- life is meaningless without god to give us purpose.
- Darwin is wrong because evolution does not account for the origin of life.
There is nothing new to see here. We all know that life's purpose is what you choose for it to be. And the theory of evolution does not pretend to describe the origin of live. Not that the origin of life is a fruitless area of study. These standard talking points were accompanied by the usual anti-intellectual lies. As we learn more the theory of evolution is weakened. Louis Pasture proved that life cannot originate from non-life. These are either the result of willful ignorance or deliberate prevarication.
The thing that bothered me the most was a quote from George Wald. The only place I could find the quote online was from conservapedia. Which means authenticity is questionable.
When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility...Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion -- that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God...I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution." - Scientific American, August, 1954.
Assuming this is even an accurate quote, and I have my doubts since Wald has been quote mined in other fora. There are even several permutations of the quote sourced to the same article in Scientific American in on the conservapedia page. That is enough to convince me that some one has messed with Wald's words. This could ultimately be resolved by looking up the article. But as I said in my last post, one man's opinion is inconsequential to the theory of evolution. It doesn't matter if he won the 1967 Nobel Prize for Medicine. But just to give Wald the benefit of the doubt, the article he wrote for Scientific American in 1954 also includes this passage:
In other words the common conception of what is impossible is different from what can be understood scientifically. Based on this quote it would seem that Wald is not arguing for life originating spontaneously despite the evidence, but that the fact that there is life means that it must have happened at least once.
When one has no means of estimating the probability beforehand, it must be determined by counting the fraction of successes in a large number of trials.
Our everyday concept of what is impossible, possible or certain derives from our experience: the number of trials that may be encompassed within the space of a human lifetime, or at most within recorded human history. In this colloquial, practical sense I concede the spontaneous origin of life to be "impossible." It is impossible as we judge events in the scale of human experience.
We shall see that this is not a very meaningful concession; For one thing, the time with which our problem is concerned is geological time, and the whole extent of human history is trivial in the balance.