Thread: Whee are the aliens? View Single Post
August 30 2013, 02:53 PM   #46
Edit_XYZ
Fleet Captain

Location: At star's end.
Re: Whee are the aliens?

CorporalCaptain wrote:
 Edit_XYZ wrote: I posited 100 environments that must occur in order, in order to create in the 'warm pond' or wherever the chemical steps for the appearance of life.
Actually, no, that's not what you posited in the first place. What you posited was:

 Edit_XYZ wrote: Let's - VERY optimistically - assume that a specific chain of 100 chemical reactions are enough to create this "simplest" molecule.
For the purposes of illustration, by way of a simple example, you said sequence of "reactions", not sequence of "environments".

It was your evident assertion, that the probability of such a sequence of reactions occurring is approximately 1/100!, that I disproved. The factorial function is not the way to enumerate all of the possibilities in the case you first described, as I showed.

But, OK, so now you want to shift the goalposts. You're not trying to find the probability of a sequence of reactions occurring. Rather, you're trying to find the probability that "environments" all occur in a sequence that is itself compatible with supporting some sequence of reactions. You've postulated some properties of these "environments".
You should read my other statements before coming up with the 'shift the goalposts' card.

I establish there that I'm talking about a 'warm pond/whatever' that must be subjected to 100 independent environments in order to give birth to a self-replicating molecule.

Crucially, you said, quite correctly:

 Edit_XYZ wrote: 'these 100 steps should follow one after another without one or more destructive environments appearing between them, destroying the future self-replicating molecule'
Quite correct, they should, in order for the final product in question to be produced.

But for 1/100! to be the correct approximate probability of the environments occurring in the correct sequence, it is necessary—among other things—to assume that at each step all but one of the environments should be destructive to the molecules produced so far, with the environment left over leading to the next step.
But how do you know this must be the case?
Frankly, you don't. It's just an assumption, and it's a very specific one. Evidently, its only reason for existing is to ensure a ridiculously astronomical probability of the final product in question occurring.

Further questions suggest themselves.
Why can't a single environment be conducive to multiple steps in the process?
Why can't the products of some or all of the steps exist in multiple environments?
There are plenty of reasonable assumptions that drastically improve the odds of random reactions producing key chemicals.

Even with all of these sorts of questions aside, there still remains the even more basic question, posed already and addressed by you with only another handwave:
Why is only one order of reactions acceptable?
Further questions suggest themselves here as well.
Why is it that only one sequence of reactions produces a viable final product?
Couldn't there be a variety of final products from different reaction sequences, all different, yet all viable?
1.I took the 100 environments as independent of each other.
That's why I took the number of environments as small as 100; if environment A creates B creates C, for example, I took them all as a single environment 1 in the 100 chain (due to the high probability of B, C).

2. Now, these 100 environments should follow one after another:
- without one or more destructive environments appearing between each 2 environments, destroying the future self-replicating molecule.
These destructive environments can be not only from the 100 chain, but from any of the thousands of environments primordial Earth could generate.

Now, it's possible for environment 30 (for example) to occur without consequence between environments 1 and 2 - but it's improbable: if environment 30 can affect the chemicals in the warm pond from step 29, it's highly probable that it can affect the chemicals from step 1.
But - very well. In order to completely remove this possibility, I will VERY GENEROUSLY reduce the already very small number of steps (100) I posited for the creation of a self-replicating molecule to 70. This 70 steps are highly reactive AKA they can affect all the relevant chemicals from the 'warm pond' that are the precursors of the self-replicating molecule.

The possibility of life emerging becomes !70:
1.1978571670×10^100.

Total number of atoms in the observable universe:
10ˆ80. Of them, only a small fraction is amenable to creating life (let's say a VERY GENEROUS 10^25).

3.The 70 environments must follow a strict order in order to give birth to life (a self replicating molecule requires precision work).
As our attempts at abiogenesis clearly demonstrate, the road to life is both very specific and complex (we couldn't find it so far, despite thorough searching) - NOT all roads lead to Rome.

But, let's - implausibly - assume that there are 1.000.000 different roads to life - different environments/'warm ponds' that can lead to life (and shame on our biologists for not discovering even one) - this increases the chance of life emerging, but not nearly enough.

The probability of life emerging twice in the observable universe remains practically 0.
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Last edited by Edit_XYZ; August 30 2013 at 03:33 PM.