Is abiogenesis mainstream science?
This is potentially a little controversial. My apologies in advance, but I have some genuine confusion concerning abiogenesis as being regarded as mainstream science, mainly because of lack of evidence - something which I regard as the ultimate saviour of science in many a debate.
My understanding is that there have been some encouraging experiments however nothing which would indicate clearly that abiogenesis is possible. It is doubtful that these experiments qualify as evidence of abiogenesis. If an experiment which was clearly controlled to replicate primordial conditions did succeed in producing life, then such a result would be a positive in favour of the idea. Under those circumstances, I could understand the idea becoming mainstream because there would be a strong evidential basis.
My first question is as above - Is abiogenesis mainstream science?
If it is, or if you regard it as mainstream science, what do you rely upon for that assertion?
As far as I know, there is no official publication of what is regarded as "mainstream", yet the idea of mainstream does have some validity. How do we determine what is mainstream? Is that an exact determination or is there some controversy in using that term?
In the case of the Global Warming theory a process was set up to help establish a mainstream position. Despite some controversy about that process, at least we have something to point our finger at to say what the mainstream position is.
This question has arisen from a couple of threads I've been involved in on BAUT. One in the "Life in Space" thread where another member asserted abiogenesis is mainstream. I asked for references to scientific literature indicating that the idea is mainstream. References which showed abiogenesis as a mainstream scientific position were not provided, despite the request being repeated more than once.
Most recently in the feedback forum the issue arose here and here. Some private discussion occurred between the management team here and me before starting this thread, arising from those posts in order to start a separate thread on the issue. I wish to make it clear that I am not attempting to challenge BAUT on this issue, if that is what BAUT's mangement team has decided is mainstream, but rather reach a better personal understanding of how this mainstream position has been reached, if it is, in fact, a mainstream science position. My thanks goes to pzkpfw for discussing this issue with me maturely and intelligently in private as a precursor to this thread.
Obviously, the issue of how life arose is a puzzling one - to make an understatement. Because of religious views, it can become emotive. I'm not advocating creationalism, nor panspermia in the absence of an acceptance of abiogenesis. I'm honestly and sincerely perplexed by the issue. As such, I don't understand how anyone else can have a clear position which one can describe as mainstream science on the issue, unless that position is based substantially, if not exclusively, on belief. I have no problem with anyone stating what their beliefs are, especially if the resort to belief is forced upon the person in the absence of proof, experiment and evidence.
I also understand that the idea may be popular scientifically, or within the scientific community, and that positive results confirming the idea highly desired within that community, however, it seems to me that "desire" itself should never be the basis for a mainstream position.