googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: 7 Theories on the Origin of Life

Monday, February 27, 2012

7 Theories on the Origin of Life


Whenever creationists asks about the origin of life, evolutionists usually respond by saying, “that's not part of evolution.” I've always thought it was rather convenient of them to propose a theory where all life has descended from a common ancestor yet excuse themselves from explaining origin of the common ancestor but never mind that now. Everyone knows what's really going on: evolutionists secretly know that the origin of life is a legitimate question for which they have no answer. So they dodge the question with, “that's not part of the theory,” in hopes of buying enough time to come up with a plausible natural explanation which they will make a part of their theory.

LiveScience is an online, science magazine that regularly posts “countdown” lists, similar to David Letterman's Top 10 lists. One list they have is the top 7 theories on the origin of life (I guess they couldn't come up with 10). Each theory received a short description which you can read for yourself but here is an even briefer summary:

Electric Spark: Inspired by the Miller-Urey experiment of 1953, this theory suggests that lightning interacting with methane gas in the earth's atmosphere created amino acids.

Community Clay: This is the idea that mineral crystals in clay helped organize the first living cells.

Deep-Sea Vents: Some people believe life began in the hydrogen-rich environment of submarine, hydrothermal vents.

Chilly Start: Instead of super-hot, hydrothermal vents, some believe life began inside hundreds of feet of ice that supposedly covered the early oceans.

RNA World: Before DNA, some speculate that life began with RNA. Of course, they don't have a conclusive theory on the origin of RNA either.

Simple Beginnings: Instead of developing from complex molecules such as RNA, life might have begun with smaller molecules interacting with each other in cycles of reactions.

Panspermia: This is the idea that life did not begin on earth at all but was brought here from space via comets or meteors. Some extremists who hold this view believe life was intentionally planted here by intelligent aliens but LiveScience didn't mention them in their description of panspermia.

I know these are meant to be thumbnail sketches of the various theories but I believe they say a lot about scientists' ideas about the origin of life.

First off, I noticed the casual use of the word “theory.” Some creationists have criticized evolution by saying, “It's just a theory.” This usually brings howls of ridicule from evolutionist explaining how a “theory” is more than just a “guess”; It's supposed to be a well-substantiated, well-supported, well-documented explanation for our observations. Here, though, they just mean “guess,” don't they? “Theories” are only well-substantiated when creationists suggest that evolution is just a guess. When evolutionists use the word, “guesses” are fine. The correct title of the countdown should be “7 Guesses About the Origin of Life.”

Some of these guesses, though, don't even address the origin of life.  Panspermia, for example, merely pushes the problem further back and onto another world.  And the idea that life began as RNA instead of DNA doesn't explain the origin of RNA.

Did you also notice the huge range covered by the various guesses? Maybe life began in hot vents or maybe it was in ice. Maybe it formed in the sea or maybe in the clay. Maybe life didn't even begin on earth. Some of these competing theories... I mean "guesses"... aren't even close to each other but are mutually exclusive. It's not like scientists have narrowed it down to a range of ideas – they're wild guesses. This isn't science; it's story telling.

This brings me to my final point. It's painfully obvious that scientists truly have no idea about the origin of life. Yet, if they have no idea, then how can they credibly claim that God didn't create life? Do they really mean to say, “I don't know how life began but I KNOW God didn't create it!”? Yes, they really do mean to say that. Even though they have absolutely no idea how life began, they refuse to consider the possibility that God created life. It's disqualified in advance because of their tenet of methodological naturalism. I've written before how there is no scientific reason to reject a supernatural explanation. It's merely their bias.

Some evolutionists would rather continue in ignorance rather than consider a plausible, supernatural explanation for the origin of life. Still others would rather believe we are martians, planted here by aliens rather than believe we are created by God. It's their presupposed naturalism which blinds them to how silly they're being.

17 comments:

Steven J. said...

The origin of life is a legitimate question, but it is independent of the question of "what happened to that life once it came into existence?" Are you suggesting that we accept "God did it" as a solution to abiogenesis, and common descent with adaption through natural selection for the following 3.5+ billion years of the history of life?

Evolution doesn't need an explanation for how life originally came to be, any more than a history of the American Civil War needs an explanation for how English speakers first came to exist.

Yes, words in English, such as "theory," often have multiple ranges of meaning. And yes, theories differ among themselves regarding how much evidence supports them (that some theories have been discarded in favor of others should point this up). "Evolution is only a theory" remains an illiterate and fallacious critique of common descent and natural selection.

Not all evolutionists or researchers into abiogenesis say "God didn't create life." According to the Bible, God creates children in their mothers womb, and God sends the rain on the just and the unjust. Yet very few Christian creationists reject, on these grounds, meteorology or developmental biology, which seek to explain these phenomena in terms of purely material processes. Rather, they say that God creates rain or babies through natural processes. It is not immediately obvious why one could not take the same view regarding abiogenesis (and evolution).

Conversely, "scientists don't have a clue" (surely you don't mean, after listing six and a half ideas, that they literally have no idea!) how something happens is not proof that it took a miracle: the first few generations of scientists didn't have a clue what caused lightning (and even today, it isn't fully understood), but presumably lightning in Isaac Newton's day was a naturalistic electrical discharge, just as today. "We don't have a natural explanation for this" is not, by itself, a sound reason to infer that natural causes were suspended or altered to make it happen, or that whatever made it happen was intelligently directed.

Science deals, of course, in natural causes. Theories are explanations in terms of natural causes. "We'll never have an explanation for this" might well be true, but it can't be a theory.

RKBentley said...

Steven J,

To say “God did it” is a little over simplistic. Instead, I would suggest that God did it according to the account revealed in Genesis.

And it may be true that ToE doesn't “need” an explanation but most curious people do. It is normal for people to ask, philosophically, “where did we come from?” When considering this broad question, things like cosmology and biology all come into play. Though it may be technically correct for evolutionists to try to compartmentalize abiogenesis and evolution (and cosmology), it does little to satisfy the curious.

LAYPERSON: Where did we come from?
EVOLUTIONIST: Humans evolved
LAYPERSON: Evolved from what?
EVOLUTIONIST: From more primitive, hominid ancestors.
LAYPERSON: But where did they come from?
EVOLUTIONIST: They evolved from non-hominid ancestors.
LAYPERSON: But where did the first ancestor come from?
EVOLUTIONIST: That's not part of evolution!

You can see how that's hardly persuasive.

Concerning the meaning of the word, “theory,” I've written many times how evolutionists abuse the language. They equivocate terribly over the word “evolution,” they have no rigorous definition for the word “species” but still demand a rigorous definition for the word “kind,” and here, they are careless with their use of the word, “theory.” In order to carry on meaningful conversations, we rely on the other person's ability to understand the ordinary meaning of our words in the context they are used. Evos often argue by definitions.

You cited specific passages in the Bible which attribute natural events to God (sending rain, forming a baby, etc). You have overlooked other passages that have no natural explanations – i.e. turning water to wine, feeding the multitudes, and the creation in six days. It goes back to what I have said so many times before: it's about the plain meaning of words. All the universe is a miracle. For all phenomenon, God is the ultimate Agent. For certain events, like the resurrection of Lazarus, God is also the immediate Agent.

You said, “Conversely, "scientists don't have a clue" (surely you don't mean, after listing six and a half ideas, that they literally have no idea!) how something happens is not proof that it took a miracle.”

I don't believe I said, “scientists don't have a clue.” I said that these are all wild guesses. They are story telling and not science. It's difficult to even ascertain how plausible they are when you take into account the fact that none of these “theories” have ever been observed to actually create life!

You said, “Science deals, of course, in natural causes. Theories are explanations in terms of natural causes. "We'll never have an explanation for this" might well be true, but it can't be a theory.”

There is no scientific reason to expect everything to have a natural cause. It's a philosophical assumption on your part. This is another one of those arguments by definition. It's like saying, “Creationism can't be science because science only deals in natural causes.” Of course, that doesn't disqualify a miraculous creation from being true.

Thanks for visiting. God bless!!

RKBentley

Steven J. said...

I would suggest that God did not do according to the creation account in Genesis. There are various reasons to conclude this, such as angular unconformities in the geological column that suggest a much more ancient Earth than the Genesis account would imply, to radiometric dating that tells us how much older the Earth is.

Then there are subtler reasons: the creation account in Genesis implies a geocentric cosmos. God is depicted creating the sun four days after the Earth, which, from the standpoint of a heliocentric solar system, is like building a foundation after you put up the house. Granted, an all-powerful God could do this, but most of the creation account has God laying foundations before creating things that depend on them: He creates oceans before fish, for example, plants before animals that eat them, even light before plants (though He rather oddly creates light four days before light sources). The most obvious inference is that the author of Genesis didn't know that the Earth orbits the sun, or that daylight is sunlight (i.e. that the daytime sky wouldn't be bright if the sun weren't there).

Note that "humans descended from more primitive primates" isn't intended to be persuasive; it's intended to be informative. If we wish to be persuasive, we can cite data ranging from shared GULO pseudogenes to the human plantaris tendon to fossil skulls that straddle any dividing line you might wish to draw between "fully formed humans" and "fully formed apes."

If large scale common descent is true (indeed, if "evolution within created kinds" is true), "species" must be a fuzzy category, with some species boundaries arbitrary. If evolution occurs only within created kinds, though, "kinds" are an objective fact; their boundaries are not fuzzy and it ought to be possible to define criteria that can identify them without ambiguity.

joe lanyadoo said...

Amino acids are not ‘precursor to life’. Chemicals can’t and didn't create life and trying to prove it is ludicrous. Researchers already proved that Very complex programs created life- DNA. Find the programmer and you will find the true “precursor TO life”!!!

RKBentley said...

Joe,

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. I agree with you 100%. Believing that amino acids could arrange themselves into a living cell is like believing that rocks could arrange themselves to build the pyramids.

Life isn't about the chemicals; it's about the organization. Amino acids may be called the "building blocks of life" just like rocks are the building blocks of the pyramids. But it takes design to make them into anything.

Keep visiting. God bless!!

RKBentley

Terry Hatting said...

Mr. Bently

Nice article. Did you know gravity is also just a "theory"?

Not all evolutionists refuse to consider the possibility that god created life, some simply do not believe there is a god, so creation cannot be an option.

Lastly, after all the reasonably well presented arguments you made, you ended with:
"It's their presupposed naturalism which blinds them to how SILLY they're being."
This is juvenile name calling and ruins any credibility the rest of the article may have had. After all the good, you couldn't help but take a little dig at evolutionists, falsely appealing to emotions.

RKBentley said...

Terry Hatting,

You said, “Nice article.”

Thank you.

You said, “Did you know gravity is also just a "theory"?”

I know that many people conflate the phenomenon of gravity with the theory of gravity. I also know that many people want to equate the “theory” of evolution with the “theory” of gravity as though they are equally tested and understood. It's one of the five lies that evolutionists tell. You can read my previous comments about it here:

http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2010/08/answering-critics-about-five-lies-of.html

You said, “Not all evolutionists refuse to consider the possibility that god created life, some simply do not believe there is a god, so creation cannot be an option.”

Creation cannot be an option if people dismiss any supernatural explanation a prior. A fundamental tenet of science (whether it's practiced by atheists or even many theists) is that it only seeks natural explanations. So even if the supernatural explanation is the correct explanation, it must be dismissed in favor of the natural explanation.

The sad thing is, there is no objective, SCIENTIFIC reason to only seek natural explanations. It's a “tenet” of science, akin to a religious belief. Look up the word tenet and you'll see.

You said, “.... After all the good, you couldn't help but take a little dig at evolutionists, falsely appealing to emotions.”

I try to be careful whenever I use any pejorative. Perhaps I do go over the line sometimes. In this case, I'm calling their actions silly and not any particular person.

I don't want to rehash the same points I made in my post but I think the contradicting attitudes displayed by many evolutionists are downright irrational. Actually, calling them “silly” is rather tame. They obviously don't know how life began but they KNOW it could not have been by supernatural means! Really? If they don't know how it happened, how can they disqualify a supernatural explanation? I ask rhetorically because I know why – it couldn't be a supernatural explanation because that's not “scientific.” I'm more interested in what is true rather than what is natural.

Thanks for visiting and for your comments. Please visit again and keep commenting.

God bless!!
RKBentley

Anonymous said...

The reason why people agree that evolution probably happened is because of the enormous amount of evidence that supports it. Abiogenesis is the study of the origin of life. What you are presenting is a misinformed viewpoint of evolution which shows you don't have a correct understanding. Still waiting on any evidence for a God. All I've ever heard just amounts to arguments from ignorance.

RKBentley said...

Anonymous,

Before I get started, let me invite you in the future to at least sign a name in your comments. You don't have to create a Blogger profile to leave comments, but just writing some name by which I could address you would be nice. It's just a suggestion and not a requirement, of course.

You said, “The reason why people agree that evolution probably happened is because of the enormous amount of evidence that supports it.”

There is NO evidence that “supports” evolution. Evidence is neutral and it doesn't support any theory. Instead, theories are our attempts to explain the evidence. We live in the same world and have the same evidence – the same fossils, the same rocks, the same everything. You have no more evidence for your theory than I have for mine.

You said, “ Abiogenesis is the study of the origin of life.”

No one can “study the origin of life.” We didn't witness the alleged first life form. It cannot be observed, tested, or repeated. It is beyond scientific inquiry. What LiveScience presented were seven, fanciful guesses about how it possibly could have happened but none of them are “scientific” in the sense that they could be verified via the scientific method. They were somewhat cavalier by referring to them as “7 Theories on the Origin of Life.”

You said, “What you are presenting is a misinformed viewpoint of evolution which shows you don't have a correct understanding.”

I didn't talk about evolution in this post so I don't know what viewpoint could be said to be misinformed. But you're repeating a usual claim made by evolutionsts, namely that creationists don't believe in evolution because they don't understand evolution. You might read my post, “What is the Best Evidence for Creation?”

http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2012/06/what-is-best-evidence-for-creation.html

You said, “Still waiting on any evidence for a God. All I've ever heard just amounts to arguments from ignorance.”

In the list of labels on the right sidebar of my blog is a tag called, “evidence for God.” You can click on that and see a few articles that I written that discuss some arguments for the existence of God. There are probably a few more to which I could have attached that label so you're also welcome to simply browse my archive and see what I've written.

Thanks for your comments. Please keep visiting and commenting.

God bless!!

RKBentley

Anonymous said...

You picture put me in a good mood after a sleepless night researching the "Origins of Life" for an upcoming Essay.

Many thanks,
A biology student

Mike said...

"Evolutionist" isn't a word. Perhaps the word you're looking for is "scientist"?

RKBentley said...

Mike,

Are you the "Word Czar" or something? Who made you the final arbiter in which words are "real"?

Words that end in "ist" describe people who subscribe to a particular belief. "Atheists" believe there is no God, for example. People who believe life has arisen through evolution are "evolutionists." Don't you believe life arose via evolution? Then why do you object to being identified as such?

I wrote about this discussion a while back. You can read that post here:

http://rkbentley.blogspot.com/2012/08/evidence-for-creationism.html

Evolutionist or creationists are perfectly fine words. I'm sorry you reject them.

God bless!!

RKBentley

RKBentley said...

Mike,

I forgot to say one thing. Why do you conflate "evolutionist" with "scientist" as though they are the same thing? Are you saying that only scientists are evolutionists - that is, if you don't believe in evolution, then you're not a scientist? Perhaps you should also read my post about the No True Scotsman argument and other logical fallacies.

God bless!!

RKBentley

Jeff said...

You stated there is no reason to only look for naturalist explanations. Given that we have never found a supernatural explanation for anything, ever, is one very compelling reason to only look for naturalist explanations.

You also stated that there is no evidence that supports evolution. That is a ludicrous statement. Evolution is the only idea that explains why we find fossils in the order of the geological column.

RKBentley said...

Jeff,

Thanks for visiting my blog and for your comments. I'm sorry it took a while to respond.

You said, “You stated there is no reason to only look for naturalist explanations. Given that we have never found a supernatural explanation for anything, ever, is one very compelling reason to only look for naturalist explanations.”

There is no natural explanation for the origin of matter/energy. “Science” actually says that matter can neither be created nor destroyed so how do you explain the origin of matter except with a supernatural explanation? So even though a natural explanation for the origin of matter flies in the face of known science, you continue to seek one because you reject the supernatural explanation a priori.

You said, “You also stated that there is no evidence that supports evolution. That is a ludicrous statement. Evolution is the only idea that explains why we find fossils in the order of the geological column.”

First off, you have built your supposed history of evolution on the idea that the lower fossils represent older fossils. Therefore, the animals lower in the record evolved into the animals above them. Wouldn't it be rather circular of you to interpret the geological column according to your theory and then turn around and say the column is evidence for your theory?

But besides that, I've written many times about how new fossil finds are constantly over turning previous theories about evolution. For example, I've written many times about how modern species are found lower in the fossils than their supposed ancestors.

Please keep visiting and commenting. God bless!!

RKBentley

Bicentenial Baby said...

Hi RKBently I enjoyed your article having found it after googling images for origins of life for a blog post I was writing. I used the image in my post with a link to your article but I wanted to make sure this was OK. I will remove it if you have any issues with that.

RKBentley said...

Bicentennial Baby,

Thanks for visiting my blog. Please come back.

The image on my post isn't mine originally. I'm not really sure who it belongs to since it's found on at least a dozen sites. You're free to use it, of course. I appreciate links to my blog but you don't have to give me credit for the pic.

For the record, what is written on my blog are my own words and thoughts. However, I never restrict any use of them. Feel free to copy, paste, and distribute anything you find here. Again, links to my blog are appreciated but not required. My objective for blogging is to spread God's word and anything that anyone does to help is welcomed.

I read through some of your blog posts. Great stuff. Keep up the good work.

God bless!!

RKBentley