Creation Insights

Revealing the empirical case for
intelligent design and Bible science.

Evidence for the Supernatural Origin of Life

Patrick R. Briney, Ph.D.

Having presented the evidence showing the reasonable conclusion for a supernatural origin of the universe, it is reasonable to predict the finding of evidence for a supernatural origin of life. Such an origin would be consistent on the basis that the material makeup of life was of supernatural origin.

The evidence of the supernatural origin of life can be classified into three categories: 1) law of science, 2) law of probabilities, and 3) experimental observation.

The Law of Biogenesis

The law of science that has stood the test of time being verified thousands of times without exception since Louis Pasteur's swan neck flask experiment is the Law of Biogenesis. This law states that, "Where a cell exists, there must have been a preexisting cell, just as the animal arises only from an animal and the plant only from a plant" (Biology, Helena Curtis, second edition, Worth, p.90).

The erroneous notion of life arising from non-living material is recorded as early as Aristotle's time in 4 BC. Recipes exist for the fantastic, natural, spontaneous generation of mice from moldy grain, worms and beetles from dust, frogs from mud, and flies from rotting meat.

Surprisingly, in contradiction to the established law of biogenesis, spontaneous generation is still considered to be a valid tenet of current evolution theory. It is commonly known as abiogenesis (life origin without pre-existing life), which is a field of research in evolutionary biology. The recipes are much more sophisticated, but the results are the same: nothing. This is to say that in spite of millions of dollars, high tech equipment, carefully controlled research, and thousands of man hours spent on experiments to determine how life could arise naturally from non-living materials, not a single life form has been created.

To encourage competition and more intense effort into creating life in the laboratory, The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc. is offering a million dollars to anyone who can demonstrate that life could indeed evolve spontaneously. Amazingly, this demonstration only has to be presented in theory not experimentally. Following are excerpts from their web site at http://www.us.net/life/, accessed 9/25/2004.

"The Origin-of-Life Prize"® (hereafter called 'the Prize') will be awarded for proposing a highly plausible mechanism for the spontaneous rise of genetic instructions in nature sufficient to give rise to life. To win, the explanation must be consistent with empirical biochemical, kinetic, and thermodynamic concepts as further delineated herein, and be published in a well-respected, peer-reviewed science journal(s)."

"The Origin-of-Life Foundation should not be confused with 'creation science' groups. It has no religious affiliations of any kind, nor are we connected in any way with any New Age, Gaia, or "Science and Spirit" groups. The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc. is a science and education foundation encouraging the pursuit of natural-process explanations and mechanisms within nature."

"The Prize is not being offered for creating life in vitro, but for a plausible, empirically supported theory of mechanism within nature. "

"The Gene Emergence Project is one of the programs of The Origin-of-Life Foundation, Inc., a 501(c)3 science and education foundation with corporate headquarters near NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center just off the Washington, D. C. Beltway in Greenbelt, MD. 113 Hedgewood Drive, 20770-1610 Fax 301-441-8135."

The thousands of failed attempts to defy the law of biogenesis serve only to increase its credibility and establishment as a law of science.

One may legitimately question the objectivity of scientists who engage in research contrary to established laws of science. What justifies the millions of public tax dollars spent to pursue such endeavors? The answer is pure and simply a stubborn bias for atheistic naturalism in science.

Evolutionist George Wald reflected on this dilemma and wrote, "The reasonable view [during the two centuries before Louis Pasteur] was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation. There is no third position. One has only to contemplate the magnitude of this task to concede that the spontaneous generation of a living organism is impossible. Yet here we are—as a result, I believe, of spontaneous generation" (George Wald. 1954. The Origin of Life. Scientific American 190 (August):46). For many, spontaneous generation is accepted in spite of the evidence. This is stubborn bias.

Another evolutionist rationalizes this stubborn bias writing, “The beginning of the evolutionary process raises a question which is as yet unanswerable. What was the origin of life on this planet? Until fairly recent times there was a pretty general belief in the occurrence of ‘spontaneous generation.’ It was supposed that lowly forms of life developed spontaneously from, for example, putrefying meat. But careful experiments, notably those of Pasteur, showed that this conclusion was due to imperfect observation, and it became an accepted doctrine [the law of biogenesis] that life never arises except from life. So far as actual evidence goes, this is still the only possible conclusion. But since it is a conclusion that seems to lead back to some supernatural creative act, it is a conclusion that scientific men find very difficult of acceptance. It carries with it what are felt to be, in the present mental climate, undesirable philosophic implications, and it is opposed to the scientific desire for continuity. It introduces an unaccountable break in the chain of causation, and therefore cannot be admitted as part of science unless it is quite impossible to reject it. For that reason most scientific men prefer to believe that life arose, in some way not yet understood, from inorganic matter in accordance with the laws of physics and chemistry” (J. W. N. Sullivan. The Limitations of Science. Pub. New York: The Viking Press, Inc., 1933, p. 94).

Curiously, the "laws of physics and chemistry" Sullivan refers to above indicate that the properties of matter prevent the spontaneous generation of life. This is more true today than when he wrote his justification for defying the "accepted doctrine" of biogenesis.

Following is a summary of the Law of Biogenesis argument for the supernatural origin of life.

  1. Law of Biogenesis: "Living cells come from pre-existing living cells."
  2. Living cells have never been observed to come from lifeless molecules.
  3. All attempts to create life in the laboratory have failed.
  4. Therefore, initial living cells must have originated supernaturally.
  5. The creation model conforms to the data.
  1. Evolution proposes that life originated by means of the natural properties of molecules.
  2. Therefore, evolutionary abiogenesis contradicts a scientific law.
  3. Models that contradict scientific laws are unscientific.
  4. Therefore, evolutionary abiogenesis as a model of origins is unscientific.

The law of Probabilities

Not surprisingly, the results of thousands of experiments confirming the law of biogenesis are consistent with the calculated probabilities for the natural, chance, spontaneous generation of life.

Evolutionist H.P. Yockey calculated the chance appearance of a molecule involved in cellular respiration and wrote, “With regard to the appearance of a single molecule of the cytochrome c family, even the deus ex machina needs 1036 [chances] with just the right conditions [and] 1 billion years... One who finds the chance appearance of cytochrome c a credible event must have the faith of Job.” (Yockey, H.P., A Calculation of the Probability of Spontaneous Biogenesis by information Theory, J. Theor. Biol, 1977, 67:393,396).

Harold Morowitz, distinguished Yale biophysicist and former master of Pierson College, wrote in his book, Energy Flow in Biology, that the evolution of the theoretically simplest cell, requiring no less than about 124 proteins, would be an incredible probability of 1:10 to the 340,000,000 power (Morowitz, H.J., Energy Flow in Biology, Academic Press, New York, 1968, p. 99). This is not probability. This is a calculation of improbability, or better yet, impossibility.

To put these numbers in perspective, Borél’s single law of chance calculation determining the impossibility of an event occurring is 1050 (Borél, Emile, Probabilities and Life (New York: Dover, 1962)). Thus, the probability of an event occurring at 1:1050 or greater is reasonably considered impossible.

The entire universe is estimated to contain "only" 1080 sub-atomic particles. Some may think that this number sounds too small to represent all the sub-atomic particles in the entire universe. But not so. 1080 is a very big number of unfathomable magnitude. Your chance of guessing which subatomic particle I am thinking of at this moment is greater than the chance that a theoretical cell could originate from non-living materials.

The probability calculations for the chance occurrence of life forming naturally from the molecules is astronomical. The probability calculations show that the natural, chance, spontaneous generation of life from non-living matter is impossible. It did not happen, it does not happen, and it will not happen.

Biogenesis failures in the laboratory

The law of biogenesis and the law of probabilities are confirmed in the laboratory by evolutionists pursuing daily their impossible dream of abiogenesis at the cost of millions of tax payer dollars.

It is not difficult to predict the results of laboratory research considering the task being pursued. Besides defying the law of biogenesis and the law of probability, the chemistry of life is not simple. Even the simplest of all cells is an impressive chemical plant operating the efficiently and with complexity that man-made chemical plants can only envy. Further, the properties of the material needed for biochemical life are contrary to the natural genesis of life.

Evolutionists have proposed seven steps for the natural, chance, spontaneous generation of life from non-living material. They are as follows:

  1. The formation of monomers
  2. The formation of polymers
  3. The development of a meaningful code
  4. Transcription of the code molecule
  5. Translation of the code molecule
  6. The appearance of the proto-cell
  7. The appearance of the living cell

Without exception, experiments at each of these steps have failed to produce results to demonstrate that such accomplishments can occur by chance events caused by the natural properties of molecules.

Contrary to the claims and expectations of evolutionists, origin of life experiments have demonstrated: (1) that the law of biogenesis is, without exception, credible, (2) that the probability of abiogenesis exceeds impossibility, (3) that experiments have failed to produce products in natural simulation settings at all seven stages proposed for the alleged abiogenesis, and (4) that evolution of life resulting from the natural properties of molecules cannot be generated even in intelligently designed and carefully controlled conditions.

Physicist and information theorist H.P. Yockey's evaluation of the current state of abiogenesis is that, “The current accepted ... (evolutionist origin of life) ... scenarios are untenable and the solution to the problem will not be found by continuing to flagellate these conclusions” (H. Yockey, Information theory and molecular biology. 1992. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, GB. P. 289).

Nancy Touchette sums the current status of abiogenesis saying, “So far, none of the current theories have been substantiated or proven by experiment, and no consensus exists about which, if any, of these theories is correct. Solving the mystery may indeed take longer than the origin of life itself” (Nancy Touchette. 1993. Evolution: Origin of Life. J of NIH Research 5:95).

The most credible explanation for the origin of life is the creation model of intelligent, supernatural design. It is consistent with the supernatural origin of the universe, confirmed by the law of biogenesis and the law of probabilities, and its predictions demonstrated by thousands of daily experiments in the laboratory. Insistence of a natural origin model in spite of the natural properties of molecules, their impossible chance of occurring, failed attempts to produce life in sophisticated and intelligently designed experiments, and in contradiction to the law of biogenesis is clearly irrational and unscientific.

 

"I must say again that the journey to my discovery of the Divine has thus far been a pilgrimage of reason. I have followed the argument where it has led me. And it has led me to accept the existence of a self-existent, immutable, immaterial, omnipotent, and omniscient Being." (Flew, 2007, "There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind", p. 155.

"An honest man, armed with all the knowledge available to us now, could only state that in some sense, the origin 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." (Francis H.C. Crick, "Life Itself: Its Origin and Nature," Simon & Schuster: New York NY, 1981, p.88.

“There were two factors in particular that were decisive. One was my growing empathy with … noted scientists that there had to be an Intelligence behind the integrated complexity of the physical Universe. The second was my own insight that the integrated complexity of life itself – which is far more complex than the physical Universe – can only be explained in terms of an Intelligent Source. I believe that the origin of life and reproduction simply cannot be explained from a biological standpoint despite numerous efforts to do so. … the more that was discovered …, the less it seemed likely that a chemical soup could magically generate the genetic code. The difference between life and non-life, it became apparent to me, was ontological and not chemical. The best confirmation of this radical gulf is Richard Dawkins' comical effort to argue in The God Delusion that the origin of life can be attributed to a "lucky chance." If that's the best argument you have, then the game is over. No, I did not hear a Voice. It was the evidence itself that led me to this conclusion.” (Anthony Flew, famed atheist turned deist, October 30, 2007 interview with Benjamin Wiker, accessed July 27, 2009).