Kevin O'Brien's certainty

Don Kangas (
Wed, 07 Apr 1999 15:24:38 -0500


Recently O'Brien wrote

>>"Abiogenesis is a single phenomenon with a single goal: figuring out life
>>derived from non-life. Everyone who investigates it works for that specific
>>goal; the goal was accomplished, not by one person or lab, but by dozens of
>>persons each in dozens of labs. If a Nobel Prize were to be awarded simply
>>for the creation of life from non-life, you would be hard pressed to find
>>any one or two or six or dozen people who made the most significant
>>contributions; you would have to award it to a hundred or more. The same
>>was true for the identification of enzymes as catalysts, or are you
>>suggesting that because no one has won the Nobel Prize for that, enzymology
>>is untrue?"

Much of O'Brien's recent writing reminds me of the tirades of some
of my sophomore students (I have my Ph.D. in biology and teach my students
that evolution is the scientific explanation of origins).

General biology texts have no difficulty crediting Darwin and Oparin
with some original thought in this area. They credit Harold Urey and
Stanley Miller with the early experiments on reducing atmospheres... but no
one with "creating life." They credit some workers who have produced
coacervates and microspherioles... but not one for "life."

The names I have seen in O'Brien's postings have been derogatory
commentary rather than crediting even a few of the "hundred or more" to whom
he refers.


Don Kangas, A frequent lurker...