The embarrassing “science” of the origins of life: The missing piece of evidence that persuaded scientists to believe in abiogenesis

What comes to your mind when you hear or read the word science? To most the word science correlates with fact, proof or  even truth.

In my countless debates over the years with scientist and supporters of the origins of life (OOL) or evolution, I’ve often asked the question what convinced them so strongly about something, like abiogenesis. The answers I often got would be:

“…I believe it,  because I believe in science…”

Is it really science? 

No doubt to many, whether scientists or not, the word science is often paralleled with trustworthiness, credibility, reliability, soundness and even authority and influence.

”If something is dubbed as “science”, you’d better believe!” – many would say.

The word science is often used as a substitute for fact or evidence. If I asked bloggers on The Skeptical Zone why they believe in evolution, the most likely response would be that to them it is science, which to most it would equal fact or evidence.

Now, let’s ponder for a moment what answers  I would get,  if I were to ask the same question about the science of abiogenesis – the science of the origins of life (OOL) by random, natural processes. Would most, if not all who support abiogenesis, say that it is not science? Would any of them say that abiogenesis is junk-science or just pure nonsense?

What is the answer? What should be the answer?

Over the years many scientists I questioned about abiogenesis claimed that it is science. Some would claim that because to them there was no other, alternative explanation for the origins of life. So, whatever it was, something must have convinced them that abiogenesis should be at least considered as science. But when questioned further as to why they think that abiogenesis is science or should be considered science, most would likely offer some common theories as to how life supposed have originated on its own by some unknown, random processes.

They would not present any evidence for it, because, just as I stated in the theme of this post, no such evidence has ever been produced.

One of the popular notions about abiogenesis has been the theory of some under-oceanic thermo-vents “assembling” the lifeless building blocks of life into a self-replicating, living molecule… I’m not sure why thermo-vents would have more creative powers than say… intelligent scientists, like Jack Szostak or Craig Venter, who try to replicate OOL the thermo-vents  supposedly had done it somehow?

But where did the building blocks of life come from? This question still remains virtually unanswered. 

But some may related the famous Urey and Miller experiment as to where the building of life came form or why life could have originated by random processes because Urey and Miller created some amino acids in their lab, which are a few of the building blocks of life. To them this experiment seems to mean that creating few building blocks of life by two scientists who designed and carried out the experiments equals natural, random processes could have done the same,  just without using intelligence, because natural, random process don’t have it…

Also, to them the carrying out the experiment in the lab that led to producing a few of the building blocks of life must be the same as assembling them together with other necessary building blocks of life nobody has shown how to produce in the lab or elsewhere and saying; “…this is how the origins of life must have happened.”

The issue of how lifeless building blocks of life become alive is never mentioned…

To some this claim seems the same as the one where some lab experiments produced  building blocks of a robot – let’s say it was silicon, which could be the main part of the robot’s body – the artificial skin and flesh so to say. By claiming that life could have originated by random processes because few building blocks of life have been produced by the Urey and Miller experiment is the same as claiming that the lab experiment that led to the producing of silicon proves that the robot could have also originated by random processes because one or more of the elements of the robot’s main parts were produced in the lab experiment. This would mean that the robot’s  body, the electrical circuits, mechanical parts, motherboards, specific programming (information) power supply and so on would have to be produced, assembled and integrated by some unknown, random processes that would have to have foreknowledge and creative abilities always associated with  intelligence.

So far no one has proven otherwise…

And not just any intelligence, mind you, because I guarantee you that most intelligent humans would not be able to create even one building  block of the robot, like silicon, unless someone who knows how to produce it taught them first how to do it, or they would have to spend a lot of time, possibly many years, learning how to do…

So, all those who claim that random, natural processes produced even the tiniest building block of life are actually in fact ascribing the amazing, intelligent, creative powers to nature or random, natural processes…

Those who claim that all the building blocks of life somehow came together and became a living matter out of nonliving building blocks of life are substituting the amazing, engineering, creative intelligence and power of a superior to humans intelligence – since no human has been able to replicate abiogenesis supposedly accomplished by natural, random processes.

“Humans have not gotten even close”– as some of the supporters of abiogenesis admit when cornered to provide a valid answer. Of course, humans are not even close to replicating abiogenesis because how could you replicate life if you can’t  even define it or agree on the definition of life?

However,  all this aside, because this is not the main reason for my post.

As you can see the title of my post is:  “The embarrassing “science” of the origins of life: The missing piece of evidence that persuaded scientists to believe in abiogenesis“

What do I mean by this is although abiogenesis – the origins of life by random, natural processes is considered by many (mainly materialists, and those who have no choice but to teach or believe it ) as science, I’m yet to see or hear of one piece of evidence that persuaded those who insist that abiogenesis is science,  or should be considered as science.

I’m not just saying it… I have asked that question many, many times over the years and I’m yet to hear or see one piece of evidence that persuaded those who support abiogenesis as science to provide one piece of evidence that convinced them that it is science or should be considered as science. And I have asked and many others as well that question and never got the answer from many prominent scientists, including:

Richard Dawkins – “…I don’t know how life began, nor has anyone else…”

He is silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis. He has a backup plan just in case…Panspermia

Jerry Coyne – “…Just because scientists don’t know how life originated (I guess that includes him), it doesn’t mean they will not know in the future…”

He is also silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis now…

PZ Myers – “…We Now Know For Sure How Life Did Not Begin on Earth…”( guess that means he doesn’t know).

He is also silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis.

Larry Moran – He doesn’t know. He is also silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis. He is a fan of metabolism first but is silent on the many chicken-and-egg paradoxes leading to origins of metabolism.

Dan Graur – He is silent about the OOL and what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis.

John Harshman – He thinks the subject of abiogenesis is boring.

He is also silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis. I guess he finds it boring too.

Nick Matzke – He seems to be a fan of RNA world.  He doesn’t seem to know how to explain the many chicken-and-egg riddles, such as:

Enzymes are required to produce ATP but ATP is needed to produce enzymes. DNA is required to make enzymes, but enzymes are required to make DNA. Proteins can be made only by a cell, but a cell can be made only with proteins… and so on…

He is also silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis.

Jeffrey Shallit – Silent about what evidence persuaded him to believe in abiogenesis. I guess he must be working on a computer simulation of abiogenesis being a computer scientist…

Noble Prize winner and considered  OOL world leading expert Jack Szostak, Craig Venter and many more… Both are apparently working on it (replicating life) but have never heard them express themselves as to what evidence persuaded them to believe in abiogenesis…

Others have asked the same or similar questions about the evidence that persuaded scientists and supporters to believe in abiogenesis and got none; not even a promise of one.

How could this be?

Is it even possible that so many prominent scientists and promoters of materialism and the abiogenesis-OOL by random, natural processes would not even have one, tiny, minuscule piece of evidence that persuaded them to believe that life originated on its own?

If it is true, that there is not even one piece of evidence that persuaded scientists to believe in abiogenesis, what did?

If it is true, that there is not even one piece of evidence that persuaded scientists to believe abiogenesis, how could it be science or even considered science?

If it is true, that not even one piece of evidence exists, wouldn’t be embarrassing to those scientists who  claim abiogenesis is science?

Even worst, how could abiogenesis be found in textbooks and taught at schools and universities as science, if there is no shred of evidence for it?

Who approved it and why?

How is it possible that nobody has questioned it before?  And if someone has, what answer or justifications were given for promoting abiogenesis as science?

Who is behind it and most importantly why?

If no evidence exists that abiogenesis has ever happened, how could inscience, ignorance or dumbness be promoted as science in the world of real science? Who would do such a thing and why?

If scientists had at least one piece of such evidence supporting abiogenesis, they wouldn’t be hiding it would they? They wouldn’t be lying to us saying we don’t have it an yet they actually did have it, would they?

It seems that it is actually the opposite; scientists don’t have any evidence for abiogenesis but they promote it as if they did and bully others to accept  it or face consequences…

On the other hand, if scientists supporting abiogenesis don’t have a shred of evidence for abiogenesis why are they claiming that it is science? Why would they do that? They are not trying to deceive us into accepting something that is supposed to be science but it’s actually a lie, would they?

Well, if you think I missed some evidence that exists somewhere or the above mentioned scientists have the evidence for abiogenesis but they are hiding it, please let me know…

I will be glad to correct my views and apologize to any of the scientist mentioned by me or others and my word counts…

However…I’m more than convinced that such evidence doesn’t exist and I’m willing to say that because if such evidence existed, materialists would bore us to death with it…

So, what is going on here? Are we are living in a matrix where someone or something is controlling our sense of reality and we are prone to believing anything that is fed to us as long as the word science is attached to it… Is it possible?

Who would do such a terrible thing and most importantly why? I mean, nobody in the right frame of mind would deceive other human beings without any conceivable reason for it, would he?

Let’s just assume that some have  reasons to deceive others about abiogenesis. What would that reason be? They wouldn’t do it for spite or financial gain, prestige or because their over-inflated egos would suffer if they didn’t?

They wouldn’t be unemployed or teaching and promoting some meaningless nonsense nobody would give a damn about it would they?

If abiogenesis turned out to be a scam, baseless fairy-tale, they wouldn’t be worried about how other theories build on its foundation viewed as facts would fare would they?

How could the world’s minority of the supporters of abiogenesis influence what the large majority of the world is taught in schools about originis of life that the minority has not even one shred of evidence for? Can someone explain that?

If you have at least  one piece of evidence that persuaded you to accept or view abiogenesis as science or know of someone who has or knows about such evidence, this is your time to shine…

J-Mac

 

71 thoughts on “The embarrassing “science” of the origins of life: The missing piece of evidence that persuaded scientists to believe in abiogenesis

  1. colewd:
    John Harshman,

    Some of the details have been supplied in VJTs posts.

    Here is a source I found that discusses prophecies from the old testament that were fulfilled according to history.

    Luke and Isaiah

    Luke 2:32 Light to the Gentiles (Isaiah 42:6, 49:6)

    Luke 3:4 Voice in wilderness (Isaiah 40:3)

    Luke 4:17 He anointed me to preach (Isaiah 61:1)

    Luke 8:10 Closed eyes and ears (Isaiah 6:9)

    Luke 19:46 A house of prayer (Isaiah 56:7)

    Luke 22:37 Numbered with transgressors (Isaiah 53:12)

    I will search for the source of secular collaboration.

    No one’s quite sure how this relates meaningfully to evidence for creation.

    As for the “prophecies,” you’ll need to show that they pointed to Jesus, and that they were even Messianic prophecies. The vague correlations between texts that aren’t obviously Messianic in the first place and Gospel reports of what happened with Jesus aren’t really evidence of more than confirmation bias.

    Something like Daniel 9 could be much stronger in prophetic detail, if it were about anything other than the temple, the high priest, and the conditions during the Maccabean period. Daniel correlates well with the time of Antiochus IV, even if the times are off, and it hardly fits with Jesus and his time period.

    Glen Davidson

  2. GlenDavidson: As for the “prophecies,” you’ll need to show that they pointed to Jesus, and that they were even Messianic prophecies. The vague correlations between texts that aren’t obviously Messianic in the first place and Gospel reports of what happened with Jesus aren’t really evidence of more than confirmation bias.

    Hey, I wonder if some of the gospels might have been written with the prophecies in mind. That would certainly explain all the jumping through hoops to get Jesus slouching toward Bethlehem to be born, rather than Nazareth.

  3. John Harshman: Hey, I wonder if some of the gospels might have been written with the prophecies in mind. That would certainly explain all the jumping through hoops to get Jesus slouching toward Bethlehem to be born, rather than Nazareth.

    Yes, if you get into the scholarship of it, that is exactly how it is seen. A ruler is prophesied to arise out of Bethlehem, so you get an incredible story of how Jesus is born in Bethlehem. A Psalm wherein lots are cast for the victim’s clothes is interpreted as Messianic, so Roman soldiers cast lots for Jesus’ garment.

    As Bible scholars often note, this isn’t evidence of dishonesty per se in the writers, since they understood prophecy as a means of knowing what happened. Jesus is the Messiah, so he must have been born in Bethlehem. Basically, religion was their way of knowing, so they used it in order to know what took place.

    Glen Davidson

  4. Kantian Naturalist:
    The organization and complexity of living cells is a fact to be explained by a good explanation. It is not itself evidence for or against any specific explanation of that fact.

    Exactly.

  5. colewd: Three years ago I thought that there was very little evidence supporting religious faith.

    How do you know the ‘evidence’ supports your favoured deity?

  6. Hi everyone,

    Thanks for a thought-provoking OP, J-Mac.

    Here’s a quote from Professor James Tour, of Rice University, which states it like it is. What ever we may think of the case for Intelligent Design, the fact remains that currently, there’s not one shred of evidence for abiogenesis, although Professor Tour allows that it may turn out to be true:

    As a modern-day scientist, I do not know how to prove intelligent design using my most sophisticated analytical tools— the canonical tools are, by their own admission, inadequate to answer the intelligent design question. I cannot lay the issue at the doorstep of a benevolent creator or even an impersonal intelligent designer. All I can presently say is that my chemical tools do not permit my assessment of intelligent design.

    I have written a long article on the origin of life: http://inference-review.com/article/animadversions-of-a-synthetic-chemist. It is clear, chemists and biologists are clueless. I wrote, “Those who think scientists understand the issues of prebiotic chemistry are wholly misinformed. Nobody understands them. Maybe one day we will. But that day is far from today. It would be far more helpful (and hopeful) to expose students to the massive gaps in our understanding. They may find a firmer—and possibly a radically different—scientific theory. The basis upon which we as scientists are relying is so shaky that we must openly state the situation for what it is: it is a mystery.” Note that since the time of my submission of that commentary cited above, articles continue to be published on prebiotic chemistry, so I will link to my short critiques of a few of those newer articles so that the interested reader can get an ongoing synthetic chemist’s assessment of the proposals: http://inference-review.com/article/two-experiments-in-abiogenesis.

    More here.

    It seems to me that many scientists’ decision to accept abiogenesis as true is not based on science, but on their philosophical preconceptions. Honest agnosticism would be a much more prudent approach.

  7. vjtorley: Honest agnosticism would be a much more prudent approach.

    What actual difference would it make in their day to day work? If you can’t say then you’ve already lost this one.

  8. vjtorley,

    Honest agnosticism would be a much more prudent approach.

    Tour, yourself, J-Mac – honest agnostics on the matter? Hmmm. Things that make you splutter.

    I don’t think you will find anyone on the other side of the fence stating a definitive position that ‘abiogenesis is true’.

  9. Allan Miller: I don’t think you will find anyone on the other side of the fence stating a definitive position that ‘abiogenesis is true’.

    Rather it’s “abiogenesis seems to be it as far as the origin of life goes, unless someone want’s to provide a serious alternative”. And as nobody is providing that alternative, what’s the problem?

    Sure, there are problems with all the candidates but they have the definite advantage of actually existing.

  10. vjtorley: Honest agnosticism would be a much more prudent approach.

    Isn’t science actually honest agnosticism?

    But what is a scientist going to look for, real causes for which observations may be possible, or for some version of magic?

    I don’t think that looking to reality as the stronger possibility is unwarranted. That said, certainly abiogenesis is very tentative at this stage, which seems to me to be what should be called honest agnosticism. Dishonest agnosticism would be pretending that a “hypothesis” that some mythical character created life is as sound epistemologically as real, investigable chemical and physical possibilities are.

    Glen Davidson

  11. vjtorley: Honest agnosticism would be a much more prudent approach.

    I remain agnostic on the origin of life.

    I do see the probabilities as favoring a natural origin.

    If I listen to religious conservatives, they keep telling us that natural disasters were sent by God as punishment. Assuming that they are not outright liars, then they seem to believe that God acts through natural processes.

    I’m also open to the possibility that bing bang cosmology is mistaken, and the cosmos has existed forever. In that case, it is possible that there was always life, so that there was never a origin of life.

  12. It is a good job that scientists don’t take the view that seems to be being promoted, that failing to solve a particular problem is a reason to give up on it completely.

  13. vjtorley: What ever we may think of the case for Intelligent Design, the fact remains that currently, there’s not one shred of evidence for abiogenesis

    I have personally informed you otherwise on this very forum, and you acknowledged it at the time.

    vjtorley November 6, 2016 at 10:25 am
    I have to say I am quite impressed with Michael Marshall’s BBC article, The secret of how life on Earth began. I would have to agree with Sutherland’s comment, “Things are looking a lot more achievable.”

    I also found the article, Evolution of amino acid frequencies in proteins over deep time: inferred order of introduction of amino acids into the genetic code, recommended by Rumraket, quite intriguing. I have to admit that it counts as evidence in favor of the hypothesis that abiogenesis occurred on the primordial Earth. As the abstract states, “Relative to the modern protein set, LUA [Last Universal Ancestor] proteins were found to be generally richer in those amino acids that are believed to have been most abundant in the prebiotic environment and poorer in those amino acids that are believed to have been unavailable or scarce.” That’s a singular prediction of abiogenesis that has been borne out by the evidence.

    The real question is: what implications does this have for Intelligent Design? Evidence suggesting that primitive life may have arisen naturally does not establish that molecular machines arose naturally. The new evidence is of great interest, but let’s not overblow it.

  14. How many times in the history of science have we found thevtrue cause of a phenomenon to be divine intervention?

    In how many areas of science and engineering do we look for capricious events?

    In the past — say when studying mysterious phenomena like the ultravilot catastrophe problem — how often has it paid off to assume the problem can’t be solved?

  15. colewd:
    John Harshman,

    I am learning as I go.The more I look into this the stronger the creation argument is looking.

    It’s almost as if when you really want to find evidence for theistic woo, you find it everywhere.

    My question is, what observation could be made that would make the creation argument look weaker in your eyes, and why.

  16. Let’s think about it for a moment…
    What would happen to scientists in the “more restricted regions of the world” if they were to present no scientific evidence to support their beliefs?

    Do I really have to spell it out?
    We all know that pressure and bulling is never going to substitute the scientific evidence. But the bullies who claim to be scientists think it will…

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