Here, There, and Everywhere: What We Really Know About the Origin of Life

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I was just watching a National Geographic channel show about astrobiology (or exobiology) — the science of looking for life outside of the Earth. I didn’t get to see the whole program, but what I did see featured some amazing facts about where life can thrive on earth — and maybe elsewhere?

The operative word there, of course, is maybe.

Amazing Life on Earth

There are microorganisms in boiling pools at Yellowstone, where the pH is 1 (about the same as battery acid), and you or I would quickly dissolve if we fell in.

There are tall tube worms at the dark bottom of the ocean, living without no access to the solar energy the rest of earth’s life depends on. They get their energy and nutrients from searingly hot (600° — they didn’t say whether Fahrenheit or Celsius) mineral plumes issuing from deeper in earth’s crust.

Life Elsewhere?

If life could thrive there, who knows where else it might exist? There are ice crystals just inches below the surface of Martian soil. Maybe deeper down, there’s enough pressure to liquefy that ice into water. There could be life there.

Europa, one of Jupiter’s moons, is covered with water ice. It, too, might have enough internal heat for liquid water to exist below the surface. Maybe there’s enough tectonic activity to produce usable energy down there. Maybe life has developed there, too.

Titan, Saturn’s largest moon, has a methane atmosphere. It’s so cold there — hundreds of degrees below zero — that methane falls like rain and flows across the surface like water. Sure, it isn’t really water, but as one scientist on the show said, it’s at least fluid: it’s a medium where things can move around and interact. And who can say? Maybe life could develop in other chemistries besides water.

The (cough) “Known Universe” of Maybes

Maybe. Might have. Maybe. Maybe. Who knows? Lots and lots of questions.

Here’s the kicker, though: the title of that show was The Known Universe.

What do we really know, then, about life elsewhere? Lots of maybes.

Some of those maybes are worse than unlikely. Pardon me for not being a chemist or anything, but one thing I’m pretty sure we know is that evolution requires time, lots and lots of it. It also requires chemical reactions. Lots of them; astronomical numbers of them. But chemistry happens a lot slower in extreme cold. If Titan is home to life it would take a truly titanic set of fortuitous coincidences. More likely it’s the speculation involved there that’s titanic.

Speaking of coincidences, though, right now I’m listening to an online jazz program. Currently playing, and I’m not making this up: Tom Tallitsch’s cover of “Life on Mars.” It’s better than David Bowie’s version. It’s also better than any life on Mars so far discovered.

Maybe, Maybe, Maybe: The Origin of Life on Earth

But forget what we know about life elsewhere; what do we know about how the first life evolved on earth? From LiveScience.com, here are some possibilities:

  1. “Lightning may have provided the spark needed for life to begin.”
  2. “The first molecules of life might have met on clay, according to an idea elaborated by organic chemist Alexander Graham Cairns-Smith at the University of Glasgow in Scotland.”
  3. “The deep-sea vent theory suggests that life may have begun at submarine hydrothermal vents spewing key hydrogen-rich molecules.”
  4. “Ice might have covered the oceans 3 billion years ago, as the sun was about a third less luminous than it is now, scientists say. This layer of ice, possibly hundreds of feet thick, might have protected fragile organic compounds in the water below from ultraviolet light and destruction from cosmic impacts. The cold might have also helped these molecules to survive longer, allowing key reactions to happen.”
  5. “Nowadays DNA needs proteins in order to form, and proteins require DNA to form, so how could these have formed without each other? The answer may be RNA, which can store information like DNA, serve as an enzyme like proteins, and help create both DNA and proteins.”
  6. “Instead of developing from complex molecules such as RNA, life might have begun with smaller molecules interacting with each other in cycles of reactions. These might have been contained in simple capsules akin to cell membranes, and over time more complex molecules that performed these reactions better than the smaller ones could have evolved.”

We Know About Life’s Origin Here About as Well as on Europa

What do we really know about the origin of life on earth? From those first six theories: “May have.” “Might have.” “may have.” “Might have/might have.” “May be.” “Might have.” “Perhaps.” The language suggests our knowledge of life’s origin here is no better than its possibility on Mars or Europa. And if that language doesn’t convince you, number 7 should:

7. “Perhaps life did not begin on Earth at all, but was brought here from elsewhere in space, a notion known as panspermia.”

Here’s what that tells us about learning how life first evolved on earth. It tells us we might have to answer the problem of life’s origin somewhere very far away, before we can solve the problem here.

So next time someone tells you we know life came about by evolution, tell them he’s got a titanic problem to solve before he can make that claim. None of theories are worth hanging your hat on. None of them explains the origin of life.

But an Intelligent Designer certainly could.

Image Credit(s): NASA/Cornell University/NSF.

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33 Responses to “ Here, There, and Everywhere: What We Really Know About the Origin of Life ”

  1. Typical. Scientists talking about “The Known Universe”, when what they’re really talking about is what they don’t know and all their guesses within their self-imposed bounds of methodological naturalism.

    Reminds me of another title: How the Universe works – episode “The Universe’s Greatest Miracle” speaking about the origin of life. Interesting title given that scientists don’t believe in miracles. Of course that’s supposed to be attention getting and merely descriptive, but I find it interesting that the only way to draw attention to their theories that don’t work, is to couch them in terms of what people know to be true: life is a miracle of God. As if they’re trying to impute the miraculous power of God to the dead, lifeless processes of evolution. Well evolutionists – that title gives your weakness away. You are clueless as to how life began given only natural processes. The only known, internally consistent worldview for the origin of life, is the one that invokes God and miracles. All your guesses on how life developed after that not only don’t work, but are worthless without an origin.

  2. I believe that evolution as a theory for the “origin of the species” is true. I think that it can account for the diversity of life that we see here on earth. I think, and scientists show every day, that evolution explains biology. The problem for evolution as an explanatory theory though is that evolution doesn’t explain evolution. Evolution is great as long as you start with a living organism capable of evolving. So just where do you get that?

    Well, as pointed out above, however that happened we don’t have a clue. We don’t have a clue about the origin of life and we don’t really even have a clue (or at least scientific definition) of what life even is. We have scientists supposedly studying the origin of life and they really don’t know what the very thing they are studying actually is.

    If you read those writing about the subject of evolution today (e.g.: Dawkins, Richard) you find some really good explanations for what evolution can and it seems has done. On the other hand, if you look at their works to find out where they got that living organism capable of evolving, well let’s say they don’t have quite as many good answers.

    Evolution answers all the easy questions. Start with a living organism capable of evolving and wow, there’s no end in sight for what it can do. Getting that living organism capable of evolving. Hmmm…

  3. BillT-

    Just for clarification, are you saying you believe that development of various species via evolutionary mechanisms really happened? Typically, I think this means that once life exists that random mutation and natural selection is all that is needed to explain how all other subsequent life came to be.

  4. I find it useful to just GRANT our Non-Theist friends all knowledge of all physical systems. Often, from that point moving forward, they assume that getting rid of this or that GAP with respect to knowledge of this or that physical system gets rid of God, as if a lack of said knowledge is what is being offered as the proverbial point. But, of course, with a bit of nudging that all falls apart on them once the GRANT is accepted.

    They have a habbit of not reading the fine print at the bottom of that loan grant.

    In fact, the fees and interest rates which await them after that are far, far worse than those back over inside of their cute appeals their straw-man of “But Christians are just appealing to GAP….!” That’s probably why so many of our Non-Theist friends don’t really venture outside of that comfortable little dog-and-pony show.

  5. DR84

    Well, yes and no. Yes, I believe that development of various species via evolutionary mechanisms really happened. No, random mutation and natural selection are not all that is needed to explain how other subsequent life came to be. That is, if God is required to provide a living organism capable of evolving, as seems reasonable, then everything subsequent to that is also part of his provision. We believe that God created and sustains the entire universe. That creation and sustenance includes evolution and development of the various species via evolutionary mechanisms. That’s commonly referred to as theistic evolution.

    For general reference, one of it’s greatest proponents happens to be one of the world’s greatest scientists Francis S. Collins, Director of the NIH and former head of the Human Genome Project. His introductory treatise can be found here. Further information can be found at Biologos.

  6. @DR84,

    …is all that is needed to explain how all other….

    You used the word explain. You need to change it to describe. Describing physical systems is not equivalent to explaining physical systems.

    Thanks.

  7. The great thing about science is that it admits we don’t know things. If you try to criticize science by pointing out what we don’t know, then you’re playing straight into their hands. Science takes it on principle that you need to admit openly what you don’t know.

    This is where science differs from religion. A religious person who is strong in the faith really “knows” that God exists. This is the opposite of science. Religious people don’t go out testing God – that would be blasphemy. But scientists go out on purpose to test the world. It would be anti-science to claim knowledge without testing the world.

    And yes, the origin of species is a very different topic from the origin of life. Evolutionary theory assumes that life already exists. Our ignorance about the origin of life is not a weakness of evolutionary theory.

  8. John Moore implies that God is measured in kilograms and, but for fear of blasphemy, Christians ought to go out and thusly test said metrics…. presumably to obtain more precise output.

    That’s cute and fine to do, but the question it raises is WHY would anyone imply such a bizarre approach?

  9. Notice that I did not say scientists test God. They only test the world. I’m not analysing any metaphysical propositions here. I’m not saying the things we don’t know are cognitively meaningless. And there are lots of other ways to test God than by trying to weigh him.

  10. John Moore,

    That is why I asked you why you are positing Verificationism. Or can we KNOW an X which the physical sciences cannot measure?

  11. John Moore,

    You claimed that Christians do not test God, essentially on fear of blasphemy. Yet Scripture appeals to evidence and to the created order (…the physical sciences…) — and the created order includes our reason by the way — as that upon which to lean. So there’s a gaping hole / disconnect in your choice of words and the reality of the Christian claim. Perhaps you can clarify.

  12. True. This whole idea that Christians believe without reasons is widely divorced from reality. Our reasons are not all scientific, but why should they be?

  13. Again, I’m not claiming that Christians believe without reason. All I’m saying is that Christians claim to know God in some sense, while science does not claim anything about God.

    When it comes to the world, you must admit there is a real difference between the religious attitude and the scientific attitude. Religious people look at the world and see God’s work. Scientists, by contrast, want to “put nature to the rack” and squeeze out every drop of data they can.

    Or maybe I’m wrong – would you say Christians put God to the rack?

  14. John Moore,

    Are you thinking about what you are saying? Putting nature to the rack just is to see far more data with respect to physical systems. That’s a proper and rational enterprise per the Christian claim. Earlier I even granted you all knowledge of all physical systems in hopes you’d realize the folly of building your case on Knowledge Gaps. Why do you insist the Christian claim is that said enterprise of said rack is improper and irrational?

  15. John,

    Is ignorance (…gaps…) of knowledge concerning physical systems (…on the Christian’s proverbial “team”…) actually required for the Non-Theist to have a leg to stand on in this arena? What if we just remove that fallacious hope of our Non-Theist friends and grant everybody on all teams all knowledge of all physical systems. What would the average Non-Theist hide behind / stand on top of then? Would their approach even change at all (…”No Gaps = No God!“..?)?

  16. Religious people look at the world and see God’s work. Scientists, by contrast, want to “put nature to the rack” and squeeze out every drop of data they can.

    The truth is that religious people (specifically Christians) looked at the world and invented science. And though they may see God’s work in the big picture (see #7 above) they have in the past and continue today trying to “squeeze you last drop” out of things they observe if that is their mission.

    Now, comparing scientists and their queries to our inquiries about God is a bit of a non sequitur. However, if you look at the libraries full of theology, Biblical exegesis and religious philosophy, I think it’s pretty safe to say that the religious are pretty devoted to squeezing the last drop of understanding out of their relationship with God.

  17. The great thing about science is that it admits we don’t know things.

    What a remarkably stupid evaluation of science. There is nothing especially science-y or specific to the modern empirical sciences in epistemological humility.

    And spectacularly false. Not only is the science cudgel worn all too frequently to assert certainty and score rhetorical points, if there is one thing that many (though not by any means all) scientists cannot stop doing, is to invalidly jump from their own tiny infinitesimal turf of knowledge to pontificating on all matters social, political and metaphysical. This is the exact contrary of epistemological humility.

    When it comes to the world, you must admit there is a real difference between the religious attitude and the scientific attitude.

    In order for there to be a “real difference”, we would have to compare things under a coherent criterion applying to both. When the mystic looks at the world and sees the work of God in full display, he is looking at the world in a very specific manner, not trying to do what scientists do (e.g. explain our measurements of the metrical properties of material bodies). Since they are trying to do different things, while they are “different”, in a sense, no meaningful conclusion can be extracted from such a “difference”. Which is why (or one reason why) throughout history down to our day the two attitudes can coexist in the same person, maybe even in the same brain slice, with no inconsistency.

  18. It’s common for Non-Theists to conflate “fine-tuned” for “designed” and head off into rabbit holes. The term “fine tunning” is a neutral term, used by all. See http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-fine-tuning-question-begging

    The proverbial trio: Necessity, Design, Chance. Those are the viable explanations. Which is why Non-Theists immediately push the conversation away from probability whenever probabilistic Q/A’s pop up. Probability is viable but not as viable as the other two. Even more clarity comes when we look at the now scientifically debunked content of Hume’s regular-ism with respect to Causal Agents intentionally manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks and building, oh, say, novel elements which have never existed before.

    Probability is not brought up by the Christian to affirm design. Rather, it’s merely one step out of hundreds, thousands even, in rationally employing various knowns / patterns etc. in the process of reasoning through various unknowns as we reason from A to B to C to D, and so on. The term “fine tuning” is a neutral term, often used by Non-Theists as well. See http://www.reasonablefaith.org/some-questions-about-design and also http://www.reasonablefaith.org/is-fine-tuning-question-begging as the mass of lifeless space isn’t relevant and also the term fine tuning should not be conflated for the term design.

    Non-Theists generally avoid probability because probability isn’t important to the Non-Theist unless it’s in the fallacious and now demonstrably false Humean/Mackiean context of claiming science is banned from ever getting a lame man to stand and from ever intentionality manipulating and rearranging nature’s fundamental building blocks to make never-before seen arrangements/elements because of those echoes of yesteryear’s anti-scientific shouts of, “But…But that’s Black-Magic! But…But that’s impossible! But…But that’s very irregular..!” In short the Non-Theist avoids any and all lucid appeals to probability and only employs it in unscientific and fallacious modes.

    Meanwhile: The Christian allows all the data in as he shapes his conclusions such that science, bench tops, and probability all [A] inform one another and [B] talk to one another. As it turns out the Christian’s metaphysic and thereby his predictions, expectations, and mapping with respect to causal agents and nature’s fundamental building blocks got it right. From the get-go.

    A segue into the juxtaposition of Reason and Faith arrives on scene:

    Quote:

    “[You said,] “The great thing about science is that it admits we don’t know things.”

    What a remarkably stupid evaluation of science. There is nothing especially science-y or specific to the modern empirical sciences in epistemological humility.

    And spectacularly false. Not only is the science cudgel worn all too frequently to assert certainty and score rhetorical points, if there is one thing that many (though not by any means all) scientists cannot stop doing, is to invalidly jump from their own tiny infinitesimal turf of knowledge to pontificating on all matters social, political and metaphysical. This is the exact contrary of epistemological humility.

    [You said,] “When it comes to the world, you must admit there is a real difference between the religious attitude and the scientific attitude.”

    In order for there to be a “real difference”, we would have to compare things under a coherent criterion applying to both. When the mystic looks at the world and sees the work of God in full display, he is looking at the world in a very specific manner, not trying to do what scientists do (e.g. explain our measurements of the metrical properties of material bodies). Since they are trying to do different things, while they are “different”, in a sense, no meaningful conclusion can be extracted from such a “difference”. Which is why (or one reason why) throughout history down to our day the two attitudes can coexist in the same person, maybe even in the same brain slice, with no inconsistency.”

    End quote. (by G.Rodigues)

    Reason-ing vs. Faith-ing:

    What is the difference between philosophy, theology, and science? What role does reason and evidence play? None? Is there any evidence to support philosophical arguments in general? Theological arguments in general? With respect to knowledge, is the Non-Theist endorsing some sort of positivism? Some sort of empiricism?

    More generally, we can express the nature of the question as follows:

    I think solipsism is always an interesting topic because if we start “mid-stream” in our epistemology by rejecting solipsism (as I think most of us probably do), it is then interesting to try to infer what “upstream” structure of our thoughts must have led to this rejection. There is some hope that by swimming upstream in this manner we will discover certain “first principles” that lie unrecognized at the wellspring of our beliefs. (j.hilclimber)

    From that point, then, we come to the unavoidable continuum from our own upstream beliefs about reality to our own downstream claims/moves with respect to what counts as rational inquiry and what counts as rational metrics, which are themselves the products of those initial, upstream beliefs. This unavoidable continuum is itself indebted to its own promissory notes upon a still wider continuum which is in fact reality’s “rock-bottom” or reality’s irreducible substratum (….whatever such may be….) vis-à-vis our own explanatory termini.

    And there it is. One’s explanatory terminus. Positivism? Empericism? Far too often our Non-Theist friends go on speaking and arguing “as-if” all of this is made up of isolated categories of knowledge – isolated boxes – floating in midair wholly disconnected from one another, but, unfortunately for our Non-T friends, there is on such isolation. Why? Because there are no such things as ontological cul-de-sacs. Well, there are, but only if one trades on some sort of metaphysical absurdity.

    Theology vs Knowledge: The Non-Theist is so often building atop two fallacious premises. Premise [1] is that, when it comes to knowledge, because scientists 200 years ago did not know about QM, all the content within QM is either false or fallacious – such that if God did not reveal a full bodied and robust Dualism (or etc.) to so-and-so 5K years ago, then Dualism (or etc.) is either false or fallacious. Premise [2] is that, again when it comes to knowledge, the fact of internal contradictions within [Content X] is a proof that all the content therein is either false or fallacious (…again QM comes to mind during the process of discovery…).

    We have to wonder: Is there anything else that we know today which was not known X years ago that is false or fallacious because we did not know it X years ago? We have to wonder: Are these sorts of rules a collection of make-believe rules which our Non-Theist friends have only for theology? Philosophy? Mathematics? The physical sciences? IF they are un-even handed in their reply to that question, why? Isn’t scientism fallacious? Given these demonstrably false premises, a thought which presses in upon these bizarre modes of defining knowledge:

    Quote:

    “[You stated], “Feel free to point me in the direction of evidence for a non-materialistic view that is not simply a thought experiment.”

    What everybody has been doing is giving *arguments*. That you do not grasp them, much less refute them is your problem. Calling them “thought experiments” as if somehow it disqualifies them is sheer intellectual dishonesty.

    “Thought experiments” embody *arguments*. Einstein very famously grounded both the special and the general theories of relativity in thought experiments.

    At this point, this is beyond ridiculous…. because you do not even now that you do not know.”

    End quote. (by G.Rodigues)

    Were Einstein’s “experiments” successful? Where were they successful? When were they successful? Did Einstein’s reason-experiments have external corroboration such that it was settled/certain – or – was it all just some bizarre form of faith-based reasoning by which he was perceiving various X’s distal to the available (physical) evidence and through which he did in fact successfully lay hold of valid truth claims upon this or that downstream (or upstream) contour of reality? Was he reasoning or was he faith-ing? Was he rationally justified in doing so? As it turns out there is no difference whatsoever between Reasoning and the Christian definition of Faith, which is as follows: Leaning upon the Knowns as one dives into and navigates the Unknowns.

    That’s not complicated.

    Speaking of “reason-ing” vs. “faith-ing”, what about new discoveries affirming inflation at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/new-evidence-for-inflation and the Higgs boson at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/higgs-boson-discovered or of the (finally) detection of gravitational waves at http://www.reasonablefaith.org/gravitational-waves-detected ? Craig observes, “The recent news…..is reminiscent of the news last year concerning the discovery of the Higgs boson: the evidence confirmed what almost everyone already believed. The story is once again a wonderful illustration of the experimentalists’ discovering what the theorists had hypothesized.

    Which brings us full circle back to where we started: What is the difference between philosophy, science, and theology? What role does reason and evidence play? None? Is there any evidence to support philosophical arguments in general? Theological arguments in general? With respect to knowledge, are our Non-Theist friends endorsing some sort of “Positivism”? Some sort of “Empiricism”? IF that is the case, well then such a move is very “Contra-Einstein-ian“, not to mention contra-observational reality, not to mention contra-reason.

    And there it is. One’s explanatory terminus. Positivism? Empericism? Far too often our Non-Theist friends go on speaking and arguing “as-if” all of this is made up of isolated categories of knowledge – isolated boxes – floating in midair wholly disconnected from one another, but, unfortunately for our Non-T friends, there is on such isolation. Why? Because there are no such things as ontological cul-de-sacs. Well, there are, but only if one trades on some sort of metaphysical absurdity.

    See [1] http://www.str.org/node/42397#.WTwX17pFxPY and [2] http://www.str.org/node/42408#.WTwXqrpFxPY for related content.

    ~~~

  19. The Typo-Gremlin hits again:

    “….there is on such isolation….” The “on” should be “no” and should read as follows:

    ….Far too often our Non-Theist friends go on speaking and arguing “as-if” all of this is made up of isolated categories of knowledge – isolated boxes – floating in midair wholly disconnected from one another, but, unfortunately for our Non-T friends, there is no such isolation. Why? Because there are no such things as ontological cul-de-sacs. Well, there are, but only if one trades on some sort of metaphysical absurdity.

    ~~~

  20. “What is the difference between philosophy, science, and theology?”

    Plenty. Science makes predictions, in the case of physics sometimes confirmed to accuracies like one part in 10^9. Science is falsifiable. Newton (his mechanics) predicted the precession of the perihelion of Mercury–so did Einstein. It was tested and there was a clear winner (Einstein.) It doesn’t prove that special relativity is “true”, but it certainly falsified Newtonian mechanics as being anything more than an approximation. Can, in a similar sense, the Baptists prove the Presbyterians are wrong about, well, anything? I submit they cannot.

    Neither philosophy nor theology makes predictions of this type, nor is either falsifiable. I’m certainly not saying they are useless, I’m saying they are categorically different from science. When they venture into making comments about the physical realm, such as geocentricism (Luther called Copernicus a fool) they risk being falsified (Augustine understood this.) But as long as they stay in their non-overlapping magisterium, they cannot.

  21. @ David #26

    A few places where you are falling down:

    [1] Theology has predicted what science has confirmed in its debunking of the outdated Humean/Mackien predictions with respect to Causal Agent(s) intentionally manipulating natures fundamental building blocks. From the ground up. Contrary to Hume/Mackie, oh, say, DBS (Deep Brain Stimulation) and it’s growing utility in various pathological states, and, oh, say, intentionally manipulating nature’s four fundamental forces so as to invent novel elements (…nuclei…protons/neutrons etc…) is not “Black Magic!” Again, from the ground up.

    [2] Theology predicted what methodological naturalism has affirmed, as per http://disq.us/p/1ifmad7 From the get go. Methodological Naturalism has given her testimony – and she rests her case. Do you disagree?

    [2] You are speaking and arguing “as-if” the archetype that is “Knowledge” is made up of isolated categories of perception vis-à-vis knowledge – isolated boxes – floating in midair wholly disconnected from one another. You’ve not followed through on the question of the nature of what knowledge is. But there is no such isolation. Why? Because there are no such things as ontological cul-de-sacs. Well, there are, but only if one trades on some sort of metaphysical absurdity.

  22. David ~ @ #26,

    In addition to [1], [2], and [3] in the previous comment (…minus the typo of 2 followed by 2 etc…), we can add [4] and [5] as follows:

    [4] With respect to [1], we can add some context to that – and context matters – with the content of

    [A] http://www.str.org/node/42419#.WT0cGpDytPY
    [B] http://disq.us/p/1hkkpt6
    [C] http://disq.us/p/1horsij
    [D] http://disq.us/p/1hphs09
    [E] http://disq.us/p/1hpihf9

    …all of which feed into the content of http://disq.us/p/1huc02c

    [5] Recall that you’ve been GRANTED all knowledge of all physical systems. As per http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/04/23/what-about-god-of-the-gaps/

    And yet still you’ve work to do.

    ~~~

  23. The great thing about science is that it admits we don’t know things.

    What a remarkably stupid evaluation of science. There is nothing especially science-y or specific to the modern empirical sciences in epistemological humility.

    And spectacularly false. Not only is the science cudgel worn all too frequently to assert certainty and score rhetorical points, if there is one thing that many (though not by any means all) scientists cannot stop doing, is to invalidly jump from their own tiny infinitesimal turf of knowledge to pontificating on all matters social, political and metaphysical. This is the exact contrary of epistemological humility.

    I should probably add the obvious: that Science is not a person to “admit” or “fail to admit” anything whatsoever, or to display any intellectual virtues like epistemological humility. So John Moore’s claim must be understood as I understood it, in the distributive sense: that scientists, and those that like to pretend they are scientists or pretend that they talk through and for them, exhibit, or tend to exhibit, such intellectual virtues.

  24. Your links are too philosophical to be of interest to me. I’m a scientist (physicist) and a very amateur armchair theologian. I know that using methodological naturalism (to me a synonym for the scientific method) I can calculate many quantities to high precision– for example I can explain how the semiconductors in the computer I’m using to post this message work, using the framework of QM. With exegesis I can try (I haven’t succeeded) to come up with a self-consistent scripture-based systematic theology, but I can’t tell you, using theology, even in a model dependent way, how superconductivity works.

  25. David,

    That’s why I granted you all knowledge of all physical systems, so as to keep you in your preferred slice of perception.

    You should be quite satisfied there, with nothing left to explain. Correct? It’s also why I pointed out that Scripture got the science right while Hume and Mackie got it wrong and all while affirming methodological naturalism’s measurements and descriptions.

  26. Design? Non-Design? It Depends:

    See [1] http://christianapologeticsalliance.com/2017/03/27/antony-flew-the-most-renowned-atheist-of-the-20th-century/ and its thread or comment box, and also see [2] http://www.str.org/node/42160#.WUZ5W4UpCaM and its thread/com-box along with its specific comment at http://disq.us/p/1cg2grf which helps to focus the lens (…depending on browser variables it may take a few seconds to move to the specific comment…). The discussion reflects the driving theme: The fundamental nature of the causal content referenced by the term “design” in any and all contexts. See also [3] my dialogue with J. Downard at http://www.str.org/node/42513#.WUVv4oUpCaM

    ~~~

  27. Origin of life.. this discussion will never end. I look thus chaotic puzzle from a different window; what happens if were all wrong or all right? God is god at the end.. believers will believe, nonbelievers will not believe.. No need to try to beat each other for such an never-ending song…

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