The Anthropic principle - was Earth made for man?

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newtonian

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speedfreek - Its not that a specific environment for a specific amino acid could not occur by chance.<br /><br />It is that all the different environments necessary for all of the necessary building blocks of life are not likely.<br /><br />BTW - you actually have to analyze the specific environments.<br /><br />Otherwise, you would have no scientific basis for reaching a conclusion - i.e. we would just be guessing.<br /><br />I will post more details later on this.<br /><br />For now, I repeat the point on CH4 vs.CO2 for earth's early atmosphere at the origin of life.<br /><br />That is one specific point - do you have any opinion on this?<br /><br />
 
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SpeedFreek

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I am not versed in the science of that particular example. So I wouldn't even try to comment on it, as I would only be guessing.<br /><br />I just reiterate that, however unlikely it is, due to the vast size of the universe, it could happen somewhere by chance.<br /><br />I.e unless it is actually (not virtually) impossible, it could happen by chance.<br /><br />And as for having no scientific basis for reaching a conclusion, well this is why science hasn't reached a conclusion on this subject yet! We do not have enough information to be able to deal with this subject scientifically, so this discussion is, by definition, guesswork.<br /><br />Or do you think you are the first person to be asking these questions? <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />If you feel you can work out the exact probablility of life forming on Earth, feel free to do the work! So far, you have used phrases like highly unlikely and almost impossible.. care to be a little more scientific about it? <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - Yes, and thank you for the invitation to be more scientific about it.<br /><br />For starters, origin of life simulation experiments produce racemic, not chiral, mixtures including amino acids.<br /><br />If we select only amino acids, and only the 20 used for life (which involves much intelligent selecting, not chance), then we can calculate a simple probability for part of what is necessary to form a protein by chance.<br /><br />Life uses 100% L-amino acids (i.e. left hand polarized) and is therefore chiral. Chirality effects 3-d shape and positioning of reactive sites - very important of life's processes (e.g.: enzymes and receptors).<br /><br />Selecting only L-amino acids by chance is 50-50 for the first one, but there are many amino acids in a simple protein.<br /><br />Astronomer Fred Hoyle, in "Evolution from Space," 1981, pages 24-27, calculates some of the steps involved in chance synthesis of a protein, specifically a protein enzyme.<br /><br />Hoyle considers only the sequence order, not chirality, in reaching a probability of 10^20 for a functioning enzyme.<br /><br />Of course, factoring in chance selection of a chiral sequence greatly reduces the odd. <br /><br />As I am sick, I will postpone detailed analysis on chirality and stick with Hoyle's calculations.<br /><br />Hoyle then notes that one enzyme does not equal life. Rather he notes that there are 2,000 enzymes, such that the probability of chance synthesis of all 2,000 would be 10^20^2000 = 10^40,000.<br /><br />Hoyle then states, on page 24:<br /><br />"If one is not prejudiced either by social beliefs or by a scientific training into the conviction that life originated on the earth, this simple calculation wipes the idea entirely out of court."<br /><br />That is not the end of the matter - remember, Hoyle does not include probability of chance selection of chiral amino acids (all L-amino acids out of a racemic mixture of 50% L-amino acids.)<br /><br />Hoyle also does not consider selection of the cor
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - OK, my scientific input on the chemical reaction products of the Miller-Urey experiment is earlier on this thread.<br /><br />Please read it and respond, as that is also scientific input.<br /><br />To refresh your memory, only 2 proteinous amino acids with significantly large proportions were formed: alanine and glycine.<br /><br />Note that 2 of the non-proteinous amino acid isomers with the formulas C4H9NO2 and C4H9NO3 respectively are next on the list for abundance in chemical reaction product proportions.<br /><br />to be continued.
 
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SpeedFreek

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Blimey! It's like getting a bone away from a dog, isn't it! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />I cannot respond scientifically to your specific questions! I'm waiting for your estimate of the possibility of life forming on earth, or elsewhere in the universe.<br /><br />To respond in unscientific terms, you have not yet proved that the possibility of life forming by chance is nil. So, to me, it can happen by chance, however small.<br /><br />If you prove that life cannot ever form by chance, I will listen.<br /><br />Until then, I will continue to believe that however slight the chance is that life can form without intelligent intervention, if there is even the remotest of possibilities it will happen by chance, then in a universe as large and old as ours it is bound to happen sometimes. And here we are! <img src="/images/icons/wink.gif" /><br /><br />I only ever said it may have happened in "processes <i> similar </i> to the Miller-Urey experiment". I'm not saying thats how it happened as I know that the Miller-Urey experiment only illustrated that some organic compounds can be made from basic elements in the right environment. It didn't make the basics of life, true. But that does not mean it cannot happen in a similar way. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - I posted Hoyle's estimate of 10^40,000 against for all 2,000 enzymes to be synthesized by chance.<br /><br />Please see my thread asking you all to critique my theory, where P=TxRxA, and P = the upper limit of chemical reaction products in our universe since our universe began.<br /><br />P=10^122 as an upper limit.<br /><br />10^40,000 is, therefore, way beyond what is possible in our universe since our universe began.<br /><br />Remember, I am sick and will not be able to post all the details.<br /><br />Please be patient.<br /><br />Feel free to critique my theory while you are waiting for me to respond better.<br /><br />And please forgive my thus far incomplete response to you. <br /><br />[Edit: Of course, if all the enzymes required for life cannot be synthesized by chance in our universe since our universe began, then neither can life be synthesized by chance in our universe since our universe began.<br /><br />Remember, also, that for an enzyme to be useful to life it must be informational, not merely statistical, such that a 3-d fit with a receptor molecule with reactive sites in the right places (hence the need for chirality). Usually, this involves more than one molecule for a function to be complete, and also complex mechanisms. E.g. information is useless without translation and a mechanism in place for the translated information to be used.]<br /><br />[Edit #2 - I forgot the need for alpha-peptide bonding - that will be for another post later.]
 
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tdamskov

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Newtonian, although I fundamentally disagree with you I deeply respect your honest attempt at debate.<br /><br />The origin of life and how it originated chemically is poorly understood by science as all traces and evidence have long been erased by both time and evolution. Using one partly failed experiment into how the processes might work, as proof that the theory behind is wrong, doesn't prove anything. Similarly, if this was a religious discussion, it would be easy to pick an example in the Bible which was easy to disprove, however much truth it contains. Thus I humbly digress by saying yes, this is one sore spot for Science. But it will be better understood in the future.<br /><br />Thousands of years ago or longer, the Earth seems to have been a quite inhospitable place- full of predators, parasites, hazards, easy ways to die. It's only humans changing it to accomodate us which makes it really livable today.<br /><br />My argument is dogmatic but logical. If a Creator existed, he would have made it a lot more "tuned" to us than it is (it's certainly possible). The problem is, you need to provide a good explanation of exactly what "tuned" is in terms of human survivability is? What's the perfect environments for humans to flourish yet stay stable as a species during billions of years? Certainly not Earth as has already been shown <img src="/images/icons/smile.gif" />
 
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SpeedFreek

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Well, the thing about Hoyle is that he was well known for his rejection of the Big Bang theory and chemical evolution. But his theories have in no way been proven. He is one amongst many.<br /><br />There are many other alternative views as to how likely the chances are of life forming and what processes would be involved.<br /><br />I wouldn't rely on Hoyles <i> ideas </i> as scientific proof of anything. They are unproven theories and there are many others. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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green_meklar

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>If we select only amino acids, and only the 20 used for life ... such that the probability of chance synthesis of all 2,000 would be 10^20^2000 = 10^40,000.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />That's if you're assuming that the first life on Earth used all 20 of those amino acids. This doesn't seem to be a very wise assumption to make. Rather, the first life was probably more like the modern-day prion, which is a single molecule. I suspect that the first life probably also started as one molecule, although it may have immediately added to itself upon becoming alive before it could do anything else. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>________________</p><p>Repent! Repent! The technological singularity is coming!</p> </div>
 
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newtonian

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tdamskov - thank you for your respectful response.<br /><br />I agree the origin of life is poorly understood, though we are not in the dark as much as you imply.<br /><br />All evidence has not been erased. There are many indicators for early earth's atmosphere, for example. Many realize that the evidence supports an early earth atmosphere rich in CO2 (carbon dioxide) and poor in CH4 (methane).<br /><br />I will post on some of this evidence later - feel free to check it our independently in the meantime.<br /><br />Hint: volcanic outgassing; earth's crustal carbonates and the geologic carbon cycle; earth's crustal composition - e.g.: oxygen is the most abundant element in earth's crust. And, of course, geology (e.g. evidence indicates early earth was hot), and earth science (e.g. evidence indicates early earth had lower mountains and was covered with water; e.g. aqueous rock atop Mt. Everest, etc.).<br /><br />I am not intending to rely on one experiment. The Miller-Urey experiment is the most well known and critically analyzed for over 50 years.<br /><br />There have been many other more recent origin of life simulation experiments. I will post on some of these later - meanwhile I am giving you and all to post updates on what has been discovered. E.g. many simulation experiments are done wet vs. dry; even with condensing agents such as HCN; acid vs. alkalilne; hot vs. cold; many different energy sources, including different wavelengths of UV irradiation; etc.<br /><br />I intend to post on many of these later. Feel free to beat me to it.<br /><br />One crucial point that has been discovered by these many experiments by good scientists is that different chemical reaction products are produced in different environments and in different proportions which indicates that the origin of life required multiple very different environments at the same place and at the same time.<br /><br />On the Bible, there are no inaccurate scientific statements in the Bible. As both Galileo and
 
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newtonian

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green_meklar - Actually, I assume nothing, as per my signature.<br /><br />I am also aware that the simplest form of life may have used many less enzymes than the 2,000 Hoyle considers.<br /><br />Can you link to any model that has been scientifically studied akin to your prion origin model?<br /><br />Do you believe prions are alive?<br /><br />Thank you for your thought and research provoking response.<br /><br />Meanwhile, note most origin of life scientists using simulation experiments consider either RNA or DNA or Enzymes (proteins) as the first synthesized.<br /><br />More likely all three at the same time.<br /><br />This is reflected in the search for life on other planets and moons (asteroids, etc.) - and amino acids on asteroids are well publicized as an indicator for chemical pathways to the origin of life.<br /><br />Please post more on prion origins.<br /><br />I will research the matter also as time permits.
 
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SpeedFreek

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You lost me when you stated your belief that man and satan made the earth the inhospitable place it was when early mankind was struggling to survive (through cultivation of land, fighting against predators etc). Dogma.<br /><br />The prion is a form of life. It is not a mineral or chemical compund, but is an organic protein formation that can reproduce without the need for DNA.<br /><br />Lets look at some of the alternatives to Hoyles hypothesis.<br /><br />Eigen's hypothesis<br /><br />In the early 1970s a major attack on the problem of the origin of life was organised by a team of scientists gathered around Manfred Eigen of the Max Planck Institute. They tried to examine the transient stages between the molecular chaos in a prebiotic soup and the transient stages of a self replicating hypercycle, between the molecular chaos in a prebiotic soup and simple macromolecular self-reproducing systems.<br /><br />In a hypercycle, the information storing system (possibly RNA) produces an enzyme, which catalyzes the formation of another information system, in sequence until the product of the last aids in the formation of the first information system. Mathematically treated, hypercycles could create quasispecies, which through natural selection entered into a form of Darwinian evolution. A boost to hypercycle theory was the discovery that RNA, in certain circumstances forms itself into ribozymes, a form of RNA enzyme.<br /><br /><br />Wächtershäuser's hypothesis<br /><br />Another possible answer to the polymerization conundrum was provided in 1980s by Günter Wächtershäuser, in his iron-sulfur world theory. In this theory, he postulated the evolution of (bio)chemical pathways as fundamentals of the evolution of life. Moreover, he presented a consistent system of tracing today's biochemistry back to ancestral reactions that provide alternative pathways to the synthesis of organic building blocks from simple gaseous compounds.<br /><br />The latest modification of the iron-sulfur-hypothesis <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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alokmohan

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Religion is anthropologial in nature.We may have to see in that angle.
 
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newtonian

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blass - Ok, attacking Newton as well? Guess I am in good company then.<br /><br />Newton's alchemy can be viewed as pursuing the transmutation of elements, a scientific endeavor which has, since Newton's time, been realized by variuos nuclear reactions, including obviously radioactive decay.<br /><br />Newton believed God created our universe for scientific reasons.<br /><br />For one example [paraphrased from memory], he made a good model of our solar system.<br /><br />He then invited an atheist neighbor over, who noticed the model, admired it, and asked: who made this? (or Did you make this?)<br /><br />Newton responded: nobody made it.<br /><br />The atheist neighbor responded something to the effect that he could not believe that.<br /><br />Then Newton responded: you cannot accept that this simple model of the solar system came about without a creator - yet you expect me to accept that the actual solar system had no Creator?<br /><br />Newton had a good mind and perceived, somewhat independently, things most did not perceive.<br /><br />2. Attacking Galileo also? Well, it just shows your negative appraisal of people, me included.<br /><br />I could defend Galileo, but I'll let other posters do that. Suffice it to say he was a good scientist who was willing to reject popular religious and scientific interpretations in pursuit of truth.<br /><br />3. I perceive your design in posting this - so I will not respond. I prefer to stay on thread theme, which you obviously do not wish to do.<br /><br />Feel free to start a thread somewhere else on this point and post where the thread is. I will respond there.<br /><br />For now, suffice it to say I totally disagree with you.
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - Simply stating my belief. I am not dogmatic about it.<br /><br />I do not agree prions are a form of life. I agree they are proteins.<br /><br />Proteins where the beneficial information has been garbled so much that it messes up cell chemistry and can be very dangerous.<br /><br />It nicely illustrates the need for correct information in a protein.<br /><br />Actually, simulation experiments do not produce informational proteins - or any proteins for that matter.<br /><br />The results in such experiments is statistical, not informational.<br /><br />Note that prions do not appear spontaneously from non-living matter.<br /><br />They are actually an example of the loss of information due to decay of formely living matter.<br /><br />How do you propose information was put into either proteins, or RNA or DNA?<br /><br />The latter also involves the old question of which came first, the chicken or the egg.<br /><br />May I assume you believe RNA came first?<br /><br />Note that prions are not sequences of nucleic acids but rather sequences of amino acids.
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - I will research prions further - I am open-minded on this.<br /><br />Meanwhile, here is an interesting clip on prions:<br /><br />"One Theory on the Mechanism of Disease<br /><br />In recent years scientists have focused their attention on a disease that some attribute to an abnormal form of a protein called a prion. The theory is that disease results when defective prions bind to normal prion proteins, causing the normal protein to misfold. The result is “a chain reaction that propagates the disease and generates new infectious material,” says the journal Scientific American.<br /><br />What may have been an instance of prion-based disease first came to public attention in the 1950’s in Papua New Guinea. Certain isolated tribes engaged in a form of cannibalism for religious reasons, and this led to a disease called kuru, with symptoms similar to those of Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease. Once the afflicted tribes gave up this religious ritual, the incidence of kuru rapidly declined, and it is now virtually unknown." - "Awake!," 1/22/05, p. 27.<br /><br />The article goes on to show that life's correctly functioning proteins involve "cooperation, efficiency and fidelity." Quite in contrast to prions.<br /><br />The article goes on to show that humans have some 100,000 different kinds of proteins. Each of these proteins are complex chains of molecules with thousands of folds. The shapes of these folds are crucial, which is why prions are so dangerous. Life's proteins involve correct information, which is used in various ways in life.<br /><br />Once again, I stress the loss of information in malfunctioning prion proteins vs. the correct and precise information within life's informational proteins, including prion proteins. - Ibid., p. 27.<br /><br />Why do you state prions are life? They are not - rather life's mechanisms reproduce the error faulty prions (whose informational content has decayed) cause.
 
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bobw

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The thing that amazes me the most is not the content of threads like this, rather the location. The suggestion of artificiality on mars gets a thread moved to Phenomena really quickly. Creationism on the other hand, in spite of court rulings that it is not science, infests the Astronomy forum like a cancer. It is really strange. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> </div>
 
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newtonian

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speedfreek - I will post on the other interesting models later.<br /><br />I am currently sick - hopefully due to a virus rather than a prion.<br /><br />Thankfully, neither can be spread on the internet!<br /><br />For now, a simple unresearched response:<br /><br />Eigen's hypothesis does not indictate how information is incorporated, e.g. how informational coding is incorporated into RNA.<br /><br />Please see above for how important precise and complex information is required for the production of an informational protein required for life.<br /><br />Also, the environment for nucleic acid synthesis is different from the environment for amino acid synthesis.<br /><br />On the next hypothesis you do not post any actual chemical reactions.<br /><br />I would have to analyze these before considering whether such an environment would make the creation of life easier.<br /><br />Can you post these or a link to these?<br /><br />Meanwhile, please be patient, as I will now be my wife's patient. (pun intended)
 
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newtonian

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bobw - Yes, I agree threads are moved (and locked, etc.) too easily.<br /><br />But that is not up to us to decide. We should be thankful such an excellent free speech forum has been provided free of charge.<br /><br />BTW - I am not a creationist.<br /><br />Why not actually post scientific input on this thread in response to me or others?<br /><br />If, that is, you wish to pursue science here.
 
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SpeedFreek

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The bottom line here is that science <b> cannot </b> answer these questions yet. If it did, we would already know <i> the truth. </i> But we do not know the truth about the origins of life yet.<br /><br />My area of interest is actually astrophysics and cosmology, and I know very little about biology but I do know that we are still a long way from being able prove anything useful about the anthropic principle.<br /><br />Science is about testing theories until we can prove or disprove them.<br /><br />By continuing to persue the theory that the universe and everything in it was intelligently designed, you eventually come to the question of who designed the intelligent designer and so on, ad finitum.<br /><br />If you contend that the intelligent designer has <i> always </i> existed and had no beginning, then I just contend the same about the universe without intelligent design. Neither idea has any more merit than the other. Both are unfalsifyable in <b> exactly </b> the same way. The same goes for either the intelligent designer or the universe happening by chance.<br /><br />Surely, if you can believe in such an unlikely idea as an intelligent entity that has always been, you can believe in such an unlikely idea as very simple life forming spontaneously through chance at least once in this universe. Then, maybe due to exogenesis and evolution, we end up with the lifeforms in the universe today. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#ff0000">_______________________________________________<br /></font><font size="2"><em>SpeedFreek</em></font> </p> </div>
 
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oscar1

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"Was Earth made for man?" I don't think the Anthropic Principle has anything to do with that question. The principle is a very logic statement; fairly satisfying actually to man. And as far as the universe itself is concerned, it is probably aphrodisiac!
 
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MeteorWayne

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You are correct, this thread no longer belongs in Ask the Astronomer. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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green_meklar

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<blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Can you link to any model that has been scientifically studied akin to your prion origin model?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Sorry, I'm not sure what you mean here. You mean some model of the first life on Earth that has it being very simple? Well, Wikipedia has some information on it, as does talkorigins.org, and I found another article with some interesting information here. Wikipedia also has an article on prions, if you want to read more about them.<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Do you believe prions are alive?<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />Yes, in fact I would count them as being even more alive than viruses (which are also alive). Viruses have to wait for a cell to do their work for them, whereas to my knowledge prions actively go out and convert other proteins into prions.<br /><blockquote><font class="small">In reply to:</font><hr /><p>Note that prions do not appear spontaneously from non-living matter.<p><hr /></p></p></blockquote><br />No, but they <i>are</i> very simple. And the point here is that the first life on Earth didn't have to be cellular or even DNA or RNA based, it could have been much simpler, like a prion. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p>________________</p><p>Repent! Repent! The technological singularity is coming!</p> </div>
 
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MeteorWayne

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This thread no longer belongs in Ask the Astronomer.<br />Prions are not an astronomy subject. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><font color="#000080"><em><font color="#000000">But the Krell forgot one thing John. Monsters. Monsters from the Id.</font></em> </font></p><p><font color="#000080">I really, really, really, really miss the "first unread post" function</font><font color="#000080"> </font></p> </div>
 
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yevaud

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Prions are proteins, folded into a certain shape, nothing more. Nothing more. They "convert" other proteins via a simple, non-"intelligent" process.<br /><br />If this thread continues along this path, I, or another Moderator, will move this thread to Phenomena. <div class="Discussion_UserSignature"> <p><em>Differential Diagnosis:  </em>"<strong><em>I am both amused and annoyed that you think I should be less stubborn than you are</em></strong>."<br /> </p> </div>
 
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