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Atheism vs. Theism
Not Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
"Atheism/Theism" vs. "Science, the Bible, & Creation"
Introduction and Charges
1, Deduction and Induction
2, Question 1
2, Questions 2 and 3
2, Summary and Question 4
3 and 4, Definitions
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 1
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 2
Acting as Mechanisms, Article 3
Razor and Conclusions
2 and 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 1
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 2
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 3
Theories, Unsubstantiated Hypotheses 4
Life on Earth Imported from Outer Space
Circle of Reasons
God a White Crow?
As stated in our article "Atheism's
Circle of Reason" the purpose of scientific inquiry into
the origins of life is to come up with a plausible alternative
to intelligent causation. At times, that purpose is even stated.
With this goal of coming up with a plausible unintelligent
causation for a living cell in mind, scientists are willing
to come up with a series of speculative assumptions seemingly
without limit. And while those speculative assumptions are
hypotheses, they are by definition, not theories.
Scientific Method - First, information, or data, is
gathered by careful observation of the phenomenon being studied.
On the basis of that information a preliminary generalization,
or hypothesis, is formed, usually by inductive reasoning,
and this in turn leads by deductive logic to a number of implications
that may be tested by further observations and experiments
(see induction; deduction). If the conclusions drawn from
the original hypothesis successfully meet all these tests,
the hypothesis becomes accepted as a scientific theory
or law; if additional facts are in disagreement with the hypothesis,
it may be modified or discarded in favor of a new hypothesis,
which is then subjected to further tests. - The Columbia
Encyclopedia, Sixth Edition. 2001.
In general, when employing the scientific method, we begin
with observations that lead us to suppose a hypothesis. Before
that hypothesis becomes a theory, we must test that hypothesis
either through further observation or experiment. If the hypothesis
passes the testing stage, then it may be referred to as a
theory. If the hypothesis does not pass the testing stage,
then it must be modified and retested, or even discarded altogether
depending on the results of the testing. Needless to say that
a hypothesis should not be referred to properly as a scientific
theory before it has been tested and, in particular, before
it has been verified by experimental evidence.
The quotes contained in this article will demonstrate that
where the origin of life is concerned, the modern scientific
view that life can come from unintelligent forces cannot appropriately
be referred to as a scientific theory. Instead, this view
is simply comprised of a series, and a seemingly limitless
one, of hypotheses that have either not been tested at all
or even in some cases have so far failed the testing stage.
Nevertheless they are widely asserted by the scientific community
as not just theory, but fact. In conjunction with our article
entitled, "Atheism's Circle of Reason,"
the quotes presented in this article will show how far science
is willing to speculate just to provide any alternative explanation
to intelligent causation. Furthermore, these quotations will
demonstrate just how much unverified speculation is involved
in the so-called modern "theory" that life can evolve from
As you read, one thing in particular that you might notice,
specifically with regard to some of the lengthier quotes from
the American Scientist article, is how the authors begin a
series of speculations using language that indicates the scenario
they are depicting is merely hypothetical and uncertain. However,
by the end of the speculation, the language has shifted entirely.
All hints that this depiction is hypothetical and speculative
have disappeared from the vocabulary. And instead, the statements
are made in terms of what "must have happened" as if the activities
described were now known with absolute certainty. This has
the effect of using the language, particularly verb tenses,
to convey to the lay reader that mere speculation is a fact,
when in reality, the large majority of those things being
described have never even been tested in the first place,
either in a laboratory experiment or through simple observation.
What will also become evident from some of the selected quotations
is the extent to which some of the proposed hypotheses are
entirely removed from even the possibility of experimental
testing or empirical observation. In fact, so much speculation
inevitably results in the removal of the hypothesis from being
falsifiable (either by experimentation or observation). This
is particularly evident in the hypothesis that life on earth
came from some other planetary body. Thus, such speculation
becomes inarguable, not because it is founded upon empirical
evidence, but because it is impossible to test, to verify,
or to falsify.
1) The chemical evolution leading to cellular life on earth
almost four billion years ago likely passed through a stage
where RNA alone performed all of the functions of the modern
macromolecules RNA, DNA and protein. However the so-called
RNA world was itself too complex to evolve directly from organic
molecules found on the prebiotic earth. More likely, the RNA
world emerged from and was supported by a primitive sort of
metabolism fueled by the bonds in sulfur-containing compounds
called thioesters.- American Scientist article
NOTE: This quotation contains two assumptions. First,
because of the chicken and egg dilemma described in more detail
in our other articles, scientists assume that at some early
point in time RNA alone performed all the functions of modern
molecules RNA, DNA, and protein. Second, in order to explain
the arrival of this RNA filled environment, scientists assume
the existence of a primitive, much simpler form of metabolic
processes. As will become apparent from the rest of the following
quotes, nowhere in the rest of this article was there presented
any empirical evidence to support these speculative assumptions.
In fact, the author quite readily admits this is all speculation
and that some of these notions have even failed experimental
testing so far.
2) On the other hand, it is believed that our young planet,
still in the throes of volcanic eruptions and battered by
falling comets and asteroids, remained inhospitable to life
for about half a billion years after its birth, together with
the rest of the solar system, some 4.55 billion years ago.
This leaves a window of perhaps 200-300 million years for
the appearance of life on earth. This duration was once considered
too short for the emergence of something as complex as a living
cell. Hence suggestions were made that germs of life may have
come to earth from outer space with cometary dust or even,
as proposed by Francis Crick of DNA double-helix fame, on
a spaceship sent out by some distant civilization. No evidence
in support of these proposals has yet been obtained. Meanwhile
the reason for making them has largely disappeared. It is
now generally agreed that if life arose spontaneously by natural
processes--a necessary assumption if we wish to remain within
the realm of science--it must have arisen fairly quickly,
more in a matter of millennia or centuries, perhaps even less,
than in millions of years. Even if life came from elsewhere,
we would still have to account for its first development.
Thus we might as well assume that life started on earth.
- American Scientist article
NOTE: This quotation includes several assumptions.
First, it speculates that, because of the short timeframe,
life on earth had to come from somewhere in outer space. Then,
immediately after offering this speculation, they admit that
there is no evidence to support this hypothesis. They also
go on to assume that life arose spontaneously from natural
process and must have done so relatively quickly. Yet, they
offer no evidence to support any of these assumptions.
3) How this momentous event happened is still highly conjectural,
though no longer purely speculative. - American Scientist
NOTE: Here the author again admits that his claims
are purely speculative and highly conjectural.
4) It is widely agreed that these compounds are not products
of life, but form spontaneously by banal chemical reactions.
- American Scientist article
NOTE: No evidence for this "widely agreed" claim is
offered anywhere in the article. As such, the only apparent
support for this idea is that it is "widely agreed" upon to
5) In all likelihood the first building blocks of life
arose as do all natural chemical compounds--spontaneously,
according to the rules of thermodynamics. - American
NOTE: When speaking of the "likelihood" of this claim,
the author is confirming that this claim has not been tested
nor observed. Rather, it is "likely" in the sense that it
is necessitated by the other speculative assumptions he has
made so far.
The Beginnings of Life on Earth
by Christian de Duve
By Carl Zimmer