Date: 24th June 2007
Tim -- I saw this unanswered email on your site and discovered that I
had let it languish in my files til now. Sorry!!!
My new replies will be inserted where appropriate.
>I don't understand how the universe/multiverse could have an infinite
>past that always had life in it. Where did that life 'come from'?
>Isn't that just creationism in a different disguise?
Life comes from life, as we know very well. Your question assumes
something that we do not know -- life comes from nonlife. I think the
burden of proof should be placed where it belongs. If life can come
from nonlife, the phenomenon needs demonstrating.
>I have no objections to the concept that some or all of the components
>of life arrived on Earth from outer space, I just don't think that
>it's the simplest explanation. Life (in the mainstream view) must have
>spontaneously started somewhere, so why not on the Earth?
Before modern biology (Pasteur), the simplest explanation was that
germs pop out of sterile goo al the time. Simplest is not always best.
>Your comments on Darwinian theory are very strange to me. Are you
>denying that an enormous amount of evolutionary change has happened on
>this planet, as per the fossil record? If life was seeded on this
>planet in a highly evolved form, why did it start off with simple
>creatures and then work its way up to vertebrates etc.? No, evolution
>is the simpler answer. (Or maybe I have misunderstood you completely)
Not denying the enormous amount of evolutionary change. Not denying
that it happened over millions of years. In the theory I promote
(strong panspermia + gaia = cosmic ancestry) it had to happen slowly.
See for example, "How Is It Possible?" at http://www.panspermia.org/howposs.htm
What I am denying is the darwinian account of the genetic programs
needed for the origin-of-life or the evolutionary steps to higher
life forms. That accidents wrote them, even with natural selection,
is too unlikely. But if life always existed, maybe those programs
always existed too. Here again, science has assumed something we do
not know -- that the genetic programs had to "originate." If they can
originate, the phenomenon needs demonstrating. This is the motivation
behind the Evolution Prize.
>Regarding OEEI/CS on computer, I do not find our failure to implement
>it shocking. We've only had computers for 50 years, after all. We have
>managed to show evolutionary complexity growth  (albeit with a
>pre-designed goal, thus not satisfying OEEI/CS) which is a significant
>piece of evidence for Darwinism.
My review of your reference  s posted at
I think it has almost no relevance to the issue.
>I appreciate your reassurances that you will accept a positive answer
>to your challenge to demonstrate OEEI/CS and not reject it because it
>clashes with your personal hunches about panspermia. A stronger public
>statement of that might go some way to quieten those critics of the
I PROMISE I'LL ACCEPT THE EVIDENCE, WHATEVER IT IS!!!
(How about you others?)
>Can I ask where ART got the money from?
I ran a family business (textile rental) for 20 years. The sale of
the business gave me the wherewithall to fund this project.
Date: 26th June 2007
Thank you for having patience with me. I appreciate the effort needed
to reply to my emails.
In particular I'm grateful for your answer to my vulgar question about
the source of the prize money. I think others in the alife community
will be reassured as well, not wishing to be seen to be supported by a
religious group for example.
The howposs.htm page does answer my question about how the fossil
evidence for evolution fits in with your theory, thank you. I can see
now why you dismiss the big bang theory as 'too new and too fluid' -
else your whole theory collapses, since cosmic bacteria cannot have
always existed. Perhaps you should award the prize to the physicists,
for finding the evidence for the big bang, thus indicating that
OEEI/CS must be possible.
I think we need to agree to disagree, in order not to distract
ourselves from searching for data.
To this end, my own work on artificial chemistries continues. My 2002
alife paper showed a model where evolvable self-replicating structures
appear spontaneously. More recently, small steps of complexity growth
have been demonstrated. If I manage to demonstrate OEEI I'll be sure
to let you know.