Sunday, March 12, 2006

Amino acids

Hey guys, been awhile.

Long story short, I'm in a debate with a 'creationist' who insists that 'amino acids' cannot be reproduced in labs. She's been reading a couple books by Lee Strobel and he apparently states that all the experiments (like Miller in the '50s) are flawed, invalid and otherwise wrong.

If you could point me to some resources regarding reproduction of amino acids that would be great.

Oh, and as a side bonus, if you're familiar with Lee Strobel and his works, let me know if you have any ammo.

Thanks, Tim


  • At 3:54 AM, Anonymous AC said…

    On Fri, 12 Sep 2003 01:17:25 +0000 (UTC),

    I love Google.  Tell it to this guy.

  • At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Chris Merli said…

    Biological Science by Scott Freeman (a first year college biology book) has a pretty good discussion on the subject.> wrote in message ...

  • At 1:38 PM, Anonymous Harlequin said…

    AC <> wrote in

    Here is another one: (and two pages it links to for three distict ways to synthesize amino acids)

    Another synthesis: tm

    -- Anti-spam: replace "usenet" with "harlequin2"

    "...Everybody has opinions: I have them, you have them. And we are all told from the moment we open our eyes, that everyone is entitled to his or her opinion. Well, that's horsepuckey, of course. We are not entitled to our opinions; we are entitled to our _informed_ opinions. Without research, without background, without understanding, it's nothing. It's just bibble-babble...."             - Harlan Ellison

  • At 5:08 PM, Anonymous Bobby D. Bryant said…

    Heh.  Amino acids are "synthesized" in deep space.  They're just chemicals; no supernatural components required.

    The only thing genuinely impossible to synthesize is a clue between a True Believer's ears.

    -- Bobby Bryant Austin, Texas

  • At 8:26 PM, Anonymous Lucas Bachmann said…

    This is probably close to the source material.  A creationist once tried to present some evidence to debunk evolution in a letter to my website.

    The conversation is archived here but dont let that stop a full debunking for Tim's sake.  I think the site below was written by an incoherent red queen with no science education. Lucas

    "The most compelling evidence is amino acids. The smallest known living organism has over 500 amino acids. When amino acids form, they are less than one-millionth the size of a human hair. When they form, they form with side groups of atoms. Scientist have found that all non-living amino acids form with 50% of side atoms on the right side of the acid and 50% on the left. This is true on all non-living amino acids. Living cells can ONLY contain amino acids on the left side. ALL amino acids found in every single living cell contains only left-sided amino acids. In the most favorable environment of scientific labs, this has never been duplicated. No scientist has ever created the left-handed amino acid that is critical to the formation of life. All amino acids always form with left and right sided atoms. If scientist in perfect conditions can't duplicate one single left-handed amino acid, how could the 500 necessary for life form by chance? The scientific odds of even one left-sided amino acid forming by chance is 10 to the 123rd power. In other words 1 chance in 10 followed by 123 zeros. i.e. 1 chance in 10,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000, 000,000, 000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 ,000,000 The odds of winning the lottery is 1 chance in 80,000,000. And evolutionist say Christians have blind faith. But those are not the odds of life forming. It gets worse. That was the odds of only one of the 500 aminos necessary for the simplest life form. 20 specific aminos are needed for the simplest cell, but 500 specific types of amino acids are needed in order for life to sustain in itself. The odds get worse. Those 500 different types of amino acids have to 'evolve' within a fraction of a millimeter of each other just to give them the chance of uniting. It gets worse. They also have to 'by chance' evolve at the exact same moment in time in a process that scientist say takes hundreds of millions of years. Elements break down the amino acids, so timing is critical. The chances of all these resources falling into place at the exact same time with the exact needed elements at the exact same place on earth within a few millionths of a millimeter of each other are incalculable."

  • At 11:23 PM, Anonymous Dave said…

    The Honourable Lucas Bachmann wrote:

    This is what happens when YECs break their caps lock key.

    -- Intelligent and witty comment.

  • At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Lane Lewis said…


    We sent up a ship to collect some comet stuff, hopefully will get lucky and find some naturally occurring Amino Acids. Should be back in a year or two.


  • At 2:38 AM, Anonymous howard hershey said…

    Let's see. There are only two possible conformations of an *amino acid*, D or L.  *Most* chemical syntheses cannot distinguish between them and synthesize both in roughly equal amounts.  Yet *you* say the odds of producing a left-handed *amino acid* is 10 to 123rd power.  I would have thought that the odds would actually be 1/2, thus accounting for the fact that half of the synthesized amino acids are D and half are L.  If the above were true, essentially all amino acids would be D. That, if true, would indeed be a compelling argument against proteins being formed from L-amino acids.  ;-)

    N.B. The above is so badly mangled, it doesn't even make sense as a creationist argument.  For starters, the usual creationist troll can at least distinguish between amino acids and proteins.

  • At 4:41 AM, Anonymous Lucas Bachmann said…

    Yep, think of it as a biased coin.  There are two possible events but the odds are not the same.

    Well that's because you don't know what a biased coin is.


    Wait you just said it was a fact.

    essentially all amino acids

    Ah well thats kind of like the planetary magnetic north pole is actually the south pole of a magnetic field.

    Like I said theres only two sides for an atom to attach to a molecule the left side or the right side.

    Lucas Bachmann

  • At 10:41 AM, Anonymous Steve A said…

    My thoughts exactly.

    Steve A.

  • At 12:08 PM, Anonymous danarchist said…

    <snip side-splitting biochemistry>

    You may be interested in the following, which is straight out of _Biochemistry_ (Garret and Grisham, 1999):

    "John Cronin and Sandra Pizzarello have examined the enantiomeric distribution of unusual amino acids obtained from the Murchison meteorite ... Four (alpha)-dialkyl amino acids--(alpha)-methylisoleucine, (alpha)-methylalloisoleucine, (alpha)-methylnorvaline, and isovaline--were found to have an L-enantiomeric excess of 2 to 9%."

    They reference the work: Cronin, JR; and Pizzarello, S, 1997.  "Enantiomeric excesses in meteoric amino acids." _Science_275_:951-955.

    I'm interested if some of the "unusual amino acids" they looked at had D-enantiomeric excesses.  In any case if these kinds of measurements are real, then they might profoundly affect our models of chemical kinetics, I think (or maybe there's just somethin' funky going on in the meteorite--catalysts for stereoisomerisation, for instance).

    Dan Ensign <snip>

  • At 4:11 AM, Anonymous howard hershey said…

    O.K., since you didn't get the joke (even though it was explained in the N.B.), let me try to explain it again.  I will try to type verrrry slowly so that your brain can follow the symbols on the page.

    It *is* a fact that *most* chemical syntheses produce equal amounts of the two enantiomers of amino acids (D and L).  That means that the probability of producing an L enantiomer of an amino acid (using one of these *most* chemical syntheses) is 1/2 not one in 10 to 123rd power.  Obviously you misunderstood the usual creationist pseudoargument that calculates the odds of producing a specified polypeptide and substituted amino acid for protein.

    It is that simple.  The odds you printed do not conform to the terms you are using.  The odds of producing an L enantiomer of an amino acid (by one of the *most* chemical syntheses) is 1/2, not 1 in 10 to 123rd.

    It is a silly mistake, but one that someone who doesn't know his amino acid from a polypeptide (aka protein) might easily make.

  • At 7:08 PM, Anonymous Lucas Bachmann said…

    Hmmm first try lost to some usenet black hole because I was using a possibly misconfigured isp on vacation.  It should have showed up in google by now.

    I would think most chemical syntheses produce no amino acids at all.

    Yet *you* say the

    No *I* didn't, learn to read.

    No I don't know W.T.F NB means and am not impressed with the use of internet chat acronyms or use them myself.  Plus you're the one that obviously don't get it still.

    P.S. Usenet posts don't show up as you type them so don't bother typing slowly.  I do see how reading verrrry slowly might be of some help to YOU.

    Still think I wrote it?

    The odds of producing an L enantiomer of an amino acid

    You obviously need to learn to read for comprehension because statements like "Obviously you misunderstood the usual creationist pseudoargument" and your constant use of "you" when referring to a REAL creationist site I merely referenced and quoted indicates you actually thought I was pretending to be a creationist troll.  So not only does the first post fly over your head but I think I just got some Loki points with the second post when you went through the trouble of giving a chemistry lesson with an emphasis on odds to a professional chemist with an additional degree in statistics.

    Lucas Bachmann Debunking Creation Science with Creation Science

  • At 9:23 PM, Anonymous howard hershey said…

    I apologize.  In my first post, I did intend the *you* to refer to the author of that ridiculous creationist paragraph.  But in subsequent posts, the information preceeding the paragraph that showed that you didn't believe a word of it had gotten deleted and I had lost track of that fact.

    I can certainly understand why you would not want to claim authorship of that brilliant bit of 'scholarship'.;-)

  • At 1:08 AM, Anonymous Lucas Bachmann said…

    No need to apologize, I would however appreciate an explanation for what N.B. means as the only definition I managed to find was for an elfquest group, and I don't think you meant new blood. Several examples in a google search but no definitions so it may be too easy, leaving me only to guess at what it obviously is for everyone else.

    Not Bad? Notta banana?


  • At 5:08 AM, Anonymous howard hershey said…

    Nota Bene, latin for "note well".  Basically an informative footnote.


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