Moore’s Law, the origin of life, and dropping turkeys off a building.

I’ve already mentioned the nonsensical paper “published” in (surprise, surprise) arXiv in which the authors claim that the origin of life occurred long before the origin of the Earth based on the application of Moore’s Law to DNA. I won’t go into all the reasons that this is silly — for that, you can see critiques by PZ Myers and Massimo Pigliucci. Suffice it to say that the data, the analysis, and the interpretation are all problematic.

Notably, the authors present this figure, which more or less sums up what is wrong with the entire paper.

07-05-2013 3-10-28 PM

As I saw this, I couldn’t help but feel like it reminded me of some other extrapolation I had seen years ago. And today it came to me — cooking a turkey by dropping it off a roof! Or rather, by converting potential energy into kinetic energy. Here’s the figure from the very funny article, which was published in the Journal of Irreproducible Results.

07-05-2013 3-09-04 PM

07-05-2013 3-26-18 PM


13 comments to Moore’s Law, the origin of life, and dropping turkeys off a building.

  • Claudiu Bandea

    I think it is relevant to point out that many  ideas, including the figure, in the recent arXiv paper “Life before Earth” by Alexei A. Sharov and Richard Gordon, have been presented before in a paper entitled “Genome increase as a clock for the origin and evolution of life” published by Sharov in Biology Direct, 2006. The paper was peer reviewed (surprise, surprise) by some of the leading experts in the origin and evolution of life:  Eugene Koonin, Chris Adami and Arcady Mushegian. The paper as well as the peer reviews are available for free at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1745-6150-1-17.pdf

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  • Graeme McRae

    Many of the figures Ray Kurzweil uses in his “Singularity” book look just like these.

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  • dnarnaptn

    While the graph in Figure 1 can be immediately seen as absurd, it does make one wonder what the real graph would look like and can one do any statistically significant extrapolation to find the temporal origin of life?
    Speculations, Dr. Gregory?
     

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  • Claudiu Bandea

    I think it is relevant to point out that many ideas, including the figure, in the recent arXiv paper “Life before Earth” by Alexei A. Sharov and Richard Gordon, have been presented before in a paper entitled “Genome increase as a clock for the origin and evolution of life” published by Sharov in Biology Direct, 2006. The paper was peer reviewed (surprise, surprise) by some of the leading experts in the origin and evolution of life: Eugene Koonin, Chris Adami and Arcady Mushegian. The paper as well as the peer reviews are available for free at: http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1745-6150-1-17.pdf

      (Quote)

  • TheOtherJim

    I think it is relevant to point out that in most other journals, comment like those below would most likely lead to a rejection of a paper.
    Eugene V. Koonin,
    “I am not at all a priori prejudiced against the panspermia
    hypothesis and actually agree with the author’s conclud-
    ing sentence in that panspermia should be considered “on
    equal basis with alternative hypotheses of de-novo life
    origin on earth”. However, I think that the approach used
    in this work provides no support for an early date of life’s
    origin.”

    Chris Adami,
    “This paper is an example of how not to analyze data.”

    Arcady Mushegian,
    “Having said that, I do not see any striking arguments for
    panspermy in this work.”
     

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  • Claudiu Bandea


    Jim,
    Great compilation of key comments on Sharov’s paper. This case illustrates that a paper should not be judged on where it was published, whether it was peer-reviewed or not, or based on who wrote it. A paper, or an idea, should be judged simply based on its merit.
     

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  • TheOtherJim

    @Claudiu Bandea
    Then why did you bother to say, “The paper was peer reviewed (surprise, surprise) by some of the leading experts in the origin and evolution of life: Eugene Koonin, Chris Adami and Arcady Mushegian”?
    These seemed like a rather blatant appeal to authority. , and yet, these leading experts did no seem too convinced by it (especially Adami).

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  • Claudiu Bandea

    Because of Ryan’s statement that “I’ve already mentioned the nonsensical paper “published” in (surprise, surprise) arXiv”.

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  • TheOtherJim

    Then your first sentence was enough. As I pointed out before, the second sentence is an appeal to authority, which is made worse by the highly critical reviews. You imply that the reviewers endorse the work by your sentence. They clearly did not.

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  • Claudiu Bandea

    I agree!

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  • Excellent! Here have many exclusive information that i find many day.Many of the figures Ray Kurzweil uses in his “Singularity” book look just like these.Thanks admin to share such as site.
     
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  • TG

    EVEN IF genome size reflects evolution/development of living things, these *biologists* REALLY THINK that it proceeds equally well whether there is a hospitable planet for it to happen on?  FOR SHAME!

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      (Quote)

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