Back to the Origin of Life

Question from Kenneth:
The answer by Truk regarding the Law of Biogenesis is extremely simplistic. Pasteur is not the only one to come to this conclusion. Many eminent scientists since have tried but failed to disprove it, but have had to admit that spontaneous generation as virtually impossible. The complexity of a cell, the smallest self-replicating unit of life, is so overwhelming that regardless of the amount of time it is impossible. Truk’s answer that we know it happened because life exists, does not speak of science. It speaks of faith! The very thing Creationists are always ridiculed for. The whole of Evolutionary Biology rises or falls on abiogenesis. If you can’t show that to be true, it all collapses like a ‘house of cards’.

Answer by SmartLX:
The question by Truk is here and it may have more comments than any article on this site. Religious and particularly Christian apologists make much of the fact that there isn’t an established scientific theory of abiogenesis like there is for evolution. It’s the answer atheists just don’t have. What they never seem to realise is how little this matters to the god debate.

I’ve addressed Pasteur in the other article, so we’ll speak generally here. Spontaneous generation, which came to be called abiogenesis, need only have happened once to produce all known life. It is evidently unlikely in the present day, because it is not happening all around us. (The existence of established life may have a lot to do with this; see this other article.) In the ancient world 3-4 billion years ago, perhaps it was slightly less unlikely or perhaps it wasn’t, but that you felt you had to include the word “virtually” belies that there’s no way to unambiguously say it was impossible. And if it was possible, it could happen once as a fluke, which would explain why it’s only happened on Earth as far as we can see.

That said, there are detailed and quite old rebuttals to the claim that the formation of the first proteins, enzymes, etc. were impossibly unlikely, which focus on the assertions and assumptions inherent in such claims. See whether that particular link addresses a point or two that you’ve read. Regardless, to argue that it’s impossible because we don’t know how it happened is the standard and ubiquitous argument from ignorance.

We know that before an undefined point in time there was no life, and some time later there was life. If one does not believe in a god to begin with, one does not seriously consider a god as a reason for the emergence of that life, though one cannot rule it out entirely. All possible natural mechanisms of abiogenesis would need to be ruled out before a designer could be established by elimination, and that includes mechanisms not yet thought of so you won’t get far there. Science may give one confidence that a theory of abiogenesis will emerge, but even if it doesn’t in our lifetime it remains nothing more than an unanswered question, with a hard but present road to possibly finding the answer.

Finally, even if abiogenesis didn’t happen and life was deliberately created, that may have been the last point the creator intervened. Evolutionary biology needs nothing more than an imperfect self-replicator, which perhaps a creator provided, to explain the entire diversity of life. Therefore it does not fall like cards or anything else without abiogenesis, but you think it does because you think all of evolutionary biology has been erected solely as a barrier to the certitude of divine creation, and a gap in it represents total failure in that regard. Science does not require that we be as certain of a particular hypothesis as you are of your god in order to compete with that god.

19 thoughts on “Back to the Origin of Life”

  1. Disregarding SmartXL’s reply here, with which I, of course, as always, fully agree, (I only once doubted the…I forgot what, but SmartXL didn’t take it badly from me, having no vanity, and explained to me what he had meant).
    So, I want to point out that that there is a much more important question here, the one of the origin of energy and as the consequence, so to say, of matter.
    So, why you think that it is impossible for life to have been started by abiogenesis, but don’t wonder about the origin of energy, is, I believe, because the origin of energy and matter is a much more tricky question, that even science has no definite answer to, than the origin of life, thus, you attack the fairly easy science’ answer to the question of origin of life, as a kinda easier theory to attack to put down, you think, believing that, once you (could) put it down, then, not only that all that followed would fall down and crumble, as card castle, but by that single move, you hope, you would kill two flies at once, one on evolution, but what is much more important, thus establish god as the cause of life on earth, and then you would easily put down the theory of non causal existence of energy and matter.

    But you cannot fool an atheist, not SmartXL, and not me, either.

    So, I suggest you try with god as creator of the energy and matter from nothing, and then, if you succeed in the endeavor, (hahaha), the question of the origin of life should b a piece of cake for a mind like yours.

    1. “The whole of Evolutionary Biology rises or falls on abiogenesis. If you can’t show that to be true, it all collapses like a ‘house of cards’.”
      My, my, how you love to disregard and make little of easily understood facts. Both you and SmartLx, are just willingly ignorant. Not willing to accept that you are not thinking scientifically, but thinking with speculation. You claim facts but deal in ignorance.
      SmartLx, says that “… abiogenesis… need only have happened once”. And this is beyond ignorance, if not insanity. To say that something could have happened in spite of the fact that everything and even your peers, and even those of higher caliber, have stated enthusiastically, that it is virtually impossible for it to happen.
      For one you haven’t even proven that chemicals were present, for them to mix and mingle. The next thing is you haven’t shown how those chemicals could have become isolated, so as to have the opportunity, to mix and mingle, and so that the chemicals that would be detrimental to life would prevent life all together. Then you need to demonstrate that these chemicals could indeed have made life, all on their own and without guidance. In fact the Dr Tour’s accomplishments was built off of the work of others and then required his intelligence to glean the minute almost block of RNA, and still came very short of “goo, gooing and ga, gagaing”.

      I salute your slight confession SmartLx, although it is wrenched from the broken arguments of illogic that is followed with the biggest “but’s” that says once again that evolution still could have been the tool, for life to have reached its pinnacle. But as stated earlier, the fact that abiogenesis is not possible, it invalidates all other speculations that do not maintains this in mind, and also still ignores the fact that the Bible specifically tells us, from someone who was the closest to the time, as to how it all started and what transpired. And seeing as how the Bible has been proven time and time again, to throw it out simply because you don’t like what it is saying, or appears to be beyond your realm of possibility, even though you are willing to include with no problem that which true scientists have all said was an impossibility, is simply quite unscientific.

      1. Name the “true scientists”, would you? Other than James Tour, whose authority on the subject and even whose actual views appear to have been misrepresented by at least one Christian journalist.

        1. How do you know that they have been misrepresented. Did you even bother to find out where he lives or teaches. Did you even bother search the web and find out if he has flat out said that he has been misquoted by those misguided ” Creationists”. Did you? No you didn’t. Because if you had you would have discovered this. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H2V4tvOjCsE. Or this,
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_zQXgJ-dXM4 or this
          https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UoXQ75jlT3c
          Now maybe we dumb, “Creationists” created a clone of Professor Tour and told him what to say. This reasoning is not outside the scope of the evolutionists to assume. After all you do believe the lie of evolution.
          But I’m letting my emotions run rampant. I’m sorry. But the truth is the truth. And there is a mountain of evidence that shows that life just could not have happened without Intelligent intervention. I know this and I am not that intelligent. But there are thousands of others who are and they are saying the same thing. A bit more eloquently and with more understanding than I could ever while on this earth could ever do.
          But don’t just listen to what you have been listening to And don’t just accept what you have heard. Take a look at the evidence. Compare it to what is now. And well, well, we will just you decide what you are wanting to believe. The same old unsupported speculation, or the truth.

          1. Okay, so James Tour is all you’ve got.

            The misrepresentation appears to be on the subject of evolution, not abiogenesis, which is why my earlier link quotes him as having to admit he doesn’t understand evolution and deny he’s an Intelligent Design proponent.

            Tour really doesn’t think abiogenesis is possible, but his arguments boil down to not knowing how it’s possible, and claiming that no one else knows, which is true. The specifics of the difficulties he describes are largely covered in a TalkOrigins rebuttal I’ve already linked once. If you think something of Tour’s isn’t covered there, single it out.

            1. Is all I’ve got. SmartLx, you are slipping. There are thousands who have PHD’s of one kind or another who all say that evolution is rubbish. And some of them have renounced evolution and accepted Christ. And the internet has some of them, past and present, who have made it very clear, that there is nothing scientific about evolution. And I’ve already mentioned some of they, but found to my great surprise and dismay, that they were not qualified enough to dissuade you from your wrong direction of traveling. Even though they have been accepted as leaders in there fields of expertise since before I was born.
              It is easy for those who have not experienced, to denounce as myth. And it is understandable. But for those to simply disallow, and dismiss what others have experienced suggesting that they have been under mass hypnotic influences, or that they have all been duped, implying that “they are all so easily gullible” and not as smart as I, is beyond insanity. Because these people make up some of the most favored ones in our society. Our parents, our teachers, our scientists and poets, and philosophers. All of which say that God exists and that He created all. And you don’t have any thing more than your refusal to accept this as truth other than you haven’t experienced it. Which is in itself shallow, to say the least.

              1. Being wrong does not mean being gullible, duped, hypnotised or stupid, which is why smart people are wrong about things all the time. People with PhDs are no exception to this. In a way they may be more susceptible to misapprehensions outside of their own fields, because their acheivements may make them more confident in their own opinions regardless of topic.

                When addressing such arguments from authority, the relevant piece of information is that though there are academics of all kinds that reject evolution, the percentage of biologists that do so is incredibly low compared to other fields (last estimate I saw was 2-5%). This suggests that learning the available science on life itself does much to dispel doubts about evolution.

  2. Read some Einstein on big numbers’ possibilities and probabilities.

    SmartXL does not draw it from his sleeve that a thing will cause its effect even if it happened just once. Then apply Einstein to the time passed since whenever there had been in the Universe the right conditions, until the time that the ‘unimaginable’ happened. The ‘insane’thing. But it obviously did, and the proof is the cosmos we live in. You are the proof that it did happen, however stupid, because evolution make mistakes and sometimes does not kill the useless creatures, but only due to medicine and lack of wild animals to kill such ones.

    Oh please believe me that I have no nerve to deal with low iquers like yourself.

    For, it is unimaginable that you think that the possibility of an entity that has no cause behind it could have created all the stuff necessary for the first protein or whatever to get formed accidentally, given the Einstein’s amount of time, than that it happened accidentally having had the necessary conditions.

    Non caused god, existing just like that…whatever for, and what were its intent, why…against Einstein’s chance in a billion billions billions…etc of years of existence of the stuff necessary for it to happen, even just once!!!

    What are the chances for god against Einstein’s large numbers?!

    NIL

    Note that I did not read the whole of your rant, I am only human.

    But you did SmartLX’s and mine. HA!

    1. Einstein, never said that what is impossible could be made possible after however much time has gone by. We are not talking about a coin with two sides. We are talking about a coin with not sides at all. Nothing has been. To make something that is to be. We are talking about a building that could be built but there is nothing to hold it together. What, do you think the wood, or a brick would say “aha” I can be a building, and then it made more of itself, or it evolved into more and then realizing that it would need some sort of something, (it didn’t know what “it” would need) but it somehow figured out that something to fasten each of the pieces together would be necessary, and then figured out what that would be, and actually thought of more than one. Glue, nails, screws. And then it said, “oh no”. How to implement the joining. And from one “oh no” it some how overcame, because there was an unlimited amount of time to effect its changes.
      And that is just a bare minimalistic idea of what a cell had to have been able to perform and accomplish, all without an intelligence to intercede.
      You really are being tooooooo, childish in your reasoning. Or just tooooo obstinate in admitting that you are wrong. Or you just don’t care about the truth.

  3. Read some Einstein on big numbers’ possibilities and probabilities.

    SmartXL does not draw it from his sleeve that a thing will cause its effect even if it happened just once. Then apply Einstein to the time passed since whenever there had been in the Universe the right conditions, until the time that the ‘unimaginable’ happened. The ‘insane’thing. But it obviously did, and the proof is the cosmos we live in. You are the proof that it did happen, however stupid, because evolution make mistakes and sometimes does not kill the useless creatures, but only due to medicine and lack of wild animals to kill such ones.

    Oh please believe me that I have no nerve to deal with low iquers like yourself.

    For, it is unimaginable that you think that the possibility of an entity that has no cause behind it could have created all the stuff necessary for the first protein or whatever to get formed accidentally, given the Einstein’s amount of time, than that it happened accidentally having had the necessary conditions.

    Non caused god, existing just like that…whatever for, and what were its intent, why…against Einstein’s chance in a billion billions billions…etc of years of existence of the stuff necessary for it to happen, even just once!!!

    What are the chances for god against Einstein’s large numbers?!

    NIL

    Note that I did not read the whole of your rant, I am only human.

    But you did SmartLX’s and mine. HA!
    Hi, hi, hi…

  4. I can’t believe that you are stating the BIBLE as the source of some information, and on top of that that the people that were nearer to the time knew better!!!

    I want to believe that you are joking, having in mind, cause you sound educated enough not to make such idiotic mistakes, by saying that the Bible writers knew better. I mean, do you know when the Bible was written, humans had existed for at least 200.000 years, or even 300.000, prior to the writing of the bible, but the event of abiogenesis happened millions of years prior to it.

    You are a ridiculous joker. A sad piece of human species.
    Listen to MOZART. He will soothe your disturbed mind.

    Because, even very intelligent and educated people can be mad. Religiosity is a madness.

    By this I did NOT mean that you sound intelligent and educated but I DID mean that you sound religiously crazy. So, bugger off.

    1. 200,000 years or 300,000, years. You know that it is in question as to age of the earth. Just as much as how life came to be as it is. So you really can’t seriously think that what you think is what we should consider a proof. And even though you can’t once again accept proof Niki, it is a known fact that the Bible has been used as a valid source of information.

  5. Except for MOZART, I advise some RICHARD DAWKINS, but in small doses because he may drive you into AMOK. I would not be near you when you read THE GOD DELUSION. Delusion mans madness. I think it is not SmartXL that is insane, but YOU. Maybe sedatives could help. Or a monastery.

  6. Finally, the probability of a Universe creator, itself being non causal, together with the Universe itself, i.e. god and the Universe, both without cause, from nothing, is much smaller than the possibility that the Universe created itself out of chemicals that consist in it. This is what all serious cosmologists say. Who are you to say the opposite I wonder. A nobody. But you hide behind those few scientists mad just as yourself, who state the opposite. Have in mind that science is rational while religion is emotional. It says all about the religious people, their religion is from fear and wishful thinking. Sad. You don’t deserve to be called HOMO SAPIENS SAPIENS, because you are not sapient at all. None of it.

    1. If you haven’t found “religion”, I suggest that you hold off on making statements on what is or isn’t religion. Religion is not simply based upon emotion. Although emotion becomes involved once the rationalizing has been made. We do have to consider what is or isn’t true. If you believe emotion is not part of everyday life, they you have not lived and loved. And you have not therefore been exposed to the power of the motion of love. Love itself, is beyond explanation. And yet it evokes the greatest of our goodness, and kindness. It has caused people to give of themselves to the death, to defend, protect and provide for the subjects of their love. And it does this inspite of and even in the midst of any other emotion, even hatred. It has tamed both the savage human and the savage beast. And the reason that love has done this is because God is love. And so love will always win out.
      Now I invite you to find fault in this.

  7. Oh and this site, one that I have visited a few times before your invitation, is to say the least antagonistic. Why the very first words are one of loathing. So how can you offer it as arbitrary
    evidence. Those who made up this site show that they are under the impression that they need to defend their views. Not to present what they believe and see if they can learn why not. You and all the other evolutionists need to stop being like this person.
    https://www.cnn.com/2014/01/17/world/asia/japan-philippines-ww2-soldier-dies/index.html

  8. SmartLx. You are diverting. And what you say about the Creationists can hold just as true about the scientists pushing evolution. At the end of the day, we must use science correctly and allow it to show us what is or what is not. And and accepting what you observe should be paramount when there is no other proof stating otherwise. And the fact of the, while it is speculated by some that all life was derived from one specific life that appeared on its own, becoming each different type or kind of organism, what you see in real life is not this. Whey you observe all around you. you see bacteria, producing bacteria. the virus, produces virus. Bees produce bees. Bats, bats. up to man producing man. And even though there are claims that there is fossil evidence to support this spewculation, there is only the claims of those who say this without any visual proof that what they say is true.
    You certainly can’t just pick up a few fossils and with out any videos or actual sightings declare that one type of organism became a different type. Which in itself is ridiculous. But even to want someone to believe that a fossilized mother dog, had at one time produced not another dog but a horse, without those fossils being available to show as proof, to be accepted as truth. And as far as I know, all fossils of offspring have looked like the parent.
    Then when you add to this the at one time thought to be extinct, but now called living fossils, look very much like the fossilized ones that have been uncovered. And there are not a few of these. Sure the evolutionists atheists try to explain it away. They try to take the attention off of what the logical leading of this to be that indeed all life appeared as they are with no type ever producing another type, or kind. And then you look at fossilized bacteria. More simple organisms. And they appear as bacteria of today. The same has been found with, pollen, plants, protozoa, and other simple organic life. But instead of allowing observation to lead what the evolutionists believe they want to hold onto what they have speculated, and not be scientific in what the believe. But take joy in their ability to imagine something that contradicts what has been happening for thousands of years, in every kind of organism, simple and complex.

    And it has already been shown that there is a good part of biologists who if they don’t say it in the open, they will at least admit behind closed doors that they don’t get evolution. They will teach a watered down and try to teach the more logical, and observable Intelligent design theory or they well reluctantly teach a watered down form of evolution. Knowing that there could and have been reprisals to their unbelief in evolution.
    And don’t try to say that you really need to be a evolutionist to believe in evolution. There are many great minds in other fields who are more than capable of reading findings and interpreting research. And they say that it is wrong to accept evolution. Even previous atheists and evolutionists have done a double take and admitted that they were wrong. All it took was for them to stop believing what they were told to see, and actually look at the evidence. And they changed their minds. They were not brainwashed. They were not paid to do so. They convinced themselves that the evidence just did not back evolution speculation.

    1. If accepting what you observe is paramount, no one should believe in God unless they see God. If on the other hand one can accept something based on evidence for it, which is a premise for many arguments for God including yours, confidence in evolutionary theory is justified, including the part creationists call “macro-evolution”.

      If you observe bacteria in particular, you see it evolving in what we would think of as “real time” because of the insanely fast reproduction rate. It’s why antibiotics have to keep changing. It remains bacteria only because it is still within an arbitrary definition we imposed upon it; it is in fact hard to imagine all of it staying within that definition given millions of times longer than a human lifespan. If you stand on a riverbank and look as far as you can in both directions, all the water you see will probably be within one or two postcodes, but you can still be confident that it comes from and goes to a different area entirely.

      The primary evidence of common descent and therefore transitions between species is genetic, and it’s plentiful, but morphological evidence is more obvious. We still have muscles to move our ears a fraction of an inch, uselessly, which our mammal ancestors used to turn theirs right round. The ends of our spines aren’t called a “tailbone” for nothing; the coccyx has no unique purpose but to support a tail that isn’t there anymore. We were something that we no longer are.

      Evolution does not demand that everything constantly change, only that it adapt if necessary. If the “living fossils” are thriving in their present environment, why would they have needed any major mutations?

      Regarding fear of persecution, see this article. The heads of biology at every major research university were anonymously surveyed with the sole question of whether there was any scientific controversy over evolution. One said yes, one said “no, but…” and 71 just plain said no. If there were an undercurrent of doubt and resentment this would have been the perfect way for oppressed biologists to make it known, and they didn’t. Various objections are addressed within the article.

      Every single person who has accepted and then rejected evolution has done the latter because of religion. The evidence is merely reinterpreted, poorly, to support the religious belief. The only person who comes close to being an exception is David Berlinski; he is not himself religious but has accepted a lot of money from religious organisations to speak against evolution.

  9. Why do you insist to make statements that have no evidence. This, ” It remains bacteria only because it is still within an arbitrary definition we imposed upon it;”, has not proof. You, the evolutionist has never proven that more time = evolution. This is why I say that all of evolution is built upon guessing. You talk about DNA similarities, and this causing evolution.
    And your refusal to see the truth is sad. Bacteria, remains bacteria. It has not changed even though they have gone through rigorous, ways to change them.
    And you forget that the many fossilized bacteria, and protozoa, pollen, plants, that are all dated millions of years old, but when placed side by side with their living counterparts, are almost indistinguishable. What about the living fossils that were said to be extinct, and then found alive and well and looking like the supposedly millions of year old fossils.
    You forget this or try to dismiss it as something to be dealt with later on. But all of this evidence points to the fact that the assumptions of the evolutionists about evolution are wrong. It has serious life ending errors.

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