Faye Flam: Atheist Writer Who is Long on Graciousness, Long on Civility….Short on Reason, Short on Scientific Realities

January 12, 2012 4:05 pm 50 comments

Faye Flam, Columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer

Faye Flam is an accomplished writer and journalist whose weekly column Planet of the Apes (which “explores the topic of evolution”), appears in the Philadelphia Inquirer. On 12/16/11, Ms. Flam weighed in on the brouhaha about whether or not I mislead readers about the position of Dr. Jack Szostak (Nobel Laureate and Origin of Life researcher), on Intelligent Design theory. I contacted her about the column and on 1/5/12 she was gracious enough to print my clarification of the matter in its entirety. Although she did go on to disagree with me strongly it was done with civility and for that I thank her.

(I also hope I am not out of line for writing that if there are any atheistic car-mechanics out there, I’m sure her picture is hanging in their office.)

In my communication with Ms. Flam, I made it clear that (a) I was not trying to portray Szostak as a supporter of Intelligent Design theory, that (b) if it appeared that way it was unintentional and (c) I apologized for any confusion. The disputed citation from Dr. Szostak’s Scientific American article – “It is virtually impossible to imagine how a cell’s machines…could have formed spontaneously from non-living matter”- was brought as an illustration of the enormous challenges Origin of Life researchers face in trying to find a naturalistic process which would explain how life emerged from non-life, not to demonstrate Jack Szostak’s belief in God. I urge the reader to look at my email that appeared in Planet of the Apes and the full disclaimer I printed in my Algemeiner.com column of 12/22/11. I don’t see how I could have been any clearer.

That should have been the end of it, but for some strange reason Faye seemed unable to let it go: “I appreciate your apology but the Szostak quote you included in your story can’t be reasonably interpreted in any way except as an attempt to connect him to the belief that life can’t possibly have come from non-life through a natural process…the sentiment expressed by this quote is the absolute antithesis of what Dr. Szostak has said many times…” In other words, Ms. Flam felt there was something inherently disingenuous about the fact that I used Szostak’s description of the awesome level of functional complexity of the simplest bacterium to support my position that it is the product of Intelligent Design, while being fully aware that Szostak himself completely denies the possibility of Intelligent Design. Faye, I appreciate your giving me the space in your column to explain my side of the controversy but it seems you have a fundamental misunderstanding of what the real problem is here. Please allow me to elaborate.

The late Dr. Harold P. Klein, of NASA, once wrote something that was remarkably similar to Szostak’s statement: “The simplest bacterium is so damn complicated from the point of view of a chemist that it is almost impossible to imagine how it happened.” I quoted Dr. Klein in my book (by the way Faye, are you going to review it?), and in at least one other article. Do you think I was trying to imply that Dr. Klein supported Intelligent Design theory or was a believer in God the Creator? I certainly was not, and he most certainly did not and was not. One of the greatest chemists alive today, Dr. George Whitesides of Harvard University, also said something remarkably similar to Szostak’s statement.

When Whitesides was awarded the Priestley Medal for Chemistry in 2007 he stated the following in his acceptance speech: “The Origin of Life. This problem is one of the big ones in science. It begins to place life, and us, in the universe. Most chemists believe like I do, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth. How? I have no idea…On the basis of all chemistry I know, it seems to me astonishingly improbable.” If you’ll notice Faye, Dr. Whitesides not only echoes Dr.’s Szostak and Klein about the “virtual impossibility” or “astonishing improbability” of a naturalistic emergence of life from non-life, not only does he admit he has no idea how it might have happened, but he also makes it clear that despite this he still BELIEVES (is that scientific?) “that life emerged spontaneously” from non-life.

Dr. Jack Szostak, awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine, 2009, and a world renowned Origin of Life researcher

Is it starting to become clear? Let’s go further. The late Dr. Robert Shapiro, Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at NYU, once wrote: “the weakest point…is our lack of understanding of the origin of life. No evidence remains that we know of to explain the steps that started life here, billions of years ago.” Dr. Shapiro also wrote that, “The difference between a mixture of simple chemicals and a bacterium is much more profound than the gulf between a bacterium and an elephant.” In 2005, the following email from Dr. Shapiro to “Skip” Evans of the NCSE appeared on the Panda’s Thumb website: “Dear Mr. Evans, I agree with him [Professor Michael Behe, proponent of ID Theory] that conventional origin-of-life theory is deeply flawed. I disagreed with him about the idea that one needed to invoke an intelligent designer or a supernatural cause to find an answer. I do not support intelligent design theories. I believe [is that scientific?] that better science will provide the needed answers.”

Are you starting to see the pattern? Scientists agree that the yawning chasm between life and non-life makes it seem beyond human understanding to find a solution, no one knows how it actually did happen, but they all still BELIEVE (non-scientifically) that it did happen through some undirected process. Faye, the point is that Dr. Jack Szostak is in the exact same position. He has no idea how life began naturalistically – “Understanding how life emerged on Earth is one of the greatest challenges facing modern chemistry.”- but he BELIEVES (non-scientifically) that it did. Dr. Stephen J. Gould, the late, world renowned paleontologist expressed the same, decidedly un-scientific viewpoint:

“The earth is 4.6 billion years old, but the oldest rocks date to about 3.9 billion years because the earth’s surface became molten early in its history…The oldest rocks…to retain cellular fossils [date] to 3.55 billion years…Thus life on the earth evolved quickly and is as old as it could be. [I ask you to pay special attention to Gould’s “scientific” deduction about the Origin of Life:] This fact alone seems to indicate inevitability, or at least predictability, for life’s origin from the original chemical constituents of atmosphere and ocean.

A simple question: If Dr. George Whitesides has no idea what natural process could have bridged the enormous gap between non-living chemicals and the first bacterium, how can Gould so glibly and cavalierly state that the emergence of life from non-life through an undirected process is inevitable or predictable? Maybe it is not inevitable or predictable at all. Perhaps it is astonishingly improbable. Maybe life arose so quickly, not because it was inevitable, but because it was created. Does Gould know something that Dr’s Whitesides, Klein, and Shapiro don’t? Of course he doesn’t. The obvious answer is that even though Gould hasn’t the slightest idea how it happened, he simply accepts as an article of faith that life emerged through a natural process.

In the words of Origin of Life expert, Dr. Paul Davies: “I should like to say that the scientific attempt to explain the origin of life proceeds from the assumption that whatever it was that happened was a natural process…no supernatural intervention. Scientists have to start with that assumption.” Why do scientists have to start with that assumption? Isn’t it glaringly obvious that the job of a scientist is not to make assumptions, but rather to test assumptions? If Gould or Davies had proposed that based on geological facts, science must test if there is some type of process which could give rise to life very quickly, I would have no objection. The problem with that, of course, is that they would implicitly be admitting the possibility of a non-naturalistic origin of life.

Dr. George Whitesides, one of the world's greatest living chemists. He has "no idea" how life could have emerged from non-life.

You see Faye, this is why scientists like Szostak sneer contemptuously at Intelligent Design theory; not because it has no basis, but because they have a priori rejected the possibility. This rejection is not based on evidence or reason, (which might give it some scientific basis), it is the psychological/emotional/philosophical commitment to Scientific Naturalism that prevents them from considering the possibility of the existence of a Creator.

Harvard geneticist, Dr. Richard Lewontin, has candidly confessed that: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to the understanding of the real struggle between Science and the Supernatural. We take the side of science despite the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism…we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanation, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”

When Dr. Ken Nealson, microbiologist and Co-Chairman of the Committee on the Origin and Evolution of Life for the National Academy of Sciences stated that: “Nobody understands the Origin of Life, if they say they do, they are probably trying to fool you,” he was talking about Dr. Szostak also. (To his credit, Szostak has never claimed to understand how life began.) Why then do they all believe it? They have FAITH; what else would you call an unshakeable conviction which has no evidence to support its truth?

Where does Science actually stand in this matter? Consider the following:

“The origin of life is one of the hardest problems in all of science, but it is also one of the most important. Origin of Life research has evolved into a lively, interdisciplinary field, but other scientists often view it with skepticism and even derision. This attitude is understandable and, in a sense, perhaps justified, given the “dirty” rarely mentioned secret: Despite many interesting results to its credit, when judged by the straightforward criterion of reaching (or even approaching) the ultimate goal, the origin of life field is a failure – we still do not have even a plausible coherent model, let alone a validated scenario, for the emergence of life on Earth. Certainly, this is not due to lack of experimental and theoretical effort, but to the extraordinary intrinsic difficulty and complexity of the problem. A succession of exceedingly unlikely steps is essential for the origin of life, from the synthesis and accumulation of nucleotides to the origin of translation; through the multiplication of probabilities, these make the final outcome seem almost like a miracle.(Dr. Eugene V. Koonin, molecular biologist, The Logic of Chance: The Nature and Origin of Biological Evolution, Upper Saddle River, NJ: FT Press, 2011, Page 391)

Incredibly enough, this is almost identical to what Dr. Paul Davies had written years earlier:

“You might get the impression from what I have written not only that the origin of life is virtually impossible [it’s déjà vu all over again], but that life itself is impossible…fortunately for us, our cells contain sophisticated chemical-repair-and-construction mechanisms, and handy sources of chemical energy to drive processes uphill, and enzymes with special properties that can smoothly assemble complex molecules from fragments…but the primordial soup lacked these convenient cohorts of cooperating chemicals…so what is the answer? Is life a miracle after all?”

Dr. Richard Lewontin, Harvard Geneticist, writes that scientists accept claims against "common sense" and despite "patent absurdity" because "we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door."

In fact, Science does not even have the luxury of standing on shifting sands in its futile quest to discover a naturalistic origin of life; it is more like Wile E. Coyote who has run off the cliff and is standing on thin air, but hasn’t looked down and realized it yet.

  • Everyone agrees that the simplest living bacterium – which is functionally complex beyond comprehension – looks like it was designed and created by an intelligent creator.
  • Everyone agrees that it is virtually impossible to imagine how it could have happened through an undirected process.
  • Everyone agrees that no one has any idea how it actually did happen.

I simply draw the obvious conclusions. The reason it looks designed, is because it is designed. The reason why it seems “astonishingly improbable” for it to happen through an undirected process, is because it is “astonishingly improbable” for it to happen through an undirected process, and the reason why, in fact, no one has any idea how it happened through a naturalistic process, is because it didn’t happen through a naturalistic process.

God of the Gaps

Faye, you write regarding my argument: “I’m afraid you’ve fallen victim to a philosophical trap commonly called God of the Gaps…just because science hasn’t explained something doesn’t mean God must have done it, any more than it means space aliens must have done it.” It’s interesting that you mention space aliens, because Nobel Laureate Francis Crick along with a world renowned Origin of Life researcher, Leslie Orgel, were so baffled by the enigma of the origin of life that they proposed in the early 70’s that perhaps life was sent here by an advanced extra-terrestrial civilization. They called their theory Directed Panspermia.

First of all Faye, there has been no advancement since then in the scientific understanding of the origin of life, so I would advise you not to close out the space aliens option if you insist on avoiding a creator. Second of all, imagine how desperately puzzled these two great scientists must have been if they were forced to turn to “men from mars” for a solution. That is how desperately puzzled Origin of Life researchers are today.

Third of all – don’t take this personally – you are a real party-pooper. You just destroyed any rational foundation for the millions of dollars spent on the SETI project (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence).  Imagine the excitement if one the scientists monitoring the radio-telescope started receiving highly intelligent messages in Morse code from a distant galaxy. Finally, proof of intelligent life in another part of the universe! “Not so fast”, says Faye Flam the party- pooper. “What makes you think that the source of these radio signals is an intelligent being?”  The scientist explains that the probability of intelligible messages in Morse code being generated through an undirected process is so absurdly low that it need not be considered seriously. “It’s obviously from some sort of intelligent being!” he exclaims. Faye responds, “Can you prove that these intelligent beings actually exist?” The scientist stares back with a puzzled look on his face. “Faye,” he says, “The highly specified information in the messages is itself the proof of the existence of the intelligent beings who sent them.” Faye triumphantly proclaims, “Just because science has not yet discovered how intelligent Morse code messages can emerge through purely natural causes fully explainable within the laws of physics, does not mean we will not find the answer someday. After all science is a process. You sir, have fallen into the same philosophical trap which snared Crick and Orgel with their Directed Panspermia theory. It is the old Space Aliens of the Gaps fallacy!”

Higgs, Faye Flam's cat. Does this cute little tabby have secret information about the Atheistic Origin-of-Life-Messiah? If so, he seems to be keeping it to himself.

Faye, the molecular machinery of the simplest bacterium and the digitally encoded information system which directs and regulates its metabolic processes, protein production, and the astounding ability to self-replicate, makes our greatest technological achievements pale in comparison. I don’t need to prove intelligent design; the intelligent design in the bacterium screams in your face. The unbearably heavy burden is on you to prove that such functionally complex machinery and such an encyclopedic amount of specified information could be generated and assembled through an unguided process. I wish you luck. So far, the search for the Atheistic/Materialistic Origin of Life Messiah has met with absolute and utter failure. In my opinion, you, Dr. Szostak, Jerry Coyne, and others have fallen prey to the old philosophical trap called Science of the Gaps. Whenever the staggering level of functional complexity of the simplest life points to a creator, you immediately say: Science did it…..somehow.

Maybe it’s just a philosophical problem

Let’s try to find some common ground. At the very least, materialistic scientists should acknowledge the reasonable possibility of a Creator. At the very least, they have no business accusing someone like myself of being anti-science. Faye, are you aware that many prominent atheistic idealogues – like Dawkins, Hitchens, Rosenhouse, Coyne, and others – reject the idea of a creator, not on scientific grounds (they acknowledge that intuitively the notion of a creator makes sense for the origin of life), but rather on philosophical grounds; because of the dilemma of “who created the creator” or a variation on that theme? The aforementioned Dr. Eugene Koonin has a more creative answer: “[the multiverse theory] might suggest a way out of the origin of life conundrum because in an infinite multiverse…the emergence of highly complex systems by chance is not just possible, but inevitable.” (Phew, a narrow escape from the Creator!)

Dealing with the philosophical question of “who created the creator” is beyond the scope of this article. I happen to agree with the aforementioned atheists, the question of God the Creator (totally separate from the truth of any particular religious faith system), has nothing at all to do with science, it is a philosophical issue. However, it is worthwhile pointing out that scientific credentials and knowledge hold no weight at all in the philosophical arena. If that is our disagreement, then by all means, let’s have the discussion. But before we do, please go hang up your lab coat, put away your Bunsen burners and test tubes, and most of all, please tell your fellow non-believers to quit childishly and tauntingly waving the banner of SCIENCE in the face of believers when science is irrelevant to the question. Take care, Faye…and give my best to Higgs the cat.

References

  • Shapiro, Planetary Dreams by Dr. Robert Shapiro, pg. 26
  • Davies, The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life by Dr. Paul Davies, Pg. 93

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50 Comments

  • Averick,
    In brief moments of optimism I want to interpret your silence as a concession, a tacit acknowledgment that you’re just a simple conman unwilling and/or unable to address the serious deficiencies of magical creationist theology. But we all know this isn’t true. Intellectual cowards like yourself are almost always pathological and truly believe their own lies.

    I didn’t know who you were before coming across this latest article of yours but I found your musical ambitions fascinating. It made me wonder whether there was some commonality between failed artists like you and Hitler that engendered such ideological fanaticism. I wouldn’t want to speculate without knowing you better, but based on your comments so far, it’s fair to say that you share a detachment from reason and a similar commitment to mythological fantasies with the fuhrer. Perhaps if you were more successful artistically, you (and Hitler) may have found more productive outlets for imaginative fallacies like a supernatural creator (and aryan superiority).

    Please don’t misunderstand, Averick, I’m not implying that you have a genocidal disposition, that would be rude. But I am familiar with the general tendencies towards racism and misogyny within the jewish orthodox cult and wouldn’t put anything past you.

    Anyway, I know the fruitlessness of arguing with ideologues, but I just wouldn’t want you to think for a single second that your vile hatred of the pursuit of knowledge can or will go unchecked.

    • Jason:

      What a vile thing to say to any human being. That sort of talk has no place in any intellectual forum. I was reading discussion of ID of from various sources this evening, with great interest, glad to hear the cogent arguments from both sides. And to sense the intellectual honesty on both sides. And to learn. And then to come across your comments!

      There is room in this world for honest debate and anyone engaging in it deserves respect whether we agree or disagree. But there is no place for the hatred you expressed in your writing. And, while we should respectively tolerate the two sides of the ID debate, your statements should not go unchallenged by either side nor by those in the middle nor by those outside the debate.

      Look inside yourself and find out what is wrong. You cannot erase what has been said, but retraction and contrition are in order.

    • Jason how did you extrapolate all that from the article above? How can you acuse the Rabbi of a being a kin to Hitler? Hitler didn’t hate the Jews because of their religion as religious beliefs can sometimes be swayed over generations through certain protocols. He hated Jews because he thought them to to be genetically inferior, as it was the science of eugenics and ethnic cleansing that dominated his views. In spite of his Catholic and political pandering Hitler secretly despised Christianity, and we have many of his private letters to prove it. Even atheist friendly Wikipedia has an article concerning the evidence for his plans to destroy the church after the war.

      Night of 11th-12th July, 1941
      • “National Socialism and religion cannot exist together….
      • “The heaviest blow that ever struck humanity was the coming of Christianity. Bolshevism is  Christianity’s illegitimate child. Both are inventions of the Jew. The deliberate lie in the matter of religion was introduced into the world by Christianity….
      • “Let it not be said that Christianity brought man the life of the soul, for that evolution was in the natural order of things.” (p 6 & 7)

      10th October, 1941, midday
      • “Christianity is a rebellion against natural law, a protest against nature. Taken to its logical extreme, Christianity would mean the systematic cultivation of the human failure.” (p 43)

      If you want to speak about dangerous ideology then all one has to do is look at the atheist regimes that have existed in the past. During the French revolution they tried to de- Christianize France and even changed the name of the Tower of Noter Dame, to the Tower of reason. Then they went and slaughtered tens of thousands of Christians and clergy. Two hundred years later Stalin, Mao, Pot, Albania collectively slaughtered and persecuted tens of millions more, and all in the name of “science and reason” which was believed to be the foundation of Communism. Thats more than all the Crusades and inquisitions of the last 2 thousand years.

      In the end, it is not science that is the problem, as the modern science were actually developed, shaped and taught by theologians for the first few hundred years from Copernicus to Mendel. The problem is not religion and spirituality, and neither is the science. The real problem is the philosophy of fundamentalist scientism.

  • Rabbi Averick claims: ‘I have always asserted that the only “logical” basis for belief in a naturalistic origin of life is that it’s not “impossible,” meaning it cannot be DISPROVED.

    Well, your assertion is nonsense. In reality, the logical basis for the concept of the “naturalistic origin of life” is that LIFE EXISTS. To repeat the point for emphasis, the origin of life was natural because life exists in nature.

    Rabbi Averick further claims that: ‘There is of course no evidence at all that such an absurd thing could actually happen.

    To the contrary, the evidence that life exists IN nature, and therefore OF nature, is all around us. Open your eyes and mind.

  • “It’s also not IMPOSSIBLE that God created the world in 6 days 6000 years ago and made it look like it’s billions of years old.”

    Oops. Well, yes, that is IMPOSSIBLE.

    Nature cannot be manipulated by something “outside nature” — since there isn’t anything left over after after accounting for what’s “inside” nature.

  • So far, the total effort of everyone involved in “Origin of Life” research has FAILED to discover said origin — and nobody currently “has a clue” to precisely how life originated. There is nothing the least bit mysterious about this situation — and there certainly is absolutely no implication that the yet-to-be-discovered process is somehow, miraculously unnatural!

    There is no getting around the fact that Moshe’s “IDOL” is an impossibility.

    And the notion that scientists somehow have “faith in science and nature” is hopelessly bizarre. Faith is precisely the rejection of reason and reality, i.e., the stuff of science. So “faith in science” means “rejecting science,” which is just plain nonsense.

  • On the philosophic and scientific question of the origin of life:

    Scientists do not know exactly how life originated. But that is a separate question from what we DO know, viz., that the origin of life was perfectly natural regardless of how “improbable” anyone may have ever calculated it to be.

    We know that life exists — because here we are. We know that it was a perfectly natural process — because there is no possible alternative.

    To say that “the origin of life was 100% natural” is redundant — because there isn’t anything composed of less than 100% real, actual processes, ingredients, products, etc. (or more than 100%, either, for that matter).

    And to say that “the origin of life was designed” is to propound a contradiction — because design is a conscious process of actual living beings (and so could not happen prior to the existence of life).

    The possibility of a supernatural (“outside-the-universe“) “Creator” (or “Intelligent Designer”) is zero — or, to be even more precise absolute zero — nothing, not possible, etc. Evidence to the contrary not being there, naturally.

  • Sorry, I used blockquote tags in my comment of January 16, 2012 6:08 pm, which obviously didn’t work. Here it is with bolding instead:

    Imagine the excitement if one the scientists monitoring the radio-telescope started receiving highly intelligent messages in Morse code from a distant galaxy. Finally, proof of intelligent life in another part of the universe! “Not so fast”, says Faye Flam the party- pooper.

    No she doesn’t. Morse code is a symbolic code, and Faye knows that symbols are used by intelligent beings.

    “What makes you think that the source of these radio signals is an intelligent being?” The scientist explains that the probability of intelligible messages in Morse code being generated through an undirected process is so absurdly low that it need not be considered seriously.

    What an idiotic “analogy.” No one argues that things like symbols are “unlikely” to be generated by undirected processes, they simply know what does cause them.

    “It’s obviously from some sort of intelligent being!” he exclaims. Faye responds, “Can you prove that these intelligent beings actually exist?”</strong

    No she doesn’t, because she’s not stupid. She knows what produces symbols. And DNA information is not, so far as anyone knows, symbolic in the least, nor produced like anything that known intelligences produce de novo.

    The scientist stares back with a puzzled look on his face. “Faye,” he says, “The highly specified information in the messages is itself the proof of the existence of the intelligent beings who sent them.”

    Actually, SETI scientists don’t ape creationist prattle. They consider symbols and their proven source, rather than trying to obscure the issues as Moshe and other ID Creationists do.

    Faye triumphantly proclaims, “Just because science has not yet discovered how intelligent Morse code messages can emerge through purely natural causes

    How dumb can Moshe’s “analogies” become? Science has discovered how intelligent Morse code messages can occur through purely natural processes, namely by evolution producing humans and then one of them, Samuel Morse, symbolizing alphabetical symbolization of language by using a code.

    I don’t need to prove intelligent design;

    No, proof is a matter of liquor and mathematics. What you need is the slightest evidence for design of non-symbolic (as well as anyone can show) information in life. So far you have none of the marks of design that we find in human constructs, like rationality, forethought, and thinking beyond the mere mechanisms of evolution.

    the intelligent design in the bacterium screams in your face.

    Then why is evolution even an issue? Why did Stephen Meyer spend a long time trying to argue against abiogenesis, rather than just point to design in life? No one has to argue for the intelligence behind Indus Valley symbols (whether or not they actually are language), because it’s symbolization (among other things) that matters, not, gee, life is complex enough to function.

    The unbearably heavy burden is on you to prove that such functionally complex machinery and such an encyclopedic amount of specified information could be generated and assembled through an unguided process.

    Well, don’t worry, we have evolutionary predictions and their massive fulfillment throughout life. You have…nothing, except an undying need to create false analogies which ignore all that is known about evolution and all that is known about design, in order to pretend that they give the same results. They do not.

    And I know that you keep on pretending that it’s about the origin of life, not evolution, except that you keep on bringing up very evidently evolved organisms like bacteria.

    So far, the search for the Atheistic/Materialistic Origin of Life Messiah has met with absolute and utter failure.

    So far you have only false analogies with human creations, when life is really quite different from those, most notably in its thoroughly evolutionary relationships and derivations.

    In my opinion, you, Dr. Szostak, Jerry Coyne, and others have fallen prey to the old philosophical trap called Science of the Gaps.

    You teach philosophy? If you know anything about epistemology you know that’s a load of nonsense.

    Whenever the staggering level of functional complexity of the simplest life points to a creator, you immediately say: Science did it…..somehow.

    You’re so ranting away so unintelligently that you claim that we say that “Science did it…somehow,” when it is more than a tad evident that we look for causes using science. We’d be IDists if we credited life to “science did it,” since, unlike ID apologetics, science is an intelligent pursuit.

    • “I don’t need to prove intelligent design;”

      If you wish to believe in “Intelligent Design” without proof — which, naturally, is the only possible way to believe it — then certain you don’t need to try to prove it to yourself (or even to anybody else).

      If however, you are the type of person who wants to believe things which are capable of proof, then “Intelligent Design” cannot honestly appear on your list.

  • Imagine the excitement if one the scientists monitoring the radio-telescope started receiving highly intelligent messages in Morse code from a distant galaxy. Finally, proof of intelligent life in another part of the universe! “Not so fast”, says Faye Flam the party- pooper.

    No she doesn’t. Morse code is a symbolic code, and Faye knows that symbols are used by intelligent beings.

    “What makes you think that the source of these radio signals is an intelligent being?” The scientist explains that the probability of intelligible messages in Morse code being generated through an undirected process is so absurdly low that it need not be considered seriously.

    What an idiotic “analogy.” No one argues that things like symbols are “unlikely” to be generated by undirected processes, they simply know what does cause them.

    “It’s obviously from some sort of intelligent being!” he exclaims. Faye responds, “Can you prove that these intelligent beings actually exist?”

    No she doesn’t, because she’s not stupid. She knows what produces symbols. And DNA information is not, so far as anyone knows, symbolic in the least, nor produced like anything that known intelligences produce de novo.

    The scientist stares back with a puzzled look on his face. “Faye,” he says, “The highly specified information in the messages is itself the proof of the existence of the intelligent beings who sent them.”

    Actually, SETI scientists don’t ape creationist prattle. They consider symbols and their proven source, rather than trying to obscure the issues as Moshe and other ID Creationists do.

    Faye triumphantly proclaims, “Just because science has not yet discovered how intelligent Morse code messages can emerge through purely natural causes

    How dumb can Moshe’s “analogies” become? Science has discovered how intelligent Morse code messages can occur through purely natural processes, namely by evolution producing humans and then one of them, Samuel Morse, symbolizing alphabetical symbolization of language by using a code.

    I don’t need to prove intelligent design;

    No, proof is a matter of liquor and mathematics. What you need is the slightest evidence for design of non-symbolic (so far as anyone can show) information in life. So far you have none of the marks of design that we find in human constructs, like rationality, forethought, and thinking beyond the mere mechanisms of evolution.

    the intelligent design in the bacterium screams in your face.

    Then why is evolution even an issue? Why did Stephen Meyer spend a long time trying to argue against abiogenesis, rather than just point to design in life? No one has to argue for the intelligence behind Indus Valley symbols (whether or not they actually are language), because it’s symbolization (among other things) which matters, not, gee, life is complex enough to function.

    The unbearably heavy burden is on you to prove that such functionally complex machinery and such an encyclopedic amount of specified information could be generated and assembled through an unguided process.

    Well, don’t worry, we have evolutionary predictions and their massive fulfillment throughout life. You have…nothing, except an undying need to create false analogies which ignore all that is known about evolution and all that is known about design, in order to pretend that they give the same results. They do not.

    And I know that you keep on pretending that it’s about the origin of life, not evolution, except that you keep on bringing up very evidently evolved organisms like bacteria.

    So far, the search for the Atheistic/Materialistic Origin of Life Messiah has met with absolute and utter failure.

    So far you have only false analogies with human creations, when life is really quite different from those, most notably in its thoroughly evolutionary relationships and derivations.

    In my opinion, you, Dr. Szostak, Jerry Coyne, and others have fallen prey to the old philosophical trap called Science of the Gaps.

    You teach philosophy? If you know anything about epistemology you know that’s a load of nonsense.

    Whenever the staggering level of functional complexity of the simplest life points to a creator, you immediately say: Science did it…..somehow.

    You’re so ranting away so unintelligently that you claim that we say that “Science did it…somehow,” when it is more than a tad evident that we look for causes using science. We’d be IDists if we credited life to “science did it,” since, unlike ID apologetics, science is an intelligent pursuit.

  • I thought the comparison to SETI was good. Science does have to begin with the assumption that life originated randomly. Even those who discard that assumption must begin with it. Problems occur when scientists take that as a premise- a given, when it should be a hypothesis- i.e. a maybe. To subscribe to the theory of intelligent design says nothing about who- or Who did the designing, or whether we should live by that one’s law or whether we were created as some kind of performance art. That is a separate issue. One can accept intelligent design and still be non-religious.

    • Dear Lemon,
      It’s a pleasure to read a very well though out rational comment on this site. You are correct, ID does not necessarily tell you exactly who the designer/creator is other than that they are “outside” of the material universe and that they “wanted” life to be. From origin of life we don’t know much more than that. It’s a point I’ve made over and over again in my responses to commenters and I repeat it many times in the book. If we are going to talk about a creator who relates to us personally, we are going to need other data.

      • ‘More on Moshe’s “IDOL” (“Intelligent Designer Of Life”) theory: “ID does not necessarily tell you exactly who the designer/creator is other than that they are “outside” of the material universe …

        In other words, such a “designer/creator” is simply imaginary and not at all real, not even a little bit.

        The philosophically (since science doesn’t bother with such goofiness) the notion of “outside the material universe” represents nowhere, nothing, a void, non-existence, zero, zilch, the “null hypothesis,” well, you should get the idea.

    • “One can accept intelligent design and still be non-religious.”

      Unfortunately intelligent design “theory” falls well outside the scope of science becasue it is untestable and non-falsifiable. This is precisely the reason why it’s proponents ARE religious. It is faith-based idea, dependent on a source of magic and disingenuous to categorize it among the competing theories within origins science.

      And as in love Averick is with his SETI analogy, Dr. Szostak’s (and his colleagues’) attempt understand and and describe the emergence of simple proto-cells, has nothing to do with complex bacterial life, never mind detecting DIRECTED communication. Although it is far better to read the material for oneself, these scientists are not attempting to create the kinds of complicated cellular structures we observe in nature today or even in the earliest fossil record.

      They are looking to understand a form of life far far more simple (the basic structures of self-replication and mutation) that may have existed more than a billion years before even the earliest bacterial fossil we’ve found to date. This is NOT the sort of life that Averick confuses with that which “appears” to be designed. And regardless of the absolutely criminal lies disseminated by Averick and other salesmen of superstition, these scientists have PROVEN that early forms of cell walls (a requisite of life) have the ability to spontaneously emerge and various forms of simple genetic molecules (life’s “code”) also have self-replicating properties.

      This avenue of research is absolutely new and for many obvious reasons, the records of these early proto-life forms no longer exist. This is only to say that the process is difficult but again, despite Averick’s lies, much progress has been made in understanding how this process might have happened. Curiosity is all one needs to be amazed and inspired by new discoveries and challenges these men and women face.

      To put a time table on their work (although seductive) is counter-productive. Various mythologies, thousands of years in the making, have yet to provide ANY evidence of supernatural origins (and the complexity of an existing bacterial cell is NOT evidence).

      Averick, you sanctimoniously delight in civil discourse and comments that don’t call you to task for your willful disinformation, but your contempt for progress and knowledge is a far more disgraceful and hostile attack on dignity than anything I could ever muster.

      • @Kevin:
        Unfortunately intelligent design “theory” falls well outside the scope of science becasue it is untestable and non-falsifiable.

        I’ve got to disagree with you there. The claims of ID are not simply that there’s some non-material intelligence, and that it designed life. Importantly, there’s an additional claim that as well as existing and designing, this non-material intelligence IMPLEMENTED THAT DESIGN IN OUR UNIVERSE. It made the atoms move in ways contrary to this universe’s usual laws until they went where the intelligence wanted them and formed a lifeform. That atoms can move in ways contrary to the laws of physics is a testable and falsifiable claim. Not only that, it’s a claim that’s been tested, and falsified to an extent that giving it even the slightest credibility is irrational and unreasonable. One can include it in fiction or mythology, for sure, but one cant credibly claim it as a truth, or use it as the basis for a scientific theory, because its been shown to be false.

        Of course even if the naturalistic mechanism of abiogenesis were discovered tomorrow, Moshe and his ilk would still claim that God designed that mechanism, much as many theists do today with evolution. Now that’s an unfalsifiable claim, and that’s why it’s much beloved of theists.

      • Thats @Jason, not @Kevin. Apologies.

  • Kevin Bjornson

    The burden of proof rests with the person making the assertion.
    Humanists don’t have to prove there is no “God”. Clever humanists
    don’t fall into the philosophical trap of nihilistic atheism.
    One cannot deny what one cannot talk about. Humans do not have
    the power to talk about the supernatural, because all known means
    of human communication are humanistic and not supernatural.

    Nice try, Moshe; you are clever but not a full-fledged humanist.
    Time for true scientists to reject nihilism, and simply ask religionists
    to explain what they are talking about. In short order, we would
    see they are talking nonsense and are not really communicating.

  • OK Moshe, you’re certain that life arose from a supernatural act of creation, and you have watertight arguments that back up your hypothesis.

    So why haven’t you presented this stupendously significant body of work, gleaned over many years of diligent study, to the Nobel Committee? The prize would be welcome to an attention-seeker like yourself, surely, and it would once and for all silence your critics who, because they are just too dim to follow your superior reasoning, keep failing to understand the products of your brilliance.

    I’m sure you can demonstrate evidence of how an intelligent supernatural entity outside our universe caused atoms within our universe to arrange themselves into a bacterium, guiding the movement of those atoms without a material presence in our universe. Surely, if asked, your answer to how this happened, and how we know this happened isn’t: “I haven’t a clue”. Because that would be sort of embarrassing, wouldn’t it?

    Theists, even just those of your particular flavour, have had thousands of years to make progress on answering those questions. Tell me Moshe, how much progress they’ve made in the last 10 years. Or the last 60? Or the last 250? Or the last 2000?

  • Adams Bible Studies

    To Mr. Averick: Please consider that the length of time for the six “days” of creation of the earth et al., judging by the time given in the Bible for the seventh “day”, which day man has as its history, shows to be about 6000 + 1000 years. Going back the six “days” at 7000 years each, = 42,000 yrs.
    Plenty time for an intelligent and guided development of earth preparatory for man’s existence forthwith. Trying to stick with literal 24 hour creative days, not only flies in the face of the layers and deposits of the earth over long periods of time, but gives derisive elements room to ridicule. This understanding has been around for over 125 years, and doesn’t originate from me. Thank you for the privilege of commenting.

    • So your god is so stupid that when it said a day it really meant a whole bunch of days?

      Why take any time at all? Your god is all powerful right? Why not just one moment there is nothing and then there is everything?

      Oh, and why did your god rest on the 7th day? Why would an all powerful being need to rest? I need to rest because I’m biological and mortal; my cells need to heal and my brain needs to cool down.

      Very little god business ever makes much sense.

      I know, I know, the Bible / Torah says it’s true and that anyone who says otherwise is an idiot.

      Circular reasoning, you’re doing it!

    • Because saying creation took place over 42,000 years is sooooo much more plausible, right?

      The question though, is why Biblical apologists only make this claim about what “days” means for creation. For the great flood, which supposedly lasted 40 days according to Genesis – the same book that describes creation, they’re not whipping out the calculators and saying Noah and the animals lived on the ark for 280,000 years. Because that would be ridiculous, right?

    • I for one am curious Averick, Mr. Studies here with the rigorous math skill illustrates an important point. How DO you reconcile your studious veneer with the vapidity of your compatriots? I mean, you must have to listen to this kind of garbage day in and day out, right?

  • Adams Bible Studies

    To Salvage and Jason, The Bible is once again right, Psa. 53:1″ The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good. [Not my words.]
    and,Ecc 5:3 For a dream cometh through the multitude of business; and a fool’s voice is known by multitude of words.
    and, Ecc 10:12 The words of a wise man’s mouth are gracious; but the lips of a fool will swallow up himself.
    Science seems to exclude or ignore what is taking place in the world today, that we are in a world-wide time of trouble correctly prophesied by the Bible. The outcome of which will put all disbelievers & poopoo-ers to shame. Science truly does investigate. Investigating the Bible and applying it to man’s existence is scientific. And the Bible is found to correspond to man’s history and to his current experience, and to his coming experiences. Allowing disbelievers to spout-off, in no way alters the plan set forth in the Bible. The Bible is a communication to us that we should expect of an invisible creative intelligence.
    Your words will cease, but the Bible continues to exist, and attempts to destroy it have all failed. And what’s written in the Bible will ultimately prove atheistic scientists to be failures.
    Until that happens, don’t call the Intelligent Creator a monster, its offensive, and it reflects back on you.

    • This prophesy stuff sounds really interesting, never heard a fanatic talk about the “troubled times” in which we live before. Good luck with all that. Looking forward to being put to shame.

    • And furthermore, not calling an imaginary monster an imaginary monster makes it no less of an imaginary monster. And I will gladly bathe in the reflection of that very simple truth.

    • >world-wide time of trouble

      Actually we are living in a golden age, there has never been a time in human history where so many have prospered and lived in peace.

      Sure there are still troubled areas but ironically those places are rife with theism. The less religion a nation has the better its doing.

      >And what’s written in the Bible will ultimately prove atheistic scientists to be failures.

      Yeah, I’m pretty sure that the Bible never cured a disease, walked on the Moon, split an atom, sent a neutrino hurtling (maybe) faster than light-speed or done anything of any value.

      Like your computer? That’s science boy, your stupid Bible didn’t even get Pi right.

  • If it is true that the confidence one has in one’s position is inversely related to the ugliness of their rhetoric then I think it safe to say that Jason and Salvage have absolutely no confidence in their position at all.

    They sound like two teenagers.

    I also think it ironic that in the course of his splenetic commentary Jason frequently resorts to moral categories and language. Where does this come from? How, on naturalism, can anything be “evil” or “morally corrupt”? If naturalism is true then morality is just an illusion.

    • “If it is true that the confidence one has in one’s position is inversely related to the ugliness of their rhetoric then…”

      Yeah Rich, I’m going to go off on a limb here and say that it’s not true (although words like “true” and “untrue” are about as important to a magical thinker as radio carbon dating.)

      And another thing, Rich, I’m unconvinced you have the faintest idea what irony is, never mind an ability to accept the obvious fact that we have yet to understand all the underpinnings of morality. The remarkable skill of the superstitious mind, though, is it’s limitless ability to attribute all things for which we are uncertain to monsters. The comfort of certainty is nothing less than pitiful.

      And even though the roots of morality are still unknown, irony has nothing to do with the moral repugnance of charlatans like Averick, who lie and mislead to protect their crumbling and pathetic superstitions. Illusory or not, I for one would rather live in a world where this perniciousness is not tolerated.

      And let me tell you something else, Rich, about ugly rhetoric. Because no matter how hostile I am to you, Averick and your unfortunate kind, the tumor that is fed by your subservience to magic is far uglier and infinitely more sinister.

    • If naturalism is true then morality is just an illusion.

      Hardly.

      Since “naturalism is true,” i.e., since reality is real, then the proper morality is one based on the nature of human life.

      In the context of this discussion, it it the supernaturalistic “IDOL” that is the illusion. (I think that has been referred to as “the confused and illusory world of the theist.”)

  • >I am seriously starting to question your sanity.

    IMAX; only a slightly larger projector than Rabbi Moshe.

    You think the supernatural is real, that’s something often found in crazy people.

  • Mr. Averick,
    For whatever emotional/psychological/historical reasons that you have so blindly held onto a conception of a universe so distortedly simplistic, your accusations are as criminal as they are ignorant.

    -”This rejection [of supernatural origins of life] is not based on evidence or reason.”

    NOT TRUE. ALL evidence points towards naturalist origins. We have a fairly good understanding of the mechanics behind biological evolution and the arrow points towards a transition from chemistry to biology, NOT towards an invisible monster (only a simple mind confuses the complexity of early biology with proof of said monster.) The burden of proof is something that every scientist willingly takes on as part of their research, unlike the cowards who toil under ancient texts and unprovable convictions. This is NOT faith, it’s called work.

    -”Everyone agrees that the simplest living bacterium – which is functionally complex beyond comprehension – looks like it was designed and created by an intelligent creator.”
    THIS IS A LIE (unworthy of response)

    -”Everyone agrees that it is virtually impossible to imagine how it could have happened through an undirected process.”
    THIS IS A LIE (proven by the number of people toiling in the field)

    -”Everyone agrees that no one has any idea how it actually did happen.”
    THIS IS MISLEADING AT BEST, theories abound that are being TESTED daily.

    -”First of all Faye, there has been no advancement since then in the scientific understanding of the origin of life”

    Again, Averick, this is a lie. The field has advanced enormously in the past 5-10 years alone, never mind the mere 60 in which it has even existed in the laboratory. While the superstitious among us have had thousands of years to refine their non-proofs, people like Dr. Szostak, Dr. Joyce and Dr. Sutherland have provided new evidence of that simple organic chemicals have various abilities to self-assemble and self-replicate. This is not yet what any scientist would call “life” but it is what any human being would call progress.

    -”so I would advise you not to close out the space aliens option if you insist on avoiding a creator. Second of all, imagine how desperately puzzled these two great scientists must have been if they were forced to turn to “men from mars” for a solution. That is how desperately puzzled Origin of Life researchers are today.”

    Whether life’s origins took place here or extra-terrestrially, this is called science, not desperation. It is the reason why we send rovers to other planets and the reason why our knowledge of the universe continues to expand rather than contract.

    My main objection to your hypocrisy, though, is the way in which you disguise malignant adherence to base superstitions as reasonable avenues for scientific exploration. And even more, the refusal to consider such a ridiculous proposition (why doesn’t anyone prove that supernatural forces were behind life’s origins?) is to you “anti-scientific.” The supernatural, BY DEFINITION is un-testable and inherently anti-scientific. Science is in large part based on curiosity, and more than anything you prove that people who lack curiosity, also lack any understanding of science’s basic methods and means. Despite your best wishes, the origins field continues to grow and progress and as someone else commented, as soon as a viable explanation is provided (in 5 or 50 years) I predict that you and your ilk will invariably push the argument further back. This is called a testable hypothesis.

    The history of science shows nothing more convincingly than the insistence of the religious to stand on the wrong side of scientific progress. It is also my hypothesis that the same part of the religious brain that turns off critical faculties is responsible for the inability to see this fact.

    Your bile, misinformation and willful ignorance is offensive. The superstitious have no business preaching this nonsense and lack the moral base to understand how damaging it is to humanity.

    Yours in hostility,
    Jason

    • moshe averick

      Jason,

      If so much progress has been made why did Dr. Koonin write in 2011 that Origin of Life research is a “failure”
      Why did Dr. Paul Davies say that science “hasn’t a clue” how life began. I think your blind faith in science is much more harmful than anything that I have written. Read Jerry Coyne’s response to the Origin of Life enigma and you’ll understand how hopeless the situation is.
      See my article “An Open Letter to Dr. Jerry Coyne” on this site.

      • Averick,
        I’m willing to say something your kind refuses to, I don’t know. I do know, though, that failure is an integral part to the fluid nature of the scientific method. It is only through failing to understand or prove one method or path that scientists continue to find others. This is the mutable nature of progress.

        The gall with which you so causally project your faith on others, though, is perhaps the most pernicious side-effects of your superstitious knee-jerk (I hesitate to use the word) thinking. It is precisely your faith that blinds you from understanding those who lack it. You conflate process with dogma, progress with conviction and an attempt to understand the world with a certainty of how the world works. Your faith in an un-provable superstition is incompatible with the scientific method. For those of us that use the scientific method as a instrument, though, faith is nothing but a vestigial organ, a useless appendix for the weak and ill-informed. Your need to project faith on those working towards knowledge is only further evidence that you know nothing of how science works and care nothing for advancing our collective understanding of the universe. And in a fruitless attempt to clarify this, the scientific method, IS NOT a belief system, it is a process that has rendered and continues to render evidence, the precise thing that faith refuses to require. You are in no uncertain terms morally corrupt for your insistence to attribute this disgusting vestige of human history on the those who refuse it’s cowardly seductions.

        Please, continue to bet against, nay say, and malign the work of the best and brightest that the world offers. Magical thinking has never lead to better understandings of nature and it is not a matter of faith to say that it never will. You stand on the shoulders of parasites that came before you.

        • >You stand on the shoulders of parasites that came before you.

          New entry in the list of Things I Wish I Had Said and Will Steal.

        • Jason,

          You say “you don’t know”. I’ve been studying this subject intensely for several years now and I say “I do know.” The reason that Origin of Life research is a failure, and the reason it has gone nowhere in nearly 70 years is because it was doomed from the start. You can disagree but the proof is in the pudding. I predict it will continue to go nowhere, and once an individual is prepared to admit that the notion itself is as outrageously improbable as the Morse code messages from outer space being the result of natural processes, then the answer to the “conundrum” (Koonin’s description) becomes kind of obvious. Your fury really is not necessary.

          • >I’ve been studying this subject intensely for several years now

            Another lie.

          • How dare you speak of my “fury”? You have mislead, lied and made accusations about faith (to which you have responded to none).

            I don’t know why Dr. Koonin gave you such a hyperbolic sound bite, but I too am very familiar with the field and the enormous progress made daily. It is lovely, though, how those very words “I don’t know” are so antithetical your your world view that they cannot be used without the blatantly false assurance that YOU DO KNOW in response. These are the tools of the charlatan. No Averick, not only DON’T you know, like everyone else in this boat right now, you CAN’T.

            And why anyway should anyone trust your years of “study,” your predictions or misinformed evaluations? You’ve proven to be contemptuous (at best) but more likely completely ignorant of the ways of science. You come to the subject with a life-long belief in magic and a clear dog in the fight (presumably you make a living from hocking superstitions). You are as un-objective a participant as they come. The sad truth is that troglodytes like you don’t want to understand the origins of life and masquerade your contempt for knowledge with lies.

            The evidence of your faith-based bias is found in phrases like “Doomed from the start” and proof in the proverbial pudding. That’s just not the way it works. Disagree with what, the search for truth in the face of ignorance? The distillation of your message is “quit seeking knowledge and succumb for your efforts are fruitless.” This is evil.

            We have existed for millions of years under the oppression of ignorance. A mere seventy, one-hundred or one-thousand years is nothing to dedicate to understanding the origins of life. Zealots like you continue to dissuade curious minds from pursuing this knowledge and no amount of fury is enough to combat it.

      • >Dr. Koonin write in 2011 that Origin of Life research is a “failure”

        Wow.

        One guy said that?

        Well he must be right! It’s not like there are thousands upon thousands of others who say something else!

        See Mushe, what you’re doing here and what you often do is sift through other people’s arguments until you find the ones that supports yours. You then throw that up on a pedestal and declare victory while ignoring all the others that say otherwise.

        See this is one of the many dishonest things you do here.

        No one has cracked the origin of life but to say that there hasn’t been progress in X amount of years? That’s a lie, an outright lie and you are a liar.

        Do you kiss your Torah with your lying mouth?

      • So far, the total effort of everyone involved in “Origin of Life” research has FAILED to discover said origin — and nobody currently “has a clue” to precisely how life originated. There is nothing the least bit mysterious about this situation — and there certainly is absolutely no implication that the yet-to-be-discovered process is somehow, miraculously unnatural!

        There is no getting around the fact that Moshe’s “IDOL” is an impossibility.

        And the notion that scientists somehow have “faith in science and nature” is hopelessly bizarre. Faith is precisely the rejection of reason and reality, i.e., the stuff of science. So “faith in science” means “rejecting science,” which is just plain nonsense.

  • Moshe,
    You win the civility wars. You discreetly didn’t mention all the other things Faye Flam writes about, such as her recent book. Because if you did, it would be clear what motivates Ms Flam’s position.

  • Adams Bible Studies

    Faye Flam is a lovely example of the complex human anatomy in which all parts must be there simultaneously to function as a human being. Correspondingly, propagation takes two such beings with different anatomies. This speaks louder than the complexity of any bacterium toward specific planning and guiding, and away from unguided and unplanned mutations. Through much of the animal kingdom, it takes two to make more. Mutations would never be so thoughtful.
    Evolutionists remind me of the episode in 1 Kgs 18:22-39.
    And their god(?)can never provide the answers they seek nor ever be real(ized). They are like futility worshiping an image of stone that can’t see, speak, or hear, it’s dumb. Thanks for your article above. The professors you quoted, perhaps, because in order to keep their accreditation to maintain grants, etc. they must continue to profess that belief, yet, they are coming close to telling us they really believe that ID is the ultimate answer. Do I give them too much credit? Perhaps.

    • moshe averick

      Salvage,

      Thank you for this link, it is a powerful support for my position. I have always asserted that the only “logical” basis for belief in a naturalistic origin of life is that it’s not “impossible,” meaning it cannot be DISPROVED. There is of course no evidence at all that such an absurd thing could actually happen.

      Dr. Frank Sonleitner of the NCSE: ” Modern ideas about the emergence of living things from non-living components ….may not have yet come anywhere near answering all our questions about the process, but…none of this research has indicated that abiogenesis is IMPOSSIBLE.”

      Atheist Mark Isaak, author of The CounterCreationist Handbook: ” Nobody denies that Origin of Life is an extremely difficult problem, that it has not been solved though, does not mean it is IMPOSSIBLE.”

      Dr. Paul Davies and Francis Crick say the same thing.

      The greatest indicator of how completely clueless scientists are about discovering a naturalistic origin of life is the fact that an evolutionary zealot like Frank Sonleitner of the NCSE has nothing more substantial to offer than that it is not “IMPOSSIBLE.”

      It’s also not IMPOSSIBLE that God created the world in 6 days 6000 years ago and made it look like it’s billions of years old.

      • Once again Mushe; for the last 10,000 years theists have been instilling natural phenomenon are the works of gods. The sun was Apollo or Ra or whatever and as humanity’s use of science increased the gods were stripped away. The sun is a common ball of hydrogen being fused by gravity and not a being driving a charriet.

        What you are doing here is simpy pushing your god our of the known and into the unknown. If science were to announce today that they have found the indisputable answer to the origin of life showing it to be as natural as the photons from the star that we orbit you would shrug and shove your god into the next mystery insisting that gap was proof.

        No matter what science does you will always sniff that your god is above it.

        As for your god making creation in 6,000 years and making it look like it was done in billions? Well that makes your god a trickster who enjoys sowing confusion and dissent within its creation to encourage further conflict. That would explain all the different sect that worship it. Does your god get off on war? I know the Torah makes it pretty clear that it does so I guess so.

        Oh and why am I not shocked that even Harry Potter breaking the argument down to tween level still whooshes over your head? Liar or ignorant that’s the real mystery here.

      • Rabbi Averick claims: ‘I have always asserted that the only “logical” basis for belief in a naturalistic origin of life is that it’s not “impossible,” meaning it cannot be DISPROVED.

        Well, your assertion is nonsense. In reality, the logical basis for the concept of the “naturalistic origin of life” is that life exists. To repeat the point for emphasis, the origin of life was natural because life exist in nature.

        Rabbi Averick further claims that: ‘There is of course no evidence at all that such an absurd thing could actually happen.

        To the contrary, the evidence that life exists IN nature, and therefore OF nature, is all around us. Open your eyes and mind.

      • “It’s also not IMPOSSIBLE that God created the world in 6 days 6000 years ago and made it look like it’s billions of years old.”

        Oops. Yes, that is IMPOSSIBLE.

        Nature cannot be manipulated by something “outside nature” — since there isn’t anything left over after after accounting for what’s “inside” nature.

  • Materialistic scientists should acknowledge the reasonable possibility of a dragon.

    Materialistic scientists should acknowledge the reasonable possibility of a tea pot orbiting around Mars.

    Materialistic scientists should acknowledge the reasonable possibility of astrology being accurate.

    Materialistic scientists should acknowledge the reasonable possibility of a lost world of dinosaurs at the center of the Earth.

    And so on.

    Scientists worthy of the name acknowledge the reasonable possibility of many things, magic however is not one of them.

    >First of all Faye, there has been no advancement since then in the scientific understanding of the origin of life,

    Are you a liar or ignorant?

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    NBA Superstar LeBron James Says He Wants to Visit Israel

    Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James expressed interest in visiting Israel someday, local news site Cleveland.com reported on Sunday. Speaking to Israeli reporters before the Cleveland Cavaliers’ preseason debut against Maccabi Tel Aviv, the NBA star said he had never visited the Jewish state but “I want to look forward to going there if I get an opportunity to.” When asked by an Israeli reporter if there was “any chance that LeBron James and Cleveland comes to Tel Aviv,” the athlete said [...]

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  • Sports US & Canada Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    Florida Rabbi Dominates Former Basketball Star Congressman in Hoops Showdown (VIDEO)

    A Florida-based Chabad rabbi put former basketball star, U.S. Congressman Curt Clawson to shame on the court when the two faced off one-on-one recently. A YouTube video, posted online on Tuesday, shows Rabbi Fishel Zaklos of Chabad of Naples shooting hoops with the Florida politician, who played basketball in high school and at Purdue University in Indiana. The game took place in the parking lot of the Chabad Jewish center run by Zaklos. During the 1-minute clip, Zaklos scores two impressive [...]

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  • Sports US & Canada David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    David Blatt’s Cleveland Cavaliers Rout Maccabi Tel Aviv, 107-80

    JNS.org – Less than five months after leading Maccabi Tel Aviv to its sixth European basketball title, David Blatt, now the head coach of the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, routed his former team in an exhibition game on Sunday, with the Cavaliers dominating Maccabi 107-80 at the Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland. The 20,562 fans in attendance witnessed Lebron James’s first appearance in a Cavaliers uniform since he left the club in free agency for the Miami Heat four years ago. [...]

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