely impossible because only A, U, G and T have the requisite properties for life. So now, life would have had to evolve completely differently than we know it today, and then re-evolve into the known code of life we see today. This change, by the way, appears to be impossible based on current knowledge of molecular biology.
And lastly, the authors found that given the minimum amount of time needed for evolution, cytosine is unstable even at temperatures as cold as 0 degrees Celsius. If Cytosine is lacking, then it is impossible to have DNA. It is also impossible to have RNA.

Again, the main thing that your argument does is strengthen the case for metabolism-first theories such as the one I discussed. You also have some misunderstandings and misrepresentations of the research. For example, the authors gave several possible theories of how nucleobases could have developed; some of which are possible at higher temperatures. The main point of this article is to present a theory that the nucleobases probably developed in frozen oceans rather than in a greenhouse atmosphere.

In addition, in the almost ten years since this paper was published, many theories have arisen that could allow development of nucleic acids in a prebiotic world- the PNA (favored by Levy and Miller) GNA and TNA , -first hypotheses and the PAH-first hypothesis . These theories can also explain the origin of self-replicating molecules at higher temperatures.

For a related source, see below:

Interesting. I had never heard of the author, “Jerry Bergman, PhD” or of his college, “Northwest State College.” A little research showed that Bergman probably shouldn’t be using the term “PhD”- In 1992 Bergman received his Ph.D. in human biology from Columbia Pacific University, a now defunct nonaccredited distance learning school. Columbia Pacific University lost its state approval to operate in 1995 and was ordered to close permanently in October 2000 by the State of California.
In another incident, he lied to the staff at Bowling Green State University, claiming he had a PhD when he did not. When he was fired for this and other ethical improprieties, he responded with a flurry of lawsuits complaining of “religious discrimination”- all of which he lost, in four different venues.

Of course, we cannot base our evaluation of the material in this article on his personal shortcomings- facts can be judged only on their own merits. As for the article - it’s typical creationist claptrap, composed almost entirely of quote mining, with no original research whatsoever. All of the points made in this article have been refuted many times, (check the Index to Creationist Claims as a start)

In conclusion, the thermal vents theory speculated on is nowhere near as strong as presented and it is clearly seen why not everyone in the evolutionary community is ready to jump on board.

You never discussed the thermal vent theory. The entirety of your comment on it was the word “Probably.” You discussed a totally different theory.

We also have the problems of the Second Law of Thermodynamics and probability. These will be treated again in other posts.

‘If there were a basic principle of matter which somehow drove organic systems toward life, its existence should easily be demonstrable in the laboratory. One could, for instance, take a swimming bath to represent the primordial soup. Fill it with any chemicals of a non-biological nature you please. Pump any gases over it, or through it, you please, and shine any kind of radiation on it that takes your fancy. Let the experiment proceed for a year and see how many of those 2,000 enzymes [proteins produced by living cells] have appeared in the bath. I will give the answer, and so save the time and trouble and expense of actually doing the experiment. You would find nothing at all, except possibly for a tarry sludge composed of amino acids and other simple organic chemicals. How can I be so confident of this statement? Well, if it were otherwise, the experiment would long since have been done and would be well-known and famous throughout the world. The cost of it would be trivial compared to the cost of landing a man on the Moon… . In short there is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis that life began in an organic soup here on the Earth.’

Sir Fred Hoyle, British physicist and astronomer, The Intelligent Universe, Michael Joseph, London, 1983, pp. 20-21, 23.

I should add that Sir Fred Hoyle was a proponent of 'intelligent cosmic control.' This quote is very much in line with the context.

Again, this quote has absolutely nothing to do with the theory that I am discussing.

I also hope you do realize that science is not a quote contest. A quote by itself is meaningless and proves nothing. Instead, one must look at several factors- who said the quote, is that person an authority on the subject, are that person’s views being represented fairly and completely, and (perhaps most importantly) how does the scientific community as a whole regard that person’s words and work?

Hoyle’s quote fails here on several counts. He was not a biologist or chemist; he was an astronomer. His pronouncements on biochemical theories are thus no more authoritative than a chemist’s speculations on whether Pluto is a planet.

As for his authority- he was well-known for clinging to theories that had no real backing. Creationists often claim that scientists cling tenaciously to outdated and disproven theories even in the face of massive evidence against them. While this is not true of scientists as a whole, it was true of Hoyle.
In the end, mounting observational evidence convinced most cosmologists that the steady state model was incorrect and that the Big Bang was the theory that agreed best with observations, although Hoyle clung to his theory, mostly through criticizing the interpretation of astronomers' observations. In 1993, in an attempt to explain some of the evidence against the steady state theory, he presented a modified version called "quasi-steady state cosmology" (QSS), but the theory is not widely accepted.

The evidence that resulted in the Big Bang's victory over the steady state model, at least in the minds of most cosmologists, included the discovery of the cosmic microwave background radiation in the 1960s, the distribution of "young galaxies" and quasars throughout the Universe in the 1980s, a more consistent age estimate of the universe and most recently the observations of the COBE satellite in the 1990s, which showed that unevenness in the microwave background in the early universe which corresponds to currently observed distributions of galaxies.
While creationists delight in quoting Hoyle’s words on abiogenesis, they neglect to tell the full story behind his remarks- he was an atheist and believed that life on Earth originated from material such as bacteria, viruses and insects spread by comets and interstellar debris, perhaps intentionally by intelligent extraterrestrial beings. As for his specific arguments against abiogenesis, they have been refuted so often that they are known as “Hoyle’s fallacy.”