I got a nice haul of e-mails from readers after Monday’s column, with a few I thought worthy of further discussion:
"The definition of faith as ‘the conviction of things not seen’ is exactly the kind of faith scientists employ. They have not seen life arise from the non-living yet have conviction that it happened a certain way. This is faith, it fits the definition perfectly, please show how this reasoning is wrong. The onus of proof is on them just as much as on the ID proponent. They have no sceintific proof only demagoguery. In essence, when we ask for evidence, they say 'trust (have faith in) us, one day we'll have it'. Ha!
I think life came abiogenesis too, but by a different means - through God. Have I observed this? No, so you rightly say I believe it by faith. Most professional scientists have ideas or guesses (widely divergent) as to how abiogenesis happened. Have they observed it? No, so you say they know by fact?! There is something at work here and it is not logic or science, it is intellectual bigotry. Science is out of touch with humanity, the vast majority of people throughout history including today believe in some kind of God or supernatural, spiritual entity. The Science elites think we are all morons - based on no facts only abiogenesis magic. Abiogenesis happened, we don't know how. But don't question the fact that we do know how. ?? The same can be said of what is practically an infinite amount of matter arising from non-matter. Not just a single atom, but an unfathomable universe. Science says it's not supernatural, though they've not one shred of evidence it came by naturalistic means.
Pasteur showed that life doesn't routinely crop up under sterile conditions
You spin master! 'doesn't routinely' - science has shown that life NEVER crops up under ANY conditions. Please site one, just one scientific study that has observed abiogenesis under any conditions, in nature of the labe. None, ergo science - not philosopy or religion - has shown it doesn't happen. We all know it did happen, but how is a mystery. The problem is science mocks the supernatural, because it can't be reprodued in the lab. Yet neither can any of their abiogenesis hypotheses, putting them on equal ground. Science is dogmatic about something they've never observed and that can't be reproduced or tested. You must believe me, I am smarter than you. So much for freedom.
I'd maintain that science hasn’t shown that life never crops up under any conditions. That’s a misrepresentation of what Pasteur discovered, but it’s interesting that creationists cling to it, while discounting all other scientists as “demagogues.” In my experience, the scientists studying the origin of life are a nice bunch of people, humble and not dogmatic. They don’t think it happened “in a certain way” at all. Like detectives they’re trying to follow the most promising trails."
This letter came in on Sunday, so it must be in response to the first column I wrote on this subject:
"Faye when put to the test scientist often fail. You would think that our modern day scientist with all there knowledge would at least be able to predict where a satellite would land. This was an opportunity to demonstraite how advanced we've become. But when put to the test, in real time they came up short!!! Yet I'm to believe they know what happened 2 billion years ago!!!! I admire your faith!!!!
CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) - A six-ton NASA science satellite crashed to Earth on Saturday, leaving a mystery about where a ton of space debris may have landed……"
I think this is something of a glass-half-full attitude about NASA. Sure, they lose the occasional satellite, but they’ve been roving around Mars for years, and sent spacecraft to Jupiter and Saturn to return fantastic pictures. And what about the Hubble Space Telescope? Does it make sense to discount everything every scientist ever did or said based on one lost satellite?
And finally, a thorough response to this will require some help from cosmologists. If any readers happen to be cosmologists, please feel free to step in and comment:
"I can only imagine some of the emails you have received or will receive about these articles. Hopefully mine will be a bit softer. However, I do always find it interesting when scientist go to the “ends of the earth” (Sorry) to attempt to explain how Life happened without some form of Creator being involved. I always remember something I heard a long, long time ago which for some reason has remained with me. And that is this-“For you and me to be having this conversation, email dialogue(whatever), some thing, being, person, entity, power, spirit, had to have the power of existence in and of itself, or nothing would exist today” Translation, even the GOD that I believe in would not have had the power to create himself. So when I hear of read scientist talking about DNA, RNA, carbon, atoms and the like, I always fall back on my simple question. “where did they come from? Since I am obviously limited by the grey matter inside my head, I still have a hard time thinking that something came from nothing. Who knows, maybe someone will convince me, but for now no.
Have a nice day."
Actually, readers have been wonderfully kind and positive about this evolution column. The comment section may be the most civil on all of Philly.com. Thank you readers! It’s a refreshing change from the days when I wrote Carnal Knowledge, the most hated column in the whole tri-state area. Perhaps readers are just being nice because they’re relieved that I no longer assault them with stories about sex. I’ll have to hand off the question about the origin of matter has to cosmologists. I know they’re working hard on this one and have some excellent ideas, though it’s slightly challenging to explain some of this.