Re: God...Sort Of #3

Stephen E. Jones (
Thu, 05 Aug 1999 20:05:56 +0800


On Sat, 24 Jul 1999 00:32:45 EDT, wrote:


>MB>In his
>>book reviewing the difficulties of origin of life theories, Robert Shapiro
>>notes that work on proteinoids has produced a startling unanimity of
>>`The proteinoid theory] has attracted a number of vehement critics,
>>ranging from chemist Stanley Creationist Duane Gish. On
>>perhaps no other point in origin of life theory could we find such
>>harmony between evolutionists and Creationists as in opposing the
>>relevance of the experiments of Sidney Fox.' (Shapiro R., ...p192).

KO>Which only goes to show that both evolutionists and creationists can
>be fooled by the same biases and misconceptions.

More likely when their "biases" are so different and they still agree on the
lack of "relevance of the experiments of Sidney Fox" the reason is that
Fox's experiments *are* irrelevant!

KO>For example, both Miller and Gish argue that genes must have come
>first, and both argue the first gene had to have been produced by random

I would be interested to see Kevin's references to where "Gish" argues
"that genes must have come first" and that "the first gene had to have been
produced by random processes".

KO>Proteinoid microsphere research
>has demonstrated that proteins came first, and that they were formed by
>deterministic processes.

"Proteinoid microsphere research" has not even "demonstrated that"
*proteinoids* "came first".

And I would also be interested to see references to where "Miller" "argues"
that "the first gene had to have been produced by random processes" as
opposed to "deterministic processes."

>MB>Other researchers have proposed some other ways whereby amino
>>acids might join to give proteins. All suffer more or less from the
>>problems that plague proteinoids, and none has attracted much support
>>from the scientific community."

KO>On the contrary, none have the same experimental support as
>proteinoids do.

Well since according to proteinoids supporter Klaus Dose: "At present
all...experiments in the field either end in stalemate or in a confession of
ignorance." (Dose K., 1988, p348), it is not saying much to say that "none"
of the other origin of life scenarios "have the same experimental support as
proteinoids do"!

That the most artificially contrived origin of life experiments produce the
best results is, as Wilder-Smith points out, actually evidence for
supernatural creation by an Intelligent Designer:

"It is, of course, a basic tenet of most experimental work being carried out
in the field of abiogenesis today-the volume of current work in this area is
increasing almost exponentially-that natural, random chemical reactions,
with the addition of no exogenous or supranatural interference, led to the
original, spontaneous (some say inevitable) appearance of life on the
earth...This means that ordinary random chemical reactions, as we know
them today in the laboratory, accounted on their own for abiogenesis and
will do so again, partially or completely, in the laboratory today if and
when we can reproduce the correct reaction conditions.

The scientific materialists are bending all their efforts to demonstrate that,
if a reaction leading up to life can take place now, in laboratory reaction
vessels, without supernatural aid, then proof positive has been effectively
delivered that no supernatural agency was needed to produce life at the
beginning, at archebiopoesis. Thus any synthetic, laboratory production of
life in the laboratory, under what are presumed to be conditions resembling
those on the earth when life arose for the first time, is heralded in many
circles as driving the last nail in God's and the supernaturalist's coffins.
Who needs God and the supernaturalist position if life on the earth can be
effectively accounted for without either?

Before accepting this commonly assumed position let us consider the
following: Is it not remarkable that this view is not generally recognized for
what it is-an absolute contradiction? For all the efforts of the scientific
naturalists to prove their point by the above mentioned method only serve,
in fact, to verify the correctness of the supernaturalist position. For, is it
not true that the scientific materialists are, in their experiment, applying
intelligence and thought to the ordering of matter? Under the influence of
intelligence they are hoping to produce living matter from its nonliving
base. This is precisely the supernaturalist point of view."

(Wilder-Smith, A.E., "The Creation of Life", 1988, pp.xix-xx)

>SJ>(Behe M.J., "Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to
>>Evolution", 1996, pp169-170)

>>KO>(thereby demonstrating that he had willfully lied when he
>>>wrote his statement), but also accepting it as valid.

>SJ>This does not follow. In the context Behe might have been thinking
>>of the dominant paradigm of the Miller-Urey type of experiment,
>>regarding Fox's proteinoids as unrealistic and implausible.

KO>And he thinks that Miller-Urey is more plausible? Highly doubtful.

I would expect that Behe thinks that *all* origin of life experiments to date
have been implausible, but the Fox proteinoid microsphere experiments
have been particularly implausible, because they don't even impress the
majority of researchers in the origin of life field.

KO>No, Behe
>wrote "experiments"; plural. He meant more than just Miller-Urey, and
>the context suggests that in his opinion all experiments have failed.

In the context, Behe was probably thinking mainly of the Miller-Urey
experiments. But even if he wasn't, the fact is that all origin of life
experiments *have* failed, in the sense of being a plausible explanation of
how life on Earth arose by purely natural processes without the
intervention of an Intelligent Designer!

>SJ>And of course, Behe could simply have been mistaken.

KO>Mistakes are based on ignorance, not willful blindness.

No. Mistakes can also be the result of forgetfulness, or faulty perception,
or working within too tight constraints.

Personally I do not believe that Behe did make a mistake, but it is always
possible that he did. To conclude that he must have "willfully lied", as
Kevin does, is unwarranted.

KO>Had Behe not known about proteinoid microsphere research, or
>had not understood it that would be a mistake

Of course it is always possible that Behe did not know about some aspects
of "proteinoid microsphere research" or had not fully understood it.

Kevin himself says that: "Most scientists have never even heard of these
[proteinoid] experiments" and those "who are familiar with proteinoids are
skeptical about any form of abiogenic scenario" and even a "few question
the evidence."

Why cannot Behe be in the above categories, rather than be assumed to be
guilty of having "willfully lied"?

KO>Among those who do research in abiogenesis skepticism is based
>either on a bias in favor of genetic material as the determinator of life or
>on certain misconceptions such as the belief that the first functional
>macromolecules had to be a result of random polymerization formations,
>or both.

KO>but to willfully ignore or even -- as Behe does -- willfully
>mischaracterize the research is dishonestry, plain and simple.

See above. Kevin does not *know* that it was "willful blindness" on Behe's

As for Behe ignoring "proteinoid microsphere research", he was writing a
brief *book review* for a non-technical audience. Behe can't be expected
to mention every origin of life paradigm in those limitations. If he had
mentioned Fox's proteinoids he probably would have been accused by
others of picking on a minority position in the origin of life field!

And Behe has not "mischaracterized the research" but has fairly reflected
the prevailing opinion of the wider origin of life scientific community.

Indeed, it is *Kevin* who has mischaracterized the protein research but I
do not claim that this is "dishonestry", but due to Kevin's bias in favour of
this particular naturalistic origin of life scenario.

>SJ>Indeed, I find it most interesting that evolutionists seem to have a
>>need to prove that non-evolutionists are not only intellectually wrong
>>(ie. made a mistake), but that they are *morally* wrong (ie. "lied"). This
>>suggests to me that deep down evolutionists feel insecure about their
>>theory and feel the need to eliminate their doubts by eliminating its

KO>Or, as is most likely, their opponents are lying in an attempt to hide
>or mischaracterize the truth, as is the case with Behe.

Why is it "most likely" that opponents of evolutionists "are lying in an
attempt to hide or mischaracterize the truth"? Are all anti-evolutionists
(who are the majority of the population and include the majority of
Christians), "lying"? And are evolutionists (who are the minority in the
population and mostly non-theists) the only ones telling the truth?

But in the case of proteinoids, there is no need to mischaracterize the truth.
The truth is the bad enough against proteinoids!

In any event, even if opponents of evolution or proteinoids were lying, all
that would be required would be to state the "truth". Trying to prove that
one's opponents are morally wrong (ie. lying), rather than simply
intellectually wrong (mistaken), indicates that one's position is weak and it
cannot stand up in its own right on the evidence alone.


>SJ>If evolution was just another scientific theory, I would expect
>>evolutionists to: 1) *welcome* criticism; 2) be friendly to critics;
>>and 3) admit openly where there are problems with the theory.
>>That they don't is evidence that evolution functions as a *religion*
>>in the lives of its adherents....

KO>Had Behe simply been mistaken about proteinoid microsphere

I note that Kevin does not fairly and squarely try deal with the fact that
evolutionists: 1) don't welcome criticism; 2) are not friendly to critics; and
3) do not admit openly where there are problems with the theory.

Instead he just tries to shift the blame elsewhere. This is further evidence of
my claim that "evolution is not just another scientific theory but functions
as a *religion* in the lives of its adherents."

KO>I would have expected him to: 1) *welcome* my correction;

No doubt Behe would "welcome" Kevin's "correction", if it *was* a
"correction". But it is *Behe* who is correct according to the scientific
evidence and *Kevin* who is incorrect.

If Kevin's proteinoid view was correct, then why are even the majority of
scientific materialists against it?

Shouldn't Kevin first correct his scientific materialist colleagues who
already believe that life has a naturalistic origin before trying to correct
those who don't?

KO>2) be friendly to me rather than attack me personally as he did

Where did Behe "attack" Kevin "personally"?

KO>and 3) admit openly his error by retracting his statement.

Behe no doubt would have, if it was indeed an "error". But from what I
have posted, it is *Kevin* who is in "error" and should be "retracting *his*

KO>That he didn't is evidence that he uses his biases
>to determine the validity of evidence and to interprete it as well, rather
>than letting the facts speak for themselves.

Kevin here contradicts himself. If Behe was using "his biases to determine
the validity of evidence and to interpret it as well" then he is simply
honestly mistaken in stating the facts *as he saw them*.

But Kevin's original argument was that Behe knew the true facts about "the
research involving proteinoid microsphere protocells" and accepted it as
valid...yet he pretends otherwise because of his personal biases."

In his original claim, Kevin said that Behe knows the truth about
proteinoids but he pretended not to because of his biases.

In this his second claim, Kevin says that Behe's biases determine his
interpretation of the evidence and acceptance of its validity. This second
claim implies that Behe doesn't know the truth about proteinoids because
his biases prevent him from seeing it!



"Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not
designed, but rather evolved." (Crick F.H.C., "What Mad Pursuit: A
Personal View of Scientific Discovery", [1988], Penguin Books: London
UK, 1990, reprint, p138)