Jerry Coyne won’t meet Moshe Averick to discuss the origin of life puzzle – but turns out he’s just as puzzled … .
|January 26, 2012||Posted by News under News, Origin Of Life|
Thing is, Coyne did a TV show in Canada in 2007, hosted by Steve Paikin for TVO. He had a few things to say then about the origin of life at the start of the show, here. ( The Agenda, Show 125, TVO, March 27, 2007).
Paikin introduces him and asks him to explain evolutionary biology briefly, then asks,
Paikin: Does it say anything about the origin of life itself?
Coyne: “The origin of life is sort of part of evolutionary biology but not part of it. The main problem being that we don’t know how life started and it’s a really thorny problem because nobody was there and the very earliest organisms couldn’t have been fossilized because they were sort of giant molecules, so that’s a big gap in our knowledge. But once it did get started, it began leaving traces in the fossil record … then evolutionary biology can really get a grip on the problem.
Paikin: Follow up a little more on that if you would, about how it explains life on the planet.
Coyne: Well, we … the first organisms were undoubtedly large complex molecules inside a protein sac but those things couldn’t have been fossilized so we really have to conjecture about how life started and buttress those conjectures with testable experiments in the laboratory, and we can have various ideas about how it got started but since we weren’t there, we don’t know. We can really only speculate. So that’s the problem with the origin of life.
Paikin: What would you give to have been there.?
Coyne: You wouldn’t have known it happened if you were there. What you would probably have seen is some small little pond in the ocean, and nothing, nothing would have happened except, on the molecular level, things were happening very fast. You wouldn’t have known that there was really life until several hundreds of millions of years later.
Paikin: Gotcha … So tell me then, as an evolutionary biologist, what is the theory that gets us evolving from the very simple forms of life to the complex creatures we are today …
Coyne tells Paikin that the theory is “Darwinism,” and goes on from there.*
Clearly, Coyne hasn’t any better idea what happened at the origin of life than anyone else. If he’d discovered something between 2007 and now, why isn’t he getting the Nobel Prize? So it’s unclear why he can’t meet Moshe Averick and talk about the problem.
Or, is admitting that fact the real problem? (It’s one thing to admit it to a provincial TV talk show host somewhere in Canada, thinking that no one would ever access the audio files, but … )
*Remember that, folks, when you hear someone insist that evolutionary biologists do not use the term Darwinism or call themselves Darwinists. Or whatever the latest thing is that they supposedly never do but really do all the time. Because they can’t very well not do it. And everyone knows it’s true of most of them anyway. So what?
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