Intelligent Design Origin Of Life

Neil Thomas comments on the difficulty of accommodating Darwinism to sudden origin of life

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Neil Thomas, author of Taking Leave of Darwin (2021) comments on a curious fact about Darwinism:

The greatest problem for the acceptance of Darwinism as a self-standing and logically coherent theory is the unsolved mystery of the absolute origin of life on earth, a subject which Charles Darwin tried to bat away as, if not a total irrelevance, then as something beyond his competence to pronounce on. Even today Darwinian supporters will downplay the subject of the origins of life as a matter extraneous to the subject of natural selection. It is not. It is absolutely foundational to the integrity of natural selection as a conceptually satisfactory theory, and evolutionary science cannot logically even approach the starting blocks of its conjectures without cracking this unsolved problem, as the late 19th-century German scientist Ludwig Buechner pointed out…

In what was shaping up to become the largely post-Christian 20th century in Europe, the untenability of the abiogenesis postulate was resisted by many in the scientific world on purely ideological grounds. The accelerating secularizing trends of the early 20th century meant that the outdated and disproven notion of spontaneous generation was nevertheless kept alive on a form of intellectual life-support despite the abundant evidence pointing to its unviability.

Neil Thomas, “Considering “Abiogenesis,” an Imaginary Term in Science” at Evolution News and Science Today (April 11, 2022)

Now that Thomas mentions it a remarkable literature has been produced in the last century offering explanations of the origin of life and — it is fair to say — none of them work.

Here’s a thought: If your origin of life theory works, can we reverse engineer the conditions to produce life from non-life today? If we can’t, that doesn’t prove your theory false. After all, it is very difficult to demonstrate that something “couldn’t have” happened under any circumstances whatever. But you must now rejoin the queue in your previous place…

The rest of the series to date is here.

You may also wish to read: Could life have started in the depths of the Earth? It’s controversial. Talk about an extremophile deep in the Earth! Trouble is we don’t know that life started out like audaxviator. It could just as easily be that one late-arriving microbe could inhabit that territory but nothing else could.

10 Replies to “Neil Thomas comments on the difficulty of accommodating Darwinism to sudden origin of life

  1. 1
    BobRyan says:

    Origin of life is intertwined with Darwin. Can’t have evolution without a starting point. Just one more thing they have no proof to support.

  2. 2
    Seversky says:

    It is perfectly possible and acceptable to study how life diversified after it emerged without having a theory about origins, something a professor of German literature and language may not understand.

  3. 3
    EvilSnack says:

    There is a principle that if you are wrong at the very start, you cannot make real progress until you correct the first error, tear up everything that is consequent of that seminal error, and rebuild anew.
    The whole point of Darwinism is to prove that Genesis is wrong, with the intention of using the aforementioned principle to reject the Bible altogether.
    So if it turns out that unguided forces cannot possibly transform inorganic material into life, then to discuss the subsequent development of life strictly in terms of unguided forces becomes an exercise in crafting unprovable hypotheses.

  4. 4
    chuckdarwin says:

    [OOL] is absolutely foundational to the integrity of natural selection as a conceptually satisfactory theory, and evolutionary science cannot logically even approach the starting blocks of its conjectures without cracking this unsolved problem, as the late 19th-century German scientist Ludwig Buechner pointed out…

    Fiddlesticks, nothing but unabashed cod-science……!!!!

  5. 5
    Silver Asiatic says:

    If your origin of life theory works, can we reverse engineer the conditions to produce life from non-life today?

    Yes, the argument is that we can’t create life because it took billions of years on earth. But if those billions of years were needed only to find the lucky combination, then we don’t need any time at all to create life from non-life. It’s like trying to pick a lock and working years through random combinations. Once you find the combination, you don’t need years to open the lock any more.

    Regarding how Darwinists close off origin of life from their theory – if the proposal was: “God created the first life form”, that would have a big impact on whatever came after and Darwinism should have nothing to say about it.

  6. 6
    jerry says:

    Since Darwin’s ideas have nothing to do with the Evolution debate, it is unlikely it has anything to do with OOL either.

    Darwin’s ideas only have relevance in genetics. Yet UD continue to discuss it like it is a major player in Evolution when it is not. Maybe UD should start emphasizing the truth about change instead of looking for examples to bash Darwin’s ideas.

    For example, there are no intermediary molecules that one can point to for OOL and all is just pure speculation. For Evolution there are thousands of species one can point to so that is not speculation but there are no truly transitional species so again it depends on pure speculation.

    While in genetics there are boatloads of changes that can be attributed to Darwinian processes.

  7. 7
    Blastus says:

    Chuck Darwin writes: “unabashed cod-science”.

    “Codswallop” is British English for “nonsense”.

    But I think we can use this term “cod-science” to describe most evolution writing. For example, look at the following article and count the number if times words like “may have”, “probably”, and “could have” are used. Cod-science indeed! Thank you Chuck for adding color to our lexicon.

    https://www.livescience.com/why-trilobites-went-extinct.html

  8. 8
    Silver Asiatic says:

    Blastus – I’ve been wondering what that meant. Thanks!

    Trilobites were dying off …

    because environmental and evolutionary changes had whittled away at this class of creatures

    Environmental and evolutionary changes created trilobites from bacteria, and then killed them off. Those same environmental changes allowed close relatives horseshoe crabs to survive virtually unchanged for 400 million years.

  9. 9
    chuckdarwin says:

    Blastus @ 7
    I can’t claim ownership of the term. Thomas quotes iconoclast philosopher John Gray in his prior article as using the term “cod-science.” It seemed an appropriate–not to mention, ironic–description of Thomas’ improper linkage of OOL and natural selection……
    https://uncommondescent.com/intelligent-design/neil-thomas-on-the-dawkinsian-mythology/

  10. 10
    Fasteddious says:

    Sorry, but I have to disagree with Neil Thomas here.
    One can have theories about and study how geology happens and how the planet evolved after it first came into being, without having to know how it came together in the first place. Similarly, one can have theories about how lifeforms change, adapt and evolve over time without knowing how they first got started. One does not need a complete A thru Z theory in order to validly theorize about D thru X.
    Moreover, Thomas’ argument opens ID up to the usual complaint about the “who” and “how” of ID theory. If we say Darwinists need an OOL answer, then they can say ID needs answers about the designer! On the subject of evolution of life, therefore, ID should stick with showing that Darwinism (in any guise) does not work and that infusions of information, from an intelligent agent are needed to account for life as we see it.
    The origin of life is a powerful arrow in the ID quiver, but it is distinct from “evolution”, at least in my opinion.

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