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For a long time now, I've been puzzled as to why creationists and evolutionists don't get along. Once in a while it'd be apparent the creationists was foolishly mixing up biogenesis with evolution, and the evolutionist was foolishly assuming biogenesis as well.

A favorite argument is the broken clock idea. I have proposed some modifications to it in the past, as it is lacking in strength. It is useful, though, in pointing out what really is important to each side of the issue.

So, here's a video of how clocks would perhaps evolve, in schematic form:


It's excellent, and exposes much of what really matters. For example, what is the ratcheting mechanism that allows better clocks to beat worse clocks? I think this is fairly nonobvious, and is likely the crux of the matter for many creationists, and biologists typically wave their hands instead of taking this on. Also of note is that the clocks start 'alive'-ish, bypassing any creationist biogenesis arguments. So we end up at the generalized problem: is there a complexity barrier? I've no idea - I've seen some pretty amazing ratchets, and I have also seen some pretty good examples of incompatibility; I've seen no truly rigorous statistical evidence one way or the other (though there is plenty of good analysis, overall).

I'm betting the deal breaker will happen when someone proves whether or not complexity is quantized, and thus whether or not it can 'tunnel' past certain design barriers on a statistically significant basis.

Comments

you may want to read a new kind of science by stephan wolfram
it may enlighten you a bit about complexity
I got to go see him speak right after he put the book out
I'm familiar with it, and decided not to read it until I at least made a bit more headway into Origins of Order.

For me, it's not a matter of whether complexity is possible from simple components - that I have no doubt. It's a matter of whether spontaneous order is so surely likely that it trumps the anthropic principle for why we see the universe as it is.
I always thought that if the universe is always going to a more disordered state than it must start out ordered
so any order is not spontaneous, it is just an intermediate step between how ordered the universe started out and the end result
if this is the case than there would be no problem, there is no reason things can not be rearranged
so even if you can not see it, the simple components are already arranged in complex ways and it may be that the apparent complexity we see in living things is no more ordered than anything else, it is just that we can see it easier

that is what I got from the rule that entropy has to increase anyway
No, the Library of Babel argument won't hold here. Even though everything is trivially in a some microstate, that in no way implies that all states are equally likely (it's that many microstates can make a single macrostate more likely that confounds that). Ever so often randomness dictates that unlikely events must occur - probably. But! A confluence of unlikely events can be more likely than either of the single events. At least, this is what is terribly non-obvious about order.

So, what precisely is the mechanism that allows a series of unlikely things occur? And no, the answer is not - in fact - because we notice it. That's trivial and uninteresting, and I also no longer think it's true.
to summarize that, it is not that complexity trumps the anthropic principle, it is that the anthropic principle trumps spontaneous complexity

in order for entropy to increase things had to start out complex and ordered so the things seen along the way do not spontaneously arise, they are just left over from before

the universe is a big place, it would be very strange if it were uniformly complex, so things are reordered

sorry this is so disjointed, I am rather tired at the moment, I will try to explain my thoughts more clearly if you want me to sometime later
It's not really about entropy, despite how useful it is as an analogy.

It's about chaos, and the realm where something holds onto the cusp of it, and does so for no apparent reason. It's about why neurons in brains are on the verge of either cascading or petering out. Why proteins self assemble. What the mechanism behind natural selection is.

Whether systems can spontaneously make leaps in interactions like electrons make quantum leaps.