One doesn’t use the word “miracle,” of course, but a friend pointed recently in passing to an older paper by Israeli philosopher of science Iris Fry, arguing that “near miracle” is a form of creationism:
This paper calls attention to a philosophical presupposition, coined here “the continuity thesis” which underlies and unites the different, often conflicting, hypotheses in the origin of life field. This presupposition, a necessary condition for any scientific investigation of the origin of life problem, has two components. First, it contends that there is no unbridgeable gap between inorganic matter and life. Second, it regards the emergence of life as a highly probable process. Examining several current origin-of-life theories. I indicate the implicit or explicit role played by the “continuity thesis” in each of them. In addition, I identify the rivals of the “thesis” within the scientific community — “the almost miracle camp.” Though adopting the anti-vitalistic aspect of the “continuity thesis”, this camp regards the emergence of life as involving highly improbable events. Since it seems that the chemistry of the prebiotic stages and of molecular self-organization processes rules out the possibility that life is the result of a “happy accident,” I claim that the “almost miracle” view implies in fact, a creationist position. (paywall) – “Are the Different Hypotheses on the Emergence of Life as Different as They Seem?” Biology & Philosophy 10 (1995):389-417. More.
Life, Dennett thinks, “created itself, not in a miraculous, instantaneous whoosh, but slowly, slowly.” So it’s not a matter of a “miracle” exactly, but you might say, and some have put it this way, a “near miracle.”
On such “near miracles” and the origin of life:
Israeli philosopher of science Iris Fry has written very insightfully about the concept. She argues that the “near miracle” position, widely held in evolutionary theory (e.g., by Crick, Mayr, Dawkins, Monod), amounts to what she calls a kind of secular creationism. Note the language in The New Yorker that comes close to acknowledging this. In fact, she goes further, contending that “near miracle” actually implies creationism, and renders impossible any empirical study of the origin of life.More.
Fry seems to belong to the “law” school of the origin of life as opposed to the “chance” school. Seemingly, anything will do in that field, even secular creationism, but not design. Readers?
See also: Is there a good reason to believe that life’s origin must be a fully natural event?
Does nature just “naturally” produce life?
Can all the numbers for life’s origin just happen to fall into place?
What we know and don’t know about the origin of life
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