The Consensus on Abiogenesis

Thanks to the noteworthy success of the theory of Global Warming to achieve wide-reaching acceptance in the West, the way has been paved for a new school of inquiry that we shall call “Consensual Science”. Through the application of the fundamental ethic of Consensual Science (“If enough people say it’s true, it is true; especially if they have really expensive advanced degrees in subjects that most people can’t pronounce correctly.”) , I would like to investigate the complex subject of abiogenesis.  Since I am not a scientist, I will avoid unnecessary, sciency jargon, like the words “sciency” and “jargon”.

For those who may not know, the word “abiogenesis” is a big word with a definition which can be used to impress people at parties. You should look it up before you read any further.

While there is some debate among scientists regarding the specifics, the vast majority of humanity has reached the following consensus: some things are alive while other things are not. There also seems to be further agreement among most folks that the easiest way to make a living thing is to begin with at least one living thing, however two living things is often preferred since there tends to be the possibility of a tax break in most states. Yet, within the scientific community, there is speculation about the possibility of combining non-living things in such a way as to produce living things, but so far there have been no successful attempts at doing so…at least none which the overwhelming majority of humanity would recognize as belonging to the category of “living thing”.  So, for the moment there are two explanations of where living things come from. Let’s look at them in more detail.

One says: “Under the right conditions, with the right stuff and given the right amount of time, non-living things will make living things. We believe this is true because it has happened at least once in time as demonstrated by our being here today.” The other explanation says: “Since it takes living things to make other living things, some living thing(s) had to make the living things we see around us. We believe that an intelligent Living Thing of unimaginable power made living things as demonstrated by our being here today.” Again, the consensus among most people in the world seems to be a version of the second explanation, taking into account some variables, such as the possibility of multiple intelligent living things. Despite their opposing views, supporters of both explanations have tended to enthusiastically agree that the other is completely bonkers. (Yeah, I know I promised not to use sciency jargon.)

Both positions are very compelling, but they can not both be correct. So which one is? The answer is the explanation provided by the overwhelming majority of people on the planet. This I know because Consensual Science tells me so.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “The Consensus on Abiogenesis

  1. I think that there is something more than sophistry going on here. There is a lot of evidence for the possibility of abiogenesis and very sparce evidence for the possibility of any other origin. It’s not that there’s a consensus (there’s never a consensus). It’s just that all currently available evidence points to a certain conclusion. That doesn’t mean it’s true, but it means it’s the best bet. I think the most likely scenario is that the simple molecular building blocks of life originated from the sun and found the conditions necessary to develop into macromolecules on Earth.

  2. amtog

    Thanks for your comment Joseph.

    While I understand the word “sophistry”, I don’t understand what you mean by “more than sophistry”.

    As for your statement about the amount of evidence in favor of abiogenesis: why do you think that there is “alot” in favor and only “sparse” amounts opposed? Do you really mean that “all” of the current evidence points to abiogenesis?

    At the end of the day, we know from both personal experience and scientific observation that life produces life. Conversely, we don’t have any experience or scientific observation of non-life producing life. Even if a scientific experiment in the future produces living matter from non-living matter, it will have come about because a living, intelligent being with power willed and worked to make it happen. If that’s how we expect such a thing tohappen in the future, what’s so unreasonable about thinking that’s how such a thing happened in the past?

  3. I was expecting something better than an appeal from ignorance here…
    Consensual Science means something is probably true of the majority of studies, observations and experiments. Its not ‘If a lot of people think so its true’ – that is the appeal to the masses, the second fallacy in this ‘article’.
    At one point, people thought volcanoes were caused by angry gods, and some places sacrificed people into them to appease them. So according to your logic, volcanoes erupt because God, or a god of the mountain, or the mountain itself is angry, not due to anything geological.

  4. amtog

    Thanks for coming by Jonathan. I’m sorry that you were disappointed. I thought that I had done a good job of setting people’s expectations when I stated at the outset that I’m not a scientist. Also, it should be fairly obvious that this wasn’t attempt at a serious scientific argument. It’s simply an attempt to make a point (or two) through the use of humor.

    I stand by the points. Often “consensual science” is used to say that a large number (even majority?) of people who claim some sort of scientific expertise agree that something is the case. Your definition is probably accurate among a more narrow sample of folks. This means that frequently the popular argument comes down to not simply an appeal to authority but an appeal to a “majority” opinion.

    The flip side of that is that the majority of humanity (as opposed to those with a particular materialistic worldview) over the course of history has agreed that intelligence(s) is behind the origin of life. If someone is going to put any trust in a majority opinion, it looks like the majority supports intelligence and not random chance.

    The same holds true of abiogenesis. The overwhelming majority of human opinion (based on experience) is that it takes life to produce life. Even those who say that we (living, intelligent) humans will one day figure out how to produce living matter from non-living matter prove this point because any life that is produced by the as yet to be discovered technique will have been produced by a living intelligence.

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