What is the theory of abiogenesis?
Question: "What is the theory of abiogenesis? What is the definition of abiogenesis?"
Answer: Abiogenesis is the idea of life originating from non-living material (non-life). This concept has expanded a great deal as mankind’s understanding of science has grown, but all forms of abiogenesis have one thing in common: they are all scientifically unsupportable. There have been no experiments demonstrating abiogenesis in action. It has never been observed in a natural or artificial environment. Conditions believed to have existed on earth are either incapable of producing the building blocks needed, or self-contradictory. No evidence has been found suggesting where or when such life might have generated. In fact, everything we know of science today seems to indicate that abiogenesis could not have happened under any naturally possible conditions.
Early concepts of abiogenesis were very simplistic. Rotting meat was soon covered in maggots, and so it was assumed that the meat turned into maggots. Mice were usually seen in places where hay was stored, so it was assumed that hay turned into mice. This type of abiogenesis is known as “spontaneous generation.” This was actually the popular scientific explanation for the reproduction of living things as recently as a few hundred years ago. It wasn’t until the mid-1800s that men like Pasteur proved experimentally that living things can only come from other living things. That is, science eventually proved conclusively that the only supportable origin for any living cell is another living cell.
Modern ideas of abiogenesis can be very complex, and some are more outrageously unlikely than others. Guesses are widely varied, from deep-sea lava vents to meteoric impact sites and even radioactive beaches. In general, all modern theories of abiogenesis imagine some scenario in which natural conditions create, combine, and arrange molecules in such a way that they begin to self-replicate. These theories vary widely as to the nature of these conditions, the complexity of the molecules, and so forth. All share at least one common factor: they are implausible to the point of impossibility, based on established science.
One problem with modern abiogenesis is the extraordinary complexity of living organisms. Experiments have proven that very simple amino acids can be formed in laboratory conditions. However, these separate acids are nowhere near sufficient to create a living cell. The conditions which create these acids would not only kill any such cell as soon as it was formed, but are also unlikely to have ever actually existed at any time in earth’s history. Any evolutionary theory that seems to suggest how ultra-simple life could have developed from a single newly formed cell has no answer for how that cell could have been formed in the first place. There is no “prototype first cell.” Science has never even come close to producing a self-sustaining living cell that could have been produced by, or survived in, the conditions needed to form its components.
It has been said that “death is philosophy’s only problem.” This may or may not be true, but dealing with death presents a major challenge to any philosophical view. In much the same way, abiogenesis is the scientific naturalist’s biggest problem. There are naturalistic guesses about how life could have begun without any Creator or Designer. And yet, these purely natural explanations are thoroughly refuted by science itself. It is ironic that so many people proclaim scientific naturalism to be “proven,” “established,” or “demonstrated” so clearly. And yet, naturalism is necessarily linked to abiogenesis, which is scientifically impossible.
The overwhelming evidence that life cannot come from non-life is a powerful indication that naturalism is not a realistic worldview. Life either had a natural origin (abiogenesis) or a supernatural origin (intelligent design). The scientific impossibility of abiogenesis is an argument for, at least, a supernatural originator. The only way to create even the most basic building blocks of life is in non-natural, highly designed, and tightly controlled conditions. That, by itself, makes it reasonable to presume that life cannot begin without intelligent intervention.
Recommended Resource: The Wedge of Truth: Splitting the Foundations of Naturalism by Philip Johnson
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What is the theory of abiogenesis? What is the definition of abiogenesis?