Astrobiology’s Fantasy Universe

first_img(Visited 117 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0 The media glosses over difficulties in its blind quest to look for the ’emergence’ of life on other planets.If evolution skeptics had ten minutes on mainstream media to present scientific objections to origin-of-life scenarios, they would blow astrobiology out of the water. But evolutionary materialists are clever. They found a way to label anything other than their belief as ‘anti-science.’ As a result, reporters have free rein to present fact-free, fantastical stories like the following without any fear of critical analysis.poof spoof, n.: a phrase representing the evolutionists’ propensity to use words like “emergence” — a miracle word masquerading as a natural process.Looking for life in all the right places, with the right tool (Science Daily). Researchers publishing for the American Chemical Society have developed a tool for detecting amino acids with 10,000 times more sensitivity than before. That’s nice; it could be useful for organic chemists. But it means about as much to astrobiology as detecting iron atoms in rock means to explaining bridges and skyscrapers. Amino acids are quite common and have no significance unless arranged into long, precisely-sequenced, polypeptides that can fold into functional proteins. Not only is that hopelessly improbable (see the film Origin and our online book), but amino acids tend to fall apart in water (not join up) according to well-known laws of chemistry. They’re also useless unless one-handed, another huge improbability. That’s the science. None of those crucial facts are mentioned by the reporter. Extrapolating recklessly, he tempts imagination, saying, “this type of technology is under consideration for future missions to ocean worlds like Europa and also Enceladus,” adding,”The researchers say these are the best techniques yet to find signs of life on other worlds.”One sign the press is living in a fantasy universe is the high perhapsimaybecouldness index. Another clue is reliance on the Poof Spoof fallacy. Watch for them:Biochemical ‘fossil’ shows how life may have emerged without phosphate (Science Daily). Major premise: life as we know it depends on phosphate; it is “an essential building block of genetic and metabolic machinery in cells.” Minor premise: It has “poor accessibility on earth.” Conclusion: Maybe the first life didn’t need it.In a study published on March 9 in the journal Cell, researchers used systems biology approaches to tackle this long-standing conundrum, providing compelling, data-driven evidence that primitive life forms may not have relied on phosphate at all. Instead, a few simple, abundant molecules could have supported the emergence of a sulfur-based, phosphate-free metabolism, which expanded to form a rich network of biochemical reactions capable of supporting the synthesis of a broad category of key biomolecules.“The significance of this work is that future efforts to understand life’s origin should take into account the concrete possibility that phosphate-based processes, which are essential today, may not have been around when the first life-like processes started emerging,” says senior study author Daniel Segrè (@dsegre) of Boston University. “An early phosphate-independent metabolism capable of producing several key building blocks of living systems is in principle viable.”Is it really possible to have “compelling, data-driven evidence” for something that may or could have happened? Usually those adjectives describe what did happen. Do these scientists show any actual phosphate-free organisms? No, of course not. The “scenario” was all done with models. Do they explain how phosphate-free life evolved to depend on phosphate later? No, of course not. It’s nearly inconceivable to imagine life without ATP, DNA, RNA, which all require phosphate, to say nothing of the elaborate molecular machines that build and maintain them. Their model is pure fantasy, trying to imagine the “landscape of possible historical paths of metabolism” that have no observational basis. The article uses the word “emerged” or “emergence” seven times (the Poof Spoof).Synchronized chaotic targeting and acceleration of surface chemistry in prebiotic hydrothermal microenvironments (PNAS). Without controversy, it’s hard to get into the National Academy of Sciences. It’s hard to publish a paper in their journal PNAS. But no amount of knowledge can overcome faulty premises. For the same reasons as above, no amount of handwaving and Jargonwocky by these four materialists at Texas A&M University can overcome the heavy use of “emergence” and perhapsimaybecouldness they use in the paper. It ends up only “suggesting a new avenue to explain prebiotic emergence of macromolecules from dilute organic precursors—a key unanswered question in the origin of life on Earth and elsewhere.” For a taste of what they are up against, see the Santa Fe Institute‘s article “Life’s lower limits.” It explores the minimal energy requirements for living cells in the real world.The Future of Prebiotic Chemistry (ACS Central Science). This press release begins in an embarrassing way. “Here is a puzzle: in what area of organic synthesis research are synthetic organic chemists a minority? According to Albert Eschenmoser, it is in the field of prebiotic chemistry: the study of the reactions and molecules that led to the emergence of life on earth.” Maybe they know better what they are up against in astrobiology’s fantasy universe, and feel it more productive to work in the real world. “It may be that the challenge of finding funding for such an esoteric problem comes easier to established scientists in a world increasingly focused on practical applications.” The article goes on to praise the work of Matthew Powner and John Sutherland, without mentioning that Suzan Mazur essentially demolished their ‘RNA World’ scenario in The Origin of Life Circus (2014), using extensive quotes from leading origin-of-life (OOL) researchers she personally interviewed. Sutherland isn’t even working with RNA any more, but on a mythical molecule he calls ‘pre-proto-RNA’ that he is still searching for.Saturn’s moon Enceladus with “Tiger Stripes” fissures where geysers eruptThe search for extraterrestrial life in the water worlds close to home (The Conversation). A Cassini photo of Enceladus begins this speculative article by Martin and McMinn. It’s a complete distraction. “The discovery of seven exoplanets around a star 40 light years from our Sun has raised the possibility that they could harbour life,” they say. “Why? Because the astronomers who made the discovery believe some of the planets may have liquid water. And on Earth, wherever there is liquid water, there is life.” Thus they launch their Poof Spoof on the basis of hydrobioscopy. Their wonderland of confabulation reads like a religious text, with genuflections to Gaia and the energy god, full of positive vibes except for one moment of sobriety after admitting the only known life is here on our planet: “But ironically, we do not know when, where or how life originated on Earth.” Time out for a logic lesson. The existence of extremophiles in hot springs and at deep sea vents says nothing about how life might have emerged on other planets. If anything, it points to extreme examples of complexity required to survive in such conditions.Their mention of “seven exoplanets” refers to Nature‘s paper last week about an unusual red dwarf named Trappist-1 with seven roughly Earth-size planets in its habitable zone. The planets were only detected indirectly; there is no knowledge of their surfaces or whether they have atmospheres or water. As for life, that would be highly unlikely, given that red dwarfs are prone to deadly superflares, and planets around them tend to be tidally locked. Regardless of those inconvenient truths, the announcement set off a flurry of breathless headlines by reporters:NASA telescope reveals largest batch of Earth-size, habitable-zone planets around single star (Science Daily).Welcome to TRAPPIST-1 (Astrobiology Magazine)Earth’s Seven Sisters (Nature News)Seven Alien ‘Earths’ Found Orbiting Nearby Star (National Geographic)Searching for Life on 7 Nearby Alien Worlds: How Scientists Will Do It (Mike Wall on Space.com)A rare breath of realism came from Chilean astronomer Joshua Tan on Space.com. In his article, “Excited Reports of ‘Habitable Planets’ Need to Come Back Down to Earth,” he pointed out that determining habitability is not so easy; he regrets that reporters were “jumping the gun” on this announcement. “Someday, we may discover definitive proof that another Earth is out there,” he concludes. “But that day has not yet arrived – despite the excited headlines.” For even more realism, listing more reasons not to expect life out there, see the coverage on Evolution News and Science Today, and Creation Ministries International.Could Dark Streaks in Venus’ Clouds Be Microbial Life? (Astrobiology Magazine). NASA’s evidence-free Astrobiology Institute teases readers with the “could” word. Almost anything could happen. Anyone familiar with Venus must surely realize it is one of the last places to expect to find life. If OOL researchers can’t even explain it on the Eden of Earth, why even try with the hellish hothouse of Venus with its sulfuric acid clouds? This can only mean one thing: it’s funding season at NASA. “The question of life on Venus, of all places, is intriguing enough that a team of U.S. and Russian scientists working on a proposal for a new mission to the second planet — named Venera-D — are considering including the search for life in its mission goals.” What would Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions, dragged through media mud about alleged interactions with Russia, think about this?It quickly gets repetitive pointing out the same problems in such articles (hydrobioscopy, perhapsimaybecouldness, Poof Spoof), so we’ll spare readers the redundancy by just listing other examples of fantasyland worlds where complex things just ’emerge’ to show that the science rot in Astrobiology is pervasive.NASA wants to put a lander on Europa’s surface to look for life (New Scientist).Does Pluto Have The Ingredients For Life? (Astrobiology Magazine)Potentially hospitable Enceladus (Phys.org)Scientific dreams can become reality. There are historical examples of that; Jules Verne dreamed of space travel, and Ada Lovelace dreamed of programmable computers. The dreams that came true, however, were built on solid principles of physics (Isaac Newton‘s laws of motion and gravity, for Jules Verne) and the mathematics and logic of Charles Babbage‘s early calculating machines (for Ada Lovelace). When dreams run absolutely contrary to all that is known about chemistry, physics and math, the dreamer has few hopes of escaping the fantasyland of his or her own imagination.You can order copies of Origin from Illustra Media in quantity in convenient quicksleeve format. Consider keeping a handful and handing them out as video tracts. They can have a powerful influence on people, a healthy jolt of realism for those living in the Fantasy Universe.Those with good background in chemistry might enjoy reading Mazur’s Origin of Life Circus. She interviews all the top researchers in the field. Though never quite coming to outright rejection of OOL as pseudoscience, she garners numerous quotes that are unique and priceless. All the researchers essentially falsify each other’s scenarios, and admit that they are absolutely clueless. You would never know that from reading the popular press.last_img read more

Five-star Springboks crush Pumas

first_img17 August 2013The Springboks did full justice to the occasion of the Nelson Mandela Sport and Culture Day by delivering a stunningly ruthless performance to crush Argentina 73-13 in the opening match of the Castle Lager Rugby Championship at the FNB Stadium in Johannesburg on Saturday.After leading 26-6 at the break, the Boks ran riot in the second half, scoring 47 points to the blasts of vuvuzelas before Argentina answered with a late try.Interviewed at the post-match presentations, Springbok skipper Jean de Villiers said: “Obviously we had a lot to play for today, so hopefully we made a lot of people proud.”‘We can improve’He must have been a very satisfied man, but tried to downplay his side’s runaway victory. “There are still areas that we can improve upon,” he reckoned. “I think the try that we let in at the end was a bit disappointing, but there are definitely signs of us evolving and making sure that we take our opportunities.“There were still situations in that game where we created opportunities, but didn’t capitalise on them. But you can’t complain too much when you win 73-13.”Man of the match Adriaan Strauss was more forthcoming with his comments, saying: “It was a great team effort today. We knew that it was going to be very tough and physical, especially the first 20 minutes, and we knew that we had to just chip away at them, and I think everyone had an outstanding game.”Top of the standingsSouth Africa’s massive win, which took them to the top of the Rugby Championship standings – New Zealand has beaten Australia 47-29 in Sydney earlier in the day – was built on a solid scrum and very secure lineout. Indeed, a number of the Springboks’ tries came off of rolling mauls from lineouts near the Pumas’ try line.The fact that nine different players dotted down showed just how effectively and well De Villiers and company moved the ball around.As the match progressed, one could see the confidence of the men in green and gold growing. They played with more freedom, more flair and with fine interaction between forwards and backs.The contest could not have gone much worse for Argentina, who lost the influential Patricio Albacete to a hamstring injury very early in the game. They also did themselves no favours by twice having players sin-binned.Assessing the victoryWhile it was a stirring victory for the Springboks, it is difficult to assess just how good the home team’s performance was. Their remaining five tests in the Rugby Championship will no doubt be far more testing and it is in those games that the Boks’ standing will be more easily revealed.However, having drawn 16-16 with the Pumas the last time the teams met in Mendoza in 2012, the victory in Soweto was a massive boost for the team’s campaign so early in the competition for southern hemisphere (and many would say world) rugby supremacy.For the first 20 minutes, as hooker Strauss accurately forecast, Argentina put up a good fight. They fell behind in the sixth minute to the first of many successful kicks by Morne Steyn. By the end of the contest, he had landed eight out of nine conversions and four out of four penalties for a match haul of 28 points.Pumas’ penaltySteyn landed another penalty before the Pumas made their way onto the scoreboard with a penalty by Felipe Contepomi in the 16th minute.Strong work by Francois Louw at a breakdown, after a high-up-and-under by Steyn earned the Boks another penalty in the 19th minute and the flyhalf once again took a shot at goal. After striking the ball, he turned, knowing it was on target.Strauss took too long to react to the referee’s call of “no hands” at a ruck in the 23rd minute, handing Contempomi an opportunity to reduce the Pumas’ deficit. He took it to make the score South Africa 9, Argentina 6.Duane Vermeulen made a sharp break, running onto a flat ball from Ruan Pienaar. His pass to JJ Engelbrecht, which would have put the centre in the clear, was blocked by Juan Martin Hernandez and the Argentinian defence held. A warning had been sounded that effective action would come later in the match.Pressure toldThe Boks were playing the game in the Pumas’ half and the pressure told when they won another penalty, deep in the 22 from a rolling maul. This time, Steyn, instead of attempting the easy kick at goal, set up a lineout five metres from the tryline.After a clean take, the Springboks drove at the Pumas’ line, but their momentum was stymied by a player in an offsides’ position. The home team kept the ball going, however, and captain Jean de Villiers went over, but was held up. Once more, South Africa had a penalty. Once more they set up a lineout.After driving up to the line, Strauss attempted a pass to Ruan Pienaar on the blind side. Hooker Eusebio Guinazu knocked the ball down, preventing a try. After consulting with the television match official, referee Chris Pollock awarded a penalty try and sent Guinazu to the bin. Steyn knocked over the simple conversion, stretching South Africa’s lead to 16-6 after half-an-hour.Argentina roared onto the attack from the restart and an unkind bounce of the ball fooled Steyn on the cover defence. Left wing Juan Imhoff was, however, caught as he cut inside and when South Africa turned over possession and cleared, the threat was defused for a moment.Broke outA minute later, the Springboks broke out of their 22 after the Pumas had spilled possession while on the attack. Fullback Willie le Roux knocked a chip over a defender and suddenly there were acres of space open as Engelbrecht raced onto the ball, gathered it, and ran through unchallenged for South Africa’s second try. Steyn added the extras to put South Africa well in control at 23-6.The Springboks’ confidence was on the up and they put together a nice backline move that resulted in big Willem Alberts crashing over the try line. An accidental offsides by De Villiers, though, just before Alberts broke free brought the home team back for a penalty. De Villiers pointed to the posts and Steyn did the honours to extend South Africa’s lead by three points.At halftime South Africa led 26-6.Second halfA good, flowing backline movement early in the second half almost saw Willie le Roux breaking through by picking up his own chip, but the Pumas’ cover defence managed to knock the ball into touch to prevent a third Springbok try.Habana then spilled a pass from Le Roux inside the Argentine 22 that would have given him a good shot at a run-in down the right hand flank.When the Pumas conceded a penalty for an early engagement at scrum time, South Africa set up a lineout once more and Strauss, after providing the throw, then bulldozed his way through the middle of the opposition pack to crash over for a try. Steyn was on target from the 15 metre line on the right to increase the South African lead to 27 points.Argentina were by this time looking disjointed and fresh out of ideas. The Springboks had their tails up and were not about to ease the pressure on the visitors.Yellow cardThe Pumas’ night got worse five minutes into the second stanza when eighthman Leonardo Senatore was yellow carded for a tip-tackle on Engelbrecht. The test had turned into a nightmare for coach Santiago Phelan.South Africa kicked for a lineout in the corner, but the South Americans defended the rolling maul well. Still, the Boks maintained possession and pressure. Le Roux sent out a pass to the left, where the green and gold had a two-man overlap, but the pass was missed.Referee Pollock, though, penalised Argentina for being offsides and it was back to a Springbok lineout and drive. This time the Pumas’ defence splintered and Willem Alberts fell over the try line for South Africa’s bonus point-earning fourth try. Steyn missed for the only time in the match, leaving the Springboks in a 38-6 lead.Coach Heyneke Meyer then rang up a few changes, including a return to the green and gold for scrumhalf Fourie du Preez for the first time since the 2011 Rugby World Cup.Intercept tryWith 55 minutes gone, captain De Villiers extended South Africa’s advantage when he anticipated an inside pass from Argentina and intercepted to run clear and score just to the right of the posts. Steyn added two more points to push the home team’s total up to 45 points.South Africa’s confidence was sky high. Forwards and backs were combining superbly and even went it went wrong for the Boks the shell-shocked Pumas couldn’t capitalise, knocking on when an advantage beckoned.De Villiers then sliced his way through the Argentine midfield and looked out wide for support. Patrick Lambie, on for Le Roux, took the pass and then laid off inside to Bryan Habana, who was dragged down just short of the try line. Du Preez was on hand, though, to pick up and dive over to take the Springboks to 50 points. Steyn continued his metronomic accuracy with a successful conversion, making it 52-6.Habana’s 51st test tryNext, Lambie made a lovely break before Eben Etzebeth smashed his way forward. Du Preez, showing the excellent vision that has always served him so well, found Habana wide on the right with a hard, flat pass, leaving the speedy winger with an easy run-in for his 51st test try. Steyn knocked over another kick as the hosts’ lead grew to 53 points.When South Africa won a heel against the head, they moved the ball to the left with impressive speed. Jan Serfontein made a break and when the ball came back inside from Morne Steyn Duane Vermeulen powered his way through a big gap for yet another Springbok try. Steyn converted from wide on the left and Heyneke Meyer’s charges led 66-6.South African recordA collapsed scrum cost Argentina a penalty and there was no was hesitation from the home team as Steyn set up a lineout close to the Pumas’ try line. A very convincing driving maul from the Springboks ended with Bismarck du Plessis crashing over for a try. It was a South African record seventh for a hooker. Almost inevitably, Steyn landed his kick from a tough angle.Serfontein broke through the in the midfield again, but a poor pass to Habana prevented another five-pointer for the rampant home team.With a minute left, Argentina claimed a consolation try. For the first time in the half they managed to put some meaningful phases together and eventually Contepomi was on hand to receive the try-scoring pass. He converted his own try and the final whistle sounded.Final score: South Africa 73, Argentina 13.last_img read more