Synthetic life.
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23-03-2013, 01:51 AM
Synthetic life.
Synthetic life is life designed and constructed by an intellect from previously non living componets. Now there are two possible ways life originated on this planet(there's really 3 but I am ignoring panspermia for simplicity). One way it could have happened is via abiogenesis, or life arising naturally from previously non living components. The other way is life could have originated as a construction of some intellect. Neither of these "possibilities" have ever been demonstrated so we can't say even say for certain that they are really possible.

What happens if synthetic life is created by humans? Well such an event would demonstrate that it is possible life can originate as a construction of intellect. If synthetic life is demonstrated and abiogenesis isn't, doesn't that strengthen the theists position? Couldn't a theist claim in an argument that intelligent creation of life is a demonstrated fact, while abiogenesis remains just an assertion? Where would that put atheists like Bearded Dude who maintain you shouldn't believe in something until it is observed? He would be forced to concede that intelligent creation of life is believable while abiogenesis is only something worthy of research.

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23-03-2013, 02:19 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
Consider
'Life' is a social construct.

From physics to chemistry to biology... just human categories.

It's all a continuum.

We are made of non-living components.

And not for long.

We will become unmade.

Disorder to order to disorder.

C'est la vie.

Confused

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23-03-2013, 02:38 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
The intelligent creation proposal destroys itself because there's nothing to create the intelligent creator.
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23-03-2013, 03:44 AM
 
RE: Synthetic life.
I was going to argue against what you said, but I think you make a good point. If synthetic life were created, it would lend weight to the idea that life requires an intelligent creative force. Since true abiogenesis has never occured in nature that we know of.

I always love the elaborate abiogenesis experiments where are the inital conditions are carefully set in place by the researchers, and yet it never strikes them that the very impossibility of those elements coming together by chance is what makes abiogenesis so unlikely.
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23-03-2013, 05:21 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
It's just a matter of time before abiogenesis is verified. It is really just a matter of geometry and motion. And like DLJ said, the organic/inorganic dichotomy is merely convention. In other words...

No. Intelligent Design will never be intelligent theory. Tongue

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23-03-2013, 06:28 AM (This post was last modified: 23-03-2013 07:23 AM by Ghost.)
RE: Synthetic life.
Hey, Wood.

Two things.

1 - Man has created life. We successfully designed an organism, with an invented genome, in a computer, printed that genome, inserted it into an egg, enseminated a mother, who carried it to term. First known organism ever born that didn't have parents. So we KNOW we can design life.

2 - It says nothing of creationism. If we determine that masturbation causes ejaculation, that doesn't mean that intercourse does not. It is possible that something engineered life on Earth, but unlikely, if it's the case, that it did anything but knock over the first domino, as evolution is an automated process.

As an Agnostic, I don't pretend that things are proven when they are neither demonstrated nor if they are indemonstrable. The origin of life (on Earth) is as yet an undemonstrated mystery with three candidates that we know of. The development of life is not a mystery however. The fact that we can engineer life is not proof that something did. It merely lends credence to the idea in the same way that the Miller-Urey and Fox experiments lend credence to abiogenesis.

Peace and Love and Empathy,

Matt
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23-03-2013, 07:06 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
What you are suggesting is that a product of nature (human beings) construct something synthetic that mimics a product of nature (ie. us).

I'm perfectly ok with that. Bring on the cylons.

But you are also implying that any "god" is also a product of nature, thus simply making him or her or it a natural being produced by the universe, reducing it's status from "god" to merely an alien of unknown origin.

I'm perfectly ok with that too and I'll believe it when there is evidence for it, not just simply because it's possible some alien culture could have helped life along on this planet or even seeded it.

Given all of that, we first and foremost have to acknowledge that life must begin naturally, not magically.

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23-03-2013, 07:25 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
Heywood,

I think your argument is:
(a) Intelligences (as distinct from undirected natural processes) can create life
(b) Life exists
Therefore: It is credible to believe that our life was created by an intelligence, and the possibility of life emerging from undirected natural processes is undemonstrated.

(a) certainly appears to be true - there is nothing known to science that would prevent us from replicating existing forms of life and creating new forms of life. We have created synthetic genomes and used existing cell machinery to replicate the genome[1]. (b) certainly appears to be true.

The conclusion is where we seem to go a bit wrong. We have created simple forms of "life" in computer models - philosophers argue about what makes something alive... I personally think the simplest definitions relates to evolution.. essentially "A genome that sustains itself is able to change over time in response to environmental changes". We have created chemical components of life using natural chemical processes designed to replicate "early earth" states[2]. It seems as credible as any life intelligence-directed life creation we have so far put forward.

Moreover, assuming no natural cause for life leads to the infinite regress problem. If natural processes cannot cause life, how was the intelligence that caused life itself caused? A natural explanation for abiogenesis is simpler (from an Occam's Razor perspective) and thus more likely to be correct based on our limited knowledge.

Also - are we really only talking about the origin of life here, or are we talking about evolution since that time?

[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synthetic_genomics
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis

Give me your argument in the form of a published paper, and then we can start to talk.
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23-03-2013, 08:41 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
It weakens the argument that life was started by god since it shows that all it takes to create life is technology, magic powers not required.

Behold the power of the force!
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23-03-2013, 09:12 AM
RE: Synthetic life.
If I start a forest fire does that mean all forest fires are man-made?
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