Extraterrestrial life Fine tuning Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Is finding extraterrestrial life inevitable and does it prove the existence of God?

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      Hugh Ross

So says Hugh Ross,at Salvo:

I’ve been on record since the 1980s predicting that the remains of living things will be found on the Moon, Mars, and some other solar system bodies. What makes this discovery inevitable is that millions of tons of Earth’s soil have been exported throughout the solar system due to large meteorites striking Earth. A large meteorite impacting Earth generates enough energy to cause rocks, soil, dust, and water on Earth to be ejected into interplanetary space. Much of that material eventually lands on the Moon, Mars, Venus, and Jupiter’s and Saturn’s moons.

The quantity of exported Earth life is far from trivial. On average, one ton (about 1,000 kilograms) of Earth’s soil contains 100 quadrillion microbes. When rocks, soil, dust, and water are ejected from Earth after a meteorite hits, embedded microbes and small multicellular life-forms are ejected along with them. On average, about 200 kilograms of material from Earth have been deposited on every square kilometer of the Moon.2 For Mars, the figure is about two kilograms per square kilometer. …

But what if extraterrestrial life does exist? Well, it is already well established that life on Earth could not have begun through any conceivable naturalistic pathway,7 but rather must have been initiated through a divine miraculous intervention. Therefore, the discovery of life in another planetary system would indicate another instance of such divine intervention, meaning our universe would contain not just one origin-of-life miracle, but two. The more exoplanetary systems on which life was discovered to exist, the more origin-of-life miracles would be established. Thus, the possible discovery of extraterrestrial life would yield even more evidence for the supernatural handiwork of God. Hugh Ross, “On Discovering Extraterrestial Life & Extraterrestrial Intelligence” at Salvo Spring 2017

Also featuring Hugh Ross: How recent measurements support the Big Bang theory

and

The fine-tuning that enabled our life-friendly moons creates discomfort

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29 Replies to “Is finding extraterrestrial life inevitable and does it prove the existence of God?

  1. 1
    Brother Brian says:

    Well, it is already well established that life on Earth could not have begun through any conceivable naturalistic pathway,7 but rather must have been initiated through a divine miraculous intervention. Therefore, the discovery of life in another planetary system would indicate another instance of such divine intervention, meaning our universe would contain not just one origin-of-life miracle, but two.

    I must have missed the press release where this was established. All we can accurately say is that we don’t know how life originated on earth. Any other claim is a leap of faith.

  2. 2
    ET says:

    Given our knowledge of cause and effect relationships it is more than safe, and scientific, to say that ” it is already well established that life on Earth could not have begun through any conceivable naturalistic pathway”.

    The materialists don’t even have a clue as to how to test the claim that life on earth arose via any naturalistic pathway. That alone says it all.

  3. 3

    The 2011 paper by Richard Hoover established that fossilized cyanobacteria was found on carbonaceous chondrites–black meteorites that are widely thought to be comet fragments. In fact, of the 26 or so recovered CI type carbonaceous chondrites, all of them have had microfossils. In addition, spacecraft sent out to make comet flybys have found organic compounds, oxygen gas, and dark “carbon-black” surfaces. When examined spectroscopically, cyanobacteria have a typical green or purple coloration due to the light-absorbing pigments they use for photosynthesis. These colors have been observed in Mars, in Europa, and surprisingly, on Pluto. A moon of Jupiter, Enceladus, not only has steam jets, but organic material in those jets.

    So the short version is that life appears to be ubiquitous–comets can carry it to outer planets, and even beyond the solar system. Check out my series of papers on the cometary biosphere: rbsp.info/rbs/RbS/index.html

    So where did life originate? Probably not Earth. Since comets can carry life from star to star, one would assume that life comes from older to younger planets, and Earth is a mere 4 billion years old in a galaxy that is at least 12 billion years old. There’s evidence of diatoms in the Trifid nebulae which would be older than Earth. But once again, read some of the papers listed above on the Origin of Life.

  4. 4
    OLV says:

    BB @1:

    All the empirical evidences we have so far clearly indicate without any doubt that the functional complexity of the complex functionality found in the biological systems we observe in this planet must have been purposely designed by a conscious agent that understands meaning. There’s no empirical evidence supporting another way.

  5. 5
    OLV says:

    Robert Sheldon @3:

    How did the first bacteria appear in this universe?

    After that bacteria arrived in comets that hit Earth, how did we get the eukaryote and everything else?

    Thanks.

  6. 6
  7. 7
    Eric Anderson says:

    Well, this is what I’ve been saying for a long time, so I’m glad to see Hugh Ross on board.

    Unfortunately, there has been a strain of thought among skeptics of evolutionary theory, and even among some intelligent design proponents, that life on Earth is not only special, but utterly unique in the universe. Usually this is based on a failure to think through the issues, coupled with some questionable interpretation of Genesis. Sometimes this strain of thought has even been presented in such a way as to suggest that finding extraterrestrial life would somehow be a challenge to theism. This is a serious misconception that leads people to take unfortunate positions, so I’m glad to see Ross addressing it.

    We need to think of it this way:

    The discovery of a new, previously unknown species on a planet outside our Solar System would not point away from an intelligent designer and toward a naturalistic process any more than would the discovery of a new, previously unknown species on Earth in a dark cave, or a remote island, or in the depths of the ocean.

    We find new species all the time, and they all have to be evaluated on their own merits. Does this organism have characteristics indicative of design, such as functionally-interdependent parts, molecular machines, nano-technology, information-rich systems, regulatory networks, etc.? And is there any credible naturalistic explanation for the existence of this organism?

    It doesn’t make one bit of difference whether we find a new species in our back yard or on a distant planet. The geographical location is irrelevant. The scientific approach to the question of the organism’s origin and the analysis with respect to design or natural causes is precisely the same.

    And, as Ross notes, we can fully expect that if we find other life elsewhere it will also scream design.

  8. 8
    Eric Anderson says:

    Brother Brian @1:

    “All we can accurately say is that we don’t know how life originated on earth. Any other claim is a leap of faith.”

    No. That isn’t all we can say. If we are solely focusing on a mechanistic account of the origin of life, then, yes, there is precious little that can be said. But there is a clear demarcation between what can be accomplished through a guided intelligent process and what can happen through purely natural processes. And the inference is clear. Life was clearly designed. Objectively and scientifically. And it has nothing to do with faith. It has to do with our understanding of chemistry and physics, and our understanding of cause and effect in the real world.

  9. 9
    OLV says:

    Eric Anderson @7 & @8:

    Agree.
    Thanks

  10. 10
    kairosfocus says:

    Folks, recall, life has in it string based, digitally coded data structures, i.e. genes. That’s LANGUAGE and ALGORITHMS, together with executing molecular nanotech machinery, also involving a von Neumann kinematic self replicator. Those are strong signs of design. As for pervasiveness of life within the solar system, microbes etc from earth would easily spread across the system and likely beyond. Any occurrence of the same architecture or another functional architecture that achieves the same result would equally be signs of design, as the atomic resources of the observed cosmos, acting on available timelines, could not reasonably come up with a 1,000 bit piece of FSCO/I. The problem is many have been conditioned not to see the point, starting with redefining what science is. KF

    PS: For the record:

    All those involved with science teaching and learning should have a common, accurate view of the nature of science. [–> yes but a question-begging ideological imposition is not an accurate view] Science is characterized by the systematic gathering of information through various forms of direct and indirect observations and the testing of this information by methods including, but not limited to, experimentation [–> correct so far]. The principal product of science is knowledge in the form of naturalistic concepts [–> evolutionary materialistic scientism is imposed] and the laws and theories related to those [–> i.e. ideologically loaded, evolutionary materialistic] concepts . . . . science, along with its methods, explanations and generalizations, must be the sole focus of instruction in science classes to the exclusion of all non-scientific or pseudoscientific methods, explanations, generalizations and products [–> censorship of anything that challenges the imposition; fails to appreciate that scientific methods are studied through logic, epistemology and philosophy of science, which are philosophy not science] . . . .

    Although no single universal step-by-step scientific method captures the complexity of doing science [–> a good point, but fails to see that this brings to bear many philosophical issues], a number of shared values and perspectives characterize a scientific approach to understanding nature. Among these are a demand for naturalistic explanations [–> outright ideological imposition and censorship that fetters freedom of responsible thought] supported by empirical evidence [–> the imposition controls how evidence is interpreted and that’s why blind watchmaker mechanisms never seen to actually cause FSCO/I have default claim to explain it in the world of life] that are, at least in principle, testable against the natural world. Other shared elements include observations, rational argument [–> ideological imposition may hide under a cloak of rationality but is in fact anti-rational], inference, skepticism [–> critical awareness is responsible, selective hyperskepticism backed by ideological censorship is not], peer review [–> a circle of ideologues in agreement has no probative value] and replicability of work . . . .

    Science, by definition, is limited to naturalistic [= evolutionary materialistic scientism is imposed by definition, locking out an unfettered search for the credibly warranted truth about our world i/l/o observational evidence and linked inductive reasoning] methods and explanations and, as such [–> notice, ideological imposition by question-begging definition], is precluded from using supernatural elements [–> sets up a supernatural vs natural strawman alternative when the proper contrast since Plato in The Laws, Bk X, is natural vs artificial] in the production of scientific knowledge. [US NSTA Board, July 2000, definition of the nature of science for education purposes]

  11. 11
    OLV says:

    KF @10:

    “The problem is many have been conditioned not to see the point, starting with redefining what science is.”

    Exactly.

  12. 12
    john_a_designer says:

    According to Ross:

    The Bible could even countenance the existence of creatures on another planet that are as intelligent and spiritual as we humans are…

    In other words, extraterrestrial intelligence, or ETI’s. American astronomer and SETI advocate Carl Sagan (see his movie and novel Contact) not only thought that it was possible but also quite probable (see his discussion of the Drake equation in his book Cosmos.) He thought it would be worthwhile if the U.S. government funded a network of eavesdropping radio telescopes. Two Democratic Senators, Proxmire and Byrd, got the program cancelled after it had received some initial funding after which SETI advocates turned to private funding. So what have been the results so far???? Actually, the last I heard was that the privately funded SETI was shut down for lack of funding. Has that changed?

    The problem with a naturalistic/materialistic approach to SETI is that it has to assume that evolution on some other planet orbiting its sun (another star) followed the same exact course as happened here on earth. Did it have to be the exact course? Yes, if you want a civilization of ETI’s to develop to the point scientifically and technologically that it could develop a means if interstellar communication using radio waves to send friendly “Hello, we’re here” messages across the cosmos.

    For example, without the molecule Lignin there would not be any kind of advanced science and technology– absolutely none! What is Lignin? Most people don’t have a clue what it is or why it’s important. The word Lignin is derived from the Latin word for wood lignum. As the term suggests lignin is the molecule that make woody plants like trees woody. With wood and charcoal or coal (which is fossilized lignin) there would be no be no way to build a fire and make it hot enough to smelt and then re-melt metals (so they can be cast and forged etc.) which are the basis of modern technology, including electronics. The following video discusses this along with other necessary preconditions for advance science and technology is greater detail:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=an98jVCyApo&t=664s

    Denton goes on to argue that there are many other contingent conditions that are crucial as well, like the right atmosphere and the humanoid form etc.

    Could this all be the result of some blind mindless undirected natural process? That’s doubtful. If ETI’s exist anywhere else in the universe it’s because it’s meant to be. In other words it’s teleological.

  13. 13
    Eric Anderson says:

    Just curious.

    Does anyone know how long Ross has been making this argument (that extraterrestrial life is compatible with scripture and that it would also be designed)?

  14. 14
    bornagain77 says:

    ^^^^ EA.

    Not long. This is the first I’ve heard him make it. Why he made the argument I have no idea. The empirical evidence certainly does not warrant climbing out on the proverbial limb like that. I respect Ross’s previous work very much, But in this case I can only scratch my head. He is simply musing about a completely hypothetical situation that has no empirical basis, not to mention being a position that is, to put it mildly, Theologically questionable and very much argumentative.

  15. 15
    Eric Anderson says:

    BA77:

    I’m unclear about your discomfort with Ross’ statement as quoted in the OP. Are you saying that the discovery of extraterrestrial life would present a challenge to either theism or to intelligent design? Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you are saying . . .

  16. 16
    bornagain77 says:

    Bring me undeniable evidence of an ET and I will be more than willing to have that discussion. Until then, it is all hypothetical.

  17. 17
    Brother Brian says:

    EA

    But there is a clear demarcation between what can be accomplished through a guided intelligent process and what can happen through purely natural processes. And the inference is clear. Life was clearly designed.

    Sorry, but that is not clear. How was it designed? Who designed it? What mechanisms were used to realize the design? You provide evidence for these (or even two of the three) then the inference would be clear. Until then, “we don’t know” is the best conclusion.

  18. 18
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    Bring me undeniable evidence of an ET and I will be more than willing to have that discussion.

    Translation: I don’t like the consequences of this being true.

  19. 19
    bornagain77 says:

    LOL ” I don’t like the consequences of this being true.”

    HA HA HA, look in the mirror,,,

    “I speak from experience, being strongly subject to this fear myself: I want atheism to be true and am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that. My guess is that this cosmic authority problem is not a rare condition and that it is responsible for much of the scientism and reductionism of our time. One of the tendencies it supports is the ludicrous overuse of evolutionary biology to explain everything about human life, including everything about the human mind …. This is a somewhat ridiculous situation …. [I]t is just as irrational to be influenced in one’s beliefs by the hope that God does not exist as by the hope that God does exist.”
    – Nagel, Thomas, The Last Word, pp. 130–131, Oxford University Press, 1997. Dr Nagel (1937– ) is Professor of Philosophy and Law at New York University.

  20. 20
    Eric Anderson says:

    BA77 @16:

    ETI may be hypothetical, but it is definitely an issue that is on people’s minds. There has been lots of noise about it in the news for years, and it has stirred some conversation within the faith community. I’m not sure why Ross should just ignore the issue, rather than making it clear to his audience that the existence of extraterrestrial life (a) does not contradict Biblical teachings, (b) is not inconsistent with theism generally, nor with Christianity specifically, and (c) is perfectly compatible with a design-centered view of reality.

    For people who may have been uncomfortable with, or unsure about, the implications of extraterrestrial life for their faith, it seems like this is a worthwhile and welcome bit of information.

  21. 21
    bornagain77 says:

    Hmmm. funny a hypothetical ET is cause for concern for the Christian? I’m not buying it.

    Moreover, it seems Hugh Ross hedged his bets anyway as far as scripture is concerned

    But as to whether God created physical extraterrestrial life subject to the laws of physics, Scripture is silent. Christians, therefore (unlike nontheists), are free to believe whatever they like about extraterrestrial physical life—with one caveat: Hebrews 9:26 and 28 says of Jesus Christ that “he has appeared once for all at the culmination of the ages to do away with sin by the sacrifice of himself. . . . So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many.”
    This passage asserts that there is just one sacrifice for the sins of all and that this one sacrifice took away the sins of many people. Thus, it strongly implies that there is only one physical, rational, and spiritual species in the universe that is in need of redemption from sin. To argue otherwise would require expanding the definition of people to include non-human physical-rational-spiritual creatures on other planets, combined with the doctrinally aberrant notion that no incarnation (Christ assuming an appropriate form) was necessary on those planets to save its intelligent inhabitants from their sins.
    https://salvomag.com/article/salvo40/remains-to-be-seen

    Needless to say, that is a HUGE theological caveat.

  22. 22
    Eric Anderson says:

    Brother Brian @17:

    “Sorry, but that is not clear. How was it designed? Who designed it? What mechanisms were used to realize the design? You provide evidence for these (or even two of the three) then the inference would be clear. Until then, “we don’t know” is the best conclusion.”

    I apologize in advance for being a little short in tone, as I’m not sure we’ve ever discussed these issues together, but given that this is incredibly old and worn ground, rather than wasting both our time, it probably makes most sense to make sure you understand the design inference before proceeding. So, please answer the following questions:

    1. Are the following formulations different questions?
    “Was x designed?”
    “Who designed x?”
    “How was x designed?”
    “What mechanism was used to realize the design?”

    2. Is it logically possible to answer one of these questions without answering all the others?

    —–

    We should also note that a focus on “mechanism” hints at a misunderstanding of how the design inference works. Intelligent design is not a mechanistic theory. You may want it to be, but that is a misunderstanding, not a failure of the design inference itself. Of course any purely naturalistic story lives or dies by mechanism, which is why those focused on purely naturalistic explanations are often fixated on mechanisms. In contrast, we need not know nor posit a specific mechanism to recognize that something was designed.

    Finally, let me state up front that I am singularly unimpressed with the “we can’t draw any conclusion” debating tactic. It may not be the case in your situation, but it is generally incredibly self-serving and belies another agenda. We can be sure that if there were any credible naturalistic answer to the origin of life question that it would be shouted from the rooftops. There would be no “well, we’re still missing details on exactly which mechanism did it, so the best we can say is ‘we don’t know'”.

    No, the “we can’t draw any conclusion” debating tactic is typically used to deflect the uncomfortable and clear inference from the evidence. What it really means, translating for anyone who hasn’t run into this before, is “I’m going to keep saying ‘we don’t know’ in spite of the evidence, until we get a naturalistic answer that I like, at which point I’m going to shout it from the rooftops.”

    The “we can’t draw any conclusion” approach with respect to something like the origin of life almost always functions as a thinly-veiled veneer of optical objectivity (“See how objective I am? I think we should wait for more evidence [meaning, evidence I want to see]. Isn’t that objective of me?”), while covering up a refusal to consider the clear evidence already on the table that we do know.

  23. 23
    Brother Brian says:

    BS77

    LOL ” I don’t like the consequences of this being true.”

    HA HA HA, look in the mirror,,,

    Why? The quote you copy-and-pastad was completely irrelevant.

  24. 24
    bornagain77 says:

    Denialism. Typical. Why don’t you trying being honest for once and answer EA questions truthfully?

  25. 25
    Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, BA77, for the additional quote.

    We’ve agreed on most things over the years, so I’m not inclined to get into a lengthy theological debate, but with the “HUGE theological caveat” you cite from Ross, you seem to be making my exact point — some people look at scripture as a reason to doubt the existence of extraterrestrial intelligence. I’m glad that you aren’t concerned by the idea of ETI, but, yes, there have been many suggestions over the years that ETI would be inconsistent with religious doctrine. Ross may have been addressing concerns within his ranks or perhaps responding to claims by anti-religious commentators. In either case, it is a fair issue for him to bring up and address.

    Yet even the Hebrews 9:26-28 caveat Ross mentions has room for serious question. First, we should note that he is limiting his discussion to intelligent life (meaning, he seems to suggest, human-like intelligence, and not the rest of biology). Thus, the existence of lots of other forms of life on another planet would, I presume, be perfectly fine with Ross from a scriptural standpoint, and I presume with you as well?

    Second, we might want to question the assumption of a limited application of the sacrifice of Christ. One imagines that God’s saving grace through the life, death, and resurrection of the Son is available to all — irrespective of when or where we are born. I certainly wasn’t around in Palestine to witness the incarnation, neither in time nor in geographical proximity. Yet I understand I am permitted to partake of his grace. In addressing the Fall, Dembski wrote a wonderful essay on the application of Christ’s sacrifice across time — even before the act itself. Is there anything in scripture that confirms God’s saving grace is limited to only a part of His creations, to only those who belong to a particular geography or time?

    Anyway, this is a little far afield for this thread, but these are interesting things to consider.

    I sense (though you have not stated it outright) that you do see theological incompatibility between religious doctrine and the idea of ETI. If so, I hope you don’t feel that I’m personally attacking you or your beliefs. I’m just saying that I think it is reasonable for Ross to address such concerns, even if, as you say, there are caveats.

    Best,

  26. 26
    bornagain77 says:

    Like I said before, without any concrete evidence that ETs are real, it is all hypothetical. Arguing personal opinions about pink fluffy unicorns would make about as much sense to me.

  27. 27
    Brother Brian says:

    EA

    Is it logically possible to answer one of these questions without answering all the others?

    Thank you for responding. Yes, I am familiar with the ID inference. And I agree that you can make an inference (was X designed) without answering all of the subsequent questions. But can you confirm the inference with any level of certainty without answering at least one or two of the other questions? I would say no.

    In contrast, we need not know nor posit a specific mechanism to recognize that something was designed.

    I agree. But we can’t do so without some idea of the possible mechanisms. We have developed possible mechanisms for the construction of Stonehenge or the pyramids. None of them may be correct but the one thing we are certain about, at least to a ridiculously high level of probability, is who built them. Humans. And, being human, we have a very good idea of the capabilities and limitations of humans.

    No, the “we can’t draw any conclusion” debating tactic is typically used to deflect the uncomfortable and clear inference from the evidence.

    Or, as is the case with origins discussions, it might just mean “we don’t know”. Which is still the only conclusion that can be drawn. Even if God did design and create everything, which I acknowledge as a possibility, lacking any understanding of how he did it (mechanisms) leaves us with a big “I don’t know, but maybe God”.

  28. 28
    john_a_designer says:

    I think we’re not seeing the elephant in the room here. To see it, whether you’re a theist or atheist, you have to set aside your theological biases. There are some stunning implications with even the possibility the ETI’s exist. And they are implications that clearly favor ID not reductive materialism.

    In his book about the origin of life, The Fifth Miracle, physicist Paul Davies summarizes a debate about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence that occurred sometime in the early 1990’s between Cornell astronomer and “SETI supporter Carl Sagan and the biologist Ernst Mayr.” Implicit in Sagan’s viewpoint according to Davies was the belief that evolution was “a ladder of progress” vs. “the drunken walk” view embraced atheistic materialists, like Mayr, G. G. Simpson and S.J. Gould. Sagan, as I mentioned earlier, believed that it was not only possible but even probable that intelligent life existed elsewhere in the universe. Mayr, on the other hand, took the position held by other evolutionary scientists like George Gaylord Simpson that, “On Earth among millions of lineages or organisms and perhaps 50 billion speciation events, only one led to high intelligence; this makes me believe its utter improbability.” (Duh!) That has to be true if atheistic materialism is true. In other words, for intelligent life to exist anywhere else in the universe it has to follow the same highly improbable and highly contingent path. According to Davies the Sagan/ SETI view then implies teleology, which in turn implies that the universe had a plan, purpose and design. (p. 271)

    Davie’s begins that chapter, which he entitles, A Bio-Friendly Universe? with a quote from fellow physicist, Freeman Dyson:

    “The more I examine the universe and study the details of its architecture, the more evidence I find that the universe in some sense must have known we were coming.”

    Of course, the universe doesn’t know anything.

  29. 29
    Eric Anderson says:

    Thanks, Brother Brian.

    “And I agree that you can make an inference (was X designed) without answering all of the subsequent questions.”

    Agreed.

    “But can you confirm the inference with any level of certainty without answering at least one or two of the other questions?”

    Of course. We do it all the time. An investigator never even gets to those subsequent questions without answering the first question with significant certainty.

    Don’t confuse two separate issues:

    1. Can we make a reasonable inference to design based on characteristics of the artifact. Yes.

    2. Would it be nice to learn some other things as well? Sure.

    It would be great to know who the designer was, what the designer’s motives were, when the artifact was designed, whether the designer is a he or a she or something else, what the designer’s favorite color is, and on and on. It would be nice to know all those things. But they are, by definition, second-order questions. It is perfectly reasonable and possible to answer the design inference without answering these second-order questions. Indeed, we never even get to these second-order questions unless we have already answered the first.

    —–

    “I agree [that we don’t need to know or posit a specific mechanism].”

    Agreed.

    “But we can’t [determine something was designed] without some idea of the possible mechanisms. We have developed possible mechanisms for the construction of Stonehenge or the pyramids. None of them may be correct but the one thing we are certain about, at least to a ridiculously high level of probability, is who built them. Humans. And, being human, we have a very good idea of the capabilities and limitations of humans.”

    No. Again, we never even get to the question of mechanism until we have already determined that the artifact in question was designed. You mentioned the pyramids. These are a great example. Why have people spent so much time and energy for generations trying to determine who built them and how they were built? Because we know they were designed. Have you also heard about the extensive efforts to determine the mechanism for implementing the mound located 1 km south of the Great Pyramid (at 29.968953, 31.132348)? (I won’t spoil the fun by giving it away. Have a look on Google maps.)

    Furthermore, if you are hung up on this idea that we need to propose some imagined mechanism to realize the design, then by all means, feel free to do so with a living organism. There are labs working on building molecules from the atomic level on up; there are companies that produce specific RNA-strands to order; there are researchers who have coded large amounts of information in DNA. How was the DNA of living organisms built? It is certainly not intellectually-challenging to posit hypothetical mechanisms of how DNA was built. It is just that it is largely meaningless to the design inference.

    But, again, the real point is that any such exercise is a second-order issue. It never even comes into play unless we have already determined design.

    If you are genuinely interested in this topic, I would suggest you set aside any preconceptions and any desire for a materialistic answer and instead take some time to really think through the causal chain and the chain of logic. I’m quite serious. Get a pencil and paper and map it out and I think you will find it instructive.

    —–

    “Or, as is the case with origins discussions, it might just mean “we don’t know”. Which is still the only conclusion that can be drawn. Even if God did design and create everything, which I acknowledge as a possibility, lacking any understanding of how he did it (mechanisms) leaves us with a big “I don’t know, but maybe God”.”

    If we are committed to a materialistic explanation, then, given the utter absence of such an explanation, perhaps the only thing we can say and still save face is “we don’t know.” However, if we are less interested in protecting a philosophical position and more interested in an objective search for truth, then there is much more we can say.

    For example, we know that purely natural processes are incapable of producing the kinds of information-rich systems seen in biology. Actually, it is worse than that. We know that both chance processes and law-like processes are net destroyers of information. They simply cannot be the source of these biological systems. Ironically, biological systems make valiant efforts to combat the deleterious effects of these natural processes on the organism, so it is laughable to hear materialists proposing things like random copying errors as the source of the information in the first place.

    Further, we have significant engineering experience and understanding of what is required to build functionally-integrated, coherent systems.

    We also have the frank admissions, admirably, by even ardent materialists like Dawkins, who acknowledge that living systems certainly appear designed.

    So I could respect a materialist who says, “Living systems appear designed. And the best inference we have right now, based on the current evidence, is that they were designed. That seems like the best answer, given what we currently know. But I am personally hoping that we are able to come up with a purely naturalistic explanation to counter this inference to design. Right now it doesn’t look good, but I still hold out hope for a materialistic explanation.”

    That would be an honest and open approach. I would question the desire to hold out hope for a materialistic explanation, but at least I could respect that kind of an open acknowledgement.

    What I can’t respect is an attempt to waive away the evidence for design with an objective-sounding, but utterly self-serving, “we just don’t have enough information” sweep-the-inference-under-the-rug kind of approach.

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