Just keep clinging to abiogenesis; that’ll do!

According to the evolutionist Gary S Hurd:

However, faced with mounting evidence in support of evolutionary biology coming from scientific fields from genetics to paleontology, the origin of life has become an obsession with creationists who assert that science’s failure to create life de novo is “proof” of supernatural creation…

Do we know how life originated on earth? No. Is every one of the innumerable chemical and geological events that led to the origin of life preserved? No. Is this “proof” of a supernatural origin of life? No. Nevertheless, the origin of life will be the last refuge for “God of the gaps” arguments in decades to come.

But that came across as thinly-veiled rhetoric. It assumed that abiogenesis is true, and invoked red herrings to avoid its own scientific shortfalls.

Instead, Peter M. Murphy made a better view of the situation, when discussing a conference called Open Questions on the Origin of Life [OQOL]:

For example, the OQOL of ‘where did life begin?’ attracts advocates for deep-sea thermal vents, extraterrestrial sources (panspermia), and Darwin’s ‘warm little pond’. Each group provides valuable and valid critiques of their rivals.

Creationists should wisely use all these criticisms to leave no credible abiogenesis scheme. Since divine creation did not proceed through a long evolutionary history of intermediate chemical and biochemical transitions toward living creatures, all naturalistic explanations for the OoL [origin of life] will ultimately be proven untrue by the standard of being consistent with known scientific laws.

Quote sources

  1. Hurd, G. (2007). Review: Origins of Life” in Reports of the National Center for Science Education. Available https://ncse.com/library-resource/review-origins-life. Last accessed 5th Sep 2016.
  2. Murphy, P. M. (2014). Open questions on the Origin of Life in 2014. Creation Ministries International. Available http://creation.com/origin-of-life-questions. Last accessed 5th Sep 2016.
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Intelligence that escapes Talk.Origins

The next day [Phillip] Johnson spoke to the four hundred students in [Will] Provine’s evolutionary biology class for non-majors [at Cornell University]. All the students had read his book [Darwin on Trial] and so Johnson spent most of the time answering questions. At first the questions seemed mainly to come from the sort of person who gets his information from the Usenet Group Talk.Origins…

“What sort of thing is life?” asked Johnson. “An artifact of intelligence, or a natural phenomenon?” Those impressed with the findings of modern science, including the Talk.Origins crowd, and a few Christian scientists, had already decided this issue, and wanted to talk about the age of the earth and miracles. Johnson kept pressing the point that intelligence coming from intelligence was no miracle. His skeptical interlocutors simply did not know what to say…

One graduate student left murmuring that theism was possible after all, and arguing with his own kind against their intolerance. Johnson’s infectious questioning had found another carrier.

Quote source

Reynolds, J.M. (1995) Que Res Vitas? Phil Johnson Takes His Case to the East. Available http://www.arn.org/docs/orpages/or161/pjlect.htm. Last accessed 14 Mar 2016.

Atheists made conclusions first—then looked for proof

The following was said about Wilfred Elders:

Elders, a former chairman of the Education Committee of the Geothermal Resources Council of the U.S.A., said young-Earth creationists make a fundamental error: They start with their conclusion—that God created the Earth in six days—and then look for the proof. Scientists, on the other hand, “observe the natural world and follow those observations wherever they lead.”

But the following was said by Freeman Dyson, in his book about abiogenesis:

Dyson concluded that [atheistic biochemist Alexandr] Oparin’s theory [of abiogenesis] was ‘generally accepted by biologists for half a century’ but that it ‘was popular not because there was any evidence to support it but rather because it seemed to be the only alternative to biblical creationism.’

Quote sources

  1. Elders, W. cited in Johnson, M.A. (2005). The Stirring on the Mount: St. Helens Used in Drive to Prove Biblical Creation with Science. NBC News. Available http://www.nbcnews.com/id/7013405/ns/technology_and_science-science/t/stirring-mount/#.Vc7FZ2CyPiY. Last accessed 15th Aug 2015.
  2.  Bergman, J. (2002). “Why the Miller–Urey Research Argues Against Abiogenesis” in Journal of Creation. Vol. 18(2).

When Christians observed the errors of skeptics

Mike Riddle recalled this exchange when presenting on creation at a secular university:

So finally, a student had a Bible there—not a Christian—and he read where people [were] living to be 900 years old, right from the Bible. And he said, “do you believe people really lived to be 900 years old?”…

And my response kind of stopped him for just a moment. And my response was, “yes, don’t you?”

A very simple answer, wasn’t it? And he responded, after it kind of dawned on him…

He said, “well no!” And I asked him, “well, why not?”

See, what I’m doing is not giving the evidence, I’m getting to the root of why he made that statement. That’s where you gotta get to. Why did they believe what they believe? If you pull that out, the evidence is a non-issue…

He said that “that’s never been observed!”

He just lost the argument, folks, because my next question was, “do you believe that life originated by naturalistic processes?”

He said, “yes.”

“May I ask, have you ever observed that?”

He knew he just got caught in his own contradiction, didn’t he? I showed him his worldview was inconsistent.

Quote Source

Riddle, M. (2015). Christian Education, Pass or Fail? Available https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0m5PIOLro8M. Last accessed 8th Aug 2015.

Evolutionists’ irrelevant analogies for abiogenesis

This was from a book review of The Biotic Message by Walter ReMine (thanks for telling me about this book, Geoff!):

ReMine’s treatment of the origin of life is good. I particularly liked the way he dealt with some of the bluffs of evolutionists who try to dilute the improbability argument with irrelevant analogies. For example, the exact arrangement of the cards in a deck just after it is shuffled is highly improbable, but nevertheless an improbable arrangement happens every time.

This confuses the point entirely. The question is not ‘what is the probability that life arose?’ but ‘what is the probability that life could arise naturalistically, without the involvement of an intelligent creator?’.

Any arrangement of cards is as ‘good’ as any other and there will be an arrangement of cards. However, with the DNA code, a particular arrangement is required.

If we got an arrangement of cards with an orderly pattern (Ace, King, Queen, Jack, etc.) we would conclude that someone had ‘stacked the deck’; that is, an intelligence was responsible because such an arrangement is so unlikely from random shuffling (the probability of such an arrangement from random shuffling is less than 1 in 1067). Many a card cheat has paid the price of this powerful evidence of intelligent input!

Evolutionists want us to believe that something far less likely than the orderly arrangement of cards happened without intelligent input—and they use irrelevant analogies to try to avoid the argument.

Quote source

Batten, D. (1997). The Biotic Message: Evolution versus Message Theory by Walter James ReMine” [book review] in Journal of Creation, December 1997, p. 293.

It’s OK to admit it: abiogenesis is (still) a stretch

According the National Center for Science Education (NCSE):

All of this demonstrates that Yockey (1977a and b), Hoyle and Wickramasinghe (1981), the creationists (Gish, 1976), and others who should know better are dead wrong about the near-zero probability of new enzyme formation. Biologically useful macromolecules are not so information-rich that they could not form spontaneously without God’s help. Nor is help from extraterrestrial cultures required for their formation either. With this information in hand, we can wonder how creationists can so dogmatically insist that life could not have started by natural processes right here on earth.

But it’s a stretch to equate opposing views as a “dogmatic” insistence; a more honest assessment comes from naturalists who can see beyond the NCSE’s radar:

Evolution should be able to explain, in theory at least, all the way back to the very first organism that could replicate itself through biological or chemical processes. And to understand that organism fully, we would simply have to know what came before it. And right now [23 years after the NCSE’s quote above] we are nowhere close. I believe a material explanation will be found, but that confidence comes from my faith that science is up to the task of explaining, in purely material or naturalistic terms, the whole history of life. My faith is well founded, but it is still faith.

Quote sources

  1. Thwaites, W.M. (1985). “New Proteins Without God’s Help” in Creation Evolution Journal. Volume 5, Number 2, p. 3. Available http://ncse.com/cej/5/2/new-proteins-without-gods-help. Last accessed 6th Jul 2015.
  2. Slack, G. (2008). What neo-creationists get right. The Scientist. Available http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/26504/title/What-neo-creationists-get-right/. Last accessed 6th Jul 2015.

Atheism requiring more leaps of faith than Christianity

Indeed, atheism itself has a number of propositions that have to be accepted by faith, e.g. that something (the universe) came from nothing, non-living matter evolved into living cells by stochastic chemistry, complex specified information arose without intelligence, morality arose by natural selection, etc.

Quote source

Cosner, L. (2008). ‘Former leading atheist argues for the existence of God‘ in Journal of Creation. December 2008, pp. 21-24.