Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Life As We Know It Nearly Created in Lab

That's the headline of a FoxNews dot com article. Something almost happened. Or something did not happen. Anyway, this non-event is news. Because these things don't happen every day. Or they don't not happen. Or things happen not everyday. Well, it's hard to make my meaning clear, but you understand it intuitively. Something happened, by not happening.

Years and years ago, when my interest in such things was fresh and my knowledge cutting-edge, they were talking about colloidal spheres. Gooey globs that exhibited cell-like properties. Like being spheres, and gooey. Indeed. Statues also exhibit life-like characteristics. Bilateral symmetry. Visible organ-like analogues. Why, the list could be endless. They're made of matter. They have light-reflecting properties. Stop me when you're convinced.

As for this latest rock-solid proof of Evolutionism, scientists "have created something in the lab that is tantalizingly close to what might have happened." A sentence that would be flagged by Wikipedia as containing too many weasel words. "The researchers, at the Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla, Calif., created molecules that self-replicate and even evolve and compete to win or lose. If that sounds exactly like life, read on to learn the controversial and thin distinction."

Let's be fair. That sounds very impressive, and very life-like. Is it true? It's like these characters who get international patents on the DNA of some highly nutritious Mexican legume. It's frankly immoral. They created, invented, discovered nothing, yet they get a patent. The Scripps scientists modified existing RNA, and got it to reproduce. Hm. To my way of thinking, this is either plagiarism or satire. In either case, for all that it's clever, or ingenious, it's not creative. I've done plenty of satire in these pages, and farce. I should hope it is to be distinguished from any of my creative efforts. My particular genius is vast -- illimitable, frankly -- and those who admire me with sufficient ardor, if such a thing is possible, love me for all my dimensions, or for as many as their small minds are able to apprehend as best they can.


"And now and then, one of these [RNA] survivors would screw up, binding with some other bit of raw material it hadn't been using. Hmm. That's exactly what life forms do ..." [aposiopesis in original.] Indeed. That's exactly what, say, bacteria do: when segregated populations of bacteria are mixed, they immediately go about a sort of breeding campaign, where they exchange, manually as it were, genes. A corrective process, undoing mutations and replacing lost information. An engineering failsafe redundancy -- which is the product of forethought. That flawed and perverted RNA should retain this characteristic of life should not be terribly surprising. Life is valuable enough to protect. You heard it here first.

In any event, what they are describing is more virus- than life-like. Robotic. Fragments of genetic information, mutated to some skewed purpose, having an effect upon life, if any, almost always detrimental. But I just made that up -- maybe there are lots of good viruses. I should be more careful. In any case, here's a fact: all life is cellular. But I wasn't careful. All biology is cell-based. Fairies are alive, but they don't have cells. They're magic, see. Gasp! Did the scientists invent fairies?!? Magical robotic fairy viruses?!!!?!!!

The life-like almost-created thing, like the aforementioned life-like statue, has this one highly relevant quality: it was created with intelligent intent. The circumstances that brought it about were designed by diligent application of planning and studied execution. From this, are we to conclude that life is derived from randomness? It's like the Amazing Randi, a magician, illusionist, who goes about reproducing and debunking events purporting to be supernatural. He's very convincing. From the fact that the supernatural can be faked, are we to conclude that the supernatural is real? From the fact that intelligence might produce actual life in the laboratory, are we to conclude that life Evolved randomly? I leave the logic to be puzzled out as you are so inclined.

News flash! Jesus almost died for your sins. The idea brings no comfort. Update! Mohammad greenlights suicide bombings! Film at eleven! Up next, Paris Hilton reveals three easy secrets to flatten those abs!



Anonymous said...

See? Now this is why I read you daily.

How many times in one essay can one say, "I wish I'd said that"?

Jack H said...

Oh go on. No, really, I mean it -- go on.