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  Topic: 'Origin of Life Prize', a scam?< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
SLP



Posts: 136
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,08:07   

Came across this on the CARM forum:

I was perusing some Amazon.com discussions and I came across an IDC who all but worships physician and YEC/ID David Abel. Abel has published a couple of assertion and speculation-filled hypothetical papers, and many IDCs see this as 'proof' that ID is legitimate. Anyway, Abel also founded the so-called "Origin of Life Prize", which I will not glorify by providing a link to.

Essentially, this 'prize' will be given to anyone who can all but duplicate the origin of life. But the criteria for winning the prize put some interesting constraints on how you can win it - you see, you have to 'prove' the strawman version of OOl that Abel lays out, you can't just propose your own hypothesis and provide the evidence. Nope - among other things, you have to explain how the "information" required for the first living thing was "written" before the first living thing appeared - hence the strawman. There are many similarly biased and absurd criteria, but that is just a taste of what passes for legitimacy in IDC circles.

Abel has also compiled a list of judges that will score your submission - the average score must be 80%. Who is on the list? Well, besides a collection of unknowns, mostly from Mexico, and a bunch of people who have probably never even heard of this prize*, there are folks like Phil Skell and Walter Bradley - along with Bill Dembski. Because according to Abel, the nature of the OOL is multidisciplinary, and so it makes sense to have creationist engineers and such judging. So, you submit a winner, but YEC Bradley gives you a bad score - too bad, so sad...

And did I mention that Abel has to first decide whether he will even pass it along? This is just the Hovind Prize with bigger words and fewer bible references.

Anyway, I came across a blog (so I cannot link) on which the author made a submission - he didn't really put a lot of effort into it, he just wanted to see how it would be handled. It was rejected by Abel - so no judges ever saw it - and what was interesting is some of the things Abel wrote in his reply:

"The problem for me comes in when we start trying to explain formal linear digital prescription, representational symbol systems, Hamming "block-coding" (many to one redundancy coding to reduce noise pollution in the Shannon channel), cellular computation, and formal organization with nothing but a purely materialistic belief system. We can't even practice the scientific method or mathematics with a consistently held materialistic worldview."

Again, with some key words emphasized:

"The problem for me comes in when we start trying to explain formal linear digital prescription, representational symbol systems, Hamming "block-coding" (many to one redundancy coding to reduce noise pollution in the Shannon channel), cellular computation, and formal organization with nothing but a purely materialistic belief system. We can't even practice the scientific method or mathematics with a consistently held materialistic worldview."


Never mind the jargonistic bafflegab - Wait - I thought the OoL Prize was totally scientific? I thought Abel was a scientist with no religious beliefs biasing him? I thought this 'prize' was all about the truth and science? What is all this about 'materialistic worldview'? Is Abel looking for supernaturalistic answers? Looks like it.

Abel's response shows what it is really about.



*Several years ago, this topic came upon the ARN forum, and a participant there contacted several of the people on Abel's list of judges. It turns out that several of them had never heard of the 'prize' but were on Abel's list anyway.[B]

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3544
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,08:14   

OOL is being chipped away by chemists, incrementally.

Little things like the unguided emergence of RNA bases from Formaldehyde.

It's not going to be solved by armchair researchers.

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Ēletís not make a joke of ourselves.Ē

Pat Robertson

  
OgreMkV



Posts: 3259
Joined: Oct. 2009

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,08:16   

I heard about it a few years ago and contacted 5-6 of the 'judges'.  Only 2 responded to me and one of them had no idea what I was talking about.  The other turned out to be some kind of engineer who was a creationist.

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Ignored by those who can't provide evidence for their claims.

http://skepticink.com/smilodo....retreat

   
dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,09:30   

Quote (midwifetoad @ Nov. 29 2010,09:14)
OOL is being chipped away by chemists, incrementally.

Little things like the unguided emergence of RNA bases from Formaldehyde.

It's not going to be solved by armchair researchers.

Formate, nor formaldehyde, if you are referring to the research I posted on in the Science Break thread.

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Iím referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
Iím not an evolutionist, Iím a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  
midwifetoad



Posts: 3544
Joined: Mar. 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,10:00   

Whoops.

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Ēletís not make a joke of ourselves.Ē

Pat Robertson

  
ck1



Posts: 65
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,15:37   

Abel's "prize" is being offered by an organization he calls the Origin of Life Foundation.  This organization is based in Greenbelt, MD, which is my neck of the woods, so I took some pictures of the Foundation last summer:

http://talkrational.org/showpost.php?p=1007618&postcount=282

Also, their list of judges is just a list of people they might ask to evaluate applications, if and when they get any they think are worth sending out for judging.

  
mitschlag



Posts: 235
Joined: Sep. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,16:00   

ck1, that photo is hilarious!

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"You can establish any ďruleĒ you like if you start with the rule and then interpret the evidence accordingly." - George Gaylord Simpson (1902-1984)

  
SLP



Posts: 136
Joined: Dec. 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,17:17   

Quote (ck1 @ Nov. 29 2010,15:37)
Abel's "prize" is being offered by an organization he calls the Origin of Life Foundation. †This organization is based in Greenbelt, MD, which is my neck of the woods, so I took some pictures of the Foundation last summer:

http://talkrational.org/showpost.php?p=1007618&postcount=282

Also, their list of judges is just a list of people they might ask to evaluate applications, if and when they get any they think are worth sending out for judging.

That is awesome.

But tell that to Uprightbiped, and he'll blow a gasket.  He seems to think that Abel has all but 'disproved' a natural origin of life.

  
Reciprocating Bill



Posts: 4230
Joined: Oct. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 29 2010,18:29   

Quote (ck1 @ Nov. 29 2010,16:37)
Abel's "prize" is being offered by an organization he calls the Origin of Life Foundation. †This organization is based in Greenbelt, MD, which is my neck of the woods, so I took some pictures of the Foundation last summer:

http://talkrational.org/showpost.php?p=1007618&postcount=282

Also, their list of judges is just a list of people they might ask to evaluate applications, if and when they get any they think are worth sending out for judging.

The '92 Sable is a nice touch.

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Myth: Something that never was true, and always will be.

"The truth will set you free. But not until it is finished with you."
- David Foster Wallace

  
dvunkannon



Posts: 1377
Joined: June 2008

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 30 2010,10:01   

BTW, is David Abel a physician or a retired veterinarian? I've seen both here on AtBC.

I remember that Abel was quite condescending to the UD crowd, and could not be bothered with answering the questions of "lay readers", including Nakashima.

--------------
Iím referring to evolution, not changes in allele frequencies. - Cornelius Hunter
Iím not an evolutionist, Iím a change in allele frequentist! - Nakashima

  
olegt



Posts: 1378
Joined: Dec. 2006

(Permalink) Posted: Nov. 30 2010,10:37   

Quote (dvunkannon @ Nov. 30 2010,10:01)
BTW, is David Abel a physician or a retired veterinarian? I've seen both here on AtBC.

I remember that Abel was quite condescending to the UD crowd, and could not be bothered with answering the questions of "lay readers", including Nakashima.

Contact for the Origin-of-Life Foundation:
David L. Abel, DVM.

From here.

As far as I know, his doctorate is from the University of Maryland, College Park.

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