The elephant in the room


PHYSICIST Albert Einstein said: ‘What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos.’

Miracles, simplistic propaganda fodder as they may be to some sceptics, are less of a problem to Stuart Burgess, Professor of Mechanical Engineering at Bristol University.

‘I’m not ashamed to believe in miracles,’ he said. ‘It is actually the claim that miracles are impossible which is anti-science because science should always be open-minded. It is not just religious people who have faith without proof.

‘Despite expensive equipment and the promise of the most famous Nobel Prize in history, no scientist has reproduced the spontaneous generation of life in the lab.

‘As things stand, atheists must have faith the size of a mountain to believe that life arose without an intelligent designer.”


17 thoughts on “The elephant in the room

  1. oh Gosh!!. ” no scientist has reproduced the spontaneous generation of life in the lab.”

    That might be due to not-real-bright scientists,
    …or the fact that they haven’t been trying to do so ~ for 10,000,000,000 years or so.
    ‘Spontaneity’ ~ like almost everything else is a relative thing.

    ps… another brainless claim is:- “‘It is actually the claim that miracles are impossible which is anti-science because science should always be open-minded.”……… about things like walking on water and moving mountains with faith, does he mean.

    pps……Stop being silly now!. NO scientist would make assertive statements on the basis of entirely unfounded assumptions. eg:_ “‘As things stand, atheists must have faith the size of a mountain to believe that life arose without an intelligent designer.”

    anyway, he hasn’t even defined what ‘life’ IS. He might , for all we can tell, be talking about what the rest of us call ‘plastic buckets’ ~ since none of them have spontaneously generated themselves either.

    Come on lad! I know you can do better than that!……I’ve seen you use your imagination to fantasise about things before, remember? 😉


    • …..and if Einstein’s “secrets of the universe” were “unattainable”, how did he know they existed at all?


      • I just realised!: ~ It’s Sunday!….and everybody goes silly. (except the jews of course; their sabbath is on the Saturday.) 🙂


      • Oh, I don’t wait for the weekends to be silly – I do that everyday when my eyes flutter open and my miraculous conciousness is back in my control. (;


      • Fair comment, Michael.
        But how do you know it’s ‘yours’?
        Or that it’s in “control” ~ and of what?
        ….and how do you tell the difference between consciousness (“miraculous or otherwise”) and unconsciousness (which might well be just as ‘miraculous’ for all we know) ?
        ie. How do you know your ‘Consciousness’ is not just your ‘Unconsciousness’ masturbating ? (You’re not a priest, are you? :shock:)

        oops! Sorry ~ forgot for a moment that it’s Monday already.


      • Nope, not a priest, nor adhere to any religion – don’t want my thinking stifled.
        I frequently ponder these questions too. I watched a show a while back called “What is Reality” (BBC Horizon), loved it and I’m sure you’d like it too. Physicist’s asking questions and offering hypotheses, but in the absence of anything provable leaving it to the viewer to ponder. Some wondered if reality is just an illusion – “reality is much weirder than it seems – I feel like I’m standing still but I’m zooming 67000 miles per hour around the Sun. I feel kind of solid, but I’m really mostly empty space.” One of them considered that our reality may perhaps be a 3 dimensional projection of information from the Event Horizon of a Black Hole. What I enjoyed most about the show was that it wasn’t about recreation of life but discovery through theoretical physics.
        It seems as we unravel one mystery there’s another 10 behind it.Debate on these matters are endless – are intelligent design or cosmic absurdity. But really, for me, Faith is a choice. Before I chose it, life was just too dismal, I was just doing time and saw no point to anything, Faith feels a better fit for me. I believe the miracle is done – we live, after that we get to make of it what we will.


      • You’re right Michael. Tricky issue; so much so that it even confuses The God Of All The Universes. As you may have noted, Divine Inspiration has made NO biblical attempt to address the question.

        Personally, I tend to agree with those who conjecture that “reality is just an illusion”.
        ….but occasionally wonder whether it’s a REALISTIC illusion………


      • Nope, no Divine answers. I think we are pretty much left to work it out for ourselves.
        I used to no a bloke who would frequently say:” We are spiritual beings having a human experience.”


    • Was the transition from complex organic molecules to living cells not sort of spontaneous, given its relative connotations?

      Miracles are labelled as due to faith, and this could be scientifically so, seeing how little we have discovered yet about the powers of the mind. Faith may be a necessary ingredient, whether in a religious sense or not.

      Definition of life? Isn’t that the first appearance of single cells leading to bacteria and on to plants, animals, etc.?


      • ahh. Strewth. Therein lies the problem I keep getting back to. ‘spontaneity’ can be defined fairly easily, but what’s the actual difference between ‘organic molecules’ and ‘living cells’?
        eg. where does one stop and the other begin.

        eg We DO know/agree as to the meaning of ‘organic’ ~ that’s purely chemistry in a particular configuration; however, immediately that configuration is altered ~ as by the ‘breath of god’, say, ~ it CEASES by definition to be organic. On the other hand we absolutely define ‘life’ as being organic. See the paradox?

        And it’s not even as simple as saying ‘life’ is self-reproducing organic matter. For most of the history of ‘life’ on earth life did NOT reproduce; it ‘replicated’.

        Nobody, as far as I know, has ever come up with a universal definition for what ‘life’ IS.
        (as distinct from our use of various 2nd, 3rd, etc.-level applications of the term)
        Until that’s decided all the philosophical chit-chat is fairly irrelevant other than as a topic for discussion.
        ….as is even the making of rules relating to it.


      • Probably….(” general understanding of such terms is sufficient?”), for general purposes, though I’d draw the line at philosophical debate that uses the concept to support other ideas.
        And certainly not for scientific purposes.
        Foundations for a building are fine on paper ~ in the plans.
        But not only must you know you need concrete (whatever) to build the actual structural foundations (the philosophical stage), the science of concrete (whatever) needs to be definitively understood and engineered according to the building’s purpose/loads, etc..

        ….and as Lazarus Long said:- If it can’t be expressed in numbers it’s not science, it’s opinion.


  2. PS. If I saw an elephant lying around the loungeroom like that I wouldn’t acknowledge it either.
    She might mistake it for foreplay!


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