Monday, July 04, 2011

Mr. Benedict misrepresents Christian de Duve

Mr. Benedict makes much of a list of scientists who, according to him, "recognize that random chance alone cannot have produced the simplest cellular life." I'll quote Benedict's remarks, and interpose corrections in

Christian de Duve, for example, a Nobel Prize winner, and in no way an advocate of Intelligent Design, has abandoned random chance as the agent of upwards evolution or the ascent of man. He envisions primordial planet earth as a chemical reaction
(secondary citation to de Duve, “Contingency and determinism” Pier Luigi Luisi, doi: 10.1098/rsta.2003.1189 Phil. Trans. R. Soc. Lond. A 2003 361, 1141-1147 )
waiting to happen. Recognizing that the odds of random chance being impossibly against
(Links to a 1995 OOL review article, "The Beginnings of Life on Earth" in American Scientist for general readers. De Duve did not make a single reference to any probability, or “odds” or “random chance” opposing the natural origin of life. Just the opposite, in fact. The main thrust of the article was de Duve’s well known argument for the centrality of thioester chemistry to the OOL, and that life will be- must be- ubiquitous in the universe. This is not a surprising error for a creationist like Mr. Benedict to have made, either from ignorance, or dishonesty)
the formation of a single cell, let alone man, he has ceaselessly been searching for the string of chemical reactions that, once started, must have inevitably and, without chance, led to mankind. So far... no luck.
De Duve, like Gould and others rejects the strict teleological argument that somehow humanity is the "goal" of evolution, or the Universe. Mr. Benedict seems to have no actual grasp of any of these issues which should have been clear if he had tried to read the references he scattered in his comment).

No comments: