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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Jarad]
      #5482811 - 10/21/12 10:44 PM

Chemistry has not been able to create life.

Should future attempts to create life fail to create life I believe "the origin of life" would then fit into a category of "what chemistry cannot explain."

Of course, I understand a negative thesis can never be proved. I also understand that the method cited above to profe "the origin of life" is something "chemistry cannot explain" is the use of an inductive method of reasoning which, though it provides new insights, can never provide certitude.

However, deductive reasoning based on the use of premises gained inductively is the method which modern science uses.

What is good for the goose is good for the gander. (sp?)

Otto


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Jarad]
      #5482828 - 10/21/12 10:52 PM

In a post which I believe was deleted; I asked Joad to explain what was meant by the idea that "potentiality is real and testable".

I think it is contrary to what this forum hopes to accomplish to delete a discussion of this specific topic because, the issue of quantitatively determining potential is very relevant to the question of determining the odds of extra-terrestrial intelligence in the universe. If Joad's concept was going in the direction of a quantifiable determination of what is potential, this might be very relevant to the topic of this thread.

And, at very least, if potentiality is real and testable does deal with quantifying potential, wouldn't it be entertaining and edifying to read the dialogue which occurs between a philosophical position on quantifiable potentiality and the mathematical acumen and expertise of a statistician.

I ask in this external forum that this piece be reopened.

I ask in this external forum that others make their voices heard about whether or not it should be opened.

Otto


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Joad
Wordsmith
*****

Reged: 03/22/05

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5482854 - 10/21/12 11:14 PM

Otto, I was a moderator on Cloudy Nights for six years and I know that there is nothing against the terms of service of the site against discussing the quantifiability of potentiality. What we can't do (for good reason, because it just causes fights--trust me on this) is discuss theology. Since I will not be discussing theology, I'll try to explain Popper on potentiality.

So let's recall that for the position that I am proposing, which I find to be at least anticipated in Aristotle and verified by Popper, is that potentiality belongs to actual things and states of affairs.

I'd say that we do not have enough solid information with regard to extraterrestrial life to make any kind of probability calculation.

But to take Popper on Quantum Mechanics: while we cannot measure with certainty, say, the position and momentum of an electron, we can calculate an electron's probable location, where it most potentially may be at a given time. That's what the "cloud" orbital diagrams illustrate (some people interpret the clouds to mean that the electron actually is, simultaneously, everywhere in the cloud, and even everywhere in the universe because there is a non-zero chance that the electron could be in another galaxy—but I think that that is a useless interpretation).

But let's get down to less complicated situations. Consider a layer of ice over a pond. The thicker the ice, the lower the potential for it to crack when walked upon. The thinner the ice, the higher the potential that you'll get a cold dunk. This is potentiality that is real; it can kick and it kick back, as Popper puts it.

When it comes to the potential for "intelligent" extraterrestrial life, we have two probabilities to consider:

1. The probability of there being any.

and

2. The probability that we will ever make some sort of contact.


The purely statistical probability of (1) is extremely high due to the vastness of the universe, but that probability is meaningless without some sense of (2). And the probability of (2) is actually quite low precisely because of the vastness of the universe. Some people try to up the odds by assuming that really advanced technological beings will arrive at a way of surpassing the speed of light, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support that conjecture and all of our current knowledge is against it.

So, if you asked me, I'd say that it is likely that there is extraterrestrial life (even technologically advanced ET) but that it is unlikely that we'll ever know for certain. Beyond that there is no point, in my opinion, in trying to make arguments for or against.


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ColoHank
Carpal Tunnel
*****

Reged: 06/07/07

Loc: western Colorado
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Joad]
      #5482962 - 10/22/12 12:49 AM

Quote:

When it comes to the potential for "intelligent" extraterrestrial life, we have two probabilities to consider:

1. The probability of there being any.

and

2. The probability that we will ever make some sort of contact.


The purely statistical probability of (1) is extremely high due to the vastness of the universe, but that probability is meaningless without some sense of (2). And the probability of (2) is actually quite low precisely because of the vastness of the universe. Some people try to up the odds by assuming that really advanced technological beings will arrive at a way of surpassing the speed of light, but there is no evidence whatsoever to support that conjecture and all of our current knowledge is against it.

So, if you asked me, I'd say that it likely that there is extraterrestrial life (even technologically advanced ET) but that it is unlikely that we'll ever know for certain. Beyond that there is no point, in my opinion, in trying to make arguments for or against.







Perfect summary.


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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5483294 - 10/22/12 09:39 AM

Quote:

Chemistry has not been able to create life.




I guess that depends on your definition of "create". We can create life in a test tube by assembling the appropriate parts together - we can synthesize DNA (making enough to fill a whole genome is difficult, but possible). We can also synthesize proteins and lipids (agian, difficult to do for each of the several thousand proteins expressed at any given moment, but the critical ones are really the transcription and translation components - once those are added, they will produce the other ones from the DNA blueprint).

So it is possible to create, for example, an E. coli or similar small organism in a test tube starting from simple chemicals. We can only do so by following the DNA blueprint we see in nature, but it can be done.

What cannot be done is to mix simple chemicals and have life evolve in the test tube without our active intervention.

Jarad


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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5483322 - 10/22/12 09:59 AM

Quote:

In a post which I believe was deleted; I asked Joad to explain what was meant by the idea that "potentiality is real and testable".

...

I ask in this external forum that this piece be reopened.





As Joad pointed out, there is nothing wrong with discussion of anything that is real and testable here. There is a prohibition on discussion of theology, and the parts that were deleted were explicitly theological in nature, and inherently untestable.

Prefacing a theological discussion with "Let us assume" does not transform it into science.

Dave and I prefer to let these discussions continue, but if it gets to be too much work to constantly snip out the diversions into theology we will have to lock it.

Thanks,

Jarad


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Jarad]
      #5483347 - 10/22/12 10:18 AM

Jarad,

I had never heard that the bacillum e-coli could be created from chemicals (and chemistry processes) in the laboratory.

Is that a fact? Forgive me for being so blatant. But, I want to know and need to know.

Otto

P.S., I want to be very clear, by create I do not mean say, inserting a completed created DNA strand into an already existing de-nucleated cell.


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Joad]
      #5483364 - 10/22/12 10:26 AM

It seems to me that this "quantifiability of potentiality" is a re-articulation of n=X (where X is the size of any given set under consideration). "Quantifiability of potentiatlity" is an attempt, using a philosophical construct, to create a better description of this mathematical tool.

By better, I mean understandable...by the scientist, by the amateur, by the man in the street with neither the skills of the scientist of interest of the amateur.

Otto


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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5483615 - 10/22/12 12:55 PM

I do not think it has been done yet, but the technology is clearly there.

We have already done the replacing the entire genome of a de-nucleated cell with the DNA of another species, or an entirely synthetic genome (link).

We can create artificial membrane microsomes already from synthetic lipids, and implant membrane proteins in them (I did this many times in grad school).

We can synthesize proteins in vitro, either one at a time from individual amino acids, or in an in-vitro transcription/translation system (which uses materials purified from cells, but that's simply due to the cost - there are no technical issues to resolve.

So there is no reason we couldn't assemble a complete cell from parts synthesized in a lab.

Designing one from scratch is a different matter...

Thanks,

Jarad


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Joad
Wordsmith
*****

Reged: 03/22/05

Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Otto Piechowski]
      #5483623 - 10/22/12 01:05 PM

For me the essence of the matter isn't mathematical. Rather, it is the difference between logical possibility and empirical probability. Logically, the possibility for some future event is 50/50: that is, it might happen or it might not. But empirically, everything depends upon the situation, and the odds can be calculated accordingly. For example, a little over two years ago I had a Stage 1a unulcerated melanoma surgically removed. Logically, I could either still be in big trouble, or I might not be (50/50), and I admit that this worries me. But I remind myself that empirical (clinical) experience gives me a better than 95% chance of not being in big trouble. I wish it was a 100% chance, but we rarely have that sort of certainty, especially in medicine. But probability (potentiality) is better knowledge than abstract (logical) possibility.

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llanitedave
Humble Megalomaniac
*****

Reged: 09/26/05

Loc: Amargosa Valley, NV, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Jarad]
      #5483909 - 10/22/12 04:03 PM

Quote:

I do not think it has been done yet, but the technology is clearly there.

We have already done the replacing the entire genome of a de-nucleated cell with the DNA of another species, or an entirely synthetic genome (link).

We can create artificial membrane microsomes already from synthetic lipids, and implant membrane proteins in them (I did this many times in grad school).

We can synthesize proteins in vitro, either one at a time from individual amino acids, or in an in-vitro transcription/translation system (which uses materials purified from cells, but that's simply due to the cost - there are no technical issues to resolve.

So there is no reason we couldn't assemble a complete cell from parts synthesized in a lab.

Designing one from scratch is a different matter...

Thanks,

Jarad




Ironically enough, I think that creating "designer life forms" is probably easier in the lab than recreating the original life forms on Earth. We know, or are learning, ways that it CAN be done, the hard part is figuring out how in this instance it WAS done.


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Andy Taylor
Twisted, but in a Good Way
*****

Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Epsom - UK
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: llanitedave]
      #5484029 - 10/22/12 05:17 PM

Quote:

Quote:

I do not think it has been done yet, but the technology is clearly there.

We have already done the replacing the entire genome of a de-nucleated cell with the DNA of another species, or an entirely synthetic genome (link).

We can create artificial membrane microsomes already from synthetic lipids, and implant membrane proteins in them (I did this many times in grad school).

We can synthesize proteins in vitro, either one at a time from individual amino acids, or in an in-vitro transcription/translation system (which uses materials purified from cells, but that's simply due to the cost - there are no technical issues to resolve.

So there is no reason we couldn't assemble a complete cell from parts synthesized in a lab.

Designing one from scratch is a different matter...

Thanks,

Jarad




Ironically enough, I think that creating "designer life forms" is probably easier in the lab than recreating the original life forms on Earth. We know, or are learning, ways that it CAN be done, the hard part is figuring out how in this instance it WAS done.




Aha! - reverse engineering!!!

Let's see - for one cell - around 20,000 proteins all folded into specific shapes, DNA(around 2 meters needed), RNA, ribosomes, ATP molecules, lipids etc.

Should be ready by Friday Afternoon...

Seriously - we are beginning to understand the nuts 'n bolts but the manual is written in the four bases of DNA. It's gonna take time.

If we find a section that says "This Snip intentionally left blank" then we may be onto something...


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FirstSightModerator
Duke of Deneb
*****

Reged: 12/26/05

Loc: Raleigh, NC
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5484088 - 10/22/12 05:52 PM

I sure hope the first signal of life from earth a technologically advanced alien civilization picks up isn't a broadcast of "Honey Boo Boo". They'd hide from us forever.



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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5484130 - 10/22/12 06:37 PM

Quote:

Let's see - for one cell - around 20,000 proteins all folded into specific shapes, DNA(around 2 meters needed), RNA, ribosomes, ATP molecules, lipids etc.





The good news is the hard part is already done. Most of the proteins will fold into the right shape on their own (at least, for bacteria. Us Eukaryotes need a bit more help, but even that can be provided since it comes from a specific set of chaperonin proteins). We don't have to understand every nucleotide sequence to copy them. The RNA gets copied from the DNA. The ribosomes are part of the translational and transcriptional machinery I mentioned before. ATP and activated amino acids are basic ingredients, and easy to make.

The most difficult part is actually assembling it all into a lipid bilayer, and inserting the critical receptors into the membrane, but even that can be done. One be a high success rate, but it's easy enough to produce a few million vesicles and hope that a few of them get the right contents.

Designing protein sequences that will fold into the right shape, that's still beyond our ability.

Jarad


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Pess
(Title)
*****

Reged: 09/12/07

Loc: Toledo, Ohio
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: FirstSight]
      #5485188 - 10/23/12 12:34 PM Attachment (10 downloads)

Quote:

I sure hope the first signal of life from earth a technologically advanced alien civilization picks up isn't a broadcast of "Honey Boo Boo". They'd hide from us forever.






Too late. I beamed out a copy of me and my mates Halloween costumes last weekend...

Honey BooBoo, Clint eastwood & the Empty Chair..

Edited by Pess (10/23/12 12:35 PM)


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Jarad
Postmaster
*****

Reged: 04/28/03

Loc: Atlanta, GA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Pess]
      #5485213 - 10/23/12 12:45 PM

Must.... not.... ask.... which.... is.... Pesse....


Jarad


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Andy Taylor
Twisted, but in a Good Way
*****

Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Epsom - UK
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Jarad]
      #5485318 - 10/23/12 01:45 PM

How many millions of years of evolution to get that...?

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Skip
Starlifter Driver
*****

Reged: 01/23/08

Loc: Fort Worth, Texas, USA
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5485331 - 10/23/12 01:52 PM

Yeah. I'll bet that one required some serious protein folding.

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Andy Taylor
Twisted, but in a Good Way
*****

Reged: 09/24/08

Loc: Epsom - UK
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Skip]
      #5485493 - 10/23/12 03:30 PM

Quote:

Yeah. I'll bet that one required some serious protein folding.




Looking at the one on the left I'd say that their proteins are unravelling...

Otto! Get this thread back on topic...!!!!


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Otto Piechowski
Pooh-Bah


Reged: 09/20/05

Loc: Lexington, KY
Re: The silence is deafening.... new [Re: Andy Taylor]
      #5485507 - 10/23/12 03:43 PM

OK

Isn't it awesome....amazing....wondrous....that some 3 billion years of evolution, in a four billion year old planetary development, surrounding a star in its five billion years of changes, in a universe of 14 billion years of change....

....has resulted in beings able to make the preceding posts....


....seriously!

Otto


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