Monday, January 28, 2013

Comet origins

Assertion 1 - A broad section of "science" needs a complete overhaul due to unecessary assumptions. These assumptions poison entire scientific narratives and lines of research.

The main crux of this assertion is that certain scientific narratives (eg.evolution) implicitly rely on assumptions (eg. about mutations) which rely on Occam's razor to *shift the burden of proof*. Alternative non-scientific narratives (eg. creation) more explicitly rely on assumptions (about God) in a way doubly damaging to science, because it affirms the faulty method (to use Occam's razor) while dismissing rock solid observations (the transformation over time of species from simpler species)

Thus the overhaul of science that I'm proposing involves accross the board  reversal of incorrect usage of Occam's razor and a distancing of science from the narratives that rely on this incorrect usage. They can be kept on as disposable narratives, no more special than alternative narratives that match observations and experiments.


  From wikepedia Occam's razor In practice, the application of the principle often shifts the burden of proof in a discussion.[a] The razor states that one should proceed to simpler theories until simplicity can be traded for greater explanatory power. The simplest available theory need not be most accurate. Philosophers point out also that the exact meaning of simplest may be nuanced.

Assertion 2 - The usage of Occam's razor in science is pernicious - ie. Scientists who propogate a narrative or engage in research will deny that it relies on a shifting of the burden of proof. They will deny that science is biased against narratives and research that takes opposing razors. They will, however imply that opposing razors require proof, which they will freely accept if presented, while ignoring the unprovability of the razors, and ignoring the possibility that the consensus razor may have been simplified to something that is in fact impossible.

Occam's razor is involved in the following assertions being protected from the burden of proof:

1) Random mutations and natural selection is necessary and sufficient to explain the origin of species from other species.

2) Abiogenesis occurred on Earth, or an earth like planet.

3) Abiogenesis was the origin of life on Earth, rather than biotic life being designed by a completely different life form, which could have formed through abiogenesis, in a more provable way , and with intermediate forms.

4) Comets are pristine and relatively unchanged from when they were formed in a molecular cloud.

5) Comets originate from the Oort Cloud.

6) Randomly occurring non-gravitational forces and close planetary fly-bies account for the evolution of cometary orbits from semi-stable orbit eg. Kepler, eventually to other semi-stable orbits, eg. Sun grazer.

7) Natural non living processes account for the observed features of comets, even though, in the main, the observed features were substantially different to that predicted before observation.

Excerpt from Wickramasinghe's book - regarding role of comets in abiogenesis.



Though the presence of a sentient cloud of gas may seem unlikely, the story is grounded in hard science

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Black_Cloud

My assertion is that there is sentient life in forms completely different to life on Earth, in a similar way to the black cloud, that had a hand in the design of life as we know it. The only reason scientists stick to the assertion that life started from non-life with random natural processes is purely because of Occam's razor. Asserting forms of life we have not seen, nor have any direct evidence for, is generating more entities that need explanation, and also plays into the hands of Intelligent Design. However, what is wrong in believing in intelligent design where the designer evolved through natural processes not involving magic? It seems to me to expain why there is so little evidence of abiogenesis, better than the explanation starting from Darwin, that life is so superior to its predecessors that all evidence has been absorbed into life. Abiogenesis appears to be a singularity in the fossil record. Generally, that should always imply that life transferred from somewhere else, rather than evolving here to that stage, much like when a species is found in a particular geographic location without obvious precedents in that location.

In a letter to Joseph Dalton Hooker on February 1, 1871,[9] Charles Darwin addressed the question, suggesting that the original spark of life may have begun in a "warm little pond, with all sorts of ammonia and phosphoric salts, lights, heat, electricity, etc. present, so that a protein compound was chemically formed ready to undergo still more complex changes". He went on to explain that "at the present day such matter would be instantly devoured or absorbed, which would not have been the case before living creatures were formed."[10] In other words, the presence of life itself makes the search for the origin of life dependent on the sterile conditions of the laboratory.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abiogenesis#Pasteur_and_Darwin

From this, it appears prebiotic evolution has been imbued with particular properties that do not exist with postbiotic evolution. ie. that intermediate forms are destroyed. I find that intermediate forms being hypothesised without any evidence of them existing, with a "just so" story, such as Darwin's as being completely unscientific.

A hypothesis with no evidence has a vanishingly small probability of being correct.

If we were looking for life on other bodies, one of the techniques suggested is to look at the night side and see if there is light.

http://www.space.com/13514-alien-city-artificial-lights-extraterrestrial-planets.html

This has mainly been put forward looking at planets. However, I don't see why we shouldn't apply the same argument to asteroids and comets. The only comet that has been photographed up close while in its active state, appears to have emissions emanating from both the sun side and the other side.


http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/asteroidwatch/newsfeatures.cfm?release=2010-387

Not much has been mentioned about discrete jets, but although ostensibly powered by direct solar radiation, the jets on comets are not a predictable function of solar radiation. There appears to be jets emanating light as well as matter, from looking at the night side of the comet. This could be the reflective emissions when they get past the shadow, but it is plausible that radiation is also emanating.

http://adsabs.harvard.edu/full/1968AJ.....73..367M


Non-gravitational forces on comets are quite substantial, and the biggest in magnitude are due to rotation of the comet and are heavily dependent on the shape of the comet. In turn the rotation of the comet is influenced by the jets. Thus a fairly small amount of energy from the jets, can give a non-gravitational force many orders of magnitude greater than what a jet could. Also, the topography of comets, unlike asteroids, are not determined by impact craters, but are also apparently determined by internal forces, probably jets. Thus both the rotation and shape, thus total thrust is potentially determined by jet emissions.

http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EPSC-DPS2011/EPSC-DPS2011-156.pdf

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/OSIRIS-REx


NASA mission OSIRIS-REX - Mission to go to an "asteroid". This is classed as a caronaceous and has very low Albedo. It may have a lot of properties similar to comets, and thus possibly jets, outgassing, etc. Dependig on the results in 2014 of ROSETTA, it may add some information about whether there is life on comets.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rosetta_(spacecraft)


Rosetta mission link.

Conclusion: biotic life was designed in comets' image, by comets.

15 comments:

Dr Clam said...

If instead of saying 'comets are alive' you said 'comets are occupied and controlled by living creatures', I would be much more sympathetic. There needs to be a mass flux from high energy to low energy non-living matter(presumably driven the other way when there is plenty of sunlight)so the bulk of the mass of the comet needs to be non-living.

I think you go well off the deep end into 'First Church of Christ Comet' territory when you get on to biotic life being designed by comets. This is one of those hypotheses you deride for which absolutely no evidence exists.

I find that intermediate forms being hypothesised without any evidence of them existing, with a "just so" story, such as Darwin's as being completely unscientific.

We have argued about this before, and will argue about it again. Absence of evidence is not evidence of absence: we are here, and the fact that no intermediate forms have been found emphatically does not mean that we must embrace intelligent design by other intelligences any more than it means we must embrace Intelligent Design by God. Self-organised molecules that are less robustly self-organised are food to more robustly self-organised forms.

Also, deep hot biosphere. Larger bodies will maintain an energy and mass flux much longer than piffling little comets and so are much better for abiogenesis. ITOOAWAGOS. (That is my new abbreviation I am going to use instead of 'IMHO', standing for 'In the opinion of anyone with a grain of sense'.)

I assert that if life is found on comets, future investigations will determine:

i) It had no role in the development of life on Earth beyond seeding it with microscopic organisms, and

ii) It is many levels removed from abiogenesis; it may itself have been designed by the Insect Men from Minraud, who were in turn designed by the Cephalopod Overminds of Ceti Omicron, etc.

P.S. If you have the Kindle copy of 'The Black Cloud', you
should go to location 2621 and highlight the words 'Well, that's that. Chris was right and Dave was wrong.'

Marco said...

If instead of saying 'comets are alive' you said 'comets are occupied and controlled by living creatures', I would be much more sympathetic. There needs to be a mass flux from high energy to low energy non-living matter(presumably driven the other way when there is plenty of sunlight)so the bulk of the mass of the comet needs to be non-living.

I am not after your sympathy in view or otherwise. I really just want you to understand how my theories derive from my rejection of a series of unwarranted simplifications. For instance, I don't understand what you mean by the mass flux requirements, and what this has got to do with the bulk mass of the comet. Looked at one way, the bulk of human mass being non- living water is non living, so I guess in the same way, the bulk of the comet is non living, just controlled by a central system analogous to our brain and nervous system controlling non-living parts like tennis racquets. I postulate that the exterior of the comet nucleus is a kind of bio synthetic hydrocarbon - I'm not sure if that is what you mean or not.

As far as the " Self-organised molecules that are less robustly self-organised are food to more robustly self-organised forms. ", Why should we accept the existence of self-organised forms, any more than a designer God? In my comet postulate, they are not required, as the forms are organised by the contrived, but potentially naturally occurring, circumstances of the comet, rather than self-organising. The comets are organised by gravity, etc. Features of the comet will allow some to survive better than others due to size, spin etc, in a potentially Darwinian survival of the fittest scheme.

Marco said...

PS. As far as i and ii go, I can accept that scientists would come to the conclusion of the first, although I find it hard to see how it could be proven, and as far as the second goes, I probably agree at some level that this is just one step in the process, but that the previous stage is of life even stranger than the dark cloud.

Dr Clam said...

For instance, I don't understand what you mean by the mass flux requirements, and what this has got to do with the bulk mass of the comet.

This is the point I keep making over and over and over and over again since the beginning of this 'origins of life' discussion. Show me the metabolism! You can't get something for nothing. It *looks* like a tree is just sitting there doing nothing, but it is pumping great masses of matter in the form of water and carbon dioxde in and out all the time, using sunlight to add energetic value to it. This is the thermodynamic roller-coaster that it is riding in order to be what we call 'living'. All of the matter that the tree is pumping in and out of the atmosphere, the comet creature needs to carry around with it.

Why should we accept the existence of self-organised forms, any more than a designer God?

Because we can sodding well see them in an electron microsope! Micelles and vesicles are self-organised forms. Have you read any of Kauffman's stuff that Klaus was so keen on? You are making me despair here! Has nobody ever gleaned the slightest idea of what I was getting at in those 'Show me the Metabolism' posts?

Features of the comet will allow some to survive better than others due to size, spin etc, in a potentially Darwinian survival of the fittest scheme.

I don't see any mechanism for reproduction, for inheritance of characteristics, or variation in characteristics. You can equally well sort inanimate rocks by size, spin, etc., but this is not evolution.

Marco said...

All of the matter that the tree is pumping in and out of the atmosphere, the comet creature needs to carry around with it.

I don't see why. Sure, active comets spew out a heap of volatiles, but if they become dormant for several million years, they will accrete enough detritus to reproduce or become active. There are plenty enough "dead" looking comets that would account for the time frames required.

Because we can sodding well see them in an electron microsope

Explain to me how they are "self organised" rather than organised by the process that created them. Explain to me me why one of these forms eating another is not a "just so" story, built to explain a process one already believes in.

Features of the comet will allow some to survive better than others due to size, spin etc, in a potentially Darwinian survival of the fittest scheme.

I don't see any mechanism for reproduction, for inheritance of characteristics, or variation in characteristics. You can equally well sort inanimate rocks by size, spin, etc., but this is not evolution.


The chemistry of the comet will determine many factors which will modulate accelerations. Accelerations will,determine whether they impact a planet or not, whether they spin to a point that it will break up ( reproduce) the child comets will inherit the chemistry of the parent, chemistry will vary with impact on smaller bodies that would be absorbed. Admittedly, growth would come slowly with accretions in a dormant state.

Marco said...

Has nobody ever gleaned the slightest idea of what I was getting at in those 'Show me the Metabolism' posts?

The thing that I got out of them is " none of the postulated abiogenesis narratives explain where the metabolism would happen" and I jumped to the conclusion - abiogenesis could not happen through these narratives, because metabolism cannot spontaneously happen in them. It is pointless to postulate Micelles and vesicles as possible intermediate self organised forms because metabolism could not spontaneously occur in them. I think you saw it as a challenge rather than as a demonstration of its impossibility. I have moved on from thinking that the warm liquid interior of a large comet would be a good environment for abiogenesis, to thinking that it is the comet that is the spontaneous form of metabolism and reproduction.

Dr Clam said...

The comet organisms you postulate do not appear to have a metabolism. You need to explain how they would work thermodynamically.

Marco said...

That is the feature that is actually most evident from spacecraft flybies. A large percentage of the mass spewed out through discrete jets is inert solid composites (useless for energy). The surface is dark and absorbs a great deal of solar energy. This power is required both to keep the centre liquid and at a comfortable temperature through thermal exchange, and to power a multitude of biological activity that supports the main comet organism. Since we cannot really see unevolved comets (that do not have standard biological life in a supporting role) Initial evidence would support life existing on comets, rather than represented by the comet.

Marco said...

I am not sure if I have answered your question. In short, energy and mass from collisions. Energy in also,from the sun. Waste products expelled through jets. Volatiles would be the most precious class of mass, but would represent the bulk of mass from the initial molecular cloud. Does this explain enough?

Chris Fellows said...

Collisions are too infrequent to be of any value in adding new metabolisable mass. The observations are consistent with a surface layer that is consuming a non-living interior. Reproduction could then be by 'infection' of non-living comets.

Chris Fellows said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marco said...

Random collisions? Well maybe, maybe not. Asteroids of all sizes tend do be covered with impact craters - I think space scientists don't really have a clear view on how much mass could accrete randomly over millions of years, and you maybe right if you are limiting the argument to random collisions in the current state of the solar system. This wouldn't be the case in the critical early stage of comet genesis near the time of the formation of the solar system. Comets, as they were evolving in a darwinian way, had plenty of accretions. Assuming an evolved comet that can modify its orbit somewhat, rendezvous with icy asteroids in similar kuiper belt orbits would be a way to fuel mass. Also, orbits which repeatedly go through ring systems of the major planets would increase the odds of useful accretion. Large comets have incredible quantities of volatiles.

Marco said...

I think finding life on comets wouldn't mean anything to my "First Church of Christ Comet" theory, because it suits Wickramasinghe's theories and others just as well. Finding a telescope/well/window that heads to the dark inner of the comet is a different story. My FCCC theories require the comet to very accurately know where it is, hence the need for some accurate optics.

Marco said...

The inspiration for my FCCC theories was the vision of hartley 103p - it looked so much like an amoeba undergoing fission. coupled with the fact that calculations on the rotation of the comet indicate it would probably break up into two eventually - It gelled together with other ideas that comets scaled down their design to an amoebal size and spread themselves to all sorts of other environments.ie. amoeba were created in their image.

Marco said...

The observations are consistent with a surface layer that is consuming a non-living interior. Reproduction could then be by 'infection' of non-living comets.

The issue I have with the "consumption" postulate there, is calculations (sorry, I don't have references at the moment) that were made that would indicate there are far more visible comets than there should be. Comets should have either collided with planets or petered out, and there is no plausible arrangement of not yet observed far outer planets or black dwarves to herd them in without hoovering them up. Plus, there is no real explanation of why there are so black, when they are mostly volatiles.