Skip to comments.Project on the origins of life launched; Harvard joining debate on evolution
Posted on 08/14/2005 8:06:45 AM PDT by CarlEOlsoniii
Harvard University is launching a broad initiative to discover how life began, joining an ambitious scientific assault on age-old questions that are central to the debate over the theory of evolution.
The Harvard project, which is likely to start with about $1 million annually from the university, will bring together scientists from fields as disparate as astronomy and biology, to understand how life emerged from the chemical soup of early Earth, and how this might have happened on distant planets.
Known as the ''Origins of Life in the Universe Initiative," the project is still in its early stages, and fund-raising has not begun, the scientists said.
But the university has promised the researchers several years of seed money, and has asked the team to make much grander plans, including new faculty and a collection of multimillion-dollar facilities.
The initiative begins amid increasing controversy over the teaching of evolution, prompted by proponents of ''intelligent design," who argue that even the most modest cell is too complex, too finely tuned, to have come about without unseen intelligence.
President Bush recently said intelligent design should be discussed in schools, along with evolution. Like intelligent design, the Harvard project begins with awe at the nature of life, and with an admission that, almost 150 years after Charles Darwin outlined his theory of evolution in the Origin of Species, scientists cannot explain how the process began.
Now, encouraged by a confluence of scientific advances -- such as the discovery of water on Mars and an increased understanding of the chemistry of early Earth -- the Harvard scientists hope to help change that.
(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...
Oh boy...another free for all!
The people who put their faith in macro-evolution seem to be getting nervous.
If I didn't know better, I'd think the Discovery Institute's attack on evolution was actually a cynical method to increase funding for evolution research. Such research will be increased, dramatically. And there's zero reason to think that there will be any difference in the outcome of this generations fight vs. evolution than the outcome of the "monkey trials" in the 30's.
The creationists will be embarrassed. Badly.
The Harvard president makes a simple statement that said that we should look beyond discrimination to explain why there are relatively few women in the sciences.
The Harvard faculty goes nuts and is still bouncing off walls, the president says he did a bad thing. "I deeply regret the impact of my comments and apologize for not having weighed them more carefully. . .[I will do better including] carefully avoiding stereotypes, being alert to forms of subtle discrimination, and doing everything we can to remove obstacles to success."
Is Harvard mature enough, the origins of life is nuclear compared to how many women are in the sciences.
(BTW, after his confession the two heavily armed guards that flanked him on the flatbed truck allowed him to hold his head up and removed the hand-lettered sign hanging from his neck. He was forced off the truck and had to walk the several blocks to his home as jeering, threatening faculty members surrounded him.)
More politics disguised as "Science".
Why don't all you evolution fanatics admit you want to attack religion and "Evolution" is just a handy stick?
E=mc2; thats science. No one debates it. People dont call it each other names other it. It can be proved; hence it is science.
The Big Bang Theory - unprovable vapor. Belongs in a philosphy class.
Well now, there's a conspiracy theory that predates the existence of tin foil. Almost 200 years of conspiracy involving scientists falsifying evidence in the fields of antroplogy to DNA, with no wistle blowers to expose their anti-christian agenda.
That's got to be the mother of all conspiracy theories.
Completely unrelated to evolution.
The first proposal for a "Big Bang", before Hubbel, was from a jesuit scientist, who thought it would scientifically demonstrate God's creation.
What does the Big Bang theory have to do with Evolution?
"What does the Big Bang theory have to do with Evolution?"
What does the creation of life have to do with evolution??
Why have a universe with NO life?
What genetic matter was present before Life?
Why is a Theory treated as fact??
The Harvard project, which is likely to start with about $1 million annually from the university, will bring together scientists from fields as disparate as astronomy and biology, to understand how life emerged from the chemical soup of early Earth, and how this might have happened on distant planets. (emphasis mine)
Seems to me they've already concluded how life began.
Whatever this endeaver is, it certainly isn't science.
One million bucks? What is that these days with Harvard overhead rate, about one and a half professors?
Shoulda stuck with Newton. Those were God's Laws. Not this new age quantum hocus-pocus.
INTREP - I sense a rising panic amongst the Disciples of Darwin
The theory of evolution, or more precisely natural selection, presupposes that life already exists.
Theories about the origin of life are a separate matter, and are generally considered by scientists to be on shakier ground than evolution.
In short, evolution is not a "theory of everything".
Let's not let research get in the way of the real science of astrology.
I do believe this line of reserach will make some people hold their breath until they turn blue.
INTREP - I sense a rising panic amongst the Disciples of DarwinInteresting. They decide to spend some money to direct more research in yet another frontier of science (in an area which every mainstream biologist freely acknowledges is a frontier), and you interpret this as a sign of panic somehow.
And if they had announced they were NOT going to spend any money funding origins of life research instead, you'd be interpreting it how?
Origin of life research has been going on for a very long time. Unfortunately, the Disciples of Darwin refuse to look at ALL of the evidence, and only look at the evidence that coincides with their natualistic worldview. I find this new move quite curious.
wondering why the name calling starts these threads.. pinging myself to watch it play out
LOL. Must be the signature of the space alien designers carved into our DNA.
Because it's as certain as a scientific theory can be. I think from your question that you might not understand the meaning of the word "theory." Hint: it doesn't mean shaky, unproven or a guess of any kind
Completely unrelated to evolution.
Put down your evo-talking-points and READ the article - Harvard is going to research the "origin of life" - something evolution cannot address. For life to have an origin, matter must have an origin unless you want to take the evolutionist position on origin and simply say "Jeepers, we don't know how life or matter originated but we are certain it was not intelligent design"
How would you class Quantum mechanics?
Durn right! Who needs this atom electron collapsing cat in a box junk. Give me apples any day.
No no no no no. Don't go there. Evolution has nothing to say about the origins of life. The origins of life have nothing to do with evolution. Neither does the question of how matter can organize itself without an intelligent agent. Just let evolution stay in the classroom and be taught as science. Please please please please please!!!
At least not until I find out what kind of a year I'm going to have.
And that is why the philosophy of evolution does not even qualify as a scientific theory. I sense the Orwellian usurpation of the word "theory" may be slipping off the face of evolutionism. Not to worry. Harvard will do its best to hold the mask in place.
Actually jennyp, it was the Boston Globe's interpretation:
The initiative begins amid increasing controversy over the teaching of evolution, prompted by proponents of ''intelligent design,"...
That's Harvard science for you. I hope the school has other areas of study in which they are competent. The school has a good name.
they must see the tide shifting from textbooks that have evolution only. they're getting a head start on the curricula to come. must be some money in it somewhere.
I remember when Mercedes and BMW had good names. Then they found a way to sell to anyone who could get a loan. Lloyd's of London, too, used to have a good name. AT&T. etc.
Always follow the money, my friend!
it was the Boston Globe's interpretation:
age-old questions that are central to the debate over the theory of evolution.
I hope you are not trying to imply "life emerged from the chemical soup of early Earth" is "as certain as a scientific theory can be" - if so, that is total poppycock. This thread is a about the origin of life, not Darwinist Evolution which BEGINS at a point in which life already exists and the mechanism to genetically pass on extremely complicated information has already been created.
Interesting screen name. Darwin got his idea fro natural selection for the economics of the invisible hand. It convinced him that just as unplanned economies produce the best results, natural selection produces the most robust biological designs.
...and it makes a great snack
You're right - Darwinism has no comment on the origins of life. That's another subject.
Evolution does, however, accurately describe what happened to that life. In two hundred years of trying, anti-Darwinists have not been able to come up with their own theory that addresses the evidence in anything remotely close to the scientific method. Wonder why that is?
Hey, I live in Massachusetts, and if we can elect a republican governor, then I'd say Harvard has nothing to worry about, generally speaking of course.
Word mean things. "Theory" means what it means.
The fact that the definition doesn't fit your own personal politics doesn't make it "Orwellian" - your attempt to pretend the word doesn't mean what it does is what's Orwellian.
But then, if creationists were really interested in scientific truth they wouldn't be creationists.
[such as the discovery of water on Mars and an increased understanding of the chemistry of early Earth ]
There have been a few popular speculations in the last few years that the complex "ingredients" of early life were delivered to Earth from comet or asteroid impacts and not built up from chemicals in an "organic soup" that already existed on Earth.
Is this a major question that this Harvard initiative will consider, or are they going to assume by default a purely terrestrial origin?
Well, since you posted it right here on FR for the whole world to see, I'm sure you're going to give an example or two of some of your evidence that these disciples you speak of are refusing to look at...
For better or for worse, the word "theory" can entail either certitude or lack thereof. The former is typically understood by the scientific community, while the latter by common usage. Since evolutionism relies largely upon unobserved, unrecorded history, I tend to place it under the latter meaning. But then again, there may be someone around here who observed the formation of the world 4.5 billion years ago (and counting). You never know.
Don't hold your breath.
Yeah, evolution accurately describes the fossil record as we know it...
Evolution describes a fossil record replete with transitional forms - unfortunately this fossil record does not exist.
"Since evolutionism relies largely upon unobserved, unrecorded history, I tend to place it under the latter meaning."
Then your understanding of the evidence for evolution is sadly lacking. You may wish to review the evidence, starting with Darwin's observations, before rejecting them out of hand.
The scientific community has approached the theory with great skepticism. The fact that it is a "theory" at all shows how strong the evidence is for it - it's the only theory that fits.
Oh, but it does. It's not complete, to be sure, but there's worlds more evidence to support evolution than anything else.
There's zero scientific evidence to support creationism, for example. None at all. Evolution has evidence to support it, where creationism has only ignorance.