Scientists Prove Again that Life is the Result of Intelligent Design

August 17, 2011 1:13 am 270 comments

Dennis Overbye, Veteran Science Writer, New York Times (Photo: Lars Klove, NY Times)

In light of the fact that the New York Times has run another article on the fascinating world of Origin of Life research and the creation of synthetic life, (“It’s Alive! It’s Alive!” 7/27/2011, Dennis Overbye), it is instructive to point out the sins of omission of which Mr. Overbye -  a veteran science writer with more than two decades of experience – is guilty. The two salient points that get lost (read: that go purposely unmentioned) among the informative interviews with researchers and the descriptions of their ingenious attempts to create life in the laboratory are: (A) Although all of the scientists mentioned believe that life came from non-life through an undirected, naturalistic process, none of them have the slightest clue as to how it actually happened, and (B) The obvious and most significant conclusion that can be drawn from all their splendid work in the lab is that the only reasonable explanation for the emergence of life is Intelligent Design! Allow me to elaborate.

Mr. Overbye gives us a brief description of the current state of Origin of Life research:

“According to modern science, life on Earth originated about 3.8 billion years ago, perhaps in a warm pond, as Darwin speculated, or perhaps in a boiling, bubbling mud bath or a scorching volcanic vent way under the sea. The first inhabitant of this Eden, chemists suspect, was RNA…Scientists cannot prove that this is how life arose on Earth, but they can do the next best thing. They can make their own RNA, and see if they can then breathe life into it.”

Since the general public does not have a clear understanding of what is actually going on in the Origin of Life field, let me translate the aforementioned citation into clear, plain language that can be understood by all.

  • “According to modern science, life originated about 3.8 billion years ago…”The earliest known life form, before which nothing has ever been found, is a type of bacterium. These have been dated by scientists as being alive on the Earth approximately 3.8 billion years ago. Despite their size being measured in the millionths of a meter, a bacterium is of a level of functional complexity on the order of an F-15 fighter bomber (actually that is understated). Dr. Robert Hazen: “The simplest living cell is intricate beyond imagining…human brains seem ill-suited to grasp such multi-dimensional complexity.” Dr. Michael Denton: “each is a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed pieces of molecular machinery…far more complicated than any machinery built by man and without parallel in the non-living world.” Dr. Paul Davies: “[bacteria] have a fine tuning and complexity as yet unmatched by human engineering.” Perhaps it is best summed up by Ilya Prigogine, winner of the Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1977: “But let us have no illusions… [we are still] unable to grasp the extreme complexity of the simplest of organisms.”
  • “perhaps in a warm pond, as Darwin speculated, or perhaps in a boiling bubbling mud bath or a scorching volcanic vent way under the sea.” – There is no scientist in the world today that would have the chutzpah to claim that he or she knows how life began. Dr. Stuart Kauffman: “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on the Earth 3.5 billion years ago, is a fool or a knave.” The enormous, gaping chasm that separates non-living chemicals from the simplest living bacterium is described by renowned biologist Dr. Lynn Margulis: “To go from bacterium to people is less of a step than to go from a mixture of amino acids to a bacterium.” Every theory mentioned above has nothing to do with Science. All current Origin of Life theories are pure speculation. Speculation, even when it is the product of a brilliant scientific mind, does not magically become Science. None of these theories are supported by anything even remotely resembling any type of conclusive evidence. In fact they are hotly disputed among researchers themselves. Physicist and information theorist H.P. Yockey: “A scenario describing the genesis of life on earth by chance and natural causes which can be accepted on the basis of fact and not faith has not yet been written. The entire effort in the primeval soup paradigm is self-deception.” Nobel Laureate, Dr. Werner Arber: “Although a biologist, I must confess that I do not know how life came about…how such already quite complex structures came about is a mystery to me.” Dr. Christopher McKay: “We do not know how life originated on the Earth.” Dr. Harold P. Klein: “The simplest bacterium is so damn complicated…that it is almost impossible to imagine how it happened.” Dr. Ken Nealson (National Academy of Sciences): “Nobody understands the Origin of Life, if they say they do, they are probably trying to fool you.” Dr. George Whitesides: “Most chemists believe as I do that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules on the prebiotic Earth. How? I have no idea…on the basis of all the chemistry I know, it seems astonishingly improbable.”
  • “The first inhabitant of this Eden, chemists suspect, was RNA…” - Overbye is referring to the highly popular “RNA World” theory, which hypothesizes that RNA preceded DNA and eventually transformed into DNA based life forms. Despite its popularity it is also a purely speculative theory supported by no plausible evidence. Dr. Gerald Joyce, who is mentioned many times in the N.Y. Times article and is a world renowned proponent of the “RNA World” theory, candidly wrote the following in April 2010: “The challenge must now be faced with constructing a realistic picture of the RNA World…it must be said that the details remain obscure and are not likely to be known in the near future…the concept of an RNA World has been a milestone in the scientific study of life’s origins. While this concept does not explain how life originated it has helped to guide scientific thinking and has served to focus experimental efforts.” Nobel Laureate, Dr. Francois Jacob: “It goes without saying that the emergence of this RNA and the transition to a DNA World implies an impressive number of stages, each more improbable than the previous one.” Dr. Graham Cairns-Smith, after describing the hurdles that must be overcome for the RNA World scenario to take place in a natural setting concludes that, “it is absurd to imagine,” that such a process could have occurred the prebiotic Earth. Dr. Robert Shapiro: “I’m always running out of metaphors to try and explain what the difficulty is. But suppose you took Scrabble sets, or any word game sets, blocks with letters, containing every language on Earth, and you heap them together, and then you took a scoop and you scooped into that heap, and you flung it out on the lawn there and the letters fell into a line which contained the words, “to be or not to be that is the question,” that is roughly the odds of an RNA molecule appearing on the earth.”  Dr. Shapiro, at an Origin of Life Initiatives lecture at Harvard University in 2008, declared that, “any abiotically prepared replicator before the start of life is a fantasy.”

  • “Scientists cannot prove that this is how life arose on Earth, but they can do the next best thing. They can make their own RNA, and see if they can then breathe life into it.”- These two sentences are the key to a true understanding of the real conclusions that should be drawn from current Origin of Life research. All the amazing breakthroughs that these outstanding scientists have accomplished in their quest to create life in the laboratory have one thing in common: They are only possible under the strictest and most rigorous of laboratory procedures, processes, and protocols, and only under the guidance and direction of the most brilliant scientific minds working with the most advanced equipment available. These procedures and processes did not pop out of thin air; they are themselves built on the collective acquired knowledge and experience of thousands of different researchers and represent, literally, millions of man-hours of intensive labor, contemplation, and analysis. None of them could have conceivably taken place in a prebiotic swamp through undirected processes.

No one has summarized it more incisively and succinctly than Dr. Robert Shapiro, a self-proclaimed agnostic who is Professor Emeritus of Chemistry at NYU, and a world recognized authority on Origin of Life research. Dr. Shapiro wrote the following in 1999, in anticipation of the creation in the laboratory of “self-sustained RNA evolving systems,” (which are discussed at length in Overbye’s article): “The media probably will announce it as the demonstration of a crucial step in the origin of life…The concept that the scientists are [actually] illustrating is one of Intelligent Design. No better term can be applied to a quest in which chemists…prepare a living system in the laboratory, using all the ingenuity and technical resources at their disposal.”

In other words, these scientists have made it incontrovertibly clear that all the steps that are necessary for the emergence of life require the conscious and direct involvement of an active, guiding, and highly intelligent force. The very language that Overbye must inescapably use in describing the efforts of these scientists, strikingly illustrates this notion:

  • “researchers are trying to construct life…in a thimbleful of liquid.”
  • “If you had a second example of life, even if it were synthetic, you might know better. I’m betting we’re just going to make it.”
  • “The ability to synthesize life will be an event of profound importance, like the invention of agriculture or the invention of metallurgy.”
  • “George Church and Farren Isaacs of the Harvard Medical School recently reported that they had reprogrammed the genome of an E. coli bacterium.”
  • “Jack Szostak…embarked on an ambitious project to build an artificial cell”
  • “At the center of the Joyce lab experiments is a T-shaped piece of RNA…In 2002 Joyce and Natasha Paul, configured it to recognize and glue together a pair of smaller molecules.”

“Many investigators feel uneasy about stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they freely admit they are baffled” (from The Fifth Miracle: The Search for the Origin and Meaning of Life, Dr. Paul Davies)

At the conclusion of his article, Dennis Overbye describes Dr. Gerald Joyce talking about the self-replicating molecules that he has constructed in the lab: “Dr. Joyce’s molecules will never catch up to the biosphere. But someday their genome may surprise their creator…with a trick or a new move in the game of “almost life” that he has not anticipated. “If it would happen, it would do it for me, I would be happy,” Dr. Joyce said, adding, “I won’t say it out loud, but it’s alive.” Perhaps it would be worthwhile for Dr. Joyce and some of his distinguished colleagues like Nobel Prize winners Jack Szostak and Sidney Altman, to take note of the fact that we are already alive and can do some pretty neat tricks…and to realize that just like Gerald Joyce’s primitive, man-made molecular toys, we too have a Creator.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website at http://rabbimaverick.com/

270 Comments

  • David Klassen

    Thanks, Moshe, for this article. I come to it a few years late. The “false dichotomy” people really wish to believe in one side of the dichotomy, i.e. undesigned (undirected natural process) as opposed to designed, and are absolutely opposed to entertaining the possibility of design. There may be different hypotheses as to how life may emerge through an undirected natural process, so I think the “false dichotomy” people want to imply that you are fallaciously setting up one such hypothesis against design, but obviously you are not. What I take you to say is that it is highly improbable, verging on impossible, that even the most basic life form (in all its complexity) could have come about by an undirected natural process. Shamrock tried to propose a third alternative, transdimensional transfer from a universe where life was spontaneously generated, but that is not really a third alternative, since it makes the ultimate origin of life undirected and natural. I do agree that the probablility of undirected processes resulting in ordered complexity is close to nil if not impossible, but I think the probability calculation needs to be worked out. Gerald Schroeder talks about monkeys typing a sonnet taking something like 10 to the 600 years or universes (http://www.simpletoremember.com/media/a/dr_schroeder_s/) but does not give us the calculation. Mind you, having the typewriter already set up for the monkeys, i.e. a pre-existing level of intelligent design, gives them a leg up. If there is no design or system in place at all it becomes even less plausible to the point of being absolutely impossible. If the odds are to be calculated, even long odds, don’t we need a pre-existing orderly structure analogous to the typewriter with its finite number of keys?

  • Intelligent design could be true or false who knows until we do research which should be supported by all. If it is truth we need to find who created us, how and when ? If it is false we need to find how simple chemical compounds suddenly turned into living cell? So in both case research, experiments are inevitable. We just cant say God created us and stop everything. Currently there are no full proof evidences on both sides which is making the debate huge. Either of the theories could be true . Who knows and for that sake we should not stop researching about them. And for that science could be a tool for the time being as we know religion just put full stop.

  • We humans can argue forever on this. But we should consider this before we go stating much:

    It is better to believe in God all your life and “learn” at death that we were wrong. Better than to not believe all your life and learn at the last moment that there is!” Enough said?

    • Henry Sloan

      Is it better to believe in Santa and learn later in life that we are wrong, or not believe and find out that “THERE’S NO PRESENTS!!!”. Enough said?

  • If RNA pre-dated life why does it not still exist independently of life?

    • An Unidentifiable Interneter

      Because if it doesn’t self replicate, it would just disappear as the compounds break up (however, most viruses are RNA based, and they are not alive).

  • I know this article is pretty old and whatnot but I like arguing for the sake or arguing and logic for the sake of logic. I would like to point out several of the numerous fallacies present in the article.
    Firstly, the article presents a false dilemma by insinuating that since researchers have not found proof of one potential hypothesis of how life could be been created (abiogenesis), then intelligent design must be true. This is a common fallacy designed to pray on the gullible as it narrows down what could be dozens of alternatives (on either side of the evolution/creationism debate) into just two choices with yours being the obvious right choice.
    In addition, the article then goes on to attempt deconstruct a single quote from Dennis Overbye’s article. The first deconstruction utilizes another common tactic designed to grab the gullible:the read herring. With immense quote mining (a tactic which is used so incredibly often in this article that I wont even attempt to dismiss them all), the complexity of the ‘first’ bacterium is mentioned. This so called complexity is complex compared to what? The article states this first bacterium was complex without giving any sort of reference point (except some sort of bomber plan and anyone who thinks the complexity of a bomber plane can be compared to the complexity of the first single celled life forms might want to do a little bit of reading) as to what it is complex against. Additionally, the complexity of this bacterium is in no way related to the main point of the argument by the author.
    The second part, about the pond, is (once again) ‘supported’ by intensely quote mined (and misuse of the mined quote I might add) material and misunderstanding of the words theory and hypothesis. Abiogenesis is one of several hypotheses about how life might have originated on earth. It is not a theory. A theory is the highest level of scientific achievement and is only accomplished by numerous studies, experiments, and the works and writings of dozens of brilliant minds. Abiogenesis is not a theory but a hypothesis that is being tested by use of the scientific method. One possible experiment for testing this hypothesis is to recreate the conditions of early earth (the rigorous laboratory conditions the article mentions; painstakingly created theoretical conditions which might simulate the way the earth was when abiogenesis took place (and only possible to recreate in a laboratory setting unless you wish the whole earth to be turned into violent hellhole)). Finally with regards to the second quotation, the article claims that scientists have no idea what happens during abiogenesis yet intelligent design advocates have not yet made any headway in describing what happens during a creation event.

    The third quote, much like the previous one, utilizes quote mining and misuse of information and the word theory to “prove” it’s point. The RNA World hypothesis, as you called it, is , like abiogenesis a hypothesis that is currently being tested and may or may not be found to be true (and does not imply intelligent design is true if it is found to be wrong).
    Finally, the article ends by utilizing more quote’s mind from Overbye’s article which have points emphasized (the Overbye did not mean to emphasis) that, lo and behold, show that scientist have proved intelligent design. Until intelligent design advocates can show come up with any sort of idea that is not breaking any laws of physics (i.e. the outside of time and space idea which also has the benefit of not being fallible) as to how a creation event would work or determinedly show that life indeed has been intelligently designed in a way that intelligence and design are not defined relatively, than intelligent design will not be accepted by the scientific community.

    • The definition of atheism is LACK of belief in a diety. Since there is NO CONCRETE/EYEWITNESS PROOF of either theory as to the begining of the universe or life on earth. People are left with a choice between evolution or I.D. So I would like to breifly outline the choices:
      If I choose to believe in (the theory of)God and I am wrong, my fate will be to live and die in the same way as atheistic humans. If I am right, my situation might be pretty good – eternal life, etc.
      If I choose to believe in the atheistic theory, and there actually is a Creator….I would be “buggered”.

      • so true, im a christian, if im wrong, so what i die boo hoo, but if im an atheist and i am wrong, im screwed.

        • Ah. Good ol’ Pascal’s wager. I’m amazed that people still use this as an argument, and that they don’t see it as utter bullshit. Which it is.

        • Bethany, you seemed to forget about all of the other religions that you don’t believe in. So if you’re wrong and any of the other ones are right you’ll be in the same boat as everyone else who didn’t follow that religion.

  • Utterly in black and white focus stuff, In truth enjoyed reading through.

  • Being a scientist myself and working with a lot of them, I know how science works. There are a lot of hypothesis and presumptions and we are trying to fit the data into those theories. There are a lot of limitations too. Science changed many times before and it is a continuous work in progress. There are not ultimate conclusions. Unfortunately, a lot of people get their science education from the press, not from the science books and not using their own judgement. Every honest scientists know that we have limited capabilities of knowledge and understanding, but we are trying our best.
    People who contradicts the Rabbi here – without real arguments-are just poorly educated, and they hide their lack of judgement by being aggressive. They invoke science, but they have no clue how science operates. They attack the rabbi because he is a Rabbi, so that makes them think they are smarter.
    So, for people who think themselves are the simple result of a huge chain of un-programmed and unintentional genetic accidents, please be consistent with your theories, and realize that your chance to discover the truth about life and universe has the same probability.

  • pardon the double negative. I was angry.

  • Rabbi, this is NOT evidence of Intelligent Design, this is simply an example of lack of understanding of the situation.

    I am NOT claiming that god doesn’t exist. I’m just saying that you have no idea what you’re talking about and you should leave reporting information like this to the scientific community. Stop it. You’re polluting my facts with crap.

    • So, the fact that all those scientists who actually know what they are talking about made their assumption is crap for you? How much cellular biology you read or understand? Well, judging by your own words, there is nothing more to say.

  • So with all these arguments, how many homeless have you helped create livelihoods for? Do you celebrate their birthday? Do you bring them birthday gifts? Do you think of them? Do you even know any?

    In the end, you can believe anything you want, but if it doesn’t make you into a more loving person, what is the point?

    People don’t care what you know, people want to know that you care.

    This applies for both sides of this argument.
    There is no point arguing that organisms can come out of inorganic materials if its not going to make you come and help the poor and needy but instead cause you to use it as an excuse to avoid following commandments such as loving your neighbors and helping the poor homeless orphans and widows.

    That applies even more to those who believe in ID.

    • Bagsy84,

      What you say is true to a certain extent, however, it doesn’t in any way diminish the importance of the point. Ultimately, loving-kindness, compassion, charity, depend on the realization that we are created in the image of God and are not simply glorified bacteria that crawled out of a swamp.

      • Nonsense. It’s been established that people can be good without believing in a supernatural father-figure.

        If you are good because of god, then you are good out of fear of punishment and expectation of heavenly reward. If you are good without god, you are simply being good for the sake of it, and because a successful civilization depends on it, which is more noble.

    • Darwin said that if a cell were to be taken out of a living organism and the cell died, then his theory of life, by random chance, evolving from nothing would be disproved. Scientists have performed such experiments. When the cells were removed from the organism every cell died. This clearly disproves the theory of all life evolving, by random chance, from nothing. The Earth and everything in it were created by an Intelligent Designer, God, just like cars do not evolve from nothing as gases and materials condense to make solid objects. Cars require an intelligent designer. Anything contrary to the fact of intelligent design is ignorance to the facts.

      • Darwin never said that and even if he did how does that make evolution untrue? If Newton said everything he did was a joke would calculus suddenly stop working?

        • Darwin said if ever there were an explosion of life, that event would disprove his theory.
          Please examine the “Cambrian Explosian”. This discovery makes Darwin’s book nothing better than liner for the bird cage.
          Please also refrain from mentioning Sir Isaac Newton in your athestic diatribe…Newton regularily read the Bible and had a deep belief in God.

  • “How does that make him more an origin of life expert than the biologists, biochemists, etc., who are working in the field?”

    “Working in the field? They’re working on the wrong farm, never mind, ‘field’.

    They take a metaphysical position as the basis for their scientific world-view, every bit as unambiguously as theists, yet adhere to it all the more strongly, the more compelling the evidence for theism becomes.

  • Moshe. I am new to the forum and can not believe the patience and restraint you have demonstrated. Over and over again you ask questions that go unanswered, and when you are asked questions you deliver cogent and clear answers. I guess in a forum even the feeble minded has a keyboard and a say. I was in McDonalds today and ordered some fries. The guy looked right through me and said, “would you like fries with that”? I am still reeling from this. I can’t imagine your level of patience. Great work.

    • Are you reading the same things that I am? Clearly not. Moshe makes the same unsubstantiated claims over and over, replying to criticism not by answering it but by repeating his claims. I personally have pointed out fundamental flaws to which he has no response and yet he skips merrily by them.

      Don’t drink Moshe’s kool-aid. He’s a shallow fraud. Here the very headline is a blatant lie. Science has not now, has never in the past, and in the future will likely never support intelligent design.

  • (Please disregard the former message… accidentally hit submit before I edited it)
    Moshe,

    I’ve replied to your e-mail with a clear set of reasons your arguments were wrong. Where have you been? You can cry about me being mean and try to hide your responses in e-mail rather then replying publicly, as you have done twice now, all you want but it certainly doesn’t help your case.

    In brief, your arguments are fallacious due to false dichotomy, argument from ignorance, and special pleading. You are factually in error by drawing parallels between machines and living systems subject to variation, inheritance, and selection. Any defense? Anything at all?

  • Moshe,

    I’ve replied to your e-mail with a clear set of reasons your arguments were wrong. Where have you been? You can cry about me being mean and try to hide your responses in e-mail rather then replying publicly, as you have done twice now, all you want but it certainly doesn’t help your case.

    In brief, your arguments are fallacious due to false dichotomy, argument from ignorance, and special pleading. You are factually in error by drawing parallels between living systems subject to variation, inheritance and selection and machines. Anything defense? Anything at all?

  • Holdingupamirror

    Moshe, will you be going on tour soon to promote your music CD? Well you must be some kind of folk artist because you are no biology scientist.

  • 4leafshamrock

    Moshe’s whole argument relies on a false dichotomy and a failure to understand the mathematics of probability.

    Moshe insists that since spontaneous generation of life is highly improbable the only other possible answer to the origin of life is it was created by a designer, and that this by default becomes more probable.

    I shall introduce a third option: Life in this universe originated through a transdimensional transfer from a universe where spontaneous origin is wholly commonplace.

    Moshe will insist this is ridiculous, but it is no more ridiculous a hypothesis than your creator nonsense, and it is no more improbable.

    That’s the problem with a non science based approach to the study of reality, you can introduce any crackpot hypothesis you want, such as the being outside of time and space nonsense, or the transdimensional transfer garbage.

    • 4leafshamrock, thank you for introducing another option, equally probable or improbable as spontaneous creation of life on the earth or creation by a creator God. As you admit it being a crackpot theory, what makes any of the three less crackpot than any other? What is the difference between science based improbability and non-science based improbability?
      Why should the improbability that a machine as complex as a virus could be assembled through a sequence of unintelligent steps of trial and error be of different value than an equally improbable act of creation by a creator God.
      Isn’t the point of Moshe Averick that as all three options are equally improbable, you are free to choose whichever you want. Whichever you choose won’t become more probable by your choice, be it science based or based on religious revelation. The choice you make is faith based, whatever you choose. Science has not got anything to do with your choice.
      Moshe Averick is not trying to prove that God created the universe and life on earth, he simply states that from a scientific point of view you can neither confirm nor deny that he did. There is nothing wrong admitting that you don’t know.

      • Christoph,

        I disagree, it is clear to me that the eminently reasonable conclusion, beyond reasonable doubt is that life is the result of a an intelligent Creator who is necessarily outside of the physical universe.

        For a comprehensive treatment of the science and the philosophy behind this, please see my book.

        • That’s just because your intelligent designer apparently designed you to be highly ignorant and stubborn.

          It’s still your fault though.

        • Rilke's Granddaughter

          I read your book – used, I don’t see any reason to pay good money for a work I’m unlikely to keep.

          You are incorrect here: you do not actually address any of the science or philosophy – unless you consider making unsupported assertions “addressing”.

          You are indeed an embarrassment to the tradition of the educated, insightful rabbi.

        • Your mistake is thinking that it being clear to you is relevant at all, Moshe. Your ignorance is not evidence for anything.

          • Moshe, Moshe, Moshe,

            I’ve told you before I don’t like you e-mailing me directly. Why would you do it again? Did you forget?

            Anyway, here is the text of the e-mail Moshe sent me instead of replying openly.

            “Mike,

            I presented a certain argument and line of reasoning to back up my assertions. Life was either created or it came about through an undirected process. There are no other options. The notion that something as functionally complex as a nanotool filled bacterium with an encyclopedic amount of digitally encoded information contained in its genetic material, could emerge through an undirected process is intuitively absurd. It is not a coincidence that scientists are also clueless as to how it could have happened. They are clueless because it obviously did not happen that way. At the very least the burden is on you to prove otherwise. I do not have to prove that functionally complex machinery is created by intelligence, that is the baseline truth. If you think my reasoning is flawed, please present a coherent rebuttal. Your adolescent declarations are useless in an intelligent discussion.

            Moshe Averick”

            Oh, the mind reels at all the ignorance. First… false dichotomy. There may be a third option no one has thought of. Evidence against a position is not support for another position.

            Second, “intuitively absurd”? Are we supposed to actually accept this as anything other then personal commentary? Your intuitions are irrelevant. Because you don’t see how it could have happened is not evidence it didn’t. We call that argument from ignorance, and that’s fallacy number two.

            Factual error… living creatures that are subject to reproduction, selection, and inheritance are not machines. To draw conclusions from such a flawed comparison, indeed from any comparison is bad practice.

            Fallacy number three… special pleading. To claim that complexity requires design in all cases EXCEPT for your idea of a creator deity is illogical and simply wrong.

            There’s your rebuttal. You made no valid arguments, due to the flaws noted above.

            Now, on to a personal note… stop e-mailing me. I’m just going to post it like this every time you do. Also, your charges of childishness are idiotic and you do not engage in intelligent discussion. Seeing that you are wrong and not letting you get away with your foolishness is not adolescent. Not taking you too seriously is certainly not adolescent. You don’t deserve serious treatment.

            Now, how long is it going to take you to try and sell your book? I still haven’t heard from you regarding my challenge.

          • Adams Bible Studies

            Mike: Why criticize Moshe, when its all those whom he quoted, those whom you love and support that are telling you they do not know how life began nor how the bacterium could have so much intelligence. And since they don’t know, how less you. Thus, you have NO CALL to criticize Moshe. He is not attacking you, but merely stating his conclusion. You don’t share it, but you like to jump on others, GO jump on those you are upholding. You think your so smart quoting Yul Bryner in “Ten Commandments” saying, Moshes, Moshes, Moshes, – you’re no Yul Bryner, nor a Pharaoh. So Back-off and go peddle it somewhere else.

        • Moshe informs us that as far as he is concerned: “it is clear to me that the eminently reasonable conclusion, beyond reasonable doubt is that life is the result of a an intelligent Creator who is necessarily outside of the physical universe.”

          One problem with writing about such things is that you have no way to make it clear to anyone else. How, for instance, could you explain how something “outside of the physical universe” could ever have had any effect on the physical universe? What research have you got on this?

          Naturally, the answer is that you’ve got nothing.

        • If you didn’t desperately WANT to believe in Intelligent Design, then you probably wouldn’t bother with trying to twist that unfounded theory to fit the facts. But because ID happens to corroborate your religious views, you MUST assert it.

    • Shamrock

      I don’t think I am the only one who would say your proposal is ridiculous, you would also agree that it is ridiculous. There is nothing at all ridiculous about the concept of an intelligent creator. We intelligently create things all the time. There are certain levels of design, sophistication, and functional complexity that the human mind simply refuses to accept could have been the result of any type of undirected process. The nanotechnology that is found in the simplest bacterium and it’s super-sophisticated digitally controlled self replicating genetic system is way over that level. We immediately recognize that it is the result of intelligent intervention. Following the reasoning to it’s logical philosophical conclusion leads to to understand that this creator is outside of the physical universe. So what? Why should that be such a big deal? Why should people like yourself react hysterically to such a notion and in order to avoid that conclusion come up with total nonsense like you just proposed above?
      Have some dignity, Shamrock, and quit clutching at straws. Dr. Jerry Coyne wrote in response to the ideas that I proposed in my article that while it is true that scientists do not know how life began naturalistically, and while it also may be true that science will never understand how life began, he is sure that within 50 years scientists will accumulate the evidence needed. As silly as his response was, yours is even sillier. What you have written is a perfect illustration of what Harvard Geneticist Dr. Richard Lewontin wrote several years ago in a NY Times article. Essentially he said that rather than accept the reality of God, science will believe any type of absurdity. I have pasted the appropriate passages below.

      “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between Science and the Supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs, in spite of its failure to fulfill many of its extravagant promises of health and life, in spite of the tolerance of the scientific community for unsubstantiated just-so stories, because we have a prior commitment, a commitment to naturalism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to create an apparatus of investigation and a set of concepts that produce material explanation, no matter how counter-intuitive, no matter how mystifying to the uninitiated. Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine foot in the door.”

      • 4leafshamrock

        Moshe

        Stop with the special pleading already. The creator hypothesis is totally on a par with the transdimensional hypothesis. Just because you don’t like that doesn’t make your hypothesis any more valid.

        When you start introducing concepts of floaty beings outside of time and space who spoke you into existence, don’t be surprised if someone catches your drift and comes down to your level of understanding with the transdimensional stuff, which by the way is actually the hypothesis you are aguing for! That gave me a giggle when you labeled it absurd.

        Unless of course your creator concept isn’t transdimensional and doesn’t exist out of nothing. In that instance you can tell me who created your creator. And please do it without the special pleading that your god is the one complex entity that wasn’t created. Got to love them illogical loopholes you get to create to plug the holes in the dam.

        Your whole argument now rests on assigning
        special privlege to the god nonsense over any other nonsense. I don’t, it’s nonsense until you can demonstrate it is not nonsense. THROUGH EVIDENCE, not appeals to ignorance.

        I’m going to become a theist and start writing apologetics, is it really that easy to make a fortune?!

        • Shamrock,

          Either life came from non-life through some as yet unknown process or there is a first creator who is outside of nature. There are no other reasonable possibilities. The First Cause argument has been around for a long time. It is not mysterious at all.

          • 4leafshamrock

            Moshe i’m impressed that you conceed that life may have originated from some as of yet unknown process, that is at least honest.

            Following that i may assume that you retract the proposition that you titled this article with. And acknowledge that scientists have not proven that life is the result of intelligent design.

            By the way, the hypothesis that the earth was flat was around for a long time too, it wasn’t correct either, just because people have claimed that a god did it for a long time, doesn’t add any value to the hypothesis that a god did it.

          • Moshe-this is an example of a fairly common fallacy called a false dilemma. You present only two sides of a many faceted argument and state that only one of them (I’m assuming the second one) is true without even addressing that their are other alternatives.

        • Shamrock,

          I did not say anything new. All scientists are in agreement that the manner in which life emerged from non-life(assuming that it did) was through a process which is as yet unknown. Blind luck, of course, has been eliminated by all as a possibility, except by those who have abandoned any semblemce of rationality.

          Let me restate the options in the following manner: A. Life emerged from non-life through some as yet unknown process

          B. Life emerged through a very well known and universally accepted process that is responsible for all other examples of functional complexity and specified functional information across the entire spectrum of human experience: Intelligent Design

      • The Intelligent Design argument is, on the surface, compelling. But delve a little bit, and it’s completely speculative, and has many holes in it. You simply WANT Intelligent Design to be true, so you must assert it. But common sense, intuitions, and real-life analogies aren’t enough to determine the nature of the universe. They only determine the nature of YOUR psyche. And adding a creator to the argument explains nothing, because, as you know, you need to explain where the creator came from. And if a creator, who MUST be more complex than the universe he created, didn’t need a creator, than neither does the universe.

      • Moshe, the main flaw with your argument is this, because science cannot explain something at this particular moment, the “logical” conclusion is that god did it. In ancient Egypt, the science available then could not explain why the sun rose and set, so of course the only “logical” conclusion is that god did it. We as humans now know this to be incorrect. We know that the sun rises and sets due to the rotation of the Earth on its axis. Religion is often used to explain what science cannot, and just like the false deities of the past, science will eventually progress and and your assertion that god did it will be proven just as false as all the rest. Science does not have all the answers, but unlike religion, science is always looking for the answers and evidence to prove them. You saying god did it because you don’t know otherwise, is foolish and shows that you are not looking for any other answer because you are content that god did it. If that is your belief, that’s fine, but do not assert that it’s science because it’s not, it’s only your opinion because you are too lazy to look for anything else.

    • It’s ridiculous to speak of another universe when the term is singular. Either this universe is the only one or it is not the universe. If that’s the case what is it?

  • David Evans,

    If you are not planning on reading my book where I present a comprehensive analysis of the issue, see the following three articles I wrote on this site on the issue of “faith” among scientists of a natural origin for life:

    a. Seriously, Aren’t Atheists Embarassed by PZ Myers?
    b. An Open Letter to Dr. Jerry Coyne
    c. Does Niles Eldredge Believe in Darwinian Evolution?

  • David Evans,

    I don’t concern myself with Darwinian Evolution, for argument’s sake I concede the point. The only relevant issue regarding the existence of a Creator is origin of life. On that issue I am quite clear.

    If you are asking me how I personally feel about Evolution, my personal view is that it is as skewered as the scientific view on origin of life. but I choose not to argue the point. In fact I do not have time to keep up with all the issues revolving around evolution, so officially I do not have an opinion.

    In my book I devote an entire chapter to showing that the reason why researchers claim a naturalistic origin of life, is DESPITE the evidence, not because of the evidence. Their belief in naturalism is an article of faith, nothing to do with science.

  • Ant,

    John Horgan is on your side not mine. He makes fun of “creationists” like me. The reason why Paul Davies sat on the panel at ASU is because he has devoted the last 20 years of his life to Origin of Life. He is an acknowledged expert and nobody disagrees with him.

    The argument from incredulity is a smokescreen. To believe that a smiley face in the sand with the words Ant Allen next to it was the result of a natural process, strains one’s credulity beyond the breaking point. That a bacterium could emerge from a prebiotic swamp without intelligent intervention certains strains credulity well beyond the breaking point. There are many notions where incredulity is quite justified.

  • So… you didn’t bother to read anything about Stanley Miller or Montmorillonite or phospholipid bubbles, or the fact that chains of RNA can form naturally AND HAVE in the lab. You forgot the part about natural selection, and how that increases complexity. You forgot to mention that it’s MODERN bacteria that are as complex as F15s, not ancient bacteria. Also, the fact that you don’t understand X does not prove Y.

    • Anonymous,

      The Miller-Urey experiments are “dead ends” (Dr. Gunther Wachtershauser), RNA may form in the lab under the direction of scientists but not in nature, there is no essential difference between ancient bacteria and modern bacteria.

      • Yea, right…

        And a rock knife ist essentially no different from a laser scalpel.

        • Phil,

          Why don’t you explain to us the difference between ancient bacteria and modern bacteria.

          Perhaps you could also incorporate an explanation of the following statement from a paper by Dr’s Ben Jacob, Aharonov, and Shapira, three Israeli researchers, “Bacteria Harnessing Complexity”, (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2004)

          “Bacteria, being the first form of life on earth had to devise ways to synthesize the complex organic molecules required for life…3.5 billion years have passed and the existence of higher organisms depends on this
          unique bacterial know how. Even for us, with all our scientific knowledge and technological advances, the ways in which bacteria solved this fundamental requirement for life are still a mystery.”

          • You want someone to teach you how to read?

            Nothing in that quote says anything about modern bacteria being the same as their ancestors.

            You are the only one making such a ridiculous claim, without even circumstantial evidence to back it up.

            What’s even better: bacteria were NOT the first form of life. (This is wikipedia-level knowledge, absolutely everyone could look it up and look less stupid.)

            Do you want another quote from that very same paper?

            “As the individuals increase their adaptability to the group, the colony elevates its durability
            and adaptability to the environment by increasing its complexity.”

            That’s right: single-cell organisms are apparently able to increase their complexity in the absolute absence of an intelligent designer.

            How do you like that article now?

        • Phil,

          that is your problem. You are relying on Wikipedia for your information. There is no known life form earlier than bacteria. Since the writers of the Wikipedia article have accepted as an article of faith that life emerged naturalistically, there MUST have been something before bacteria. After all, everyone agrees that a fully functioning bacterium could not have popped out of the prebiotic swamp.

          you still failed to explain the difference between ancient bacteria and modern bacteria.

          What the particular statement is saying is that the essential bacterial machinery from 3.5 billion years ago is the same as today.

          “Such social intelligence, should it exist, would require going
          beyond communication to encompass additional intracellular processes, as yet
          unknown, for generating inheritable colonial memory and commonly shared
          genomic context.”

          Nobody understands how these bacteria seem to have abilities that is not contained in the genetic information. This makes the problem greater, not smaller. But even if we ignore that, I have stated many times that I am prepared to concede Darwinian evolution for argument’s sake. Once you have the bacterium in existence all kinds of things can happen. You have failed to explain how the bacterium got there in the first place. That was the entire thrust of my article. You seem to again have confused Origin of Life with Evolution.

          • Bacteria and Archaea share a common ancestor, which necessarily predates both of them.

            Again, this is wikipedia-level knowledge. You can slander this resource all you want, it does not change the fact that you don’t even know the most basic facts that are covered there.

            Apparently, ignorance is indeed bliss.

          • Why do bacteria still exist when more complex life forms are said to have emerged from them? Does this mean homo sapiens will still exist when we have more complex cousins?

        • Phil,

          I also suggest you read my articles on Jerry Coyne and PZ Myers. If things were as simple as you make them out to be, Coyne and Myers would not have presented the answers that they did.

          They know better than the propaganda that is written on Wikipedia. The reason why renowned biologist Lynn Margulis wrote that the gap between amino acids and a bacterium is much greater than the gap between a bacterium and a human being is because ostensibly, scientists understand how the gap between the bacterium and the human was bridged: Darwinian Evolution.

          No one, however, understands how you bridge the gap between non-life and life, the problem is exponentially greater.

          • Why do you think, that if something is not understood, you can just introduce some fairy tale to fill the gap?

            Belief in an “intelligent designer” is not understanding either. It answers nothing, it serves no purpose.

        • Phil,

          If you accept as an article of faith that life emerged from non-life then there is a common ancestor of bacteria and archaea that predates both but of course That is the question we are discussing

    • Anonymous,

      Phospholipid bubbles are an interesting phenomena, but without rigorous and meticulous intervention from top scientists (like Jack Szostak) they are no closer to life than snowflakes.

    • Adams Bible Studies

      Anonymous: Moshe didn’t “forget”, he just quoted highly educated authorities in the field of science who tell and admit that they DON’T KNOW. You too don’t know, and YOU are criticizing Moshe?? When you figure out how life began, THEN come back and have your say. Until then you’re just blowing smoke. Have a nice day. And why are you hiding behind “Anonymous”?

  • Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture
    http://www.trueorigin.org/evomyth01.asp

  • Ide Trotter, Ph.D.

    Moshe, you are so, so right. From a purely scientific perspective consider the following:

    ORIGIN OF LIFE: A CACOPHANY OF SEQUENTIAL CONUNDRUMS

    1. Creation of the molecules of life
    2. Chirality – Left handed proteins and right handed carbohydrates
    3. Concentration- Impurities poison reactions
    4. Connection – Polymerization to biologically required size
    5. Code – Proteins, DNA, all biologically active molecules are coded
    6. Catalysis – Specific enzymes required in living systems
    7. Cyclicality – It takes the protein to make the protein
    8. Complex Coordination- Cells are highly integrated machines-networks of nested feedback systems

    • Ide,

      I’m sorry I was not able to respond. Thanks so much for your support. Many of the respondents here sincerely think I am making these things up and am some type of religious fanatic. Unfortunately many of them have been brainwashed by the likes of Dawkins and Hitchens. They are unable to think for themselves and unable to independently evaluate the evidence as it stands, so some of them simply resort to name calling and having online tantrums.

      By the way, in what subject is your PH.D?

  • If desperation manifests itself in emotion, I’d say the secularists in this remarkable comments thread have a rather significant problem to confront.

    That problem is only slightly less remarkable than the degree of clarity with which we finally understand that all of the early assumptions about raw, accidental “evolution” were wrong.

    Whether God exists is, at best, a semantic hurdle for the secular “scientist”. Now they need to reconsider their sizable investment in their apparent myth, back away from it, and start looking anew at far deeper meaning. There they will find science.

    Which is itself a semantic construct.

    We don’t know why forces and attractions exist or how they work and to cover our profound ignorance we limit our views to calibrating that they do exist. That’s not scientific, that’s biased.

    And we’ll apply this line of thought to origins?

  • Moshe,
    Let’s say, for the sake of argument, that everything your saying here is true. “Life is so complex it had to have been designed by an intelligent creator.”
    Most of the human things that we consider complex in this day and age were designed by some kind of team effort..a group of specialists contributing to create a model. Being that the universe is so expansive and complicated, isn’t it more probable that the universe was created by a large number of intelligent designers?
    How do get from “intelligent designer” to Yahweh?

    • John,

      Your question is a good one. I have stated a number of times that God the Creator is not necessarily the God of Abraham. That is to say, because there is a Creator of life that this same creator revealed the Torah at Mt. Sinai. One does not necessarily follow the other. They are two separate questions.

      However, the “God of the Big Bang” is obviously a God who does not exist in time or space and is composed of neither matter nor energy. All these things which make up our physical universe have a beginning, before which there was not even a “before,” because “before” only exists in time. There was no “before” the big bang. Where did the Big Bang take place? It did not take place “anywhere.” Space didn’t exist. If our universe ceased to exist, one could state that there was no “before” or “after” our universe and it existed “nowhere.” Although these statements have truth to them, none of them make any sense to us.

      What can one say about the Creator then? Nothing, except that he exists and he is totally “other” than we are. To go any further would require some sort of revelation. How would we even go about determining the truth of a claim of revelation? That is obvously way beyone the scope of this article, and I make it clear that it is a totally separate question from Belief in God.

      • Adams Bible Studies

        Moshe: Those statements failed to make sense to me.
        According to what has been shown of the universe, and using deductible logic, “Space” that ‘vacuum’ out there, cannot be limited in any direction and has always existed. For anything to exist requires the passage of time – time has always existed. These two are stark raving realities, far beyond the finite measures of our minds, and beyond the silly imaginations of some, and which we cannot change. We have to admit it is also far beyond our mind’s ability to conceive of a being without beginning, that is able to exist without any sustenance that we know of, and is able to transfer through space, and to create & order the universe. To establish “laws” of chemistry, biology, physics, & others that man learns of. It does indeed boggle the human mind, a factor that some can’t get past, yea, and they rail at those who can.
        What “Randall” says about you is appreciated here too. Feel Hashem blesses you, keep at it,& thanks!

  • Mr Averick;

    I commend you, on your level of patience considering the abusive comments directed at you. The level of logic applied by a majority of commenters brings to mind the word ‘obtuse’. Continue your good work.

    • RAndall,

      Thanks for your support. I truly believe that if we keep proclaiming the simple obvious truths and explaining them over and over, in the end the truth will come out. The more clearly people understand these ideas the sooner we will arrive at that goal. Tell your friends about my book. It will help clarify and solidify those ideas which they may already understand. Take care

  • “Scientists prove again that life is the result of intelligent design”? That is an outrageous conclusion to draw from the comments in this blog. I do not think that it does religion, and in particular orthodox judaism, any good to insist on twisting what we know and don’t know about life’s origins to suit the biases of intelligent design proponents. This takes us down the same road as anti-evolution advocates who find it obnoxious to entertain the possibility that man and apes have a common origin (or in their mindset, that “we are descended from apes”). At this point, people can only speculate scientifically about the orgin of life since the passage of billions of years has erased the information one would need to validate hypotheses. But it is irrational and absurd to assume that lack of information requires one to assume supernatural origins for natural phenomena. In my opinion, religion and science would both be best served if they confined themselves to their seperate domains of interest and knowledge.

    • Mark,

      Obviously, I disagree with you. Perhaps you could see my book for a comprehensive analysis of this subject.

      Again I point out: There are only two possiblities for the Origin of Life. Life from non-life through an undirected naturalistic process and supernatural creation. All human experience has taught us that high levels of functional complexity and functionally specific information are the result of intelligent design. A suit proves the existence of the tailor, a poem proves the existence of the poet, a bicycle proves the existence of the assembler of the bicycle. The awesom level of fucntional complexity of the simplest bacterium incontravertably proves the existence of its creator, unless you offer evidence to the contrary. Scientists are completely baffled by the origin of life. We therefore have no reason to think otherwise.

      • Our experience has also taught us that natural phenomena have natural explanations. Whenever a natural phenomenon is attributed to the supernatural, it ends up being proven natural.

        Lightning. Earthquakes. Eclipses. Tsunamis. Hurricanes. Epilepsy. You name it, it’s been proven natural. Do you continue to rail against the scientific explanations for these phenomena? If not, why not? They have as much evidence as the theory of evolution, if not less.

        Do you attribute rainbows to magic, or to the refraction of white light through water droplets? Do you attribute babies to magic, or to a sperm and an egg meeting and forming a new specimen of the human species?

        Do you see these as preposterous notions? If so, why? If not, why not?

  • Moshe says:

    “Please see the Scientific American article by John Horgan in MARCH, 2011 written about the Origins Conference at ASU in Feb. 2011. At the conference, Origin of Life expert Dr. Paul Davies spoke to the distinguished panel and explained how nothing has changed in terms of understanding the origin of life since the days of Crick and Miller back in the 50′s.”

    And so does the question of what “dark matter” is, first discussed in the 1930s. And we don’t know what “dark energy” is. And we don’t know whether there is a Higgs particle or not. That is science, man. If we had answers to all these questions, science would stop… Research consists of solving mysteries and riddles…

    Just like detectives, they only have a job because we don’t know who did it.

    • Alex,

      But we DO know the source of functional complexity: Intelligence. I am all for scientific investigation. Let scientists delve into the mysteries of understanding how life works in all its intricacies. Just dump the arrogance of thinking that it could happen by itself and acknowledge that we live in the presence of something much greater than ourselves.

      • You are delusional! Earth and universe are alive, as they recycle themselves. Life is simply a byproduct of a favorable environment. Of course it happened by itself, just the same as the universe developed by itself. You seem to need to have the illusion of control, so you must attribute your lack of understanding to something mythical. The Vikings had Gods for all natural phenomenon, such as thunder and lighting. They didn’t understand it so they attributed it to Gods. BTW, leave a loaf of bread unattended for several days, and mold will form on it all by itself, and out of nothing! How about algae covering damp rocks. Its so simple!

        • The PhilosoRaptor

          Wow Kam–you couldn’t be any more incorrect. Right off the bat, I think you need to rethink your “moldy bread” theory. The mold is in the air, bro.

        • Kam settles it for me; Kam proves the Designer theory.

          There is no way that Kam could be the product of billions of years of evolution slowly increasingly complexity and intelligence. Just find a dumb rock, put it on a nice sunny beach, wait overnight, and :::poof::: there’s Kam.

        • Adams Bible Studies

          Mark Orman: Wish I could remember who said that Science and Religion must inevitably unite, for they can not continue separately for ever. All the subjects of of our existence, and that science deals with are covered in the Bible. Heathen religions are exempt from this.
          It is amazing how man uses his God-given brain to deny his existence, simply because he can’t see or touch him.
          It’s amazing how man can love his wife and love his children, and not even know where that ability to love comes from. For sure it didn’t come from yucky, slimy, mutations in some primitive pond – imagine that. Imagine that Apes and Man did have a common origin – a Creator! as well did all other creations here, animal and vegetable alike. Imagine planting beans and expecting corn to grow up? Or that the Oak acorn would produce a Cedar? Each after its own kind is the decree, and only man’s ‘messing with it’ might change it.
          “Natives” used to worship sticks, stones, animals, & moon or sun — evolutionists are still doing it — they have no other god to worship. Certainly not the One True G-d!

        • Adams Bible Studies

          Kim: “. Life is simply a byproduct of a favorable environment.” Wow! If you are not delusional, then please explain that to those highly educated scientists you uphold, because they don’t know how it happen, but stubbornly refuse to believe otherwise, and if you can’t explain it, then, of course, delusional is the alternative for you. It is delusional to think we are freaks of random mutations of happenstance, somewhere out here in the universe. That loses all the beauty and symmetry all around us, so beneficial to our existence here.

      • “But we DO know the source of functional complexity: Intelligence.”

        You don’t seem to understand the difference between “a source” and “the source.” Your response is as ridiculous as refusing to accept the existence of fire because you think all heat comes from the sun.

        • Mike,

          Give me an example of something as functionally complex as a bacterium whose source is anything other than intelligent intervention

          • Don’t you get that you’re begging the question? You assume at the outset that the life you see must have been created by intelligent intervention. IF WE WERE NOT, then all of life on earth is the example you’re looking for. Your argument is entirely circular.

          • Moshe decided to reply to me personally by e-mail rather than on this forum:

            “Mike,

            I don’t assume from the outset that life must be the result of intelligent design. I determine that based on the evidence.
            I don’t understand your point.”

            My reply:
            “Really? What evidence do you have that isn’t based on supernatural assumptions?”

          • If you don’t understand my point, that’s not my problem. You asked for “an example of something as functionally complex as a bacterium whose source is anything other than intelligent intervention.”

            This assumes from the outset that the source of bacteria is intelligent intervention. There is precisely zero evidence of this.

          • And now, rather than answering my questions, he’s sending me snarky, childish comments by e-mail.

            Grow up.

          • Moshe, I’ll take your silence as a sign that you don’t really have any evidence.

  • Phil,

    Which claims about evolution are you talking about? There is no evidence that the first bacterium evolved from anything. If someone had proved that, not only would they immediately have won a Nobel Prize, but they also would have won the million dollar Origin of Life prize. When Dr. Paul Davies’ stated this past year that scientists “haven’t a clue” how life began, he meant exactly what he said. Where are you getting your information? Could you share it with me?

    • “Evolution can only take place once the super sophisticated molecular machinery is in place.”

      You have any proof that a simpler molecular machinery would make evolution impossible?

      Didn’t think so.

    • You should stop quoting scientists out of context as proof of your assertions. Many scientists have said things that are wrong, or found out to be wrong. One famous scientist questioned the usefulness of computers in science in the early 50s (anyone remembers who it was?
      You should quote scientific papers with their DOI or arXiv references. I believe Schroedinger said that nuclear bombs were impossible (he probably had a reason other than science to say this). We are not in Bible class.

  • Moshe Averick

    LykeX,

    you are confusing Darwinian Evolution and Origin of Life. The process that unfolds once you have a fully functioning DNA based bacterium is Darwinian Evolution, which I have conceded for arguments sake. Origin of Life is trying to explain how non-organic chemicals turned into a living bacterium. Scientists speculate that there was some sort of evolutionary process, but no evidence exists for such a notion. All we have now is non-organic chemicals in the pre-biotic earth and a fully functioning bacterium with nothing in between

    • “All we have now is non-organic chemicals in the pre-biotic earth and a fully functioning bacterium with nothing in between.”

      This is false, and a cursory examination of the modern evidence would prove it so.

  • George Wald: “When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation…the other is a supernatural creative act…there is no third possibility.”

    Moshe, you keep going back to this, and others have seemed to pointed out how out of date and falsely dichotomous it is.

    I would like to know more of your understanding to this quote, as you rely on it so heavily. What specifically did Wald mean by “life” in the above quote. Thank you.

    • EMX,

      I only quoted George Wald because he makes the point so explicitly. He is not the only one to say it.

      Francis Crick: “An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us no, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle.

      Robert Shapiro: “Similarly the existence of bacteria and other living beings, all of which are much more complex than a watch, implies the existence of a creator…by following this line of reasoning, we have only made our problem more difficult…and we can resolve it only by introducing supernatural forces. We must look for another solution if we wish to remain within science.”

      Robert Hazen: “How did life arise?…barring Divine intervention, life must have emerged by a natural process, one fully consistent with the laws of chemistry and physics.”

      Perhaps this quote is the most telling of all, from Harvard geneticist, Richard Lewontin: “Our willingness to accept scientific claims that are against common sense is the key to an understanding of the real struggle between Science and the Supernatural. We take the side of science in spite of the patent absurdity of some of its constructs…in spite of the tolerance in the scientific community for unsubtantiated just-so stories…because we have a prior committment to naturalism….for we cannot allow a divine foot in the door.”

      That about says it all. What George Wald meant by “life” is the same that all origin of life scientists mean by life: a bacterium.

  • Thanks, Moshe, for this article, which shows your expertise on origin of life research, as does your book ‘Nonsense of a High Order’, which I have finally acquired and which I am reading with great interest.
    I have read through the conversation and I am always again puzzled by the arguments of your critics. People who are clearly less knowledgeable, and, dare I say, less intelligent than yourself are very quick in dismissing your arguments believing that their own knowledge is unquestionably superior. Their rudeness is a result of their stupidity. They think their cleverness justifies it. You could argue with them till the cows come home.
    They clearly misunderstand your argumentation. The belief in God the creator is not precedent to the idea of intelligent design, but a result of it. They reject intelligent design because they reject the idea of the creator God, not from logical conclusion. As you already pointed out, rejection of intelligent design is a faith based a priory judgment. They really are the faith heads, the fundies, in this discussion, with all the customary missionary selfrighteousness.

    • Christopher,

      Thank you so much for your support and for buying the book. I just want you to know that every penny in book sales goes towards a wonderful cause: FEEDING THE AVERICK CHILDREN!

      I recently spoke to a scientist who told me of a conversation he had with a world renowned Origin of Life chemist who anyone in the field would immediately recognize,(I won’t mention his name because it was in confidence), who told him that logically the obvious answer is a supernatural creator, but philosophically is unable to believe in a God who allows so much suffering in the world so he continues to be a non-believer.

      I think that statement sums up the problem quite succintly. Tell your friends about the book. Where do you live? I would love to hear any other comments you have on the book. You can contact me through my website, RabbiMaverick.com TAke care

  • 4leafshamrock

    “Anyone who tells you that he or she knows how life started on the Earth 3.5 billion years ago, is a fool or a knave.”

    You use the above quote to demonstrate that scientists don’t know how life origniated. Wow imagine that, is that supposed to be earth shaking, breaking news?! SO WHAT!? At a certain time in human history people didn’t know how volcanoes occured, and the witch doctors of the time fed on their limited knowledge to attribute volcanoes to the angry mountain god.

    You are nothing more than a modern day witch doctor.

    You are the one who asserts some special knowledge as to the origin of life, so to point you back to the quote at the top, you are the fool and the knave.

    Just because we don’t know how life began does NOT default us to the position that “GOD DID IT”. Guess what, there is absolutely nothing, NOHING, NOTHING wrong with not knowing!!! Which is the only HONEST answer anyone, at this point in time can give. Anything else is speculation.

    • Moshe Averick

      Shamrock,

      There are only two possibilites how life originated:
      Life from non-life merged through some as yet unknown undirected process or an act of creation by a supernatural creator. Dr. George Whitesides, of Harvard University, and one of the world’s leading chemists, said he finds the notion of a naturalistic emergence of life to be “astonishingly improbable.” It therefore means that the other possiblity becomes “astonishingly probable.” Why would it be so shocking to consider that the staggeringly complex molecular machinery of the simplest bacterium and its digitally encoded genetic info is the result of intelligent intervention?

      • Your ongoing display of ignorance how science works is becoming a bit tiresome. Science doesn’t proceed with quotes from the past, as theology does. And where do you get the idea that life started with a full-fledged “digitally encoded” bacterium? Why don’t you look up “emergence” and “self-organisation” in the Wikipedia for a start.

        • Alexander,

          Please forgive me, but if you are relying on Wikipedia for your information you are in trouble. I researched primary source material for two years before I wrote my book, not propoganda on Wikipedia. I know what emergence and self organization is. None of them have any relevance to origin of life.

          • Well, the scientific community writes most of the science material in the Wikipedia. And most of the scientists I know think that science is quite well covered in the Wikipedia. A study commissioned by Nature a few years ago showed that the Wikipedia had less errors than the venerable Encyclopedia Britannica. The Wikipedia is a bit a model of the scientific community: self regulation and peer review. Can you show me one paper in a reputable scientific journal that talks about an intelligent designer?

            So, the science in Wikipedia is propaganda. Why are you discussing science when you reject it to begin with?

        • Alexander,

          There are actually any number of peer reviewed articles on Intelligent design, and I am talking specifically about Origin of Life research. If you are interested contact Discovery.org for specifics.

          A peer reviewed article by Dr. Stephen Meyer was published by Dr. Rick STernberg of the Smithsonian Inst. and for that he lost his job. That is the disgusting level of open minded scientific inquiry today.

          I recently attended a conference in Italy which was attended by PHd level scientists who advocated Intelligent Design theory, the young untenured scientists were adamant about not letting anyone know that they were in attendence because it would ruin their scientific careers.There is a genuine conspiracy to crush opposition to an atheistic/materialistic world view in science.

          • Moshe says:
            “I recently attended a conference in Italy which was attended by PHd level scientists who advocated Intelligent Design theory”

            Which conference was that, and where and when was it held?

          • “There are actually any number of peer reviewed articles on Intelligent design, and I am talking specifically about Origin of Life research. If you are interested contact Discovery.org for specifics. ”

            Yes. The Discovery Institute, regarded by the entire remainder of the scientific community as pseudoscientific cranks, created their own journal in which they all peer review each other. Well done!

          • Are you the class monitor, Alex? I think Moshe may be wary that you’d report them to your teacher. You wouldn’t do that would you?

        • Alexander,

          I urge you to buy my book and also Dr. Meyer’s book “Signature in the Cell” and Dr. DAvid Berlinski’s “The DEvil’s Delusion: ATheism and its Scientific Pretensions.”

          I don’t mind at all that people disagree with me, but you must have a clear understanding of the other side of the argument to move the discussion to the next level.

          • Yes… I’m sure that a book talking about how those who disagree with you are tools of Satan is really moving the discussion to the next level. Are you for real?

          • “Which conference was that, and where and when was it held?” – Alexander Hellemans

            What’s it to you?

      • There is a third and possible many other possibilities about the introduction of life to the Earth. Hindu philosophy argues that life and the universe has always existed no beginning and no end just fluxes in and out of the existing state with the seeds of the universe and life making a forever transition from one state to the other. Works for me. So not just two possibilities.

      • 4leafshamrock

        Just because something is “astonishingly improbable” doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen!! What about that don’t you get!!!! And it doesn’t make YOUR alternate explanation any more probable!!

        It is astonishingly improbable that i am sitting here typing this message to you! Yet I AM!

        Again i point you back to the only honest position, which any scientist will give you. “we don’t know” yes we can speculate, and postulate, and there is absolutely nothing dishonest in that. Your position is purely god of the gaps. Gaps get filled and your god disappears to the only place it exists. IGNORANCE.

        You make it sound like scientists don’t want people to know, they don’t know how life began. That is completely dishonest and misrepresentative. The reason why no scientist would debate you on the origin of life is because there is nothing to debate. It would go something like this:

        You say: science doesn’t know how life began.
        Scientist: No
        You say: So god did it.
        Scientist: How did you get to that conclusion?!
        You say: Because you don’t know how life began and the chances of it happening through abiogenesis are extremely remote.
        Scientist: And what is your evidence for the creator theory?
        You say: Your lack of evidence for any other theory.
        Scientist: scratches their head in disbelief.

        • Shamrock,

          If you only have two possibilities to explain a phenomenum and one of them is astonishingly improbable then obviously the other one is astonishingly probable.

          If three men, A, B, C are in a sealed bank vault and C is shot and it is clear that it was not suicide, the only possibilities are that A or B did it. If I have evidence that it is astonishingly improbable that A did it, that means it is astonishingly probable that B did it.

          You are correct, just becasuse something is astonishingly improbable does not mean it could not have happened, it just means that it is “astonishingly improbable” that it happened. That is was probability calculations are all about and science relies on them.

          • “If you only have two possibilities to explain a phenomenum and one of them is astonishingly improbable then obviously the other one is astonishingly probable.”

            You really don’t understand the concept of false dichotomy, do you?

            Abiogenesis is NOT astonishingly improbable; it’s just chemistry. Life is just complicated chemistry.

            And even if it WERE astonishingly improbable, an even MORE astonishingly improbable solution does not therefore win by default. The more probable solution is that WE DON’T KNOW WHAT THE ANSWER IS YET – but you seem relentlessly determined to refuse to even consider this possibility.

            If two things are astonishingly improbable, you don’t just say that the more probable one is the right answer. You actually DO RESEARCH – something the Intelligent Design community simply cannot do because they don’t even have a hypothesis to investigate.

          • Don’t try and blind him with science, Moshe, there’s a good chap.

          • Mark Random

            To Moshe

            I have read all you comment and have come to the conclusion that you refuse to actually concider any evidence that goes against your ideals
            One thing tht strikes me is your constant theme saying
            “There are only 2 options, evolution or creation”
            I ask you, what proff do you have for the 2ed option? You calm that since one option is false, the other one is true, but what if both optionsa are equally false?
            And please don’t say “it’s complex so it’s god” because complex is an opinionated adj.
            And I also ask you another question….
            How many possibility does _ + _ = 1 have?

            Excuse the error, this was typed on a phone

          • Mike, spontaneous generation or abiogenesis has been comprehensively debunked. All science can tell us is that life comes from life. Omne vivum ex vivo.

        • “Just because something is “astonishingly improbable” doesn’t mean that it didn’t happen!! What about that don’t you get!!!! And it doesn’t make YOUR alternate explanation any more probable!!”

          Indeed, I’ve never understood you atheists’ abhorrence of the notion of pink pixies, unicorns, etc. Ever heard of the multiverse, buddy?

      • Moshe writes:

        “… a naturalistic emergence of life [is] ‘astonishingly improbable.’ It therefore means that the other possiblity [sic] becomes ‘astonishingly probable.’”

        I don’t think probability necessarily works this way. You can’t just declare that either life emerges out of natural processes or it emerges as the result of supernatural intervention. You seem to enjoy playing the false dichotomy gambit, but it has to stop. The fact of the matter is that life is not a necessary condition of the universe. While it’s true that the probabilities of all possible outcomes must total 1.0, it’s only true of *all* possible outcomes, not any two. What’s overwhelmingly more likely than a universe of life (regardless of origin) is an entirely dead universe. Nobody says that life has to be likely. We are quite probably here against all odds.

        • Reuben,

          How long until you guys incorporate the “price of tea in China” into your arguments? (Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!) I will state here & now that every scientist that ever lived will tell you unanimously that there is absolutely no possibility that life does not exist. They have, in fact, discovered that life does already exist.

          This discussion is not about the probability of whether or not life may someday exist. This discussion is only about HOW said life did in fact come into existance. So the only probabilities included in the 1.0 (or 100%) for the purposes of this discussion are the probabilities of the only 2 possible ways that life could have come into existance: by (unassisted) chance or by invention.

          I could say more, but I’m going to put it at the top in case people don’t read down this far. :D

          • Probability does not work that way. For each flip of a perfect, fair coin, there is a probability of 0.5 that it will come up heads, and a probability of 0.5 that it will come up tails. Let’s say I flip such a coin and it comes up tails. That does not retroactively change the probability that the coin would come up tails to 1.0.

            Similarly, the probability of life emerging from a dead universe is based on the antecedent conditions of the dead universe, not on the current conditions of a universe with life in it. The fact that life exists now does not prove that the existence of life is inevitable.

            There may come a time, as the universe approaches heat death, when all that remains in the universe is an endless, undifferentiated expanse of degenerate matter, punctuated by evaporating black holes. All life, and any evidence of it, will be long gone, utterly lost. An interdimensional traveler from another universe may come upon this desolate scene and think, “These are not conditions conducive to life. I see no evidence of life either. The probability of life having existed in this universe is zero.” That would, as we know, be ridiculous and wrong. You and the interdimensional traveler make the same kind of mistake when you take current outcomes or conditions as indicative of the way past events had to progress.

        • Reuben,

          The life that exists on earth got here somehow. There are only two possibilties. I don’t understand why you are talking about life being likely or not. Here we are. What is the third possibility that might have caused the existence of life on our planet?

          • If someone buys a lottery ticket, is that ticket’s status as “winning ticket” or “losing ticket” fixed as of the moment it is purchased, or as of the moment the numbers are drawn?

          • Ahh… so if neither you nor your opponent is clever enough to think up a third option, that means you’re necessarily right? Do you even think about what you’re saying, Moshe?

          • Moshe:

            I would really appreciate an answer to my question about the lottery ticket. I suspect that we have very different takes on causality and necessity. If my suspicions are correct, then I don’t think we can have a productive discussion on this particular dispute, though it would certainly open up entirely new and fascinating questions.

          • Reuben,

            When you purchase the ticket (for example the Illinois State Lottery) the probability that the ticket is a winning ticket is roughly 1 in 13,000,000. The probability that it is a losing ticket is 13,000,000 to 1. It is neither a winning ticket nor a losing ticket, its status is a function of the probability. After the drawing it becomes either a winning ticket or a losing ticket.

          • Precisely!

            And, just as it would be silly to claim after the numbers are drawn that the winning ticket was always and inevitably the winning ticket (or that the losing tickets were always and inevitably losing), it would be silly to claim that life was always and inevitably going to arise on Earth just because it happened to arise on Earth. I say again, you don’t compare the probabilities of abiogenesis and intelligent design as though they are the only possibilities. You must also consider the possibility that the Earth would have remained devoid of life like the rest of the known universe.

            Now, you may wish to argue that abiogenesis is orders of magnitude more improbable than winning the lottery. Maybe it is, maybe it isn’t. Improbable is not impossible, however. In order to make a strong argument to prefer one of abiogenesis or intelligent design over the other one must go further than arguing mere improbability and argue impossibility of the alternative. The fact that of all the planets and moons in the Solar System, only one shows signs of life, is a testament to the fact that life arising from any cause is highly improbable. I tend to think that intelligent design theory is logically impossible, though that is based on a strict materialist metaphysics which I suppose you would take issue with.

  • “The idea that you think science should include magical as a possibility is laughable (and a prefect place for me to to get off the crazy train).”

    Ah yes, so did Thales of Milete, Anaximander and Anaximenes more than 2500 years ago when they gave up myths to explain the world.

  • I also want to note my disappointment at the repeated use of the term “spontaneous generation”. Spontaneous generation is not the same thing as abiogenesis. The former refers to the long-discredited notion that microbes simply pop into existence. The latter refers to the notion that complex organic molecules can be created by natural processes acting on a “primordial soup”. The Miller-Urey experiment of the early 1950s demonstrated that amino acids can form when simple compounds are mixed together and exposed to electricity.

    • Reuben,

      I’m quite aware of the difference between the two terms. However, they both refer to the same notion that life can emerge naturalisitically from non-life.

      The Miller-Urey experiments have been recognized for some time now as a dead end. There is even evidence of a non-reducing atmosphere on the early earth. As Robert Shapiro and others have pointed out, TAR is the main product of the Miller-Urey experiments and unless a special trap is used to extract the miniscule amounts of amino acids that do form, the same forces (heat and electricity) that create the amino acids subsequently destroy them. No meaningful chemical reactions can take place in TAR. As Sir Fred Hoyle pointed out, the Miller-Urey experiments lead to a “tarry sludge” with perhaps a few simple organic compounds. There is not a “shred of evidence” that life could emerge naturalistically from a pre-biotic soup.

      • I might as well point out that neither the amino acids nor the simple organic compounds mentioned are actually “alive”. Just sayin’.

    • Reuben,

      Actually, as I have already pointed out to others before you, the exact definition of “abiogenesis” literally is “spontaneous generation”, & the very definition of “spontaneous generation” is, you guessed it, “abiogenesis”. You have to get a college-level, or advanced, dictionary to find these words. I am quoting to you from the Scott-Foresman Advanced Dictionary.

      You are mistakingly confusing the word “spontaneous” with the word “instantaneous” (or “instantly”). The word “spontaneous” literally means “naturally-occurring”, as in “without any intention, without planning or premeditation”. “Spontaneous”, by the way, can by found in your regular old Mirriam-Webster Dictionary, but in no way refers to something happening “instantaneously”.

      • Daniel:

        Isn’t the Pearson Scott Foresman company an elementary school textbook publisher? Have they published “a college-level, or advanced, dictionary” in the past 15 years?

        That aside, when you’re dealing with terms of art within a specific discipline, it’s always a mistake to turn to a dictionary to understand what the terms mean.

        Moshe:

        To call the Miller-Urey experiments a “dead-end” is to expect far too much from them. The nature of complex scientific questions such as, “how did life come to exist?” is such that our means of attaining a plausible answer rely on breaking the issue down into smaller and smaller components, and then investigating each one as more information makes inquiries practicable. One essential step in a naturalistic tale of life’s origin is the construction of more complex organic matter out of simple compounds. The Miller-Urey experiments (and others) demonstrate that such is possible, and thereby serve their purpose in the greater scheme of inquiry into abiogenesis.

  • I just don’t understand why the answer, “I don’t know,” is never good enough for humanity. Humanity expects to know everything about all of the universe *immediately*, and if they don’t know it, they’ll create a story to try to make sure that they have something to say about it.

    Look, let’s say that this article is right. Let’s say that scientists have *NO IDEA* as to how life originated, how humanity came to be.

    You realize that we’re now only in a position in which we *do not have knowledge* of the origin of life. Now, from there, intelligent design proponents will have to show, via the natural world, that this universe was intelligently designed *WITHOUT* falling into God of the Gaps arguments, Arguments from Ignorance, appealing to complexity (just another God of the Gaps argument).

    Good luck with that one.

    • Jake,

      I think you have missed the point. We DO know where functionally complex objects come from: They come from conscious intelligent intervention.

      If a highly intelligible message in morse code was received by SETI scientists from a galaxy a million light years away, we would not sit around pondering the question of its source. We would know “immediately” that it was the result of an intelligent intent.

      If someone raised the objection that this is an “argument from ignorance” and that just because we don’t know how a morse code message could be the result of anything other than intelligent design, doesn’t mean that it MUST be from intelligent design, we would find that laughable.

      Functional complexity is the result of intelligent design 100% of the time. (Snowflakes and crystals do not have functional complexity, they don’t do anything. They are monotonously repeated patterns with no particular significance. In other words, they are anomalies) There is no other reasonable explanation for the encyclopedic amount of digitally encoded information in the DNA of a bacterium other than intelligent design. If that is God of the Gaps, then the explanation for a morse code message from outer space would be “aliens of the gaps.”

      • “There is no other reasonable explanation for the encyclopedic amount of digitally encoded information in the DNA of a bacterium other than intelligent design.”

        Thank you for showing the rest of us that you know absolutely nothing about what DNA is.

        Hint: It’s a molecule. There is nothing digital or ‘coded’ about it. You can get information from any natural thing you want. A blood splatter on a wall is full of information, but you’d never claim it was intelligently designed.

        • Mike,

          I guess Richard Dawkins and Dr. Paul DAvies also have no idea what DNA is. The first citation below is from Dawkins’ RIVER OUT OF EDEN and the second is from Paul Davies’ THE FIFTH MIRACLE (neither of them are believers in case that wasn’t clear)

          “After Watson and Crick we know that genes themselves…are living strings of pure digital information. What is more they are truly digital, in the full and strong sense of computers and compact discs, not in the weak sense of the nervous system. The genetic code is not a binary code as in computers…but a quaternary code, with four symbols. The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal. Our genetic system, which is the universal system for all life on the planet is digital to the core…DNA characters are copied with an accuracy that rivals anything modern engineers can do…DNA messages…are…pure digital code.”

          “In a living organism we see the power of software, or information processing, refined to an incredible degree…the problem of the origin of life reduces to one of understanding how encoded software emerged spontaneously from hardware. How did it happen? How did nature “go digital?”

          • At least you were kind enough to leave the ellipses in so that we can see how you’re crafting that quote to say something it doesn’t actually say.

      • Ah, the watchmaker analogy. An intelligible message from space or anywhere for that matter, like the watch, can be identified as the result of intelligence because these things do not occur naturally. Our ability to distinguish the two results from our ability to recognize the difference between naturally occurring things and man-made things.

        Suppose instead that SETI picked up radio waves that were arriving in a very complex pattern, and it was not apparent what was causing the radio signal. Some people might claim that the radio waves were the result of a stellar body, a quasar or a black hole or the like. Some might claim that it was a message from an alien intelligence, but we don’t know their language. For either explanation to be accepted, each side would need to present evidence. Until that time, the intellectually honest thing to say is “we don’t know.”

        I am surprised that you would say something like “functional complexity is the result of intelligent design 100% of the time.” when you concede the theory of evolution. You either misunderstand functional complexity or you misunderstand evolution. Either way, the statement is false. You want to say that a designer kicked off the chain of evolution by starting off the first self-replicating molecule chain, but to do so you need evidence. Then, of course, you run into the problem of who designed the designer. Thus, ID is just put off the problem one step, presumably to be answered either in an infinite chain of designers or an article of faith.

        • Iota,

          I didn’t say radio waves that were unintelligible, I said radio waves that had a clear message. The bacterium is not unintelligible, it is highly sophisticated molecular machinery. DNA is a highly sophisticated digital code. We did not even know what digital information was until a few decades ago. Someone obviously knew about it 3.8 billion years ago. You still did not name me one thing with functional complexity or functiionally specific information that came about through a natural process. Evolution can only take place once the super sophisticated molecular machinery is in place.

          I do not have to prove that functionally complex machinery is the result of intelligent design. Our entire view of reality is based on that assumption. A smiley face in the sand with the words “Hello Iota” is incontravertible evidence of an intelligent designer. The sophisticated molecular machinery of the bacterium is itself the proof of its designer. Scientists haven’t the faintest clue how it could have happened naturally. They want us to accept that on faith.

          • “Evolution can only take place once the super sophisticated molecular machinery is in place.”

            No. Evolution is exactly the reason why a simpler molecular machinery became more complicated and even “super sophisticated”.

            Don’t try yourself at logical reasoning, you are obviously not good at it.

          • If you think I was talking about unintelligible radio waves, and then reassert a watchmaker’s analogy, it means we are talking past each other. Maybe some clarification is in order. I’d like to know how do you define “information”? Likewise how do you define “functional complexity”?

          • Moshe Averick

            Phil,

            Your assumption that the first bacterium evolved from something simpler is pure speculation. Right now the “enormous” gap between non-living organic chemicals and the bacterium is what is baffling origin of life scientists. There is no evidence that there ever was anything else.

          • Moshe,

            no it is reasonable speculation and that sets it worlds apart from your unreasonably speculative intelligent designer.

            And it does not in the least change the fact that your claims about evolution are uninformed, willfully ignorant and just plain false.

        • Moshe Averick

          Functional complexity is a level of sophistication and complexity that accomplishes a specific and directed purpose.

          Example: Digitally encoded molecular information that builds functional proteins and sustains a living organism such as a bacterium.

          You used an example of radio waves where it was unclear if they conveyed intelligent information or not.

          Here is the description of a bacterium by geneticist and molecular biologist Michael Denton: “Although the tiniest living things known to science, bacterial cells, are incredibly small, each is a vertiable micr-miniaturized factory containing thousands of elegantly designed peices of intricate molecular machinery…far more complicted than any machine built by man andwihtou parallel in the non living world” There are dozens of similar descriptions that could be cited by non-believing scientists. (Denton is and agnostic)

          There are levels of functional complexity that the human mind simply refuses to accept could have come about through anything other than intelligent design. Another example: A smiley face in the sand. The suit that I am wearing is itself the evidence for the tailor who made the suit, the smiley face itself is the evidence for the person who drew it, and the bacterium itself which is exponentially more functionally complex is itself the evidence of its creator. I really do not understand what is so controversial about this?

      • “We DO know where functionally complex objects come from: They come from conscious intelligent intervention.”

        You make an egregious logical error: We know only that functionally complex objects that come from conscious intelligent intervention (“artefacts”) come from conscious intelligent intervention. The is a huge class of functional complex objects (“living things”) about whose origin we know nothing, and about which our knowledge of the origin of artefacts tells us nothing. The two classes are quite distinct; it is abundantly clear that living things are not artefacts.

        /@

        • Moshe Averick

          Ant,

          Why is an ancient cave drawing (we have no idea who drew it, we simply draw the obvious conclusion that it is the result of intelligence) different than the molecular machinery of the bacterium that is “as yet unmatched by human engineering.”? It is MACHINERY.

          • Neither is machinery.

            But an ancient cave drawing is clearly an artefact even if we have no idea who drew it (although it is very likely that the cave would furnish other evidence of the artisans); it is a drawing and we know how drawings are made.

            It is stretching a metaphor to far to say that the “molecular machinery” of a bacterium is actually machinery in fact, any more than a human is.

            We know how humans have arisen from things like bacteria (evolution), so why is it such a leap to hypothesise that those first complex cells arose from simpler components in the same way? Even in the absence of evidence (to date), no scientist would claim that bacteria (or something like them) were the first living things — and there for there has to be a designer. This is just a failure of imagination.

            /@

      • I find it hard to believe you are using the “life is complex therefore something more complex designed it” argument.

        Im afraid that argument always fails. To use it shows that really you dont apply logic in the correct way.

        If you are gonna use an old and refuted argument then Im gonna have to use an old rebuttal which you have made so very easy by providing me with the perfect quote:

        “Functional complexity is the result of intelligent design 100% of the time.”

        So, I ask you, Who made your god?

        Im afraid if you cant see the problem with your logic over this point then you most definitely are not in a position to look at scientific experiments and results and conclude anything.

        • Moshe Averick

          Simon,

          Everyone agrees that there had to be a BEGINNING to life. There are only two possible beginnings. A. Life from non-life naturalistically B. Creation by a supernatural creator who is the First Cause before whom there is no cause, because this being does not exist in time, but created time. There is no “before” the creator of time, just as there is no such thing as “before” the big bang. Other than the fact that we know it is true, the concept is incomprehensible. Dr. George Whitesides, of Harvard University has stated that a naturalistic origin of life, in light of all the chemistry he knows is “astonishingly improbable.” You can see some of the other citations in the article. In my book, I have collected seven full pages of similar statements by the worlds leading scientists.
          It is therefore “astonishingly probable” that life is the result of creation, by a supernatural creator.

          • Thnx for the reply.

            I am familiar with the argument (I was trying to hint with my comment) and the theist get out of jail free card that is “He exists outside of time etc”. This is special pleading and has been refuted a million times. Im afraid it doesn’t hold water.

            Im not trying to be rude (genuinely) but your arguments are not new and your frequent use of quotes to prove your point of view seems to be a standard technique for people in your area of business. Calls to authority don’t seem to impress atheists as much as they do theists.

            I find it interesting that you go from “astonishingly improbable” that life started in a naturalistic way straight to “astonishingly probable” that life had a supernatural creator.

            That is not how logic, science or probability work. There are many, many religions in this world with a creation myth. Are you willing to say that if there is a creator then its equally likely to be any one of them and not necessarily your God?

            Because obviously if there is a creator then its astonishingly probable that’s its not your God. The numbers of creation myths is so high your odds aren’t good.

          • Simon,

            Again I point out: There are only two possiblities, Life from non-life through a naturalistic process or creation by a supernatural creator. Creation myths are irrelevant, what I stated above are the only two reasonable explanations for the origin of life. It has nothing to do with special pleading, it simply is the only other alternative to a naturalistic emergence of life.

            In fact it is scientists who beg for special pleading. Every other piece of functionally complex machinery and information is assumed to be the result of intelligent intervention, but we are supposed to accept on faith that the bacterium emerged naturalistically, without any substantive evidence to support that notion.

      • Moshe,

        I return from vacation to see your senseless response. Then, I begin to respond…until I see that everyone has already responded to the obvious logical problems you present, to which you respond by essentially saying, “Nuh uh! No it’s not!” So, I’ll leave that alone.

        That’s the bad thing about many religious beliefs, even if they’re shown to be senseless and wrong, the believer will still uphold said beliefs in the face of objections. You know, all it would really take is one knockdown argument for the existence of God that does not fall into logical fallacies (whether you fail to recognize them or not) for many non-believers to literally flip full circle. See, I’ve come to realize that arguing with an intelligent design proponent is fruitless. They will stick to their flawed logic and call it fact, while those who object can’t see past the bad logic far enough to see any point to the argument. At the end of the day, though, I’m willing, some even wanting, to change my beliefs if the arguments/evidences exist. All the while, you’ll stick to your beliefs despite their possession of sense.

      • By the way, I just have to respond to your flawed analogy, because I think that this is the only thing that has not been responded to.

        IF we were to receive morse code messages from space, then we would most likely deduct that it was from an intelligent life form.

        However, is this justified, and why? Moreover, this analogy is not even congruous when referring to a God.

        1) We would know that the code was complex by comparing it to other signals received at SETI. If every received signal sounded like morse code, than another morse code signal would not appear evident of intelligent life at all. BUT it is by comparing the structure of the morse code with the less structured alternate signals that we would deduce intelligence.

        When it comes to questions of the universe, complexity and functionality never work to show intelligent design. Why? We do not have an example of a non-complex or non-functional universe to compare it to. In fact, the mere existence of a non-functional or non-complex universe would be practically impossible to find. So, I don’t see how you can possibly say that complexity and functionality scream design in regards to the universe when we only know complexity and functionality by comparing it to things that aren’t designed.

        The irony is that here on Earth, we use nature as that base-line comparison. Even the watchmaker analogy, the analogy shows that the aborigine came to the deduction that the watch was designed by looking at its complexity, intricacies, and functionality. But, the fact is that the analogy implies that the desert on which the aborigine is walking is *NOT* complex, intricate, and functional. So, the watchmaker analogy fails in regards to the universe.

        2) The SETI analogy fails for one other large reason: if we were to receive a morse code signal from space, we would deduct an intelligent *natural* lifeform. And, furthermore, we could conduct tests and find routes to communicate with the natural lifeforms in order to know that our deduction was correct. However, because God is supernatural, we could not know any of the above.

        • Moshe Averick

          Jake,

          If every transmission received by SETI was a highly intelligible message in morse code, we would know beyond any reasonable doubt that there is intelligence sending the messages from outer space. To suggest otherwise would be indicative of a disconnection from reality. Unless we actually met them, we would not have the faintest idea what they were like, we could only speculate.

          I see the bacterium, and I reasonably conclude that it is the result of inteligence. At that point, I do not know anything about the creator except that he is clearly highly intelligent. That is step one.

          It is the subsequent PHILOSOPHICAL reasoning that leads me to the conclusion that the creator must be supernatural.

          • “If every transmission received by SETI was a highly intelligible message in morse code, we would know beyond any reasonable doubt that there is intelligence sending the messages from outer space. To suggest otherwise would be indicative of a disconnection from reality.”

            Yea, I give up. If you can’t see that there must be a non-complex object in order for us to determine complexity, you my friend, are disconnected from reality.

            By the way, “steps” in arguments are generally steps that rely on some evidential or logical grounds, not mere assertions.

            But, really. This is exactly what I mean by fruitless.

      • “Snowflakes and crystals do not have functional complexity, they don’t do anything. ”
        Please, tell us..what does the universe “do?” In what way is it “functional?”

  • Moshe is essentially trying to claim “irreducible complexity” on the origin of life. To that point, there have already been many examples of things that were claimed to be irreducibly complex that have been disproved. But this time, his example really is irreducibly complex, no, really.

    • Mattmon,

      You have confused Origin of LIfe with Darwinian Evolution.
      For arguments sake I am prepared to concede the truth of Darwinian Evolution (as I did in my book). Origin of Life is FUNDAMENTALLY different than Darwinian Evolution. Darwinian Evolution is based on the random mutations in the replication of the DNA in the first bacterium. Darwinian Evolution is only relevant from the point where there is a fully functioning DNA based self replicating organism. Origin of LIfe is how that first bacterium came into existence in the first place. The scientific discipline associated with Evolution is Biology. The scientific discipline associated with Origin of Life is Chemistry/Molecular Biology.

      As distinguished (atheistic) professor of philosophy at NYU, Thomas Nagel has put it: “The entire apparatus of evolutionary explanation therefore depends on the prior existence of genetic material with these remarkable properties…We are therefore faced with a problem…we have explained the complexity of organic life in terms of something that is itself just as functionally complex as what we originally set out to explain. So the problem is just pushed back a step: How did such a thing come into existence?”

      In other words, Mattmon, (hebrew?) The impression that “science” has confronted the problem of the complexity of the living world is an illusion. Darwinian Evolution is completely irrelevant when it comes to confronting the question of a Creator. The only issue that is important is Origin of Life. Science is completely baffled how such a thing could have occurred. THere is a good reason why they are baffled. The notion that something as functionally complex as a bacterium and its genetic code could have emerged through an undirected naturalistic process is so absurd that it can be rejected out of hand. It is as absurd as assuming that a string of letters in the sand from A-N could have come about through anything other than intelligent intervention.

      • Moshe,

        I am specifically referring to Origin of Life, which your article is about. But in a sense, Abiogenesis is somewhat similar to Darwinian Evolution. Whereas evolution is about how species evolve into more complex species, abiogenesis is about how life can evolve from the first self-replicating molecules. Your claim is that, because a bacterium is so “complex”, it couldn’t have evolved. That is exactly what Irreducible Complexity is.

        • Mattmon,

          The notion that there were ever such things as self-replicating molecules in a natural state is pure speculation. There is zero evidence that they ever existed. Non-believing scientists have posited their existence, because for life to emerge naturally they MUST have existed. This, of course, is called putting the cart before the horse. It is not examining the evidence and following where it leads, it is assuming as an article of faith that this is how it happened, and then desperately searching for evidence that it’s true. Until now that endeavor has met with utter failure.

          • Moshe,

            The notion that there were ever such things as supernatural entities is pure speculation. There is zero evidence that they ever existed. Intelligent design advocates have posited their existence, because for life to emerge non-naturally they MUST have existed. This, of course, is called putting the cart before the horse. It is not examining the evidence and following where it leads, it is assuming as an article of faith that this is how it happened, and then desperately searching for evidence that it’s true. Until now that endeavor has met with utter failure.

            How is it that you can make arguments that hold even more true against your own side so often, and never notice? Morton’s demon sure has a hold on you. (Look it up)

  • Moshe writes:

    “These procedures and processes did not pop out of thin air;”

    Well, okay then. I think you just refuted yourself. What is the notion of “intelligent design” if not the notion that, “the procedures and processes required for the creation of life popped out of thin air”?

    Not only is “God did it,” a totally unsatisfactory answer, it raises more questions than it purports to solve.

    “…they are themselves built on the collective acquired knowledge and experience of thousands of different researchers and represent, literally, millions of man-hours of intensive labor, contemplation, and analysis.”

    If it takes humanity millions of man-hours, imagine what the laws of nature are capable of over billions of years and hundreds of millions of kilometers.

    • Reuben,

      There are only two options available to explain the origin of life, (a) some form of spontaneous generation or (b) an act of creation. You have made the same mistake as that of Nobel Laureate George Wald when he said that with the endless amount of time available anything could happen. There is not an endless amount of time available, there is a small window of perhaps a couple of hundred million years between the time earth was cool enough to support life and the time when the first bacterium emerged. It is simply absurd to imagine that it happened by itself. The only reasonable alternative is an act of creation, by an intelligent being outside of the physical universe. Nature cannot do ANYTHING. The fact that the existence of God raises questions does not mean it is not the obvious truth. It simply means there may be questions to which we will never know the answer. So?

      • “There is not an endless amount of time available, there is a small window of perhaps a couple of hundred million years between the time earth was cool enough to support life and the time when the first bacterium emerged.”

        A “small window”? You’re talking about timescales only a couple of orders of magnitude smaller than the age of the universe. It is a ridiculous, mind-blowing amount of time. It may take less time for a star to coalesce out of the diffuse gasses of a nebula. Think about that. That’s just one fundamental interaction–gravity, the weakest of four–acting constantly over hundreds of millions of years (or less). Imagine what the multifarious emergent properties of the universe are capable of over a similar amount of time. Which brings me to this:

        “Nature cannot do ANYTHING.”

        For a certain definition of “do”, perhaps. But that would be begging the question.

        • Reuben,

          First of all the phrase “small window” was not mine, it was from the late chemist and world renowned Origin of Life researcher Leslie Orgel.
          To produce something as complex as a bacterium this is truly a ridiculously short period of time. That is the reason why Leslie Orgel and FRancis Crick proposed in the 70′s that perhaps an advanced civilization from outer space seeded the earth (directed panspermia). They could not conceive of any way such a thing could have happened on Earth in such a short amount of time.

          Secondly, the commonly accepted date of life starting around 3.8 billion years ago is deceiving. Because of the effect of heat on ancient rocks, it is possible that life started earlier but the heat destroyed the evidence. In other words it is quite possible that life started immediately after the earth was cool enough to support life.

          When I wrote that nature cannot do “anything” I meant that there are limits to what can happen naturally. You would agree that if a morse code message describing the universal genetic code in detail arrived from a galaxy 10 billion light years away, it would not be the product of naturalistic forces, even 10 billion years worth. It could only be the product of intelligent design.

          I do not mean to be condescending, but you simply are not aware of the scope of the problem scientists face when dealing with Origin of Life. At the recent Origins Conference at ASU earlier this year, which was attended by some of the worlds greatest sceintists, including Dawkins, Nobel Prize winners Lee Hartwell and Sidney Altman. Christopher McKay of NASA, J. Craig Venter (you get the idea), Origin of Life expert DR. Paul Davies publicly stated to the entire panel that Origin of Life research is in essentially the same place it was when STanley Miller did his famous experiment in 1953. It has not progressed at all towards an answer.
          In a separate speech when discussion how life emerged he said, “We haven’t a clue.” (There were no objections to Davies’ comments)

          • “You would agree that if a morse code message describing the universal genetic code in detail arrived from a galaxy 10 billion light years away, it would not be the product of naturalistic forces, even 10 billion years worth. It could only be the product of intelligent design.”

            What a bunch of nonsense. For starters, what does “universal genetic code” even mean? If someone showed me Morse code and said it was from ten billion light years away, I’d say they were crazy or trying to pull a fast one on me. And of course something ten billion years old couldn’t be the product of ten billion years of anything, since I believe our best estimates put the age of the universe itself at around 13.7 billion years.

            I am aware of the challenge posed to current models by the existence of life. I’m also aware of the tension between quantum mechanics and relativity, the mysteries of dark matter, and the question of consciousness (among others). We may not have the answers now, but we’ve only been seriously looking for a genuinely short amount of time. I’m not giving anything up to god until every other possibility is thoroughly and completely exhausted.

            Finally, I think you should be disclosing a little more about the academics you’re so fond of hiding behind. The late Dr. Wald, for example, won his Nobel Prize for work on retinal pigmentation. I’m sure he was a clever man and a hard worker, but what does that have to do with the origins of life?

      • Wow, Wald really is your go-to guy for this subject! I wonder, have you learned anything about biology since he said that 57 years ago?

        • Mike, see my comment below about the Origins Conference at ASU and read Overbye’s article about that. Nothing has changed in 57 years. Scientists don’t have the faintest idea how life could emerge naturalistically.

          • “Nothing has changed in 57 years. Scientists don’t have the faintest idea how life could emerge naturalistically.”

            Moshe, you’re a willfully ignorant dolt. Nothing more can be said about it. What has not changed in 57 years are the things you believe, not what scientists have learned.

  • Let me see if I understand you. The scientists have succeeded in replicating some possible steps in the origin of life, and this is an argument for intelligent design?

    So if they had utterly failed (which was the case up to about 60 years ago) would that have been an argument against intelligent design?

    • David,

      That was not my argument. In their quest to create life, they have implicitly shown that everything needed to create life can only be accomplished by intelligent beings using the most sophisticated lab equipment. The obvious conclusion is therefore that the first bacterium could only emerge through an act of intelligent intervention.

      • So by analogy, since we can only produce fission after much thought by intelligent beings, using the most sophisticated lab equipment, stars were also Created? Despite gravity being a perfectly satisfactory natural reason for fission to occur in those conditions?

        • Moshe Averick

          PJZ,

          You are correct. There is a reasonable alternative explanation for fission in stars.
          There is no reasonable alternative to intelligent design when it comes to the first bacterium. In the words of Dr. Paul Davies, origin of life researchers are “baffled” and “don’t have a clue” how it could have happened.

          If you come up with a reasonable, empirically demonstrable alternative, I will withdraw from the discussion.

          • Moshe says:

            “You are correct. There is a reasonable alternative explanation for fission in stars.”

            What is the alternative explanation for fusion (fission perhaps in supernovae) in stars, such as the Sun? We have quite detailed information of the different reaction chains in the sun from measured neutrino fluxes.

        • its fusion not fission

      • “In their quest to create life, they have implicitly shown that everything needed to create life can only be accomplished by intelligent beings using the most sophisticated lab equipment.”

        They showed no such thing. All they showed is that everything needed to create life can arise COMPLETELY WITHOUT SUPERNATURAL ASSISTANCE.

        • PS. Also, do bear in mind that the scientists are trying to demonstrate, in weeks and months, what happened on Earth over myriads of myriads of years.

          /@

        • Mike,

          If that is true why did Scientific American online run an article about the recent Origins Conference at ASU, whose panel consisted of some of the worlds leading Origin of Life experts, with the headline, “PSST, DON’T TELL THE CREATIONISTS, BUT SCIENTISTS DON’T HAVE A CLUE HOW LIFE BEGAN” ?

          • I don’t take headlines from the media, even SciAm, as the last word on complex subjects.

            Were you convinced by National Geographic’s headline that asked “Was Darwin wrong?” and answered itself with “No”?

          • Thank you for demonstrating to us the depth of your research – sensationalized, oversimplified headlines in popular science magazines.

      • Oh, please. The sophisticated lab equipment is necessary only to recreate the conditions that existsed on the Earth at that time, which are significantly different from today’s.

        And the are not attempting to demonstrate the full process of biopoiesis, but only one step in the process, that given RNA, life follows. So, they’re working backwards through a chain of events; next would be to show that RNA can arise naturalistically from simpler compounds.

        Furthermore, the scientists are not consciously, intelligently intervening in the RNA’s reactions in any way, as, I imagine a Creator would have. And if the Creator didn’t perform molecular manipulation in any way, what did he do? Where, then, is that conscious intelligent intervention?

        /@

      • With all due respect haver, must is not the word and this is where the argument exists. Could natural forces have brought about the existence of life on Earth without an intelligent creator? Theoretically. But to say this makes a mockery of the field of statistics. The likelihood of the events of single elements becoming self-replicating molecules becoming autonomous beings is statistically impossible, given the time frame and amount of substrate in the universe. This is totally without dealing with the fined tuned nature of the forces in the world. If nuclear forces were just a bit stronger or a bit weaker, atoms as we know it wouldn’t exist.
        Furthermore, the appearance of life in the universe appears pretty much as quickly as it could appear (I believe that would be Gerald Schroeder who points that out), not some huge time lag that would have given time for things to take their course.
        And to respond to an earlier comment, the absence of a degree does not at all mean that someone is not knowledgable in a topic. All a degree says is one should ASSUME the person is holding. As an academic myself, I can tell you this is sadly not always the case. Actually, too ofter.

      • No, they have not implicitly shown that. How would you like them to do the experiments – unintelligently, with poorly designed equipment? That might still work, if they were given the billions of years that nature had to work with, but scientists don’t have that luxury. They have to use their intelligence to get results in a reasonable time.

        • David,

          If you are pointing out that trying to demonstrate a naturalistic origin of life is an extraordinarily difficult thing to do, I would agree with…but frankly that is your and their problem not mine.

          when a scientist like Gerald Joyce builds a self replicating molecule in the laboratory and then admits that there still is no “realistic” scenario for such a thing happening, he means that he knows how much ingenuity, creativity and technology went into manufacturing these RNA molecules,but he has no idea how it could have happened by itself in a natural setting. It’s kind of like building chevy impala in a GM plant in Michigan and then trying to figure out how that same chevy could have emerged naturalistically from a pre biotic swamp.

  • Good article, very informative!

    Abiogenesis is only warmed over spontaneous generation. Too bad it’s hung around this long. Some things may just happen, biological systems aren’t among them.

    Wayne

    • Wayne,

      Thanks for your comments. As Nobel Laureate George Wald once wrote: “When it comes to the origin of life on this earth, there are only two possibilities: creation or spontaneous generation. There is no third way. Spontaneous generation was disproved 100 years ago, but that leads us only to one other conclusion: that of supernatural creation. We cannot accept that on philosophical grounds, therefore, we choose to believe the impossible, that life arose spontaneously by chance.”

      That just about says it all

      • As he wrote in 1954, long before the thousands of discoveries that have utterly revolutionized our understanding of the development of life.

        Ever wonder why you have to go back 57 years to find someone you can quote to make yourself look good?

      • Even at the time he wrote it, he was just plain wrong.

        As Reuben pointed out earlier, the spontaneous generation that Wald noted was disproved 100 years ago was something quite different from any hypothesis for abiogenesis or biopoiesis. How would Wald — a Nobel laureate, as you are keen to point out — not have known that? The only explanation is that he was being deliberately disingenuous.

        He was also guilty of a false dichotomy. In fact, there is not just one but many possibilities other than creation. Each of the different proposals for biopoiesis must be considered alone — after all, they can’t all be right. And each of them has this advantage over creation, that it assumes only the conditions and ingredients existing at that time on the Earth, rather than presuming the existence of a Creator for whom we have not one shred of independent evidence.

        /@

    • “Abiogenesis is only warmed over spontaneous generation.”

      No, Wayne. It’s just not.

      /@

      • Actually, the very definition of “abiogenesis” is “spontaneous generation”. And the definition of “spontaneous generation” is, you guessed it, “abiogenesis”. See Scott-Foresman Advanced Dictionary.

  • The mere fact that something CAN be accomplished by intelligent design does not indicate that it can ONLY be accomplished by intelligent design, nor does it indicate that other similar occurrences are most likely the result of intelligent design.

    The fact that I have an intelligently designed machine in my kitchen that can freeze water doesn’t mean that the best explanation for the polar ice caps is a giant, intelligently designed freezer.

    I’ll agree that this subject doesn’t significantly add to the origin of life discussion – which means, in case you missed it while eagerly rushing toward a presentation of your own, unsupported hypothesis, that it doesn’t lend any significant credence to ANY position regarding origins. Including intelligent design.

    • Not to mention: life created by human intelligence is still purely natural. If human beings can make something happen in nature, then clearly that thing can happen… in nature. No supernatural creator is required.

      • Moshe Averick

        Mike,

        I do not understand your logic. Life created by human intelligence is not natural at all. It is the product of intelligent design. The nucleotides and RNA molecules must be MANUFACTURED in the same way that bricks are manufactured. they must be constructed into the proper configurations in the same way the houses must be configured with particular configuration of bricks. Please explain what you mean.

        • Nucleotides, RNA molecules, and bricks are fashioned by things that exist in nature. There is nothing supernatural going on. Yes, there is intelligent design in brickmaking! Yes, humans can design RNA! But that does not mean ONLY humans can design RNA, as you seem to be claiming.

          The chances that the molecules making up a rock are in the arrangement that they’re in, rather than another arrangement, are astronomical… and yet, we see rocks everywhere. Your argument from improbability is meaningless.

          • If nucleotides, RNA molecules, and bricks are fashioned by things that exist in nature: Please show me where bricks are made by natural processes, why did Dr. Leslie Orgel state that the appearance of an RNA molecule on the ancient earth would have been a near miracle, and why did prominent origin of life scientist, Dr. G.C. Smith say that it is “absurd to imagine” primed nucleotides appearing naturally on the ancient earth?

          • Moshe, are you seriously implying that human intelligence is supernatural? If not, then EVERYTHING HUMANS DO is possible only BECAUSE it is possible for it to happen in nature. How are you not understanding this? If something can’t happen in nature, we can’t do it. If human beings can create life, that means that PURELY NATURAL THINGS can create life. The only possible escape from this is for you to assert that human intelligence is supernatural, which you cannot possibly demonstrate, nor expect anyone to believe that scientists would agree with you.

          • Also, you keep quoting individual scientists out of context. Why do you think science gives a damn what a scientist claims, says, or believes? Science is about the process of sifting through evidence to find facts. Pull out all the pithily mined quotes you want – you’re not doing science, and nearly the entire body of people who actually DO science say that you are wrong.

      • Moshe Averick

        Mike,

        I am curious to hear your reaction to the statement by nobel prize winning biologist George Wald which is cited in my reply to M-Creek

        • First, I’m curious why you think I care what any single scientist says on the subject, as opposed to the consensus which says that neither spontaneous generation nor a supernatural intervention is required. Second, I’m curious why you’d pick a scientist from 1954. Third, I wonder if you know anything about modern biology, because those are *not* the only two options anymore!

      • Mike,

        You seem to have totally misunderstood the argument. The functional complexity of a bacterium does not need a supernatural creator, it just requires a highly intelligent creator.

        By analogy: If we received intricate intelligent messages in morse code from a distant galaxy, the SETI scientists (and anyone else who had not lost their sanity) would conclude that they are from intelligent life somewhere else in the universe. We would not know anything else about them besides that fact.

        In the same way, we see the molecular machinery of the bacterium and we know it is the result of intelligence, it does not necessarily have to be supernatural intelligence. That is step 1.

        However, there are certain philosophical problems that arise once we realize that life must be created. We run into the problem of the infinitely regressing series of creators. The only answer then becomes a creator who is outside of the physical universe. Hope that helps.

        By the way, of course I saw the article you cited about scientists MANUFACTURING RNA in the lab which could self replicate. It supports what I said in my article. Self replicating RNA molecules must be MANUFACTURED by brilliant scientists in the laboratory using the most advanced equipment. This is exactly what intelligent design is. Dennis Overbye also talked about the production of self replicating RNA molecules. Your article has no new information

        • NO! No no no no no! We know that Morse Code is intelligently designed because we KNOW THAT IT WAS INVENTED BY SAMUEL MORSE IN 1836. We know that bricks are created by humans because we can can see people making those bricks. We have evidence that those things WERE designed. Where is your evidence that life was designed? Where is your evidence that spontaneous generation or intelligent design are the ONLY two possiblities? (Or since you don’t really have your own opinion, where is the Wald’s evidence for it). Why do you keep referring to the same scientist from 1954? Do you really think we’ve not gotten any new information in 60 years? Why do you think the majority of the scientific community today is wrong but ONE scientist from 1954 is correct?

          • MObus,

            Richard Dawkins (and all scientists) understand that DNA is digitally encoded information. We know that digitally encoded information systems are the result of intelligent design.

    • Matt,

      The fact that a cell phone CAN be built by intelligent design does not indicate that it can ONLY be accomplished by intelligent design. The aforementioned statement may be theoretically true, but the emergence of a cell phone by naturalistic processes is so unlikely that we don’t even consider it…unless of course you could bring highly plausible empirical, experimental evidence that such a thing is possible. The functional complexity of a bacterium and its genetic code make a cell phone look like a child’s toy that came out of a cereal box. In some theoretical sense it may be possible for a bacterium to emerge through some naturalistic process, but it is so absurdly unlikely that we do not even have to consider it…unless you bring evidence beyond a reasonable doubt that such a thing is possible. The burden of proof is on those who assert a naturalistic origin of life.

      • Petr Kudláček

        Moshe: The burden of proof is on those who say anything but “I don’t know”. This goes for the creationist side as well.

        Although let’s be honest. Every time in history when we became satisfied with the answer “Goddidit” we only stifled the scientific process: Ranging from the cause of lightning to the origin of living organisms.

        • Petr,

          If a morse code message from a distant galaxy was received you would immediately react by saying “Intelligent Designer did it.” That does not in any way stifle investigation, in fact it provides a powerful incentive to understand more about the source of this message.

          When you see the functional complexity of a bacterium which is beyond the reaches of anything human technology can produce, the immediate reaction is “Intelligent designer did it.” Why should that stifle scientific investigation? This is in my opinion, an atheistic canard. All science is based on the assumption that there is an intelligent order to nature.

          Why is Origin of Life different than the morse code message?

          • When you see the functional complexity of a bacterium which is beyond the reaches of anything human technology can produce, the immediate reaction is “Intelligent designer did it.”

            So, you don’t accept evolution, after all?

            Make up your mind. Are bacteria designed or evolved?

          • Petr Kudláček

            Because we know for a fact morse code was created in the 1830s-why do I bother…
            You do realise that at this point your argument is identical to that of Ray Comfort’s “painting requires a painter.” right?

            “All science is based on the assumption that there is an intelligent order to nature.” Stop trying to weasel in the word ‘intelligent’ it makes you look dishonest.

            How about I turn this question around and ask you Why is Origin of Life different than any other scientific knowledge/theory/discovery out there?
            So far it looks like this.
            Natural explanations: All of science. All we know and can prove.
            Super-natural explanations: None.
            Why do you suddenly treat a supernatural explanation as being so likely to be true? Let’s stop beating about the bush here and admit it to each other that you are lead by your pre-existent beliefs in God and now you are trying to find any ad-hog proof for your positions. Possibly because you feel insecure not being able to defend your position without invoking faith, which, let’s face it, is most likely what is going on in here.

          • When you see the functional complexity of the human eye, you immediately conclude that it’s the product of intelligent design.

            And you’re immediately wrong.

            And so it goes.

        • Origin of Life is fundamentally different for the same reason that all “first principles” issues are different. The entire facade of scientific validation of non-belief is based on Darwinian Evolution. In fact, as I pointed out, Evolution is irrelevant to the question. The only relevant issue is whether or not it is possible for a bacterium to emerge from non-life through an undirected process.

          I don’t know if you are aware of the fact that DNA is a highly sophisticated digital code, far more sophisticated than anything that human technology can produce. We did not know about digital information until several decaded ago. Who knew about it 3.8 billion years ago?

          • Petr Kudláček

            No scientist that I’ve heard claims that bacteria sprung into existence from non-life materials or that the DNA we see today did the same thing. You are strawmanning their position and basically end up making the infamous Chuck Missler’s peanut butter argument.

            By the way did anyone in here stop to think about the absurdity of this article? We are being lectured by a clergyman with little to no scientific background about how the entirety of the scientific community is refusing to come to the obvious conclusion that god created the first life.

            P.S. Nature continuously creates new DNA every single day. That should answer your question if you wouldn’t do the dishonest thing of asking Who instead of What.

        • Petr,

          “Nature” does not create new DNA every day. The fully operative molecular machinery creates new DNA every day. Where did the machinery come from? You say it is absurd that I, as a clergyman, are lecturing on this topic. Why don’t you read what PZ Myers and Jerry Coyne had to say on the subject. Their reply’s to me are both contained in articles that I wrote on this website. When you see the ridiculously lame retorts they had to offer, perhaps you will finally realize that what I am saying is the truth: No scientist has any idea how life began in a naturalisitic fashion, and they dogmatically and fanatically refuse to even consider the obvious possiblility of a creator

          • ““Nature” does not create new DNA every day. The fully operative molecular machinery creates new DNA every day.”

            You’re out of your depth, Moshe.

            http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/01/090109173205.htm

            “One of the most enduring questions is how life could have begun on Earth. Molecules that can make copies of themselves are thought to be crucial to understanding this process as they provide the basis for heritability, a critical characteristic of living systems. New findings could inform biochemical questions about how life began.

            Now, a pair of Scripps Research Institute scientists has taken a significant step toward answering that question. The scientists have synthesized for the first time RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves without the help of any proteins or other cellular components, and the process proceeds indefinitely.”

            RNA replicating itself without ANY cellular machinery. This was in January of 2009, and still you’re here ranting about how nobody has a clue how this stuff works.

            Suck on that.

      • I’m afraid sir the the burden of proof is squarely upon those who are trying to argue for the supernatural. Throughout human history we have so often declared that something we don’t understand must be magic. In every single instance when we finally did figure out what is really going on, it turned out that it was a natural phenomena, not magical. Naturalistic explanations are always more likely then magical ones, given the fact that we have never been able to confirm that anything supernatural even exists.

        • Moshe Averick

          Brett,

          Intelligent design is not magic, it is intelligent design. I don’t understand your point.

          • Petr Kudláček

            “If it was created, it could not possibly be from a physical being, because there are no other living organisms. If it was created, it must be from a Creator outside of the physical universe. There isn’t anything else.”

            I could go on listing quotes where you clearly imply the supernatural -> god but I don’t think that’s necessary. Let’s at least be honest with each other.

        • Brett,

          Intelligent design is not magic, it is intelligent design. Just because you write,”Naturalistic explanations are more likely” does not make it true. To claim that a smiley face in the sand is the result of a naturalistic process, would make people doubt your sanity. Claiming that a bacterium could emerge naturalistically is even more ridiculous.

          • Enough with the smiley face in the sand example – I don’t even think you understand it. The most obvious explanation for a smiley face in the sand is that a person drew it there. That’s a NATURALISTIC explanation.

            The SUPERNATURAL explanation, that something outside our universe interacted with the sand to make a smiley shape face, is something for which we have no evidence, have much evidence against, and can be dismissed as delusional.

            It’s the second that you base your entire argument on, and I’m not sure why you want to keep reminding people of that. But go ahead, knock yourself out.

  • It’s really quite simple. Brian (above) is right, and you are way, way wrong.

    Your entire premise is undeducated and silly. You state that:

    “There is no scientist in the world today that would have the chutzpah to claim that he or she knows how life began.”

    But YOU do, right? Uncertainty in the minds of qualified scientists “proves” to you that some sentient being stepped in and made it all happen, right? Can you really be that uninformed about how science works, and about what would constitute “proof” of intelligent design? (which you might as well call creationism — everyone sees through it anyhow).

    By the way, on what grounds do you acuse him of being an atheist? Because he points out your obvious errors? Because he writes somewhat sarcastially and with wit? It’s a common, and pathetic, argument, and we’re all tired of seeing it. Someone disagrees with a rabbi, a cleric, or a fundamentalist Christian — and so they must be an atheist, deserving of your scorn.

    You need not only an education in science, as Brian has pointed out, but also to get out more often and talk to people of faith who understand science and still know your writings to be way off base.

    • M-Creek,

      I will rewrite here the statement by Nobel Laureate (biology, medicine) George Wald: “When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation…the other is a supernatural creative act…there is no third possibility..Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved on hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion – that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation.” (Scientific American, 1954)

      It is those scientists who believe in a naturalistic explanation for the emergence of life who are men of BLIND FAITH. The believer in the God of creation is the rationalist.

      • Moshe,

        You’re simply wrong, and you’re in good company with undeducated fundamentalists of all stripes. Just because someone said something does not make it true. Stop quoting people who are clueless about this topic. And going all the way back to Brian’s original comment — What credentials do you have in science at all? The “contrived dualism” of yours — spontaneous generation or ID — is pure nonsense. A rock in a stream is smoothed slowly over many years by the flowing water until it is rounded into something different from how it began — neither spontaneous nor intelligent. Just the result of many years of natural forces accumulating until a certain point is reached. (No, don’t be an idiot and tell me that rocks are not living; that’s not the point). Your knowledge of biology and science is meager, my friend, meager. And your theology is equally whacked. Stop painting God into a corner defined by your own ignorance. If he is there, he is not confined to the shadows of what we don’t know.

        • M-Creek,
          You are simply wrong. The rock in the stream is an example of spontaneous generation. The word “spontaneous” does not mean “instantaneous” (or “instantly”, to you). “Spontaneous”, by definition, means “naturally-occuring”. Or one could say “without any intention, without any sort of plan or premeditation”. See the Mirriam-Webster Dictionary.

          You incorrectly make the argument that what is “natural” is not “spontaneous”, when by their very definition the two words mean the same.

          • To clarify, there ARE only 2 options: actively created (intentionally) or naturally-occurring (spontaneously). There is nothing else outside of these 2 choices; everything is (& must be) one or the other, again by definition, no matter how many of you say so. You can not even have a combination of the 2, a “semi-” this or a “synthesized-” that, without the object becoming “created”.

    • M-Creek writes:

      “By the way, on what grounds do you acuse him of being an atheist? Because he points out your obvious errors? Because he writes somewhat sarcastially and with wit? It’s a common, and pathetic, argument, and we’re all tired of seeing it. Someone disagrees with a rabbi, a cleric, or a fundamentalist Christian — and so they must be an atheist, deserving of your scorn.”

      What is wrong with being an atheist?? Do you really believe atheists are bad? Is Denmark, where 90 percent of the people are atheists, a bad country? I would hate being accused of being superstitious.

      • “Is Denmark, where 90 percent of the people are atheists, a bad country? I would hate being accused of being superstitious.”

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christianity_in_Denmark

        It must have broken Wikipedia’s editor’s heart to cite those figures, but they can be googled from their source, easily enough, if you doubt their authenticity.

        Superstition would, it seems be just one of your delusions, Alex.

        Just two years ago, the percentage of Christians in Denmark was of the order of 80%. It has been declining at a slow rate, but the difference between your 20% of Christians and the official 80% just sounds, at best, the kind of carelessness one might expect of a mentally-’challenged’ person in some kind of sheltered housing. Either that, or your not speaking the the utmost good faith.

        Why is it we always get fables and distorted quotations and precepts from the Holy Bible from atheists, as well?

  • Moshe,
    Brian Westley is correct. You got nothing, just more arguments from ignorance.
    And even if it were somehow proven that life on Earth was “designed” it would not prove the existence of your particular god or any other gods for that matter. You ramble on about the complexity of life on earth but don’t apply those same arguments to your creator. Something that “designed & created” something must logically be at least as complicated as the thing it has created.
    Like Brian said, PZ and Dawkins both have the credentials and the science to back up their arguments. You only have zero scientific credentials and 2000 years of ignorance, gullibility, and superstition to back your claims.
    You and Ray Comfort are from the same mold.

    • John,

      I ask you to look at my reply to M-Creek.
      It is crucial to realize that there are only two possibilities as to how life arose: spontaneous generation or a supernatural act of creation.

      “Something that “designed and created” something must logically be at least as complicated as the thing it has created.” This is a restatement of Dawkins’ “Ultimate 747″ argument and is true up to a point. However, it only applies to physical beings. Even atheistic philosophers agree that this dilemma is solved by the existence of a creator outside of time and space, who is composed of neither matter nor energy. There is nothing “before” this Creator (God, First Cause) because this Creator created time,but does not exist in time. As Dr. Paul Davies put it, there is not such thing as “before” the big bang. Time came into existence with the Big BAng, “before” only exists when there is time.

      It is also important for you to know that Dawkins and Myers readily admit that we have no clue how life began. They just have faith that science will somehow find an answer.

      You are also correct in stating that God the Creator does not necessarily mean the God of Abraham. That is an entirely different question, and is not being addressed in this article.

      I urge you to read my book where the important issues you raised are dealt with in a comprehensive manner. I am happy to correspond with you further.

      • “This is a restatement of Dawkins’ “Ultimate 747″ argument and is true up to a point. However, it only applies to physical beings.”

        Okay, you don’t even see the flaws in your logic here.

        1. What is a non-physical being? Please provide an example, backed up with evidence.
        2. How do you know this only applies to physical beings?

        You make these utterly baseless assertions without even recognizing that you’re doing it. Why should we take you seriously?

        • Worse yet, why can’t Montmorillonite, cyanide, ammonia, and water be considered a “physical being”? Those basic chemicals combined with the electromagnetic force are what actually created life. They’re physical. I don’t see a problem.

        • “Theology is a subject that studies a nonexistent thing. You might as well get a degree in fairyology.” – Mike

          That’s Darwin done for, in no uncertain terms! For crying out loud man, man, Darwin took an Arts degree to become a clergyman.

          ‘When exams loomed, he focused on his studies and received private tutoring from Henslow, whose subjects were math and theology. Darwin became particularly enthused by texts by William Paley which included the argument of divine design in nature. In his finals in January 1831, Darwin performed well in theology and, having done well enough in the classics, mathematics, and physics, was tenth out of a pass list of 178.’

          So Darwin excelled in, effectively, the study of fairy stories, which, moreover, he actually believed to be true… Nice one. Why do you people insist so doggedly in shooting yourselves in the foot?

          Anyway, it’s clear that, while never an atheist, Darwin soon went downhill intellectually, from that point on, actually himself, creating what has proved to be the most riotously fanciful fairy story of them all.

          Fortunately, he seems to have learned towards the end of his life, that permitting a personal family tragedy to rejig his world-view away from his Lord and Saviour, was never a good idea, sending regular monthly donations to the Missionary Society until the month before his death.

      • Careful, Moshe. That’s logic you’re asking for.

  • Very informative article Rabbi Averick. Thank you for your time & research.

    • Mike,

      Somewhere in the universe at one time or another was the very first living organism.
      Right now there is no solid evidence that life exists anywhere else except Earth. For arguments sake lets assume we go back in time and look at the very first living organism, which at the present time to the best of our empirical knowledge was a bacterium of some sort or another. Where did it come from?

      There are only two possibilities: A. It emerged from non-life through an undirected process B. It was created.

      If it was created, it could not possibly be from a physical being, because there are no other living organisms. If it was created, it must be from a Creator outside of the physical universe. There isn’t anything else.

      Most origin of life researchers understand that these are the two options. I don’t understand your reaction.

  • Brian Westley

    Oh dear, another religious nut with no idea how science works, babbling on about how science confirms his superstitions.

    Stick to reading tea leaves.

    • Brian,

      Another ignorant atheist, who hasn’t the slightest idea about the state of Origin of Life research, and blindly follows fanatical non-believers like PZ Myers and Richard DAwkins.

      Next time Brian, how about saying something substantive or perhaps attempt to compose some sort of reasonable argument. If not, why don’t you just continue writing your childish comments on websites like RichardDawkins.net or Pharyngula. Over there you would fit right in.

      • Brian Westley

        “Next time Brian, how about saying something substantive or perhaps attempt to compose some sort of reasonable argument.”

        You first.

        By the way, what kind of background in biology do you have? PZ Myers has a PhD in biology, Dawkins a PhD in zoology and past president of the Biological Sciences section of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

        You appear to have . . . none.

        Sorry, all you’ll get from me is ridicule, because you really aren’t interested in science. But feel free to babble on.

        • And of course, by “science”, Brian means “naturalism”. One can’t allow God to get his grubby hands on your life or your universe!

          And Brian right back at you about the origins of the universe. What degree does Dawkins have in Theology that he feels he is an expert on God?

          If only experts can speak on issues, then let’s all listen to the only expert on origins, Who was there right from the beginning and by Whom all things exist! ;-D

          • Grahame said,

            “If only experts can speak on issues, then let’s all listen to the only expert on origins, Who was there right from the beginning and by Whom all things exist! ;-D”

            And there in lies the problem for theists. He is conspicuous by his (hers, its) absence. This all powerful being you worship says nothing at all.

          • Of COURSE he means “naturalism.” Introducing the supernatural into science makes it NOT SCIENCE. You no longer have the ability to actually explain anything, because you can just insert the supernatural at any step of the explanation. Investigation and evidence become meaningless.

            Theology is a subject that studies a nonexistent thing. You might as well get a degree in fairyology.

            You want to listen to God? Fine. But if you hear him talking? Get yourself committed.

        • Brian,

          I urge you to have the courage and integrity to formulate your own arguments instead of blindly relying on authority.

          Dawkins and Myers readily admit that we have no clue as to how life arose. In fact Dr. Robert Shapiro, (who is a real authority on Origin of Life as opposed to Dawkins who is a biologist), already administered a “spanking” to Dawkins about his views on the subject. Shapiro said that while Dawkins wrote a “wonderful book”,(the God Delusion) the place where he “absolutely blew it” was in his section on the origin of life. Shapiro called it a “schoolboy howler.” I spent two years researching the state of Origin of Life research and would debate anyone on the subject, including Dawkins or Myers. (or Jerry Coyne for that matter.)

          None of them would ever have a debate on the specific subject of origin of life, because they know there is nothing to talk about.

          • Moshe, you keep doing this. Why on earth do you think any single scientist’s opinion will hold weight with us? Plenty of smart people believe stupid things.

          • “I urge you to have the courage and integrity to formulate your own arguments instead of blindly relying on authority.”

            Moshe, I urge you to have the courage and integrity to formulate your own arguments instead of blindly relying on the authority of Nobel laureate George Wald. Who was just plain wrong anyway; see above.

            At leasts Dawkins, Myers and Coyne have the advantages, firstly, of not being 57 years out of date, and, secondly, of representing the scientific consensus here. While argument from authority may be a logical fallacy, pragmatically, in real-world arguments about real things, the authority of the scientific consensus has considerable weight.

            /@

          • The problem with this is that even if we had no idea how life began it does not in anyway lead to “goddidit”. It just leads to more research. Goddidit is the lazy mans way out.

      • “Another ignorant atheist, who hasn’t the slightest idea about the state of Origin of Life research”

        Is it simply because they may disagree with you that you assume they are “ignorant”? Or was it just cathartic to say that? It’s odd that you quote two people who would likely be fairly up to date on the latest research.

        This article looks to “expose” the idea that origins are still unknown and “mysterious”. Even if all of the research to date had produced negative results, so what? You aren’t even wrong yet.

        • rrpostal,

          I urge you to look at my replies to Brian, M-Creek and John.

          • Moshe: I’m stunned that you think quote-mining George Wald from almost SIXTY YEARS AGO (he uttered the words you quote in *1954*!) is responsive to anything.

            People here have been trying to explain this to you, rather patiently, without much success. Here’s another go:

            When you say that the only alternatives are life arising spontaneously or supernatural creation, you are either misrepresenting the current state of scientific knowledge or ignorant of it.

            George Wald had an excuse: he was writing during the Eisenhower administration. What’s yours?

          • I read the replies. My question still stand. It seems your definition of “ignorant” seems to be people who don’t come to your conclusion. We weren’t the people who mentioned names, by the way, you were. Your complete lack of respect for science is showing. The idea that you think science should include magical as a possibility is laughable (and a prefect place for me to to get off the crazy train).

          • Moshe Averick

            Andrew EC,

            Nothing has changed since the days of George Wald. The quote in the article from Dr. George Whitesides is from 2007. I have pointed out a number of times the headline from the Scientific American article in MARCH 2011 that was written about the Origins Conference at ASU (in Feb, 2011) (Overbye himself wrote an article about it) with the following headline: “PSSST, DON’T TELL THE CREATIONISTS BUT SCIENTISTS DON’T HAVE A CLUE HOW LIFE BEGAN.” Is March, 2011 recent enough for you?

          • You know, what’s particularly laughable about these hapless mutts, is that theism was proved by physicists almost a hundred years ago, when Planck drew the ineluctable conclusion from his studies that mind was precedent to matter, and indeed the speed of light was absolute to the observer. You could hardly find a more personally-involved creator, could you?

            More recently, the proof of the centrality of the observer in relation to the universe has also been established. This confirms the reality of the inter-subjective perspective of each observer of the quantum world: a kind of multiverse, indeed, whereby we each inhabit a separate universe, just a teeny bit personally out of kilter with the others, but coordinated by the Creator to seamlessly fit at the mechanistic, human level.

            As if each of us dropped down into the world in a separate, wee bag – which is what, I suppose, we did, corporeally-speaking.

            And isn’t there a Kabbalist saying, to the effect that when one man dies, a whole universe disappears with him.

        • George Wald, ““Another ignorant [Nobel laureate], who [since he died in 1997] hasn’t the slightest idea about the state of Origin of Life research.”

          Yet you keep quoting him!

          You really can`t see the beam in your own eye, can you, Moshe?

          /@

          • Moshe Averick

            Ant,

            Please see the Scientific American article by John Horgan in MARCH, 2011 written about the Origins Conference at ASU in Feb. 2011. At the conference, Origin of Life expert Dr. Paul Davies spoke to the distinguished panel and explained how nothing has changed in terms of understanding the origin of life since the days of Crick and Miller back in the 50′s. The headline of Horgan’s SA article was as follows: PSST, DON’T TELL THE CREATIONISTS,BUT SCIENTISTS DON’T HAVE A CLUE HOW LIFE BEGAN. Is that helpful?

          • Come on, Moshe. The guys are tortured long enough. Tell ‘em you’ve been having fun with them with this “scientific argument”. You can be so diabolical.

          • Moshe Averick

            Anh Nguyen,

            All this time I thought I was hiding my diabolical side. How did you manage to see through my subterfuge?

          • Paul Davies the physicist? How does that make him more an origin of life expert than the biologists, biochemists, etc., who are working in the field?

            And why should we judge the current state of research from John Horgan’s admittedly sensationalist headline? In any case his view on the matter seems to rest on an argument from incredulity.

            For a much more balanced view — yes, we don’t *know* what happened, and the hypothetical mechanisms are, as yet incompletely demonstrated, but we *are* making progress — see: http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21128251.300-first-life-the-search-for-the-first-replicator.html?full=true

            /@

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