1. (of an argument or statement) Seeming reasonable or probable.
2. (of a person) Skilled at producing persuasive arguments, esp. ones intended to deceive.
When one thinks of MIT one thinks of engineering and hard sciences. No nonsense academia that doesn’t suffer fools gladly. But now MIT Professor Eric Alm tells us that the spontaneous generation of a super progenitor is “plausible.” That’s an interesting choice of words because, in fact, that is precisely what evolution is not and it is difficult to imagine how Alm could have arrived at such a strange conclusion.
As we have discussed before, whereas Darwin absurdly hoped that cells could develop in a warm little pond somewhere, science had other things to say. Not only is the spontaneous generation of cellular life not plausible, so is the subsequent evolution of the last universal common ancestor (LUCA).
Contra evolution, what science has been indicating for decades is that any such evolutionary LUCA would have had to have been a super progenitor. If evolution is true, then this ancient progenitor of all life must have been extremely complex. As one evolutionist admitted:
We may have underestimated how complex this common ancestor actually was.
That wins the understatement of the year award. Here is how one article describes the origin of the LUCA:
ONCE upon a time, 3 billion years ago, there lived a single organism called LUCA. It was enormous: a mega-organism like none seen since, it filled the planet's oceans before splitting into three and giving birth to the ancestors of all living things on Earth today.
This strange picture is emerging from efforts to pin down the last universal common ancestor - not the first life that emerged on Earth but the life form that gave rise to all others.
The latest results suggest LUCA was the result of early life's fight to survive, attempts at which turned the ocean into a global genetic swap shop for hundreds of millions of years. Cells struggling to survive on their own exchanged useful parts with each other without competition - effectively creating a global mega-organism.
It was around 2.9 billion years ago that LUCA split into the three domains of life: the single-celled bacteria and archaea, and the more complex eukaryotes that gave rise to animals and plants (see timeline). It's hard to know what happened before the split. Hardly any fossil evidence remains from this time, and any genes that date that far back are likely to have mutated beyond recognition.
Unfortunately science will always be vulnerable to such pseudo science. This is because science deals not only with what we do understand, but with what we do not understand as well. Science is constantly exploring and adding to our knowledge, but such explorations take it beyond the realm of the known, and into the realm of the unknown. This will always make it vulnerable to the charlatan.
And so it with sadness that we report that such academic chicanery has infected the venerable Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The evolution of the LUCA is, of course, not plausible. Not by any stretch of the imagination, and scientists are well aware of this.
We need not get philosophical about the concept of plausibility. We all know what it means. A hypothesis is plausible if it is reasonable or probable. A LUCA may have evolved, or a LUCA may not have evolved. But such an event is certainly not plausible according to our current scientific knowledge. We can argue about what happened long ago, but the state of our knowledge and its implications for the evolutionary narrative are quite clear. Which brings us to the second definition of “plausible” that unfortunately is also relevent to evolution.
Religion drives science, and it matters.