Creationist Wisdom #949: The Origin of Life

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the fifth biggest-selling regional evening newspaper in Britain, the Shropshire Star of Ketley, in Shropshire. Charles Darwin was born in Shropshire. The letter is titled No proof of our beginnings, and the newspaper has a comments section.

Because today’s writer isn’t a politician, preacher, or other public figure, we won’t embarrass or promote him by using his full name. His first name is David, and we’ve written about three of his letters before — see #635: The Fossil Record Fails, and before that #543: Dem Bones, Dem Bones, and before that #427: Purpose and Hope. We’ll give you a few excerpts from his newest letter, enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Okay, here we go:

AC Mitchell’s letter dated March 27 certainly raises some interesting points, arguing that evolution explains the diversity of life but not its beginning. Put another way he is saying that evolution explains the survival, not the arrival of the species.

We can’t find that earlier letter, but it doesn’t matter. It’s quite true that Darwin’s theory doesn’t explain the beginning of life. Leaping upon what he sees as a fatal weakness in the theory, David says:

Darwin’s On the Origin of Species suggests that the origin is important. [Darwin never tried to explain it.] Some evolutionists do claim that the origin of life is not part of evolution. However, probably every evolutionary biology textbook has a section on the origin of life in the chapters on evolution.

David spends several paragraphs babbling about how important the origin of life is. Then he tells us:

Atheistic evolution by its very name [given by creationists] and nature will not countenance the existence of God [Huh?] so has to explain everything by naturalistic means. But everything cannot be explained this way.

Wowie — some things just don’t have a naturalistic explanation — and they never will! David continues:

Life certainly cannot. Even if you get all the ingredients together in the right quantities you do not get a living being.

He’s right. You can dump all the right elements into a dish and you still won’t get life. That ought to tell you something. If it doesn’t, you’re obviously not as smart as David. To prove how smart he is, in one of the longest sentences we can recall from one of these letters — he tells us the only way there is to get a living being:

Life can only be given by the great life giver, outside of and creator of time and matter and power, the eternal, all knowing, all powerful spirit who calls himself God and who has revealed himself to mankind in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, who walked this earth two thousand years ago as recorded by well attested historical documents which we have today.

David doesn’t describe those “well attested historical documents” — but they obviously exist so we won’t concern ourselves with them. Let’s read on:

I know who I believe. [He knows!] He gives meaning and purpose to each human being, He values them for who they are, not how they look or what they can do or how much they earn or the colour of their skin.

Can you figure out who it is that David is talking about? If not, he provides the answer for you. We don’t want to take away the thrill of reading it for yourself, so we’ll skip that part of his paragraph. Hint — you won’t be disappointed.

And now we come to the end. David puts a question to the earlier letter-writer:

Which theory of the origins of matter, movement, time, life and hope does AC Mitchell commend?

More importantly — which theory do you commend, dear reader?

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17 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #949: The Origin of Life

  1. Michael Fugate

    Does David believe plants are alive? does he believe the earth brought forth plants? does he believe God created animals individually or did the waters or earth bring them forth? Is God still bringing forth every single life or is atheistic reproduction with random assortment of chromosomes and random fusion of gametes adequate now?

  2. Laurettte McGovern

    The thing is, saying “God did it” doesn’t explain a thing. How did God do it? When did God do it? Did God do it all at once, or in stages? And, Which God are we talking about?

  3. Which theory of the origins of matter, movement, time, life and hope does AC Mitchell commend?
    I don’t have a theory.
    I do have a theory for the variety of life.
    This letter-writer has neither. The Bible does not speak of the origin of matter, movement or time.
    For example, the first verses of Genesis assume the existence of water and a wind when God began hs creation. That means that there was matter, in the form of water, and motion, in the motion of air, that is, wind. It assumes time, the sequence of days, and nights. Three days before God puts those lights in the firmament to mark the sucession of days and nights.
    While the Bible speaks of some particular forms of life somehow growng out of the water and earth, it does not say anything at all about the majority of life on Earth: the microbes, et alone their origins.
    While I am aware of some theories about the origin of life on Earth, they all make reference to natural events. I am not aware of any supernatural-only thery of the origins of life.
    So the situation seems to be something like this.There are naturlistic scientific theories about lots of things. One example is the chemical theory of oxidation and reduction to explain fire and other stuff. There is Newton’s theory of mechanics which explains, among other tings, the motions of planets. There is Pasteur’s theory of fermantation, which explains bread and beer. None of tose theories make any claim about the origin of matter, etc. and they are not the worse for that.
    On the other hand, we have a claim from creatioists that they have a theory, but they don’t have an explanation for – well, not for anything., and certainly not for the origins of matter, motion, time or life.

  4. “Put another way he is saying that evolution explains the survival, not the arrival of the species. ”
    That another way is the creationist hence a clumsy way.

    “probably every evolutionary biology textbook has a section on the origin of life in the chapters on evolution.”
    Partly correct. Let me quote Donald Prothero, What the Fossils Say and Why it Matters:

    “Because these earliest fossils are tiny carbonized films preserved in cherts and flints, they provide little evidence for the chemical processes that formed life.” (page 147)

    However Jerry Coyne’s Why Evolution Is True says nothing about the origin of life. Of course actual scientists (as David pointed out they are people who are not satisfied with merely goddiddid):

    http://www.talkorigins.org/faqs/abioprob/originoflife.html

    It probably already is outdated.

    “Life can only be given by the great life giver.”
    Aha. If a scientist throws “the ingredients together in the right quantities” nothing will happen, but if the Grand Old Designer does it works. Somehow. And David surely is not going to tell us.

    “which theory do you commend, dear reader?”
    None. Because, as Prothero pointed out, we lack empirical data. That’s the difference between the scientific approach and the creacrap approach – the first one allows “I don’t know”, the second replaces it with goddiddid and concludes “now I know”. But only when it suits.
    What about superconductivity at relatively high temperatures, David? What will it be – you don’t know or your god is juggling with magnets?

  5. @Michael Fugate
    IMHO, the firefighters showed remarkable skill in not destroying the three rose windows.
    “Act quickly”? Don’t think, go with your guts?

  6. He claims that life began with magic spell, and shows absolutely no proof of this except he no like nature!! but likes fairy tale better! Some proof!

  7. @MichaelF: David only believes “Evilution is false, doesn’t matter how”. The rest (including the God, Jesus, Holy Spook stuff) is ornament.

    “Dunning Kruger?”
    Only if you stretch it. DK patients have some competence, but overestimate it. Regarding Evolution Theory and Abiogenesis I can’t find any with David.
    Oh wait – the DK effect applies to David regarding representing creacrap. Even in that respect he confidently does a rather poor job repeating tired, old stuff. Then again, lately IDiot Klinkleclapper and Ol’Hambo the YECer haven’t done any better either. Which begs the question – creacrap (including IDiocy) and competence, can they form a meaningful combination? What the heck what picture should we paint in our minds when somebody says X is a competent creationist?!

  8. “Dunning Kruger? A bit like this guy…”

    Be surprised that Trump did not recommend that the fire could be put out by employing Russian prostitutes!

  9. As far as I know, the Canadairs are mostly in the south, in readiness for heathland and forest fires in Provence — I’ve seen them parked at Marseille Airport. That must be a couple of hours’ flying time from Paris, so they would probably have arrived too late. They also rely heavily on being able to scoop up sea-water…. a commodity in short supply around Paris.

  10. “…all powerful spirit who calls himself God…”

    David’s a Brit, but he forgot to brush up his Shakespeare:

    Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep
    Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man; but will they come when you do call for them?

    — Henry the Fourth

  11. Retired Prof

    TomS says that Genesis “assumes time, the sequence of days, and nights. Three days before God puts those lights in the firmament to mark the sucession of days and nights.”

    The way I see it is, the firmament alone is enough to distinguish between night and day. The Grand Old Designer made half of it dark and the other half bright. You can tell this is so, because even in cloudy weather when neither the sun nor moon is up there, the sky still goes dark at night and brightens as soon as the bright side rotates into position in the morning. God had the wisdom to put a moon up there on the dark side so we can (sometimes) have light when we really need it. The sun is glaringly superfluous for finding our way around, though it is sort of nice for getting a tan and for starting fires with a magnifying glass.

  12. How about firefighters just dump a sh*tload of fire retardant on top of Trump’s head? (And David from Shropshire, while they’re at it).

    Yes, that’s about the level at which my political commentary operates. Sophisticated, n’est ce pas?

  13. And Eric Metaxas at the DI seminar. He was on fire, apparently.

  14. Michael Fugate

    On fire maybe, but definitely not a national treasure…

  15. Life can only be given by the great life giver, outside of and creator of time and matter and power, the eternal, all knowing, all powerful spirit who calls himself God and who has revealed himself to mankind in the person of his son, Jesus Christ, who walked this earth two thousand years ago as recorded by well attested historical documents which we have today.

    But those “well attested historical documents” (whatever they are) don’t establish that Jesus was the son of God. They don’t establish that Genesis I is true. They don’t establish that “life can only be given by the great life giver” blah blah blah. They are therefore irrelevant to the debate (such as it is) over creation vs. evolution,

  16. Life can only be given by the great life giver
    And how does that happen? Does it involve space and time, matter and energy, the laws of lnature? Maybe even – gasp! – involving chance?
    If not, then how? Has anybody ever shown an interest in answering that question. Let alone described an answer? Far be it given any evidence for that answer?
    Just beccause you can’t think of anyhting else to say, that does not address the gap. Even if all the brightest people of the past century couldn’t – assuiming that this were so – it doesn’t mean that your non-answer is transformed into an answer.