Abiogenesis: The Atheist Creation Story

The idea that the diversity of life could be accounted for without God was not unique to Darwin.  Darwin was the first to provide a legitimate scientific paper, with some real world evidence, to support the idea.  However, Darwin was not willing to speculate on where that life came from in the first place in Origin of the Species.  The implication, in Darwin’s theory, of life originating without God is not a stretch by any means.  In fact, it was firmly understood by his followers.

Thomas Huxley is called “Darwin’s bulldog” for a reason.  His declaration that life was able to, and did, spring from non-living matter was a bold, aggressive and successful campaign.  However, it wasn’t an original idea.

Spontaneous Generation

Until the time of Darwin’s Origin, not only was it thought that life could spring from non-life, it was thought that it was happening all the time.  Every time they saw flies come out of a carcass or frogs from a newly created pond, this was spontaneous generation or life coming from non-life.  In fact, it was the Ancient Greek philosophers that taught this fallacy and it was still a part of the consciousness of humanity at the time.  Although the cell was just being discovered, the fields of molecular biology and biochemistry had not yet developed in order to explain the intricacies of the cell, so it was perfectly plausible that the bag of goo the cell appeared to be could come from non-living matter of similar substance. 

However, at that very same time, Louis Pasteur, one of the founders of microbiology, was in the process of proving spontaneous generation to be as fanciful as a flat earth.  Because of this, Huxley was forced to rename his position to bring it out of the ridiculous, so he called it “abiogenesis”.

‘… if it were given to me to look beyond the abyss of geologically recorded time to the still more remote period when the Earth was passing through physical and chemical conditions which it can no more see again than a man can recall his infancey, I should expect to be a witness of the evolution of living protoplasm from non-living matter.’ (Biogenesis and Abiogenesis, in Huxley, Thomas, Critiques and addresses, Macmillan, London, UK, 1873.

Notice how he cleverly pushes his re-definition of spontaneous generation into the distance past in order to ignore that the phenomena was no longer observable.  Huxley manufactures this explanation, fully admitting that no human being will ever observe it, not because he has any physical evidence this is possible, but merely because he believes it happened.

The Thesis

Can I say that abiogenesis is impossible?  Of course not, because I could never prove a negative.  However,  abiogenesis IS the atheistic supernatural creation story, requiring an equal amount of faith as any other creation story. 

The Current State of Abiogenesis

Obviously, much has happened in the fields of molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry since Huxley reinvented spontaneous generation.  For the past 150 years, scientists have been attempting to experimentally create life from non-living matter.  Also, several theories that could explain the possibility of abiogenesis have been postulated.  Let’s discuss the most popular theories and experiments and how current molecular biology, genetics and biochemistry show the impossiblity of each. 

 1.  The First Protein Formed from Pure Chance

Among secular academia, this theory has been completely rejected as an explanation for the origin of life.  However, it is still popular in normal circles, and as such, deserves some attention. 

Proteins are the building blocks of life.  Every biological structure is either made of proteins or rely on them to function.  Every protein has a job, a function, and that function is decided by the shape of the protein.  Proteins are made up of a group of amino acids, linked together in a chain.  But it’s not as simple as that sounds.  Even with the smallest of proteins, there is a minimal level of complexity that must exist for the protein to function.  It’s called tertiary structure.  And you don’t get any kind of tertiary structure in any protein made up of less than seventy-five amino acids.

So, in order for a protein to form itself you’ll need at least seventy-five amino acids to . . .

1.  Have the right type of bonds between eachother

2.  Amino acids come in left-handed and right-handed versions and you can only use the left-handed ones

3.  They must form in an exact sequence like letters in a sentence

Running the odds of amino acids randomly forming a short, minimally functional protein comes to one chance in a hundred thousand trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion trillion.  That’s a 10 with 125 zeroes after it.  And that’s only one protein molecule.  A minimally complex cell would need between 300 and 500 protein molecules.  So you must do a 1 in 10 with 25 zeroes chance at least 300 times.  It’s literally like saying that if we throw hundreds of thousands of scrabble peices onto the floor, the peices will eventually form Hamlet by themselves.

With this in mind, to suggest that randomly formed proteins could form a cell is to invoke a naturalistic miracle.  It’s a statement of belief at best and a confession of ignorance at worst.  It’s literally like saying, “I believe it happened” and leaving it at that.

2.  DNA Formed Itself

Another problem with the “protein first” theory is that it is common knowledge that proteins need DNA and RNA to form their structure and tell them what to do.  As such, it has been postulated that DNA formed itself first.

DNA is an acronym for Deoxyribose Nucleic Acid.  The best way to describe it is this:  DNA is the library for a digital code containing the instructions for telling the cell’s machinery how to build proteins.  It is literally genetic information.  The question becomes, where did this information come from?  Can information randomly form itself?

This is the problem with the protein hypothesis.  Where does the protein get the information in order to order itself correctly?  As humans know, we can convey information in our twenty-six letter alphabet, or in the binary code which is just ones and zeroes.  The stunning discovery of DNA was that it stored genetic information in the form of a four-character digital code.  The characters in the code are adenine, guanine, cytosine, and thymine.  They are represented by the letters A, G, C and T.  These characters are also called “bases” and properly arranging these bases into “base pairs” (when they are grouped with another base) will instruct the cell to build different sequences of amino acids.  Different arrangment of characters yields a different sequence of amino acids.  In one protein you’ll typically need 1,200 to 2,000 letters or bases. 

The problem for the atheist is this; if you can’t explain where this information came from, you haven’t explained life because it’s the information that makes the molecules into something that actually functions. 

A few hypothesis have been suggested to rectify this information problem.

    A. Natural Selection Acted Upon DNA, Allowing It to Adapt Over Millions of Years

In fact, this was the premise of Richard Dawkins’ 1996 book Climbing Mount Improbable.  Dawkins’ suggested that a complex biological structure is like a sheer cliff.  It may seem, at first, to be an impossible climb, especially if someone attempts to accomplish it in a single bound.  However, the backside of the mountain reveals a gradual upward slope that makes the climb slow, but possible and, inevitable.  Natural Selection is this backdoor path that selects the chance variations that are most advantageous and, over long periods of time, little changes become large differences.

This explanation seems to be able to explain how abiogenesis could have climbed the seemingly impossible cliff of building the first cell.  The fact that Natural Selection allows for the huge differences that molecules-to-man evolution requires is a matter of debate, however Natural Selection certainly does not apply to prebiotic chemicals. 

Here is why.  Natural Selection requires a self-replicating organism to work. To have reproduction, you must have cell division.  Cell division requires DNA and proteins which are the very things they are trying to explain in the first place!  You cannot a postulate an explanation presupposing what you are trying to explain. 

   B.  Chemical Affinities Explain How DNA or Protein Formed Itself

Inherent chemical attraction could explain how the four base pairs of DNA or the amino acids of a protein are able to form themselves.   The idea is that the development of life was inevitable because of the self-ordering capacities that amino acids and DNA’s base pairs have. 

There are some natural phenomena in support of this idea.  For example, Sodium (Na+) and Chloride (Cl-)ions use their naturally occuring affinity to form a crystalline solid called . . . Sodium Chloride (table salt). Experiments were done to discover wether or not amino acids and DNA base pairs have similar forces of attraction that would cause them to order themselves.   What did they find?  Amino acids just don’t have this chemical attraction.  And the slight affinity they did demonstrated don’t correlate to the patterns found in functional proteins.  This is not surpising since the DNA information they need to be ordered correctly is absent with just amino acids present. 

However, there is a deeper problem.  Even if the DNA bases did have chemical affinities to eachother (which they don’t), that wouldn’t explain the complex library we see today.  DNA expresses it’s language in the bases A, C, G and T.   If A had a chemical affinity to T, it would form itself like NaCl does, with a pattern of A-T-A-T-A-T-A-T.  This is not the pattern we observe in DNA and it is not the ordering that would yeild a genetic message, just a repetative chant, so to speak. 

Self-organization would not yield a library of protein forming information.  You need a variation in the message to get information out of it.  If you open a book, you don’t see the word “the” repeated over and over again.  Instead, you have an irregular sequencing of letters.  It’s this irregularity that adheres to a certain known pattern that conveys information.  The same is true in language as it is in DNA.

 

 

Sorry, I couldn’t help myself yet again.

    C.  RNA Formed First

The idea is that since RNA is much less complex than DNA, it’s more likely that RNA formed itself first.  In order to subscribe to this theory, you must ignore that none of the above described problems have been solved just because the required lenghth of an RNA sequence is shorter than a DNA’s sequence. 

In fact, you’ve added two problems.  The first one being that RNA needs DNA to know in which order to form, so you’re back to square one, the second being that in order for single strand of RNA to replicate, there must be an identical RNA strand (that also formed itself exactly like the first) right next to it.  So you’ve doubled your problem.

Conclusion

Every belief system has their creation story.  The supernatural event that started it all.  Atheism is no different with abiogenesis.

As Francis Crick, one of the discoverers of the structure of DNA in 1953, said:

“An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get going.”

A miracle indeed.  The main point is that no matter how many theories and hypotheses’ origin of life researchers come up with, they are mere speculation.  That is, every available piece of information tells us that life comes only from life.  There are no examples of DNA, RNA or proteins forming themselves under any conditions.  Any phenomena that theoretically makes this possible is outside of every known natural law.  This, by definition, makes abiogenesis a supernatural phenomena. 

Every atheist must believe in this supernatural phenomena in order to keep being an atheist and any statement of affirmation regarding abiogenesis is a statement of faith, directly on par with the religious statements of faith they so joyously deride.  The only difference is the cloak of “naturalism” that they put over their supernatural belief in order to hide their faith from themselves.

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35 Comments on “Abiogenesis: The Atheist Creation Story”

  1. krissmith777 Says:

    Funny thing is evolutionists will say that “Spontaneous Generation” is invalid. — Never mind the fact that Abiogenesis is only a rehashing of the same principle.

    Abiogenesis isn’t even a scientific law. — Biogenesis, however, is. Life cannot come from non-life. It is scientifically impossible and it defies all logic.

  2. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kris

    Exactly, yet they think that the smoke screens of “time” and “chance” will cover the ridiculousness of the idea.

    Eric

  3. krissmith777 Says:

    IT is unreasonable, but don’t worry.

    Science will explain it someday 😛

    Well, at leasts that what they say

  4. pricegutshall Says:

    Your problem is a categorical one: you assume life and nonlife to be mutually exclusive. They are not, however, because organic matter is composed of elements and molecules that are present in inorganic matter. A collection of molecules can produce many different things, one of those things being what we categorize as “life.” It is not something coming from nothing, like God would be.

  5. Eric Kemp Says:

    Pricegutshall

    “Your problem is a categorical one: you assume life and nonlife to be mutually exclusive.”

    This is a statement of blind faith. Every single, and I mean EVERY SINGLE, piece of evidence we have points to the fact that life comes ONLY from life, that they ARE mutually exclusive. It’s a law of biology called the Law of Biogenesis. You believe abiogenesis happened based on ZERO empirical evidence. Is that rational?

    “They are not, however, because organic matter is composed of elements and molecules that are present in inorganic matter.”

    You are begging the question of EVERY point I made in my article. Even if all the elements are present all together, life still will not form itself, this has been proven many times over, and I explained the problem with each. In fact, you haven’t even made an argument in support of abiogenesis so I’m curious to what your point is.

    “It is not something coming from nothing, like God would be.”

    Actually, atheists are the ones who believe that something came from nothing. In the Christian worldview, God has always existed.


  6. Ah, but alas, the truth of the argument you claim to address is not as you have made it out to be.

    Keep in mind that Szousak’s work is still just one possible model by which abiogenesis could have happened. Abiogensis is still an emerging science, and all science is provisional to some degree, especially emerging science.

    But the field is more developed than you have presented it to be. You have not even considered vesicle-first abiogenesis in your review of the subject.


  7. […] The reason I went sniffing around in cdk007’s archives again was down to a post I read over at Apologia: Abiogenesis: The Atheist Creation Story. […]

  8. krissmith777 Says:

    pricegutshall Says:

    “Your problem is a categorical one: you assume life and nonlife to be mutually exclusive. They are not, however, because organic matter is composed of elements and molecules that are present in inorganic matter.”

    Even if you were to obtain all the elements, you’d still be millions of miles from creating life. Just ask Stanly Miller.

    “A collection of molecules can produce many different things, one of those things being what we categorize as “life.” It is not something coming from nothing, like God would be.”

    I hear this one all the time and it always makes me laugh. You athiests are the ones that believe this whole universe came from nothing.

    What do you suppose the Big Bang is? — I was apparenty when “nothing” exploded and created the universe.

    God, if you pardon the double negative, isn’t nothing.

  9. Eric Kemp Says:

    Ubiq

    I was beginning to wonder when an atheist would challenge me rationally on this. I appreciate you doing so. It may take me some time, but I will go through your post and respond.

    Thanks for the comment.

    Eric Kemp


  10. Good to know! 😀

    I’m looking forward to your reply. I do want to restate one thing, however: Yes, I generally argue from the perspective of an atheist. And I take it you generally argue from the position of a Christian theist. That’s fine – I’m cool with intelligent disagreement.

    But abiogenesis, true or false, is equally compatible with either worldview. The nature of any disagreement we may have on the topic is nothing to do with atheism vs. theism. It is to do with a skeptic of an emerging science (yourself) vs. a proponent of an emerging science (myself). It’s rather refreshing, actually – I so often play the skeptic myself that it’s nice to be able to make a positive argument for a change. 😀

    So interestingly enough, the God thing just doesn’t apply here. If abiogenesis is true, it is not a threat to theism. And if abiogenesis is false, it is not be a threat to atheism. It’s compatible either way. We can cross swords over the God thing later if you like, but for now it’s just not an issue.

  11. Eric Kemp Says:

    Ubiq

    “But abiogenesis, true or false, is equally compatible with either worldview.”

    I wonder how you can possibly hold such a position. The Christian worldview claims that God began life, how can you see that life creating itself is compatible with this? It violates the Law of Non-Contradiction.

    “It is to do with a skeptic of an emerging science (yourself) vs. a proponent of an emerging science (myself).”

    I might actually agree with this. You assume that the ultimate in epistimology is the human mind while I assume that the ultimate in epistimology is the mind of God. Similar I think.

    “If abiogenesis is true, it is not a threat to theism. And if abiogenesis is false, it is not be a threat to atheism. It’s compatible either way. We can cross swords over the God thing later if you like, but for now it’s just not an issue.”

    I’m unclear of how you don’t see the violation of the law of non-contradiction here, in both respects. But I am assuming that you make your case more clear in your article, rather than just claiming it. So I will read and resond there.


  12. Heh. It might help if I clarify here:

    If abiogenesis is true, then this would just mean that God, in his omniscience and omnipotence, set out the creation of the universe such that His Ineffable Plan would be inevitably fulfilled through abiogenesis. Abiogenesis is just so unlikely that if it did occur, it would have to be the result of a miracle and is therefore evidence of the hand of God at work in the world. The context of scripture still supports the deeper, spiritual truth that God created life and humanity through abiogenesis. The superficial interpretation presented in scripture was a metaphor that people at the time could understand. All that has changed is the sophistication of our modern metaphor of the greatness of God’s design – although our modern metaphor, granted, is still imperfect, as no mortal can hope to know God in all His divine glory.

    😛

    And in similar terms: If abiogenesis is false, then all it would mean is that science is still ignorant of the origins of life. Our ignorance of how something happened is not evidence that God did it. Until we get direct evidence that a cosmic entity poofed life into existence through magic, atheism is still sitting dandy.

    And I don’t assume anything about the ultimate in epistemology. I’m actually quite modest in that regard. I just try to stick with that which is measurable and verifiable as much as humanly possible, is all. Strips out the garbage. Could I have tossed out a few false misses with all the dross and scree? Sure. Maybe. But at the same time, I’ve got no good reason to think that I did. If I ever do, I’ll admit I was wrong and fish it back out, no worries.

  13. krissmith777 Says:

    Ubiquitous Che Says:

    “The context of scripture still supports the deeper, spiritual truth that God created life and humanity through abiogenesis. ”

    — Okay. I got it.

    Ubiquitous Che, thanks for posting this comment. Though I still disagree, I think this comment in general better explains your position and clears up my misunderstanding I had with you.

  14. Eric Kemp Says:

    Ubiq

    “Heh. It might help if I clarify here:”

    Please!

    “If abiogenesis is true, then this would just mean that God, in his omniscience and omnipotence, set out the creation of the universe such that His Ineffable Plan would be inevitably fulfilled through abiogenesis.”

    You’re forgetting that in order to believe this then I would have to deny large swathes of the Bible just to conform to a “maybe it happened like this” theory.

    Also, you have a philosophical problem. If you admit that God has the power to create life through a process (He has control of the process), then why doesn’t He just speed up the process? Why didn’t He speed it up so much as to make the process instant? Why is God bound by the process He has control over? If you say that God has power over abiogenesis, yet believe that God didn’t create life as the Genesis account says He did, it’s not because of any philosophical or biological barrier, but only because you prefer it that way.

    “Abiogenesis is just so unlikely that if it did occur, it would have to be the result of a miracle and is therefore evidence of the hand of God at work in the world.”

    Thank you for admitting that abiogenesis is miraculous and any belief in abiogenesis is a belief in a supernatural occurance. All I want from an atheist is to realize this.

    “The context of scripture still supports the deeper, spiritual truth that God created life and humanity through abiogenesis.”

    ….while ignoring the historical truth contained within.

    ” Our ignorance of how something happened is not evidence that God did it. Until we get direct evidence that a cosmic entity poofed life into existence through magic, atheism is still sitting dandy.”

    In the same sense, until you get direct evidence that life CAN form itself out of non-life then you have yourself a nice little creation story there with some good old fashion supernatural magic.

    “And I don’t assume anything about the ultimate in epistemology. I’m actually quite modest in that regard. I just try to stick with that which is measurable and verifiable as much as humanly possible, is all.”

    Which is a funny statement because abiogenesis is neither measurable or verifiable, in any way. So you obviously don’t hold that standard up to things that you MUST believe in order to be an atheist.


  15. You’re forgetting that in order to believe this then I would have to deny large swathes of the Bible just to conform to a “maybe it happened like this” theory.

    Hardly a problem – large swathes of the Bible are untrue.

    Adam and Eve never existed. The closest thing we have to Adam and Eve were our last common male and female ancestors. Research into both matrilenial and patrilenial DNA shows that both of these ancestors originated as natives of Africa. There is a wealth of hominid fossils in Africa linking humans to the other primates. God may have had a design for us from the very beginning, but making Adam directly out of clay in one go, and making Eve directly out of one of Adam’s ribs in one go, never happened. The deeper truth of genesis is that God designed us specifically and specially. Whether he did it by magic or through chemistry is irrelevant to that deeper truth.

    The Earth is far, far older than a mere 6000 years.

    In Genesis, it tells us that God created night and day before he created the sun. The first night and the first day would have occurred as the Earth was spinning after it formed from Sol’s planetary accretion disk.

    There is no architectural evidence of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt. We can find evidence of a tribe of humans roaming around the wilderness far older than the time the Hebrew Exodus story was set.

    Noah’s flood never happened. The geological record is utterly inconsistent with a global flood, and Noah never could have gotten one of every animal into the Ark.

    Almost all early Christian mythology can be shown to have been adapted from other cultures. For example, ‘demons’ are just Greek ‘daemons’ that have been dethroned from their position of the aetherial beings responsible for wild inspiration and genius.

    If you’re going to cling to a literal interpretation of the Bible, we may have to stop this conversation right now. Your faith should be placed in God and Christ – not in a book. The Word of God is beyond the word of man. Nothing in the words of humanity can ever encompass the Word of God in its entirety. Scripture must be written in human language, and so can only be communicated via the word of man. For this very reason, no scripture can ever contain within itself the Word of God. The word of man can only ever aspire to be a loose metaphor for the Word of God.

    As we have grown as a civilization, the metaphors with which we have been presented have grown increasingly sophisticated over time – but the deeper truth of God’s love and redemption in Christ are still the same.

    To place your faith in the mere sequence of words in a book is a form of idol worship. Your faith should not rest in the word of man – your faith should rest in God and Christ.

    Thank you for admitting that abiogenesis is miraculous and any belief in abiogenesis is a belief in a supernatural occurance. All I want from an atheist is to realize this.

    The miracle – if, indeed, it is one – would be that God did arrange matters such that abiogenesis could occur naturally. The miracle would be that He didn’t have to poof life into existence by magic. Not because abiogenesis couldn’t have happened. Szostak’s work is completely plausible within the verified scientific framework of how reality functions – or in your case, how God chooses to allow reality to function, it’s the same thing.

    This shows that there will never be a scientific discovery such that accepting that discovery would be antiethical to God. I think this might be the one thing that distinguishes me from the latest wave of atheism: Having faith in God merely because of a God-of-the-gaps style argument is the wrong reason to have faith in God. If your faith in God is based on love of God and having found redemption in Christ, then no fact about nature will ever pose a threat to it. Faith and scientific fact can co-exist. They can even thrive together. You will never need to reject any scientific discovery on the grounds that it contradicts your faith. If you ever feel your faith requires you to reject a scientific finding, the simple fact is that your faith has been misplaced into some form of idol worship instead of residing safe in Christ.

    It doesn’t matter what the results of any experiment ever turns out to be: If God is all powerful and His mind cannot be known, then who are we to say that He didn’t just decide to do things the way they came out? God is under no obligation to live up to either of our expectations of Him.

    How can you not be familiar with all this? You’re the Christian and I’m the atheist! You’re the one who should be advocating humility in the face of God’s glory to me!

    While ignoring the historical truth contained within…

    … but also acknowledging the myths that blatantly never happened.

    Let’s not get into the ‘X% of the bible is true, Y% is false, and Z% is uncertain’ debate. The values of X, Y, and Z are simply irrelevant to our discussion.

    In the same sense, until you get direct evidence that life CAN form itself out of non-life then you have yourself a nice little creation story there with some good old fashion supernatural magic.

    No magic. Just chemistry. 😀

    And the kind of protocell Szostak has floating around in his testubes are only life by the most generous possible definition – it would take a long time for them to become something we’d recognize as being at all similar to modern cellular lifeforms.

    Which is a funny statement because abiogenesis is neither measurable or verifiable, in any way. So you obviously don’t hold that standard up to things that you MUST believe in order to be an atheist.

    Again: Szostak has protocells floating around in test tubes! We can be very confident that our understanding of the pre-biological Earth’s environment is correct. That is the environmental conditions under which Szostak is experimenting with his protocells.

    This is the exact opposite of speculation. I need to touch on speculation when responding to you on my blog – it’s getting late, so I’ll have to leave that until tomorrow.

    I’ll speak more with you then. Bye fer now.

  16. pricegutshall Says:

    “Your problem is a categorical one: you assume life and nonlife to be mutually exclusive. They are not, however, because organic matter is composed of elements and molecules that are present in inorganic matter.”

    “Even if you were to obtain all the elements, you’d still be millions of miles from creating life. Just ask Stanly Miller.”

    “This is a statement of blind faith. Every single, and I mean EVERY SINGLE, piece of evidence we have points to the fact that life comes ONLY from life, that they ARE mutually exclusive. It’s a law of biology called the Law of Biogenesis. You believe abiogenesis happened based on ZERO empirical evidence. Is that rational?”

    Of course, under specific conditions certain phenomenon will occur. Take for example the storms on Venus: they are unique to that planet (as far as we know) and are consequences of the gases and other elements present in the atmosphere. Saying “life cannot come from non-life” is equivalent to saying “the storms on Venus cannot come non-storms.” Or, “clouds cannot come from non-clouds.” Simply because we have not be able to reproduce the conditions under which life might have occurred does not mean that it did not occur as such; we can deduce from evolutionary theory and advancements in biochemistry that it is not only possible that life came from non-life, but really the only logical, rational, and plausible explanation we have. It is a categorical problem for you, I’m afraid.

    “You are begging the question of EVERY point I made in my article. Even if all the elements are present all together, life still will not form itself, this has been proven many times over, and I explained the problem with each. In fact, you haven’t even made an argument in support of abiogenesis so I’m curious to what your point is.”

    We have reproduced the base of amino acids in the lab and that experiment is currently being reproduced. Abiogenesis implies that the first life forms were not the product of reproduction; rather, chemical bonds were established producing elemental features that could/would/did eventually develop into the category “life.”

    “Actually, atheists are the ones who believe that something came from nothing. In the Christian worldview, God has always existed.”

    Since most atheists rely heavily on scientific theory and law as explanations for the universe, you should assume that we all believe that “energy cannot be created nor destroyed.” That statement alone implies that there was never a state of nothingness; and I promise you, who would believe that there was a state of nothingness? It is the religious that believe everything came from nothing (God isn’t composed of the physical world, so how could he produce that which is in the physical world? It is logically impossible with most definitions of God.)

    “What do you suppose the Big Bang is? — I was apparenty when “nothing” exploded and created the universe.”

    I guess you don’t know what the Big Bang is. It is not that ‘suddenly everything came to be.’ Based on observable astronomical evidence, most coming from Hubble, we can see back in time (which is probably mind-boggling to you because, forgive me if I am wrong, you don’t know what ‘relativity’ is) and view the young universe. The best explanation for the motion of galaxies and stars is that at one point all the matter in our universe was once compacted; like a neutron star into a nova, the compacted substance reached a point of maximum sustainability and burst. Scientists believe that, perhaps, the universe fluctuates through periods of mass compaction and explosion. There was never a point of nothing.


  17. Interesting dialogue going on here.

    “You’re forgetting that in order to believe this then I would have to deny large swathes of the Bible just to conform to a “maybe it happened like this” theory.”

    Eric, as usual, you are assuming that one must deny biblical truth to accept modern scientific consensus. One does not have to deny or ignore parts of the bible. It’s an issue of interpretation, not an issue of picking and choosing the parts of the bible you wish to believe in.

  18. krissmith777 Says:

    pricegutshall Says:

    “We have reproduced the base of amino acids in the lab and that experiment is currently being reproduced. Abiogenesis implies that the first life forms were not the product of reproduction; rather, chemical bonds were established producing elemental features that could/would/did eventually develop into the category “life.””

    I know about the experiments, but they do not show that abiogenesis occured. — Actially they are now working now with “Fatty acids” to create a membrane and wall for artificial life which I dare classify as cheating through the experiment. When they use this they are actually jumping ahead of the curve by using already complex components. They are, in a way borrowing life to create life. THEY ARE NOT STARTING FROM SCRATCH!!! They are already using preexisting materials.

    These experiments do not help show abiogenesis in that there was no creative hand at work BECAUSE THE SCIENTISTS THEMSELVES ARE CONTROLING THE ENVIORMENT IN WHICH THEY ARE PERFORMING THEIR EXPERIMENTS and by doing this they are acting as CREATORS.

    Even scientists that say they may succeed in creating a living cell say that it will most probably be too weak to survive in the labroratory, much less on its own. — Funny, if these experiments were valid at all you would expect such a created cell to survive in the enviorment alone just like the first prehistoric cell.

    pricegutshall Says:

    “Since most atheists rely heavily on scientific theory and law as explanations for the universe, you should assume that we all believe that “energy cannot be created nor destroyed. That statement alone implies that there was never a state of nothingness; and I promise you, who would believe that there was a state of nothingness?”

    So basically you are admitting that something has always existed. Thanks. But not even energy by itself if capable of creating anything.

    pricegutshall Says:

    “It is the religious that believe everything came from nothing”

    I already told you, that is not true. If we indeed came about as a creation of God, then we did in fact come from somethin, rather someone.

    “(God isn’t composed of the physical world, so how could he produce that which is in the physical world? It is logically impossible with most definitions of God.)”

    That’s cute 🙂 God is not bound by anybody’s concept of what is “possible,” much less yours.

    pricegutshall Says:

    “It is not that ’suddenly everything came to be.’ Based on observable astronomical evidence, most coming from Hubble, we can see back in time (which is probably mind-boggling to you because, forgive me if I am wrong, you don’t know what ‘relativity’ is) and view the young universe. ”

    Thanks for you overgeneralization.

    1) I’m actually pulling a verry decent grade in Astronomy, thank you verry much. And yes we cover relativity in that class.

    and

    2) I really don care about the age of the universe. It really means nothing to me.

  19. Eric Kemp Says:

    Pricegutshell

    You, and every other atheist that I have so far discussed this issue with, are attempting to pass off speculation as science. Also, you in particular, are being completely unself-reflective about the nature of the claims you are making. I hope to show you this.

    “Of course, under specific conditions certain phenomenon will occur. Take for example the storms on Venus . . .”.

    Your problem continues. The specific conditions under which abiogenesis would maybe possibly take place have never been observed. Not only this, but every time a scientist has attempted to recreate the conditions based on his own ideas, because he can’t really know ANYTHING about the earth 4.5 billion years ago for sure, using his intelligence to do so, the experiment has failed to come even close.

    “Saying “life cannot come from non-life” is equivalent to saying “the storms on Venus cannot come non-storms.” Or, “clouds cannot come from non-clouds.” ”

    Two things:
    1. Strawman: I never said that life cannot come from non-life. This phenomena is possible along the same lines that anything, including flying pink unicorns, is possible. I said that every single instance of empirically verifiable evidence tells us that only life comes from life, there is a difference.
    2. It’s not the same thing at all. You are comparing abiogenesis, something that we have no empirical reason for believing happened, to phenomena that we can fully explain.

    “Simply because we have not be able to reproduce the conditions under which life might have occurred does not mean that it did not occur as such;”

    That’s exactly the point. You have just admitted that you have no empirical evidence for abiogenesis but you still believe it possible. That’s fine, that’s your perogative. However, the ironic part about this is that you’re an atheist. You’re supposed to only believe in things that science can prove, right? Atheism doesn’t take any faith, right? And yet, you have faith that abiogenesis happened without any evidence in support of it.

    “we can deduce from evolutionary theory and advancements in biochemistry that it is not only possible that life came from non-life, but really the only logical, rational, and plausible explanation we have. It is a categorical problem for you, I’m afraid.”

    Evolutionary theory has NOTHING to do with abiogenesis. As I already explained to you, Natural Selection and evolution only act on sexually recombinating cells. Evolution assumes life a priori. Advances in biochemistry have only helped to show the increasing problem facing origin of life athiests. Abiogenesis is only logical and rational if you assume that God didn’t do it, assume that it’s possible despite every observed phenomena in biology to date, and basically hold to naturalism and uniformitarianism as the unshakeable tenets for your faith.

    “Abiogenesis implies that the first life forms were not the product of reproduction; rather, chemical bonds were established producing elemental features that could/would/did eventually develop into the category “life.” ”

    Yup, and I showed how none of the chemicals of life have any sort of natural affinity for eachother that would lead them to bond together on their own.

    “Since most atheists rely heavily on scientific theory and law as explanations for the universe . . .”

    Except for when it comes to abiogenesis. Speculation and supernatural phenomena are counted as science.

    “That statement alone implies that there was never a state of nothingness; and I promise you, who would believe that there was a state of nothingness?”

    Fine, you believe with blind faith that matter came from non-matter with no evidence that this is possible.

    “It is the religious that believe everything came from nothing (God isn’t composed of the physical world, so how could he produce that which is in the physical world? It is logically impossible with most definitions of God.)”

    Wait a minute, you just invoked the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and yet you believe that matter can create matter?

    “I guess you don’t know what the Big Bang is. It is not that ’suddenly everything came to be.’”

    Actually, I don’t know where you got that quote you are responding to because it’s something I never said.

    “we can see back in time (which is probably mind-boggling to you because, forgive me if I am wrong, you don’t know what ‘relativity’ is) and view the young universe. ”

    Ah yes, the obligatory atheistic insult on the Christian’s intelligence. I understand the principle of relativity. But I’m wondering how this leads us to your “compacted matter” theory. But let’s go with that, let’s go with all matter being compacted before the universe began. Two questions. Where did THAT matter come from? What caused that matter to explode and create the universe?

  20. Eric Kemp Says:

    airtightnoodle

    “Eric, as usual, you are assuming that one must deny biblical truth to accept modern scientific consensus. One does not have to deny or ignore parts of the bible. It’s an issue of interpretation, not an issue of picking and choosing the parts of the bible you wish to believe in.”

    You’re right, it’s an issue of interpretation. You interpret Scripture through the filter of modern scientific thought while I allow Scripture to interpret Scripture.

    But airtight, you’re wrong, you must literally ignore the context within which “yom” is used in Genesis as I’ve pointed out to you several times. You also must completely ignore Exodus 20 in order to believe that Genesis is figurative. You also must ignore Jesus’ clear explanation of why marriage is the way it is in Mark 10:6.

  21. krissmith777 Says:

    To Eric,

    When you tell Pricegutshell “Actually, I don’t know where you got that quote you are responding to because it’s something I never said” — He was quoting me. —

    He is shuffling what we say and answering as if we were the same person.

  22. Eric Kemp Says:

    Kris

    Ah, that makes sense.

  23. Zhatt Says:

    Eric,

    I think there’s just a bit of disagreement over the semantics here, so I’m going to try and clear things up. I’m atheist and while I can’t speak for others I feel many would agree with me here:

    I don’t “believe” in abiogenesis nor do I have “faith” in it. Technically, you’re right, abiogenesis isn’t even “fact”. And you’re right that no one can “prove” anything particular happened millions of years ago nor can we “observe” it.

    What’s your point? That’s not how science works. Technically the only place you can find proofs is in math.

    The commonly accepted theory of star formation is that, in short, gasses are attracted by gravity and are slowly compressed until they start a nuclear reaction. Now I don’t “believe” in or have “faith” in this theory, but I accept it as the most likely explanation concerning all the evidence. You can’t “prove” it as it’s a theory and no theory ever becomes “fact” as new evidence can always change our understanding. We’ve also never directly “observed” a star being formed nor can we do it ourselves to test it. Does that mean I should ignore any theory of star formation? Should I accept only what I can directly see and say that there are gasses and that there are stars, but you can never “prove” that they are related?

    Abiogenesis is theory -many theories, in fact- and they’re all quite young. Some may be shown to be false, some may gain more evidence to support it, but there will never be a point where someone’s going to shout out “We’ve proven that life came from non-life and god is dead! Yay!” in the same way no one’s ever said that we’ve proven atoms have mass and that’s what creates gravity. But I’m not going to ignore the theory of gravity and instead believe that God deliberately, personally and consistently draws every item towards every other item because He hasn’t found a better way to do it.

    -Zhatt

  24. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zhatt

    “I don’t “believe” in abiogenesis nor do I have “faith” in it. ”

    This statement, and the next one . . .

    “Technically, you’re right, abiogenesis isn’t even “fact”. And you’re right that no one can “prove” anything particular happened millions of years ago nor can we “observe” it.”

    Are in direct contradiction to eachother. If it’s not a fact, then you don’t “know” it, you “believe” it. If it’s not a fact, it takes some faith. But I think what you’re really saying here is that you aren’t sold on the theory as it stands (as cbk007 explained it). It could have happened another way, and we’d have to call it something else, and you’d be ok with that.

    However, that’s not the point. The point isn’t that you believe it happened as cbk007 said it did. The point is that, to be an atheist, you must believe it happened. It’s a requirement for atheism. The point is that, as you admit, since abiogenesis has never been observed, violates all known natural law, and violates all observable phenomena, you must believe in abiogenesis with blind faith.

    But we’re on the same page with what we can and can’t prove, especially concerning the unobservable past. It’s refreshing to hear an atheist who recognizes the differences.

    “What’s your point? That’s not how science works. Technically the only place you can find proofs is in math.”

    As I already made my point above, I won’t repeat it here. But I want to dispell a bit of a strawman you’ve got going here. I never said that abiogenesis, or anything else, had to be “proved” to be viable. I don’t think that at all, obviously, I’m a Christian! But if we are to call something “scientific” shouldn’t we be able to observe it directly, or logically infer it from observed phenomena? We can do neither with abiogenesis.

    “Now I don’t “believe” in or have “faith” in this theory, but I accept it as the most likely explanation concerning all the evidence.”

    I understand what you’re trying to say but that’s not the situation we have with abiogenesis. Like I said, you don’t have to believe EXACTLY how the star was formed but you DO have to believe that the star was formed naturalistically/excluding the supernatural, a priori, in order to be an atheist. Same with abiogenesis, a faith in the basic principle of life forming itself without the supernatural is required of you.

    “also never directly “observed” a star being formed nor can we do it ourselves to test it. Does that mean I should ignore any theory of star formation?”

    It means that you should be self-reflective about the limitations of science. And the kind of naturalistic stories science is telling you. That is, any theory of star formation assumes, without scientific evidence, that God did NOT form stars.

    Let me be more clear about this: Science requires certain assumptions. That is, the assumptions of cause and effect, induction and the uniformity of nature are inherent in science. They are assumptions because there can be no scientific evidence in support of them, they are metaphysical. So science is based upon unscientific assumptions. Also, evolutionary science adds the assumptions of naturalism, materialism, and uniformitarianism. So when you are considering a theory, recognize the assumptions the theory makes and wether or not you find those assumptions viable.

    But I want you to consider a question. As an atheist, you must subscribe to the metaphysical assumptions listed above. What’s the difference between your metaphysical assumptions and mine?

  25. pricegutshall Says:

    “I know about the experiments, but they do not show that abiogenesis occured. — Actially they are now working now with “Fatty acids” to create a membrane and wall for artificial life which I dare classify as cheating through the experiment. When they use this they are actually jumping ahead of the curve by using already complex components. They are, in a way borrowing life to create life. THEY ARE NOT STARTING FROM SCRATCH!!! They are already using preexisting materials.”

    “These experiments do not help show abiogenesis in that there was no creative hand at work BECAUSE THE SCIENTISTS THEMSELVES ARE CONTROLING THE ENVIORMENT IN WHICH THEY ARE PERFORMING THEIR EXPERIMENTS and by doing this they are acting as CREATORS.”

    Scientists are not out to prove that God or a Creator doesn’t exist, they are just trying to make sense of observables. Abiogenesis wouldn’t prove that there is no creator; obviously ID would step on in an say “see! see! A creator was needed to produce this phenomenon!” Of course, whether or not there was a creator is irrelevant, and neither evolution nor the possibility of abiogenesis is why I am an atheist. Believe me, I know that “God can do anything and everything,” so philosophically, how life began and became diversified has nothing to do with why I am an atheist.

    “Even scientists that say they may succeed in creating a living cell say that it will most probably be too weak to survive in the labroratory, much less on its own. — Funny, if these experiments were valid at all you would expect such a created cell to survive in the enviorment alone just like the first prehistoric cell.”

    No, what makes them valid is producing organic matter. That’s the point of the experiment. It is not to create Earth all over again, but simply to test a hypothesis concerning how life might have gotten its start. If it can be created, how long it lasts means nothing.

    “So basically you are admitting that something has always existed. Thanks. But not even energy by itself if capable of creating anything.”

    Of course something has always existed; who says otherwise? Doesn’t mean that it was God unless you are Spinoza, who pretty much defined God as “everything,” which makes “God” essentially have no meaning whatsoever.

    pricegutshall Says:

    “It is the religious that believe everything came from nothing”

    “I already told you, that is not true. If we indeed came about as a creation of God, then we did in fact come from somethin, rather someone.”

    Exactly. So where did God come from? “He has always been.” (typical answer) Oh! Great! That’s useful. It is simply not possible for what exists to have always existed in some form or another, no way, it had to come from some thoughtful, creative, intelligent being that we have no empirical evidence for, and best of all, he has always existed! The best answer to infinite regression: God is not confined by time (why not?), God is omniscient (how do you know?), God has always existed (how do we know?), everything started with an intelligent being (even though the likelihood of intelligence developing by means of evolution is hundreds of times more likely, it probably just started that way). .

    “(God isn’t composed of the physical world, so how could he produce that which is in the physical world? It is logically impossible with most definitions of God.)”

    “That’s cute 🙂 God is not bound by anybody’s concept of what is “possible,” much less yours.”

    That’s cute. How do you know God is not bound by what is possible? Isn’t what is possible the only thing that can happen? No, see, whenever someone finds a flaw with concept of “God” it is simply “well, as humans we can’t understand God” (great answer! Solves everything! God is always there so we don’t have to think about it.) or “God isn’t bound by what everything is bound by…” that’s cute; my imaginary best friend George can fly. Why? Because HE has special powers. Aww, cute 🙂

    pricegutshall Says:

    “It is not that ’suddenly everything came to be.’ Based on observable astronomical evidence, most coming from Hubble, we can see back in time (which is probably mind-boggling to you because, forgive me if I am wrong, you don’t know what ‘relativity’ is) and view the young universe. ”

    Thanks for you overgeneralization.

    “1) I’m actually pulling a verry decent grade in Astronomy, thank you verry much. And yes we cover relativity in that class.”

    Okay, so how do we look back in time? What did Einstein say about light?

    2) I really don care about the age of the universe. It really means nothing to me.

    Why? Because God did it? Doesn’t matter when or how, GOD did it. Besides, doesn’t matter what the age of the universe is in regards to my point, my point was that we can see the early stages of the universe, which provides evidence for the big bang.

    “You, and every other atheist that I have so far discussed this issue with, are attempting to pass off speculation as science. Also, you in particular, are being completely unself-reflective about the nature of the claims you are making. I hope to show you this.”

    You are right. It is speculation; deduced speculation based on observed facts. No, I’m not saying that abiogenesis is fact, but I am saying that what we know about the nature of molecules and elements, plus organic matter, we can deduce that the most likely way for life to have come into existence (as far as we know). Like every other argument for ID or creationism, well, the only argument, focuses on the supposed flaws of scientific theory. If you want to say that science cannot account for that which ID or creationism can, then you have to attack science in its entirety, not just what is convenient.

    “Your problem continues. The specific conditions under which abiogenesis would maybe possibly take place have never been observed. Not only this, but every time a scientist has attempted to recreate the conditions based on his own ideas, because he can’t really know ANYTHING about the earth 4.5 billion years ago for sure, using his intelligence to do so, the experiment has failed to come even close.”

    It is more likely, given the knowledge that we know and how things are now, that abiogenesis occurred (at least more likely that God, even if abiogenesis is false, that doesn’t mean God did it.) The goal of science is not to disprove God, its to understand the world. God and the supernatural provide nothing towards understanding the world, so they aren’t used. God is simply worthless if you are trying to understand anything.

    Two things:
    “1. Strawman: I never said that life cannot come from non-life. This phenomena is possible along the same lines that anything, including flying pink unicorns, is possible. I said that every single instance of empirically verifiable evidence tells us that only life comes from life, there is a difference.”

    Okay. So, what, we can deduce likely possibilities? Nothing tells us God exists. No evidence supports the existence of God, just blind, unjustified faith.

    “2. It’s not the same thing at all. You are comparing abiogenesis, something that we have no empirical reason for believing happened, to phenomena that we can fully explain.”

    We do have empirical reason to hypothesize on abiogenesis; because the chemical make-up of organic matter contains the same elements and molecules that exist in nonorganic matter. If a ‘chair’ is made out of wood, and trees are made of wood, couldn’t we deduce that some how trees have something to do with the chair? Do you understand what I am saying at all?

    “That’s exactly the point. You have just admitted that you have no empirical evidence for abiogenesis but you still believe it possible. That’s fine, that’s your perogative. However, the ironic part about this is that you’re an atheist. You’re supposed to only believe in things that science can prove, right? Atheism doesn’t take any faith, right? And yet, you have faith that abiogenesis happened without any evidence in support of it.”

    No, I don’t only believe in that which science can prove. And I don’t believe all that science does suggest. Science is not my dogma and it is not my religion. Science just tends to make the most sense when it comes to explaining things. There is a difference between justified presuppositions “like, well, abiogenesis makes sense so I’ll run with that,” and blind presuppositions, “doesn’t matter what everything else says, shows me, or anything. I had a dream and it said God was the life, the way, and the truth. Screw everything else.”

    “we can deduce from evolutionary theory and advancements in biochemistry that it is not only possible that life came from non-life, but really the only logical, rational, and plausible explanation we have. It is a categorical problem for you, I’m afraid.”

    “Evolutionary theory has NOTHING to do with abiogenesis. As I already explained to you, Natural Selection and evolution only act on sexually recombinating cells. Evolution assumes life a priori. Advances in biochemistry have only helped to show the increasing problem facing origin of life athiests. Abiogenesis is only logical and rational if you assume that God didn’t do it, assume that it’s possible despite every observed phenomena in biology to date, and basically hold to naturalism and uniformitarianism as the unshakeable tenets for your faith.”
    Evolutionary theory, the actual theory, has nothing to do with the origin of life. You didn’t explain that, I read and learned that. Typically I have to tell people who are combating evolution on the premise that it can’t explain the origin of life that evolution is not concerned with that. However, evolution is the underlying theory of biology, and biochemistry has a lot to do with why we hypothesize abiogenesis.

    “Yup, and I showed how none of the chemicals of life have any sort of natural affinity for eachother that would lead them to bond together on their own.”

    Jeez, well then you should probably hault science and biology; what are they doing observing chemical reactions in organisms, genetics, etc..

    “Except for when it comes to abiogenesis. Speculation and supernatural phenomena are counted as science.”

    Nothing is supernatural about abiogenesis. It is a theory concerning how the chemicals of life became life. No gods, witches, angels, or demons involved.

    “Fine, you believe with blind faith that matter came from non-matter with no evidence that this is possible.”

    Check out Quantum Mechanics, buddy. Looks like the building blocks of physical matter strongly resemble the physical characteristics of non-matter. Cool?

    Wait a minute, you just invoked the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics and yet you believe that matter can create matter?

    Read up on the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics, and read Quantum Theory.

    “we can see back in time (which is probably mind-boggling to you because, forgive me if I am wrong, you don’t know what ‘relativity’ is) and view the young universe. ”

    “Ah yes, the obligatory atheistic insult on the Christian’s intelligence. I understand the principle of relativity. But I’m wondering how this leads us to your “compacted matter” theory. But let’s go with that, let’s go with all matter being compacted before the universe began. Two questions. Where did THAT matter come from? What caused that matter to explode and create the universe?”

    Ah, not an insult on Christian intelligence, rather a giving the author the benefit of the doubt since his comments suggest he might not know what relativity is.

    That substance came from a previous universe, maybe? Who knows? We have no idea what happened before that. Doesn’t mean God though.

    krissmith777 Says:
    November 26, 2008 at 11:03 pm

    To Eric,

    When you tell Pricegutshell “Actually, I don’t know where you got that quote you are responding to because it’s something I never said” — He was quoting me. —

    He is shuffling what we say and answering as if we were the same person.

    What? Shuffling what you said? As if you were the same person? I’m taking arguments/comments and I don’t care who they are from. I’m just responding to comments against my argument.

  26. krissmith777 Says:

    pricegutshall Says:

    “Scientists are not out to prove that God or a Creator doesn’t exist, they are just trying to make sense of observables.”

    Interesting. I do not actually remember saying that.

    “Abiogenesis wouldn’t prove that there is no creator; obviously ID would step on in an say “see! see! A creator was needed to produce this phenomenon!” Of course, whether or not there was a creator is irrelevant, and neither evolution nor the possibility of abiogenesis is why I am an atheist. Believe me, I know that “God can do anything and everything,” so philosophically, how life began and became diversified has nothing to do with why I am an atheist.”

    Actually abiogenesis would get rid of the need of God, whether you admit it or not.

    “No, what makes them valid is producing organic matter. That’s the point of the experiment. It is not to create Earth all over again, but simply to test a hypothesis concerning how life might have gotten its start. If it can be created, how long it lasts means nothing.”

    Okay, 1) I never said it wasto create the earth again, 2) yes, how long it lasts does matter because if a simple uncomplex cell (that is supposedly like the first cell that came into existence) cannot survive even in the lab much less in the lab then that itself would refute the idea that the first cell was simple and uncomplex.

    But the fact remains, none of these experiments have been successfull and are all invalid.

    Besides, as I have said, the latest experiments are cheating their ways through by beginning with complex systems and acids (I.e., fatty acids). They are jumping ahead instead of starting from scratch therefore rendering the experiments irrelevant.

    “How do you know God is not bound by what is possible? Isn’t what is possible the only thing that can happen? No, see, whenever someone finds a flaw with concept of “God” it is simply “well, as humans we can’t understand God” (great answer! Solves everything! God is always there so we don’t have to think about it.)”

    I know because he himself said so,

    Isaiah 55: 8,9: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

    And as for God existing without a beginning:

    Psalm 90:2: “From everlasting to everlasting you are God.”

    ““God isn’t bound by what everything is bound by…” that’s cute; my imaginary best friend George can fly. Why? Because HE has special powers. Aww, cute.”

    Nice. You’re living proof that the “tolerant” free thinkers are only “tolerant” and “free-thinking” in name only. All you can do is resort to making fun of me.

    “Why? Because God did it? Doesn’t matter when or how, GOD did it. Besides, doesn’t matter what the age of the universe is in regards to my point, my point was that we can see the early stages of the universe, which provides evidence for the big bang.”

    Sorry, but if you attack somebody’s intelligence (as you did), they are not going to give a damn about what your point is. Actually that only makes them more defensive of their own opinion. That’s pretty counterproductive.

    The moment you personally insult someone, no matter what your argument is, you have already lost.

    “Ah, not an insult on Christian intelligence, rather a giving the author the benefit of the doubt since his comments suggest he might not know what relativity is. ”

    Bullcrap! It is an insult on Christian intelligence because you assumed that Christians are inorant of Relativity and that ALL of us believe have a dogmatic belief that the universe in 6,000 years old. — You said that relativity was probably “mind-boggling” to me. Dude, that’s just derogatory. Even if you didn’t mean it as such, it still comes across as such.

    “Okay, so how do we look back in time? What did Einstein say about light?”

    He said that the light from stars would bend as it passed by the sun and apparently moves the position of the star, and that gravity could bend light. He also settled the debate of whether light was a particle or a wave: He concluded it was both.

    Actually Einstein’s theory avoids actually going back in time. It never says that’s possible. However, it does say that it is possible to go FORWARD into the future. To influence time it is possible to use both speed and gravity to slow down time. — But time is still going forward. Going to the past actually requires moving time backwards and admittedly there is debate about that.


  27. […] I’ve decided to move this discussion to my blog, simply because I enjoy it so much. In my responses, I will try to avoid ad hominems […]

  28. pricegutshall Says:

    I’ve moved my responses to my blog: http://bittersweetdistractions.wordpress.com

  29. Eric Says:

    It’s impossible to have a rational discussion with someone about science and the origin of life when they can declare by fiat that their God (who is conveniently not available for questioning) created the Universe(s?) and everything in it.

    No, you’re correct… scientists do NOT have an equivocal answer to the origin of life. There are a few popular theories that have enough supporting evidence (you know… FACTS) to bolster their classification as a THEORY (probably not what you think it means [1]). Science is practiced by humans who are imperfect and have not figured out all of the truly wonderful unknowns of our Universe (and possibly universes). Science is constantly evolving and questioning old hypotheses and theories. How exactly does that compare to theology?

    If you’re going to argue that an apparent ordering or design (which is highly debatable) is reason enough for your god, then you have to also accept than any one of the other creation myths and gods or goddesses are also just as likely. Scientifically speaking, how is the Christian god any more or less probable than the gods of Greek Mythology? What sets your chosen beliefs apart from any other myth that has NO (not a single shred) of FACTUAL evidence?

    WHERE ARE THE HARD FACTS THAT SUPPORT YOUR CREATION CLAIM AND/OR SPECIFIC GOD?

    IF THE UNIVERSE COULD NOT HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED, WHY COULD YOUR GOD HAVE ALWAYS EXISTED?

    WHY DOESN’T YOUR GOD ALSO NEED AN EQUALLY OR SUPERIOR INTELLIGENT DESIGNER?

    Extra credit for factual evidence that supports your answers.

    Making something up when you don’t know the answer is not a valid answer. That is all religion is… MAKING SOMETHING UP.

    By the way there is a TON of stuff scientists don’t know about our Universe. Some scientists speculate they we will not ever have the answers. Here’s a fantastic book on the subject [2]. I’ll have to warn you though… none of these people believe the world to be only 6,000 years old. 😉

    I’m seriously not trying to be mean or condescending, because you do seem capable of reading and understanding, but your cognitive dissonance is somewhat baffling to me. I’ve been reading more and more about the human brain over the past couple of months and there has been the suggesting that religious cognitive dissonance could very well be the product of a brain “defect” (I hesitate to say “defect” because the jury is out… it or it’s “framework” could have been beneficial to survival at one point).

    Oh well… good day! I hope there is at least something we could share a common bond on? What do you think of dark chocolate? I think it is absolutely delicious! 🙂

    [1] http://www.wilstar.com/theories.htm

    [2] http://www.amazon.com/Things-That-Dont-Make-Sense/dp/0385520689/ref=br_lf_m_1000298701_1_8_ttl?ie=UTF8&m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&s=books&pf_rd_p=458774801&pf_rd_s=center-2&pf_rd_t=1401&pf_rd_i=1000298701&pf_rd_m=ATVPDKIKX0DER&pf_rd_r=013K1CNMA3K8X56V2P7X

  30. Eric Kemp Says:

    Eric

    “It’s impossible to have a rational discussion with someone about science and the origin of life when they can declare by fiat that their God (who is conveniently not available for questioning) created the Universe(s?) and everything in it.”

    This is a statement of pure ignorance. That life can create itself is nothing more than an philosophical assumption. That nothing but matter exists in this universe is nothing more than a philosophical assumption. God is outside the bounds of science. He cannot be proven or disproven by it. Yet you have assumed, without scientific evidence, that He doesn’t exist. Why is this better than my assumption that He does exist? Why does this make you a rational person and me a nincompoop? No really, I’d like an answer to that question.

    “No, you’re correct… scientists do NOT have an equivocal answer to the origin of life. There are a few popular theories that have enough supporting evidence (you know… FACTS) to bolster their classification as a THEORY (probably not what you think it means [1]).”

    You’ve missed the point, and haven’t really understood what I said. There are no facts about the beginning of life. This is evidenced because you didn’t mention any. In fact, there are no “facts” about anything. All evidence must be filtered through our assumptions about the world around us.

    “Scientifically speaking, how is the Christian god any more or less probable than the gods of Greek Mythology? What sets your chosen beliefs apart from any other myth that has NO (not a single shred) of FACTUAL evidence?”

    But see, we’re not talking about my assumptions. We’re talking about the assumptions of abiogenesis. It’s funny, instead of defending, with factual evidence, your belief in abiogenesis, you attack my beliefs. Claiming that there is no “factual evidence” for my position while ignoring that there isn’t any for yours either. The proposition of the God and the beginning of life, are philosophical/metaphysical propositions that science cannot have answers to.

    “I’m seriously not trying to be mean or condescending . . .”

    C’mon man, be honest with yourself, that’s exactly your purpose. At no point did you respond to a single argument I made in my article. You ask nonsensical questions meant to condescend. Questions that have nothing to do with the topic at hand.

    Religion is a framework of philosophical assumptions and beliefs, just like atheism.

  31. Zhatt Says:

    “If it’s not a fact, then you don’t “know” it, you “believe” it. If it’s not a fact, it takes some faith. But I think what you’re really saying here is that you aren’t sold on the theory as it stands (as cbk007 explained it).“

    No, what I’m saying is that nothing can really be “fact” or “known”. All I understand is that some bright men and women worked out a feasible potential explanation for how life might have formed concerning all the facts.

    “The point isn’t that you believe it happened as cbk007 said it did. The point is that, to be an atheist, you must believe it happened. It’s a requirement for atheism. The point is that, as you admit, since abiogenesis has never been observed, violates all known natural law, and violates all observable phenomena, you must believe in abiogenesis with blind faith.”

    It’s not a requirement to believe that live began as cbk007 shows to be non-theist. There’s a multitude of ways that it could have happened. It just seems that the way cbk007 describes it is the method that uses the least assumptions. And as I understand it, this method does not violates natural law.

    “we’re on the same page with what we can and can’t prove, especially concerning the unobservable past … if we are to call something “scientific” shouldn’t we be able to observe it directly, or logically infer it from observed phenomena? We can do neither with abiogenesis.”

    But you can show what likely happened in the past by observing phenomena today. A theory about the past is just as scientific as a theory about the present. If you’re logic is that these inferences about the past could easily be false, then that holds true about all observations. Nothing can be proven one way or another as our observations could always be false or bias.

    “Like I said, you don’t have to believe EXACTLY how the star was formed but you DO have to believe that the star was formed naturalistically/excluding the supernatural, a priori, in order to be an atheist. Same with abiogenesis, a faith in the basic principle of life forming itself without the supernatural is required of you.”

    You’re working backwards. It’s that the idea that stars form naturally that lessens the support for the idea that a god created them. The reason it’s thought that stars form naturally is because there’s no evidence for anything else. If a god formed these stars in such a manner that it’s work is hidden from the natural, then it’s outside of the scope of science or the theory. In the end, it would nearly be the same thing to us humans anyways.

    “It means that you should be self-reflective about the limitations of science. And the kind of naturalistic stories science is telling you.”

    I’m quite aware of the limitations of science. It has no authority over the supernatural. But as far as I can tell, nothing does. You can tell me that you had a revelation and god told you that he built the stars, but I didn’t have that revelation, so what am I to believe?

    “…any theory of star formation assumes, without scientific evidence, that God did NOT form stars.”

    That’s because is there’s no evidence that He DID! There’s also no evidence that you did, or that Martians did. Should we also seriously consider these theories?

    “As an atheist, you must subscribe to the metaphysical assumptions listed above. What’s the difference between your metaphysical assumptions and mine?”

    I’ve just answered this on your “Three Ways of Knowing” post, so I won’t repeat myself.
    Cheers.

  32. Eric Kemp Says:

    Zhatt

    “No, what I’m saying is that nothing can really be “fact” or “known”. All I understand is that some bright men and women worked out a feasible potential explanation for how life might have formed concerning all the facts.”

    I agree, and I applaud you for your self-reflectiveness. However, I disagree that there are anything called “facts”. That you believe in “factual” information is a self-delusion, you have filtered any evidence/information through your worldview (atheistic assumptions), but we’re discussing this on the other thread.

    “It just seems that the way cbk007 describes it is the method that uses the least assumptions. And as I understand it, this method does not violates natural law.”

    It violates the Law of Biogenesis as well as all the laws and observed systems that allow the cell to function. I pointed this out clearly in my response to his video.

    “But you can show what likely happened in the past by observing phenomena today.”

    But that’s not what cdk007, and any other beginning of life theorist, is doing with abiogenesis. There is NO observed phenomena that gives creedence to their ideas.

    “But you can show what likely happened in the past by observing phenomena today.”

    Sure, it’s called logical inference. However, there is no phenomena to observe today that gives creedence to abiogenesis…not a one.

    “A theory about the past is just as scientific as a theory about the present.”

    Perhaps “just as scientific” but definetly not just as valid. Are you saying there is NO difference between observational science and inferential science (which tells a story about the past)?

    “If you’re logic is that these inferences about the past could easily be false, then that holds true about all observations. Nothing can be proven one way or another as our observations could always be false or bias.”

    My logic is that observational science should be held higher than logical inference in validity. Isn’t this obvious? I’m also saying that the scientific community is completely unself-reflective about the assumptions inherent in inferring about the past. But, again, that’s what we’re discussing on the other thread.

    “The reason it’s thought that stars form naturally is because there’s no evidence for anything else. If a god formed these stars in such a manner that it’s work is hidden from the natural, then it’s outside of the scope of science or the theory. In the end, it would nearly be the same thing to us humans anyways.”

    You’re actually missing the point. To say “there is no evidence for anything else” is an assumption on your part unsupported by science. That is, how long have we been studying the sun? 200 years? What we have scientific, observational evidence of is the laws and functions that govern how the sun works right now. What we have zero scientific evidence for is WHERE the sun came from and, more importantly, where those laws and functions that govern the sun came from. It is a naturalistic assumption, made by excluding the supernatural a priori, to suggest that the supernatural had nothing to do with the formation of either. In short, there CAN’T BE any scientific evidence for the natural or supernatural formation of stars, why is your natural assumption better (more correct) than my supernatural one? How do you know this?

    “You can tell me that you had a revelation and god told you that he built the stars, but I didn’t have that revelation, so what am I to believe?”

    But the difference is that your belief that the star formed naturally ALSO came from personal revelation or authority. Why is it so surprising, then, that I consider revelation from the ultimate authority, the Creator, to above that of personal thought or the thoughts of other men?

    “That’s because is there’s no evidence that He DID! There’s also no evidence that you did, or that Martians did. Should we also seriously consider these theories?”

    We should consider EVERY theory that is plausible. Saying that there is no evidence that God did, is assuming naturalism, since there is no evidence that nature did it either. The point is that it’s an assumption on both ends.

  33. Zhatt Says:

    I agree, and I applaud you for your self-reflectiveness. However, I disagree that there are anything called “facts”. That you believe in “factual” information is a self-delusion…

    I’m confused. I said that there are not real facts in the sense that anything can be truly known. Are you agreeing with me or not?

    It violates the Law of Biogenesis as well as all the laws and observed systems that allow the cell to function. I pointed this out clearly in my response to his video … There is NO observed phenomena that gives creedence to their ideas.

    The law of biogenesis states that fully formed, modern creatures don’t spontaneously appear. The theories concerning the origin of life don’t counter that (I admit that “abiogenesis” is a bad name). The studies are too see if a simple life form is able to form from a natural process using the basic building blocks available at the time. This theory would be accepted at most likely barring any other theory. The idea that a god created life is a theory, but one we’re unable to test so its likelihood is outside of the scope of the question.

    There are a lot of phenomena that gives credence to the theories, but I’m not going to list them all right now and I don’t know them in depth. I promise the next time I have a moment available I’ll read though some of these supporting phenomena and if I find nothing satisfactory, I’ll give you a full report on how the current theories of abiogenesis are lacking.

    “Perhaps “just as scientific” but definetly not just as valid. Are you saying there is NO difference between observational science and inferential science (which tells a story about the past)? … My logic is that observational science should be held higher than logical inference in validity. Isn’t this obvious?

    If all the observations are done properly in both cases, they are both just as valid. Why should one be more valid than the other? If I look out my window and see a hurricane, I can reasonably assume there is, in fact, a hurricane. If I look out the window and see all the buildings blown over and flooding, isn’t it also reasonable I assume there was a hurricane? Sure, my assumption might be wrong regarding the destruction, but my assumption that I actually did see a hurricane could also be wrong. An observation is evidence just like any other. Was I actually seeing wind? Was I actually seeing rain? There’s good evidence that I was, but for all I know someone projected the image onto my window or I dreamed the whole thing up. It may not as likely that my direct observation is false as is my inference, but the point is both are the most likely explanation. Both are just as valid. The only reason for a theory not be valid is if there’s an error in the logic itself.

    You’re actually missing the point. To say “there is no evidence for anything else” is an assumption on your part unsupported by science. That is, how long have we been studying the sun? 200 years? What we have scientific, observational evidence of is the laws and functions that govern how the sun works right now.

    Again and again I’ve said this and I wish I didn’t have to spell it out every time. A theory only takes into account the evidence we currently have. There’s no assumptions that something else didn’t do it, it’s just there currently is no evidence something did. If we find something else then we’ll change the theory to include this new finding. Is that hard to understand?

    What we have zero scientific evidence for is WHERE the sun came from and, more importantly, where those laws and functions that govern the sun came from.

    There’s ample evidence for star formation. Do you think when an astronomer was asked where stars came from, he just said “Uhhh… swamp gas?” We can see stars in all stages of formation and death and it’s very easy to infer from that. Are you seriously saying that stars don’t form from amassing gases? The very gases they’re made from? The very matter they expel when they die?

    It is a naturalistic assumption, made by excluding the supernatural a priori, to suggest that the supernatural had nothing to do with the formation of either.

    Again, no assumption. We can’t test the supernatural so by definition it must be excluded from an observable or testable explanation. If star formation was effected by the supernatural in some undetectable way, we’ll never know. But what’s the point? The ultimately undetectable is the same as not existing from the point-of-view of us humans. If there was an effect that affected us in any way, we would be able to test it.

    …the difference is that your belief that the star formed naturally ALSO came from personal revelation or authority.

    What personal revelation is that? The only two things I must truly assume is that I observe and that I affect what I observe. Or in other words: I think, therefore I am. Everything else derives from that.

    We should consider EVERY theory that is plausible.

    We should recognize that every theory may be possible, but what I mean is should I start believing aliens made the sun just because it’s possible? Or maybe it makes sense to work with the theory that assumes the fewest things.

    Saying that there is no evidence that God did, is assuming naturalism, since there is no evidence that nature did it either. The point is that it’s an assumption on both ends.

    Again, there currently is no evidence that god, or anything else did and there is a load of evidence that stars form from gas. How do you think the stars came to be? Even if god popped all the stars out of nowhere and just made them all appear or “look-like”, in every single and exact way, that they were made through a natural process, since science only looks at the way things appear and we view time as the state things are currently in, it’s exactly the same as having the stars forming naturally. Even if god created the universe the very second you read this sentence, the past still existed; the universe would have the exact same properties as if it happened “naturally”.
    Just to make sure I’m clear: I don’t believe a god exists yet I don’t believe one doesn’t. It’s a non issue to me. There’s just currently no reasonable evidence for me to even start considering the likelihood of a god. If your assumption in god is as basic as my assumption that I exist, that’s fine for you, but you can’t say I’m ignorant to not believe. I just don’t have that innate faith. Until God Himself comes down and gives me that same faith, there’s no reason for me to suppose anything beyond the natural.

  34. Daniel Says:

    I’m no biologist so I can’t delve too far into this, but you are stereotyping Atheists. This cannot be done, because Atheism is the lack of belief in a god. That is all it is.

    To illustrate this, I will use some humor and the law of syllogism:
    Atheism is the lack of belief in a god, nothing else.

    1: You are an Atheist.
    2: Therefore ???

    ^^See my point? You can’t class Atheists, its a bit like classing “non-humans” into one category.

  35. Eric Kemp Says:

    Daniel

    That’s one of my main points. If you think that atheism, as a belief, stands on it’s own without other beliefs supporting it, you are deluding yourself. In fact, I dedicated a post to the argument. It’s quite simple actually, in order to be atheist you must believe that life began from chemicals. There is no way around this simple fact, no matter how many times you shout “atheism stands alone!”. But again, I develope the argument further in the linked article.

    And no, I don’t see your point. You’re logical deduction argument had no semblance of argument or logic. There are 100 things I could put in point #2. Again, just because you say something doesn’t make it so. You must be able to show how your logic holds up, not just claim that it does.

    “See my point? You can’t class Atheists, its a bit like classing “non-humans” into one category.”

    I honestly have no idea what this means.


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