On today’s ID the Future, Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler and host Eric Anderson delve deeper into Challenge to Origin of Life: Energy Harnessing, the latest video in the Long Story Short intelligent design video series. Could the first cell have been much simpler than any current cell, making it easier for it to emerge through blind natural forces on the early Earth? Stadler and Anderson surface one big problem with that idea: in experiments to make relatively simple cells even simpler, the cells inevitably become less robust and adaptable. These simpler cells must be coddled to survive. But the first cell on earth would have been anything but coddled. It would have had no source of glucose and been battered by all and sundry. (Plus, even these artificially simple cells are still extraordinarily sophisticated compared to human technology.) What about reports of a fungus near the Chernobyl nuclear accident that can feed off radiation? As Stadler notes, while this is an intriguing discovery, funguses are much more complex than anything being proposed as the first living cell, and the fungus undoubtedly possesses sophisticated energy-harnessing and processing machinery. The bottom line: any viable, self-reproducing cell, including the first one in the history of life, must have an energy-harnessing system already in place to survive, and such systems are necessarily enormously sophisticated. Stadler argues that we know enough about what natural forces can and cannot do to know that natural causes alone could not make this leap from non-life to first life. Another kind of cause was required. Tune in to learn more.
Today’s ID the Future spotlights a new origin-of-life video showing that researchers aren’t anywhere close to creating life from non-life, despite the fact most Americans seem to believe otherwise. In the episode, host Eric Anderson interviews Stairway to Life co-author Rob Stadler, who helped create the new Long Story Short animated video. Stadler and Anderson explore how origin-of-life papers and popular media reports have misled the public, evidenced by a survey underscored by Rice University synthetic organic chemist James Tour. Then they discuss several daunting origin-of-life hurdles beyond the synthesis of key chemical building blocks. These are hurdles significant enough that each alone may doom the idea of life having once emerged from non-life spontaneously. Indeed, it is now a matter of record that the hurdles are so daunting that for several decades they have kept many brilliant and lavishly funded scientists from intelligently designing life from non-life in the lab. Thus it is hardly unreasonable to entertain the idea that the origin of the first life required not merely intelligent design, but an ingenious designing intelligence far beyond that of our smartest origin-of-life researchers.
On today’s ID the Future physicist Brian Miller and host Eric Anderson continue their exploration of a recent conversation between origin-of-life investigators Jeremy England and Paul Davies on Justin Brierley’s Unbelievable? radio show. Miller begins with a quick flyover of the many nanotechnologies essential to even to the simplest viable cell. A minimally complex cell is vastly more sophisticated than our best human nanotechnology. What about England’s insistence that real progress has been made in origin-of-life studies since the 1950s? True, Anderson says, but the progress has been principally in better understanding how the simplest cells function, and in figuring out what doesn’t work to blindly evolve life from non-life. That is, the direction of discovery has been to throw cold water on one idea after another for the naturalistic origin of life. Miller then makes an even bolder statement. All the physics for us to have known this were in place more than a hundred years ago. The origin-of-life community just chose to ignore it, perhaps because they were dogmatically wedded to finding a purely materialistic explanation for the origin of the first life. To show why that’s misguided, Miller offers an illustrative story: Imagine that what looks for all the world like an alien spaceship is discovered in the desert. Two groups of scientists decide on radically different approaches to understanding the workings of this mysterious object. Tune in to hear the rest of the story.
On this ID the Future, physician Howard Glicksman and host Eric Anderson dive deeper into the body’s exquisite blood pressure control system, cueing off a new discovery described at Science Daily as uncovering “the location of natural blood-pressure barometers inside our bodies that have eluded scientists for more than 60 years.” According to the primary research paper at Circulation Research, “Renin-expressing cells are essential for survival, perfected throughout evolution to maintain blood pressure (BP) and fluid-electrolyte homeostasis.” How did evolution perfect the system? How did it originate the system? The paper never says. The mention of evolution appears to be little more than a de rigueur genuflection before the reigning paradigm of blind evolution. What is bearing actual fruit, according to Glicksman and Anderson, is a systems biology approach that has little or nothing to do with evolutionary theory. Systems biologists assume for the sake of research that a biological system under investigation is optimally engineered, and then, working from this assumption, seek to discover the purposes of hitherto mysterious parts and processes in the system. * Dr. Glicksman flagged one point in his podcast commentary in need of correction. Although the lack of aldosterone is generally incompatible with life, a person likely could live several weeks as their hormone levels plummeted. What he meant to say was that if the kidneys could not take back any of the sodium that they filter, human life would only last about a half hour. Either way, the details underscore how vital all the parts of the renin angiotensin aldosterone system are for life.
On this ID the Future, physician and Evolution News writer Howard Glicksman discusses an exciting new discovery by researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine, described at Science Daily as uncovering “the location of natural blood-pressure barometers inside our bodies that have eluded scientists for more than 60 years.” As the article reports, “The existence of a pressure sensor inside renin cells was first proposed back in 1957. It made sense: The cells had to know when to release renin, a hormone that helps regulate blood pressure. But even though scientists suspected this cellular barometer had to exist, they couldn’t tell what it was and whether it was located in renin cells or surrounding cells.” Dr. Glicksman and host Eric Anderson walk through the discovery and explore how these high-tech blood pressure barometers, known as “baroreceptors,” work. The full paper, with color illustrations of the process, is available here. In the first sentence of the introduction, the authors state, “Renin-expressing cells are essential for survival, perfected throughout evolution to maintain blood pressure (BP) and fluid-electrolyte homeostasis.” How so? They don’t say. The mention of evolution appears to function as mere window dressing.
On today’s ID the Future, host Eric Anderson sits down with Rob Stadler, co-author with Change Tan of The Stairway To Life: An Origin-Of-Life Reality Check. The topic of discussion–protocells. Stadler notes that the simplest existing single-celled organisms are far too sophisticated to have emerged through a blind process of prebiotic evolution. He further notes that this is widely acknowledged in the origin-of-life community, but those committed to a purely materialistic origin of the first life have a fallback explanation–protocells. That is, early biological structures far simpler than anything we find today. An intriguing hypothesis, but the problems with it, according to Stadler, are legion. Tune in as Stadler and Anderson walk through several lines of evidence that appear to break against the much sought-after but ever-elusive protocell.
Today’s ID the Future features the next in a YouTube video series by Dr. James Tour on the origin-of-life problem. Here Tour, a distinguished synthetic organic chemist, lists the characteristics of life and describes some features of the early Earth where life first appeared. Then he provides a fast flyover of the many grave problems of blindly evolving the first living cell from prebiotic materials.
On this episode of ID the Future, to celebrate Michael Denton’s newest book, The Wonder of Water, we bring you a conversation between Ray Bohlin and Howard Glicksman on the body’s wondrous control systems for using water. Dr. Glicksman is a medical doctor and author of an extended series of posts at Evolution News & Science Today, “The Designed Body.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Ray Bohlin interviews physician Howard Glicksman about hemoglobin and the body’s need to have enough of it to transport sufficient oxygen to the tissues. Finely-tuned and exquisitely engineered, this system gave our ancestors enough oxygen to not only stay alive but thrive in the face of hostile challenges. Dr. Glicksman is author of an extended series of posts at Evolution News & Science Today, “The Designed Body.”
On this episode of ID the Future, Ray Bohlin interviews Physician Howard Glicksman about a common cause of death, cardio-pulmonary arrest, using the subject as a doorway to explore some intricate, interdependent control systems that sustains life. Dr. Glicksman is a medical doctor and author of an extended series of posts at Evolution News & Science Today, “The Designed Body.”