Top 10 Reasons Why Abiogenesis Is Not Science
To start off, this article is not an attack on abiogenesis itself. I am not saying that it is impossible or even incorrect. All that I am saying is that it cannot be considered scientific. The following is a list of 10 reasons why it cannot be considered a scientific concept. This also means that abiogenesis should not be taught a public school science class. Not because it runs afoul of any religious beliefs but simply because it does not qualify as science.
#10 Abiogenesis is An atheistic presupposition
Because abiogenesis is by definition a totally naturalistic idea of the origin of life, it is inherently atheistic. This is because the idea leaves no place for God. However, its connection to atheism goes beyond this, because it is a needed presupposition of atheism and philosophical naturalism. While there are scientific reasons for life having a beginning, there are no scientific reasons requiring that it be by way of abiogenesis. This because even ignoring God has a possible answer, there is no reason to not simply conclude that we do not know, and cannot know the answer. After all the origin of life took place in the past, and there are many details of the past that simply cannot be reconstructed. This is particularly true one-off events for which there were no humans around to observe and record. As a result, abiogenesis is a purely naturalistic and atheistic presupposition being forced on science and being presented as though it were actually scientific.
#9 It Is a Necessity of a Naturalistic Origin
Because by definition abiogenesis is supposed to be a natural process, it is ultimately a necessity of insisting on a totally naturalistic origin to life, the universe, and everything. As a result, abiogenesis is not necessitated by science, or even implied by science. It simply results from an insistence on a naturalistic origin. Ultimately, it results from disallowing God as a starting assumption along with the notion that there is nothing beyond the ability of scientific explanation. In other words, they have already excluded God as an explanation and will not consider the possibility that they cannot find one. As a result, if you are going to insist on a totally naturalistic origin for everything, then abiogenesis is a necessity even if there is no evidence or even no possibility of. finding evidence for it.
#8 No alternative is allowed
The simple fact is that the only real alternative to abiogenesis; that of life being created by an intelligent God; is not allowed by establishment science. This has been made clear not only lawsuits being used to keep this possibility out of public school science curriculum even when used in the most generic sense possible, but also by the reaction of religious anger that results when intelligent design shows up in a positive way in mainstream scientific literature. What about panspermia you may ask, isn't that an alternative to abiogenesis? The answer is no it is not, this is because all panspermia does is move abiogenesis to a long time ago in a galaxy far far away and therefore totally untestable.
#7 The only evidence for abiogenesis is the assumption that it had to have happened
The simple fact is but there is no real evidence for abiogenesis. The reason why this would be the case even if it did occur is that such chemical processes do not leave fossils. But this still means there is a lack of actual evidence. When you ask for evidence for it, the answer is usually something like we exist don't we so abiogenesis must have occurred. This, of course, is nothing but circular reasoning. Sometimes, they will point to experiments that try to reproduce abiogenesis in the lab, but nothing in these experiments comes even to the simplest of living cells. Furthermore, in most cases, the results of these experiments would not survive in a natural environment. As interesting as some of these experiments are, all they really show is some interesting chemistry but not actual evidence for abiogenesis.
#6 Information Theory is a Problem for Abiogenesis
The reason that Information Theory is a problem for abiogenesis is that living cells contain a highly complex digital information storage, retrieval, and processing system. Not only are such systems only known to be the result of intelligence, but there is not even a theoretical way that's such a system could be developed by natural processes. It exists in the form of a cell's DNA which is a quaternary molecular information storage system, and a very complex one at that.
It is further complicated by the fact that all known information transfer processes have a source and transmitter as well as a receiver and destination. The problem for abiogenesis is that there is no source or transmitter for the information stored in the DNA for the first organisms. You cannot argue natural selection because until you get that first living cell you have nothing for natural selection to work on. As a result, abiogenesis has a problem with Information Theory. You can always make up Just So Stories as to where the information may have come from, but that is speculation and not science.
#5 Thermodynamics is a Problem for Abiogenesis
Before you start on me about the second law of thermodynamics, I am not using the second law of thermodynamics nor am I saying that abiogenesis is thermodynamically impossible. What I am saying is that it does have thermodynamic issues. First of all the energy applied to any prebiotic soup is going to be more likely to break down organic compounds that produce them. This problem gets worse the more complex those organic compounds become. Second, there are many aspects of a living cell but do not result from chemical necessity. The arrangement of the nucleotides in DNA is a perfect example of this problem. The arrangement of the nucleotides in DNA is not compelled by chemistry but it is based on the information that it contains and it can be any arrangement as needed to contain that information. The point is that there are many aspects of a cell necessary for life that cannot simply be produced by chemical processes but they are easily broken down by thermodynamic processes.
#4 Abiogenesis is Unobservable
There are several reasons why abiogenesis is unobservable. The first is that if it did happen it happed in a place and time beyond our observation. The second reason is that if abiogenesis happens, current ideas of how it happens to take too long to be observable. Finally, any observation of new life where it had previously not been seen, could have numerous other explanations other than abiogenesis. They could include simply missing it before, contamination by our own actions or presents, the life that we find could simply come from another location, and there are many more possibilities. All of this adds up to abiogenesis being unobservable.
#3 Abiogenesis is Contrary to Actual Observation
The main reason there abiogenesis is contrary to observation is that life has only been observed to come from life. It is never been observed to spontaneously come into existence from dead matter. The simple fact is that the line between life and non-life spontaneously only goes one way, that is a living thing dies such that life becomes non-life. We do not see corpses spontaneously come back to life such that anyone seeing a dead person come back to life would rationally conclude that it was an act of God. Not only are there no examples of abiogenesis being observed, but everything we do observe says it cannot happen.
#2 Abiogenesis is Unrepeatable
Another point is that abiogenesis is unrepeatable, ultimately the best origin of Life researchers could ever do is demonstrate that life could be produced under laboratory conditions. Not only would this require a lot of intelligence and deliberate manipulation of all the components involved, as such it would not prove that such an event could actually happen in nature. The creation of life in a lab would only demonstrate that intelligence can produce life, it would not be repeating true abiogenesis. Also, the origin of life on Earth whatever its source is something that happened in the past and can't be repeated. The best we could do is to try duplicate what we think happened but that's not necessarily replicating what actually happened. It would not replicate what would have happened in nature even if the origin of life were a natural occurrence. This is because any effort to do so would be done under carefully controlled laboratory conditions that would be designed to prevent the products are being destroyed.
#1 Abiogenesis is untestable
If abiogenesis did occur on Earth it can never be tested. It would be a one-of-a-kind event with no one present to observe and would not have occurred under conditions or on a scale that would leave a fossil record. Furthermore, even if all of the evidence proved beyond even an irrational doubt that abiogenesis did not occur on Earth, it could just be moved to Mars or some other planet. Once again the ultimate rescue of abiogenesis would be that happened a long time ago in a galaxy far far away. All this shows is that abiogenesis is an untestable hypothesis and therefore does not qualify as science.
Abiogenesis does not qualify as science largely because it does not meet any of the main qualifications to be considered science. It is not based on observation, in fact. it is contrary to observation. It is not repeatable because if it happened it is a one-off event in the past for which there is no actual information. Ultimately it doesn't qualify as science because it is fundamentally untestable. Not only because it cannot be observed but because even if it can be proven impossible here on Earth it will always possible to move it to some distant place and time that makes testing it impossible.
© 2019 Charles Creager Jr