Friday, March 05, 2010

Revisiting an old post

I was reading through some old posts (because I have that kind of time) and discovered a comment on the post Vast Ignorance. This comment was left almost a year later, so I cannnot be blamed for not responding 'til now.

So here it is:
Thumb Biter said...
You use the word "spontaneously" incorrectly. Scientists use spontaneity of a reaction or occurrence to mean that given enough time, it will eventually, inevitably happen with no outside trigger. Therefore, the statement that "life began spontaneously from non living matter" is true according to abiogenesis, whether or not the word "spontaneously" is included in.
Also, why is the statement that "everything in the universe came about by chance" not MET?

The bit about "spontaneously" refers to this:
Life began spontaneously from non living matter.
That's really abiogenesis, not MET. But that's a quibble; MET does sort of imply abiogenesis. However, "spontaneously" is bullplop. Get rid of that and the statement is true enough.
You are correct about how scientists use "spontaneously", but like "theory" the everyday use of the word is very different, and given the context, it seems clear to me that the author was not using the scientific definition. So the statement is deceptive. Maybe I should have said that, but I still stand by what I did write.

"Also, why is the statement that "everything in the universe came about by chance" not MET?" refers to:
Everything in the universe came about by chance.
Still not MET.
Because the question of "where everything in the universe" came from is cosmology, not biology. Because even if it were a question of biology, chance is only the beginning of the process.


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