Thursday, October 29, 2009

Summary of meeting last Saturday (part 2)

One of the things I like to do, in order to impress upon people the legitimacy of some of the claims I make, is to quote non-theistic scientists. This time, Paul Davies, an agnostic theoretical physicist (who incidentally is quite interested in asking life's big questions) provides two powerful quotes regarding the origin of life. Both are from his book, "The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life":
When I set out to write this book, I was convinced that science was close to wrapping up the mystery of life's origin...Having spend a year or two researching the field, I am now of the opinion that there remains a huge gulf in our understanding...This gulf's not merely ignorance about certain technical details, it is a major conceptual lacuna.
He goes on to say:
Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit that they are baffled. There are two reasons for their unease. First they feel it opens the door to religious fundamentalists...Second, they worry that a frank admission of ignorance will undermine funding...
So, the moral of the story (for now) is that the origin of life is hard.