Quote “abiogenesis” unquote, wink wink
In a recent episode of the Janet Mefferd show, the “creationist astronomer” Dr. Danny Faulkner discusses the treatment of abiogenesis in the new Cosmos series.
Jant Mefferd: Alright we’re back talking a little bit with Dr. Danny Faulkner, resident astronomer at Answers in Genesis, and we’re discussing this new series Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey and what really is an evolutionary bias which is very obivious when you watch it and tell us Dr. Faulkner where you’ve seen in the first couple of episodes this evidence of an overwhelming evolutionary bias.
Dr. Danny Faulkner: Well we had the first episode, he had a “calendar” of one year in the supposed 13.8 billion year history of the universe, laid it out on this calendar, and he pointed out how late in the whole process the earth came about and how late life, and how late humanity, in the last escond or 2 in the wole thing, and everything about human life is in that last second or two.
J: (concerned) hmmm
D: And he also talked about “abiogenesis”, that’s the belief that non-living things at some point gave rise to living things …
J: (concerned) hmmm
D: … and he termed this one of the “great mysteries of science” or a “great scientific mystery”, well it’s a mystery all right but I wouldn’t call it scientific!
J: (knowingly chuckles)
D: Because, we have 400 years of biology on our side talking about and concluding the Law of Biogenesis. You know, this idea that nonliving things gave rise to living things is an old idea, it goes back to at least the ancient Greeks, and it was believed throughout the middle ages and into fairly modern times, and people don’t know that, but that’s the truth. I remember that 45 years ago now in high school biology and we talked about this and you had people such as Francesco Redi and Louis Pasteur who did work showing, scientifically, the evidence was pretty resounding that abiogenesis does not occur … and we don’t talk about them very much anymore, the law of biogenesis: life from life; and so to argue that life arose spontaneously some time in the past, that actually is contrary to science, there’s no other way to say it it’s kind of the wish and the hope and I would say prayer, but they don’t believe in that apparently…
D: …that life somehow began in the past if you don’t belive there’s a creator then you have to hypothesis that life spontaneously arose despite the evidence to the contrary, now that’s a remarkable position for a supposed science show to come to.
This discussion goes on to mock modern scientists for not having a definite answer as to how and where life arose on Earth.
Now, what’s really remarkable here is that a PhD Astronomer either:
B) knows this distinction and hopes that his audience does not, in order to help reinforce listeners’ beliefs and disdain for prevalent scientific theories.
The belief that Pasteur dispelled was one which said maggots came from meat (not fly eggs), and tapeworms came from internal organs (not tapeworm eggs). This is “abiogenesis” of complex life forms on the scale of minutes, hours, or days.
The abiogenesis that Cosmos posits is the formation of the fundamental forms of life, from the prior necessary components, possibly over and over again, on a geologic timescale of millions of years.
Is Dr. Faulkner intentionally conflating these two ideas, which have nothing in common?
Is this man (with a PhD) simply ignorant and does not know the difference between hypotheses of how life initially arose, and the belief that maggots spontaneously appear ex nihilo in old meat? Or is he a deceptive manipulator of a gullible audience?
I’m afraid I don’t see any other options.