For instance, through much of the nineteenth century, the scientific consensus was that microscopic life was relatively simple, little more than microscopic sacks of Jell-O. The scientific community also accepted the idea of spontaneous generation—that creatures sprang to life spontaneously out of things like dew and rotting meat. Taken together, these pieces of conventional scientific wisdom suggested that the origin of the first living cell deep in the past was hardly worthy of the term mystery—a material explanation seemed obvious.
But in 1861 Louis Pasteur conducted a series of experiments that discredited the notion of spontaneous generation. And in the next century, scientists began amassing evidence of just how complex even the simplest cell is. Today we know that cells are microminiaturized factories of astonishing sophistication and that, even more to the point, such sophistication is essential for them to be able to survive and reproduce. Matheson himself conceded in his debate with Meyer that no adequate material explanation has been found for the origin of the cell.
In sum: We have come to learn that spontaneous generation was a fantasy. We have discovered that even the simplest cells are highly sophisticated and information-rich organisms. And the only cause we have ever witnessed actually producing novel information is intelligent design. Thus, modern scientific observations have collapsed a long-standing material explanation for the origin of life and simultaneously strengthened the competing design explanation. This development runs directly counter to scientism’s grand narrative.
The usual rejoinder of the Darwin follower, the Christians for Darwin, multiverser and the new atheist is that if we give up on scientism (= someday, somehow we will be able to explain all this away), we are giving up on science.
Which amounts to saying that all they ever knew of science is scientism. Let the record show that.
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