Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Just Add Water

Evolution has a high view of itself. Not only is it supposed to be as believable as gravity, but the narratives it generates are uncritically swallowed. For instance, origin of life stories are routinely reported with, frankly, laughable proclamations such as this one:

Mystery of how life on Earth began solved by British scientists: Scientists in Britain have solved the mystery of how life on Earth evolved from molecules when the planet was devoid of life four billion years ago.

Such non scientific reporting of science is by no means restricted to journalists. If they have exaggerated further it is only because they have stood on the shoulders of giants. Consider biochemist Nick Lane's new book, Life Ascending: The Ten Great Inventions of Evolution. A compendium of such extreme overstatement one would think it a parody. But alas, never underestimate the evolution genre. Evolutionists seem to be ever raising the ante of hyperbole at this high table. Consider, for example, how Lane describes the evolutionary tales of the origin of life:

The origin of life is one of biology's biggest conundrums. How prebiotic chemistry gave rise to biochemistry, how the first cells formed, what kind of energy first powered metabolism and replication -- all these questions are serious challenges. Remarkably, all are answered in broad brush stroke by the amazing properties of alkaline hydrothermal vents, which form naturally chemiosmotic, self-replicating mineral cells with catalytic walls. They concentrate organics, including nucleotides, in impressive quantities, making them the ideal hatcheries for life.

I guess we should thank our lucky alkaline hydrothermal vents
. (Which, by the way, were not needed by the British scientists extolled above who also, remarkably, solved all the problems). Lane lists nine other "inventions" of evolution which, believe it or not, are as absurd as this one. I have no doubt Lane is a smart fellow. That is why evolution is all the more amazing--and all the more dangerous. Religion drives science, and it matters.