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Merely random origin of life?: Rabbi Averick turns the spout on Bertrand Russell’s teapot

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Moshe Averick Rabbi Moshe Averick, author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused, Illusory World of the Atheist, notes in a post at the Times of Israel blog, the illogicality of many claims that life arose without purpose or design, turning Bertrand Russell’s “teapot” argument on its spout:

Let me begin my explanation of this flawed argument by quoting one of the great intellectuals of the 20th century, Bertrand Russell. Russell made the following oft-quoted statement:

“Many orthodox people speak as though it were the business of skeptics to disprove received dogmas rather than of dogmatists to prove them. If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that since my assertion cannot be disproved [no one can doubt its truth], I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense.”

Russell is absolutely correct. If I propose some fantastic notion and demand that it be accepted as truth, it is my burden to present the evidence that it is true. The fact that the particular notion cannot be disproved is irrelevant. Another way of stating that something cannot be disproved is to say, “Well, it’s possible” or “It’s not impossible.” The fact that it’s possible or not impossible is meaningless.

The notion that the awe-inspiring levels of functional complexity and specified information found in the “simplest” living bacterium is the result of some mysterious unguided, undirected process is an extraordinary claim. Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. As of today not only is there no extraordinary evidence available, we find just what we would expect: no evidence at all that would compel me to accept this assertion as fact.

Atheistic scientists are acutely aware of the difficulties involved in proposing that some type of unguided process would be able to bridge the gaping chasm between non-life and life. However, they seem totally oblivious to the fact that – in keeping with the thrust of Russell’s argument – it is their burden to prove it true rather than being the burden of the theist to disprove the possibility.

The National Center for Science Education (NCSE), headed by atheistic biologist, Dr. Eugenie Scott, has for years been in the forefront of the battle to prevent the teaching of flaws in evolutionary theory or Intelligent Design theory in US public schools. Dr. Frank Sonleitner, a Professor of Zoology at the University of Oklahoma has written a lengthy essay on the origin of life which appears on the NCSE website. He writes as follows: “Modern ideas about the [emergence] of living things from non-living components…may not have yet come anywhere near answering all our questions about the process, but…none of this research has indicated that abiogenesis is impossible.”

But, of course, as Rabbi Averick goes on to note, the research could not, by its very nature, show that it is impossible for life to emerge by accident from non-life That is simply not how such research is done. Researchers investigate a given possible proposition, and so far they have come up with nothing very convincing.

After all these decades, that fact itself is worthy of note.

10 Replies to “Merely random origin of life?: Rabbi Averick turns the spout on Bertrand Russell’s teapot

  1. 1
    TSErik says:

    Is the irrational Russell’s teapot still tossed around as a valid argument on the burden of proof?

  2. 2
    EvilSnack says:

    To claim that life can come from non-living material entirely through unconscious processes requires a certain level of proof.

    To claim that this actually did happen, and that consciousness played no role whatsoever, requires a far higher level of proof.

    Science has not met even the lower of these two thresholds, and yet materialism treats the higher threshold as having been met.

    Therefore, materialism is not science.

  3. 3
    Lothars Sohn says:

    The problem is that almost NOBODY in the materialist camp claims that life came “by accident”.

    They believe it was a long process, some parts of which are still eluding us.

    Lothars Sohn – Lothar’s son

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    Alvin Plantinga has made much the same observation as M.Averick after reading Dawkin’s “The Blind Watchmaker”

    Darwinism Not Proved Impossible Therefore Its True – Plantinga – video


    Probabilities Of Life – Don Johnson PhD. – 38 minute mark of video
    a typical functional protein – 1 part in 10^175
    the required enzymes for life – 1 part in 10^40,000
    a living self replicating cell – 1 part in 10^340,000,000

    “The probability for the chance of formation of the smallest, simplest form of living organism known is 1 in 10^340,000,000. This number is 10 to the 340 millionth power! The size of this figure is truly staggering since there is only supposed to be approximately 10^80 (10 to the 80th power) electrons in the whole universe!”
    (Professor Harold Morowitz, Energy Flow In Biology pg. 99, Biophysicist of George Mason University)

    “The statistical probability that organic structures and the most precisely harmonized reactions that typify living organisms would be generated by accident, is zero.”
    Ilya Prigogine, Gregoire Nicolis, and Agnes Babloyantz, Physics Today 25, pp. 23-28.

    The Universal Plausibility Metric (UPM) & Principle (UPP) – Abel – Dec. 2009
    Excerpt: Mere possibility is not an adequate basis for asserting scientific plausibility. A precisely defined universal bound is needed beyond which the assertion of plausibility, particularly in life-origin models, can be considered operationally falsified. But can something so seemingly relative and subjective as plausibility ever be quantified? Amazingly, the answer is, “Yes.”,,,
    c?u = Universe = 10^13 reactions/sec X 10^17 secs X 10^78 atoms = 10^108
    c?g = Galaxy = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^66 atoms = 10^96
    c?s = Solar System = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^55 atoms = 10^85
    c?e = Earth = 10^13 X 10^17 X 10^40 atoms = 10^70

    Programming of Life – Probability – Defining Probable, Possible, Feasible etc.. – video

    In Barrow and Tippler’s book The Anthropic Cosmological Principle, they list ten steps necessary in the course of human evolution, each of which, is so improbable that if left to happen by chance alone, the sun would have ceased to be a main sequence star and would have incinerated the earth. They estimate that the odds of the evolution (by chance) of the human genome is somewhere between 4 to the negative 180th power, to the 110,000th power, and 4 to the negative 360th power, to the 110,000th power. Therefore, if evolution did occur, it literally would have been a miracle and evidence for the existence of God.
    William Lane Craig

    William Lane Craig – If Human Evolution Did Occur It Was A Miracle – video

    Thou Shalt Not Put Evolutionary Theory to a Test – Douglas Axe – July 18, 2012
    Excerpt: Each and every specific genetic change needed to produce humans from apes would have to have conferred a significant selective advantage in order for humans to have appeared in the available time (i.e. the mutations cannot be ‘neutral’). Any aspect of the transition that requires two or more mutations to act in combination in order to increase fitness would take way too long (>100 million years).
    My challenge to McBride, and everyone else who believes the evolutionary story of human origins, is not to provide the list of mutations that did the trick, but rather a list of mutations that can do it. Otherwise they’re in the position of insisting that something is a scientific fact without having the faintest idea how it even could be.” Doug Axe PhD.

    Here is the typical Darwinian response to such mathematical impossibilities:

    Dumb and Dumber ‘There’s a Chance’ – video

  5. 5
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    Lothars Sohn are you claiming ool is not in anyway the product of chance events?

    For non materialists “by accident” can mean by chance and necessity over a long period of time

  6. 6
    bornagain77 says:

    An honest atheist admits the real reason,,,

    “When it comes to the origin of life, we have only two possibilities as to how life arose. One is spontaneous generation arising to evolution; the other is a supernatural creative act of God. There is no third possibility…Spontaneous generation was scientifically disproved one hundred years ago by Louis Pasteur, Spellanzani, Reddy and others. That leads us scientifically to only one possible conclusion — that life arose as a supernatural creative act of God…I will not accept that philosophically because I do not want to believe in God. Therefore, I choose to believe in that which I know is scientifically impossible, spontaneous generation arising to evolution.” –
    George Wald – Nobelist – Scientific American, August, 1954.

  7. 7
    Johnnyfarmer says:

    Two chemicals will react by necessity if by chance they can get together to do so. More time improves the probability they may get together. Non materialists are willing to give the materialists all of the time they want for this accident … which is really many accidents over a long period of time.

    Presently science is not even able to produce life by reverse engineering let alone by a random mix shake and bake kind of method.

    An unfalsifiable explanation is not proof…. only wishful thinking.

  8. 8
    Axel says:

    Instead of saying, ‘Do the math’, people should say. ‘Do the Evolution.’ Much less fuzzy, isn’t it?

  9. 9
    Blue_Savannah says:

    That’s the hypocrisy with some militant atheistic evolutionists: ANYTHING is possible, except GOD.

    They are so anti-GOD, they won’t even consider I.D (even though it doesn’t claim GOD as the designer per se) because their weak, illogical atheism is threatened by anything that MIGHT lend credence to the belief that GOD is real.
    And because of their irrationality towards the possibility of an intelligent designer, scientific progress suffers.

    They are foolish to try to look at everything in the room except the elephant staring at them. The evidence points to an intelligent designer.

  10. 10
    Axel says:

    Why look for horrid old truth as verified by mathematics, Blue_Savannah, when you know it’s inimical to your world-view? And you can give absolutely free rein to your conjectures and call it science.

    With Western capitalism’s corporate wealth and power behind you, who’s going to enforce the onus of proof on you? Not only can they plumb the deepest abyss of folly with relative impunity, they already have done; they have taken up permanent residence in it. But, guess what, atheists? YOU LOSE!

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