By David Coppedge

Serious challenges to naturalistic origin of life theories (OOL) are wiggled out of magically in two pro-evolution articles.

The Challenge of Error Catastrophe

Survival of the Cooperationist:  On New Scientist, Bob Holmes acknowledge the problem of “error catastrophe” (complete genomic breakdown due to inaccurate copying), but then wiggled out of it by speculating that “First life may have survived by cooperating.”  Here’s the challenge:

The earliest life may have been a primordial soup of RNA molecules, but the first crude self-replicating molecules in this “RNA world” would have faced a big problem. They had to grow to store more information, but that made copying errors more likely. Get big enough and these errors become almost certain, destroying the molecule’s information.

The solution, Holmes said, is divide and conquer: “In theory, the first replicators could have avoided this ‘error catastrophe’ by splitting their information between several cooperating molecules,” he continued.  “Then the network could function as long as copies of each molecule survived.”

This seems to be a blatant case of the Personification Fallacy, but Holmes defended it by pointing to an experiment at Portland State where Niles Lehman got 3 molecules together, with A repairing B, B repairing C, and C repairing A.  “When they pitted the cooperative network against a selfish, self-repairing molecule, the cooperators won out,” he said, continuing the personification.  Gerald Joyce commented favorably on the speculation.  Another researcher got higher yield by forcing ribozymes to cooperate in non-biological chemicals that concentrated them….

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