Feature Article - February 2014
by Do-While Jones

A Tale of Two Prizes

Evolutionists lack facts, not motivation.

From time to time, evolutionists offer prizes to anyone who can prove the theory of evolution is true. They fail because the theory isn’t true. Here are two examples.

The Origin of Life Prize

We first discovered the existence of the Origin of Life Prize in 2005, and told you about it in our August 1 and September 2 newsletters that year. At first, we assumed the prize was just a cheap creationist trick, using one million dollars to bait evolutionists, and taunting them every year it was not awarded. But, when we investigated the organization offering the prize, we discovered it was a sincere attempt by evolutionary scientists to produce a plausible explanation for the origin of life through purely natural processes. Furthermore, the rules for awarding the prize honestly described the scientific obstacles to the natural origin of life that would have to be overcome.

In our past newsletters, we told you about their excellent description of the characteristics of life, and what is necessary for something to be “alive.” We don’t want to repeat all that excellent information here, so please go back and reread our August and September, 2005, newsletters.

By chance, we happened to go back to the Origin of Life website a few days ago and found this shocking announcement on their home page.

Late News:

On October 26, 2013 the Governing Board of the Origin of Life Science Foundation, Inc. voted to put on hold the Origin of Life Prize Program, and to temporarily suspend the Origin of Life Prize offer. Over the 13 years since The Origin of Life Prize was first announced in NATURE and SCIENCE, no submission has ever made it past the screening judges to higher-level judges. No submission has ever addressed, let alone answered, any of the questions below, for which the Prize offer was instituted. Most of these Prize-offer questions centered on: "How did inanimate, prebiotic nature prescribe or program the first genome?"

Life origin literature continues to circumvent and ignore this problem, if not deliberately sweep it under the rug. The Prize Program did much to raise consciousness and stimulate more consideration of the real problem of life origin - Prescription of future biofunction that was not yet selectable by the environment. 3

We are sure that the Origin of Life Science Foundation still believes that life did originate through unguided natural processes—but they apparently no longer believe that modern science can explain how that happened. If another biological breakthrough (equivalent in importance to the discovery of the DNA molecule) is made, they may offer the prize again; but 13 years of intense investigation has convinced them that the origin of life cannot be explained by current scientific knowledge.

We applaud the Origin of Life Science Foundation for their honesty. In particular, we are impressed and grateful that they have chosen to leave their description of the problem on their website. It would have been easy to take the cowardly way out by simply deleting the website.

So, let us state as clearly as we can our deep admiration and respect for the sincerity and integrity of the Origin of Life Science Foundation.

Evolution in Two Minutes

On the other hand, we have no respect whatsoever for Discover magazine. They are as far from the Origin of Life Science Foundation on the integrity scale as they can be.

In April, 2009, Discover magazine announced a mean-spirited contest to put creationists in their place. We told you about it in our June, 2009, article, “Evolution for Intellectuals.” 4 Their website said,

The Challenge

Can you commu­nicate the most im­portant idea in biol­ogy, and one of the most controversial ideas in our society, in a mere 120 sec­onds? Think you can con­vince even the most hard-headed creation­ist that Darwin was right? If so, show us—and that creationist—how it's done.

Your task is to create a video of no more than two minutes that will get the idea and significance of evolution across to an educated lay audience. Along the way, you can touch on points like how evolution works, how we know it to be true, the evolution of humanity, and the future of evolution.

In June, 2009, we gave you a link to that quote, but, unlike the Origin of Life Science Foundation, Discover magazine has tried to cover its tracks by purging all references to the contest from their website. The link to that quote is no longer active.

Feeling a little bit devilish, we entered the contest and submitted a video mocking the theory of evolution by making the argument in favor of evolution as badly as possible. We knew we would lose, so we didn’t spend much time on it, but it was fun to make the video.

We waited to lose the contest so that Discover magazine would not have the rights to it, so we could post it on our own website in June. But the contest didn’t end on June 1 as scheduled. The deadline was extended five more months. It finally ended in November.

Discover never explained why the contest didn’t end on time. Perhaps they were so overwhelmed by so many excellent entries that they could not process them all by June 1. (But, if that were the case, why extend the deadline?)

We suspect, but certainly can’t prove, that they had less than five entries by the time the contest was supposed to end, so we would have had to have been one of the winners! We suspect, but can’t prove, that they extended the deadline in a futile attempt to get five satisfactory entries.

Finally they did announce the five winners (in a private email to us). There was no big fanfare in the magazine, and the five “winning” videos were not prominently featured on the website. They were posted there, but they were very hard to find.

We did tell you about the five winning videos in our January, 2010, newsletter. 5 The videos were so embarrassingly bad that none of them are still on the Discover website. On the other hand, a link to our losing video is proudly displayed on our home page, and we have also posted it on YouTube. 3 (Several other people posted our video on YouTube without our knowledge—but that’s fine.)

Motivation isn’t the Problem

We have said on several occasions that the creation/evolution controversy could be solved simply if evolutionists just put forth a scientifically plausible defense of the theory. They don’t do that because they can’t. That’s why they resort to legal action to prevent scientific evidence against evolution from being presented in public schools.

Prizes for compelling scientific evidence for the natural origin of life, or evolution of new phyla through natural selection will never be won regardless of the size of the prize because the scientific evidence doesn’t exist. Offering more, or bigger, prizes won’t change the facts.

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Footnotes:

1 Disclosure, August 2005, “Looking For Life”, http://www.scienceagainstevolution.info/v9i11f.htm
2 Disclosure, September 2005, “One Million Dollars!”, http://www.scienceagainstevolution.info/v9i12f.htm
3 http://lifeorigin.org/
4 Disclosure, June 2009, “Evolution for Intellectuals”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v13i9f.htm
5 Disclosure, January 2010, “Evolution Video Finalists”, http://scienceagainstevolution.info/v14i4f.htm
6 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NHodXgM52tw