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™.
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