Hazen has participated in 2 IDEA events at GMU including one where Jonathan Wells spoke. He’s very respectful in his treatment of IDists, and has said he is open to being proven wrong. He spoke at our IDEA meeting in October 2005 before CBS News camera crews and 90 people (but the news report has never aired). In attendance were my former professor James Trefil (who debated Dembski 2 weeks later) and famous OOL researcher Harold Morowitz.
Hazen published a book Genesis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin. He believes the origin of life problem will be solved in 20 years. I publicly declared at the IDEA meeting, I’d be glad to buy him a beer if the OOL problem is solved.
He is not a rabid anti-IDist like Dawkins. Hazen considers himself a man of faith. His writings echo something of the Theistic Evolutionary viewpoint:
In the beginning God set the entire magnificent fabric of the universe into motion…In such a universe, scientific study provides a glimpse of creator as well as creation.
However, I think the view that life arose through a law-like process which Hazen envisions is flawed. At the meeting, I pointed him to the recently published pro-ID peer-reviewed article by Albert Voie: Biological function and the genetic code are interdependent. I also mentioned Yockey’s book Information Theory, Evolution and the Origin of Life and the theoretical reasons the OOL problem is unlikely to be solved, and why law-like processes can not make a highly informed structure such as a biological organism.
Yockey actually had strong criticism of Hazen’s approach, and even referred to Hazen’s colleague Morowitz as “Brer Rabbit punching Tar Baby”. Yockey’s likening of Morowitz to Brer Rabit was a commentary how these OOL scientists dig only bigger holes for themselves. I think Morowitz cringed when I mentioned Yockey’s name!
To his credit, Hazen, after hearing Jonathan Wells at our September 21, 2005 IDEA meeting went out and purchased Wells book and read it. Hazen spoke highly of Wells scholarship. I gave Hazen a video copy of Privileged Planet. I hope he enjoyed watching it.
That said, it’s hard telling these guys (Hazen and Morowitz) who have spent a combined 50+ years trying to solve the OOL that they’re trying to build the equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. Hazen is a very fine gentelman, and I am deeply grateful for his support of our IDEA activities on his campus, but I think I’m still going to win my beer bet 🙂