12 May, 2009

Evolutionist Ignores Evidence, Literally Buries Head in Sand

SAN DIEGO, CA - California is known to be a place where bizarre behavior is the norm, but something beyond that happened last week east of San Diego.

Last Thursday afternoon, the San Diego State University science foundation hosted a creation/evolution debate for the entire student body. At last count, it appears that between 600-700 students attended. As the debate began, it was clear that the student body favored Dr. Francis Welland, an evolutionary biology professor from UCLA. As he was introduced, the crowd applauded enthusiastically. A few even shouted, "Boo-yeah!"

After the audience calmed down, Dr. Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis was introduced. Dr. Ham received a smattering of applause, but was also simply booed by several of the students. More than a handful openly snickered.

After the initial introductions, the debate began. Each man was asked a question, and then the opponent was allowed time to respond. The questions were supplied during the previous week by students in the audience.

Based on initial behavior, it was clear that the professors and students in attendance expected and wanted Dr. Welland to annihilate Dr. Ham with the scientific evidence. Unfortunately for Dr. Welland, that is not what happened.

The audio transcript makes it clear that while Dr. Welland answered questions by generally calling names and talking condescendingly, Dr. Ham simply presented the actual scientific evidence in a polite manner. As the debate wore on, it became clear to all that Dr. Welland was losing. Students began to file out of the auditorium. Dr. Welland began to sweat and became a bit nauseated. Dr. Ham continued to state devastating fact after devastating fact.

Finally, after about 70 minutes of debate, Dr. Welland couldn't take it any more. Dr. Ham had just asked him to explain how life began in the first place. When Dr. Welland answered by saying that either aliens brought the first living creatures to earth or they formed on the backs of crystals, the students that remained either groaned or laughed. At that point, Dr. Welland decided to end the debate early. As he sprinted off the stage, he was heard shouting, "I don't want to hear any more facts! You can't confuse me with the evidence!"

Dr. Welland then drove about two hours eastward into the desert to Ocotillo Wells, CA. After arriving, Dr. Welland literally buried his head in the sand (see above photo).

52 comments:

=Darren said...

Dude, reel back those last two paragraphs and it changes from parody to plausible reporting.

Didn't you use that photo sometime on this blog before?

Reed said...

I'm sorry... is this supposed to be funny? The only part that made me chuckle was the possibility of Ken Ham doing anything in a debate aside from making the public nauseous and turning people off of Christianity.

Elder Eric said...

Reed,

Thank you for commenting. Please remember that if you don't like our satirical posts, no one is requiring you to read them.

Why are atheists always so angry?

Andy said...

"Please remember that if you don't like our satirical posts, no one is requiring you to read them."

Unfortunately, it takes reading it to find out how unfunny it is. If you're saying it's not worth it to come back to see if you ever get the hang of this satire thing, that's advice I'll take.

Kamran said...

Hilarious, I mean what kind of creative genius would be able to think of Creationist facts? This sort of absurd humor would probably play well in Britain.

adr150 said...

amusing attempt at satire. try again.

Call me Paul said...

I'm not sure I understand who it is that's being satired here. Perhaps you could explain. Were you making fun of Dr. Welland or Dr. Ham, or the people who might read this article and be fooled into thinking it is factual?

Who is it that is supposed to be entertained?

m. connor sullivan said...

fail humor.

Sir Brass said...

Is it just me or did all the athiests creep out of the woodwork?

These aren't the usual commenters.

I chuckled. Though I'm definitely NOT an evidentialist, I have seen apologists wisely use scientific evidence as evidence of (not FOR) God.

And yes, the evolutionists ARE burying their heads in the sand.

Elder Eric said...

Wow,

This is amazing. It looks like we have many more atheist/evolutionist readers than we thought.

I do find it interesting that this little site has angered so many in the atheist camp. Why not just ignore TBNN? You already control all the national TV news agencies except FOX.

Harry said...

So, I'm wondering, is this the only way Ken Ham can "win" a debate - by being the protagonist in a satirical fantasy? ['twas a humor-fail, IMO] Or did Ham actually have a debate recently with someone at some college, somewhere? Evolutionary biologist Francis Welland of UCLA (or from anywhere, for that matter) appears to be fictitious, as does any recent, formal creation/evolution debate at SDSU.

Refer to Andy's post above if you're wondering why I stopped by to give criticism instead of praise, BTW.

Also, when did expounding a dissenting view become synonymous with being "angry"? That seems to be the generic response to when an atheist has a differing viewpoint: "he/she must be angry." Nope.

Brother Slawson said...

Eric,

I thought it was quite funny and very realistic in the situation of a believer attempting to have conversations with self-proclaimed atheists.

One sense of satire is the exaggeration of truth. I've had numerous discussions with self-proclaimed athiests who have definitely have a tendency to cut off debate with proofs such as "A person cannot come back from the dead. That's my evidence. Case closed. I don't want to discuss it anymore."

Of course it is an exaggeration to say one would stick his head in the sand, but that's the satire in a nutshell. I can definitely relate! Good job!

"Somebody, Somewhere, please love me." --Madalyn Murray O'Hair

gustavolk-swagen said...

Unfortunately, through my disgust, this made me cry as I laughed my ass off. If I can, I will recover.

Mark S said...

"evidence of (not FOR) God."

There's a distinction between evidence "of" something and evidence "for" something? That's just idiotic.

I mean, there is a difference between "facts that do not contradict a theory" and "facts that would be false if a theory were false". But the former is no kind of evidence at all, and I'm not convinced that this is the distinction you had in mind.

This is pretty standard misunderstanding among Creationists, i.e., religious fundamentalists.

adcas said...

Something that a lot of creationists seem to get wrong is the idea that scientists are intolerant of dissenting viewpoints. That's almost by definition untrue. Science is built on the idea of dissenting ideas and consensus around evidence. Anyone who's worked in a university science department (I'm waving my hand right now) knows that getting scientists to agree on even basic facts is a tremendous task that requires mountains of evidence before you convince them of anything. YET, there seems to be a persistent creationist myth running around that there's some conspiracy in the scientific community to defend Darwinism at all costs. That's nonsense. Do you have any idea how brilliant the scientist who disproved Darwinian evolution would look? Science rewards those who overturn established theories and raises them up as Geniuses. So why on earth would they want to ignore evidence contradicting evolution if it existed? That doesn't make any sense at all if you know anything about how academia works.

I'm a lowly research assistant in a psychology department and even I can tell you why creationist proofs against evolution are really really flawed, and not one of them actually disproves evolution even a little. The fact of the matter is that there is no good evidence that supports intelligent design/creationism, while the evidence supporting evolution is mountainous. Producing simplistic arguments about anecdotal evidence that lay people will happily accept is not the same as having proof that will convince experts who really know what they're talking about. What's going on here in the creationist movement is an attempt to ridicule the experts who remain unconvinced by what they know are ridiculous arguments, and paint them as bigoted and conservative, when in truth they are usually anything but.

Brother Slawson said...

adcas,

Given your volumes of evidence, how do you believe life began on earth?

Brother

Chris B said...

Elder Eric: "Why are atheists always so angry?"


I don't think expressing an unfavorable opinion of your writing necessarily counts as "anger".

Although dismissing somebody as "angry" is a wonderful way to avoid having to address valid points they make that one otherwise might be unable to respond to. So bravo on that score.

Elder Eric said...

Chris B.,

By stating that atheists seem angry, I am in no way avoiding valid points. However, when I read and listen to atheists, the reality is that many seem very angry.

As for valid points, the typical atheistic argument I hear goes something like this, "We have the valid evidence. The creationists have no valid evidence. Therefore, we are right and they are wrong."

I could easily make the same argument while reversing the parties involved.

It is easy to say you have the hard scientific evidence to support your case. It is more difficult to actually prove it.

Additionally, I read volumes of what basically amounts to insults and name-calling from atheistic evolutionists toward creationists. All you have to do is read some of what has been directed at Ken Ham in this comment stream or what has been written at the link over at the "Friendly Atheist."

We creationists aren't as ignorant as most atheists think we are.

netwurth said...

Brother

Let me guess...if adcas fails to list the mountains of evidence on this comment thread you'll dismiss their argument?

adcas is absolutely correct. The evidence is mountainous and is being added to almost daily. For them to have to spoonfeed all of it to you or anyone else is a pointless exercise and is a typical tactic for dismissing them. The evidence exists, is too numerous to list here, and is freely available to you.

Let me ASSURE you that if you were to subscribe to the journals Science or Nature for a start you would see regular publications of research supporting evolution. 'Natural History' would also be a good place to look as long as you realize it's a magazine and not scientific journal that does report on scientific news. If paying for or reading those publications is too much then go to www.talkorigins.org which does cover a great deal of the evidence for evolution and provides citations.

If you have read any of this and remain unconvinced then I'm quite sure nothing will convince you.

josh said...

Theres a game I love to play called three word game.... I'll start!

josh said...

Not very funny

Greg said...

I'd like to play the three word game:

Irrational atheist dogma.

netwurth said...

So not believing in absolute 'truths' that religions claim and being skeptical of those who make claims for which there is no evidence is dogmatic? I thought that was the opposite of dogmatism. And really...what does any of this have to do with atheism? Whether one believes in a higher power shouldn't completely cripple their mind so as to believe that ancient texts are literally true even though all evidence points to the contrary.

Jim Pemberton said...

Evidence: evolutionists who otherwise never read this blog suddenly comment on a post that spoofs a debate between Ken ham and an evolutionist.

Evidence: The evolutionists don't get the humor, but rather make unreferenced assertions as arguments for evolution and similarly claim that the creationists have no evidence for creation.

Such comments as actual debate tactics used by evolutionists are funnier than the spoof.

The scientific meat of the debate is really too broad to debate meaningfully in this format. But the challenge, "How do you believe life began," is valid. Beyond the complexity of the DNA itself, it's natural duplication and cellular reproduction requires a complex system of molecular machinery specified in its code. So what came first: The molecular machinery or the DNA?

With regard to mutations, there is plenty of evidence of speciation, even rapid speciation, within a genotype. There is no evidence however of any population changing their genotype over time. To suggest that speciation results in a genotypical change over time, as most evolutionists do, is logically fallacious.

This is just the tip of the iceburg. There are problems with dating methods, geological assumptions, evidence with regard to competing cosmologies, etc.

Here's another one I thought about recently: What's the argument for common ancestry? One argument is observations of morphological similarities, but that only goes so far. Why do most evolutionary biologists assume that all life evolved from a single genotype? I'll answer it: it's because they realize that the exceptional improbability of it happening just once on accident prevents consideration that it could have happened many times on accident. It's a good example of the failure of the logic of the naturalistic presupposition.

Chris B said...

Elder Eric: "It is easy to say you have the hard scientific evidence to support your case. It is more difficult to actually prove it."

Indeed. Which is why I have so much respect for those who write books presenting and discussing the evidence for evolution. It takes work. On the other hand, creationism has, to my knowledge, presented no empirical evidence, has made no arguments that have not been addressed by scientists (e.g., "Irreducible Complexity" was long ago shown to be invalid), and must focus primarily on distorting and (fallaciously) attacking the claims of evolution.

"By stating that atheists seem angry, I am in no way avoiding valid points. However, when I read and listen to atheists, the reality is that many seem very angry."

Quite possibly. This sort of makes sense; after all, those who aren't "angry" often have better things to do with their time than wasting it responding to creationist satirists. So you're basing this judgment on a skewed self-selecting sample.

And, angry or not, what difference does it make? Is it relevant to the debate at all? Or is it just a convenient ad hominem (the implication being "Pay no attention to the atheists, they're just cranky")?

"All you have to do is read some of what has been directed at Ken Ham in this comment stream or what has been written at the link over at the "Friendly Atheist.""

You're quick to point out that the comments might be mean and insulting. But you haven't tried to prove them wrong. Hmmmm.

"We creationists aren't as ignorant as most atheists think we are."

OK, then. I'd be interested in hearing you explain a)what you understand the Theory of Evolution to be, in your own words, and b)what evidence, if any, would convince you that evolutionary theory is correct.

As for your satire...I have to agree with those who have criticized it. It doesn't have the ring of truth that good satire requires (which, given reality's well-known liberal bias, explains why most successful satire leans to the left politically). It is based on a faulty premise: that Ken Ham has an awareness of scientific facts, while a biologist would actively avoid them. Dr Welland is simply a strawman for you to beat up. And, ironically (considering your objections to name-calling and insults), a fairly insulting one.

Satire also requires a degree of irony in order to mock the object of the satire; merely making up a short story about Ken Ham winning(!) a debate, and tagging on the "punchline" of someone sticking their head in the sand isn't quite "satire"; a better example might be a Creationist defiantly asking, "OK, other than observed speciation, genetic evidence, and fossil evidence, what PROOF of evolution is there?"

Also, your weak use of satirical tools leaves the point of the satire questionable; the first time I read it, I thought it was meant to satirize the distorted view of scientists and science that creationists hold; that it was, in fact, meant to satirize creationists by showing us an "example" of the sort of "satire" they might try to come up with.

Also, as someone else has pointed out, the piece does kind of suggest that Ken Ham can't win a debate outside of the realm of fiction. And by avoiding any specific mention of his "evidence" or "facts" (other than his asking for an explanation of the origins of life), you sort of make one wonder what (if any) facts Ham actually has on his side, and why they were not quoted in the piece.

However, your grammar and punctuation are both excellent. With practice, you may have a future in writing; science, not so much.

Chris B said...

Jim Pemberton: "Evidence: The evolutionists don't get the humor, but rather make unreferenced assertions as arguments for evolution and similarly claim that the creationists have no evidence for creation."

Ironically, I couldn't help but notice that your post contains no evidence for creationism. You're welcome to share it if you have any. You've got my attention.

Jim Pemberton said...

Chris B: Evidence is neutral. The interpretation of the evidence requires presuppositions. That's where the real debate lies.

Elder Eric said...

The most fascinating thing about this is that many atheistic folks who never read this blog are taking time out of their busy days to comment. And, as I said before, many (not all) seem very angry.

If someone decides to believe there is no God, that individual is certainly free to do that. I believe the evidence proves otherwise. Therefore, I believe there is a God.

For clarification purposes: this is a Christian, Reformed, satirical blog. Therefore, the posts will be from that perspective. If that upsets you or you disagree with that worldview, you are more than free to spend your time reading the numerous atheistic/evolutionary blogs out there.

I am encouraged by the fact that even though the atheistic readers of this post do not find it funny, the Christian readers do. This indicates to me that it is actually good satire, but that the atheists disagree with it too much to see that. If everyone said it wasn't funny, then I would have to re-think the post.

One other thing: it is clear that neither side is going to convince the other of anything. This is hardly the format for that.

Sir Brass said...

I have 9 words for the angry athiests here:

Bahnsen-Stein Debate (??)
White-Barker Debate ('09)
Wilson-Barker Debate ('97)

That would be Christians: 3, Atheists: 0

netwurth said...

Sir Brass

Are we going to all start listing our favorite debates where we feel like our side slayed the other? If so I've got lots of Hitchens & Harris debates I could throw up.

Sir Brass said...

The thing is that Wilson, White, and Bahnsen are EXCELLENT theologians who faced off against some very preeminent athiests and WON.

Not because the other guy sucked at debating, but because they proved their points and the atheists could only respond as they always have in that they had to borrow from the Christian worldview in order to even have a logical train of thought.

Evidentialist apologetics is NOT worth the time spent. Look at what happens when a prepared athiest (like Stein) debates a prepared presuppositionalist (like Bahnsen) and watch the atheist lose.

netwurth said...

I will try to view the debates you suggest but my point is that listing who you think won a debate is pointless. They can be poorly moderated. A good, well prepared debater can just be 'off their game'. And the results themselves can be interpreted differently depending on your perspective. I watched the 'debate' featuring Hitchens v. Lee Strobel, Douglas Wilson, James Denison, and William Lane Craig. What respect I had for Craig as an intellectual was crushed by that performance. I felt like Hitchens won handedly as did many who shared his views while the the opposite was true for Christians.

While entertaining to watch, those debates are highly subjective in determining a 'winner' and almost completely meaningless as a post in this forum.

Again, I don't understand why this thread has devolved from discussing the evolution and creationism to calling atheists angry and comparing debates with theologians.

netwurth said...

Going back to address one of the points of the 'satire':
The question of how life started in the first place is a question of abiogenesis, not evolution by natural selection but that doesn't mean it isn't a valid question or that we don't have any answers. There are several theories out there and many of them are similar to evolution in that very small changes over a long period of time could give rise to organic self-replicating molecules. Just came across this article in Nature demonstrating the kind of research going on in the field.
http://www.nature.com/news/2009/090513/full/news.2009.471.html?s=news_rss

Codswallop said...

Elder Eric spake, saying: "We creationists aren't as ignorant as most atheists think we are."

I used to this this too, but you guys keep surprising me.

Brian said...

Me, Me, Me!

Netwurth,

You cannot be serious about mentioning Hitchens and Dawkins. Both of them are highly educated but cannot make arguments (especially Dawkins) without using ad hominems and many other logical fallacies (false alternatives in particular). You must be referencing debates with soft targets but not debates with John Lennox. The New Atheism totally glosses over the fact that the worst genocides of the 20th century were committed by doctrinaire atheists! John Lennox taught mathematics in the Eastern bloc and had the lovely privilege of reminding the new atheists that it was not Christians doing the killing, keeping records on their neighbors, and so on and so forth. We digress because some are in a lather here about evolution being mocked, but Dawkins and Hitchens certainly do not present science. Their works are political treatises and full of logical fallacies. May be the new atheism climbed out of the soup onto a higher plane in which logical fallacies are now glorious discourse.

By the way, back at the beginning of April Dawkins was in his glory criticizing the Pope for his comments opposing condom use in Africa with the AIDS crisis. Dawkins response? The Pope was "stupid, ignorant, or dim"--a classic ad hominem. I am Protestant and I do not agree with the Pope's teachings in many areas, but he is not stupid, ignorant, or dim. Dawkins uses ad hominems when he thinks he can score points for his side. The Pope understood the sexual practices of the African Subcontinent and his comments make a lot of sense. Dawkins either knew about those sexual practices and was being intellectually dishonest in order to score points with his fan club. Or Dawkins did not know what he was talking about, but opened his mouth anyway in his contempt for Christianity. It is very hard to take a guy like seriously. "Archie Bunker" atheists and agnostics, however, are undoubtedly applauding Dawkins' brilliance.

Elder Eric said...

Codswallop,

Your comment is simply more of what I have been talking about. When an atheist/evolutionist does not know what else to say, he simply insults the creationist by saying that he is ignorant, unintelligent, etc. Despite what atheists may think, they have not cornered the market on either intelligence or scientific data.

Darrin said...

Eric, this is amazing.
Are these the most comments a post at TBNN has gotten?
What an odd place for unbelievers to launch a crusade!
Thankful that God in His mercy has revealed Himself to poor sinners such as us. May He do the same for some who visit here.
Grace alone,
Darrin

netwurth said...

Brian
What the "H-e-double hockey sticks" are you talking about?

I was merely making the point that using debates as some kind of scoring tool in this thread was meaningless, and as an example said I could post 'scores' from Hitchens or Harris debates. The point being that they would be equally meaningless.

Then you launch into a diatribe against Dawkins even though I didn't mention him.

And you make the claim against Hitchens that he doesn't present science but as a writer I wouldn't expect him to be educated on science. Besides he frequently isn't debating the science. He has an honest critique of religion (not necessarily creationism, although it is certainly derived straight from religious dogma) and while you may not agree with premise or his conclusion it's dishonest of you to enter him as a red herring to discount scientific debate for evolution.

And for the record when it comes to 'presenting science', Christian Apologists have an atrocious track record. The most intellectual ones I've seen were theologians and hardly authoritative in science. If I want to see a Christian who can talk science I'll go see Ken Miller (except that he sticks to his area and expertise in biology and regularly slaughters arguments of "cdesign proponentsists"

sidebar - Why are you guys so frakkin' amazed at the response this has gotten? This does happen occasionally on the internet. It is an open medium afterall. And besides, it was linked to by FriendlyAtheist.com and most of us found it absurd so we came here with responses.

Chuck Wolber said...

Jim Pemberton wrote: "There is no evidence however of any population changing their genotype over time."

Hi Jim :-)

I think you may be mistaken there. Genotypes change all of the time. DNA does not represent a bookshelf whose dimensions never change.

Put more simply, a strand of your DNA is not the same number of base pairs as your child or your parents, or any other human being (and I'm not picking on technicalities like Telomeres).

Satellite DNA sequences are different in every one of your gametes due to crossing over during meiosis. Your gametes combine with other gametes to create a unique human with a very unique set of satellite sequences. This is how labs, like the FBI crime lab, uniquely identify you. I understand if you do not find that a very satisfying answer, so please allow me to continue...

You also have to consider retroviruses. Retroviruses insert their genome into your genome when you are infected. This is how the virus stays latent. Environmental factors cause the virus to "resurrect" when it is expressed as RNA and processed through one of your ribosomes (a.k.a "The Central Dogma"). Crazy to think about, but yes, you actually manufacture your own retroviruses!

It gets more interesting when you consider endogenous retroviruses (ERVs). These are retroviruses that make it into gametes and are included in the genome of offspring. While some infections, called Endosymbiotic ERVs, actually improve the fitness of the offspring, most ERVs are defective and cannot produce virus particles any more.

What makes ERVs interesting is that they result in an indelible mark in a genome that is passed on from one generation to the next (viruses mutate too fast for a new infection of the same virus to happen in later generations). This property allows you to use ERVs to track lineage. One group of ERVs, HERV-K (HML2), has been studied quite extensively because it appears in humans and in chimpanzees. This is scientific evidence of common ancestry as well as scientific evidence that genotypes do in fact change over time.

..Ch:W..

Elder Eric said...

Darrin,

I think there have been a few other posts with more comments than this one (at least so far). However, this is easily the most comments we have ever received from folks who do not ordinarily read TBNN. It is clear that we hit a nerve.

Atheists spend a lot of time using creationists as a punching bag. I think what we see here is that when a few lowly creationists (like us) push back against the bully, he can't take it.

Brother Slawson said...

Netwurth... I was actually just curious of getting a simple answer from adcas's research... nothing more.

Let me ask you the same simple question... given the mounds of evidence in all the journals and your research, how do you believe life began on earth?

I'm just plain honestly curious of your opinion if you care to share it. I'm not ready for any debates... I'm not one to work to convince anyone of anything. I'm just a truthseeker asking your opinion. I don't need mounds of explanation... just the condensed version.

I've seen many atheists hide thier heads in the sand on this question or avoid it completely by answering another question that they think I'm asking, when I'm not.

The commenter adcas seemed intelligent, so I was thinking I may get an intelligent opinion. I'm hope I can get the same from you. How do you believe life began on earth? If you don't have any clues, that's okay to say also.

Peace,

Brother

Howard said...

"Christianity has fought, still fights, and will fight science to the desperate end over evolution because evolution destroys utterly and finally the very reason Jesus' earthly life was supposedly made necessary. Destroy Adam and Eve and the original sin, and in the rubble you will find the sorry remains of the son of god. Take away the meaning of his death. If Jesus is not the redeemer who died for our sins, and this is what evolution means, then Christianity is nothing." These words were written by Richard Bozarth in an article entitled "The Meaning of Evolution" in "The American Atheist" Vol. 20, No 2, Feb. 1978, page 20.

Bozarth defines evolution not on the basis of science but on the basis of the rejection of the incarnation of the Lord Jesus Christ. This is why evolutionists and atheists are angry. They are trying, without success, to suppresss the knowledge of God.

Chuck Wolber said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Chuck Wolber said...

Brother Slawson wrote: "given the mounds of evidence in all the journals and your research, how do you believe life began on earth? "

Hi Brother Slawson,

You ask a good question. Probably the simplest direction to point you in is to read about abiogenesis here:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AbiogenesisIf you do not find that to be a satisfactory answer, I would be more than happy to discuss it further with you.

..Ch:W..

Brother Slawson said...

Chuck,

Thank you for the article info...
However, I would like to pose the same question to YOU that I also asked to adcas and netwurth, but have not yet received an answer.

Given the information that you have gathered and reviewed, how do you believe life began on earth?

Peace,

Brother

netwurth said...

Brother

Actually I gave my opinion in a post last night. For some reason it either didn't save correctly or is the one that was removed from the thread.

I'll try rewrite it and post it later.

Chuck Wolber said...

Hi Brother Slawson,

The simple and short answer is that I do not have a firm belief of how life arose on earth.


Here is what I do believe:

I believe I am amazed at how easy it is for primitive cells to form simply by agitating phospholipids in a liquid medium like water.

I believe that I am quite intrigued by experiments like Miller-Urey that show how easy it is for amino acids and nucleotide bases to form on their own from simple building blocks of cyanide, ammonia, water and methane.

I believe I know enough chemistry and physics to appreciate how a few of those organic chemicals could form bonds every once-in-a-while.

I believe that most of the time those bonds would simply dissolve away.

I believe that every once in a while, tucked away in a slightly less hostile environment, a few organic chemicals might bind in a way that allows for some primitive self replication to emerge.

I believe that once a self replicating molecule happens, evolutionary forces probably come into play.

I believe I will continue to study this fascinating area of science with great interest.

I believe that it is unlikely, in my lifetime, that we will have an indisputable understanding of the origins of life on Earth.

netwurth said...

Brother,

I'll give this another shot. Hopefully my post won't get lost again.

First I just want to say that part of the frustration you may feel with atheists and/or scientists who won't give you a simple answer to your question is because if they are anything like me they find your question to be anything but simple. Abiogenesis is such a complex field of study involving geology, chemistry, physics, cosmology, etc. Just saying how you believe life started brings with it a lot of uncertainty right now.

But to answer your question. I find myself reading Chuck's response to you and with the exception of his understanding of chemistry and physics I feel much the same way he does and believe many of the same things about the beginning of life.

I too believe the Miller-Urey experiments intriguing and too often dismissed out of hand by people who claim the experiment was flawed. There are many honest criticisms of the experiment regarding the atmosphere they used but the conclusion that cannot be denied is that they did successfully create amino acids and nucleotides from various gases, water, ammonia, and some electricity.

If you look up through the thread you will see link I posted from Nature.com that discusses new research into RNA as one of the possible precursors to DNA and proteins as some of the first self replicating organics.

When I see research like this and see that self replicating basic nucleotides can arise spontaneously, I have no trouble believing that something similar is the likely cause of life on this planet. It becomes easier to believe given the geological time scale we're talking about that once abiogenesis occurred, evolution by natural selection was able to take it from there.

So I do believe that given the right environmental factors and key ingredients, that spontaneous generation of basic self replicating molecules is possible and could be the origins of life on earth.

Also, like Chuck, I believe I will probably not live to see an undisputed account of life's origins.

But such is science and that's why I love it. It's ability to self correct and adjust when given new information. The imagination required and ingenuity that scientists put into their work is inspiring. That's why I not only believe what I do about the origins of life but also why I believe that currently, science is our best tool for increasing our understanding of the natural world and the cosmos.

Elder Eric said...

To bad - I was hoping we could make it to 50 comments. Then I could quote the movie "The Princess Bride" by saying, "Not to 50!"

netwurth said...

So I think no man in a century shall suffer as greatly as you will!

Elder Eric said...

netwurth,

Thanks!

Darrin said...

netw, greetings.

I just wanted to comment, taking off from your last paragraph above:

"But such is science and that's why I love it. It's ability to self correct and adjust when given new information."

Funny - that's just the problem I have with scientists - they're always having to change their books! (Compare with the Bible.)

Seriously, though, if more of those in the scientific community fostered that attitude - i.e. "this is the best we have right now, but we could be wrong" - then perhaps they would be more amiable toward (and not mocking of) those of faith in the Creator. However, there seems to rather be an arrogance and attitude that the current dictates of the scientific community are "it", and to disagree would make one a fool, although in 50 years the dictates will likely be entirely different.

" ... I believe that currently, science is our best tool for increasing our understanding of the natural world and the cosmos."

Science is a valuable tool. It is a means to discover what God has already created. Of course, the Creator himself is the best (and really, only) source for such an understanding.