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jaketheripper's avatar

What is your opinion of people who reject an abiotic explanation of the origin of life?

Asked by jaketheripper (2773points) May 14th, 2010

With no other religious or ideological overtones how would you perceive such a person? Would you write them off as ignorant? Would you respect their opinion in this matter as valid (though not necessarily true? How would this affect your perception of other opinions held by this person?

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17 Answers

Cruiser's avatar

I guess it would depend on their level of knowledge of abiotic synthesis of organic molecules and of the genesis of life. My guess would be not many people know of or at the very least have a working understanding on these theories of how life began on earth. So in that case that leaves a lot of room for their long standing theocratic beliefs about the origins of life to remain intact. Then it would be a matter of do I have the energy or desire to attempt to explain with a very real chance a debate will ensue.

wonderingwhy's avatar

A person’s opinion is always valid even if only to themselves and I’ll respect their right to hold it even if I whole-heartedly disagree with it. How I look at that person comes down to what reasoning they use to support their beliefs and whether I can see the logic in it, to what extent other sources/evidence agree or disagree, and their willingness to be openminded about it. I suppose what really makes me think less of someone isn’t holding to an opinion I believe ignorant (after all that’s just my opinion) but rather being unwilling to consider the validity of others opinions simply because it undermines their own.

Trillian's avatar

I have no opinion about the beliefs about the origins of life by another person. There are too many belief systems, too many education levels, and too many variables to expect everyone to believe the same way. Lacking the arrogance of believing my way is the only possible explanation, I leave others to believe what they will, as what anyone believes does not signify in the slightest.
I do have an opinion about those who make lots of noise about what they believe and those who try to force others to the same view point. It smacks of Jihad to me.

FireMadeFlesh's avatar

It would not affect my perception of them. It is not a well understood topic, so it would not be fair to judge a person’s intellectual abilities based on that alone, in the same way that it would be unfair to judge someone on whether they liked DSG or conventional paddle-shift gearboxes better.

mattbrowne's avatar

Every atom in our DNA and protein molecules of our bodies was once a hydrogen atom. That’s pretty abiotic.

If you take clay as a model for the origin of life you’ll realize that clay is pretty abiotic too.

myopicvisionary's avatar

I form no opinion about anyone who rejects or accepts an abiotic explanation of the origin of life. I write no one off or raise my regard for anyone based on a single opinion or belief.

evandad's avatar

Most folks beliefs about life on earth is tied in with their theological beliefs. I stay away from that. They don’t want to hear it and I’m not obliged to enlighten them.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

If they’re not militant about their beliefs, I’m fine with them. I would not write them off as ignorant. Naive, perhaps, but ignorance requires some determination on the part of the ignorant. Look at the etymology of the word – you can’t be ignorant without ignoring something, and you can’t ignore something unless you know about it. Science is hard. Most people just don’t know.

Coloma's avatar

I am seeing a brilliant hypnotherapist right now who has an awesome philosophy.

Seeing ALL parts of many different contributions that form the pinnacle of the spiritual/cosmic pyramid.

The pyramid is built of science, metaphysics, all of which reach a point of congruency at the top.


I think you assume much about the totality of what ‘most’ think.
Claiming it is not your job to enlighten others is also a claim that you possess the ‘truth’ of the ages. That is arrogant and therefore cancels out any enlightenment on your own behalf. Sorry…just gonna call it as I see it. ;-)

Anyone that professes to be the keeper of the one ultimate truth is nowhere near enlightened.

Fyrius's avatar

“Would you respect their opinion in this matter as valid (though not necessarily true?”
A note on terminology: a rejection of abiotic explanations of life is not an opinion. It’s a judgement of a concrete assertion about the real world. You can tell the difference by the fact that it can be true or false.

“Look at the etymology of the word – you can’t be ignorant without ignoring something, and you can’t ignore something unless you know about it.”
I’m pretty sure [0.8] the modern English definition of “to ignore” is not the etymology of the word “ignorant”. It’s probably [0.7] more closely related to the definition that the French word “ignorer” still has, which is “not to know”.
At any rate being ignorant has nothing to do with ignoring stuff, not literally anyway.

Fyrius's avatar

As for my own answer:

Without a self-fulfilling time travel loop, it seems logically impossible for the first life to have come from other life in a universe with a beginning.

My opinion of people who believe otherwise would depend on what they have to say for themselves. If they make a good case for their ideas, I’ll make an impressed mental note that this one knows where their towel is. If they utterly fail to make any sense, and instead reveal themselves to have tied up their minds in a web of rationalisations, I’d be… less approving. For anyone in between, of course, my opinion would proportionally be something in between.
À priori, with no such data, I admit I would flat-out assume they’re probably [0.8] more towards the latter side. An expectation from frequentist data (read: personal experience).

As it happens, I’m finally starting to find ways to accept the fact that there are people who are no good at reasoning and are very resolute about their ideas anyway, so my opinion of people like that would be a bit more forgiving than it’s been before.
If you really want to disregard the proper methods of inquiry and just stick with your belief that P is true, then be my guest, but don’t expect to be right about it.
You should be aware that there exist formally correct ways to avoid being wrong, but unless you go around trying to convert people, whether you work on your intellect or indulge in irrationality is no more of my business than whether you work out or stuff your face with chocolate all day.

Bet you thought I was going to be a condescending ball of anger, huh? :P
A justified expectation, I must admit.

YARNLADY's avatar

I don’t have opinions of people based on what they believe. I may form an opinion on the veracity of what they believe, but I try to be tolerant.

mattbrowne's avatar

It’s very likely that scientists will be able to explain abiogenesis on Earth within the next 30 years.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@mattbrowne , I hope I live to see that day, but it won’t make any difference to most people. The state of research appears to point to RNA, the last I checked. Interesting stuff, but the best we can hope for is an explanation of how it could have been – no fossils from that epoch. It won’t be enough to persuade those who’ve made up their minds. People prefer simple explanations, even when they’re wrong.

mattbrowne's avatar

@IchtheosaurusRex – ‘Could have been’ would mean devising experiments capable of recreating the original events 4 billion years ago. Like what the Miller-Urey experiment already does for the occurrence of chemical evolution. The output would then be RNA and/or proteins.

IchtheosaurusRex's avatar

@mattbrowne – you have to wonder about the ethical implications of an experiment like that. First RNA – OK, then what? How long before we get to viruses? I know we already modify living organisms, but to create one from scratch?

Think I’ll go watch Blade Runner again.

And it’s got me thinking about those talking sex dolls again…

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