Re: [asa] Origins of Life

From: Nucacids <nucacids@wowway.com>
Date: Fri Jun 05 2009 - 22:04:35 EDT

More good stuff from Hazen found here:

 

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2006/01/08/AR2006010800042.html

 

"What Hazen will tell you is that science is actually a very human enterprise. It's full of unknowns and uncertainties, of raging controversies, of passions and prejudices. Of all the great unknowns, the origin of life is particularly daunting. Direct evidence of the origin is essentially nonexistent: It happened too long ago, in too subtle a way. There's no fossil of the First Microbe. If there were, some skeptical scientist would surely raise a ruckus, saying: That's just a blob of mud.

The field has attracted people with strong personalities. They argue. They grumble. They snipe. Their debates are much more intense, and more grounded in the rules of science, than the much-hyped debate about evolution and intelligent design.

They are wrestling with basic questions: What is life, exactly? Does it always require liquid water and those long Tinkertoy carbon molecules? Does life require a cell? Did life begin with a hereditary molecule or with some kind of metabolic chemical reaction? Where did life begin on Earth? Was there a single moment that could be described as the "origin of life," or did life sort of creep into existence gradually?

All that is very much in play. In the words of George Cody, an origin-of-life researcher, "No one knows anything about the origin of life.""

AND

 

"Hazen writes that the origin-of-life field is "at times tarnished by questionable data, contentious debates, or even outright quackery."

Now you can see how all this might get a bit delicate given the current debate about intelligent design. Hazen knows that by exposing the backstage bickering on the origin of life, he may give ammunition to the critics of the scientific community: "Anything I say that shows any uncertainty or doubt, they will use as evidence that scientists are baffled.""

To unsubscribe, send a message to majordomo@calvin.edu with
"unsubscribe asa" (no quotes) as the body of the message.
Received on Fri Jun 5 22:05:21 2009

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.1.8 : Fri Jun 05 2009 - 22:05:21 EDT