Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize
Wed, 5 May 1999 23:14:29 EDT

In a message dated 5/5/99 2:36:32 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> You are absolutely right. As far back as I can trace my training in
> science, there has been an urgency about demonstrating that man could
> create life, which as is abundantly clear from discussions here, we cannot
> even as yet define, something that would make a physicist's hair turn grey!
> I remember well, when we had succeeded in duplicating the DNA of a virus
> in vitro, "Life Created in a Testube" was the headline on every paper in
> America. You can be sure that any claims that a living cell has been
> created would receive similar acclaim.

In other words, you are adopting Moorad's reasoning to justify your own
refusal to look at the evidence demonstrating that Fox synthesized life in
the lab. All you have proven, however, is that you are not interested in
science, but in rhetoric and argument.

> However, even if such claims were
> made in the popular press (and they have not been), they would have no more
> validity than the claim of cold fusion, until the work had been published
> in Nature and Science and in the top peer-reviewed journals in the country,
> and only after the experiments had successfully been repeated by others.

Which is exactly why it is irrelevant whether the topic has been discussed in
the popular press or not. Fox's work has been published in Science and
Nature and in the top peer-reviewed journals, and it has been successfully
repeated by others. In fact, high school students are repeating his results!
As such, by your own criteria, you must accept that Fox's claim to have
synthesized life in the lab to be valid. However, you will probably just
ignore this like you ignore everything else you cannot dispute.

> To date the closest things we have to this are the reductionist experiments
> being done in a number of labs around the country using M genitalium, the
> living cell with the smallest number of genes known. These experimenters
> are concentrating on supplying external dependencies and successively
> reducing the information content of the DNA in an attempt to determine what
> the minimum genetic requirements for life are.

This have nothing to do with whether life has been synthesized in the lab, or
with protocells. When are you going to stop hiding behind your ignorance and
actually read the evidence?

Kevin L. O'Brien