Uses of logical arguments in debate



That isn’t autocatalysis, which is what you were talking about before. Why is it a problem that ATP is involved?

Rube Goldberg machines seem like something evolution would produce. Natural selection can only see fitness, so there is no selection for parsimonious pathways. If a labyrinthine pathway increases fitness then it is selected for.

Not off the top of my head. We may never know the earliest steps in the evolution of metabolism. Is there a deity you want to squeeze into this gap?

(Ann Gauger) #162

Thanks. What do you make of their proposal?


We know for a fact that Rube Goldberg machines are made by humans.

(Ann Gauger) #164

@T_aquaticus I am not talking about just Byzantine pathways. I am talking about chicken and egg pathways, interlocking chicken and egg pathways. As far as I can tell so far, and this is where I am asking for help if I am wrong, there is no way to make ATP from scratch without using ATP. NAD requires NAD and ATP. CoA requires ATP, NADP etc. Folate requires Folate. Is it possible to argue this is because of an ancient underlying metabolism that didnt have this problem? Is it reasonable?

(Mikkel R.) #165

Beyond it being interesting, and revealing some curious connections between ideas that have been circulating in the origin of life field for decades, not much. Whether the kind of metabolism extracted from the data actually ever existed as the basis for some early form of life is of course an unknown.


So is ice.


The chicken and the egg offer the solution for you. The ancestors of chickens laid eggs, but weren’t chickens.

150 years ago, no one knew of a way to build a heavier-than-air flying machine.

(Mikkel R.) #168

We don’t know how to make ATP without using ATP. Some alternative scenarios, though unproven, have been suggested. What can we conclude at this present time?

(Ann Gauger) #169

Here’s the question. Is this pattern of chicken and egg pathways wide-spread in biological systems?
Why should that be? Is there a way to start from an ur-pathway using iron sulfur, for example, to another using ATP?
Can you build an evolutionary biosynthetic path that is causally circular using evolutionary mechanisms? These are all questions of both design and evolution, because it is just as legitimate to ask why a designer would use causally circular pathways. I suspect there is a basic principle at work and it may have nothing to do with intelligent design or evolution per se, but with efficiency within well-established networks and their regulation.

This whole thread started because I was asked how I would do ID research. I have said all along I would be by looking at what was already there in biology, looking for patterns and trying to discern if there was anything that spoke clearly of design. This is the sort of thing I had in mind.


Why would you have to ask about evolutionary pathways in order to discern design?

(Timothy Horton) #171

Do you agree not being able to reconstruct biochemical pathways which arose over 4 billion years ago is not positive evidence for Design?

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #172

Obviously one would have to ask about them. Even though others don’t it makes sense that Gauger is.


No one asks about intelligent design when researching how these pathways could have evolved. So why is it that we can’t determine design independently of evolution?

(Timothy Horton) #174

ID can’t form any testable hypotheses unless and until they make predictions about the capabilities and limitations of the Designer(s). The only candidate they have is their omnipotent Christian God which they can’t admit to for First Amendment Establishment Clause reasons. So they’re kinda stuck with no way to proceed with their 'science".

(Bill Cole) #175

She is talking about a chicken and egg problem that we observe in biology. Chicken and egg problems can be solved by design. They are difficult for step by step processes to explain. So are the collection of observed chicken and egg problems in biology evidence of design?


The chicken/egg problem was already solved by evolution. The solution is to evolve egg laying before you evolve chickens.

Long story short, the chicken and the egg isn’t a problem.

(S. Joshua Swamidass) #177

@Agauger, far more succinctly and colorfully, this is precisely what I meant when we discussed this.

(Ann Gauger) #178


We are talking about the problems of metabolism–how to get something you need before you have it, if the only way to get it depends on having it. By the way, that facile answer, to evolve chicken’s first, is ridiculous on the face of it. You are better than that.

(Bill Cole) #179

Oh good. :slight_smile:

(Mikkel R.) #180

Not really. Explaining them is not the problem. Finding out whether any of many proposed explanations is actually true, however, is the hard part.

So are the collection of observed chicken and egg problems in biology evidence of design?