|Old Atlas, Young Atlas feel alright ...|
It has been said that: “The application of Scientific Method is universal. … there is nothing too lowly, repulsive, obscure, contentious, or deceptive to come within its scope. Neither is there anything too ‘sacred,’ which generally means a fear that the things so denominated cannot bear investigation.” — F. C. S. Schiller, Logic for Use (1930)
It has also been said that subjecting “religion,” like any other subject, to Scientific Method quickly reveals its fundamentally ludicrous supposition: namely, that the world works not according to discoverable laws working everywhere the same but through the whim of obscure, fickle personalities whose “powerful” appetites and prejudices one can assuage or conciliate through stereotypical ritual practices such that the world will work otherwise than predictably, and to one’s own personal advantage.
Oh, if only reality was that simple!
A scientist many have heard of once said "make things as simple as possible, but no simpler than that." Another champion with many trophies, and currently a world renowned scientist, said:
Quantum mechanics is an incredible theory that explains all sorts of things that couldn’t be explained before, starting with the stability of atoms. But when you accept the weirdness of quantum mechanics [in the macro world], you have to give up the idea of space-time as we know it from Einstein. The greatest weirdness here is that it [quantum mechanics] doesn’t make sense. If you follow the rules, you come up with something that just isn’t right.
(The Memes of Penrose, quoting Dr. Sir Roger Penrose, emphasis added). What ... the venerable Penrose dissing the venerable Einstein (inspiring many orthodox scientists and their laity, wielding pitchforks, to advance upon the labs and classrooms of Penrose for talking out of school like that)?
A very recent paper (March 2013) has indicated that biological life is older than previously hypothesized:
An extrapolation of the genetic complexity of organisms to earlier times suggests that life began before the Earth was formed. Life may have started from systems with single heritable elements that are functionally equivalent to a nucleotide. The genetic complexity, roughly measured by the number of non-redundant functional nucleotides, is expected to have grown exponentially due to several positive feedback factors: gene cooperation, duplication of genes with their subsequent specialization, and emergence of novel functional niches associated with existing genes. Linear regression of genetic complexity on a log scale extrapolated back to just one base pair suggests the time of the origin of life 9.7 billion years ago. This cosmic time scale for the evolution of life has important consequences: life took ca. 5 billion years to reach the complexity of bacteria; the environments in which life originated and evolved to the prokaryote stage may have been quite different from those envisaged on Earth; there was no intelligent life in our universe prior to the origin of Earth, thus Earth could not have been deliberately seeded with life by intelligent aliens; Earth was seeded by panspermia; experimental replication of the origin of life from scratch may have to emulate many cumulative rare events; and the Drake equation for guesstimating the number of civilizations in the universe is likely wrong, as intelligent life has just begun appearing in our universe. Evolution of advanced organisms has accelerated via development of additional information-processing systems: epigenetic memory, primitive mind, multicellular brain, language, books, computers, and Internet. As a result the doubling time of complexity has reached ca. 20 years. Finally, we discuss the issue of the predicted technological singularity and give a biosemiotics perspective on the increase of complexity.
(Cornell Archives, emphasis added). What is wrong with hypothesizing like that?
But one of the fundamental assumptions of the paper is problematic, i.e., that certain things have remained the same during a period of split second Big Bang changes going way faster than the speed of light.
Additionally they may have overly associated their rear view mirror analysis with Moore's Law, which concerns the technological evolution of computers within human society when they write "The increase of genetic complexity follows Moore’s law" (PDF, page 1).
Additionally, they do not adequately overturn a basic tenet of the Big Bang Theory, which is that carbon formed in stars as those stars eventually declined and went Nova, releasing that carbon into space to later make its way to planets.
From there biological evolution is said to have resulted in carbon based life we see on Earth today.
The additional assertion in the paper that "Earth was seeded by panspermia" reminds me of what S.E. Cupp said on The Cycle (MSNBC) recently ("There are too many penises in Washington, D.C.") ... so isn't it fair to ask "what about panseggia?" (which came first, sperm or eggs?)
Seriously, let's face it, there are denominations in science just as there are in religion.
To take the pose of some mechanistic purity of scientific thinking or doctrine, or to take the pose of some mechanistic purity of religious thinking or doctrine, is to overly simplify reality.