Gregory Ganssle - How Belief Systems Affect Believers - Closer to Truth's

Comes down to me trusting what I can see, hear, touch, taste
more than I trust my imagination.

Complex mathematics is what people do inside of their heads.
Sometimes a great tool for understanding, sometime a tool for mischief on a grand scale.

Simply because “Nature” can be explained through the language of complex math,
doesn’t make the language of complex math the physical reality we experience in “Nature”.

It goes right along with the utter pointlessness of positing a “Fine Tuned Universe”.

I dismiss “it” because it’s not helpful humans dealing with their own issues and an unforgiving real world. This complex math belongs in the halls of experts, not dangled in front of people who have never learned about it.

I dismiss “it”, because the distortion people built upon the notions of experts dealing exactingly with specifics, then winding up in the hands of people who don’t understand a fraction of what the study is about, let alone know enough to question it intelligently.

But in all seriousness, I don’t dismiss math at all,
it’s the games people play with that math that get to me.

Fine. I can take that very well, thank you.

What I can’t take is thinking that describing consciousness as a mathematical geometry, etc, etc. is valid, let alone useful. It’s just self-indulgent intellectual fun, since in mathematics, sometimes you do get to set your own rules and run your own game.

[quote=“citizenschallengev4, post:21, topic:9835”]
Complex mathematics is what people do inside of their heads.
Sometimes a great tool for understanding, sometime a tool for mischief on a grand scale.

And how does the universe do it?

Simply because “Nature” can be explained through the language of complex math, doesn’t make the language of complex math the physical reality we experience in “Nature”.

Why not?

It goes right along with the utter pointlessness of positing a “Fine Tuned Universe”.

I agree, because that is an unsupported statement to begin with.

The proper term should be: “Life is Fine Tuned to the Universe” which can be proven by the incredible variety of life that can live in the most inhospitable environments based on a few simple organic polymers which already have representation in "molecular clouds in galaxies " from ultra-violet radiation. Robert Hazen projects that the creation of organic molecules is happening all throughout the universe. There is no mystery about how simple life can emerge in the most extreme environments.

On earth there is an entire population of “extremophiles”, life form that can only live in extreme environments. They don’t want a finely tuned universe that can support humans.
The bright colors of Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, are produced by thermophiles, a type of extremophile.

One species of Bacteria, "Candidatus Desulforudis audaxviator ", is the first known to comprise a complete ecosystem by itself. It was found 2.8 kilometers below the surface in a gold mine near Johannesburg, South Africa. Deep biosphere - Wikipedia

Which suggests more than one source and type of life on earth. Who knows. There may be several places where “origins” happened.

Hmm, is this a more central point? That the “games people play” with science and/or philosophy is the problem, not so much the science itself? That’s what I mean when I say pseudo-science or “wild speculation”, they definitely muddy the waters if you don’t state specifically it’s what you’re doing.

When I read this latest post, I went to the top and realized I hadn’t noticed the link behind the “4:00”. It’s a good snippet, fits right in with things I’ve been studying lately about how our views are “deeper” than the facts. I had trouble following your comments since you talk about Robert Kuhn, but I’m not familiar enough with him to know what you’re referring to.

It’s out of my pay-scale.
I’m still busy digesting the universe that surrounds me, right here on this Earth.

I just came back from nice walk with Maddy so I had time to chew on your words, suddenly I get one of those petit épiphanie and I may have resolved our impasse. For myself, if not for you. The vision that came to me was gazing on two beautiful woman and thinking about the contrast in thoughts/feelings that each conveys to me.

The one is a flawless skeleton, radiating good health and vigor.
The other being a full flesh and blood, cloaked in vibrant skin.

It does come down to a fundamental philosophical outlook of my Being, it’s the whole ‘thing’ I’m interested in. I mean when I look at art or other craftsmanship, my hands automatically lightly caress the surface and details of the piece. I love understanding about the underlying structure, but it’s the real flesh and bloods biological thing I long to be present to.

It’s like saying we were having sex for procreation sake, okay, in a general sense that can be plenty true, still if one thinks that’s all there is to “having sex”, they’re missing the whole point of living a human life, as opposed to that of any other mammals.

For me math is nature stripped down to those fundamental we can label, I can’t help but believe, know, there is more to Nature than that.


Besides, “Life” did not evolve out in the “Universe”
Life evolved out of the Earth’s material stuff, processed in amazing ways, over time spans we can’t imagine.

The fact that the “Universe” created all the stuff, then put it all together; the Milky Way; “our” Solar System; “our” third rock out from “our” Sun; plate tectonics.

Does nothing change the reality that Life and the “consciousness” it drives could never happen out there.

Only on this amazing planet, with it’s amazing string of cascading consequences.
Sure it could have happen somewhere else, within another amazing sphere of geology/biology/and just the right cascade of improbable events unfolding, but still not a hint of it actually happening, even as we broaden our net in amazing ways. So calling Earth and her story unique is reasonable, in my estimation.

Come on now, chew on what you said there.
It’s relative, isn’t it?
The label “extremophiles” is awarded to them because they are so extreme from our experience and understanding of life.
While I’m thinking, compared to a sulfur hot springs, or kilometers below Earth’s surface, it doesn’t get extreme until one gets blasted to the moon.
Now there is an extreme environment. :wink:

Why not???

Don’t you see that brained intelligent animals preceded mankind? The universe would have had intelligent life without mankind.

Moreover there is nothing extraordinary about the earth. It is an average planet in an average solar system in an average galaxy. And there are about 125 billion galaxies.

And the earth is the only planet in the universe uniquely endowed with the elements that make up “life” and intelligent awareness?

You speak about hubris in people, then you come out with such a statement as being the only uniquely intelligent being in the entire universe? You sound like Jacques Monod.

C’mon CC, you are much deeper than that. Where did your belief system affect your belief? Did you get lost in the maze of the “folds”?


Jacques Monod


The biochemical processes that take place within an organism’s cells are controlled by the genes found inside DNA molecules.

Jacques Monod and François Jacob proved how the genetic information is converted during the formation of proteins by means of a messenger, which proved to the substance we now know as RNA.

Different cells work in different ways at different times, however. This too is regulated by genes. In the early 1960s Monod and Jacob mapped the intricate processes that determine how genes are expressed or suppressed in a self-regulating process.

Monod had never heard about microtubules. They were identified in 1963

And then it was found that microtubules are the transport mechanism for RNA data.

Microtubule-Dependent mRNA Transport in Fungi

These results indicate that although, in principle, all mRNAs can be transported along microtubules, target mRNAs of Rrm4 are transported more frequently and over longer distances. Consistently, RNA live imaging in mammalian cells revealed that regardless of any specific cytoplasmic localization, mRNAs moved along microtubules.

However, the presence of the β-actin mRNA zipcode augmented both the frequency and length of mRNP movement (29). In accordance, both localizing and nonlocalizing transcripts were transported on microtubules in embryos of D. melanogaster .

Again, mRNA zipcodes increased the frequency and duration of directed movement, potentially via the recruitment of additional microtubule-dependent motors (15).

Thus, mRNA transport is not exclusive but exhibits a preference for distinct mRNAs. In U. maydis , this might be important to distribute most mRNAs within filaments and at the same time to enhance the subcellular localization of specific target mRNAs.

An example of you making assumptions on your philosophical belief and perhaps faith in math. Where is there another example of this vibrant living planet of ours?

You know, the more one learns about our evolutionary history, the more incredible lucky breaks, big and small, start adding up . The chance factor starts getting ever so vanishingly small. I used to say of course, now it’s perhaps, not of course, best to hold off judgement until more evidence comes in.

I mean we haven’t even found hints of the most basic life, which really ought to be in a lot of places, but no evidence of that yet. Though we sure do expect some in the next years as some of these new observation instruments we’ve put into space, and computer power return observation data.

Still, even then it’s billion to one going from simple single cells, to eukaryotic cells and sex and dynamic evolution, and another billion in one to discover/invent photosynthesis, which only takes us to slime and simple structures such as stromatolites.

Hubris rears its head in many forms.

Besides, more to my point, some details;

Besides, I am an Earth Centrist and that permeates my outlook.

Jacques Monod”, you’ll have to excuse me, need to look him up.

Gawd dang, Monod was not only a biologist but also a fine musician and esteemed writer on the philosophy of science. He was a political activist and chief of staff of operations for the Forces Françaises de l’Interieur during World War II. In preparation for the Allied landings, he arranged parachute drops of weapons, railroad bombings, and mail interceptions. Man what a guy to meet on a boxcar tramping to some destination. Oh the stories.

Now for what was going on in his head.

Sociologist Howard L. Kaye has suggested that Monod failed in his attempt to banish “mind and purpose from the phenomenon of life” in the name of science.

I don’t get the connection, I’m coming at all this as a naive spectator trying to make sense of myself, this life I’ve lived and the reality I’ve witnessed. This is about my body and my mind and the here and now. The evolution obsession is all about background understanding to comprehend all of that, my passion since my earliest memories.

I used to think I understood dogs well enough, had them in my household various times in the past on account of family, given my approach to infants, I’ve always felt I get along well enough and relate to dogs and visa versa.
Now after heck, four, five years of Maddy having adopted me as her man and developing a relationship, camaraderie even, following her around this property multiple times daily. Oh boy, I didn’t have a clue, my awareness was so impoverished I’m ashamed to think about it sometimes.

Outta time, guess I’ll have to catch up on Monet, sound pretty fascinating, some other time.

Where have you looked?

In universal terms our knowledge of other “cinderella” planets does not even include the next block in the neighborhood. You cannot deny something because you cannot see it in your back yard.

I trust Hazen’s knowledge of abiogenesis as a complex but not impossible sequence of chemical reactions that are regularly occurring on trillions of planets in the universe.

I guess the number of chemical processes on earth did not impress you?

2 trillion, quadrillion, quadrillion, quadrillion chemistry experiments in the lifetime of a fairly young planet in relation to the age of the universe.

And you expect to be able to replicate this in a laboratory?

Are you sure you are thinking big enough?

Why did you quote that line and then not address the question.

So that allows me to assume something before any evidence arrives?

Well, how many chemistry experiments have prokaryotic cells gone through, without actually evolving that much?

Mind you I never said it impossible, just vanishingly small and we ain’t seen hide or hair of a living planet other than our own. That’s not to be sniffed at, even if the math convinced you it’s gotta be there, somewhere, but where oh where.

Here’s an interesting question, which I’ve actually pondered now and then,

A bit more background,

1 Like

We’ve found 5,000, but there might be billions

How Many Earth-Like Planets Are There In The Milky Way? - WorldAtlas

Sure, perhaps, perhaps only millions. Still “Might” - is the key concept I’m highlighting.

Data from Kepler showing the most common types of planets discovered in the Milky Way, NASA

Makes me think of something about, not counting one’s chickens until the eggs actually hatch.

I don’t even know what conversation we’re having now. I’m not counting on there being life on other planets. I think Elon Musk should buy an island somewhere and retire and quit blowing his money on the pointless pursuit of living on Mars. As Bill Hicks said, “let’s work on this whole food and air deal”, then get back to whatever you want to do with your free time.

Got side tracked about whether it’s fair to be convinced of other civilizations on other planets, before any evidence or indications of such a planet shows up.

In view of the sheer numbers that is not a reliable sample.

So what is holding the earth’s atmosphere? Hazen doesn’t seem to think the earth is so extraordinary.

No competition for space or resources? Prokaryotes are so simple they barely deserve the label of being alive and do not use oxygen.

Moreover, they did not have DNA and male/female species able to mix genes and double the possible varieties from mating . This is why Eukaryotes raced ahead and eventually won the evolutionary race

But that doesn’t mean there was no chemistry going on in all possible sites that had extreme dynamics. As Hazen stipulated , there is clearly a bottleneck where conditions must be just right for something like the Kreb cycle to form spontaneously. Maybe once in a quadrillion, quadrillion? On a planet similar to earth?

OTOH, microtubules self-assemble quite easily and must have formed very early on, even in a simpler form in prokaryotes. And microtubules are extremely versatile in RNA data transmission and motor functions.

You’re missing the point.

All complex life on Earth is composed of ‘eukaryotic’ cells. Eukaryotes arose just once in 4 billion years, via an endosymbiosis — bacteria entered a simple host cell, evolving into mitochondria, the ‘powerhouses’ of complex cells. Mitochondria lost most of their genes, retaining only those needed for respiration, giving eukaryotes ‘multi-bacterial’ power without the costs of maintaining thousands of complete bacterial genomes. These energy savings supported a substantial expansion in nuclear genome size, and far more protein synthesis from each gene.

Prokaryotes happen relatively easy, the Eukaryotes was an exceedingly rare event.

I don’t think anyone is arguing again that.

Yeah, produce that quote and it’s source, let’s look at the context of that comment before we start beating that horse.

But there was no sudden single event creating Eukaryotes from Prokaryotes. That change also took about another billion years and created many trial organisms, some of which are still extant.

Figure 1.1

Time scale of evolution. The scale indicates the approximate times at which some of the major events in the evolution of cells are thought to have occurred.

Cells are divided into two main classes, initially defined by whether they contain a nucleus. Prokaryotic cells (bacteria) lack a nuclear envelope; eukaryotic cells have a nucleus in which the genetic material is separated from the cytoplasm. Prokaryotic cells are generally smaller and simpler than eukaryotic cells; in addition to the absence of a nucleus, their genomes are less complex and they do not contain cytoplasmic organelles or a cytoskeleton (Table 1.1).

In spite of these differences, the same basic molecular mechanisms govern the lives of both prokaryotes and eukaryotes, indicating that all present-day cells are descended from a single primordial ancestor. How did this first cell develop? And how did the complexity and diversity exhibited by present-day cells evolve?

The First Cell
It appears that life first emerged at least 3.8 billion years ago, approximately 750 million years after Earth was formed (Figure 1.1). How life originated and how the first cell came into being are matters of speculation, since these events cannot be reproduced in the laboratory. Nonetheless, several types of experiments provide important evidence bearing on some steps of the process.

The spontaneous formation of organic molecules was first demonstrated experimentally in the 1950s, when Stanley Miller (then a graduate student) showed that the discharge of electric sparks into a mixture of H2, CH4, and NH3, in the presence of water, led to the formation of a variety of organic molecules, including several amino acids (Figure 1.2).

Although Miller’s experiments did not precisely reproduce the conditions of primitive Earth, they clearly demonstrated the plausibility of the spontaneous synthesis of organic molecules, providing the basic materials from which the first living organisms arose.

Of the two major classes of informational macromolecules in present-day cells (nucleic acids and proteins), only the nucleic acids are capable of directing their own self-replication. Nucleic acids can serve as templates for their own synthesis as a result of specific base pairing between complementary nucleotides (Figure 1.3).

Present-Day Prokaryotes
Present-day prokaryotes, which include all the various types of bacteria, are divided into two groups—the archaebacteria and the eubacteria—which diverged early in evolution. Some archaebacteria live in extreme environments, which are unusual today but may have been prevalent in primitive Earth. For example, thermoacidophiles live in hot sulfur springs with temperatures as high as 80°C and pH values as low as 2.

The eubacteria include the common forms of present-day bacteria—a large group of organisms that live in a wide range of environments, including soil, water, and other organisms (e.g., human pathogens).
Most bacterial cells are spherical, rod-shaped, or spiral, with diameters of 1 to 10 μm. Their DNA contents range from about 0.6 million to 5 million base pairs, an amount sufficient to encode about 5000 different proteins. The largest and most complex prokaryotes are the cyanobacteria, bacteria in which photosynthesis evolved

Figure 1.3

Self-replication of RNA. Complementary pairing between nucleotides (adenine [A] with uracil [U] and guanine [G] with cytosine [C]) allows one strand of RNA to serve as a template for the synthesis of a new strand with the complementary sequence.


Figure 1.4

Enclosure of self-replicating RNA in a phospholipid membrane. The first cell is thought to have arisen by the enclosure of self-replicating RNA and associated molecules in a membrane composed of phospholipids. Each phospholipid molecule has two long hydrophobic (more…)

Remember the Hazen lecture?

Fueled by microtubules: Does tubulin dimer/polymer partitioning regulate intracellular metabolism?†

Microtubules (MTs) or their subunits, tubulin dimers, interact with multiple components that contribute to intracellular metabolic pathways. MTs are required for insulin-dependent transport of glucose transporter 4 to the plasma membrane, they bind most glycolytic enzymes and are required for translation of the mRNA encoding hypoxia inducible factor-1α.

Tubulin dimers bind the voltage-dependent anion channel of the mitochondrial outer membrane; this channel functions in metabolite transport in and out of mitochondria. We hypothesize that tubulin partitioning between dimer and polymer pools regulates multiple steps in metabolism, where metabolic output is greatest when both tubulin dimers and MT polymers are present and reduced by drug treatments that disrupt this normal balance.

Microtubules Are Essential for Mitochondrial Dynamics–Fission, Fusion, and Motility–in Dictyostelium discoideum

Our results indicate that microtubules are essential for mitochondrial movement, as well as fission and fusion; actin plays a less significant role, perhaps selecting the mitochondria for transport. We also suggest that CluA is not a linker protein but plays an unidentified role in mitochondrial fission and fusion.

The significance of our work is to gain further insight into the role the cytoskeleton plays in mitochondrial dynamics and function. By better understanding these processes we can better appreciate the underlying mitochondrial contributions to many neurological disorders characterized by altered mitochondrial dynamics, structure, and/or function.
more… Microtubules Are Essential for Mitochondrial Dynamics–Fission, Fusion, and Motility–in Dictyostelium discoideum - PMC

I didn’t say it was a single event.

I wrote

Excuse me: the Eukaryotes (splitting from Prokaryotes) was an exceedingly rare sequence of events.

Do you know that none of the list of information you share touches on your claim.
You are saying the process of Eukaryotes splitting from Prokaryotes stretched over a billion years?
If so, please do share the paper, or story on the paper that claims that. From my reading and listening I have a very different narrative, but don’t have the time to dig out the specific, it’s buried in here somewhere.

I’d love to read what you base that claim on.

I also question your second claim that intermediary cells exist to this day, unless you are referring to the archaea.
Still that being what it may, I’m aware of the Information you shared, and nothing in what I’ve written disputes any of that. It’s beside the point to that human point of view thing I’m trying to get across.

Robert Hazen IS the source. The context is that he is the undisputed expert in mineralogy and research into the origins of life. This area of inquiry does not belong in biology (yet). This is strictly about the sequencing of chemicals and the self-formation of polymers that are able to copy, due to a greatly varying environment of many extremes in temperature, tectonic pressures and production of nanoscale particles from volcanic eruptions, deep ocean smokers, electrically charged weather patterns, time and large surfaces.
The occurrence of life was demonstrably possible and given the environment, it had some 50/50 probability. That is why it only took some 600,000 years from nothing to the first biological organisms.

600,000 years is a blink of an eye in cosmic terms.
From this example on earth alone, we can project a universe with many planets harboring life.

Note that I am not declaring that other life in the universe must be intelligent, or even sentient.

But Hazen seems confident that life on earth was not so incredibly rare that it could not happen elsewhere in the universe.

You still cling to this “popular” belief of Jacques Monod, that we are alone in the universe.
Talk about hubris!

Why do you do that?

That isn’t at all what I cling to!

In my younger years I too was quite convinced there must be advance life like ours out there,
I was also quite convinced that the Neanderthal could have ever interbred with homo sapiens. But those were also the days when I was still more ‘new age’ ‘woo spiritual’ then I am these days, the woo stuff has matured and taken on more down to Earth meanings - and I’m more physical reality fact based these days.

For instance, we now know that Neanderthals has sex with Homo sapiens, and odds are pretty dang good that sensual intimacy and experience was more akin to what you and I experienced, during our younger decades, than to baboons and other mammals. Imagine that. It really is amazing how facts force us to reassess self-certain assumptions.

With the decades the more I learned about the cosmos and evolution with its amazing twists and turns and the potential dead ends, etc. via the writing and thinking of others who have actually studied the matter.

With time I found that the self-centered certainty that advanced, technological, beings must exist out there, isn’t so certain after all. There is room to consider the heretic possibility that what unfolded upon this Earth is a one off.

“Science” tells us not to assume, but to depend on what you can actually see, touch and study.
Evangelical also use mathematics and statistic and numbers to prove that evolution was mathematically impossible. Climate frauds will show you graphs up the wazoo, proving that Earth hasn’t been warming and our atmosphere isn’t being energized like Earth hasn’t seen in many many millions of years, So basically I don’t buy into that line of argument on principle.

No! No! No!
I want to know where I can find a quote of him saying “Earth is an ordinary planet” !
Because I want to read the context that remark was nestled within.
Then we can discuss it.

I mean if it’s ordinary that Earth followed the laws of physics, that’s one thing.
But then be explicit about.
Those sources of basic education on the topic I’m familiar with, digesting their lessons is part of how I arrive at my conclusions.

And my conclusion is an agnostic outlook.

Why should that shock or enrage, or give you license to say stuff like: "You still cling to this “popular” belief of Jacques Monod, that we are alone in the universe.
Talk about hubris!"

I mean talk about hubris, why even bring Monod into it?
I’ve never read about him or his work until you brought him up.
What’s up with that?

14:50 on the video. He starts his lecture by identifying the earth as an average planet. You need to pay closer attention and consider what is being said.

One thing as almost certain. The earth had all the necessary ingredients and dynamic environment for life to emerge. If it took a bombardment of extraterrestial chemicals that would complicate the matter somewhat, but all planets are subject to extraplanetary bombardments of various kinds.

So it can be said that the earth is an average planet without any extraordinary properties necessary for evolutionary chemistry.

And and you’re telling me how you perceived his words. I need to break off, so don’t have time to respond, besides this will take a little chewing on before I can constructively (and inoffensively) respond.

I’ll just put Hazen’s words out there for now:

thinking about the extremes of this there rather we need to look in the middle about probabilities and finally I


want to look at this question of improbable events things that might


never be possible in the laboratory and yet when you have an earth-like planet with immense time and spatial scales


that the combinatorial rich of a planet of that sort makes certain inevitable chemical processes things


that we might not see in a laboratory so let’s begin and look at the origin of life as a chemical process so there are


three basic assumptions we make that the first life forms were carbon-based just like life today not so exotic chemistry


the raw materials exactly what you’d expect on an earth-like planet you have an atmosphere you have ocean you have


rocks you have minerals those are the raw materials and that life’s origin can be thought of as a sequence of chemical


reactions that’s the key a sequence of chemical reactions okay just to remind


you what’s a chemical reaction well this is when you have atoms come together and you rearrange the atoms rearrange the"

Oh and guess I’ll add this,

Oh also worth tossing in before I sign off, Hazen is a consummate lecturer, he knows how to wake up his audience, provocative assertions is part of that. (But he doesn’t twist the facts to tell his own story.)

Seems to me I read this at some point way back, don’t remember, though I’m pretty sure John Rennie puts it into a perspective that might help you appreciate where I’m coming from.