Continuing the discussion from Does ID's origin of life information argument entail the special creation of the first life?:
There has been at least two attempts to show that the Origin of Life requires Intelligent Design (or God), on this site. (1) The Semiotic Argument Against Naturalism and (2) The Origin of Life: Can Science Show Intelligence Was Required?.
I haven’t been convinced by these, because they seem to be just doing a lot of work to say what we already know: No one knows how the first cell arose. Still, the mathematical proofs that this required Intelligent Design are, from my point of view, “lacking.”
The best argument against ID on the origin of life is the exact opposite of this. We may never no the details of how life first arose, as this is the most idiosyncratic and temporally distant event in the entire history of life. Even if we can create life from scratch in the laboratory (and we cannot), this is a long way from demonstrating this is how life arose billions of years ago on earth.
That is to say we do not expect to understand how the first life arose. To be clear, we do not know how. But the fact that we do not know does not really tell us one way or another what to make of this.
It is not just that this is at the absolute limits of biology, stretching into pre-biotic chemistry on an unknown primordial earth. There is good reason (like information arguments!) to think that a key component is expansive amounts of time and expansive amounts of material. In the laboratory, however, we cannot watch a planet or universe size system for a few million years to see if life arises.
There is a science fiction book by Dan Brown that might have the necessary preconditions for scientific advance here correct:
In front of hundreds of millions of viewers, Kirsch explains that he mimicked the famous Miller-Urey experiment and coupled it with various components using the laws of physics and entropy, along with E-Wave’s ability to digitally speed forward time, to recreate what he believes is the moment of abiogenesis. This is Kirsch’s proof that humanity was created by natural events. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Origin_(Brown_novel)
It might take this sort of advance, a way of creating a time-space bubble where we can observe millions of years play out in a laboratory experiment, ideally at a massive scale (think the marble galaxy of Men in Black, Orion’s Belt). It might take that sort of technological advance to show life arising spontaneously in the laboratory. If it does take this sort of advance, needless to say, we are very far from demonstrating this in the lab.
Though notice the deus ex machina non-sequitor in the Dan Brown novel, that this would “prove that humanity was created by natural events.” Showing that life arose by natural processes does not either (1) prove that God did not intervene or was unnecessary, or (2) prove that humanity arose in the same way. One does not follow from the other. It is transparently absurd on a logical level, even though we see many people acting if this is true on an emotional level. Though necessary as a plot device, this seems to be among the more fictional elements of this fictional story.
Ultimately, though there has been a ton of interesting progress in Origin of Life research, we just do not know precisely how it arose. I’m not sure we ever will.