Answers in Genesis — The Origin of Life

This is one of the most painful things we’ve encountered from the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), the creationist ministry of Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else. We’re not exaggerating. It actually hurts to try to follow what’s being said.

We’re talking about Is the Origin of Life a Scientific Question? The pain begins with that title. It was written by Danny Faulkner. Here’s AIG’s biographical information about him. They say he taught physics and astronomy until he joined AIG. His undergraduate degree is from Bob Jones University. Here are some excerpts from Danny’s post, with bold font added by us for emphasis:

The origin of life has been debated for a long time. Basically, there are four possible explanations for the existence of life on earth:

1. Life on earth arose spontaneously.
2. Life on earth has always existed. [Hee hee!]
3. Life on earth came about through a supernatural act of creation by an intelligent Being.
4. Life was seeded from space.

Those are Danny’s options. Actually, there are only two options — life occurs either naturally or supernaturally. Anyway, Danny says:

Science is supposed to be about things that are observable. That is, science can probe only things that we can detect with our five senses. Science also must be repeatable. This means that when an experiment or observation is repeated, we get the same results. These restrictions on science have led to what we call the scientific method, the general rules that we follow in doing science.

*Groan* Our five senses are extremely limited, but that’s all that was available to the authors of the bible. Today we have instruments that disclose vastly more information, and our instruments are constantly being improved. Also, not everything is repeatable. Many astronomical events, for example, aren’t repeatable — although things like eclipses are recurring and predictable. But let’s keep going. Danny tells us:

The scientific investigation of the origin of life presents us with at least two problems. First, since life began before people were around, we hardly can observe the process. Second, since the origin of life appears to have been a unique event, we hardly can repeat it.

*Groan* Those “two problems” mean that the sudden expansion that generated the visible universe isn’t science, despite the fact that it’s supported by the observation of predictable phenomena. It also means that geological events, like the volcanic origin of the Hawaiian Islands, aren’t science. Danny is limiting science to those things that can be repeatedly done with a child’s chemistry set.

Having declared what he thinks is science, Danny then deals with the four options for the origin of life that he presented at the start:

How do these four possibilities stack up? The fourth possibility [panspermia] doesn’t really explain how life came about, but instead passes the question off to some other location. Many would object that the third option [god-did-it] is unscientific and hence ought not to be considered. If we restrict the definition of scientific to questions that can be answered through the application of the scientific method to natural processes, then option three may be considered unscientific. [Wow — big concession!] However, what is the status of the other two options?

Yeah, what about those two? He continues:

Option one is the assertion of abiogenesis, the belief that life must have arisen from nonliving things through a natural process. However, abiogenesis has never been observed. To the contrary, it has been shown numerous times that biogenesis is true, that only living things give rise to living things. That is, abiogenesis has been scientifically disproved. To persist in belief in abiogenesis, one must believe in something that clearly is unscientific.

Wow — Danny is right! No one has ever seen a rock give birth to a bird. But what about option two? Let’s read on:

Life can be eternally existent only if the earth and the universe are eternal. However, the overwhelming scientific consensus today is that the universe is not eternal but instead had its origin a finite time ago.

Darn! We were counting on that one. So what’s left? Danny explains:

Since neither option one nor option two is scientific and option four [panspermia] does not answer the question of the ultimate origin of life, only extreme bias against any possibility of the supernatural origin of life would lead one to reject the third possibility [god-did-it]. The fact that none of the four options are scientific underscores the fact that the origin of life is not a scientific question.

Yeah, right. Hey — we’re only halfway through Danny’s essay. You’ll want to read it all for yourself, but trust us — it only gets worse. Here’s one final excerpt from near the end:

Every attempt to explain life contradicts science. But don’t feel bad about that, because science is a very limited practice. There are many things, such as the answers to moral questions, that we cannot learn from science. Clearly, a Creator is a logical possibility (yes, this is a possibility, scientifically). If science cannot tell us the origin of life, then if we wish to learn about life’s origin, we must look elsewhere. The first few chapters of Genesis are an account of the origin of life and everything else in our universe. We know that the Bible is inspired by God and hence is authoritative and reliable.

Except that the miracles described in Danny’s ancient scrolls can’t be observed, tested, or repeated, so they too should fail to be acceptable explanations. Oh, wait — Danny’s scrolls are different. They’re The Truth.

Copyright © 2018. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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18 responses to “Answers in Genesis — The Origin of Life

  1. bewilderbeast

    Not just The Truth™ – but the eternal, immutable truth, as amended:
    First Council of Nicaea (325)
    First Council of Constantinople (381)
    Council of Ephesus (431)
    Second Council of Ephesus (449)
    Council of Chalcedon (451) repudiated
    Second Council of Constantinople (553)
    Third Council of Constantinople (680-681)
    Quinisext Council, also called Council in Trullo [2] (692)
    Second Council of Nicaea (787)
    First Council of the Lateran (1123)
    Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215)
    Second Council of Lyon (1274)
    First Council of the Vatican (1870; officially, 1870-1960)

  2. Too repeat his hero…WERE U THERE!?!?
    No! So you don’t have a clue either. And believes that it is all a magic spell!
    Sorry but magic aint real!

  3. Michael Fugate

    Danny doesn’t know the meaning of either “observe” or “repeatable”.

  4. bewilderbeast

    That reminds me: What is happening to the latest amending of the Bible? There was a project launched in the ‘States somewhere, I thought. The one wanting to make Jesus a bit less socialist and a bit more, I don’t know, white supremacist??

  5. Eddie Janssen

    Are you sure Ken Ham wasn’t there?

  6. “Today we have instruments that disclose vastly more information”
    That’s correct of course – and those instruments don’t need to be complicated; think of a thermometer – but in the end we still need our senses to observe. We can Dannyboy give the benefit of the doubt here.

    “Science also must be repeatable”
    But not here. It has been pointed out on this very blog (not by me, I’m not that smart) that Danny is implying here that forensic investagations (CSI) are not scientific. Also of course Danny is totally OK with rejecting scientific research that actually is repeatable – namely when radiometrics concludes that our Earth is older than 6000 years. It’s that hypocrisy that results in the blooper

    “Second, since the origin of life appears to have been a unique event, we hardly can repeat it.”
    As soon as lab researchers have found a method to go from molecule to a unicellular organism (to paraphrase some creacrappers) we can bet the lower ends of our digestive systems that it totally will be repeatable. Then Dannyboy will crow about “different circumstances” or something.

    “only living things give rise to living things”
    Dannyboy should properly define life first before pulling off this dichotomy. Is a virus a form of life? On what grounds does he answer with yes or no?

    “That is, abiogenesis has been scientifically disproved.”
    More hypocrisy. Creacrapper love “absence of evidence is no evidence of absence” when it suits them. Well, it is correct, on the condition we can demonstrate that we have done a thorough search. That’s not the case regarding the origin of life.
    Just compare this with the AIG-non logic “atheists can only claim that there is no god if they have searched the entire Universe”. Dannyboy loves his double standard – as correctly pointed in our dear SC’s very last sentence.

  7. Just for the sake of clarity: “absence of evidence is evidence of absence” if we have done a thorough research.

  8. Christine Janis

    “Danny is limiting science to those things that can be repeatedly done with a child’s chemistry set.”

    You’ve hit the nail on the head there. Most creationists’ only experience with science has been high school chemistry, and that’s what they use as their yardstick.

  9. Scientist

    Danny should spend some time in a research lab to get a real understanding of how science works. Though any type of research should do, I suggest a biochemistry or molecular biology lab where he can extend his senses with instruments and, perhaps, come to appreciate that all that is necessary for life to start is the formation of a self-replicating molecule. He should also take a good course in logic.

  10. They are working with the early attempt at characterizing science by Francis Bacon. “The Scientific Method”. It was adopted in the early 19th century by the “Princeton Theology” which influenced conservative calvanism in the USA, and gave rise to Fundamentalism in the early 20th century.
    Unfortunately, Baconian Scientific Method is still taught in K-12 science classes in the USA.

  11. 1. When a creationist asks me, “Were you there?” I respond, “Yes – I was wearing a blue anorak and a dark blue knit cap. What were you wearing?”

    2. Didn’t I hear recently that biogenesis might’ve happened a few times, in a few ways, in the sense that there were a variety of self-replicating proteins that then became life over time.

  12. Mark Germano

    I’ve found that when I read Danny Faulkner’s convoluted reasoning, the voice in my head quickly turns in to Wallace Shawn’s character Vizzini in The Princess Bride. It doesn’t make any more sense, but it is much more enjoyable.

    Never get involved in a land war in Asia!

  13. Christine Janis comments insightfully,
    “Most creationists’ only experience with science has been high school chemistry…”

    If that. So many are now home-schooled they are lucky if they’ve seen what happens when baking soda and vinegar are mixed.

  14. SC, since when do you think supernatural is an option?

  15. So many are now home-schooled they are lucky if they’ve seen what happens when baking soda and vinegar are mixed

    I sometimes thinks that’s what happens in their brain when they write stuff like Danny here.

  16. Eric Lipps


    Evidently Danny believes you can’t tell if a murder has occurred unless you saw it happen–or, of course, you read it in the Bible. The entire science of forensics is based on determining what happened on the basis of evidence other than direct observation. I’m sure police departments everywhere would be distressed to learn it doesn’t work.

  17. Why does AiG believe that the Ice Age(s) happened? But as Christine Janis and others point out, we do great harm by teaching some 17th century construct called “the scientific method”. My own latest attempt to lay Bacon’s ghost to rest is at

  18. Paul Braterman mentions “My own latest attempt to lay Bacon’s ghost to rest …”

    Wow — nice work! I saw the same thing at PhysOrg — Like evolution, all scientific theories are a work in progress — but didn’t notice that it had your byline. Well done!