Over the last couple of centuries, science has had great success in explaining natural phenomena in terms of natural processes. For example, research and development efforts have given us automobile engines that are much more efficient than they were when cars first came on the scene. The science of biology has also exhibited tremendous advancement in probing the inner workings of the cells of life. Shouldn’t science continue this trend in searching for a natural explanation for the origin and development of life on Earth?
Why shouldn’t we assume that inanimate objects (atoms and molecules) in conjunction with natural sources of energy can create life? One reason is that our advancing knowledge of the biochemical activities within the cell has revealed a metropolis of mechanisms that far surpasses the functional complexity of anything else observed in the universe. We could plausibly continue to assume that life arose naturally if it could be demonstrated that natural processes systematically increase the information content of closed systems over time. But to persist in believing that nature can do something that contradicts natural law is not science, but a form of idolatry.
Prescientific peoples used to worship rocks or carved pieces of wood and declare, “My father!” But that practice became unfashionable well before the age of science. So then, it was thought that the Earth gave birth to life (exchanging a small rock for a large one). But scientists began to realize that even this was unlikely, so an appeal was made to the greater universe for the origin of life.1 With the advent of further understanding of the vast information content of biomolecules and the low probability of any sort of chance assemblage of such molecules within our universe, the size of the “rock” was enormously expanded to encompass multiple universes. How much bigger could it get? Does size even matter? Isn’t it all fraught with the same essential absurdity—calling a rock, “My father!”?
Perhaps we unconsciously ascribe fertility to the Earth, since out of its soil grow all of the plants that provide food for animals and for us. And yet the Earth would produce nothing without the seeds of the plants. One of biology’s “universal laws” (accredited to Rudolph Virchow) states, “Every cell comes from a pre-existent cell.”2 So, we look to the seed, and what do we find? A rich storehouse of information coded in the seed’s DNA. We find information as the source of the physical complexity of life; the Earth is just the environment in which the seed’s hidden information can be unfolded and activated.
From where does the information embedded within the seed come? Not from the Earth, nor from the stars, nor from the Big Bang origin of the physical universe.Canceled Science, p. 212
The level of information found within a seed can only come from a mind so far above our own that to ascribe it to God is not a statement of religion, but of logic. As physicist Gerald Schroeder has said, “information…is the link between the metaphysical Creator and the physical creation. It is the hidden face of God.”3
1. F. H. C. Crick and L. E. Orgel, “Directed Panspermia,” Icarus 19 (1973): 341-346.
2. Franklin M. Harold, The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms and the Order of Life (Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2001), p. 99.
3. Gerald L. Schroeder, The Hidden Face of God: Science Reveals the Ultimate Truth (Touchstone, New York, 2001), p. 49.