Saturday, September 08, 2007

Synthetic Life.

Spontaneous living cells in a test tube from simple ingredients?
Well no …..not quite…. we supply the carefully made membranes….oh and the 36 enzymes…. Oh and also the ribosomes…..oh and also the genetic information! But we are nearly there!


At least this is the illusion that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate.


Dr. Giovanni Murtas from the Synthetic Biology and Supramolecular Chemistry group at RomaTre University says:
"We can prove at this point that we can have protein synthesis with a minimum set of enzymes - 36 at the moment."

The fluescent green colouring indicates that these "primitive cells" can synthesize a protein from the supplied genetic information.

According to the guardian account this result “will teach us about the earliest stirrings of life in Earth’s primeval slime some 3.5bn years ago.”
Yerrr sure!

I would have thought that to any unbiased observer this result simply reminds us all that there is no hope that the primeval slime…no matter how exotic and how many billion years you give it will ever produce a living organism with minimal information and functioning protein machinery.

The information to specify such elegant structures as these does not hang around in primeval slime waiting for 36 enzymes and a few ribosomes to arrive.


I am not against this kind of work at all... I applaud it! What I am against is giving the impression that the solution to the problem of the origin of life is nearly solved and it is just a matter of time before we crack it.

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29 Comments:

Anonymous Brian said...

Andrew
I just followed the link to the guardian report and I think you must have posted the wrong URL? The report I read is about research into synthetic bio-engineering not origins of life research. That is an incidental comment about 'primeval slime' and not the focus of their work which is the synthetic production of fuels, drugs etc. Maybe I'm not reading enough ID into it?

5:38 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No Brian,

You're missing the point of Andrew's post. These synthetic biologists seem to think that their very intelligently designed set of molecules under very intelligently designed conditions somehow represent something that somehow self-organized 3.5 billion years ago. Andrew is wondering, quite rightly, how could anyone in their right mind believe such thing. It seems inherently self-contradictory.

11:43 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Indeed Andrew you have mislead you audience again. This is not research into the origin of life.

So Anonymous no they don't think this explains the origin of life.

Andrew said this;

I would have thought that to any unbiased observer this result simply reminds us all that there is no hope that the primeval slime…no matter how exotic and how many billion years you give it will ever produce a living organism with minimal information and functioning protein machinery.

Bearing in mind none of the origin of life researchers think it started this complicated anyway - oops - perhaps you could support some of your assertions here. How do you know that life could never emerge spontaneously? How can you be 100% sure?

Anything to do with the bible perhaps?

11:56 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

No anonymous

There is one innocuous comment about the primeval soup and it has been turned into the main focus. Yes, they are attempting to design molecules intelligently but this does not equate with 'intelligent design'. Yet again you are attempting to subvert actual science to your own political ends.

12:22 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

you guys crack me up!

i guess a remark is 'innocent' when taking it seriously would make life difficult for you!

in any case, of course, this has everything to do with 'intelligent design' in the ID sense -- it shows how an intelligent designer could manufacture a situation that simulates the self-organization of matter into life. what you anti-ID people need to show is that how such a thing could have happened without the intelligent design 3.5 billion years ago. that's a tall order!

9:04 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Yes it is a tall order but it's one that real scientists are working on. It will take time so you'll have to be patient but bear in mind that every additional bit of new information or understanding only points away from what science already knows - there won't be a designer behind it all. How is the ID research coming on?

9:52 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brian,

i really don't see this at all. if scientists are able to agree on how life began in a self-organizing fashion, it will not be out of some void but within a set of physical constraints that are constructed in some lab or on some computer. and how did those constraints get there? the only thing that can really help the evolutionists here is for this entire scientific project to FAIL. in that case, they can claim to have proven that life did not emerge in a way humans can comprehend or reverse engineer. and if there is a God, it is certainly not the one in whose image and likeness the monotheists claim. i frankly don't see why evolutionists take comfort in a field of research that is so obviously shot through with intelligent design.

12:51 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

How is the ID research coming along?

3:02 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,
You said:
"Indeed Andrew you have mislead you audience again. This is not research into the origin of life."

1. The Guardian reporter James Randerson says that Dr Murtas "hopes the project will teach him about the earliest stirrings of life in Earth's primeval slime some 3.5bn years ago."
2.The Synthetic Biology Groups at the Enrico Fermi research centre at Roma Tre University in Italy is "focuses on the general area of self-organization and self-reproduction of chemical and biological systems, in the framework of the field of origin of life,

Sorry but I fail to see how I have misled people here.

10:08 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

How is the ID research coming along? ....

Quite well I think...Dr Murtas seems to be doing it for us!

10:19 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

by the looks of synthetic biology, ID seems alive and well -- and that was andrew's point to begin with.

10:26 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

Is that the new claim for ID then - it is so powerful that it can explain real (non ID) science?

8:21 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

"in the framework of the field of origin of life"

A text search of the guardian article doesn't throw up the word 'origin' so how does this work meet the above conjecture?

8:29 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

brian,

my apologies. i thought english was your native language. a native english reader -- one who normally peruses a short article without doing a text search -- understands enough to pick up things like semantic inferences, synonyms, and the like.

what is striking about this overall discussion is that no one here has claimed this line of reseach as 'always already' about evolution. it's a refreshing change.

9:28 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Yes I must apologise for my poor grasp of the English language. Is my punctuation OK? - how would you know?

The summary is of a technical nature so I understand you misreading it in a semantic manner - you even read ID into it! You reveal your stupidity by assuming this to be about evolution - it's about commercial exploitation of chemistry - any rudimentary comprehension test would have been failed by such a gross misrepresentation.

10:14 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Brian,
Try:

"earliest stirrings of life"

10:47 am  
Anonymous Brian said...

Very tenuous

11:23 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh, brian, how you never cease to disappoint me with your artless expression of humiliation...

5:38 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

Anonymous, you do read a lot into things that aren't there but then you do think ID is scientific - is that you Bill?

6:30 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

PS, anonymous, tenuous means insignificant, unimportant or trivial. Read my original post.

6:39 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Of course Andrew you haven't misled anyone have you? I mean that when you said this;

"But we are nearly there!

At least this is the illusion that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate."

It is practically the same as what was quoted;

"But there is a lot more involved in making cells that are alive ... I think the bottom-up people have a long way to go."

By my non fundamentalist ethics saying "nearly there" instead of "long way to go" is telling fibs.

10:23 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

andrew is right to move on to another post because the darwinists have clearly lost the synthetic life argument. when people start quibbling about words then you know the jig is up.

11:31 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

You still haven't answered my question - how is ID research getting on?

8:15 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,
You are too keen to see lies and dishonesty.

Why do you think that Prof. Knight felt that he needed to say what he did?

8:25 am  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,

I came accross this recently.

8:46 am  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

Hi Andrew,

Do you claim this as a mistake? A misunderstanding? A different interpretation?

Yes I think lying is wrong and I will call it when I see it based upon the evidence.

Feel free to tell why saying this;

"But we are nearly there!

At least this is the illusion that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate."

It is practically the same as what was quoted;

"But there is a lot more involved in making cells that are alive ... I think the bottom-up people have a long way to go."

?

11:13 pm  
Blogger Andrew Rowell said...

Psi,

1. I never claimed that I was summarising the article with my sentences "But we are nearly there!
At least this is the illusion that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate"
I was merely stating that some origin of life researchers seek to indicate this.
To demonstrate that I was lying you need to show that (a) less than "some" origin of life researchers have given this indication and (b) I know that there are less than some origin of life researchers that have given this indication.
I cannot see how you can do this. But if you do I will happily concede that I am a liar in this instance.

2. The quote that you present to demonstrate my "lie" is a quote from a different researcher commenting on the results of this lab. He is also throwing a tub full of cold water on the idea that this is a tremendous breakthrough showing us what early life is like.

I hope this helps.

11:45 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

QED

8:51 pm  
Blogger psiloiordinary said...

People can see what you put in your post - and they can read the original article.

The evidence is far all to see.

8:52 pm  

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