Re: Probing the Chemistry of Creation
Mon, 2 Aug 1999 20:17:04 EDT

In a message dated 8/2/99 4:42:24 PM Mountain Daylight Time, writes:

> Here is a two-year old Los Angeles Times story I found today on the Web at:


> Kevin might note that Fox's proteinoid theory is not even mentioned as
> an option!

Not surprising. Every scientist mentioned or interviewed in that article is
an advocate of the gene-first RNA world model. Having accurately and
painfully described the problems with their model, is Steve really so naive
as to believe that they would turn around and say, "But there is another
model, one that has been more successful than ours, that has been able to
find answers where we could not"?

And considering that the proteinoid microsphere model is not as well known in
the popular press -- for the simply reason that it did not have Nobel
lauriettes shamelessly promoting it as the right answer to the question of
how life originated before there was even any experimental evidence to back
it up -- I am also not surprised that the reporter didn't ask them, "What
about proteinoid microspheres?"

Steve might find the following quote of interest, since it also pertains to
people like him as well as scientists:

"If a model or a theory evolves slowly, it typically gains general acceptance
even more slowly, for a variety of reasons. One of these is basically
defensive, i.e., 'He can't be right because I've spent my whole professional
career trying to prove a different viewpoint.' Ego is a strong driving
force! A related factor can be expressed as 'Don't confuse me with facts, my
mind is made up.' For example, questions or criticisms of Fox's work have
been voiced in print repeatedly, Fox has answered them repeatedly, the
answers have been ignored repeatedly, the criticisms revoiced repeatedly, and
reanswered repeatedly. Some often-voiced examples include: heat was not
frequent prebiotically, heat is too hot (destructive as well as
constructive), the wrong atmosphere was used, etc. These are, as indicated,
answered elsewhere, repeatedly, including to some extent earlier in this
paper." Duane L. Rohlfing, "The Development of the Proteinoid Model for the
Origin of Life," in K. Matsuno, K. Dose, K. Harada and D.L. Rohlfing, eds.,
Molecular Evolution and Protobiology, Plenum Publishing, 1984, pg. 41-42.

It is in the nature of things that people who are confronted with a new idea
they do not want to accept will raise whatever objections to it they can
think of, then ignore refutations of those objections. Since scientists are
people, they are not immune to this attitude, but they at least have the
ability to change it when the evidence becomes too strong or when they
finally accept the futility of their own position. For people like Steve,
however, denial is a way of life, and they have become so practiced at it
that nothing, not even a declaration from God Himself, can change their
minds. As such, I have no doubt that after I have presented my rebutals of
his objections he will find ways to ignore or distort them, reassert his
objections and declare victory. He will probably claim that I have not
satisfied his demand for evidence in the form of quotes from references,
which will then allow him to declare that I have no evidence to back up my
"claims". Naturally that is nothing more than a smokescreen to avoid having
to read the scientific literature, but I have posted the relevant references
-- twice -- so anyone who wants to can look them up and read for themselves
the evidence that supports the facts I am describing. Steve has little more
than opinion on his side, so I will leave it up to the group members whether
the opinions he presents as facts are even right.

Kevin L. O'Brien