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Synthetic XNA molecules can evolve and store genetic information, just like DNA - Comments

gr8hands's Avatar Comment 1 by gr8hands

I can only imagine the superpowers it might give me . . .

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 22:24:53 UTC | #935849

cartesy's Avatar Comment 2 by cartesy

It seems like the God of the gaps has even less space to hide

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 23:23:30 UTC | #935864

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 3 by Reckless Monkey

Are we going to have a biological format war in the future? One of the subjects I teach is media and it is a royal pain in the bum to constantly have to convert from one video or sound format to another. My artificial heart genes are incompatible with my artificial lung genes.

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 23:24:04 UTC | #935865

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 4 by Neodarwinian

The implications of these molecules with their resistance to pH and acidic conditions that ribose and deoxyribose sugars can not accept are staggering.

Life forms for extraterrestrial conditions?

Thu, 19 Apr 2012 23:50:42 UTC | #935873

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 5 by Zeuglodon

Now this is interesting. Other organic compounds of the nucleic acid family, each of which could have been a contender for the molecule of life. I'm definitely going to look into this...

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 00:21:23 UTC | #935878

Premiseless's Avatar Comment 6 by Premiseless

Pretty staggering stuff. I can't really access concrete mind maps of how this "plays out". How long till we see intelligent representations and will they be void of emotional dissonance?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 01:19:14 UTC | #935890

rjohn19's Avatar Comment 7 by rjohn19

I visit this site to be blown away. I was not disappointed tonight.

I don't think it will have much effect on the general discussion though. Think about the profound effect scientific evidence had on the OJ Simpson jury.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 04:37:50 UTC | #935951

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 8 by Stafford Gordon

In The Blind Watchmaker, as indeed elsewhere, there is mention made of the work of chemist Cairns-Smith, who, as I understand it, is experimenting with the idea that inorganic compounds in clays, may have under certain conditions, undergone transmutation into self replicating organisms, which could have been the origin of life on this planet; or something like that.

As always, I stand to be shot down over the matter.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 07:20:17 UTC | #935972

Rawhard Dickins's Avatar Comment 9 by Rawhard Dickins

I sometimes wonder if the origin of life would have been a simple polymer scaffold or a complex, low probability step. We may never know.

Good to see more science here! The religion news is getting too annoying at the moment, as we stand on the verge of allowing someone with a severe comprehension disorder to be the worlds most powerful man!

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 07:55:33 UTC | #935975

Stafford Gordon's Avatar Comment 10 by Stafford Gordon

2: cartesy.

Ah! But who made the inorganic particles? God will always have a gap somewhere in the imaginations of some individuals I think; the infinite regress will endure for a while yet.

And as someone else has said in this thread, we may never know, nonetheless the search for the truth must continue.

There again, I can imagine that even if the origin of life is discovered and established beyond doubt, as evolution has been, it won't be accepted in certain communities.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 09:37:39 UTC | #935978

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 11 by Tyler Durden

Comment 9 by Rawhard Dickins :

Good to see more science here! The religion news is getting too annoying at the moment...

It sure is. For example:

Breast cancer treatment gets boost

and:

Transplanted cells allow mice with night blindness to see in dark

while in archaic, dogma land:

Sri Lankan woman faces beheading on witchcraft charge

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 09:50:17 UTC | #935982

PERSON's Avatar Comment 12 by PERSON

Comment 11 by Tyler Durden

"The future is already here, it's just not very evenly distributed." - W. Gibson, 1993

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 10:43:35 UTC | #935985

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 13 by R Sch.

This is a mischaracterisation. A theist NEEDN’T look for gaps and say, “God did it!” (Yes I am sad to say, that many of my fellow Theists do unfortunately think of gaps as Evidence for God — I, not just Atheists, have to constantly correct this way of thinking! Believe me, we think it’s fallacious too!)

At any rate, one needn’t look for gaps. Rather it is consistent with the stance, that science discovers how God did it (should at least one exist). Think about it: from the perspective of the Theist who believes, that God created the Universe, he (calm down Atheists: this is just a grammatical Gender, and I haven’t determined in this paragraph the cardinality, and I haven’t mentioned any associated religion) must have done it somehow, right? No thinking Person would think something suddenly appeared without an explanation. Were God to exist, and were he to create something even within a Universe, he must do it by some means, right? Every effect is brought about by some means. (I often want to pin down those crazy american Creationists and force them to try to think about how God made Humans for example. Hopefully even they would come around to seeing, hey, Evolution actually makes sense here!)

In case your wondering, I’m a Theist, and I completely accept, what has been in modern Biology and Physics confirmed. Nothing of it has shaken me. I don’t look to Gaps at all. I think of God (should he exist) in the scope of his being creator, as providing a causal foundation for the whole show (not just the Introduction), and it is the task of natural science to discover how this show ran and how it runs, i. e. to discover all these causes.

What I disagree with is the Inference to which Philosophical Foundation the Science support. Dawkins seems to think from Science one can by Inference rule out Theism. I and other Theists don't so, and think the above Paragraph demonstrates why there is no contradiction accepting both God’s Existing (forget which — that’s a Besides the Point Fallacy) and accept ALL of modern Science.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:33:35 UTC | #935991

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 14 by R Sch.

(that was @cartesy)

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:37:32 UTC | #935993

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 15 by jbkaffe

Play with atoms

"In my view, exobiology looks for life in regions it cannot physically visit. In that context, it searches for tell tale signs of life that can be remotely monitored but it has only life on Earth as examples to identify such suitable markers. Based on extant biology, DNA and RNA are good candidates for such a search. However, by showing that other nucleic acids can also store information, replicate and evolve, our research may force a rethink as to whether DNA and RNA are the most suitable tell tale signs of life."

-Vitor Pinheiro

I wonder if Stenger approves. :-)

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:39:33 UTC | #935994

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 16 by jbkaffe

...No thinking Person would think something suddenly appeared without an explanation.

I somehow feel slightly offended. It must be the theist in me.

@R Schreibermann.

How did God get created?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:52:08 UTC | #935996

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 17 by Sjoerd Westenborg

@ R Schreibermann

Good to have a theist with a more rational outlook on things visit this thread too. However, you avoid two fundamental flaws in your view of God.

a. You state that science explains the how, and that a god is the why. However, science explains the workings of the universe, the birth of mankind and almost even the origin of life in such a way, that god is obsolete! You see god as someone wielding the laws of physics/biology, while science actually explains how these work on their own.

b. If the universe/life/humanity couldn't be spontaneously created (in which you are a 100% right), then doesn't this apply to a god as well? Leading to an infinite chain of causation. And this conflicts with the theory that the unbiverse hasn't always been here.

I am sincerely intrerested in your views on this matter.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 11:54:05 UTC | #935997

Tyler Durden's Avatar Comment 18 by Tyler Durden

Comment 13 by R Schreibermann :

No thinking Person would think something suddenly appeared without an explanation.

How long before the penny drops...?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 12:41:10 UTC | #936008

mmurray's Avatar Comment 19 by mmurray

Comment 13 by R Schreibermann :

So tell us some things about this God of yours. Personal God is it? Answers prayers and stuff? Kills little babies with cancer and tsunamis does she? Had a reason to create 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 stars to run some little morality play on Earth did he? Or did they just light the touch paper on the universe and bugger off to do something else? And where did they come from?

No thinking Person would think something suddenly appeared without an explanation.

Well that's all the physicists who understand quantum field theory put in their place. Better run those experiments again.

Michael

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 13:09:14 UTC | #936020

Alan4discussion's Avatar Comment 20 by Alan4discussion

Comment 13 by R Schreibermann

Think about it: from the perspective of the Theist who believes, that God created the Universe,

You sound more like a deist - of the vague undefined type.

I’m a Theist, and I completely accept, what has been in modern Biology and Physics confirmed. Nothing of it has shaken me. I don’t look to Gaps at all. I think of God (should he exist) in the scope of his being creator, as providing a causal foundation for the whole show (not just the Introduction), and it is the task of natural science to discover how this show ran and how it runs, i. e. to discover all these causes.

While showing a commendable attitude to investigative science, you may find presenting an evidenced position on your cosmological view somewhat difficult - but that is better discussed on another discussion thread. The gaps are in very remote places these days - and fast disappearing.

There is also the infinite regression problem. - Who was the creator, of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, etc .. or did the creator appear from nothing?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 13:31:43 UTC | #936025

MilitantNonStampCollector's Avatar Comment 21 by MilitantNonStampCollector

Comment 13 by R Schreibermann

Dawkins seems to think from Science one can by Inference rule out Theism.

He doesn't rule it out. As far as I can tell he views the proposition of theism as extremely improbable. In the God Delusion, he came up with a seven point scale, on which he puts himself at 6.9.

there is no contradiction accepting both God’s Existing (forget which — that’s a Besides the Point Fallacy) and accept ALL of modern Science.

All? Really? Do you believe in a cosmic tinkerer who pulls the strings of evolution, only to allow worms to burrow into children's eyeballs? Or do you believe in an intervening personal god who disapproves of, say, certain sexual positions?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 14:43:07 UTC | #936031

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 22 by R Sch.

To such a level of mockery, Michael Murray, I shall not reply beyond the following:

what you have said is a Besides-the-Point Fallacy. These are further and other (and yes, important) issues: in fact, their emotional issues. The Issue here originally was to refute the common comment one encounters upon seeing more discoveries in Science, namely something of the art: Ha! there flees your God of the Gaps. Focus.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:28:08 UTC | #936040

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 23 by R Sch.

Dear MilitantNonStampCollector, Sigh. These are emotional issues. They are not Arguments, they are Complaints. I make them too. Leave them at the Door please.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:30:34 UTC | #936041

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 24 by jbkaffe

Focus on what?

The inconsistenc(y)ies in your honest considerations of how things came to be.

Or focus on finding out how God did it?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:39:22 UTC | #936043

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 25 by R Sch.

To Alan4discussion,

[…]you may find presenting an evidenced position on your cosmological view somewhat difficult - but that is better discussed on another discussion thread. The gaps are in very remote places these days - and fast disappearing.

That was the whole point. What I said was against the Paradigm of filling Knowledge-holes with Wizards and Gods.

There is also the infinite regression problem. - Who was the creator, of the creator, of the creator, of the creator, etc .. or did the creator appear from nothing?

(Regress.)

Come now, man. This is quite a basic objective, which even I could defeat when I was but a Teenager.

God, if he (grammatical Gender, calm down people like Michael Murray) exists, could neither have been created, nor have suddenly come into existence. (This also addresses how I think you, Tyler Durden, intend to rebut the existence of God via the causality principle I adhere to.) Such an entity would not deserve to be called God, for then he would stand in dependence on something else, hence it would be accidental that he exists, or at the whim of another entity or phenomenon — either way, could not be called God, since such an entity’s existence has a fragility, thus the being would not be perfect, thus not God.

So either no God exists, or God exists absolutely (and did not appear) and is uncreated. This should be clear. So one … needs to make sure, one isn't not-believing in a not-God.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:45:05 UTC | #936044

R Sch.'s Avatar Comment 26 by R Sch.

To jbkaffe, see the Reply to Alan4discussion.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:46:21 UTC | #936045

jbkaffe's Avatar Comment 27 by jbkaffe

And then I ask you again: How did God suddenly appear? Not why, but how?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:49:56 UTC | #936046

Zeuglodon's Avatar Comment 28 by Zeuglodon

Comment 25 by R Schreibermann

God, if he (grammatical Gender, calm down people like Michael Murray) exists

That's a big "if". I hope you've got the proof to fill it up.

could neither have been created, nor have suddenly come into existence.

Why not attribute these traits to the universe?

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 15:57:54 UTC | #936048

Sjoerd Westenborg's Avatar Comment 29 by Sjoerd Westenborg

Comment 25 by R Schreibermann :

God, if he (...) exists, could neither have been created, nor have suddenly come into existence. (...) Such an entity would not deserve to be called God, for then he would stand in dependence on something else, hence it would be accidental that he exists, or at the whim of another entity or phenomenon — either way, could not be called God, since such an entity’s existence has a fragility, thus the being would not be perfect, thus not God.

So either no God exists, or God exists absolutely (and did not appear) and is uncreated. This should be clear. So one … needs to make sure, one isn't not-believing in a not-God.

Now that's sophisticated technology for you. Let me start by saying it is always brave to voice your opinion in an environment that is mostly convinced of the opposite. Please follow through now. There's gold at the end of the rainbow, I promise.

Let me point out the flaw here as I see it (and I'm not perfect, thus not a god, thus feel free to correct me if I'm wrong..). You agree that infinite regression is impossible. Therefore, your mental gymnastics lead you to the escape clause that a god has always existed ("God exists absolutely"). How do you reconcile this with our concept of time and the current consensus that time started during the Big Bang (<-- this is a name, these you can write with a capital letter :).

Also, would you also care to adress my point about a god being obsolete (physics, biology etc. work fine without a god) in my previous comment? Much appreciated.

PS: Also, since it seems slightly relevant, ask if anyone knows about a recent study by psychologists at the University of Kent (GB) that points out how conspiracy theorists are able to believe two completely contradictory theories? Along the linese of: Osama was dead before the Seals entered the house + Osama is still alive in a bunker somewhere.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 16:11:01 UTC | #936050

ptdc's Avatar Comment 30 by ptdc

What?!

An un-created, absolutely existing God chose not to appear?

How convenient!

Why does this sound like a hallow intellectual wankery.

Fri, 20 Apr 2012 16:24:39 UTC | #936052