Ralph Merkle writes: "The December 1st 2003 issue of Chemical & Engineering News carried a debate between Drexler and Smalley about the feasibility of molecular manufacturing. The January 26th 2004 issue devotes a little over two pages to letters on the debate. Of the eight letters published, five supported molecular manufacturing, one was clearly opposed, and two seemed skeptical." Ralph Merkle encloses some quotes from the letters:
"I am unaware of any fundamental laws of physics that mitigate against Drexler's concepts."
"I encourage you [C&EN] to lead the call for further studies of the science and technology involved in mechanically guided chemistry."
"It is sad to see a greatly revered scientist like Smalley being so obtuse on a subject of such importance."
"…there are reputable scientists and engineers (including the late Nobel Laureate Richard Feynman) who believe mechano-synthesis, 'machine-phase' chemistry is possible."
"…I also wonder … if molecular manufacturing does not violate the second law of thermodynamics."
"Biology provides an incontrovertible 'existence proof' that some form of molecular manufacturing is possible…"
"Smalley is correct in his thesis against a mechano 'chemistry' assembler."
"Smalley attempts to cast Drexler as ignorant to the complexities of synthetic chemistry, when in fact Smalley is ignorant of the broad capabilities of biological catalysts."