Creationist Wisdom #964: The Origin of Life

Today’s letter-to-the-editor appears in the News-Gazette of Champaign, Illinois. It’s titled Some thoughts on origin of life, and the newspaper doesn’t have a comments feature.

Because the 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 Stewart. Excerpts from his letter will be enhanced with our Curmudgeonly commentary, some bold font for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]. Here we go!

Responding to recent letters, I offer the following. Although evidence for evolution of life forms is strong, the origin of life by random chemical means is at most a hypothesis.

Fair enough. Then he gets carried away:

Because the uncertainty of the evolutionary chemical view and the religious creation view, the extraterrestrial intentional design origin of life hypothesis, probably from some planet close to Earth in our Milky Way galaxy, is possible. Due to the vast traveling distances, life forms originating from a planet in another galaxy are not probable.

Stewart rules out creationism, which is understandable, but then he also rules out the chemical origin of life — because it hasn’t yet been demonstrated. Instead he opts for what’s known as Panspermia , and to show that he’s a reasonable man, he rules out life that traveled here from another galaxy. After that he tells us:

Because of the complexity of even the simplest life forms, only the possibility of extraterrestrial origin of life can account for the first living cell, the first horse [Horse?] or the first humanoid [Wow!]. There is no question that a random chemical mix is impossible to generate the organelles, metabolic pathways and even the spark of life itself to create the simplest cell, the foundation of all living things.

After assuring us of the impossibility of a chemical origin of life, Stewart never even thinks to explain the origin of those extraterrestrial cells — or horses, or humanoids. They were just out there, somehow, and now they’re here. He continues:

Even the most competent and sophisticated biochemical research has not even approached anywhere near creating a true living thing at this time. [Therefore it’s impossible.] Also, for a cell to live, all elements of the cell exist virtually at the same time, a fact clearly refuting the random primordial soup theory of life.

Yeah, yeah, it’s impossible — here on Earth, anyway. This ain’t no privileged planet! But out there, somewhere, somehow — no problem. Okay, now we get to Stewart’s final paragraph, and it’s really strange:

Religious creationism cannot account for the origin of life because all religions are based on faith, not certainty. [Okay.] Detection of any advanced civilizations in all space has not occurred. [Now what?] Therefore, we on Earth should make a determined effort to preserve every form of life, great and small, possibly to seed the rest of the universe.

Huh? That’s it? The universe seeded life on Earth, somehow, and now we should return the favor? Okay. We nominate Stewart to head the first seeding mission to the Seventh Planet.

Copyright © 2019. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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10 responses to “Creationist Wisdom #964: The Origin of Life

  1. Sorry but panspermia is also also silly! It may account for life being carried from planet A to planet B but that does not explain how life started!!!

  2. “Creationist Wisdom #964: The Origin of Life”

    The title is just as wrong as Stewart since he is not making any creationist arguments.

    “Religious creationism cannot account for the origin of life because all religions are based on faith, not certainty.”

    Science is not at all based on certainty, only methodological naturalism, compelling evidence and critical thinking. Stewart is really quite confused and appears to not know any of this.

  3. And I failed to mention that his claim: “Also, for a cell to live, all elements of the cell exist virtually at the same time, a fact clearly refuting the random primordial soup theory of life.” totally ignores that there were obviously some precursors to the cell. Stewart really needs to attend some biology classes. Does he also think that horses sprang into existence fully formed? Here is a recent reference on cell formation research:
    https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07289-x

  4. Dave Luckett

    There is ignorance, and there is ignorance squared: ignorance of being ignorant. Stewart is ignorance squared. Ignorance is a negative quantity; but ignorance squared defies the laws of mathematics by also being a negative quality. But it must be that ignorance is a quantity with a value to the left of -1 (ie, a higher negative number than -1) on the number line, because ignorance squared is always more negative than ignorance.

    I think I better stop displaying my total ignorance of mathematics. But since I know I’m ignorant of it, at least I’m not ignorant, squared.

  5. “…a determined effort to preserve every form of life, great and small, possibly to seed the rest of the universe.”

    Sounds practical. And inexpensive, too! Methinks Stewart isn’t letting on how much the Bible has made an impression on him. He wants to see Noah’s Ark in space.

  6. @DaveL: well, according to Stewart’s logic a negative times a negative is also a negative, because of course it is.

  7. jimroberts

    @L.Long: “panspermia … does not explain how life started”
    In Fred Hoyle’s past-infinite steady-state universe, life never started, it simply always existed, and spread to newly-formed planets by panspermia.

  8. AIUI, Fred Hoyle would have had continuous creation. That as the universe expands, matter is created, so that the average density of matter remains constant. And I guess the same is true of energy. And, I think, the same is true of life, that is a continuous creation of new life in its basic form, whatever that might be. Or am I just mistaken?

  9. Eric Lipps

    Even the most competent and sophisticated biochemical research has not even approached anywhere near creating a true living thing at this time. [Therefore it’s impossible.] Also, for a cell to live, all elements of the cell exist virtually at the same time, a fact clearly refuting the random primordial soup theory of life.

    Actually, that’s not true. The mitochondria provide a clear example: they even have their own DNA.

  10. @Eric Lipps
    OK. But I want to point out this:
    Even the most competent and sophisticated biochemical research has not even approached anywhere near creating a true living thing at this time.
    Of course, no one is claiming “creation ex nihilo” by human designers.
    But, of course, people have been producing new humans for thousands of years without recourse to design.