Those aren’t my words (although I concur with them). Those are the words of John Horgan, a science journalist and former editor of Scientific American. Horgan recently published an article in Scientific American discussing the dismal state of origin-of-life research. He describes the research as being at an “impasse,” and resorting to “far out…speculation” as exemplified by the theory of panspermia (life originated in outer space and was brought to earth).
Just one week prior to the publication of Horgan’s article, science writer Dennis Overbye published an article in the New York Times on the same subject. He reported on an origin-of-life conference at Arizona State University in which two dozen top-ranking scientists from a variety of disciplines converged to discuss the problem. While Overbye touted the RNA World hypothesis, he noted that “one lesson of the meeting was how finicky are the chemical reactions needed for carrying out these simple-sounding functions,” and “even if RNA did appear naturally, the odds that it would happen in the right sequence to drive Darwinian evolution seem small.”
It’s not often that the public is made aware of the fact that scientists have no adequate naturalistic explanation for the origin of life, so it’s refreshing to see this being discussed by ideological opponents in venues as important as the New York Times.