Re: Life in the Lab -- Fox and the Nobel Prize
Wed, 12 May 1999 00:33:02 EDT

In a message dated 5/11/99 7:09:04 AM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> I do not think you have ever sent an article for publication in a reputable
> journal.

I have four to my credit, plus a fifth one on the way. And a half-dozen
others that I wrote, but for which I did not get co-authorship, because it
was the policy of the people I worked for not to make research assistants

> If you propose something you have to have the evidence to back it.

Exactly. And Fox has provided loads of evidence to back up his claim, as
have at least a dozen other researchers. You, on the other hand, have
provided no evidence to back up your claim that Fox is is wrong.

> You can't tell the referee to prove that you are wrong!

You are not a referee judging the rightness of Fox's proposal; you are a
critic who denies the validity of his claim despite his evidence (what am I
saying, you won't even read the evidence!). Since you are challenging
established research and a biological consensus, according to the rules of
science it is YOU who must prove that research and consensus wrong. Yet so
far all you have offerred as "evidence" are word games and metaphysical

> The claim of Fox,
> or yours, that he has created something that is not alive but was the way
> life came into being is nothing but a CLAIM.

First of all, for the last time, Fox's protocells are alive; the research
proves it. Stop pretending otherwise and read the literature. Secondly,
Fox's claim has been proven by his research and the research of others, so it
is no longer a groundless claim (as you imply) but an established fact. Stop
pretending otherwise and read the literature. What are you afraid of?

> Nothing wrong with making
> assumptions in science but lets us not claim what is DEAD to be ALIVE!

Protocells are just as alive as any modern cell; the research proves it.
Stop hiding behind your ignorance and read the literature.

> All
> what you are saying about protocells sounds like what one can create
> physical entities in the computer that can "reproduce" and can "combine" to
> make other things like themselves.

Protocells are more than just computer simulations; they are real, living
organisms that do all the basic things that modern cells can do. If
protocells are not alive, then neither are modern cells. Read the literature.

> I read the article in the SIU website
> and the writer himself uses the there that he "believes" that Fox has
> create life.

The writer is himself a scientist who has made and studied his own proteinoid
microsphere protocells and has published the results, so he has verified what
Fox and a dozen other researchers proved with their own research. So when he
says "believe" he means he is convinced by the evidence that protocells are
alive. Stop playing word games and read the literature.

> In the movie Frankenstein the creator said the famous lines
> "he is alive!"

No, actually, he said, "It's alive!" (You can't even get this right, can

>I do not think we can say that here!

That's because you won't read the literature. Until you do and then offer
some real scientific evidence or argument that protocells are not alive,
there is nothing more to discuss.

Kevin L. O'Brien