There are two principle opposing views on the question of the origin of life. One is that we are the inevitable consequence of matter and natural laws working their magic over great expanses of time. The other explanation is that we were created by a higher intelligence.
Evolutionists contend that the origin of life was ignited at the Big Bang and then s-l-o-w-l-y crawled out of the sod. As one popular science author puts it, "We are, after all, evolved comets and sunbeams. From stardust we are born and to stardust we will return."1 As outlandish as that claim may seem to be at face value, evolution permeates modern reading material and education. Most scientists believe it, and many religions have hybridized it into their beliefs as well.
On the other hand, throughout history, creation seems to have been the intuitive and common sense first choice as the origin of life. Most cultures pose various stories in this regard and tie them to religion. However, belief in intelligent creation can also be totally personal and nonreligious.
The fact that intelligent design can be concluded apart from religion is largely ignored by evolutionists. Instead, they portray any critic of their doctrine as a religious fanatic–an easily defeated strawman and whipping boy. Any effort to match up intelligent design with science is seen by evolutionists as a ruse, a bait and switch, an evangelistic shenanigan to intrude into schools and indoctrinate children with a fundamentalist mindset that is hostile to science and reason.
Although there is every reason to suspect any argument or person with a prior intellectual or religious commitment, fair consideration of all positions is always appropriate. But the idea of creation is not only bullied by evolutionists, religions even pile on. Some theologians consider it heretical to suggest that God has a hand in the natural order of things since it creates for them a theodicy of conflict: how can a god who manipulates the natural world not step in and remove evil? They resolve this apparent dilemma by removing God from the world and inserting evolution. What seems to be overlooked is that if all adversity were removed there could be no free will (to make good or bad decisions), and little learning (since experiencing adversity is important in learning). The apparent irreconcilability of love and pain will be discussed at length later in Solving the Big Questions as if Thinking Matters.
Grappling with theodicy and evil in the world is important, but it puts the cart before the horse with regard to the question of the origin of life. First things first. If the evidence proves intelligent creation, then so be it. Problems in attempting to read the mind and motives of the creator are theology, a very human and subjective sort of thing. Such matters should follow a rational examination of the issue of the origin of life, not precede it.
On the other hand, there is dissention among the ranks of evolutionists as well. Some of them find that the science does not readily lend itself to their theory. Particularly troubling for them is the lack of evidence for life arising from nonliving matter. So they push the problem of the origin of life offshore, out into the galaxy, and say that life was seeded here from another planet. Some have even proposed that we are like a crop being farmed by aliens. These panspermist ideas do not really solve anything though. We would still be faced with the question of the ultimate cause of the seeds riding on the backs of meteors, or the origin of the Johnny Appleseed aliens who planted us here.
Regardless of the position held, regardless of its support, people tend to jealously clutch their beliefs. Emotions, bias, agendas, and propaganda abound because people sense that there is a lot at stake. If the subject of the origin of life is so important–and it most certainly is–uncluttered reason and an open consideration of the facts should be the primary goal. The SOLVER principles should be given priority (Self responsibility, Open mindedness, Long view thinking, Virtuous intent, Evidence first, and Reasoning).
Let's approach the question of the origin of life as if thinking matters, trusting that if we let truth be the preeminent objective, it will rise to the top in an open forum of ideas and a fair consideration of evidence.
Is It Science?
Why It Is Important?
1. McCutcheon, M. The Compass In Your Nose and Other Astonishing Facts About Humans. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher, Inc, 1989.
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