Life Shows the Fingerprints of the Designer

Our title comes from a remark made by Ken Ham (ol’ Hambo) — the ayatollah of Appalachia, the world’s holiest man who knows more about religion and science than everyone else.

At the website of Answers in Genesis (AIG), Hambo’s creationist ministry, he just posted Forget Slow-and-Gradual — New Study Says Life “Emerged Fully Formed”. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis, and occasional Curmudgeonly interjections that look [like this]:

For decades scientists have debated when, how, and where the first life supposedly evolved. Various hypotheses abound: maybe RNA came first; perhaps life evolved around hydrothermal vents; maybe life arrived on an asteroid — but none have satisfied everyone, due to significant problems with each one. And now an old idea has been revived and refined: maybe there was a “chemical big bang,” and life arose spontaneously in a river, with all the major components in place all at once.

Hambo is all excited. He says:

As this article from New Scientist states,

[Hambo quotes from A radical new theory rewrites the story of how life on Earth began:] It has long been thought that the ingredients for life came together slowly, bit by bit. Now there is evidence it all happened at once in a chemical big bang.

You need a subscription to read the article — except for the first few paragraphs. However, what Hambo quotes is from the sub-title. After that he tells us what the article says — but we can’t verify it. Then he says:

So just the right molecules interacting under just the right conditions in just the right place led to a living organism. [What?] Just like Goldilocks is a fairytale, so is their idea for the origin of life! All of the research to develop this idea has depended on the scientists adding just the right chemicals (e.g., iron, sulfur) in just the right conditions (e.g., UV light), meaning intelligent design was needed, and they still didn’t end up with anything living! Life only comes from life (the law of biogenesis), and life only comes from the Creator God.

Ah yes, the so-called “law of biogenesis.” We debunked that in Common Creationist Claims Confuted. Hambo continues:

The popular summary of the study concludes with,

[Unverified quote:] Of course, all this depends on the everything-first idea proving correct. Szostak’s protocells and the new biochemical insights have won over many researchers, but some pieces of the puzzle are still missing. Perhaps the most persuasive argument is that the simpler ideas don’t work. As is the case with many things in life, the beginning was probably more complicated than we had thought.

What does Hambo make of that? Let’s read on:

So the strongest support for this origin of life story is this: that the alternatives don’t work? Maybe that’s because life didn’t arise by natural processes! Really, their story is nothing more than a “just-so” story because they have to somehow explain the origin of life without God. They’d rather put their faith in the unbelievable — that something as complex as life could just pop into existence—than put their faith in the One who made them. And not just any “One,” but the only One true God: the Creator God of the Bible.

Ah yes — God-did-it ! That’s great creation science. He elaborates on it:

Life shows the fingerprints of the Designer. [Oooooooooooohwe’re using that for our title!] Just consider one of the three categories for life — the ability to reproduce using genes. This requires an information system to code the instructions needed to assemble life. And information systems don’t just pop into existence. Information only comes from other information [Huh?] and, ultimately, a mind (in this case the mind of the Creator).

He finishes with this — and it’s a bit repetitive:

Just as information only comes from information and, ultimately, a mind, so life only comes from life and, ultimately, the Lifegiver. These researchers, studying the incredible complexity of life, are without excuse for denying the Creator’s existence (Romans 1:20).

Impressive, wasn’t it? We can’t show how life began on Earth. No one can — not yet — but here’s something we wrote about it before:

A quick search suggests that roughly 326 million cubic miles (1.332 billion cubic km) of water is in the Earth’s oceans. With all the organic material floating around, combining, separating, combining again — every second of the day — it’s far from inconceivable that a self-replicating molecule got formed. We haven’t done this in the lab, at least not yet, but there were millions of years available for it to occur by natural processes. Once it happened, it would multiply, and then the oceans would be full of such organic molecules — as they are today. From there, it may have taken millions of more years for something like a virus or an amoeba to form — and then the oceans would be full of those too. Add more time, which was available, and … well, here we are. No miracle was required — just time and chemistry.

That’s all we’ve got on this one, so now it’s up to you, dear reader. Tell us what you think.

Copyright © 2020. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

add to del.icio.usAdd to Blinkslistadd to furlDigg itadd to ma.gnoliaStumble It!add to simpyseed the vineTailRankpost to facebook

. AddThis Social Bookmark Button . Permalink for this article

25 responses to “Life Shows the Fingerprints of the Designer

  1. Ken didn’t insist on a 6,000 year old universe. Give him some some credit.

  2. There seems to be a very materialistic concept of God.

  3. Michael Fugate

    If you don’t know everything, you know nothing.

  4. chris schilling

    “They’d rather put their faith in the unbelievable — that something as complex as life could just pop into existence.”

    Ken ridicules the very thing he himself professes to believe in. But as long as you insert his god a priori, then all things become permissable. To wit: an immaterial entity who can speak everything into existence, but ultimately appears to work in such a way as to be practically indistinguishable from natural processes.

    ‘Cause we are liv-ing in a material world
    And Yahweh is a material girl

  5. Dave Luckett

    If there is God, everything is possible. But it does not follow that if there is no God, anything is NOT possible. Life is possible, simply from the fact that every chemical bond that it relies on, every complex reaction that powers it, is physically possible. If a thing is physically possible, that is, could happen within the basic laws of physics, then given a large enough space-time volume, it will happen.

  6. I had a dream about a species of ant which could do remarkable things in following pheromones. If there was a gap in the trail, they were able to fan out to find a way to bridge the gap. They were able to solve puzzles in order to follow the pheromones. The last thing, before I woke up, was that they were able to start a car.

  7. In the first line Ol’Hambo already produces a lie:

    “For decades scientists have debated …..”
    No, scientists don’t debate. They do research. That’s exactly the reverse of what creacrappers do.

    “meaning intelligent design was needed”
    So Ol’Hambo also has taken the defensive line “when scientists produce life in their labs it’s evidence for YHWH, not for abiogenesis”.
    Next Ol’Hambo objects:

    “So the strongest support for this origin of life story is this: that the alternatives don’t work?”
    BWAHAHAHAHA! That’s exactly what what creacrappers do – including Ol’Hambo. It’s what the creacrap law of biogenesis (life only comes from life or a Grand Old Designer) means; the strongest support for creacrap origin of life stories is that naturalistic alternatives don’t work yet. In other words: the god of the gaps.
    Ah, the sweet smell of creationist hypocrisy in the morning.

    “Just as information only comes from information and, ultimately, a mind”
    As always this stupidity deserves

  8. @Dave Luckett
    If we are interested in constructing an
    alternate scenario in which X is more probable, we should think of scenarios in which X is one of a bunch of fewer possibilities.
    It is defeating to put X in a universe of endless possibilities.
    For example, if we are dealt a hand of cards, the probability of that hand is decreased, the bigger the deck of cards it is dealt from. We get a better explanation if we can exclude possibilies.
    No matter how slim the possibilities of life when obeying the restrictions of nature, we are going in the wrong direction to relax those restrictions. Rather, we should look for more restrictions.

  9. “Information only comes from information.”
    What reason do we have to accept this principle?
    As FrankB points out, there is experimental evidence against it.
    But let us assume that there were such a law of nature.
    Humans are not exempt from the laws of nature. Human design things by following the laws of nature. If it were not for the laws of nature, designs wouldn’t work!
    Are the creationists telling us that God is bound by this (supposed) law of nature? That he must have a lot of information in him, because of this law? Or that he must be a designer, because he follows this law?

  10. Ham is right, and that’s what makes him toxic. We do not have a good account of the origins of life, and therefore assuming that life could have arisen without some supernatural process is going beyond the evidence. Just as, at one time, assuming that the apparent path of the sun across the heavens could be explained without some supernatural process was going beyond the evidence. (I know, and if I didn’t know TomS would no doubt remind me, that invoking a supernatural process involves all kind of metaphysical junk, but let’s not go there for the moment.) Ham’s toxic inference is that, because we don’t know, goddiddit and we should stop looking

  11. @PaulB: “We do not have a good account of the origins of life.”
    We don’t have a good account of superconductivity at relatively high temperatures either. Physicists now and then still use BCS theory, which was falsified about 35 years ago by Bendorz and Müller. Example:

    There are all kinds of suggestions (easy to google, hard to understand), but as far as I know physicists are as far from consensus as biochemists on abiogenesis.
    Still I have yet to meet the first creacrapper who rants against this phenomenon and argues for Intelligent Electromagnetism (ie YHWH amusing himself by juggling with magnets). Ol’Hambo and co remain hypocrits.

  12. @Paul Braterman
    But to say that God is responsible for life is not to offer an explanation for life.
    Leonardo Da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa. But that does not offer an explanation for the smile of the Mona Lisa.
    But the objection is greater than what is suggested by that example:
    When seeking an explanation, one is seeking a restriction of the possibilities. Why this, rather than that. Introducing god is to expand the possibilities without limit. It is the opposite of explanation.

  13. @TomS, The Hamites would disagree. Why are things as they are? Because God wanted it that way. Why aren’t they different? Because God didn’t want different. Why does Pluto have such an eccentric orbit? Because God wanted it that way. Why did he want it that way? We cannot tell, because His ways are beyond our understanding, but we can be sure that He had a very good reason. Nothing left to explain.

    A more sophisticated argument, which partly meets your case, might be that God set out to create a universe that would produce marvellously complicated outcomes from simple initial conditions. And if God is incompetent, as Ham clearly believes He is, He just cheats a bit from time to time. That way, Ham can invoke scientific reasoning when he wants to, and bypass it when he wants to. He can’t lose

  14. @FrankB, don’t read a creationist science textbook, then, because that’s exactly what they say – “even the subatomic world is the creation of a living God, who sustains it with His power.”

  15. @Paul Braterman
    Why does the Mona Lisa have that smile? Because that’s the way that Leonardo painted it.
    Is that a serious explanation.
    We have several parodies by intelligent “designers”.
    Why does Marcel Duchamp’s L H O O Q have a mustache and a goatee? Because it is intelligently designed?
    Why does Salador Dali’s “Self Portrait as Mona Lisa” have a mustache and no goatee? Because it is intelligently designed.
    And so on with parodies which will be without number, all intelligently designed.

  16. @Jim Roberts
    Thomas Aquinas said that God’s creation from nothing is not like making something from a thing called “nothing”, but is rather that God sustains the existence of things so that they are different from nothing.

  17. Michael Fugate

    Is God a thing?

  18. @TomS, there’s a wonderful cartoon that I simply cannot find where God explains that he created quantum physics because when he created the rainbow as a covenant with Noah, he kind of had to rewrite all of physics to cause light to break up into different spectra, and eventually decided that he’d just hide the mess he’d made by making physics unobservable at a certain level.

  19. @JimR: “even the subatomic world is the creation of a living God, who sustains it with His power.”
    This doesn’t contradict any scientific theory. Just replace this with

    “even evolution is an instrument for the act of creation by a living God, who sustains it with His power.”
    That creationist textbook rejects the latter and accepts the first, thus confirming that creacrap is for hypocrits.

  20. Michael Fugate

    Speaking of Aquinas, I just learned of a new field – theological anthropology. Who knew? It purports to “study” the relationship of humans and the Christian God. So really it just assumes a bunch of dogma is true and tries to rationalize and apologize – one doesn’t even need to know anything about humans qua humans – just assume Thomistic essentialism and ignore reality.

  21. @Michael Fugate: I would expect a field called “theological anthropology” to “study” the relationship of humans to all sorts of gods, including my personal favorite Ganesh.

  22. Michael Fugate

    When Christians say theology, they don’t mean the study of gods, but mean Christianity is true and interpret how God is supposed to be based on the Biblical account. Take for instance a book like Alister McGrath’s Scientific Theology- it is neither – only apologetics.

  23. Thanks. That confirms what I suspected, that only Ham’s favorite sky fairy counts as a real god.

  24. A search in Wikipedia for “theological anthropology” is redirected to “Christian anthropoigy”, which will tell you all that you will want to know about it.

  25. @MichaelF: and everything one will want to know about McGrath’s Scientific Theology can be found here:

    @Beastwood: yeah, Ol’Hambo’s god is really real.