RE: Kline article in PSCF

Bill Hamilton (
Wed, 3 Apr 1996 09:57:07 -0500

Keith B Miller quoted Peter Vibert:
>>I occasionally tell HS students that it's worth remembering that among the
>>best people in the field of 'abiogenesis', there is no longer any consensus
>>that *"even in principle"* can the (earthly) 'origin of life' be claimed to
>>be understood (no matter what HS textbooks may say).

Keith wrote:
>Origin of life studies have made great progress since the time of Miller's
>spar-discharge experiments. While many question remain unanswered there
>has been notable recent success in a number of important research areas.
>RNA has been found to be autocatalytic, and able to synthesize its own
>replication. The evolution of RNA by random mutation in cell-free media
>has been observed, and is in fact used to generate new functional
>molecules. There have been a number of approaches which show promise in
>resolving the problem of chirality (the "handedness" of life). New
>organisms have been discovered, notably the thermophilic archaea, which are
>likely similar to the common ancestor of living organisms. The discovery
>of thermophilic chemosynthetic organisms associated with marine
>hydrothermal systems have provided new scenarios for possible environmental
>settings for the origin of life.
> My point here is that there is no scientific basis for considering the
>problem of the origin of life to be "in principle" unsolvable.
First a quibble point: Peter didn't say that the abiogenesis problem is in
principle unsolvable. He simply said it is in principle not understood.

As Christians we need to remember what Paul said: So faith comes by
hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ [Rom 10:17 NASB]. Our faith
depends on the word of God, _not_ on the folly of men.

So our understanding of abiogenesis is incomplete. Certainly it's
primitive compared to what it will be in the future. That's as expected.
Human knowledge, information-gathering and reasoning capabilities are
imperfect. Teaching that a field of science, like abiogenesis, is folly
because the people in it are in disarray is holding humans to a standard of
perfection they are not capable of. But further research yields further
understanding. We Christians need to encourage that research. Our
confidence that honest research will never overturn Christianity comes from
the word of God, not from the folly of men.

Bill Hamilton | Chassis & Vehicle Systems
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