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.