The most prominent argument in support of creationism and most difficult to disprove is the notion that something cannot come from nothing. This can be considered an argument from incredulity, a common means to reject the theory of evolution and all subsequent proofs demonstrating its mechanisms of action. A recent example of evolution would be that African elephants; as they are constantly in danger of being poached for ivory, the main targets, the males, have been gradually losing their tusks (or, rather, being born without them to a male parent whose genes didn’t result in tusks.) This is evolution by removal, as all males with tusks would be in much greater danger of being killed before reproducing. This could be considered an observable example of microevolution, a change within species. Macroevolution is still the most contested concept in evolution, but there are many, many examples of this taking place.
When the proof for evolution is finally accepted (as was the heliocentric model of the solar system in the end) there will only arise more proposals to maintain the idea of a creator deity. The main argument is perhaps the oldest: something cannot come from nothing. A lot of secular thinkers and atheists look at this objection and say something like, “If something cannot come from nothing, then how did God come into existence?” It’s a good rebuff to an ontological argument (an argument of being), but ultimately unsatisfying. A better response would be to demonstrate something coming from nothing by means of natural, autonomic processes, and though it may not sound like an easy thing to do, if you look at biology, the method of something coming from nothing is obvious: through our conception and the conception of our ancestors. It can be reasoned briefly with the following eight points:
1 – At one point, we did not exist
2 – At one point, our fathers did not exist
3 – What leads to our creation must take place within the lifetime of our fathers
4 – As our fathers once did not exist, they are a defined nothing
5 – They come into existence through natural processes
6 – At the age of reproductive maturity, a defined nothing is now a something
7 – We come into existence from a defined nothing, as what was needed to create us once did not exist
8 – Something (us) came from nothing (the pre-existence of our parents) through natural, autonomous means.
First, we accept that there was a time before we were born. And during this time we didn’t exist, but we didn’t “come from nothing” because our father was alive, and so provided the something that led to our conception and eventual birth. But to show that something does arise from nothing, you have to define what is accepted as nothing – whether it is a temporary or ultimate nothing. It is a temporary nothingness, but if it is true in the autonomic processes of biology, it can be extended to autonomic processes in physics and cosmology. If we are the result of the existence of our mother and father, then our parents are what gave rise to us, the something from which our lives arose. But, as at one point we accept that we ourselves did not exist, we must accept that, like us, our father did not exist; and, not existing, he was in no position to contribute to the process that creates us. So, before our existence, we had our father’s existence as a something. Go back a little bit further and you have a non-existent father, a father without the genetic material to create life, without any of the sperm that would be necessary to fertilize an ovum. An ovum itself is something that arises from autonomic biological processes, as an ovum is only a mature female reproductive cell — and many are never fertilized. and there was a time before the production of reproductive cells, another defined nothing.
So, when we go back to the non-existence of our father, that is a nothing; his father before him, too, at one point didn’t produce sperm, nor his mother produce the reproductive cells necessary to create our father. Through this process our father, once our grandfather reached that awkward age of maturity, came into existence from what had been a defined nothing. As there was a time in which our fathers did not exist, a defined nothing, then came into existence autonomously, only to later create us, a defined something: something came into being from what was once not there, therefore something does in this manner come from nothing.
This is one of many examples in biology when you see that creation itself is not an individual act of will, but the result of genetic code inherited and gifted to new generations from the last, each arising from what was once a defined nothing in turn. And since we at one point did not exist, whatever life we create will have arisen from what was one a defined nothing, with life being the resultant product of an autonomic process that goes back to the first eukaryotic lifeforms, as all of our ancestors never once failed to reproduce. If anything may be considered immortal, it could be the forever changing genetic code that, when traced far enough back in time, will take us to the first hominids, the parent species of several offshoots of what is now the primate order, and further still to all life.
You can take this argument to its logical conclusion by simply applying reproduction in human beings and the way by which something arises from nothing to the emergence of variations of entire species. As all species are the product of long periods of adaptation and imperfect but beneficial genetic replication, there were times before the first Australopithecus gave way to the next hominids in the continuing line of genetic descent, australopithecus afarensis and then australopithecus africanus, respectively. As there was a time when the first australopithecenes did not exist in the fossil record and we are the result of millions of years of adaptation between then and now, from Lucy to homo sapiens, all species come into being from nothing; each, instead, arising from autonomic processes explicable in natural terms, through biology and genetics.
3 thoughts on “How Something Comes from Nothing by Way of Autonomic Processes, philosophy / biology – 25 May 2016”
The problem is that the minimal viable DNA is so complicated, that chance alone would not be likely to produce it in this size of universe, with this many viable planets, in a trillion years. But of course it happened, so many people believe it was a miracle. It could have been just chance, though. Not sure it matters in the grand scheme of things how it got started, but in terms of guessing whether there is life in other solar systems, the smart money says there isn’t. No odds in Las Vegas are that long! As to life on Mars, that could have been transferred from earth in a cataclysmic event such as an asteroid strike which, of course, we know actually happened many times.
The essay was not an argument about what would or could not have had happened, because in less than a trillion years, the arrangement of prokayrotic lifeforms is not considered unlikely in the universe, microbes, bacteria, the most primitive forms of life. But the eukaryotic cell is something else entirely. And it didn’t have to continuously happen by chance, as I didn’t imply chance, I suggested a string of events that begin with defined somethings, our lives in this case, arose from what was once a defined nothing, the non-existence of the reproductive cells in our parents that led to our creation and birth. A defined nothing becoming something not through any magic than nature, and chance’s part is often relegated to the beneficial survival and continued propagation is to be judged as chance against what measure? Probability and statistics? If you use the central limit theorem to look at variables long enough in specific DNA datasets, over time a standard distribution not only will be variously appended and reassembled but it must, as the conditions on Earth change and will continue to do so — 4,000 million years is quite a bit, with 3% of our history accounted for — the perpetuation of favored traits in the continued struggle to propagate a species and pass beneficial traits to descendants, by the time they reach our great-great-great-great grandchildren, the combination will always be, as long as we’re homo sapiens sapiens, we will come up with 23 chromosomes from our mother, and the mitochondrial DNA inherited in the cytoplasm surrounding a fertilized ovum from the mother, and 23 chromosomes from the father. Deviation at the chromosomes, the various loci where alleles / alternate genes compete for a spot, the genes that are ‘switched on’ at these loci will program us and at birth we do not change genetically after that, though we do during embryology — especially with stress hormones such as cortisol can lead to higher levels of stress hormones in a developing embryo — after that, by luck or chance or our natural endowment, we either survive long enough to produce something that is now a defined nothing, entering our genetic material into the continued pool of our species’ – as throughout the milennia animals change, not through magic or something that happens during life, but rather animals remain, long enough to reproduce something more likely to survive. I didn’t intend to argue about the grand scheme of things, only look at the possibility of something arising from nothing through biological processes. Thanks for taking the time to leave me a comment. I hate to be hasty, but I’m still making coffee here. You can always contact me by email if you’d like to talk life, the universe, and everything. As Baruch Spinoza said, we come to know the mechanisms of God by the study of all that is, not by the personality cults that so comfort us when we fear the passing of our selves. I don’t intend to berate, insult, or otherwise try to demonstrate anyone’s personal faith as something that can be said to be simply invalid, as its validity would not change the effect that it has on those who believe, as the workings of placebo show us in medicine.
IC 1101 is the largest galaxy in the history of the universe, as far as we know, and as we’ve only observed … less than a single percent of a percentage point on the end of a decimal of planets capable of bearing water based life, we neglect the gigantic elliptical galaxies, spanning 6 million light years – while our milky way spans maybe 200,000 light years. Thousands of planets have been found that could support water based life forms, but what about measuring planets’ ability to support life that exists as methane vapor and communicates between electric impulses shared by signaled communication between conscious gases? It is arrogant in the greatest degree to suggest that among all this space, of which we are so small a part, went to create us and us alone, and an eternity of unfathomable silence just to pique our interest in big numbers? The smart money is on the existence of billions of other life forms, forever separated from us by the large distances between stars and never capable of reaching us. If a life-form left Betelgeuse headed here at the speed of light (Impossible — relativity — you get heavier and heavier as you approach the light barrier (inertial mass) and by the time you approach the speed of light, any vessel attempting to break that barrier would have to have an unending and massive source of energy to get it over that barrier. Light can only propagate at that speed in a vacuum because it doesn’t have mass. Anything with mass approaching the speed of light would become far too massive to push before ever coming close. They can’t get protons up to the speed of light, much less a space craft. Leaving Betelgeuse headed to Earth, the life-form would have left before America was a continue, and traveling 640 light years — which would at least be slowed to a factor of 10, would die out and be replaced by a different people that left. Unless there are immortal beings lost in interstellar space with perpetual motion machines mindlessly wandering forever hoping to find another life-form so they can presumably go back to their planet of ancient immortals and get on their Ether-net and shout in Alienese, I TOLD YOU GUYS. BUT THEY’D MADE OF CARBON AND RELY ON WATER. HAHA, SEND ME AN ELECTRO-CHEMICAL HINT ALONG MY ELECTRO-RECEPTORS SO I CAN SMELL MY WAY TO YOUR GAS-CLOUD. PIECE, AS THEY SAY ON EARTH.
Thanks for reading, friend. I hope you take this in good humor, as I don’t intend to be contentious. Cheers