Re: The young age of Earth

David J. Tyler (
Fri, 12 Mar 1999 13:04:00 GMT

Kevin O'Brien wrote on Fri, 12 Mar 1999:

> Pointing out the supposed problems of abiogenesis is not a testable causal
> mechanism that would demonstrate the inadequacy of this length of time;
> it's simply more of the vague assertions I described above. Why not simply
> admit that you have nothing to offer that would demonstrate the inadequacy
> of this length of time?

I suspect, Kevin, that we are not communicating effectively here. I
do not think I have made a vague assertion. In order to demonstrate
the inadequacy of say 650 Ma time for abiogenesis, I need to be
informed about a viable mechanism. My argument was: in the absence
of a viable mechanism, the prediction must be that abiogenesis cannot
happen on Earth - no matter how much time is available. In this, my
argument is essentially the same as Francis Crick ("Life Itself") who
sought to revive panspermia as a way out of the apparently insoluble
problem. I have followed Crick in his assessment of the achievements
of the abiogenesis research - he did not find the argument vague and
neither do I.

I had written:
> >I think all are agreed that no one has yet
> >proposed a mechanism or mechanisms for solving these problems.
You replied:
> Actually, no; I don't agree with that and it's also not true. A large
> number of mechanisms have been proposed in just the last decade alone --
> some of which have been discussed on this list. Some of these mechanisms
> are in trouble; some look very viable; but they do exist, whether you wish
> to acknowledge them or not.

My assertion was ambiguous - sorry. I do not deny that a large
number of mechanisms have been proposed! Nevertheless, I continue to
think that the consensus in the research community is that the
problems have not been solved.

Best regards,
David J. Tyler.