Science & Faith: ‘Quantum Artificial Life’ Ends Origins Debate? Not Yet!

Something cannot be created from nothing. That’s why the material world either is eternal or had a beginning, which requires a beginner, AKA the “First Cause,” or “God.”

Not according to many materialists, however. They might say “quantum processes.” And they may have just gotten a potentially huge boost to their case, thanks to a team led by a Spanish scientist, according to The Daily Galaxy (TDG). Photo above by Greg Rakozy on Unsplash.

“Exciting new research provides a breakthrough that may eventually help answer the question of whether the origin of life can be explained by quantum mechanics — a new approach to one of the most enduring unsolved mysteries in science: How does life emerge from inert matter, such as the ‘primordial soup’ of organic molecules that once existed on Earth?

“For the first time, with a quantum computer, individual living organisms represented at a microscopic level with superconducting qubits were made to ‘mate,’ interact with their environment, and ‘die’ to model some of the major factors that influence evolution,” TDG said.

“The new research, published in Scientific Reports on Thursday, is a breakthrough that may eventually help answer the question of whether the origin of life can be explained by quantum mechanics, a theory of physics that describes the universe in terms of the interactions between subatomic particles.”

Now, I’m from out of town and all but that sounds like one humongous step on the road to evidence that inert matter can come from “nothing.” Especially when one begins to ponder the implications of these two graphs from TDG:

“The researchers, led by Enrique Solano from the University of the Basque Country in Spain, coded units of quantum life made up of two qubits (those basic building blocks of quantum physics): one to represent the genotype (the genetic code passed between generations) and one to represent the phenotype (the outward manifestation of that code or the ‘body’). These units were programmed to reproduce, mutate, evolve and die, in part using quantum entanglement – just as any real living being would.

“The new research, published in Scientific Reports on Thursday, is a breakthrough that may eventually help answer the question of whether the origin of life can be explained by quantum mechanics, a theory of physics that describes the universe in terms of the interactions between subatomic particles.”

Obviously, I’m just a journalist of little repute, not a philosopher and certainly not a physicist. That said, it strikes me that this exercise may not be what materialists think it is in their search for proof that something can come from “nothing” if that nothing has certain quantum processes.

Here’s why: As TDG describes it, “these units were programmed to reproduce, mutate, evolve and die, in part using quantum entanglement – just as any real living being would.”

In other words, the programmers performed the “God” role, no?

Like I say, I don’t begin to claim any expertise in this discussion, but I am very interested to hear what you have to say, regardless of which side of things you happen to be associated.

One more thing to consider: This experiment will spark new efforts in the mainstream media and academia to suppress all mention of the intelligent design approach to explaining the origin of the universe.

UPDATE:

Reader David D points out that the reported experiment dealt with the origin of life issue, not the origin of the universe, and that as a result my opening paragraph is misleading.

Thank you for pointing this out, David D. It was not my intent to mislead. I should have made in the second graph the point I made in the concluding graph; namely, that I expect materialists to suggest that if life can be shown to be the product of purely material elements and processes entirely apart from an intelligent designer, it’s then a short step rhetorically to contending the universe is eternal and no intelligent designer is needed.

Author: Mark Tapscott

Follower of Christ, devoted husband of Claudia, doting father and grandfather, conservative lover of liberty, journalist and First Amendment fanatic, former Hill and Reagan aide, vintage Formula Ford racer, Okie by birth/Texan by blood/proud of both, resident of Maryland. Go here: https://hillfaith.blog/about-hillfaith-2/

26 thoughts on “Science & Faith: ‘Quantum Artificial Life’ Ends Origins Debate? Not Yet!”

  1. This sort of result is not new. People have been programming computers with “life” since forever. The outcome is foreordained by the setup. Without the details it is impossible to know what this result means, but no computer simulation can really answer such questions. This is almost certainly hype.

    Like

  2. There are many problems with the assumptions in this announcement. However, it needs to be stressed that this article relates only to the origin of life, not to the origin of the universe. Your opening paragraph is misleading as the article has nothing whatsoever to do with “something coming from nothing”, as is the case with the origin of the cosmos. Instead, this article is speaking only to making something happen in a system that already has lots of “something” involved. (Matter, energy, vacuum, quantum foam, etc.) The article is about life originating in an already-created universe, not about the origin of the universe itself, which is a totally separate issue, and the issue that involves the “something from nothing” thesis.

    I would really consider amending your article so as not to mislead people. This is not at all related to the origin of the universe.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Absolutely correct. The author has conflated two completely different things, of amazingly different magnitudes and philosophical import.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Intelligent design is simply unscientific. Many have tried to introduyce the idea but ultimately it has a “then a miracle occurs” moment in it that cannot be reduced to a scientific concept. So believe it if you like, but it ain’t science. And it doesn’t deal with the absolute origin, who created the creator, or do you “blieve” that you get the creator from nothing ?

    Remember the “irreducibly complex” argument – founded like all other “intelligent design” ideas on a misunderstanding of evolution.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And it doesn’t deal with the absolute origin, who created the creator, or do you “blieve” [sic] that you get the creator from nothing ?

      That response has never been the “gotcha” materialists have made it out to be, because it proceeds from the assumption that the Creator is a part of the material universe. Simply put, that’s not what God is by definition. God exists independently outside of the material universe. That is, outside of space and time. By definition He is not a created being.

      Like

      1. Which means that God does not exist in any ‘real’ sense. Where is the interface between God and the material world? Many claims, but no evidence.

        Like

    2. “The researchers, led by Enrique Solano from the University of the Basque Country in Spain, coded units of quantum life made up of two qubits (those basic building blocks of quantum physics): one to represent the genotype (the genetic code passed between generations) and one to represent the phenotype (the outward manifestation of that code or the ‘body’). These units were programmed to reproduce, mutate, evolve and die, in part using quantum entanglement – just as any real living being would.” The above quote is from the article. So these units were “programmed” to reproduce, mutate etc. So they were created by a creator…

      Like

    3. “…but ultimately it has a “then a miracle occurs” moment in it…”

      As does Evolution. It is finessed by artificially segmenting the range of inquiry, but at some point, non-life became life, and nobody can explain how.

      Like

    4. Intelligent design is a fancy way for us to postulate that there is a creator behind all of this. The creator we call “God”, has always been, is, always will be and has the power to create from nothing. I can’t explain how He does this, it is beyond me – a mystery.

      As I leave the ordered world of Newtonian physics and cross into the quantum world, I believe that some of the mystery is uncovered. But a mystery remains.

      Like

    5. Correct. It is not science. Science is testable and reproducible. To my knowledge, no one has ever observed, let alone tested or reproduced, the emergence of a new species from an old one. Intelligent design necessarily depends upon external intervention that is neither testable nor reproducible. It’s not science – but it explains the observable world better than science does.

      Like

      1. Science is amazing but it has failed in some very important ways, namely explaining the origins of important complex phenomenon. Such as the universe, life, complex life forms, consciousness and even the earth. And then there is existence itself.

        Intelligent design is not a science per se but a set of conclusions that uses various sciences such as cosmology, biology, the four basic forces of nature to come to the best explanation for a phenomenon.

        Liked by 1 person

    6. all proteins in all forms of life we know of is produced by a ribosome which itself is comprised of more than 50 proteins. Each protein comtaining more than 150 amino acids. There are 20 protein forming amino acids, there are left and right hand versions of each of the 20 amino acids, and a 50% chance that the amino acids will randomly connect with a peptide bond. If the assembly of amino acids uses even a single amino acid of the wrong chirality, or fails to uses exclusively peptide bonds than the resulting string of amino acids will not fold correctly or function. Thus there are 1 in far more than (20**150)*(2**150)*(2**150) chances of randomly forming even a single one of the many proteins that are part of the ribosome. So even if quadrillions of combinations of amino acids had been being formed since the universe began you couldn’t randomly build the proteins of the ribosome, let alone assemble them into a working machine.

      Like

  4. The point of the article is not that the universe can appear out of nothing, but that life can replicate and interact using quantum processes and quantum entanglement (at least in simulation). It says nothing about the origin of the universe at The Daily Galaxy article. Even as regards the origin of life, all they did was a simulation. Not just that, they appear to have left the hard part of the simulation out, which is metabolism, or, at least they make no mention of how their quantum life acquires the energy to replicate and not break down. These kinds of simulations have been done before. The only difference is that they are simulating life using known quantum processes instead of chemical ones (or computer code which doesn’t directly resemble known physics). I’m not sure what the big deal is. It is cool that they can simulate make simulate quantum bits replicating and interacting using ‘simulated’ quantum processes. However, I’m not sure we’ve ever found a life-form on Earth that operates primarily on quantum (and not chemical) processes, so I don’t know what point is being made about the origin of life on earth. I suspect the folks at ‘The Daily Galaxy’ are making much out of nothing the scientists that did the experiment are not actively discouraging this. I don’t blame them. They are collecting a decent amount of recognition for their department in the process.

    Like

  5. Is there intelligent design behind the laws of physics? No, it’s just the way things work together has worked out due to the way that things are — for example, think about how the path of steepest descent rule happens: it’s just the happy consequence that occurs when water flows down a hill because gravity is doing it’s thing, no-one invented it).

    The magic is that there is no magic 🙂

    Like

  6. When we say something comes from nothing we don’t mean when you mix flour, eggs, sugar and water or milk and voila you get a pastry but rather the Big Bang Theory, where there was Nothing, Zero, Nada, Nichts and all of a sudden you get a 72 billion light year diameter universe filled with billion of galaxies, black holes, stars, moon, planets, gas clouds and so forth.

    By the way, anyone actually read the article that this is a “model”, you know like the global warming models that 30 years ago predicted we would all be dead or at least starving by now because CO2 when from 400 parts per million to 437 parts per million.

    Yeah, right – still waiting Al Gore and all you other assorted liars, frauds and jack—es.

    Like

  7. Even the simplest life is an extremely complex computer system which has both hardware and software elements. I don’t see how either part has been created here let alone a functioning whole. While they refer to information. the essence of life is information of a specific type. It is unclear what type of information was supposedly created out of nowhere. The impasse for OOL (origin of life) and evolution has been how new proteins arise. Proteins are the parts of the complex machinery of life and the origin of which no one has been able to explain. Several different processes generate variation in the genome but none of. these engines of variation have been shown to create the thousands of necessary proteins let alone a functioning genome from scratch by particle interaction.

    Like

  8. ” “something can come from “nothing” if that nothing has certain quantum processes.” And from where do these ‘certain quantum properties’ arise? You’re still trying to duck the First Cause problem.

    Like

  9. As a high expert in simulations and their uses, I am always disturbed and amused by arguments that a computer simulation can “prove” some thesis. This is so utterly fatuous that a solid one-word characterization of such foolery escapes me.

    A simulation cannot prove anything. All it can do is to demonstrate what MIGHT occur:
    1) If the processes built into it reflect what actually happens in the real world; and:
    2) If the initial conditions and subsequent inputs it postulates were ever to occur.

    That’s all – and that’s why the effort this article covers is as foolish as the claims of the “global warming” advocates that their simulations prove that the Earth is heating dangerously. But people will talk, and no one is more likely to prattle on to laymen than a scientist eager for attention…even though a scientist should know better.

    Like

  10. “In other words, the programmers performed the “God” role, no?”
    No, we don’t need a programmer for a system.of this kind. If you’re looking for self-replicating molecules over a vast timespan, the molecules unable to replicate don’t leave any copies. It only takes one to start it all.

    Like

    1. According to Alexander Villenkin, who is not a theist, speaking at Hawking’s 70th jubilee a few years ago, “all” of the scientific evidence, not “some”, or even “most”, but “all”… points to an absolute beginning of the universe. His point was that they, as scientists, could not avoid dealing with that fact any longer.

      The universe began to exist. Out of nothing. And anything that began to exist cannot be a brute fact. It is obviously contingent, because there was a time (for lack of a better way to put it) when it did not exist. So it does not have to exist, and it did not at one point. Therefore it cannot be a brute fact. It is contingent on some other cause.

      Like

      1. That goes against my senses and reason and takes lot of faith to believe. At best the universe is organized from existing materials, but never nothing. Quote whoever you want, but nobody knows that answer.

        Like

      2. It is a fascinating topic no doubt, but encompassing all of it and proving it didn’t exist in some other form is problematic. There are several clever ways to approach this whole thing, but everywhere it requires faith, which means we’re not there yet. I can wait. I have all the time there is, or isn’t.
        It may sound strange to say that the universe has always existed but it has a finite age, but this is the way it may be. The universe has always existed—there is no time at which it didn’t. There is just a finite amount of time, hence why the universe can be said to have an age.
It is an interesting concept, and in now way proves an ultimate beginning, other than of this particular universe. Before this there was something—never nothing.
sorry if I came off Grouchy in that first comment. It early here. Coffee is holding my hand now. Works every time.

        Like

Comments are closed.