what really pisses me off in that article is that it makes it look like S. Miller pulled a fast one on everybody. Nothing could be further from the truth. He is more open and honest about the limitations and problems with his research than anyone else. In fact, much of the criticism in this AIG article likely came (directly or indirectly) from Miller's own statements.
The important thing is that he did what people then believed was impossible......he showed that important biochemicals could definately be synthesized randomly. Now that's not creating life, and he never said it was. Nor were his results always that great....nor did he ever say they were. But now we do know that amino acids, nucleic acids, and lipids can all form on their own in "ideal" circumstances.
Miller is the FIRST person to admit that early earth conditions do not match the inside of a M-U chamber......that the earth's atmosphere was likely not reducing...probably neutral (but not oxygen-rich either).
It just irks me, man. At least Miller's out there trying to figure it out. Origin of life stuff is the easiest target that creationists have because it is so poorly understood at this point.....but what is AIG doing to make it better understood? What experiments are they doing? How are they quantifying or demonstrating the creation process?
it's easier to armchair quarterback than to really do the work.
And its easier to criticize a straw man than the real deal.
roost, this is not an attack on you....I just think that AIG is really misleading a lot of the time. There is not some anti-creationist conspiracy led by Miller et al.
You should honestly go right to the library and read "Origens" by Robert Shapiro (equally skeptical of creationist, chemical evolutionists, panspermists, and everyone else) and "The Origins of Life on the Earth" by Miller and Leslie Orgel.
Fantastic, amazing books. Very readable, also very full of info. Also........very, very, very, very open about the current ambiguities, questions, dead-ends, etc.
SERIOUSLY, NO ONE IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY IS CLAIMING THAT WE UNDERSTAND HOW LIFE BEGAN.
Also, AIG does a terrible disservice to its readers by insinuating that F. Crick actually believes in directed panspermia. He proposed the hypothesis as a vehicle to illustrate how little we know about the origin of life....but he's always been very open about not accepting it outright. Again, though, you should read his book, "Life Itself." It's a good read and it illuminates a lot of the problems with current thinking on origins (particularly that scientists in general are too stifled to think of good explanations).
And its an even worse disservice to applaud Hoyle and Wickramashaniglanimingle (sp????). they friggin' suck. No two ways about it. I got really sucked into them for a few years....ate it all up. but you scratch below that surface and you find that Hoyle is motivated more by his own fictional interests than anything else and that his puppydog W. is willing to totally misrepresent data to try to support panspermia.
Plus they both flip-flopped and changed so much that I honestly don't know where Hoyle ended up. (I do, however, really think that lateral gene transver via bacteria an viruses........I think that's a major vehicle for evolution that we'll come to appreciate more and more).
PLUS...and this is a big one....the "God" that H and W describe is decidedly NOT the alpha an omega that AIG worships. It's a superhuman race of silicon-based aliens who created us and benificently spray DNA-loaded viruses into our atmosphere periodically to instigate evolutionary change..............that's pretty far from a plug for biblical creationism.
Hi Tulka, I didn't take it as a personal attack on me, no worries bro.
I actually thought the article made it clear that it was more an issue of people running with origins experiments and also pretty clear that a problem with chemical evolution or origins doesn't mean the person is an AIG supporter.
I just think it's important that some of the common folk like myself who come on here and reference Miller as proving evolution or chemical evolution or origins, are not as careful as miller himself is. There just seems to be so much vested emotion, interest, bias and faith on both sides but AIG at least lays there cards on the table.
I am still scratching my head on the whole T-Rex blood thing. I was reading Discover's article on the scientist who found the blood. It said, that it was "an article of faith" that blood did not survive more then 10,000 years (give or take) yet when they found blood, their first reaction was, "gee, I guess blood somehow survives waaaaaay longer then we thought." Their paradigm remained the same, rather then saying, "maybe we are right and this T-Rex is much younger then we thought." It wouldn't be that amazing in that we have many "living fossils" alive today.
Anyway, I'm off to work...thanks for the reference read...I need more time in a day!
What seems to happen is that a scientist makes a great discovery and publishes it as-is in top-notch journals....but that by the time it gets to the general public, it's totally overstated and simplified. Here's a hypothetical example of what I mean:
Nature magazine: S. Miller says, "We were able to synthesize a handful of the simplest amino acids in our chamber. Although the conditions may not perfectly match the primordial environment, this is an important step toward understanding the chemical evolution of life."
Two months later, Scientific American says: "Stanley Miller's successful random synthesis of the building blocks of life suggests that life's chemical evolution is more probable than critics have believed."
Then, six months later, Discover Magazine says: "Stanley Miller and associates proved that life can evolve from random environmental forces similar to those on primordial earth."
then, six months later, Time or Newseek: "Scientists are now able to create life artificially by replicating earth's earliest environment." (and the article will counter this with some ridiculous statement by Pat Robertson or something....making it look like the science is 100% clear and that the opposition is just a bunch of nutjobs).
And then.....a few months or years after that, AIG will say: "While scientists may claim to have created life in a simulation of earth's earliest environment, they are really lying to you. When you look right at the evidence, it turns out that there are all kinds of holes in this claim."
Well....that's TRUE...there are holes in the claim. But the scientists didn't make the claim in the first place. AND, any evidence of holes or ambiguities will invariably come from the scientists' own literature. So when AIG says something like "changing the electric spark to be intermittant instead of constant, and therefore more similar to actual circumnstances, actually produced worse results." (that's not from AIG...it's just more of my hypothetical example).......they're getting that info from the scientists' own published report.
The REAL culprit here is not the scientific community, but the damn popular media who are more interested in selling magazines than in spreading good information.
Anyway....I'm ranting too much.
That is a very good summary of how the message can get distorted Tulkas. Chemical evolution on the early earth is a very speculative subject to start with.
I did lol at the way AIG can use ancient rocks to give information about atmospheric conditions several billion years ago in an attempt to pick holes in chemical evolutionary experiments, but then go on to criticise the use of ancient rocks as geological evidence for the age of the earth. I don't see how they can pick holes using evidence they do not believe is real.
I agree. Excellent post Tulkas! I kneel in your shadow.
its about time!
I agree that the media is a big part of the problem.