Scientist Retracts "Origin of Life" Paper that he Wrote 52 Years Ago

October 30, 2007 | By | Reply More

Why would a scientist pull a paper that he had out there for over 50 years? Because he is embarrassed that Creationists are eagerly citing parts of it as proof that life cannot have arisen spontaneously. Here’s the story.

That is not because he objects to religion, he said… “Religion is O.K. as long as you don’t fly in the face of facts.” After all, he said, no one can disprove the existence of God. But Dr. Jacobson said he was dismayed to think that people might use his work in what he called “malignant” denunciations of Darwin.

Those of us who follow these things know that Creationists make most of their points citing long-discarded ideas from very superseded papers that were (at their respective times) published in reputable journals by respected authorities.
On re-reading his own article these many decades later, he spotted several errors of fact, as well as misplaced assumptions.
One telling statement about his retraction is:

Dr. Jacobson’s retraction is in “the noblest tradition of science,” Rosalind Reid, editor of American Scientist, wrote in its November-December issue, which has Dr. Jacobson’s letter.

His letter shows, Ms. Reid wrote, “the distinction between a scientist who cannot let error stand, no matter the embarrassment of public correction,” and people who “cling to dogma.”

In brief, a scientist can and should admit to a mistake. Reporting negative results, however and whenever arrived at, is the essential difference between the scientific method and earlier methods of understanding the world.

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Category: Evolution, Meaning of Life, Religion, Science, Writing

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A convoluted mind behind a curly face. A regular traveler, a science buff, and first generation American. Graying of hair, yet still verdant of mind. Lives in South St. Louis City. See his personal website for (too much) more.

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