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Basic Worldview:
102 Atheism vs. Theism


Proof of Life

Prelude: "Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Atheism: Introduction and Charges
Charge 1, Deduction and Induction
Charge 2, Question 1
Charge 2, Questions 2 and 3
Charge 2, Summary and Question 4
Charges 3 and 4, Definitions
Empirical Evidence
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Scientists Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Occam's Razor and Conclusions
Footnote 1
Footnote 2 and 3
Proof of Life
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Scientists: Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Atheisms Circle of Reasons
Is God a White Crow?



In our proof, we asserted that modern scientists, Atheists, and Agnostics often point toward ongoing experiments as proof that life can arise from unintelligent forces. Then, having demonstrated that these experiments actually attest to the necessity of intelligent intervention in order to produce life, we asserted that these experiments, therefore, must instead constitute empirical evidence for Theism. That is, that an intelligent agent is necessary in order to produce life.

Below are excerpts from several articles describing such experiments, which are often appealed to as proof of life from unintelligent forces. These quotations will, in fact, demonstrate that Atheists and Agnostics do claim these experiments as proof despite their relative measure of success or failure and, therefore, it is valid for us to now accept these same experiments as proof of life from intelligent intervention.

1) A significant step toward understanding the origin of life may have been made by a group of MIT researchers. Led by Professor Julius Rebek, Jr. of the Department of Chemistry, they have created an extraordinary self- replicating molecular system that they say might be regarded as a "primitive sign of life." -- MIT article

NOTE: The results of these MIT experiments are being heralded as "a significant step" "regarded as a primitive sign of life." Thus, the experiment is being viewed as evidence that life can come from unintelligent causes.

2) The researchers say in their paper, "At best, this can be regarded as a primitive sign of life; at the very least, the system offers a bridge between the information of nucleic acids and the synthesis of amide bonds. It should be possible to design systems capable of peptide [protein] synthesis on a nucleic acid backbone and thereby provide models for events that occurred some time ago." - MIT article

NOTE: Once again, this MIT experiment is being regarded as "a primitive sign of life" or as "a bridge" to the origination of life.

3) The synthesis of urea by Friedrich Whler in 1828 is usually hailed as the first proof that a special "vital force" is not needed for organic syntheses. - American Scientist article

NOTE: Here is a reference to a historic experiment demonstrating the track record that scientists have of viewing these experiments as proof of life coming from unintelligent causes, or as this article states, "a special vital force is not needed for organic synthesis."

4) The first hints that this might be so came from the laboratory, before evidence for it was found in space, through the historic experiments of Stanley Miller, now recalled in science textbooks. In the early 1950s, Miller was a graduate student in the University of Chicago laboratory of Harold Urey, the discoverer of heavy hydrogen and an authority on planet formation. He undertook experiments designed to find out how lightning--reproduced by repeated electric discharges--might have affected the primitive earth atmosphere, which Urey believed to be a mixture of hydrogen, methane, ammonia and water vapor. The result exceeded Miller's wildest hopes and propelled him instantly into the firmament of celebrities. In just a few days, more than 15 percent of the methane carbon subjected to electrical discharges in the laboratory had been converted to a variety of amino acids, the building blocks of proteins, and other potential biological constituents. Although the primitive atmosphere is no longer believed to be as rich in hydrogen as once thought by Urey, the discovery that the Murchison meteorite contains the same amino acids obtained by Miller, and even in the same relative proportions, suggests strongly that his results are relevant. - American Scientist article

NOTE: Despite the admitted inaccuracy of the assumed experimental conditions, the Stanley Miller experiment is still widely regarded by many in the scientific community as evidence that basic unintelligent phenomenon can produce life.

5) Besides amino acids and other organic acids, experiments in abiotic chemistry have yielded sugars, as well as purine and pyrimidine bases, some of which are components of the nucleic acids DNA and RNA, and other biologically significant substances, although often under more contrived conditions and in lower yields than one would expect for a prebiotic process. - American Scientist article

NOTE: Despite the fact that the experimental conditions were highly contrived (unnatural) and the results were too low to fit hypothetical expectations, these past experiments are still regarded as evidence that life can arise from unintelligent forces.

6) That view changed when in the late 1970s, Sydney Altman at Yale University and Thomas Cech at the University of Colorado at Boulder independently discovered RNA molecules that in fact could catalytically excise portions of themselves or of other RNA molecules. The chicken-or-egg conundrum of the origin of life seemed to fall away. - American Scientist article

NOTE: These two independent experiments are hailed as evidence that the chicken and egg dilemma has been solved, thus explaining how life could have evolved from unintelligent forces.

7) The development of RNA replication must have been the second stage in the evolution of the RNA world. The problem is not as simple as might appear at first glance. Attempts at engineering--with considerably more foresight and technical support than the prebiotic world could have enjoyed--an RNA molecule capable of catalyzing RNA replication have failed so far. With the advent of RNA replication, Darwinian evolution was possible for the first time. - American Scientist article

NOTE: Despite the fact that experimental attempts to recreate RNA replication have failed, these failed experiments are still heralded as evidence that Darwinian evolution is possible "for the first time."

8) Under conditions something like those on the early Earth, he can create something like a cell: an enzyme-carrying bubble that draws in nutrients from its surroundings and crafts them into genetic material. Call it a quasi cell-- and say that Deamer has created quasi life. - Discover article

NOTE: Though the cell that the scientist created was only a "quasi-cell," this experiment is still claimed as evidence that life can come from unintelligent forces.

9) The researchers thus showed that primordial liposomes forming in tide pools could have performed some essential cellular tricks. - Discover article

NOTE: This experiment of membrane-like liposomes performing "some essential cellular tricks" is implied to provide evidence that life can come from unintelligent forces.

10) Joyce and Breaker, however, have the expertise necessary to take the quasi cell another step toward life. Over the past five years, they have perfected a method for making RNA evolve. Simply stated, they put loose RNA strands in a beaker and give them a job to do, such as cutting DNA; the ones that do the best are rewarded with offspring. The researchers place the selected RNA in a bath of loose nucleotides and enzymes and allow it to produce millions of copies of itself. They use this process to evolve the RNA by making the copying process slightly imperfect. Some variants do the designated task better than their ancestors, and they in turn are rewarded with progeny. - Discover article

NOTE: This experiment involving the evolution of RNA is also heralded as "another step toward life," again implying that the experiment provides evidence that life can come from unintelligent forces.

These 10 quotations clearly demonstrate that modern scientists, Atheists, and Agnostics typically point to these ongoing experiments as evidence supporting their hypothesis that life can come from unintelligent forces despite their relative success or failure and the inherent involvement of intelligent agents. Since, as our previous series of articles demonstrate, these experiments actually provide evidence for the necessity of intelligent intervention to produce life, it is, therefore, valid for Theists to now herald these experiments as empirical evidence for Theism.


Sources

http://w3.mit.edu/newsoffice/tt/1990/may09/23124.html
Self-Reproducing Molecules Reported by MIT Researchers
PRIMITIVE LIFE
Self-Reproducing Molecules
Reported by MIT Researchers
By Eugene F. Mallove
News Office

http://www.americanscientist.org/articles/95articles/cdeduve.html
September-October 1995
The Beginnings of Life on Earth
by Christian de Duve

http://www.discover.com/archive/index.html
First Cell
By Carl Zimmer