A wonderful area for speculative academic work is the unknowable. These days religious subjects are in disfavor, but there are still plenty of good topics. The nature of consciousness, the workings of the brain, the origin of aggression, the origin of language, the origin of life on earth, SETI and life on other worlds...this is all great stuff. Wonderful stuff. You can argue it interminably. But it can't be contradicted, because nobody knows the answer to any of these topics.
Will it be possible to solve these problems? It is certain that nobody has thus far observed the transformation of dead into living matter, and for this reason we cannot form a definite plan for the solution of this problem of transformation. But we see that plants and animals during their growth continually transform dead into living matter, and that the chemical processes in living matter do not differ in principle from those in dead matter. There is, therefore, no reason to predict that abiogenesis is impossible, and I believe that it can only help science if the younger investigators realize that experimental abiogenesis is the goal of biology.
The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.
To establish evolutionary interrelatedness invariably requires exhibiting similarities between organisms. Within Darwinism, there's only one way to connect such similarities, and that's through descent with modification driven by the Darwinian mechanism. But within a design-theoretic framework, this possibility, though not precluded, is also not the only game in town. It's possible for descent with modification instead to be driven by telic processes inherent in nature (and thus by a form of design). Alternatively, it's possible that the similarities are not due to descent at all but result from a similarity of conception, just as designed objects like your TV, radio, and computer share common components because designers frequently recycle ideas and parts. Teasing apart the effects of intelligent and natural causation is one of the key questions confronting a design-theoretic research program. Unlike Darwinism, therefore, intelligent design has no immediate and easy answer to the question of common descent.Darwinists necessarily see this as a bad thing and as a regression to ignorance. From the design theorists' perspective, however, frank admissions of ignorance are much to be preferred to overconfident claims to knowledge that in the end cannot be adequately justified. Despite advertisements to the contrary, science is not a juggernaut that relentlessly pushes back the frontiers of knowledge. Rather, science is an interconnected web of theoretical and factual claims about the world that are constantly being revised and for which changes in one portion of the web can induce radical changes in another. In particular, science regularly confronts the problem of having to retract claims that it once confidently asserted.
The theory of phlogiston was an inversion of the true nature of combustion. Removing phlogiston was in reality adding oxygen, while adding phlogiston was actually removing oxygen. The theory was a total misrepresentation of reality. Phlogiston did not even exist, and yet its existence was firmly believed and the theory adhered to rigidly for nearly one hundred years throughout the eighteenth century. ... As experimentation continued the properties of phlogiston became more bizarre and contradictory. But instead of questioning the existence of this mysterious substance it was made to serve more comprehensive purposes. ... For the skeptic or indeed to anyone prepared to step out of the circle of Darwinian belief, it is not hard to find inversions of common sense in modern evolutionary thought which are strikingly reminiscent of the mental gymnastics of the phlogiston chemists or the medieval astronomers.To the skeptic, the proposition that the genetic programmes of higher organisms, consisting of something close to a thousand million bits of information, equivalent to the sequence of letters in a small library of one thousand volumes, containing in encoded form countless thousands of intricate algorithms controlling, specifying and ordering the growth and development of billions and billions of cells into the form of a complex organism, were composed by a purely random process is simply an affront to reason. But to the Darwinist the idea is accepted without a ripple of doubt - the paradigm takes precedence!
Many investigators feel uneasy stating in public that the origin of life is a mystery, even though behind closed doors they admit they are baffled.
In a very real sense, every person who denies God is living of borrowed capital. He enjoys living as if the world is filled with morality, meaning, order and beauty, yet he denies the God whose existence makes such things possible. When you start with theism - in the beginning God- these destinations make complete sense. When you start with materialism though - in the beginning, the particles - that route takes you over a cliff of absurdity and despair.
The great age of the earth will appear greater to man when he understands the origin of living organisms and the reasons for the gradual development and improvement of their organization. This antiquity will appear even greater when he realizes the length of time and the particular conditions which were necessary to bring all the living species into existence. This is particularly true since man is the latest result and present climax of this development, the ultimate limit of which, if it is ever reached, cannot be known.
Call up the ever-pure, the effulgent and the ever-radiant character of true humanism in yourself and in others, and no racism shall have the power to thrive in such society even for a few seconds.
Tolstoy was a Caucasian, Gandhi was an Asian, and Martin Luther King Jr. was a Negro, yet all of their hearts were inspired by the one idea of nonviolent resistance. King received it from Gandhi, Gandhi received it from Tolstoy, and Tolstoy received it from Christ.
It is character that should be the sole measure of judgement in the society of thinking humanity, and nothing short of that would do.
If not as a true human, let me tell you as a Biologist, color of the skin does not define an individual’s intelligence – it does not define an individual’s ambitions - it does not define an individual’s dreams – and above all, it does not define an individual’s character.
Considering the way the prebiotic soup is referred to in so many discussions of the origin of life as an already established reality, it comes as something of a shock to realize that there is absolutely no positive evidence for its existence.
An example of such emergent phenomena is the origin of life from non-living chemical compounds in the oldest, lifeless oceans of the earth. Here, aided by the radiation energy received from the sun, countless chemical materials were synthesized and accumulated in such a way that they constituted, as it were, a primeval “soup.” In this primeval soup, by infinite variations of lifeless growth and decay of substances during some billions of years, the way of life was ultimately reached, with its metabolism characterized by selective assimilation and dissimilation as end stations of a sluiced and canalized flow of free chemical energy.
All of today's DNA, strung through all the cells of the earth, is simply an extension and elaboration of [the] first molecule.
The uniformity of the earth's life, more astonishing than its diversity, is accountable by the high probability that we derived, originally, from some single cell, fertilized in a bolt of lightning as the earth cooled. It is from the progeny of this parent cell that we take our looks; we still share genes around, and the resemblance of the enzymes of grasses to those of whales is a family resemblance.
Creationists have also changed their name ... to intelligent design theorists who study 'irreducible complexity' and the 'abrupt appearance' of life—yet more jargon for 'God did it.' ... Notice that they have no interest in replacing evolution with native American creation myths or including the Code of Hammurabi alongside the posting of the Ten Commandments in public schools.
It is essential for genetic material to be able to make exact copies of itself; otherwise growth would produce disorder, life could not originate, and favourable forms would not be perpetuated by natural selection.
The sense of alienation that inspires wonder, awe and fear in us is enough of a proof that life does not belong to the planet Earth.
Winning the Origins Lottery Nontheistic models adhere to a central premise that humans arose by strictly natural unguided steps from a bacterial life-form that sprang into being 3.8 billion years ago. Famed evolutionary biologist Francisco Ayala, an advocate for the hypothesis that natural selection and mutations can efficiently generate distinctly different species, nevertheless calculated the probability that humans (or a similarly intelligent species) arose from single-celled organisms as a possibility so small (10-1,000,000) that it might as well be zero (roughly equivalent to the likelihood of winning the California lottery 150,000 consecutive times with the purchase of just one ticket each time).2 He and other evolutionary biologists agree that natural selection and mutations could have yielded any of a virtually infinite number of other outcomes. Astrophysicists Brandon Carter, John Barrow, and Frank Tipler produced an even smaller probability.
An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin of life appears at the moment to be almost a miracle, so many are the conditions which would have had to have been satisfied to get it going.
My laboratory is interested in the related challenges of understanding the origin of life on the early earth, and constructing synthetic cellular life in the laboratory. Focusing on artificial life frees us to explore novel chemical systems, but what we learn from these systems helps us to understand possible pathways leading to the origin of life. Our basic design for a synthetic cell involves the encapsulation of a spontaneously replicating nucleic acid, which acts as the genetic material, within a spontaneously replicating membrane vesicle, which provides spatial localization. We are using chemical synthesis to make nucleic acids with modified nucleobases and sugar-phosphate backbones.