Amino World

Alan McKendree amck at
Thu Jun 24 19:11:46 CDT 2004

> Date: Mon, 21 Jun 2004 06:21:43 -0700 (PDT)
> From: Marcus Surrealius <bushchoked at>

Sorry about the delay, a couple of points:

>> you could say it's guided in the same sense that water is "guided" to 
>> flow downhill and air is "guided" to create a clap of thunder after 
>> lightning shoots through it.
> Well, here I'm not sure what I should write here. Surely you don't 
> think the calculations ONLY concerned the mere formation of amino 
> acids.

Your original statement was, "some scientist calculated the odds of 
amino acids forming randomly and they were something like a one 
followed by a hundred thousand zeroes", and yes, I took that to mean 
the calculations only concerned the amino acid formation.

> You must already understand that the googleplex odds included the 
> creation of conditions occuring as well as the acids coming together 
> themselves. I mean, come on.

Maybe I'm the dumbest reader on the list but it's not obvious to me 
that 1 followed by 100,000 zeros couldn't possibly refer to the chances 
of amino acids forming randomly, where as 1 followed by only, say, 100 
zeroes could...especially when I don't know what assumptions are being 
made in calculating the probability.

OK, so the probability you quoted refers not just to the amino acid 
formation but to the "creation of conditions".  If you insist on using 
the term "creation of conditions", you and your scientist friend are 
assuming some sort of entity creating conditions, which begs the 
question of whether or not some creator exists.  If you don't insist on 
using that term, then better would be "conditions for appearance" of 
the amino acids...the conditions under which they could be come to 
exist.  The problem there is that it's so all-encompassing as to be 
meaningless...everything from the existence of the Earth and sun to the 
existence of intramolecular forces is part of those conditions.  What 
are the chances that a proton should attract an electron?  I say it's a 
meaningless question, equivalent to asking what are the chances that 
the Universe should exist as it is instead of in some other form.  I 
think it's a mistake to assign the existing universe a probability of 
1/googleplex and say that proves God exists.

> No, I was merely pointing out that there is science which DOES support 
> the concept of a higher power. Science and spirituality are not 
> nonexclusive.

I'm not yet convinced that your "science" or "scientist" deserve the 
name.  Proper science is based on rationality, and I think there are 
some irrational assumptions in what you've presented.  On the other 
hand, I do think that spirituality can exist alongside a completely 
rational science.

"the average Texan...carries not just a gun but a SHOTGUN."  --Pete 
Townshend, 1967

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