"The "warm little pond" scenario was invented ad hoc to serve as a materialistic reductionist explanation of the origin of life. It is unsupported by any other evidence and it will remain ad hoc until such evidence is found. Even if it existed, as described in the scenario, it nevertheless falls very far short indeed of achieving the purpose of its authors even with the aid of a deus ex machina. One must conclude that, contrary to the established and current wisdom a scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written. (Yockey, Hubert P.[Physicist, Army Pulse Radiation Facility, Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland, USA], "A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by Information Theory," Journal of Theoretical Biology, Vol. 67, 1977, p.396)[top]
"It is no easy matter to deal with so deeply ingrained and common-sense a belief as that in spontaneous generation. One can ask for nothing better in such a pass than a noisy and stubborn opponent, and this Pasteur had in the naturalist Felix Pouchet, whose arguments before the French Academy of Sciences drove Pasteur to more and more rigorous experiments. When he had finished, nothing remained of the belief in spontaneous generation. We tell this story to beginning students of biology as though it represents a triumph of reason over mysticism. In fact it is very nearly the opposite. The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. For this reason many scientists a century ago chose to regard the belief in spontaneous generation as a "philosophical necessity." It is a symptom of the philosophical poverty of our time that this necessity is no longer appreciated. Most modern biologists, having reviewed with satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left with nothing." (Wald, George [Harvard biochemist, Nobel Prizewinner, 1967], "The origin of life," Scientific American, Vol. 191, No. 2, August 1954, pp.45-53, pp.45-46)[top]
"Once it was clearly established that spontaneous generation did not take place and that all life (as far as human beings were able to observe) came from previous life, it became very difficult to decide how life originated on Earth-or on any other planet. ... the defeat of spontaneous generation and the new suggestion that life came only from previous life, which came only from still earlier life and so on in an endless chain, made it seem that the original forms of life couldn't possibly have arisen save through some miraculous event. In that case, even if habitable planets were as plentiful as the stars themselves, Earth might yet be the only one that bore life." (Asimov, Isaac [biochemist and science writer], "Extraterrestrial Civilizations," Crown: New York NY, 1979, p.153-154)[top]
"...chance has no power to do anything because it simply is not anything. It has no power because it has no being...Chance is not an entity. It is not a thing that has power to affect other things. It is no thing. To be more precise, it is nothing. Nothing cannot do something. Nothing is not. It has no `isness.' Chance has no isness. I was technically incorrect even to say that chance is nothing. Better to say that chance is not. What are the chances that chance can do anything? Not a chance. It has no more chance to do something than nothing has to do something." (Sproul, Robert C.* [Chair of Systematic Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Orlando, USA], "Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology," Baker: Grand Rapids MI, 1994, p.6).[top]
"A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe. (Hoyle, Fred [late mathematician, physicist and Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University], "The Intelligent Universe," Michael Joseph: London, 1983, p.19).[top]
"At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cube faces at random. Now imagine 1050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form. You then have the chance of arriving by random shuffling of just one of the many biopolymers on which life depends. The notion that not only the biopolymers but the operating programme of a living cell could be arrived at by chance in a primordial organic soup here on the Earth is evidently nonsense of a high order. (Hoyle, Fred [late mathematician, physicist and Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University], "The Big Bang in Astronomy," New Scientist, 19 November 1981, pp.521-527, p.527. Emphasis Hoyle's).[top]
"This generalized proposition-that processes of chance and natural law led to living organisms emerging on Earth from the relatively simple organic molecules in 'primordial soups'-is valid only if there is a finite probability of the correct assembly of molecules occurring within the time-scale envisaged. Here there is another great problem. In the above example for a relatively small protein of 100 amino acids, selection of this correct sequence had to be made by chance from 10130 alternative choices. The operation of pure chance would mean that within a maximum of about 500 million years (or somewhat less), the organic molecules in the 'primordial soup' might have to undergo 10130 trial assemblies to hit on the correct sequence. The probability of such a chance occurrence leading to the formation of one of the smallest protein molecules is unimaginably small. Within the boundary conditions of time and space which we are considering, it is effectively zero." (Brooks, Jim [geochemist, former Vice-President, Geological Society]., "Origins of Life," Lion: Tring, Hertfordshire UK, 1985, pp.84-85).[top]
"To press the matter further, if there were a basic principle of matter which somehow drove organic systems toward life, its existence should easily be demonstrable in the laboratory. One could, for instance, take a swimming bath to represent the primordial soup. Fill it with any chemicals of a non- biological nature you please. Pump any gases over it, or through it, you please, and shine any kind of radiation on it that takes your fancy. Let the experiment proceed for a year and see how many of those 2,000 enzymes have appeared in the bath. I will give the answer, and so save the time and trouble and expense of actually doing the experiment. You would find nothing at all, except possibly for a tarry sludge composed of amino acids and other simple organic chemicals. How can I be so confident of this statement? Well, if it were otherwise, the experiment would long since have been done and would be well known and famous throughout the world. The cost of it would be trivial compared to the cost of landing a man on the Moon. ... In short here is not a shred of objective evidence to support the hypothesis hat life began in an organic soup here on Earth." (Hoyle, Fred [late mathematician, physicist and Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University], "The Intelligent Universe", Michael Joseph: London, 1983, pp.20-21, 23).[top]
"But let us have no illusions. If today we look into the situations where the analogy with the life sciences is the most striking even if we discovered within biological systems some operations distant from the state of equilibrium-our research would still leave us quite unable to grasp the extreme complexity of the simplest of organisms. (Prigogine, Ilya [Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977, former Professor of Professor of Chemistry and Theoretical Physics, University of Brussels], "Can thermodynamics explain biological order?" Impact of Science on Society, Vol. 23, No. 3, 1973, p.178).[top]
"Indeed nothing remains except a tactic that ill-befits a grand master...namely to blow thick pipe tobacco-smoke into our faces. The tactic is to argue that although the chance of arriving at the biochemical system of life as we know it is admitted to be utterly minuscule, there is in Nature such an enormous number of other chemical systems which could also support life that any old planet like the Earth would inevitably arrive sooner or later at one or another of them. This argument is the veriest nonsense, and if it is to be imbibed at all it must be swallowed with a jorum of strong ale...So far from there being very many indistinguishable chemical possibilities, it seems that we have an exceedingly distinguishable system, the best." (Hoyle, Fred [late mathematician, physicist and Professor of Astronomy, Cambridge University], " & Wickramasinghe, Chandra, [Professor of Applied Mathematics & Astronomy, University of Wales], "Evolution from Space," , Paladin: London, 1983, reprint, p.25).[top]
"I do not think that Darwinism can explain the origin of life. I think it quite possible that life is so extremely improbable that nothing can `explain' why it originated; for statistical explanation must operate, in the last instance, with very high probabilities. But if our high probabilities are merely low probabilities which have become high because of the immensity of the available time (as in Boltzmann's `explanation'; see text to note 260 in section 35), then we must not forget that in this way it is possible to "explain" almost everything. Even so, we have little enough reason to conjecture that any explanation of this sort is applicable to the origin of life." (Popper, Karl R., [Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of London], "Unended Quest: An Intellectual Autobiography," , Open Court: La Salle, IL, Revised Edition, 1982, p167)[top]
"Eigen's approach is certainly of great interest. Darwinian selection for faithful self-reproduction is certainly important in an environment with a limited capacity. But we tend to believe that this is not the only aspect involved in prebiotic evolution. ... At this stage life, or "prelife," probably was so diluted that Darwinian selection did not play the essential role it did in later stages.." (Prigogine, Ilya [Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1977, former Professor of Professor of Chemistry and Theoretical Physics, University of Brussels] & Stengers I., "Order out of Chaos: Man's New Dialogue with Nature," , Flamingo: London, 1990, reprint, p.191).[top]
"Once RNA is synthesized, it can make new copies of itself only with a great deal of help from the scientist, says Joyce of the Scripps Clinic, an RNA specialist. " It is an inept molecule," he explains, "especially when compared with proteins." Leslie E. Orgel of the Salk Institute for Biological Studies, who has probably done more research exploring the RNA-world scenario than any other scientist, concurs with Joyce. Experiments simulating the early stages of the RNA world are too complicated to represent plausible scenarios for the origin of life, Orgel says. "You have to get an awful lot of things right and nothing wrong," he adds." (Horgan, John [science writer], "In The Beginning ...," Scientific American, February 1991, p.103. Elipses in original).[top]
"DNA replication is so error-prone that it needs the prior existence of protein enzymes to improve the copying fidelity of a gene-size piece of DNA. `Catch-22,' say Maynard Smith and Szathmary. So, wheel on RNA with its now recognized properties of carrying both informational and enzymatic activity, leading the authors to state: `In essence, the first RNA molecules did not need a protein polymerase to replicate them; they replicated themselves.' Is this a fact or a hope? I would have thought it relevant to point out for 'biologists in general' that not one self-replicating RNA has emerged to date from quadrillions (1024) of artificially synthesized, random RNA sequences." (Dover, Gabriel [Professor of Genetics, University of Leicester], "Looping the evolutionary loop," Review of "The Origins of Life: From the Birth of Life to the Origin of Language," by John Maynard Smith and Eors Szathmary, Oxford University Press: 1999, in Nature, 399, 20 May 1999, pp.217-218)[top]
"Nevertheless, despite the fact that most scientists working in this field accept the validity of the idea, the RNA world hypothesis is still far from being proved. For one thing, in almost 20 years only seven types of natural ribozymes have been discovered: two remove introns (parts of RNA that don't code for proteins) from themselves; four cut themselves in two; and one trims off the end of an RNA precursor." (Evans J., "It's alive - isn't it?" Chemistry in Britain, Vol. 36, No. 5, May 2000, pp.44-47. http://www.chemsoc.org/chembytes/ezine/2000/evans_may00.htm).[top]
"The origin of life has been explained by many theories which have become progressively incompatible with the progress of scientific knowledge: spontaneous generation; cosmic fertilization, according to which the Earth was sown with germ-cells brought by meteorites or by interstellar cosmic dust; creation by pure chance. None of these suggestions stand up to serious critical examination." (Tetry, Andree [Professor, Ecole des Hautes Etudes and Associate Director, School of Advanced Studies (Biology and Ethology), Sorbonne University, France], "The Cell," in Rostand J. & Tetry A., "Larousse Science of Life: A Study of Biology Sex, Genetics, Heredity and Evolution," , Hamlyn: London, 1971, p.56).[top]
* Authors with an asterisk against their name are believed not to be evolutionists.
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Created: 28 August, 1999. Updated: 18 July, 2003.