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comment by b_b
b_b  ·  2069 days ago  ·  link  ·    ·  parent  ·  post: Science Denial: Missing A Sense Of Scale

Well, Nagel has a point, and this statement:

    Nagel doubts whether there could have been enough viable mutations ‘in the available geological time’ for beings like us to evolve through sheer ‘accident’. But, as the philosopher of biology Peter Godfrey-Smith wrote in a respectfully critical review for the London Review of Books, ‘This is one area in which intuitions are worth nothing.’ The experts have done the math.

is demonstrably false. There hasn't been enough elapsed time in the universe for the probability of life arising "by accident" to have occurred. In fact, if we consider random orderings of amino acids, there hasn't been enough elapsed time in the universe for one single relatively long protein to have come into existence "by accident." So "common sense", as I'm sure Nagel was using as a colloquialism when he really meant "math", doesn't tell the whole story.

Nagel's leap, which is so off putting to many (atheistic) scientists, is that the universe has purpose. One doesn't need to add purpose to solve this crisis, however. Stuart Kauffman has proposed that the laws of thermodynamics are incomplete, and that they should be adjusted or added to to predict that life must arise. Life exists. The current theory doesn't predict it. Therefore it's the theory that is incorrect or incomplete. Attacking Nagel for being a deist or theist doesn't make the theory more complete. It just makes the attacker look childish, foolish, uneducated, and unsure. A poor explanation for sure, but at least an argument from god is an explanation of some sort. Otherwise, we're just burying our heads in the sand when we say that Darwinian theory can explain how life came to be. It can't, currently. It explains what happens once life is already there.

doommaggot  ·  2069 days ago  ·  link  ·  

The origin of life is to be explained by a theory of abiogenesis, which has nothing to do with Darwinian evolution. Evolution theory isn't intended to explain the origin of life, and I haven't heard anyone reputable making this claim.