Update: There is a question at the end of this post. After the first several comments, no one has addressed it, much less answered it. I really am curious how our readers would answer.
In another thread Paul Giem made this statement: “While some holes in a blanket assertion that a non-ID position can explain everything have closed, others appear to have opened up, the origin of life being one of them.” Dr. Giem was responding to a common narrative among materialists: “Materialist explanations always advance, and the number of phenomena susceptible to non-materialist explanations grows ever smaller.”
Let us consider this claim in the context of origin of life (OOL) and Neo-Darwinian Evolution (NDE).
NDE has a kind of first blush plausibility. Taxonomic hierarchies lead inexorably to the conclusion that some species are more related than others. With a little imagination (and I lot of metaphysical incentive), we can easily picture how “numerous slight modifications” over deep time would be a plausible explanation of how the species came to be. And indeed Darwin’s theory has had a powerful grip on the imagination of much of the world for over 150 years.
Darwin did not delve into the OOL issue in depth. (Indeed, with the state of scientific tools and knowledge at his time, it was impossible for him to have done so.) But he did speculate, and to him goes the credit for the “little warm pond” scenario. Ever since he and countless others following him have been charmed by the seeming plausibility of this and similar OOL scenarios.
To gain widespread acceptance, NDE and materialist accounts of OOL have absolutely relied on the natural human tendency to accept things at face value. And this is a shame, because it is only when one delves into the details that the assertions become less and less plausible. It follows that the less one knows about the facts, the more plausible materialist OOL accounts and NDE are.
This is where Dr. Giem is certainly correct, and the traditional materialist narrative had been turned on its head. The more we have learned (especially in recent decades), the less plausible materialist accounts of these phenomena have become. Far from forcing non-materialist accounts to retreat, these accounts (such as ID) have actually become more plausible and attracted a growing following precisely because we know more (not less) about the facts of the matter.
Consider, for example, this gem from Haeckel: “Each of us was, at the beginning of his existence, a simple globule of protoplasm, surrounded by a membrane, about 1/120 of an inch in diameter, with a firmer nucleus inside it.” Ernst Haeckel, Last Words on Evolution (London: A. Owen & Co., 1906).
How quaint. We now know that every single cell is a bio-cybernetic chemical automaton able to self-replicate, self-organize, and perform metabolic functions by means of nano-level molecular machines controlled by internal digital software stored in information rich polymers.
Now, I ask you under which state of knowledge would a blind watchmaker materialist account of origins be more plausible?